Bleak Joys: Aesthetics of Ecology and Impossibility

Matthew Fuller, Olga Goriunova

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Bleak Joys is a book about ecological aesthetics. It is also a book about bad things. Exploring devastation and anguish, irresolvability and bad luck, it constructs a form of understanding of complex entities, from plant roots, to forests, ecological damage, politics and subjectivities as dynamic processes that are both ethical and aesthetic. Such an ecological aesthetics is expansive and both hungrily sensual and abstract, drawing upon ideas and examples in the sciences, contemporary art, philosophy, cultural theory, software, film and literature.
Bleak Joys places the sensory world of plants next to the generalized and nonlinear infrastructure that frames the world in terms of irresolvable problems. It explores the devastation that is calculated and played out in the worldwide distribution of luck. Set up as continuing processes, they do not give us the luxurious finality of a catastrophe, but instead linger on in anguish that in turn gives us another figuration of subjectivity. Ultimately, Bleak Joys poses a question of how to make a home on planet Earth in a condition of damaged ecologies and paradoxical lives.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Minnesota Press
Number of pages224
ISBN (Print)9781517905538, 9781517905521
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2019

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