To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video


INSIDE/OUT - 'Mountains & Desire'

In the current circumstances we have taken the decision to cancel our public facing events which we were due to host in the coming weeks. This decision will come into effect from Monday 16 March and covers all events scheduled until 30 April 2020. Events planned after this date will be kept under review. Please keep checking for updates.

In this lecture Margret Grebowicz will focus specifically on cultural or semiotic exhaustion. What do mountains mean if not places to be conquered? What kind of being is one whose life projects no longer take the form of reaching the next measurable peak?

Lecture Abstract 

In 1923, a reporter asked George Mallory why he wanted to summit Mount Everest. “Because it’s there,” Mallory’s cryptic reply, became the most loved quote in climbing history. The real game changer, however, was the reporter’s question itself. It announced to the world that mountaineering—once a solitary niche activity—had an audience, a public that was not only watching but also demanded answers, access to truths about life to which climbers and climbing seemed to hold the key. 

Today the question why do this? is included in nearly every mountaineering story or interview. Meanwhile, interest in climbing is steadily on the rise, from commercial mountaineering and climbing walls in university gyms and corporate workplaces to the flood of spectacular climbing imagery in corporate advertising, cinema, and social media. Climbing, a new spectator sport, has become the theater for imagining limits—of the human body and of the planet— and the nature of desire, motivation, and #goals. Is that 100 year old question still an expression of serious interest in mountains and mountaineering? Or is it a symptom of an ever-deeper well of uncertainty about why anyone does anything at all?

What remains of this pursuit– marred by its colonial history, coopted by nationalistic chauvinism and the capitalist compulsion to unlimited growth– is what Grebowicz chases after. Along the way, she explores the ideological and material conditions that have made this treasured thing so endangered and vulnerable. 


Margret Grebowicz explores the cultural aspects of environmental problems and solutions in her writing and public speaking. She is the author of Whale Song, The National Park to Come, Why Internet Porn Matters, Beyond the Cyborg: Adventures with Donna Haraway, and numerous academic articles on topics in animal studies, science and technology studies, and feminist environmental ethics. Her recent essays, in venues like The Atlantic and The Philosophical Salon, cover topics from the Himalaya and Chernobyl to interactive dog feeders and artificial insemination of bees. She has worked as a professional jazz vocalist in New York City and as a philosophy professor at the University of Houston-Downtown, Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland, and the University of Tyumen, Russia. She lives on a windy hilltop in northwest upstate New York, where she delights in the weak WiFi. Her book in progress, Mountains and Desire, will be published by Repeater in 2020.

Event Details

1 April 2020 -
1 April 2020
13:00- 15:00
Back to Top Button