Artist Rachel Sussman has traveled around the world to photograph organisms—trees, lichens, bacteria—that are 2,000 or more years old. Confronting lives that extend so much longer than human lifespans challenges us to rethink the context of our human communities and the more-than-human environments into which we are embedded. What does it mean to take a picture of a 4,000-year-old tree at a fraction of a second? How has human intervention in nature given rise to a new geological age? Sussman, a LACMA Lab Artist and author of the New York Times bestseller, The Oldest Living Things in the World, and Ursula K. Heise, a professor in the Department of English and the Institute of Environment and Sustainability at UCLA, will discuss these questions of nature, technology, and our understanding of time to the backdrop of Sussman’s stunning images.
**Click here for photos and video from the event.
Rachel Sussman is a contemporary artist based in Brooklyn. Her photographs and writing have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Guardian, and NPR’s Picture Show. She has spoken on the TED main stage and at the Long Now Foundation, is a MacDowell Colony and NYFA Fellow and is a trained member of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries in the US and Europe, and acquired for museum, university, corporate, and private collections. She is fiscally sponsored by the Brooklyn Arts Council.
Ursula K. Heise is the Marcia H. Howard Professor in the Department of English and at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA, and a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow. She served as President of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment in 2011. Her research and teaching focus on contemporary literature and environmental culture in the Americas, Western Europe and Japan, and on literature and science. Her books include Chronoschisms: Time, Narrative, and Postmodernism, Sense of Place and Sense of Planet: The Environmental Imagination of the Global, and Nach der Natur: Das Artensterben und die moderne Kultur (After Nature: Species Extinction and Modern Culture.) Her new book, Imagining Extinction: The Cultural Meanings of Endangered Species, is coming out from the University of Chicago Press in 2016.