• #Panel
  • #Senior Fellows

Waste as a By-Product of Modernity: New Approaches to the Old Problem

14/05/2024, 18:00 - 20:00, Essen

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The old dream that plastic would improve the world, which has turned into fear of a world awash in plastic waste, is one of many failed projects of modernity. However, plastic is not the type of waste left by the Moderns with which we have to cope today. As Zygmunt Bauman argues in “Wasted Lives: Modernity and Its Outcasts”, modernity as "a civilization of excess, redundancy, waste and waste disposal" is constituted by boundaries introduced between the normative and the disposable, the primitive and the progressive, the pragmatic and the irrational. That is why we speak today not only about industrial, extractivist and radioactive waste which we carry in our bodies. We also speak about wasted lives, lifeworlds and people – "waste of order-building" in Bauman's phrasing. In this context, the debate will focus on how artistic and discursive/speculative projects and practices could help us unmake waste by looking for an alternative modernity to counter the naturalised binaries which still produce disposable materials, bodies, and ways of living.

The panel is organised and chaired by Małgorzata Sugiera, professor of Performativity Studies at Jagiellonian University Kraków and current Senior Fellow at the College, and her tandem partner Dorota Sajewska, professor for Theatre Studies at Ruhr University Bochum.

Public event - please register by 13/05/2024, 3 pm:


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