“Nonhuman Creation: Images from the End of the World” presented by Zylinska


Session Title:

  • ISEA Keynotes

Presentation Title:

  • Nonhuman Creation: Images from the End of the World




  • Today, in the age of drone media, satellite photography and CCTV, image-making is increasingly decoupled from human agency and human vision. It can also literally show us the end of the world. The notion of “nonhuman creation” proposed in this talk will expand the human-centric idea of image-making to embrace imaging practices from which the human is absent: from the contemporary high-tech examples provided by traffic control cameras, space photography and Google Earth, through to deep-time impression-making processes such as fossilization. The Anthropocene, understood as a global ecological-economic crisis in which the human is said to have become a geological agent, will frame the analysis to highlight the interweaving of image-making processes with chemistry, minerals, fossil fuels and the sun. By examining a number of visual projects, including some from her own practice, Joanna Zylinska will argue that the Anthropocene becomes visible to us through altered light, and through the particulate matter reflected in it. In line with the theme of this ISEA symposium, she will also suggest that experimental, posthumanist image-making can allow us humans to “unsee” ourselves from our own narcissistic parochialism – and to take some steps towards envisaging new forms of biocreation and peace.