Susan Ballard on "Seismic media: Art and geological co-creation in New Zealand"
Speaker: Susan Ballard (University of Wollongong/ Rachel Carson Center)
Location: Akademie der Bildenden Künste (Academy of Fine Arts), Neubau, Akademiestr. 4, Auditorium
In collaboration with the Academy of Fine Arts
In September 2010 the city of Christchurch, New Zealand was rocked by the first of a sequence of 16,000 earthquakes. This talk will consider the art and media that responded to the new experience of seismicity in the earthquake-damaged, transitional city. The spaces of the city became a cultural and creative environment in which art and media become co-creators with their very seismicity. Seismic media describes the "ungrounding" of elemental and ecomedia produced by earthquakes. Seismic media offered forms of relief that enabled people to reflect on the experiences of disaster and its long aftermath, whilst simultaneously remembering the city as it was. A consideration of seismic media suggests that for recovery and relief to occur, the earth needs to be understood as an active agent and long-term collaborator. By employing seismic media to trace placemaking and the memory spaces of Christchurch as it undergoes an extended period of rebuilding; I identify artists' relationships with the material geology of a city with a focus on new geographical and aesthetic understandings in the Anthropocene
Susan Ballard is the co-director of the C3P Research Centre at the University of Wollongong, and leader of MECO, the Material Ecologies research network. Recent essays in Energies in the Arts (MIT), The Anthropocene Review, Environmental Humanities, and Art and Australia are concerned with the ways in which contemporary art and writing address big ideas about species extinction, energy, geology, and the politics of culture. She is one of the multi-authors of 100 Atmospheres: Studies in Scale and Wonder (Open Humanities Press, 2019). With Christine Eriksen, Su is the co-author of Alliances in the Anthropocene: Humans, Plants, and Fire (Palgrave Pivot, 2019) and her monograph Art and Nature in the Anthropocene: Planetary Aesthetics will be out with Routledge in 2020. Su teaches contemporary art and critical theory. She is head of postgraduate studies in the School of the Arts, English and Media at the University of Wollongong, Australia, and currently a short-term visiting scholar at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, LMU Munich.