CApE TALKS #1: The Great Fall: Loss, Mourning, and Utopia in a World of Waste

A talk about the shit that piles up everywhere, what it does to us and what we can do about it

By Mikkel Krause Frantzen, postdoc and vice-director at Center for Applied Ecological Thinking. Associate Professor in Environmental Aesthetics at the Department for Arts and Cultural Studies from February 1st, 2023.

The planet is poisoned and there is waste everywhere: Waste at the bottom of the sea, and in the upper layers of the stratosphere, waste outside us and inside us, acid sludge in the ocean and, for the first time in human history, microplastics in our blood.

But what does this waste do to us, what kind of loss and damage are involved here, physically and mentally? And what can be done about it, aesthetically and politically?

In this CApE talk #1 Mikkel Krause Frantzen will reflect upon these questions and present his latest research as well as the book Klodens Fald for an English-speaking audience for the first time. Divided into three parts – “A Song of Ice and Fire”, “Plastic Variations”, “A Song of Grief and Hope” – he will demonstrate that in late capitalist society, the accumulation of wealth presents itself as an accumulation of waste; that the Great Acceleration is also a Great Fall. He will tell a material story, but also an affective one, focusing more on the affects we need to embrace than the facts we need to know.

Recognizing that the mental health crisis and the ecological crisis are inextricably intertwined, he will end the lecture by arguing that what is needed today is not individual affects and actions, but collective practices based on grief, care, and paradoxical hope.

Mikkel Krause Frantzen’s latest books are Going Nowhere, Slow—The Aesthetics and Politics of Depression (2019) and Klodens Fald (2021).

The talk will be followed by a conversation with Anne Aittomaki (strategic director /CSO at Plastic Change) and Jeppe Svan (activist in the Green Youth Movement and MSc in Climate Change), moderated by Stefan Gaarsmand Jacobsen (associate professor and director of CApE). You are welcome to stay after the conversation and beverages will be served.