THE ANTHROPOCENE SLAM: A CABINET OF CURIOSITIES NOVEMBER 8-10

WISCONSIN INSTITUTES FOR DISCOVERY DELUCA FORUM MADISON

THE MIRROR

photo of a mirror

Oh mirror, mirror on the wall tell me who is the most Anthropocenic of all? As in every tale, in that of the Anthropocene the magic mirror cannot be missed. Indeed, we propose the mirror as the key object to represent the age of humans. Maybe a steam engine, a nuclear reactor, the optic fiber or a microchip seem better symbols because they represent the power of technology. However, the mirror places the human back at the center of the scene. But the image reflected through the mirror is not that of humanity; rather, it is that of a specific human being. The mirror does not leave room for some indefinite "we", a common word in the Anthropocene narrative. Instead, it reveals culture and class (dress, for instance), biology (body or gender); it may incorporate technology (a pair of glasses or a dental implantation) and socio-ecological inequalities (a cancer caused by a dangerous job or a contaminated environment). And the relevance of history: no matter how badly we wish to run away from them, our stories will come back to us, inscribed in any wrinkle or scar in our face precisely as in the wrinkles and scars of the planet.

Presenters