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Anthropocene Aesthetics: Tracing Deep-Time, Daily Life and Dark Ecology through Critical-Creative Practice
My research hinges on the contested term anthropocene: which, broadly understood, describes a new epoch in which humankind has become a geologic agent, owing to damage wrought by the likes of industrial development and biochemical interventions in recent human history. The anthropocene throws up many questions about scale, agency and coexistence; it encapsulates the uncanny temporality of the future anterior, in which we are looking back at ourselves from the future. It is at once archival and speculative, an experience of overwhelming causal ‘simultaneity’ and dislocation.
Of course, such planetary dramas risk universalising ‘the human’: smoothing over questions of power, identity and locality, and neglecting the significance of actions which play out on the scale of the daily. My research thus approaches this problem by considering the feedback loops between individual experience, collective encounter and mass effects, using critical tools drawn from ecocriticism, everyday studies and the environmental humanities to negotiate issues of affect, energy, mediation, embodiment and temporality within daily experience. Along with thinkers such as Anna Tsing and Joanna Zylinska, I consider 'the anthropocene' a mobilising term for thinking questions of subjectivity and power in relation to wider earth systems and our tools for mediation.
This involves working towards an ‘experimental archive’ of the anthropocene everyday, using creative-critical writing as a curatorial form for approaching new sensory, ethical and temporal orientations towards our damaged planet and the life-forms within it. I’m interested in what happens to the lyric ‘I’ in the anthropocene, how we navigate anthropocentrism in writing, what kinds of ecological attunement can be achieved through poetry, fictions and creative essaying, and the dialogues that spring between different literary forms and hybrid genres. My writing approaches visual and sonic arts, collaborative projects, intersemiotic translation and ambient poetics. I ask, how do we continue to 'think' within the cognitive, archival and temporal rewiring of web 2.0, social media and other interfaces of contemporary experience? What ethical and aesthetic modes do we use to understand the anthropocene, and what is the affective experience of living and dying within it?
- Sledmere, M. 2017. ‘RAVE: Rave and Its Influences on Art and Culture’, The Kelvingrove Review, Vol. 16, pp. 17-18.
- Sledmere, M. and Denise Bonetti, 2019. ‘“'Allowing one's metaphors to mix': Performances and Perspectives at the Peter Manson Symposium”, Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 1-17. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16995/bip.759.
- Existential Stationary: 42 Mad Men Haiku (SPAM Press, 2018)
- lana del rey playing at a stripclub (Mermaid Motel, 2019)
- nature sounds without nature sounds (Sad Press, 2019)
- makar / unmakar, ed. by Calum Rodger (Tapsalteerie, 2019)
- 'Estranging Nature: Photography and the Anthropocene', NOTES Journal, Issue 6 (2019).
Grants & Awards
2018-2021 Doctoral Training Partnership funding with SGSAH
- University of Glasgow. Wyatt Prize for Most Distinguished Student (£500)
- University of Glasgow. Alexander and Dixon Masters Scholarship (£3475)
- University of Glasgow. Bradley Medal for Most Distinguished Student in English Literature
- University of Glasgow. Coulter Prize for Best Honours Dissertation in English Literature (£1565)
- University of Glasgow. Alexander Waddel Prize for Most Distinguished Female Student in English Literature (£317)
- University of Glasgow. Buchanan Prizes for English Literature and Philosophy (£243)
- University of Glasgow. Lanfine Bursary for English Literature (£650)
- University of Glasgow. Nichol Memorial Prize (£170)
- University of Glasgow. Crawford Neil Prize (£100)
- ‘Dream Fettuccine’: Collaboration with Colin Herd for The Enemies Project, curated by SJ Fowler and performed at Rich Mix, Shoreditch.
- ‘“I water the roses and wonder whether I will see them bloom”: Queer Ecology and the Journaling of Crisis in Derek Jarman’s Modern Nature’. Conference paper delivered at Land Lines. University of Leeds.
- The Micriobiota: Collaboration with A+E Collective for MAP Magazine.
- Cli-Fi: The New Weird: collaboration with A+E Collective, filmmaker Winnie Brook Young and Creative Carbon Scotland/Green Tease for UNFIX Festival. Workshop and film screening at CCA, Glasgow.
- ‘Inbox Unconscious’: collaboration with Sophie-Carolin Wagner for the European Poetry Festival, curated by SJ Fowler and performed at the International Anthony Burgess Centre, Manchester.
- ‘On My Way Home’: reading group on ecology, home and belonging hosted with A+E Collective and Market Gallery.
- 'Lost Sense: Six Loops on Sculpture, Expression and Space in the Anthropocene': Presentation, meditative sequence and clay-making workshop commissioned by Tendency Towards for Aberdeen Assembly.
'The Lunar Erratum': Performance for Poem Brut @ Rich Mix London, July 2019.
'A Pot of Soil': Collaborative performance with Astra Papachristodoulou for Camarade, Torriano Meeting House, London, July 2019.
‘”a tangential line which opens up to infinity”: Etel Adnan & art-writing in dialogue’ (with Katy Lewis Hood), at Modernist Art Writing, University of Nottingham, June 2019.
- Pure Sound: Traversing the Ambient Vernacular: Sonic essay performance with Max Parnell for Sound Thought: Motion. University of Glasgow.
‘Seams of the Anthropocene: Tracing Textualities of Encounter through Creative-Critical Practice’, at ASLE-uki 2019, University of Plymouth, September 2019.
- A+E Collective Anthropocene Presentation in association with TalkSeePhotography and NOTES Journal, CCA Glasgow, October 2019.
- ‘Litanies for Eco-Dissonance’: Poetry and sound collaboration with Vasilis Al at A+E publication launch event. The Art School, Glasgow.
- ‘Outro’: Film and poetry collaboration with Shanine Gallagher, Gabriel Greenough, Ciaran Devlin, Rory Green and Gianluca Bernacchi.
- A+E Anthropocene poetry workshop for Future Currents festival. Tramway, Glasgow.
- ‘That’s Hot’: Poetry collaboration with Lucian Moriyama for Glasgow International vs. SPAM event. The Poetry Club, Glasgow.
- ‘“the mood of the sea is catching”: Channelling the Hydrospace of Contemporary Eco-Poetic Lyric’. Conference paper delivered at A Place on the Edge: ASLE-UKI. Kirkwall, Orkney.
- ‘Dark Ecologies of Textual Energy: Anthropocene Aesthetics and Ethics in Ben Lerner’s 10:04 and Tom McCarthy’s Satin Island’.
Conference paper delivered at Petrocultures. University of Glasgow.
- A+E Trauma Response Unit: Performance for NEoN festival. GENERATOR projects, Dundee.
- ‘The Notebook’: Poetry and music collaboration with Scott Crawford Morrison, reimagining J. S. Bach’s Notebook for Anna Magdalena. For Fika Sake. Glasgow.
- ‘The Absent Material Gateway’: Transhistorical literary archive, sound, website and multimedia installation in collaboration with producer Lanark Artefax and designer Martins Daknis, in association with Red Bull Music Academy. The Glue Factory, Glasgow.
- 1A Poetry and Poetics
- Member of A+E Collective
- Poetry and Nonfiction Editor and Staff Writer at SPAM zine and Press
- Founding Editor of Gilded Dirt
- Music writer at GoldFlakePaint magazine
- Poetry Editor at Dostoyevsky Wannabe
- 'Beastly Modernisms Conference, University of Glasgow 2019
- Editorial committee for anthology, Writings from Inverclyde (2019)
- Experimental and Hybrid Forms Conference, University of Glasgow 2020
- Field Notes, University of Edinburgh 2019