IKK-Free subject;Rocks, Fields, Seas, and Forests: Aesthetic and Cultural Engagements with Materiality during Climate Crisis

Course content

The course aims at investigating and actively engaging with material entanglements of art and earth in the shadow of the Anthropocene through specific case studies and localities. The task is to develop new ways of thinking, sensing, and dealing with the environmental crises of our time through scholarly perspectives as well as more experimental, creative, or action-based  approaches and living labs. Together we will explore how aesthetic and cultural practices respond to the climate crisis, and we will probe experimental ‘rubber-boots’, artistic, and activist-oriented research methodologies. We will pay attention to the ways in which matter is represented in art, how materiality operates in works that are semiotic-material assemblages, and how sensory dimensions are conveyed through various art forms. Focusing on concrete case studies, we will also investigate the interrelations of earthly and watery ecosystems and human practices like social, environmental and art activism, urban design or waste management as well as questions of sustainability and resilience. 

The course is addressed to students with an interest in art, aesthetics, cultural studies, and the climate crisis. It is taught by a collective of IKK researchers from different disciplines who share the conviction that “nature” and “culture” are inextricably linked, and that art in various ways is from and about earth. On the one hand, earthly matter and material processes are made visible, tangible and audible in the arts. On the other hand, many basic materials of art (e.g. paper, canvas, pigments) are derived from the earth. Such co-dependencies urge us to rethink the way in which we as human beings relate to earthly matter and non-human agents in less anthropocentric terms. In order to do so, we will test a set of ‘wicked problems’ – i.e. complex problems that we cannot solve but rather have to live with – through close engagement with four kinds of earthly matters: rocks, fields, seas and forests. 

The course is organized in alternations between standard classes of three hours, and more extensive excursions to two relevant sites, the islands of Møn and Amager, where we will explore with more hands-on aesthetics and cultural approaches to materials such as  such as stone, soil, water and trees and their entanglements.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
Type of assessment
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 279
  • Guidance
  • 1
  • Exam
  • 84
  • English
  • 420


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master
Bachelor choice
Full Degree Master choice

1 semester

Fall 2024
The course has a capacity of max. 40 students. Out of these 40, 10 seats are allocated to international students in the first registration round.
Study board of Arts and Cultural Studies
Contracting department
  • Department of Arts and Cultural Studies
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator
  • Stefanie Heine   (14-7b7c6d6e6976716d36706d71766d48707d7536737d366c73)

Stefanie Heine

Saved on the 12-04-2024

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