Sebastian Grevsmühl (CNRS)
The global environment: A Visual History
In my talk I will address a large variety of historical icons of the global environment. I will show that the icons of our environmental age do not provide simple readings, that they carry multiple, often contradicting messages, and that they can be vectors of highly ambiguous and even conflicting political beliefs. One central claim is that we need to better understand the constitutive role the visual and associated knowledge practices, conventions and infrastructures play in mediating global environmental phenomena. My goal is thus to develop a broader historical framework for understanding how the visual actively shaped scientific and environmental discourse, and how it stimulated the rise of holistic and dynamic understandings of the environment from the nineteenth century onwards.