Witnessing from within: Hyperobjects and climate activism in Poland

Maria Salomea Dębińska


This article explores practices of witnessing global warming developed in recent years by climate movements in Poland. Timothy Morton’s concept of the “hyperobject” acts as a starting point for a discussion of the ontological assumptions that underlie theories and practices of witnessing, and for the development of an expanded concept of witnessing that includes the future, collectivity, and nonhumans. These considerations are followed by a description of three practices that are interpreted as practices of witnessing global warming: climate demonstrations organized in Warsaw, a blockade of an open-pit coal mine in central Poland, and the Mszak ritual performed by the Interspecies Community religious group in the Botanical Garden in Warsaw. The descriptions of these cases allow a further deepening and nuancing of the concept of witnessing.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/716035