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Lecture / Discussion  |  Contemporary Environmental Art & Poetics: Reflections & Performances

Thursday, February 27, 2020, 7 pm

Contemporary Environmental Arts Panel
With Joshua Schuster, Evelyn Reilly, Judith Goldman, Anna Scime
Sponsored and organized by the Poetics Program at University at Buffalo, and with funds from the Art Services Initiative of Western New York

Please join us for this panel of performances, discussions of personal artistic practice, and reflections on how contemporary artforms are responding to environmental crisis.

Joshua Schuster will discuss reading and teaching works of ecopoetics, drawing from his book The Ecology of Modernism (2015) and recent essays in which he continues to refine our definition of ecopoetics as a set of discourses exploring environment as a trope and environment in our tropes. He will present in more detail his thought on “heliopoetics,” the poetics of the sun and the transition to solar power.

Evelyn Reilly will read from her book Styrofoam (2009), discussing its origins and relation to questions about how we use language and our current ecological circumstances. She will also share examples of her ongoing experiments with incorporating elements of dystopian sci-fi and apocalyptic writing into poetry, and invite conversation about the role of art in creating an environmentally aware culture and environmental justice.

Judith Goldman will discuss her poetics of inhabiting scientific language and languages of expertise, to use their resources in aesthetic ways that create new means of connecting with the external world as described and inscribed, and that foreground and sometimes challenge these languages’ frameworks of knowledge. She will read from Open Waters, the artist book volume in the exhibit and present related poems from her works of ecopoetics.

Anna Scime will screen short excerpts from various pieces that focus on WNY’s land and waterscapes and the issues that we face in the Anthropocene: accelerated climate change, the rate of biodiversity loss/species extinctions, freshwater use, pollution, and land and water systems and changes. The Anthropocene—its place in the geologic timescale and its ecological impacts—conjure questions about the meaning of life and death, memory and archives, the scope and methods of humanistic inquiry, the hierarchy of the species, and emotional responses to the end of nature as we know it. An inverted archetypal Island, the Great Lakes provide an ideal microcosm for exploring global water issues and human interactions with the natural world.

About the participants…

Judith Goldman is author of four books of poetry: Vocoder (Roof 2001), DeathStar/Rico-chet (O Books 2006), l.b.; or, catenaries (Krupskaya 2011), and agon (The Operating System 2017), and has performed her work widely in the US, as well as internationally. She is part of an inter-arts collaboration whose installation Open Waters, on the history of Arctic exploration and contemporary Arctic geopolitics, has shown at Brown University’s Cohen Gallery and is currently at the Burchfield Penney Art Center. Goldman is Associate Professor and the Director of the Poetics Program in the Department of English at University at Buffalo.

Evelyn Reilly is the author of Styrofoam, Apocalypso, and Echolocation, all published by Roof Books, as well as Hiatus (Barrow Street) and Fervent Remnants of Reflective Surfaces (Portable Press at Yo Yo Labs). Her work has appeared most recently in Big Energy Poets: Ecopoetry Thinks Climate Change and The Supposium: Thought Experiments & Poethical Play in Difficult Times, and is forthcoming in Feral Atlas: The More-than-Human Anthropocene, edited by Anna Tsing. Reilly lives in New York City where she has been a writer for natural history and cultural museums.

Joshua Schuster is Associate Professor of English at Western University in London, Ontario. His first book is The Ecology of Modernism: American Environments and Avant-Garde Poetics (U of Alabama Press, 2015). His current book project What Is Extinction? A Natural and Cultural History of Last Animals is nearing completion. He also has recent essays published on aspects of ecopoetics, the exopoetics of Will Alexander, the photography of Edward Burtynsky, and the philosophical work of Derrida, Blanchot, Catherine Malabou, and Roberto Esposito.

Anna Scime is an internationally exhibited, award-winning artist based in Buffalo; she has shown work at Burchfield Penney Art Center, Berlin International Directors Lounge, Centro Cultural Borges (Buenos Aires), FLORA ars+natura (Bogota╠ü), Kuala Lumpur Experimental Film, Video & Music Festival, PS1 MoMA (NYC), and more. Her documentary work has been broadcast nationally and published on Free Speech TV, PhillyCAM, and Artgrease. A multi-media artist, she most often experiments with moving-image-based work at the intersection of art, technology, and science—addressing topics including the Anthropocene, eco-histories, and the archive.