Plasticity and Ecological Crisis

Environmental activist and #GreenFinance advocate Katie Kedward wrote a blogpost responding to the Narrating Plasticity exhibition. Here, she shows how the concept of plasticity poses important questions in relation to how we understand ecological crisis and the forms of intervention that are available to us. People often ask what plasticity has to do with plastic as a material – Katie’s post also offers fascinating answers to this!

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“We have to remember that we can change because we will soon have to change whether we want to or not. The social brain, just like the rest of the planet in which it is embedded, is beginning to suffer from the biggest ecological trauma in civilised memory. Mitigating its potential impact will require a remodelling of how society currently functions. Leaving it too late will see us forced to react to the consequences, transfiguring humanity as we’ve ever known it.

The narratives we chose to navigate such transformations, as the Narrating Plasticity exhibition so poignantly demonstrated, are crucial to better understanding ourselves. Not only as biological beings and reflective individuals, but as a society too. It is my view that the stories Western societies currently employ to narrate environmental concerns are faulty and ineffective…”

Read the rest of Katie Kedward’s article here:

Katie Kedward, Benjamin Dalton, Narrating Plasticity
Plasticity, in general terms, is the quality of being easily malleable but able to hold a form once moulded, thus differentiating it from elasticity or fluidity. The material of plastic, my pet hate and current environmental scourge, gets its name from this very ability to be moulded into infinite different forms. Similarly pottery, ceramics and sculpture are known as the plastic arts.

Screenshot 2018-02-11 14.37.48

Author: Benjamin Dalton

I am a PhD candidate in French at King's College London. I am interested in how contemporary French philosophy dialogues with the biological sciences. My thesis, 'The Coming of Plasticity: Narrating Transformation in Contemporary French Thought, Literature and Film', explores the work of the contemporary French philosopher Catherine Malabou on the concept of 'plasticity' in relation to literary and filmic narratives of bodily metamorphosis.

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