• Fossils of Time Future? Abstract Geologies, Atmospheric Politics and Boundary Markers at the Site(s) of Spiral Jetty

Curran, Fiona, 2018, Journal Article, Fossils of Time Future? Abstract Geologies, Atmospheric Politics and Boundary Markers at the Site(s) of Spiral Jetty Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture, 46 (Winter). pp. 126-139. ISSN 1756-9575

Abstract or Description:

Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty includes a monumental sculptural earthwork (1970), a film (1970) and an essay (1972). Across these different artistic sites Smithson pursues a form of ‘abstract geology’ where the material histories and entropic forces of the planet are seen to affect consciousness and exert pressures on the human body. Smithson’s work is resituated to the material landscapes of its production and presentation in the deserts of the American (US) southwest linking it to the early atomic weapons tests that took place in the region from the late 1940s to the early 1960s and to indigenous intersubjective ethics and animist cosmologies. This paper moves between artwork, material site, immaterial affect and planetary politics in order to speculate on the notion of aesthetic temporalities that move beyond the human.

The mid-century earthbound, underwater and atmospheric nuclear tests ushered in an era of advanced research in the earth sciences that led to a new vision of the globe as an integrated political, technological and environmental space. The desert test sites of the southwestern US have, more recently, been identified stratigraphically by geologists in the dating of the Anthropocene through the presence of radionuclide boundary markers, further entangling the human and the geological in a symbiotic relationship that radically unsettles human-centred temporal frameworks. Every living thing on the planet is affected by the fallout of the nuclear age collapsing the natural with the artificial and the human with the technological. This condemns us, as a species to new trans-human symbioses and techno-animist intersubjectivities. In the midst of these newly emerging assemblages and endlessly unsettled environments older political and aesthetic models based on the centrality of the human appear moribund.

Official URL: http://www.antennae.org.uk/back-issues-2018/459450...
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art
School or Centre: School of Design
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2018 11:00
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2019 09:36
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/3451
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