Cayli April 2020 workshop header image

Violence, Aesthetics, Anthropocenes:

Colonialism, Racism, Extractivism

Workshop | 31 March - 1 April 2021 | online & free to attend

Convened and chaired by Dr Eray Çaylı, with Dr Christine Okoth, Dr Ignacio Acosta, Dr Helene Kazan, Dr Manca Bajec, and Dr Thandi Loewenson as discussants.

To register as audience, please visit

Time & date: 31 March 2021 (6-8pm) & 1 April 2021 (10am-6.30pm) 

Venue for both days: Online (on Zoom); link will be emailed nearer the time to all registered to attend.

Brief description: “Humanity is facing extinction.” “When will we realise we’re all in the same boat?” Such sweeping statements continue to feature in mainstream approaches to what has been termed the Anthropocene. This indicates a persistent denial of the historical, social and geographical differentiations characterising both the effects of and responsibilities for climate change and ecological disasters. A growing body of scholarship critical of this denial has highlighted the role of colonialism and racism in issues now debated under the rubric of the Anthropocene, and the practice of extractivism that has been central to that role. This workshop builds on relevant critical scholarship by approaching climate change and ecological disasters as grounded in and productive of extractivist colonialism and racism but also seeks to contribute to it by way of a specific methodological focus on aesthetics. It does so by considering aesthetics not as indexing a set of formal features or notions of taste, but rather as a medium through which sensibilities and insensibilities are produced through materiality and distributed across geography and the bodies inhabiting that geography. Working from this materialist and relational understanding of aesthetics as both ethics and politics, we ask, what are the aesthetic practices that feature in mainstream approaches to the Anthropocene and critical responses to it? How have these practices approached the role of extractivist colonialism and racism in climate change and ecological disasters? What are the various aesthetic registers and modes in which they have approached this role and how might these approaches be reproducing or contesting the Anthropocene’s extractivist colonialism and racism? What materially grounded notions of "humanity" and its variously prefixed cognates shape and are shaped by such approaches?



Wednesday, 31 March 2021 (6-8pm)

6pm: Introduction (Dr Eray Çaylı)

6.10pm: Brief interventions by the five panelists (i.e., the following day’s discussants)

7pm: Panelists’ brief responses to each other

7.25pm: Open discussion including questions and comments from the audience


Thursday, 1 April 2021 (10am-6.30pm)

10-11.15am: Session I (discussant: Dr Helene Kazan)

‘The Rann of Opportunities’: Entanglements of Ecology, Labour, and Infrastructure in Kutch | Ishita Sharma

The Two Rivers of Mesopotamia / a Turtle in Ten Seconds | Rojda Tuğrul

-------------------11.15am-11.25am: Break----------------

11.25am-1pm: Session II (discussant: Dr Thandi Loewenson)

Site and Non-Site: An Alternative Freedom for the Body Inside Military Simulations and Desertscapes | K. Yoland

Extracting Us: Co-curating Unspectacular Extractivisms with a Feminist Political Ecology Approach | Alice Owen & Siti Maimunah

Environmental Sensing: Refractions of the Infrastructural Body | Margarida Mendes

-------------------------1-2pm: Lunch------------------------------

2-3.15pm: Session III (discussant: Dr Christine Okoth)

Watery Geopoetics: Imperial Geographies, Submerged Encounters, and Unsettling the Anthropocene | Kate Lewis Hood

Parafiction Cuts through Denial in İz Öztat’s Conducted in Depth and Projected at Length (2014) | Lara Fresko Madra

-------------------------3.15-3.25pm: Break--------------------

3.25-4.40pm: Session IV (discussant: Dr Ignacio Acosta)

Mapping Refusal in Abya Yala: The Submerged Archipelago of Indigenous Resistance beneath Modernity | George Ygarza

Cannibalising Hegel: Sakawa as Decolonial Praxis | Jacob Badcock

-------------------------4.40-4.50pm: Break--------------------

4.50-6.05pm: Session IV (discussant: Dr Manca Bajec)

Notes on Processes of Unearthing: Wildfires and the Entanglements of Space in Turtle Island | Anousheh Kehar

Caring for the Shaky Ground: Colonial ‘Weather’ and Decolonial ‘Weathering’ in the Crimean Peninsula | Distributed Cognition Cooperative (Anna Engelhardt & Sasha Shestakova)

6.05-6.30: Concluding thoughts, questions & wrap-up


A list of recommended pre-workshop readings is accessible via this link.

Header image: Forest of eucalyptus trees planted to absorb contaminated water from Los Pelambres mine, Los Vilos commune, Chile, 2012 (courtesy of the artist Ignacio Acosta).

This workshop is funded by the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP).