“The Politics and Aesthetics of Climate Emergency”. А Lecture by T. J. Demos.


We’re told we’re in a climate emergency—but whose is it?

For Extinction Rebellion, reducing atmospheric carbon is a global urgency; for green neoliberals, it’s entrepreneurial, a time of economic opportunity; for Indigenous communities, this emergency continues centuries of colonial violence and genocide; for authoritarian nationalists, it’s a migration threat best addressed through military security. How might one’s emergency erase or empower another’s?

By considering the becoming-activist of aesthetics in relation to both climate mobilizations and the weaponized atmospheres of militarized streets and border zones (highlighted in the Whitney Museum’s “teargas” biennial and corresponding protests), this presentation considers the complexity of emergency politics, as well as how emergency might give way to the emergence of emancipated futures through intersectionalist social movements.

This lecture has been organized with the support of SIBUR.



T. J. Demos is an award-winning writer on contemporary art, global politics, and ecology. He is the author of numerous books, including Against the Anthropocene: Visual Culture and Environment Today(Sternberg Press, 2017); Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology(Sternberg Press, 2016); The Migrant Image: The Art and Politics of Documentary During Global Crisis (Duke University Press, 2013)—winner of the College Art Association’s 2014 Frank Jewett Mather Award—and Return to the Postcolony: Spectres of Colonialism in Contemporary Art (Sternberg Press, 2013). Demos co-curated Rights of Nature: Art and Ecology in the Americas, at Nottingham Contemporary in January 2015, and organized Specters: A Ciné-Politics of Haunting, at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid in 2014. During 2019–2020, he’s working on a Mellon-funded research project, art exhibition, and book project dedicated to the questions: what comes after the end of the world? and how can we cultivate futures of social justice within capitalist ruins? Demos is Professor in the Department of the History of Art and Visual Culture, at University of California, Santa Cruz, and Founder and Director of its Center for Creative Ecologies.


Free admission with advance registration.

The talk will be delivered in English with simultaneous translation into Russian.