Between April 27 and 28, 2017, fifteen Chilean scholars and practitioners from diverse disciplines gathered at the Universidad Católica’s Marine Coastal Research Station in Las Cruces for a two-day thinkshop. Participants included Catalina Bauer (art); Catalina Correa (art); Laura Gallardo (atmospheric science); Gabriel González (geology); Román Guridi (theology); Claudio Latorrre (paleoecology); Sergio Navarrete (marine biology); Eric Pommier (philosophy); Sebastián Riffo (art); and Bárbara Saavedra (ecology); plus two young researchers, Carolina Sandoval (paleontology) and Martín Fonck (anthropology); and the organizers, Cristián Simonetti (anthropology) and Manuel Tironi (sociology).
Entitled “El Antropoceno en Chile: Desafíos actuales, futuros posibles” (“The Anthropocene in Chile: Current Challenges, Possible Futures”), the thinkshop had the explicit aim of producing a manifesto about the Anthropocene in Chile. We were aware of the challenges of the genre. From the Latin manifestare, or “making public,” manifestos are not about analyses or evaluations but about the public assertion of values and beliefs for the provocation of alternative courses of action. A manifesto is a guide, a proposal, or map for sounding and intervening in the future. Hence manifestos are inherently normative and political. Countering the all too recurrent retrospective approach to the Anthropocene—that is, to look back, or deep down, to unveil what or who went wrong—we thought about the manifesto as a tool for speculating about possible, desired, or otherwise alternative futures in the face of anthropogenic damage in Chile. Hence, the meeting intended neither to discuss the scientific validity of the Anthropocene as a geological era, nor to assess the damages inflicted on the Earth by human activities. The thinkshop, in this sense, was not neutral: it assumed from the get-go that colonialism, industrialism, patriarchy, and extractivism, coupled with the endless extension of technocentric politics, had profoundly and perhaps irreversibly damaged biophysical systems at diverse scales. The thinkshop was not set up to reiterate this diagnosis. On the contrary, the invitation was to speculate about what kinds of ethics, practices, institutions, and pedagogies we need to live in and cope with a dynamic planet in Chile, in light of the specific vulnerabilities and possibilities of this place.
As an experiment in interdisciplinarity, the knitting together of the manifesto was exciting and challenging in several profound ways. We disagreed, we learned, we laughed, and we were pushed to think beyond our own modes of knowing and doing.
The Spanish version of the Manifesto can be read here: antropoceno.co/manifiesto.pdf.