Imre Szeman

Banff Research in Culture 2018

Beyond Anthropocene

Program dates: July 30 to August 10th, 2018

Application Deadline: March 28, 2018


T.J. Demos – Professor of History of Art and Visual Culture and Director of the Center for Creative Ecologies at University of California, Santa Cruz.

Kim TallBear – Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience & Environment and Associate Professor of Native Studies at the University of Alberta.

Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas – artists and directors of Urbonas Studio, which engages in artistic research and practice to reclaim public culture from expanding privatization.

Organizers: Imre Szeman and Eva-Lynn Jagoe

Program Overview

Successful societies learn to adapt to the environment in which they live, respect naturally imposed resource constraints, and “progress” to a state in which they can live sustainably in the environment they share with other entities. It seems increasingly likely we have passed the point at which we might be able to mitigate significant global warming and widespread ecological impacts, due to inaction on structural change. Some climate scientists have begun to use the tricky vocabulary of “adaptation” to suggest that we must modify our planetary systems instead of our social ones to ensure our future existence. Others have responded to the impediments standing in the way of real social and environmental change with the language of “transition”—a slow nudging of society to a better course. Adaptation and transition are becoming accepted narratives of steps forward, yet revolution may be needed to move beyond the status quo and overturn the many inequalities that shape our society and its impact on the environment.

Adaptation, transition, and revolution: how do these activities prescribe the capacities and limits of our imaginations and our future realities? “Beyond Anthropocene” is a program for artists, cultural theorists, researchers, scientists, architects, and writers engaged with these topics as they struggle to understand how to respond to the challenges of the 21st century. Throughout this two-week intensive program, participants will engage in productive dialogue, expand their knowledge and understanding through collaboration, and develop a critical collection of creative research, writings, musings, designs, and solutions for addressing the next epoch of human existence.

What is BRiC?

BRiC is a residency program for scholars, artists, writers and other creators held each summer in Banff in the Canadian Rockies. This will be the eight iteration of BRiC. Faculty in previous years have included Lauren Berlant, Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, Wafaa Bilal, Bruno Bosteels, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Michael Hardt, Pierre Huyghe, Brian Jungen, Suzanne Lacy, Catherine Malabou, Claire Pentecost, Claudia Rankine, Nina Power, Claudia Rankine, Pedro Reyes, Sally Tallant, and Astra Taylor.

BRiC is held at The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity that provides a platform for academics and visual artists to collectively research, explore, and engage in work on a distinct topic each year. Applicants undergo a rigorous application and adjudication process, with a total of approximately 20 participants chosen to attend the program (University of Alberta applicants are given some priority). Those chosen to attend BRiC are given space to work on their own projects and are also encouraged to collaborate through joint workshops, lectures, and activities organized by the participants, The Banff Centre, and the organizers. Through peer interaction, collaboration, art production, consultations and studio visits, participants gain new insights and approaches that can be applied to the creative exploration, study, and development of their work. As well, the programs forges lasting networks among researchers and artists, and becomes a basis for future engagement.

Themes of previous BRiCs: “On the Commons” (2011); “The Retreat” (in conjunction with documenta 13; 2012); “Dock(ing); or, New Economies of Exchange” (2013); “Distributed Intimacies” (2014); “Demos: Life in Common” (2015); “On Energy” (2016); and “2067” (2017).

Who Should Apply?

We look forward to receiving compelling and original proposals from mid-career thinkers, researchers, architects, engineers, writers, curators, scientists and social scientists, and artists. While this program is open to current post-doctoral researchers, this year’s BRiC will focus on participants who are further advanced in their work. Artists, architects, and writers must have completed formal training in their discipline and demonstrate a commitment to exhibition, publication, and professional practice

The Banff Centre is a world-renowned facility supporting the creation and performance of new works of visual art, music, dance, theatre, and writing.

BRiC is funded by The Banff Centre and by the Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies.