UC Berkeley History of Art Department


Departmental Events

A Line in the Sand: Art, Ecology, and Precarity
The Berkeley/Stanford Symposium at SFMOMA

A Line in the Sand takes its title from the sense of precarity and urgency emerging from recent efforts to take unified global action on environmental issues. Epitomized by the mission to mitigate climate change outlined in the Paris Agreement, drawing a line in the sand marks a boundary, the recognition of a critical horizon that demands a collective response and solution. In the wake of the United States' decision to withdraw from this seemingly global imperative, what are the limitations of political action in the name of the environment? Do these strategies reduce Earth to a receptive surface for human action, and narrowly legislate what counts as positive engagement with the environment? Are there ways of visualizing our relationship to the planet — other ecologies — that go beyond conservation, sustainability, and "living green" to address humanity's inextricably deep political, social, and cultural entanglement with the environment? Across art, design, and visual culture, what new forms of action do such ecologies permit?