As we reach the third month of our year-long exploration at Cardiff Philosophy Cafe of the ethical, political and philosophical issues raised by the Future for Wales, we come to the role of place and nature in our lives.

Having considered already the ethical and political dilemmas created by the concept of sustainability and by the prospect of a low-energy future, we now turn to how we relate to and value the natural world. In this first of two Cardiff Philosophy Café events in March, we present a special showing of Animate Earth, a film written and presented by Dr Stephan Harding, renowned ecologist and colleague of James Lovelock. In the film, Dr Harding offers a view of our connection to nature that, through interviews undertaken with a variety of commentators, lays out a vision of interconnectedness that builds on the Gaia theory of the biosphere, together with Johann von Goethe‘s theories of the role of intuition in scientific knowledge. From this perspective, if we face an economic crisis now, then its its causes can be traced to the lack of a meaningful connection with nature which characterises contemporary societies, and the lack of rootedness in space and in time that comes with it.

Cardiff, Newport, Severn Crossings and The Bri...
Cardiff, Newport, Severn Crossings and The Bristol Channel (Photo credit: widdowquinn)

Following the film, a specially invited panel will lead a discussion on the issues it raises, reflecting on the links between them and their own work, and offering some thoughts on the future of our experience of place and nature in Wales. We are fortunate to have joining us a bio-archaeologist, a geographer and two artists, all of whose work features a strong relation to place.

Jon Anderson is a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography in the School of Planning & Geography, Cardiff University, UK. His research focuses on the relations between culture, environment, and identity. He is particularly interested in the geographies, politics and practices that such relations produce. Jon has published widely, most notably a textbook ‘Understanding Cultural Geography: Places and Traces’ (2010). Further information on his work can be found at www.spatialmanifesto.com.

Stefhan Caddick is a visual artist based in Wales. His work is often multidisciplinary, encompassing visual art, new media and elements of performance: erecting a discontinued electronic road sign in the middle of Cardiff and asking the public to send their text messages to it; attempting to make and use a pair of skiis with no knowledge of woodwork (or skiing); recording a second of sound every minute for three hours in an attempt to produce a 7″ single; or cycling the length of Wales during a cold February, avoiding main roads and asking passers-by for hand-drawn directions.

Glenn Davidson runs, together with fellow fine artist Anne E Hayes, the art, media and technology partnership Artstation, based in Cardiff and formed in 1989. Glenn creates socially located installations and interactive film and digital image works, often employing social media technologies, which explore place through wide-spectrum interaction, as in the various iterations of Artstation’s TXT2 technology at such sites as Chapter, the Vulcan pub, and Cardiff Prison.

Jacqui Mulville is Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at Cardiff University. An early interest in zoology combined with exposure to the thrill of archaeological discovery led Jacqui into the world of zooarchaeology – the study of human:animal interactions in the past. The result was a career in archaeology that has spread to work on material throughout Britain and across time.

The screening will take place on 7 March 2013, in the Theatre at The Gate, from 8pm, with the event finishing around 10.00pm. This event has been organised with the kind assistance of Cardiff sciSCREEN, and is supported by sponsorship from the Sustainable Places Institute.

Cardiff sciSCREEN
Cardiff sciSCREEN
Sustainable Places Research Institute at Cardiff University
Sustainable Places Research Institute at Cardiff University
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