Solastalgia

Check out my review of the opening exhibitions of Tuggeranong Arts Centre’s 2020 program, themed Solastalgia, which has been published in RightNow.

The Australian philosopher Glenn Albrecht coined the phrase ‘solastalgia’ to describe the homesickness brought about by environmental destruction, particularly climate change, that is a legacy of the Anthropocene. The term Anthropocene denotes the way humans have completely colonised the earth, leaving the marks of industry everywhere in the form contaminated soil and waterways, atmospheric pollution, biological degradation an hanged weather patterns. Albrecht contrasts solastalgia with ‘nostalgia’, the original definition of which referred to homesickness, which could be cured by returning home. With solastalgia, a return home is not possible.

The works on show document the impact of climate change and challenge distinctions between the categories of natural and man-made. Taking the concept of the Anthropocene to its logical conclusion, we should no longer apply the term natural disaster to bushfires. Along with a framework for thinking about how we might create the symbiocene, the exhibition also provides a space for the community to grieve. In an era when paying attention is a political act,  it also reminds us that we can work to create a better world.