Recent Projects

Art in the Anthropocene, 2019
Art in the Anthropocene, 2019

image: uranium ore
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ART IN THE ANTHROPOCENE

International conference in Trinity College Dublin, 7-9 June 2019

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I'm editing a written version of this paper, which I will upload here when it is done.

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Double Flight for Deep Time Navigation: Pazugoo as Interscalar Vehicle

Producing complex timescales entangling local action with planetary exhaustion, one effect of Anthropocene discourse is a rapid disorientating shuttle through multiple scales of material and experience. This opens the question of how we could conceptually navigate between these registers of time and space.Sociologist Gabrielle Hecht has proposed thinking empirical objects as devices for such a journey. The interscalar vehicle she argues is ‘a means of connecting stories and scales usually kept apart’:

"Interscalar vehicles – theirs and ours – have political, ethical, epistemological, and/or affective dimensions. What makes something an interscalar vehicle is not its essence but its deployment and uptake, its potential to make political claims, craft social relationships, or simply open our imaginations." (2018: p.6)

In this paper, Weir presents his ongoing art project Pazugoo in this context. Through this, he argues that ‘art in the Anthropocene’ can act, against hopelessly sublime imaging, as a kind of conceptual navigation between localised experience and planetary scales.The work is a constellation of 3d-printed plastic demons, recomposed from museum artefacts in workshops according to the morphology of the Babylonian-Assyrian demon of dust and contagion Pazuzu. The resulting gooey figures are buried underground at specific sites as ‘markers’ of radioactive waste storage around the world.

Through burial in contaminated earth, the works enter into assemblages with waste measured to be radioactive for 4.6 billion years. Their literal ‘grounding’ becomes a conceptual ‘ungrounding’ of the centrality of human experience through ritual imagining of an immense beyond-planetary scale. Collected and displayed in exhibitions as index to these buried objects, Pazugoo is proposed as a geo-fictional navigational figure, enacting a spiralling cyclical flight to the ends of uranium-scale temporalities and back to thought now. Embedded in the site, it becomes mythic connector between emerging scales, local sensations, and universal currents - tracing planetary politics of waste and toxicity.