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Public Engagement

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Plastic Media

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm

The Bark Room (Orientation Room), Room M104, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center 2 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10011

Contemporary petrocapitalism, defined by the global trade in goods, the facilitation of movement, and the rise of digital culture, rests upon a relatively new material: plastic. Plastic provides the infrastructure of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; it provides shape in the form of containers and houses and enables movement of ideas through digital networks and people and goods. Drawing upon contemporary media theory in its turn to the elemental or environmental, following the work of John Durham Peters, Jussi Parrika, Nicole Starosielski and others, Heather Davis will address how plastic has become the medium for contemporary life and a central marker of the Anthropocene. Plastic has literally made the globalized world, so how might we begin to think about our relationship to this material that, due to its ubiquity, is often taken for granted or invisible? 

Heather Davis (PhD, Concordia University) is a researcher, writer, and editor from Montréal. She is currently a visiting scholar at the Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies at McGill University. She explores and participates in expanded art practices that bring together researchers, activists, and community members to enact social and environmental change. She has written about the intersection of art, politics, ecology, and community engagement for numerous art and academic publications. She is the editor of Art in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Aesthetics, Politics, Environments and Epistemologies (London: Open Humanities Press, 2015) and Desire Change: Contemporary Feminist Art in Canada (MAWA and McGill-Queen’s UP, 2017).

Sponsored by the Department of Culture and Media, Eugene Lang College.

Image credit: Kelly Jazvac, Plastiglomerate (2013) Photo: Jeff Elstone

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