"Architecture in the Anthropocene" Book for free from Open University Press.
Open Humanity Press has just published a book that you can download for free from their website. The book is called "Architecture in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Design, Deep Time, Science and Philosophy" and is edited by Etienne Turpin. Thanks to Lesley Greene at University of Cape Town for letting me know about this book.
Ecology and South Africa is mentioned here in the chapter on "Matters of Fabulation: On the Construction of Realities in the Anthropocene", a conversation between François Roche and Etienne Turpin.
We could question informality in terms of design, but slums, like the slums here in Bangkok, they don’t need architects! They don’t need you, they don’t need me. They have incredible organization, social organization, which is not top down, but about the delegation of micro-power in a constant movement, from the bottom up.
Short extracts from the book
Matters of Cosmopolitics: On the Provocations of GaïaIsabelle Stengers in Conversation with Heather Davis and Etienne Turpin
Isabelle Stengers’ varied research interests, compelling publications, and breadth of influence make her one of the most important writers of our time. Her early training as a chemist and her collaboration with physicist Ilya Prigogine allowed her to productively and critically intervene in the discours- es and practices of scientific knowledge production. She has published exten- sively in collaboration with other writers on topics including psychoanalysis, politics, feminism, philosophy, and science, although her primary concern re- mains the relation of the latter two. Attending to the specificity of laboratory work, Stengers considers this model of knowledge production to develop what she calls an “ecology of practices,” thereby situating scientific knowledge as specific, local, and evolving, while extending the idea of practices and prac- titioners to other fields through her notion of “cosmopolitics.” “One aspect of the cosmopolitical proposal,” according to Stengers, “is thus to accentuate our own rather frightening particularity among the people of the world with whom we have to compromise.”1 The strength and breadth of Stengers’ force as a writer comes from her training as a philosopher, particularly her careful explications of the thought of Alfred North Whitehead and William James. From these early pragmatists, she has retained efficacy as a central, guiding political principle, against more popular notions of choice or free will.
This philosophical position is also why her call to return to a notion of Gaïa, and her corresponding suspicion of the Anthropocene thesis, requires further consideration, especially among architects and designers. If the Anthropocene thesis repositions “Man” as the terrible end-fate of his own destiny, such a claim, in Stengers’ reading, problematically retains the narrative of the “reign of Man.” Instead, her thinking calls for a hesitation—an interfering idiocy, in Deleuze’s sense—that can slow down the thrill of acceleration, while also insisting that what we, as humans, are facing is Gaïa, a force that interrupts our all-too-modern dreams and aspirations; Gaïa cannot be ignored, nor assimilated into our ideas of progress and knowledge. As in nearly every- thing Stengers writes, she is quick to indicate the consequences of a practice, and she is not afraid to discern between the worthwhile and the worthless. It is the striking movement of her thinking that is so compelling, for she carries with her a thorough understanding that it is the world that makes experience, and that has consequences; she is thus unafraid to fight for this world. We are extremely grateful to Isabelle Stengers for making the time for this interview, which took place over email following the “Gestes Speculatifs” Colloque du Cerisy in July 2013, an event she co-organized with Didier Debaise.
|Etienne Turpin, editor.|
Also fond this critical reflection on ethnography in the chapter "The Geological Imperative: On the Political Ecology of the Amazonia’s Deep History" by Paulo Tavares.François Roche It is interesting that at the same time as ecology is developing, we are seeing the self-completion of the human though the destruction of the planet but also, through a recognition that we are destroying the planet, we realize the scale of destruction humans are capable of. We recognize the potential danger of domination, but the planet is capable of destroying us as well. So, while we desperately need to reorga- nize the social contract, we also need to renegotiate it with nature.Etienne Turpin This is the argument of Michel Serres.François Roche Certainly, Le Contrat Naturel is about that.3 There is a simultaneity! We can’t take care of the cats if we can’t take care of the neighbourhood! If you look at the first political ecology, from the Germans in WWII, it was organized by the Nazi General Hermann Göring. He was, at the same time, directing the Final Solution. Modern ecology comes out of this incredible distinction between the suffering of the people and protecting the domestic animal. This is similar to South Africa, un-
Thanks to the work of the anthro- pologist David Price, and to the rich archive of disclosed state-documents that he collected, it is now evident how the discipline of anthropology became instrumen- tal for US intelligence agencies in the post-war period. Ethnographic expertise was especially useful to the CIA and the Pentagon when shaping counter-insurgency campaigns. Less directly associated with warfare, but equally committed to the anti-communist ideology that informed US foreign policy, anthropology also played an important role within scientific research and development programs coordinat- ed by private foundations such as Ford, Carnegie…