Abstract

This essay traces the emergence of a rich and densely layered field of art writing within the Anthropocene. We ask: If the Anthropocene is all around us, where is it in art writing? We identify the emergence of Anthropocenic art writing: writing that is not art writing about the Anthropocene per se but rather art writing that takes its cue from the operations and outcomes of the Anthropocene itself, including its flagrant disregard for boundaries (disciplinary and otherwise), and its agency. We find such strategies already at work, particularly, in writing by artists such as Hito Steyerl, Martha Rosler, and Chris Kraus, as well as in writing that is polyphonic either through the collaboration of multiple writers or through collage. We map art writing's strata (its past and present delineations, some of its cardinal points) in order to identify sites of resistance to the accelerations of the contemporary era, which is to say places where deceleration and deliberation may be possible. Anthropocenic art writing claims such modes as its own. While for scientists the Anthropocene has been marked by the contestation of golden spikes, in art writing these proxy signals go far beyond employing “nature” and the environment as a theme or topic, taking the Anthropocene as an allegorical mode itself.

This content is only available as a PDF.