Anna Volkmar | Ironic Encounters in the Anthropocene: Jürgen Nefzger’s Nuclear Landscape Photography

Written by on December 7th, 2016 // Filed under 29.2 Perspectives on the Anthropocene

Abstract

In this article, I explore the question of how art may help us to map and, indeed, inhabit the problematic subject position that the Anthropocene confronts us with. I focus on the landscape photography collected in Jürgen Nefzger’s Fluffy Clouds (2010) and its use of irony to obstruct the power dynamics at work in traditional landscape aesthetics. I suggest that Fluffy Clouds helps us to think subjectivity in the Anthropocene from a non-unitary position, i.e. a position that is not based on notions of individuality and identity, but is by default relational. My reading will be helped by Ernst van Alphen’s interpretation of perspective as a subject-constituting device and Paul de Man’s notion of the twofold, ironic self.

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