Thursday, July 2, 2015, 7 pm
The Material Power of the Art Work. Exploring the Complexity of the Present World, with Jimmie Durham as a Guide

Lecture by Yrjö Haila (professor of environmental policy, University of Tampere, Finland)
In English language


Yrjö Haila (Professor of Environmental Policy, University of Tampere, Finland) examines in his lecture the current political, social and ecological crises in the world, such as the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean, the Ukraine conflict, terrorism and climate change, and interrelates them. Here he uses the oeuvre of Jimmie Durham as a model in order to apprehend the complex relationships. Haila’s studies are based on two theoretical assumptions: works of art, as postulated by anthropologist Alfred Gell, can actively affect social relationships. Furthermore, it is the political philosopher and social critic Cornelius Castoriadis, who demands that a politically sensitive and critical intelligence is essential to be able to understand complex social issues. However, in the center of Haila’s studies is the oeuvre of Jimmie Durham, which he refers to in all his considerations. It opens up new perspectives about how obviously disparate problems of our time are nonetheless related to each other.

Yrjö Haila has been Professor of Environmental Policy at the University of Tampere in Finland since 1995. He studied ecology and zoology as well as philosophy at the University of Helsinki. In his empirical research, he specializes in the ecological changes of environments that are heavily modified by humans, such as cities or commercially managed forests. He is interested in the interfaces between society and nature in the various disciplines, such as in art, in which Haila sees the potential to respond to complex social problems. Haila published numerous articles and publications, among others, How Nature Speaks: The Dynamics of the Human Ecological Condition (with Chuck Dyke, 2006) and Humanity and Nature (with Richard Levins, 1992).