On June 17, 2019, a photograph of a dogsled team driving headlong into a lake of bright blue water in Greenland went viral.1 Headlines announced an unprecedented “melt event”: the Greenland Ice Sheet had lost two billion tons of ice that day alone. For months afterward reports followed with stories that the Ice Sheet was melting at a pace far beyond what scientists had calculated, most of them punctuated with data about the immense volume of ice loss. The rise of climate crisis images and headlines such as this express a double failure: the failure of ecological balance and the failure of scientists to account for these seemingly incalculable environmental consequences. Climate change has ushered in a penchant for a new sublime visuality. Environmental science produces environmental data that demarcates tipping points, averages, and predictions, and then climate conditions seemingly break all the records, producing unprecedented planetary phenomena...
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Research Article| June 01 2020
Climate Aesthetics in the Ablation Zone
Amanda Boetzkes is a professor of contemporary art history and theory at the University of Guelph. Her books include Plastic Capitalism: Contemporary Art and the Drive to Waste (2019), The Ethics of Earth Art (2010), and Heidegger and the Work of Art History (2014).
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Afterimage (2020) 47 (2): 35–39.
Amanda Boetzkes; Climate Aesthetics in the Ablation Zone. Afterimage 1 June 2020; 47 (2): 35–39. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/aft.2020.472007
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