EKO 8 / Library
The books we read. Books that inspired us. Books we recommend to read.

ANDRI SNAER MAGNASON, On Time and Water (2020, Serpents Tail, London)
A few years ago, Andri Snaer Magnason, one of Iceland’s most beloved writers and public intellectuals, was asked by a leading climate scientist why he wasn’t writing about the greatest crisis mankind has faced. Magnason demurred: he wasn’t a specialist, he said; it wasn’t his field. But the scientist persisted: “If you cannot understand our scientific findings and present them in an emotional, psychological, poetic or mythological context,” he told him, “then no one will really understand the issue, and the world will end.”

Based on interviews and advice from leading glacial, ocean, climate, and geographical scientists, and interwoven with personal, historical, and mythological stories, Magnason’s response is a rich and compelling work of narrative nonfiction that illustrates the reality of climate change―and offers hope in the face of an uncertain future. Moving from reflections on how one writes an obituary for an iceberg to exhortation for a heightened understanding of human time and our obligations to one another, throughout history and across the globe, On Time and Water is both deeply personal and globally-minded: a travel story, a world history, and a desperate plea to live in harmony with future generations. Already a massive bestseller in Iceland, and selling in two dozen territories around the world, this is a book unlike anything that has yet been published on the current climate emergency.

LUCY R. LIPPARD, The Lure of the Local, Senses of Place in a Multicentred Society (1997, New Press, New York)
World-famous, influential art and cultural writer Lucy R. Lippard weaves together cultural studies, history, geography and contemporary art to provide a fascinating exploration of our multiple senses of place. Expanding her reach far beyond the confines of the art world, she discusses issues of community, land use and how landscape affects our lives.

DONNA J. HARAWAY, Staying with the Trouble (2016, Duke University Press, Durham and London)
In the midst of spiraling ecological devastation, multispecies feminist theorist Donna J. Haraway offers provocative new ways to reconfigure our relations to the earth and all its inhabitants. Learning to stay with the trouble of living and dying together on a damaged earth will prove more conducive to the kind of thinking that would provide the means to building more livable futures. Theoretically and methodologically driven by the signifier SF—string figures, science fact, science fiction, speculative feminism, speculative fabulation, so far—Staying with the Trouble further cements Haraway's reputation as one of the most daring and original thinkers of our time.

BRUNO LATOUR, Down to Earth, Politics in the New Climate Regime (2018, Polity Press, Cambridge)
Bruno Latour explores the political and philosophical challenges proper to a time defined by an environmental and socio-economic crisis. Latour starts his argument by proposing that three distinct phenomena – or ‘diseases’ – of contemporary societies share a deep connection. The processes of deregulation and globalisation, rising inequalities (including the current massive migratory movements) and climate change denial are specific manifestations of a historical and political period. This book is a short but lucid effort towards making sense of the fundamental dilemmas derived from climate change: nature is no longer an inert background from which resources are extracted for human activities; rather, it has reclaimed its role as an active agent in the fate of the planet.

T. J. DEMOS, Decolonizing Nature, Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology (2016, Sternberg Press, Berlin)
A study of the intersecting fields of art history, ecology, visual culture, geography, and environmental politics. While ecology has received little systematic attention within art history, its visibility and significance has grown in relation to the threats of climate change and environmental destruction. Art historian T. J. Demos considers the creative proposals of artists and activists for ways of life that bring together ecological sustainability, climate justice, and radical democracy, at a time when such creative proposals are urgently needed.

ANDREW BROWN, Art & Ecology Now (2014, Thames & Hudson, London)
Eco awareness has had an enormous impact across all cultural and political spectrums, not least in the art world. This book presents an exploration of the ways in which contemporary artists are confronting nature, the environment, climate change and ecology.

JULIE REISS (Edit.), Art, Theory and Practice in the Antrhropocene (2019, Vernon Press, USA)
This outstanding collection of essays focuses on the role of art (primarily visual) in response to environmental awareness and audience engagement in the context of the Anthropocene.

MYVILLAGES (Edit.), The Rural (2019, Whitechapel Gallery and The MIT Press)
This anthology offers an urgent and diverse cross-section of rural art, thinking, and practice, and consider how artists respond to the socio-economic divides between the rural and the urban, from reimagined farming practices and food systems to architecture, community projects, and transnational local networks.

RACHEL CARSON, Silent Spring (1962, Penguin Books, London)
First published by Houghton Mifflin in 1962, Silent Spring alerted a large audience to the environmental and human dangers of indiscriminate use of pesticides, spurring revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. "Silent Spring became a runaway bestseller, with international reverberations . . . [It is] well crafted, fearless and succinct . . . Even if she had not inspired a generation of activists, Carson would prevail as one of the greatest nature writers in American letters."

ROBIN WALL KIMMERER, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants (2020, Penguin Books, London)
Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings―asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass―offer us gifts and lessons, even if we've forgotten how to hear their voices. In reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return.

TIMOTHY MORTON, Dark Ecology: For a Logic of Future Coexistence (1893, Columbian University Press, New York)
Timothy Morton argues that ecological awareness in the present Anthropocene era takes the form of a strange loop or Möbius strip, twisted to have only one side. Deckard travels this oedipal path in Blade Runner (1982) when he learns that he might be the enemy he has been ordered to pursue. Ecological awareness takes this shape because ecological phenomena have a loop form that is also fundamental to the structure of how things are. Dark ecology puts us in an uncanny position of radical self-knowledge, illuminating our place in the biosphere and our belonging to a species in a sense that is far less obvious than we like to think.

ANNA LOWENHAUPT TSING,The Mushroon at the End of the World: On Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins (2015, Princeton University Press, Princeton in Oxford)
A tale of diversity within our damaged landscapes, The Mushroom at the End of the World follows one of the strangest commodity chains of our times to explore the unexpected corners of capitalism. Here, we witness the varied and peculiar worlds of matsutake commerce: the worlds of Japanese gourmets, capitalist traders, Hmong jungle fighters, industrial forests, Yi Chinese goat herders, Finnish nature guides, and more. These companions also lead us into fungal ecologies and forest histories to better understand the promise of cohabitation in a time of massive human destruction.

BOŠTJAN VIDEMŠEK, Plan B (2020, NUK, Ljubljana)
The climate crisis is escalating. Is it even possible to change anything? The author of the book and journalist Boštjan Videmšek, together with the renowned photographer Matjaž Krivic, went on a "journey around the world" to find answers, if they exist at all. Together, they also researched industrial lithium in depth, thanks to the key battery components of all electronic devices in the 21st century. They asked questions about national cognitive dissonances; if the green revolution is really only possible where a lot of money is available, especially if it comes from the “black” oil industry. They sought alternative energy sources, analyzing electric mobility in China and Norway, and its advantages and limitations in large and small countries. With all these examples, they tried to show that solutions are out there. That there is a plan B.