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Green Soul #3 – The imaginary of the end of the world

At the invitation of the Foundation, the lecture series: Green Soul, Anthropocene, Cultures, Imaginations, is devised and led by Paul Ardenne, art historian and curator. This series takes place every month at the Fondation Thalie, Brussels. Its aim is to provide as complete a picture as possible of the anthropocene ‘spirit of the age’, the prodigal of the ‘Green Soul’.

#3 – The imaginary of the end of the world. Post-apocalypse, dystopia, ecological teleology

The third lecture questions the theory of the end of the world as seen and imagined by mankind. Some proclaim that in ecological terms “another world is possible”, while others consider that the world, for mankind, is lost – in the more or less long term. It is an imaginary world in which humans have reached their ultimate development, and which excludes them or returns them to regressive forms of life, marked by primitivism. The Anthropocene imaginary is characterised by a whole culture that is both apocalyptic and dystopian, which Paul Ardenne will confront on this occasion.


Paul Ardenne has a degree in History and a doctorate in Arts and Art Sciences. He is a contributor to the journals Art press, Archistorm and INTER-Art actuel, and is the author of several books: Art, l’âge contemporain (1997), L’Art dans son moment politique (2000), L’Image Corps (2001), Un Art contextuel (2002), Art, le présent (2009), Un Art écologique. Création plasticienne et anthropocène (2018), L’Art en joie. Aesthetics of joyful humanity (2023). He is also a novelist and specialist in architecture (Terre Habitée, 2005; La Bonne ville, 2019; Le Boost et le frein – Comment l’humain bâtit au 21e siècle?, 2021…).

As a curator of contemporary art, Paul Ardenne has designed numerous exhibitions, the most recent of which are “Dendromorphies. Creating with trees” (Paris, 2016), “Courants verts. Creating for the environment” (Paris, 2019) and “L’anthropocène et après” (Saint-Denis de la Réunion, 2020). He has produced several programmes on France Culture devoted to art in the age of the Anthropocene (“L’art est l’environnement“, January 2023) and is a regular contributor to the series of programmes The World in Images, on the ARTE television channel.


In partnership with ESA Saint-Luc Bruxelles School, Master in Social Innovation Design.