Building a Planetary Imaginary: Information design, contemporary art, and environmental politics

Session Convenors

Timothy Stott, Dublin School of Creative Arts, Dublin Institute of Technology

Maibritt Borgen, Yale University

Session Abstract

Charts, plans, tables, graphs, and diagrams are foremost in the dissemination of scientific data and knowledge. These types of information design are ‘knowledge generators’ (Johanna Drucker) as much as representations of existing states of affairs, which help to think systems, correlations, and future scenarios across scales, from the microbial to the planetary. As they make complex global ecologies legible and consequential to the public, they are central to the everyday politics of our current climate regime.

With the renewed urgency of this knowledge today, this session investigates how contemporary artists and curators have used information design to build, challenge, and expand a planetary imaginary in the face of ecological disaster. Whereas photographs of the planet in its entirety mobilised the previous generation of environmental art and politics, the planetary now emerges in complexes of data and information. We therefore ask: How has information design expanded into a set of artistic and curatorial strategies that engage the epistemology and function of science? How do contemporary artworks, projects, and exhibitions use information design to think through planetary complexities and contingencies in the public domain? How does this planetary imaginary compare to that of global economies and infrastructures? By connecting information design and a planetary imaginary, this session seeks to re-orient toward environmental politics current debates about the diagrammatic and the informational as major tropes of contemporary art.

To offer a paper
Please email your paper proposals direct to the session convenors, details above.

Provide a title and abstract (250 words maximum) for a 25-minute paper (unless otherwise specified), your name and institutional affiliation (if any).

Please make sure the title is concise and reflects the contents of the paper because it will appear online, in social media and in the printed programme.

You should receive an acknowledgement of receipt of your submission within two weeks from the session convenors.

Deadline for submissions: Monday 5 November 2018

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