Remote Sensing is an exploration of practices and technologies that work from a distance in the arts, sciences, and humanities. Taking a cue from the history of remote sensing in hard-to-reach places, we will work between disciplines to develop methods for thinking and feeling our way across distance. How do we all—researchers, artists, historians, scientists—get in touch with remote subjects?
Scientific knowledge of climate and environment is largely mediated by sensors, whether instruments housed in airplanes and satellites or networked apparati embedded in an environment and accessed by researchers at computer terminals. Remote sensing, therefore, requires inhabiting a space of uncertainty and ambiguity. In this context, ice is often portrayed as exotic and fragile, an endangered element within a disordered climate. It is also a highly sensory material, eliciting strong, sometimes surprising, responses from the sensing body. Coming to terms with ice, then, requires some exploration of the nature and limits of first-hand experience, and the role of the field in producing knowledge, as well as the augmentation of these experiences through instrumentation, imagination, and other sensory practices. By challenging the expectation that icy places must be experienced first and foremost, we will explore the aesthetic, conceptual, and scientific dimensions of the cryosphere as seen from a distance.
Over the past two years, of course, many of us have had to think about how remote work affects our fields and practices. What we want to explore in this network, however, are the ways in which remoteness may be an inevitable (and perhaps under appreciated) aspect of work in the arts and humanities, and how these practices might find productive dialogue with scientific conceptions of remote sensing. When ‘going there’ is not an option, how can instruments, imagination, and embodied practices work to span the distance?
Throughout the 2022 – 2023 academic year, the Remote Sensing network will host a series of hybrid meetings, culminating in a workshop and exhibit to explore and present some outcomes of our collaboration. To receive readings and event updates, please join the network mailing list.
- Lilian Kroth (Doctoral researcher, French Department)
- Amelia Urry (Doctoral researcher, History and Philosophy of Science)
- Charlotte Connelly (Curator, Polar Museum, Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge)
- Dehlia Hannah (Fellow, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen)
Lilian Kroth currently works on her PhD project on the concepts of limits, boundaries and borders in the work of Michel Serres at the French Department, University of Cambridge, and is associated to the Centre Marc Bloch, Berlin. She is interested in Serres’s understanding of the North-West-Passage in its crucial role for his understanding of transdisciplinarity, epistemology, orientation is space and time, and the significance for climate in regard to critique of Western metaphysics. Lilian has a background in Philosophy (BA, MA, University of Vienna) and Drawing (University of Fine Arts, Vienna). She organized the AHRC-reading group and workshop ‘Translating Entropy’ (2021-2022), led two sessions on ‘Drawing with the work of Michel Serres’ (Tactics and Practice Seminar, Cambridge), and contributed to various exhibitions (e.g. Plan D, Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien, 2020, WHISK with Stefanie Hintersteiner, 2019; BAU2–6, WE COULD ALSO BE SILENT with Elisabeth Wildling and Veronika Mayer, 2018).
Amelia Urry is a doctoral researcher and Gates Cambridge Scholar in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge, where she studies conceptions of scientific uncertainty in the history of climate science through a study of historical attempts to map, measure, and model Antarctica. Her research addresses the forms of knowledge that emerge from remote sensing and fieldwork, as well as the narratives that accompany these practices, both within scientific communities and beyond them. Her background is in literature and journalism; she studied at Yale with the poet Louise Glück, and has been the recipient of writing awards and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the Theron Rockwell fund, and the Norman Mailer Foundation. As a journalist, she was recognized by the Society of Environmental Journalists for her reporting on technology and science, and received fellowships from the Heinreich Böll Stiftung, the Earth Journalism Network, the Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources, and the International Women’s Media Foundation, among others.
Dehlia Hannah, PhD, is a curator and philosopher of nature. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen, where her Ny Carlsberg funded project Rewilding the Museum (2021-2025) examines the art museum’s status within the fragile ecologies of the Anthropocene. She received her PhD in Philosophy and Certificate in Feminist Inquiry from Columbia University, with specializations in aesthetics, philosophy of science and philosophy of nature. Her recent book A Year Without a Winter (Columbia University Press, 2018) reframes contemporary imaginaries of climate change by revisiting the environmental conditions under which Frankenstein was written and the global aftermath of the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora. As Mads Øvlisen Postdoctoral Fellow in Art and Natural Sciences at Aalborg University, her most recent project An Imaginary Museum of Philosophical Monsters (2018-2021) examines the role of thought experiments and imaginary creatures, places, and things in philosophical reasoning.
- Martin Crowley (Director of French Section, Professor of Modern French Thought and Culture)
- Michael Bravo (Associate Professor, Scott Polar Research Institute, Geography)
- Richard Staley (Hans Rausing Lecturer and Reader in History and Philosophy of Science)
Michaelmas Term 2022
| Introduction, thinking and feeling our way into the cryosphere|
12 Oct 2022 14:30 - 16:30, Seminar room 1NT, Darwin College, Cambridge
| What is the history of remote sensing? science, sensing, and colonial entanglements|
26 Oct 2022 14:30 - 16:30, 1NT Seminar room, Darwin College, Cambridge
| How do we engage with remote and hard-to-access spaces?|
16 Nov 2022 14:30 - 16:30, 1NT Seminar room, Darwin College, Cambridge
| POSTPONED Ice – imagination and the environmental humanities|
30 Nov 2022 14:30 - 16:30, Online & 1NT Seminar room, Darwin College, Cambridge
| Ice – imagination and the environmental humanities|
2 Dec 2022 14:00 - 16:00, Darwin College, 1NT Seminar room
Lent Term 2023
| The (geo)politics of access: data, routes, and differences between Arctic and Antarctic regions|
25 Jan 2023 14:00 – 16:30, Seminar room 1NT, Darwin College
| Why go? Scientific research and cultural production in icy environments|
8 Feb 2023 14:00 – 16:30, Bradfield room, Darwin College
| Ice – insights between arts and science I: Thinking ice through visual arts|
22 Feb 2023 14:00 – 16:30, Seminar room 1NT, Darwin College
| Ice – insights between arts and science II: Thinking ice through sound and poetry|
8 Mar 2023 14:00 – 16:30, Seminar room 1NT, Darwin College