Power 100

Most influential people in 2021 in the contemporary artworld


Anna L. Tsing

Thinker - Anthropologist and author of ‘The Mushroom at the End of the World’ (2015)

2 in 2021

  • 20212
  • 2020
  • 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2013
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Photo: Feifei Zhou

As every year brings scarier confirmation that we are living through
a global catastrophe, so it becomes more urgent to find new ways of imagining our relationship to nature. The American anthropologist is hardly the first thinker to propose that we can understand the world only by decentring the human perspective on it, but few have provided such a clear template for how that Copernican revolution might be effected. In books such as The Mushroom at the End of the World (2015) Tsing shows how new alliances might emerge amidst the ruins of capitalism by taking the matsutake mushroom for the protagonist of a story told through numerous (human and nonhuman) viewpoints. This collaborative impulse is also expressed in Feral Atlas, the curatorial platform she founded with Jennifer Deger, Alder Keleman Saxena and Feifei Zhou, which combines scientific research with artistic expression to show how the fields might usefully dovetail. Tsing suggests that it is art’s responsibility to reimagine the Anthropocene in order that we might survive it.

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