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Van Aken

Giugno 2020
272 pp.
EAN 9788833020785
Out of the four classical elements, air is what we're most tightly bound to, the element that pervades us, following the pace of our breath. And it inevitably also permeates our imagery.

Mauro Van Aken
Dwelling on the Air

The climate crisis emerges as an intense cultural issue, both menacing and intimate to a surprising degree, and capable of urging a new age in atmospheric as well as social terms. In fact, there are cultural consequences to these atmospheric mutations; just as cultural is the western notion of nature as something distant and untouched by the crisis of contemporary society. Cultural are also the obstacles to framing this change as historic, and to taking action towards it; all this due to a social denial process that makes this accelerated change appear as unthinkable, feeding into a sense of impotence and fear owed to the essentially emotional nature of our environmental engagement. Yet, human cultures have always looked upon the sky in order to make sense of their life on earth, drawing upon ritual practices, symbolic structures, productive systems and local forms of knowledge able to turn 'changes in the weather' into something familiar and meaningful. Now that the atmosphere has become the fundamental greater good, and carbon monoxide the greatest evil, we need - more than ever - to rediscover generative and creative environmental relationships that can allow us to re-signify the 'climate' we are immersed in.

MAURO VAN AKEN, winemaker for over a decade, is an associate professor in Cultural Anthropology at Universitą Milano-Bicocca. He's mainly involved in research and teaching on the topics of environmental cultures, the relationship and flux of meaning among society, water and atmosphere, and cultural dynamics in the climate crisis. Among his published essays in languages other than Italian are The hierarchy and experience of migration: Egyptian labourers in the Jordan Valley (2006), Anthropologie et eau(x): affaires globales, eaux locales et fluxes de cultures (2013), Antropologķa y agua(s), Cuestiones globales, aguas locales y ujo cultural (2017), and Gender and water in the Middle East. Local and global realities, with A. De Donato (in Water security across the gender divide, Springer, 2017).

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