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Context and Meaning XXI: Art and the Anthropocene

January 28 @ 10:00 am - January 29 @ 5:30 pm

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The Graduate Visual Culture Association of Queen’s University presents Context and Meaning XXI: Art and the Anthropocene

About this event

Context and Meaning XXI: Art and the Anthropocene

Context and Meaning is an annual graduate student conference organized by Art History graduate students at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

This year’s conference engages broadly with the complex interrelationship between art and the environment in the so-called human-geological era, or the ‘Anthropocene.’ Human forms of production such as the arts are an essential aspect of the Anthropocene and invite critique for the ways in which they use, destroy, exploit, and enhance the natural world. Central to the Anthropocene is the language used in academic discussions of it; the term ‘Anthropocene’ has been criticized, and other terms, such as ‘Capitalocene’ (Moore) and ‘Chthulucene’ (Haraway) have been suggested to highlight the impacts of economic systems or interspecies contact as central to our current time. How might art, art theory, and artistic representation, or a historical understanding of art navigate these terms? In what way might art serve to reconsider our relationship to the environment, and in what way does the notion of the ‘Anthropocene’ serve as a framework to understand our relationship to art?

Registering will give you a password to access the conference presentations that will be available in video format on the GVCA website – – from January 14th-January 29th, 2022.

The live Zoom panels will be held January 28th-January 29th, 2022. Please see the schedule and register to get the Zoom link.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Live panel schedule (all times are EST):

Friday, January 28th, 2022 — Day 1

10:25 – 10:30 AM Opening remarks: Dr. Ron Spronk, Professor of Art History, Graduate Chair, Queen’s University

10:30 – 12:00 PM Session One: Collapsing Ecologies

Chair: Dr. Joan Schwartz, Professor of Art History, Queen’s University

  • Mike Sockol, Duke University, Seeing Wilderness Again: Speculative Photography and Critical Ecology with the Extreme Ice Survey
  • Jeanne Blackburn, Concordia University, Feeling through the Anthropocene: an Immersion in the Aquatic Thinking of Joan Jonas and Jacynthe Carrier
  • Abigail Brown, University of Cambridge, “There Ain’t No Good News”: Sublimity and Apocalypse in Climate Change Photojournalism

12:00 – 1:00 PM Lunch Break

1:00 – 2:30 PM Session Two: Unsettling Landscapes

Chair: Dr. Norman Vorano, Associate Professor of Art History, and Head of Art History & Art Conservation, Queen’s University

  • Jill Price, Queen’s University, Looking to Art History to Help Unmake Anthropocenic Perspectives and Processes Towards Land
  • Jasmine Sihra, Concordia University, Exploring the Watery Paths from Aka Niviâna and Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner and back, or, Rise: From One Island to Another
  • Victoria Macbeath, McMaster University, Public Gardens and Biopower: The Halifax Public Gardens in the late nineteenth century

3:00-4:30 PM Session Three: De-Constructed Environments

Chair: Dr. Jennifer Kennedy, Associate Professor of Art History, Queen’s University

  • Jose Bawagan, Queen’s University, Sin Sol/No Sun (2020): Why micha cárdenas reminds us to go outside and play
  • Levi Bruce, Carleton University, An architectural intervention in Tommy Thompson Park
  • Peter Sproule, Queen’s University, Fashion Photography and the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche: Fashioning a Postwar German Landmark from War Ruins

5:00 PM Keynote Lecture: Synthetic Forever: White Suits, Fatbergs, and the Breathing Museum

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Kirsty Màiri Robertson, Director of Museum and Curatorial Studies; Associate Professor, Museum Studies, Western University


Saturday, January 29th, 2022 — Day 2

10:25 – 10:30 AM Opening remarks by Conference Co-Chairs: Briana Pellizzari-Lento and Benjamin Pulver, Queen’s University

10:30-12:00 PM Session Four: Class, Labour, and the Capitalocene

Chair: Dr. Antonia Behan, Assistant Professor of Art History, Queen’s University

  • Charlie Bond, Concordia University, The Capitalocene: Waste, Abstraction, and its Artwork
  • Lawrence Alexander, University of Cambridge, ‘X’ Marks the What? From Extractivism to ‘Cross-influence’ in Harun Farocki’s The Silver and the Cross (2010)
  • Sophia Kamps, Queen’s University, Hothouse Flowers: Class, Empire, and Environment in the Victorian Conservatory

12:00 – 1:00 PM Lunch Break

1:00 – 2:30 PM Session Five: Engaging with “the Trouble”

Chair: Dr. Johana Amos, Adjunct Professor of Art History, Queen’s University

  • Ana Valine, Queen’s University, Eco-Collaborations in 16mm Film
  • Jennifer MacLatchy, Dalhousie University, Arts-Based Methods for Building Relationship in the “Anthropocene”

3:00-4:30 PM Session Six: Datafying Museums

Chair: Jennifer Rutkair, PhD Student Queen’s University

  • Imogen Clendinning, Western University, Degrading Images & Exploratory Conservation in Net-based Artistic Practice
  • Colton Hash, University of Victoria, Digital Reflections of the Anthropocene
  • Bronte Cronsberry, OCAD University, The Soul Of Natural History

4:30 PM Closing remarks by Conference Co-Chairs: Briana Pellizzari-Lento and Benjamin Pulver, Queen’s University


Queen’s University is situated on traditional Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee Territory.


2695 Everts Ave

Windsor, N9E 2T9 Canada

Phone: 5199992314