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Materials in the Anthropocene

Les matériaux de l’anthropocène

A Joint Science and Humanities Conference

Colloque sciences-humanités

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Published on Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Abstract

Since several decades, Earth sciences have been highlighting the enormity of the metabolic disturbances induced by mass productivism on the global scale. The conference will notably consider the materials of the Anthropocene from a “metabolic” perspective, i.e. one that looks at the cycles of transformation of matter within the planetary ensemble, and also includes the social, political and economic representations shaping them.

Announcement

Presentation

Since several decades, Earth sciences have been highlighting the enormity of the metabolic disturbances induced by mass productivism on the global scale. In total, the technosphere is now heavier than the non-human biosphere (Elhacham et al. 2020) and induces a huge global biogeochemical forcing, at magnitudes exceeding pre-industrial levels by several times in some cases. Whereas in the 19th century, Charles Lyell considered human geological activity to be infinitesimal compared to the amount of matter carried by the Brahmaputra, industrial societies today move more matter than ten times the volume of all the world’s rivers (Cooper et al. 2018). As we know, these symptoms, coupled with other ones, have been gathered under the umbrella of the “Anthropocene” two decades ago (Crutzen 2002). It is at the same time a proposition for naming a new geological epoch and a new state of the earth system in which industrial activities have massively modified planetary metabolism (Steffen et al. 2011, Rocktröm et al. 2015).

In this anthropocenic condition, more or less new, and credible, “techno-scientific promises” (Benoit-Joli 2010) arise, including industrial ecology, circular economy, carbon neutrality, waste abolition, recycling and upcycling, or material flux optimization by digitalization. However, while the Anthropocene points out the huge materiality of our societies, these various promises often omit a crucial point in the anthropocenic metabolism : the materials themselves. Yet materials can be considered as major historical actors and operators of the Anthropocene : just as some of them (plastics, concrete, alloys, rare earths, …) are key drivers of its advent, new materials with alternative processes of production could also play an important role in a potential post-anthropocene bifurcation. Hence the necessity to rethink materials and materialities in the Anthropocene. Moreover, if material extraction linked to net zero global energy transition might greatly impair biodiversity (e.g. Sonter et al. 2020), it becomes urgent to rethink the dead-ends of industrial materialities even in its climate-compatible versions, in particular their connections to the living. To these ends, the conference will notably consider the materials of the Anthropocene from a “metabolic” perspective (Fischer-Kowalski and Hüttler 2008), i.e. one that looks at the cycles of transformation of matter within the planetary ensemble, and also includes the social, political and economic representations shaping them.

Programme

Monday 1st of July

8:30 / Welcoming Coffee

9:00 - 11:15 / Morning Session

  • Pierre de Jouvancourt & Sacha LoeveThe Anthropocene, Materials, and the Metabolic Rift Challenge: Introductory remarks
  • Nelo Maglhães - Thinking the Missing Mass of the Anthropocene
  • Franck-Dominique VivienBioeconomy in the Age of the Anthropocene
  • Bernadette Bensaude-VincentForging an Alternative Concept of Materials to Face the Anthropocene

11:15 - 11:30 / Break

11:30 – 12:30 / Roundtable – How Did We Get There? The Role of Materials in the Advent of the Anthropocene

12:30 - 13:45 / Lunchtime

14:00 - 16:15 / Afternoon Session

  • Mario GiampietroStopping the Metabolic Rift: How to Imagine or Define Yet Unknown Social Practices?
  • Chiara ScarpittiSpeculative Practices for Design and Fashion Material Imaginaries in the Anthropocene
  • Elena AlbergatiExploring Sustainable Materials Design for the Anthropocene: Insights from the Made/Trans Research Group
  • Elise Rigot, Christophe Vieu, Laurent Malaquin - Trajectories: From a Nano Imaginary of Matter to novel perspectives for research with Design

16:15 – 16:30 / Break

16:30 – 17:30 / Roundtable – How to rethink or redesign the material imaginaries of the “transition”?

19:00 / Dinner

Tuesday 2nd of July

8:30 / Welcoming Coffee

9:00 – 11:15 / Morning Session

  • Jean-Baptiste FressozThe Anthropocene is an Accumolocene
  • Michaela EderA reflection on Biogenic Material Use
  • Olivier Hamant - The benefits of Imperfection: Lessons from Biology to live in a Turbulent World
  • Laurent Heux - Biomimicry Put to the Probation of Reality: A Few Examples of Practical Trials

10:45 - 11:00 / Break

11:00 - 12 30 / Roundtable – Can materials reset current eco-socio metabolisms?

12:30 - 13:45 / Lunchtime

15:00 - 16:00 / Exhibition Visit at Institut d’Art Contemporain de Villeurbanne: Pratiques cosmomorphes : (re)générer le vivant, 11 rue Docteur Dolard 69100 Villeurbanne

Places

  • Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, Bâtiment Buisson, Salle D8-001 - 15 Parvis René Descartes
    Lyon, France (69)

Event attendance modalities

Full on-site event


Date(s)

  • Monday, July 01, 2024
  • Tuesday, July 02, 2024

Keywords

  • anthropocène, matériaux, écologie, histoire environnementale, transition écologique, design, bioéconomie, métabolisme

Contact(s)

  • Sacha Loeve
    courriel : sacha [dot] loeve [at] univ-lyon3 [dot] fr
  • Pierre de Jouvancourt
    courriel : pierre [dot] de-dejouvancourt [at] univ-lyon3 [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Pierre de Jouvancourt
    courriel : pierre [dot] de-dejouvancourt [at] univ-lyon3 [dot] fr

License

CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Materials in the Anthropocene », Conference, symposium, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, https://doi.org/10.58079/11uj2

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