Accumulation

The climate is not the weather. Weather can be experienced, but to understand climate, media is necessary. As the computational capacity to manage meteorological data emerged in the middle of the twentieth century, so did the means of visualizing and disseminating these new forms of complex information. Scientific knowledge of global and regional climate systems has developed through expressive, technical, and speculative images. Media provide access to processes of accumulation that are endemic to the contemporary socio-biotic condition of climate instability. If media do not precisely determine our situation, in the wake of Friedrich Kittler, they nonetheless provide access to the material and cultural outlines of possible futures.

The current epoch is one of accumulation: not only of capital (primitive or otherwise) but also of raw, often unruly material; from plastic in the ocean and carbon in the atmosphere to people, buildings and cities. Of anxiety, and of a recognition of the difficulty of finding effective means for intervening in the behaviors and practices that engender these patterns. Alongside these material accumulations, image making practices embedded within the disciplines of art and architecture have proven to be fertile, mobile and capacious. Images of accumulation help open up the climate to cultural inquiry and political mobilization.

Editors
Nick Axel
Daniel A. Barber
Nikolaus Hirsch
Anton Vidokle

Image Editor
Mariana Silva

Accumulation, a project by e-flux Architecture and Daniel A. Barber, is produced in cooperation with the Princeton Environmental Institute at Princeton University and the Speculative Life Lab at the Milieux Institute, Concordia University Montréal.

Contributors
Emily Apter

Emily Apter is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at New York University and currently serves as Vice-President of the American Comparative Literature Association. Her most recent books books include: Against World Literature: On The Politics of Untranslatability (2013), Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon (co-edited with Barbara Cassin, Jacques Lezra and Michael Wood) (2014);  and The Translation Zone: A New Comparative Literature (2006).

T.J. Demos

T.J. Demos is Professor in the Department of the History of Art and Visual Culture, University of California, Santa Cruz, and Founder and Director of its Center for Creative Ecologies. He writes widely on the intersection of contemporary art, global politics, and ecology and is the author of several books, most recently, Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and Political Ecology (Sternberg Press, 2016). His new book, Against the Anthropocene: Visual Culture and Environment Today, will soon be released by Sternberg Press.

Orit Halpern

Orit Halpern is an associate professor of interactive design in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University, Montreal. Her research explores the histories of digital technologies, cybernetics, the human and cognitive sciences and design, with a particular focus on the histories of big data, interactivity and ubiquitous computing. Halpern’s recent book, Beautiful Data: A History of Vision and Reason since 1945 (Duke University Press, 2014), is a history of the interface, interactivity and big data.

Robin Kelsey

Robin Kelsey is Dean of Arts and Humanities at Harvard University and Shirley Carter Burden Professor of Photography.

McKenzie Wark

McKenzie Wark is the author of General Intellects (London: Verso, 2017) and Molecular Red (London: Verso, 2015) among other books and essays. 

Kathryn Yusoff

Kathryn Yusoff is Reader in Human Geography at Queen Mary University of London. Her research focuses on geophilosophy, political aesthetics, and the Anthropocene. She is currently finishing a book on “Geologic Life” and is co-editor (with Nigel Clark) of a special issue of Theory, Culture and Society on “Geosocial Formations and the Anthropocene.”

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