Big Ideas in Social Science: An Interview with Doreen Massey on Space

‘A lot of what I’ve been trying to do over my all-too-many years when writing about space is to bring space alive, to dynamize it, and to make it relevant, to emphasize how important space is in the lives in which we live, and in the organization of the societies in which we live. Most obviously I would say that space is not a flat surface across which we walk.’

Curating contemporary art in the framework of the planetary commons

‘Using the planetary commons as a framework for artistic inquiry means that individual artists’ projects and curated exhibitions, whilst not constrained by a narrow or strict curatorial concept and therefore free to explore a range of ideas, forms and subjects, are underpinned by a long-term investigation into the interrelationships between planetary imaginaries, political thought, artistic agency and environmentalism.’

Petrocultures: Climate change, culture, and society

‘Energy transitions are often considered a scientific or technical issue. However, University of Waterloo’s Imre Szeman argues that climate change is fundamentally a cultural issue. He argues that responding to climate change requires a shift in the way we think about cars, energy, chemicals, over-consumption, and other aspects of the fossil-fuel dependent “petrocultures” that permeate our everyday lives.’

Disappearing Ice and Missing Data: Climate Change in the Visual Culture of the Polar Regions

‘This paper shows how artists such as Subhankar Banerjee, Annie Pootoogook, Lillian Ball, Roni Horn, and Andrea Bowers rework the political and visual drive of Brand’s whole earth in the context of a revival of interest in environmental activism and art movements of the 1960s and 1970s and the goals of that period to save the planet.’

Climate Change Is Making This Alaskan Town Fall Into The Ocean

‘For decades, a small village in Alaska has been disintegrating and falling into the surrounding river. And for decades, the village’s residents, most of them native Alaskans, have been asking state and federal agencies for the help and funding they need to relocate the entire community. So far, the money they’ve gathered falls far short of the estimated $130 million they’ll ultimately need to make that happen. Now, the village is running out of time.’

As We Have Always Done

‘Everyday acts of resurgence sound romantic, but they are not. Put aside visions of “back to the land,” and just think land— some of it is wild, some of it is urban, a lot of it is ecologically devastated. Everyday acts of resurgence are taking place as they always have, on both individual and collective scales on Indigenous lands irrespective of whether those lands are urban, rural, or reserve.’

Funeral for Lost Ice: Iceland Bids Farewell to Glacier

‘It was a funeral for ice. With poetry, moments of silence and political speeches about the urgent need to fight climate change, Icelandic officials, activists and others bade goodbye to what once was a glacier.’

Unsettling decolonizing geographies

‘The concept of decolonization is complicated and contested… Part of this paper’s work is to provide a nuanced understanding about the diversity of meanings and expressions of decolonization both within geography and within the lives and struggles of Indigenous peoples on whose lands settler colonial nations are built.’

Research-Creation Walking Methodologies and an Unsettling of Time

‘The research-creation events discussed in this article explore questions of sovereignty, borders, histories, and time through strategies of speculation, counter- cartographies, and anarchiving practices…we consider how research-creation walking events can unsettle colonial temporalities and how artistic research can participate in the processes and practices of decolonization’

Just transitions: A humble approach to global energy futures

‘Political agreement at high governmental levels will not solve the problem of the global energy transition…the very words “our common future” can serve as cover for evading responsibility, through business as usual, and by failing to address the maldistribution of wealth and power that got us to the mess we are in.’

The relation between the arts, science, and politics

‘George Steinmann & Anne-Marie Melster talking about the relaiton between the arts, sciences, and politics (Pavillion Suisse)’

Learning from Ice

‘Learning from Ice investigates polar environments as a vast information network composed of material as well as cultural ‘sensors’ that are registering and transmitting the signals of pollution and climate change. The film trilogy coalesces disparate – and oftentimes imperceptible – data sources across a wide range of spatial scales.’

The Politics and Poetics of Infrastructure

‘Infrastructures also exist as forms separate from their purely technical functioning, and they need to be analyzed as concrete semiotic and aesthetic vehicles oriented to addressees… Focusing on the issue of form, or the poetics of infrastructure, allows us to understand how the political can be constituted through different means.’

Arctic Geopolitics &

‘In the face of global environmental concern, there is a grave danger that the autonomy of ordinary people who actually live in the Arctic is being sidelined by much more powerful strategic interests. The inhabited Arctic is no less international in its politics and economics than the rest of the world.’

Art of Change and Olafur Eliasson’s Ice Watch

‘Eliasson has said “facts alone are not enough to motivate people; at times, they even create the opposite effect. We need to communicate the fact of climate change to hearts as well as heads, to emotions as well as minds”. And indeed, in cities across Europe Eliasson’s Ice Watch has aroused an almost primal reaction in many of the people who experienced it.’


‘More than just instruments for transporting oil and gas, pipelines are things, of the sort that condition the possibility of Dasein, or being in the world… Pipelines are things that daily surround us, distress us, to which we must attend. They are media in, with, and through which we come to be in the world as the sort of beings we are.’

Not a Gift Shop: Arts-based Narratives of the Canadian North

‘In this essay, I turn to the concept of creative citizenship to describe what ArtSpots did, providing a working definition of the concept and describing some crucial features of the media initiative. ArtSpots is then reframed and contextualized in relation to an important historical debate about Northern art, and to two contemporaneous cultural productions engaged in expressions of Canada’s North.’

Sometimes Making Something Leads to Nothing

‘Paradox of Praxis 1 (1997) is the record of an action carried out under the rubric of “sometimes making something leads to nothing.” For more than nine hours, Alÿs pushed a block of ice through the streets of Mexico City until it completely melted. And so for hour after hour he struggled with the quintessentially Minimal rectangular block until finally it was reduced to no more than an ice cube suitable for a whisky on the rocks, so small that he could casually kick it along the street.’

Melting Imaginaries of the Arctic

‘Despite the multiplicity of imaginaries about it, the Arctic is still an exceptional space in the mind of the outsider – particularly the European and North American. Even as new imaginaries of the region have developed and there is greater appreciation of the region as multifaceted, historied, cultured, and peopled, the idea of wilderness looms large in imaginaries of the Arctic.’

Rebranding the Anthropocene: A Rectification of Names

‘The basic sensibility that emerges from the notion “Anthropocene,” I would argue, is one that blends a familiar, threadbare, human-centered worldview, often with lavish infusions of techno-triumphalism, the latest version of a narrative tradition that includes “progress,” “development” and “innovation,” this time enhanced with austere rituals of hand-wringing’.

Photography’s Silence of Non-Human Communities

‘One species, we humans, are wiping out other species at an unprecedented rate – with species going extinct, falling away from our Earth like autumn leaves fall away from the trees…Photography must participate in this moment of crisis – with subjectivity instead of objectivity; engagement instead of distance; opinions instead of neutrality; and empathy instead of cynicism.’

The Mapmaker’s Conundrum

‘Projections are not neutral, natural or ‘given’: they are constructed, configured, underpinned by various — and quite arbitrary — conventions. When drawing up a map, a cartographer must choose between zenithal, gnomonic, stereographic, orthographic, globular, conical, cylindrical or sinusoidal modes of projection — each of which brings with it as many disadvantages as benefits’.

Climate change and the imagination

‘This review article surveys the complex terrain of the imagination as a way of understanding and exploring the manifestations of anthropogenic climate change in culture and society. Imagination here is understood as a way of seeing, sensing, thinking, and dreaming that creates the conditions for material interventions in, and political sensibilities of the world.’

Do Artifacts Have Politics?

‘Thus, some proponents of energy from renewable resources now believe they have at last discovered a set of intrinsically democratic, egalitarian, communitarian technologies. In my best estimation, however, the social consequences of building renewable energy systems will surely depend on the specific configurations of both hardware and the social institutions created to bring that energy to us.’

Waves, Sand, and Sunlight: Elizabeth McTernan on mapping as storytelling

‘For Elizabeth, documenting terrain is inherently problematic, especially in terms of what traditional mapping leaves out: “I think that there is a lot of erasure, that it eliminates the story, portends it to be just an objective image that is timeless as opposed to the reality of it which is that it’s a snapshot: a political, historical, technological snapshot.’

Post-Petroleum Security in a Changing Arctic: Narratives and Trajectories Towards Viable Futures

‘In this paper we explore how post-petroleum security is continually shaped by both the micropolitical practices of everyday life as well as the changing geopolitics of energy landscapes…We further investigate how particular controlling measures have determined past, present and future narratives, and assess how alternative ideas that include multiple possible trajectories have found their way into national and global debates despite these efforts.’

Recipes for an Encounter

‘Recipes are axioms in a sense; they reduce complex logic into language and mathematical operators recipes refer to broader circumstances but in a highly mannered, ascetic logic. The underlying desire to create recipes the motive to distill a complex situation into a set of indivisible units and variables. The recipe stands at the point where the individual touches chaos and then attempts to order it. In their reduced state, recipes are transferable and translatable and often gain agency or currency by being shared.’