Prefigurative Art in Search of Eco-Utopia. Lecture by Ewa Domańska
ms, Ogrodowa 19, audiovisual room
The author offers an analysis of the term ‘prefigurative art’ to describe this type of artistic activity which is not only capable of envisaging the future, and thus takes part in creating its possible scenarios, but also serves as a kind of lab, where experimenting with speculations on alternative versions of the existing order takes place. Although this order is, for a variety of reasons, considered to be flawed, there is a message that a change is possible.
These considerations are embedded in the context of the increasingly popular in recent times revival of thinking directed toward the future, the so called ‘revival of futurity’, to use Fredric Jameson’s term , and the ever recurring need for utopia. The following examples of ‘prefigurative art ’ that create the vision of eco-utopia are to be discussed : The Infinity Burial, a project by Jae Rhim Lee (2010) , and Trafostation the one by Joanna Rajkowska (2016). They both refer to prefigurative worlds of art created by multi-species ecumenes, where dehumanisation ( understood as a positive process ) involving the abandonment of what in the European culture is considered to be defining features of the Man, becomes a necessary condition for belonging to a community.
Ewa Domańska - a professor of Humanities at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań ( Poland) , and a visiting associate professor at the Department of Anthropology of Stanford University (USA) - is an expert on contemporary theory and history of historiography, the comparative theory of humanities and social sciences, ecological humanities, non-European approaches to the study of the past, and studies of the dead body. Professor Domańska is the author and editor of several books including the recent: Existential History (2012, in Polish) or History –Today (in edited with R. Stobiecki and T. Wislicz, 2014, in Polish). Later in 2017, a publishing company PWN Warsaw will release her new book Nekros: Introduction to the Ontology of the Dead Body .