Rosalind Hayes (UCL) - 2017-18 Students

Visualising Artificial Refrigeration in Nineteenth-Century Britain and France

Over the last century, artificial refrigeration has been industrialised to an unprecedented scale which influences not only what we eat but how that food tastes and nourishes us, how our cities and living spaces are configured, and even has influence over politics. Despite contemporary attention paid to how the technologies are changing now, very little.

attention has been paid to the visual culture of early artificial refrigeration techniques. These technologies have a pronounced visual schema, formed of units and subdivisions in which other types of biological life are as much on display as they are being preserved, becoming partial and reconstituted. The project entails a dedicated examination of (often invisible) presences of refrigeration technologies as they come into contact with animality – to think of the visual construction of an animality inextricable from technology and opening up different lines of enquiry about anthropocentric material surplus. By looking to the introduction of key technologies in terms of animality, this research will add significantly to current concerns surrounding ecology, post-coloniality, trade, and the (contested) advent of the anthropocene.

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