At the Mountains of Monstrosity: Towards Ecomonstrous Entanglements through Images of a Fjord


  • Daniel Otto Jack Petersen



Mountains, monsters, ecocriticism, ontology, nonhumans, coexistence


Twenty-first century developments in ecophilosophy argue for a growing awareness that nonhumans (‘organic’ or otherwise) possess both vibrant agency and dark interiority and, therefore, humans – even environmentally conscious ones – must relinquish their presumed centrality and apartness from other things (anthropocentrism). Standard motivations for environmental responsibility, such as appeals to the crisis of human-caused global warming, are here postponed in order to seek means of allowing nonhuman agency and interiority to ‘speak’ or make itself felt. The article claims mountains themselves initiated this human-nonhuman entanglement and tries to follow their lead into reconfigured (non-anthropocentric) visions of coexistence. Its many-appendaged ecopoetics is comprised of photographs and recollections of mountains stitched together with the conceptual tools of monster theory, object-oriented ontology, and vital materialism. Viewed through this theoretical nexus, a hole in a photograph of the Lysefjord provokes the suggestion that holes in ontology are perforations through which human being seeps into nonhuman being and is therein transfigured, emerging porous and suffused, as much ‘the environment’ as anything else. The article’s necessary provisionality means further engagement – especially from other ‘witnesses’ of mountains – is required to test its effectiveness as an aesthetic-contemplative preface to deeper, wiser ecological ethics.





Petersen, D. O. J. (2017). At the Mountains of Monstrosity: Towards Ecomonstrous Entanglements through Images of a Fjord. Kvinder, Køn &Amp; Forskning, 26(2-3), 70–88.