Animate Planet: Making Visceral Sense of Living in a High-Tech Ecologically Damaged World
Kath Weston is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Virginia. A Guggenheim Fellow and two-time winner of the Ruth Benedict Prize, Weston is the author of several books, including Traveling Light: On the Road with America's Poor; Gender in Real Time: Power and Transience in a Visual Age; and Families We Choose: Lesbians, Gays, Kinship.
A visceral approach that attends to intimate, playful engagements with a critical “resource” like water can have nontrivial implications for resource politics. The ethnographic focus here is on the Grand Venice, a water-themed shopping and business complex located in the semiarid scrublands outside New Delhi, which promised investors gondola rides, a mermaid show, and India’s first aquarium. Tucked into the confection of a building façade meant to conjure the Doge’s Palace, these enticements raise the question of whether there might be room for embodiment, play, and aesthetics in a sea of utilitarian treatments of water. As attention turns to the...