Helene Romakin

The Anthropocene and Visual Culture – Material Strategies in Contemporary Art and Architecture

The dissertation investigates visual culture and materiality in contemporary art in the context of discourse surrounding the Anthropocene. Taking it as a lens, through which material strategies are analyzed, the project follows the shift in the cultural understanding of nature from the sublime and remote otherness towards an interdependent ecological system with human and non-human actors. Particularly, by exploring the notion of materiality in visual culture this project examines how this paradigmatic turn is illustrated and dealt with in artistic practices and strategies in recent years.

The project argues that an expanded definition of materiality has evolved as an immanent aesthetic strategy in the visual culture of the Anthropocene. This new material aesthetics has occurred through the increasing environmental consciousness informed by the advancement of research in different disciplines from natural sciences and humanities, while offering tools to engage with the environment beyond politically motivated activism and the idea of autonomous aesthetics. The context of this new material aesthetics will be analyzed in this project through case studies by the artists Lara Almarcegui and Pierre Huyghe.