My master's thesis for Rhode Island School of Design's MA program in Nature-Culture-Sustainability Studies, defended in December 2019, is titled "An Intricate Ensemble: The Art-Science of an Ecological Imaginary for the Anthropocene Epoch." The upshot in a nutshell: practices and frameworks that emphasize and enhance collaboration, spontaneity, and care, in defying convention, contain the potential to subvert it.
The contradictions inherent in European Enlightenment-based “logics” that externalize humans from “nature” were a concern for the Romantic Naturalists, Dadaists, and Surrealists. More recently, some in the environmental humanities and socio-ecologically-concerned arts and sciences have also posed challenges to anthropocentric, hierarchical, positivist modes of thought. I suggest that by engaging the ludic, imaginative, and collaborative while bearing the empirical in mind, dualisms (such as objective and subjective, individual and collective) dissipate, and existence as a dialectical state of intricate ensemble can be revealed. In light of catastrophic disruption to Earth’s life-sustaining processes by exploitative forms of human activity, I argue an “ecological imaginary” is urgently needed, and everyone is capable of contributing to its prefiguring.