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Live Coverage: SPEAP/Bruno Latour’s Paris Climat 2015/Make it Work, May 29-31

Confirmation on Violaine Sautter’s, geologist, withdrawal from the program. A printout of the email found circulating around the theater.

“Hello, in order to prepare my presentation this morning before heading off to teach, I just read (maybe in the wrong way considering I have 75hrs of work at night for NASA combined with teaching during the day) the entirety of the 8 pages long Make It Work leaflet.
Notwithstanding the fact that this is the simulation of a mascarade to come, I realize this event is supported by AXA, RENAULT and NISSAN. I’m not running for these companies. Call me today. Thanks.
Violaine” (translated from the French)


From what we saw there, I think this says it all.

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Some quick closing remarks. It was certainly impressive to see more than 200 students from all over the world gather to think about climate change on a large scale. Any initiative trying to map and model alternative ways to represent global politics should be welcome – kudos to SciencesPo, SPEAP, and Bruno Latour’s team for that effort. But the whole event left us with a rather clownish feeling, and I’m still struggling to grasp its point. The talks and discussions kept delaying the moment of actual simulation and, symptomatically, crystallized endlessly on the dramatization of the conditions and possibility of negotiation. Understanding the traction that can be exerted by human systems on natural systems requires one to think on questions of scale, as well as the relationship between spatiality, forms of politics, and processes of technological change. The strong emphasis on dramatization as well as the mobilization of the apparatus of the theatron (‘beholding place’) seemed inadequate choices as they clearly framed the event as a stage (or a space of rehearsal), while this relationship should be tasked in spaces of actual (concrete or conceptual) simulation, where the articulation of normative, technological, philosophical and political threads can be both traced back and re-engineered. The event did not produce a totally futile form of politics but, in its problematic tension between, on the one hand dramatization and representation, and on the other hand experience and experimentation, it surely projected politics in a questionable form of theater (or in rather bad artistic formalizations) in which politics was simply fetichicized and trivialized. Last thought: if, here, the problem lies partly in the mobilization of the theater as a tool of dramatization, then it’s time to abandon Latour’s characterization of aesthetics as a mere “becoming sensitive” (or “making things public”), or to complement it by actually engaging with the affective, perceptual and conceptual ramifications of aesthetics within the epistemic constructions we inherited from modernity – elements unfortunately left intact and unquestioned. Time to make them not only public, but explicit.


It might be worth noting that many SPEAP activities were not rendered visible in the simulation but perhaps intentionally concealed? Unfortunately we missed the opening ceremony which I understand was a combination of material assemblages created by Latour and team as well as SPEAP. However, I did get to see the closing ceremony which I took as a render of the opening (maybe as a conclusion?). I do know that the opening film, authored by artists Ana Vaz and Tristan Bera (both participants of SPEAP), was intended as a critique to the quintessential film sequences usually made by advertising agencies to “represent the world” and promote climate change awareness, such as this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0n6hleA7M6o&app=desktop

Herewith a trilogy of images from their film (Vaz and Bera). I soon will send a Vimeo link to the closing ceremony so one can get a sense of the dramaturgy employed.

I would underline that states are not replaced by natural (the Sahara, Polar Regions, etc.) and technological entities (the Internet), but rather they are complemented by them - the task is how can non-humans be afforded agency in environmental discussions if/when they are put on the same level as nation-states.

With you all the way. But perhaps if he had a better account of what exactly modeling is, i.e. how simulation can be made efficacious, that would go a long way to making it explicit as well as public?

EDIT: Just read all the way to the bottom, and it seems you’ve already made that point: it never reached the

As opposed to, for example, how Violaine Sautter puts it, “the simulation of a masquerade.”

PS I enjoyed your paragraph-long description of Viveiros de Castro’s thought.

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