Friday, October 15, 6.00pm – 7.00pm
How to Talk About the Weather: Interventions in Social Infrastructure
Astrida Neimanis (Canada Research Chair in Feminist Environmental Humanities at the University fo British Columbia, Okanagan Campus)
Once upon a time, talking about the weather was a neutral way to pass the time while sharing space with strangers at a bus stop or in the grocery queue. Things have changed. Not only has weather—and climate change specifically—become a highly politicized topic, but opportunities for chit chat with people who are not our friends, family or colleagues are also shrinking. Exacerbated by social isolation in the age of COVID-19, one might worry about the atrophying of our social muscles, particularly when it comes to talking across difference. Infrastructures for climate change mitigation most often reference seawalls, solar arrays, and better HVAC, but building, repairing and maintaining social infrastructures are also crucial tasks. How might walking together, swimming spontaneously, or getting a haircut be deliberate exercises towards such ends? Drawing on the work of The Weathering Collective (2015-present), this talk explores notions of stranger intimacy (Berlant 2016), the ecology of cruising (Ensor 2017), and feminist infrastructures for better weathering (Hamilton, Zettel and Neimanis, 2021), as urgent aspects of world-building in a time of climate catastrophe.
Anna Zemella, Venezia profonda, 2017. © Anna Zemella