The Future is Now
Bifrost Online has launched to coincide with the two-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement on climate change, which was signed on 12 December 2015.
Bruno Latour: What are the optimal interrelations of art, science and politics in the Anthropocene?
Philosopher Bruno Latour argues that the fundamental relations between art, science and politics in the Anthropocene have not changed since the 18th and 19th centuries when the crucial inventions of class, citizenship and the social question, among others, were made possible by a range of equally important actors, from novelists and political philosophers to statisticians and geographers. What may seem to complicate this fundamental relation among art, science and politics in the Anthropocene is a certain lagging or disparate sensitivity to these three aesthetics in our handling of what Latour calls the ‘ecological questions’ of our age. Such questions seem to have moved to the center of contemporary discussion and debate (as has their need for political resolution and action). Yet by and large most participants in the conversations are not yet sensitive to these so-called ecological phenomena in line with the aesthetic demands of art, science and politics. Our ecological discourse, Latour seems to suggest, is too rudimentary and needs to mature.
What are the obligations of science and art to each other?
Philosopher Bruno Latour reflects on the difficulty of bringing artists and scientists together in collaborative work. Such collaborations always fail, he notes, unless the artists and scientists can come together to address challenges that lie, in effect, outside their areas of specialization and expertise. When specific difficult challenges require the collaborating parties to seek answers outside their usual repertoire of skills and methods (“when artists and scientists don’t know what they are doing and where they are going”) such collaborations can yield groundbreaking results, by steering specialists from both domains toward a creative fusion that does not proceed from habitual or conventional approaches but which may generate new ways of thinking or seeing.
Can the agora be reclaimed as a space for global advancement on ecological questions?
Philosopher Bruno Latour discusses the anthropocentric limitations of the agora concept in the context of ecological questions, noting that the reason why the agora is empty is because it’s still humans talking to humans about human things and not about things more generally, the entities with which we share our lives. He suggests that instead of attempting to resuscitate the agora, we should turn to the old Norse/Nordic concept of the Ting (Old Norse/Icelandic þing) as a model better suited to the challenges of the Anthropocene.