The current diagnosis that the era we are living in ought to be conceived as anthropocene has two implications: 1. Human activity is changing the superficial as well as the deep structure of our planet to a formerly unknown degree; and 2. The foreseeable catastrophic consequences of our impact on life on this planet command a fundamental change of our technological-consumerist attitude. How can the arts address this situation?

One relatively superficial option is ecological art. But, despite all its good intentions, it often just contributes to the widespread sedation procedures that prevent us from taking the necessary measures. A different option consists in exploring a possible future of the planet that no longer counts or relies on humans, who, due to their activities, might disappear anyway in a few decades. Nature might then take its own way again. How can art picture a no longer human-based future state of our planet? This is what this paper tries to elucidate, along some examples from the arts. In the end, however, depicting a possible vanishment of humans also stimulates efforts to avoid this.

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Aesthetics Commons



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