Roadside Picnics: Encounters with the Uncanny

Muñoz Sanz, V., Thomidou, A., eds. (2022), Roadside Picnics: Encounters with the Uncanny in the Anthropocene, Barcelona: DPR Barcelona.

Roadside Picnics addresses the ways in which situated spatial knowledge participates in and conditions both our encounters with the unthinkable—How do we face trouble?—as well as the futures that are possible in the unintended landscapes of the Anthropocene—How do we, in Haraway’s words, stay with the trouble?

As if humanity had woken up from a night-long party full of excesses, the sudden realization of being in the Anthropocene fills us with confusion and despair. The accumulation of often unintended consequences of human action reminds us that plans do not always end up in the landscapes of our dreams. What is more, their overwhelming complexity destabilizes our capacity to imagine ways to move forward—a crisis of agency. Lots would be at stake. It is paralysing to think of any solution to climate change or biodiversity loss, less by design. But, what if, simultaneously, such landscapes of unintended encounters, with the technologies, monuments, ruins, traces, and waste of seemingly supernatural forces, may also afford, and teach us, new designs and tools for survival?

With a combination of essays, memoirs, guided imagery, and speculative story-telling, the contributors to this volume explore how artistic and creative practice, how words and action, can provide tools to decipher and feel the many fields of possibility that emerge from being actively present in the world.

With contributions by Céline Baumann, Ana María Durán Calisto, Julian Charrière, Dehlia Hannah, Víctor Muñoz Sanz, Alkistis Thomidou, and a foreword by Lucia Pietroiusti.