The Center for the Humanities is excited to announce “Keeping Up with the Anthropocene: Disaster Mapping and Environmental Art in Tourist Cancun”, Mexico featuring Prof. Matilde Córdoba Azcárate of the UC San Diego Department of Communication. Professor Azcárate’s talk will take place Monday, May 22nd from noon to 1:30pm in Lit 310.
Light lunch will be provided. Please be sure to RSVP HERE.
Abstract: This paper explores the incorporation of climate change research and artistic discourses about the Anthropocene into the logic of urban governance in Cancun, a leading Caribbean beach destination and battered epicenter of anthropogenic climate change. It focuses on two governmental practices that evince the socio-ecological tensions arising from the need to keep Cancun’s idealized beaches stable for global consumption in the context of recurring hurricanes. First, I explore a series of local risk maps elaborated between 2004 and 2010 as responses to international demands on disaster mitigation and sustainable urbanism. And second, I look at the transformation of the Anthropocene into a tourist attraction in the Underwater Museum of Art (2009) a unique coalition among a marine protected area, environmental art and diving tour operators. The ethnographic attention to these practices show: (1) the systematic disregard for expert planning tools as a governance tool to further enclose the beach for tourism consumption; and (2) the de-politicization of tourism arising from the spectacularization of anthropogenic climate change for leisure consumption through copyrighted art. The paper concludes pointing at the scalar blindness of the Anthropocene and urging to incorporate its debate into current forms of geopolitics.
Keywords: Anthropocene; Art; Disaster Mapping; Geopolitics; Mexico; Tourism; Urban Governance.