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Monoculture 

This project was done as part of a project for the Flute and the Bowl: The Oxford Society for Art and Ecology.

Our project explores the idea of monocultures as a metaphor to challenge the predominant cultural homogeneity of environmental solutions as perceived by mainstream environmental movements. Our piece argues for the acknowledgment of environmental solutions outside of a principally technocratic adaptation and mitigation framework. Instead, we point toward the importance of solutions that have been executed in indigenous and post-colonial contexts. In place of linear flows of information based on Western tradition to the rest of the world, Monoculture posits that exchanges in environmental solutions should be an ever-evolving information ecosystem that draws from a variety of present and historical perspectives.

Why Monoculture?

 

“The violence of the Anthropocene lies in its monotone nature. The illusion that there is a single we that desires coffee, sugar, soy, and rubber can lead to the illusion that the planetary costs of these technical quick-fixes affect us all equally. Monoculture’s power, then, is its ability to breed not just a dearth of biological difference across landscapes, but a creeping in-difference to the radically uneven impact of capitalism on ecologies, identities, and planetary life. Such indifference may be the greatest threat to life in the Anthropocene.”

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Maya Adams & Amilin Hussein , 2019

(Source: Sarah Besky, The Society for Cultural Anthropology Online (https://culanth.org/fieldsights/monoculture)

 

Colonial monoculture was championed during the period of imperial expansion as a modern triumph of science and technology over the unruliness of the wild. These plantations grew commodities like cotton, sugar, tea and tobacco that was then shipped and sold across the Empire. As a practice and a metaphor, monoculture is violent. It tethers diversity, revels in control, and thrives in uniformity. Monoculture brings about botanical homogeneity, it also leads to cultural homogeneity – a mono-culture. A repetition of the same repetition as a comment on the ways in which society compulsively reaches for solutions in the same places, leading to a homogeneity in the ways we think of powering the future.

 

A repetition of the same repetition as a comment on the ways in which society compulsively reaches for solutions in the same places, leading to a homogeneity in the ways we think of powering the future.

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