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A Year Without a Winter: Curating Environmental Imaginaries

Thu, Feb 14/19 – 6:30pm

Main Hall, 1 Spadina

MVS Proseminar presents: 

A Year Without a Winter
Curating Environmental Imaginaries
Dehlia Hannah & Nadim Samman

As the world warms and seasonal patterns betray historical records, we are called to rethink the organizing logics of the environments that we inhabit physically and imaginatively. From regional life-worlds to the abstraction of a global climate whose mean temperature is steadily rising, the boundaries of our environs are open to radical contestation—shifting shorelines, disturbed migratory routes and phenological clocks, and new avenues of economic exploitation and militarization. How are contemporary curators, artists and theorists intervening in these consequential matters? On the occasion of the publication of A Year Without a Winter (December 2018, Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, Columbia University Press), philosopher Dehlia Hannah joins curator Nadim Samman in a discussion of a trans-media thought experiment that sought to reframe imaginaries of climate change through science fiction, visual art, and environmental science and history. Published two hundred years after Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Or: The Modern Prometheus (1818), a book written amidst a global climate cooling crisis remembered as the ‘year without a summer,’ the project explores the literary and visual aftermaths of the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora in parallel with emerging narratives of environmental crisis. The talk will explore curatorial practices developed by Hannah and Samman beyond traditional gallery spaces, from Antarctica, to nuclear landscapes and oil palm plantations, to the fictional worlds of scientific modeling, literature and philosophy. Read More

Book launch and presentations are part of the Master’s of Visual Studies Proseminar and will be moderate by the Director of Visual Studies Charles Stankievech.

Dehlia Hannah (b. 1978) is a Mads ØvlisenPostdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Chemistry and Biosciences at Aalborg University-Copenhagen; an affiliate of the Laboratory for Past Disaster Science at Aarhus Univerisity; and the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. She holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Columbia University, with specializations in aesthetics and philosophy of science.  She deploys her philosophical training to curate transdisciplinary research projects and exhibitions including Placing the Golden Spike: Landscapes of the Anthropocene (2015), Atmosphere and Place (2015-17), and An Imaginary Museum of Philosophical Monsters (2018-20). Her most recent project, A Year Without a Winter (Columbia University Press, 2018), revisits the literary and environmental aftermaths of the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora through a transdisciplinary thought experiment in order to reframe contemporary imaginaries of climate crisis. Read More

Nadim Samman (b. 1983) is a curator and art historian. He read Philosophy at University College London before receiving his PhD from the Courtauld Institute of Art. He co-founded the 1st Antarctic Biennale (2017) and the Antarctic Pavilion (Venice, 2015-). In 2016 he curated the 5th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, and in 2012 the 4th Marrakech Biennale (with Carson Chan). Other major projects include Treasure of Lima: A Buried Exhibition (a unique site-specific exhibition on the remote Pacific island of Isla del Coco) and Rare Earth(at Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna).  In 2014 Foreign Policy Magazine named him among the ‘100 Leading Global Thinkers’. Read More.