History of Art and Architecture

Consuming Nature

Consuming Nature: Landscape through the Lens of the Anthropocene. Monday May 1 - Friday May 5, 2017

Co-leaders: Alex Taylor and Isabelle Chartier

From the products we buy to the leisure activities we pursue, whether as material or image, we all consume the natural world on a daily basis. The idea of the anthropocene, founded on the visible trace of humanity in geological terms, helps sharpen attention to the presence of human influence across the widest range of landscapes. This week-long workshop drew upon Pittsburgh’s museums and collections to explore how such sources define and delimit the category of nature itself. It also functioned to understand the landscape as a resource to be expended.

Workshop participants engaged with visual and material cultures from the landscape tradition, as well as locations whose physical form have been shaped by shifting human attitudes towards nature and its management. The workshop sought to connect the industrial and agricultural histories of Western Pennsylvania described in these collections with the global economies in which they are entangled, tracing the webs of connection that tie local landscapes to planetary systems, and historical material to contemporary challenges.

Explore the workshop program here
Learn about the workshop participants here