A Schizophrenic Clattering of the Jaws: Encountering the Face of Climate Change

Authors: Angela Sakrison*, Arizona State University
Topics: Cultural Geography, Geographic Thought, Landscape
Keywords: climate change, process philosophy, Deleuze, alteration, landscape, posthumanism
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: 8226, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Henri Bergson said that the present is “simply what is being made,” but what does it mean for the self to be made differently in the era of climate change? If difference is not to be thought of as departure from an original or model, but as the manifest identity of a continually differentiating being, then how do we account for an undeniable sense of alteration in ourselves and the world when we encounter an ecosystem in crisis, a “ruined” environment, or a destroyed landscape? This paper examines how the self is unmade and remade in our encounters with climate change, and asks what it means to give climate change presence -- a face and selfhood that accounts for alteration. Responding to a call to uncover the ways in “which the relational, processual, and affective materialities of space and place might be apprehended” (McCormick 2010) I documented my encounters with dying oysters in the “dead zone” of Hood Canal, WA. Warmer waters and ecosystem shifts led to a thinning of the oysters, and dead oyster shells that had developed three holes in the shape of screaming faces were arrestingly scattered everywhere. This work illustrates how the nonhuman can communicate a different accumulation of difference, or its own presencing. Beyond recognizing “alteration” in any sense, in encountering the screaming oyster faces we become attuned to our own role in the process of emergence—we recognize that we have shifted the conditions of becoming to a new set of potentialities.

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