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illustration Benedikt Rugar
“Our notion of nature is now out of date. Humanity forms nature. This is the core premise of the Anthropocene thesis, announcing a paradigm shift in the natural sciences as well as providing new models for culture, politics, and everyday life. In a two-year project, HKW will explore the hypothesis’ manifold implications for the sciences and arts.
The “Anthropocene” is the new geological “age of mankind” as proposed by the Earth sciences. Popularized by Nobel Prize winner Paul J. Crutzen around the turn of the millenium, the term now stands for one of the most trailblazing scientific concepts of the present. The transdisciplinary Anthropocene Project explores this concept, using research and presentation methods from the arts and sciences. If the opposition between humanity and nature is now suspended, how do we change our perspectives and perception? Is it still possible to think in concepts like “artificial” and “natural?” What does it mean for our anthropocentric understanding and our future if nature is man-made? What impact does the notion of global changes has on political decision-making? Which image of humanity appears if nature is shaped by mankind?”
— Bernd M. Scherer and Katrin Klingan, introduction to The Anthropocene Project
Next week we will be in Berlin to participate in a four-day event at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt called The Anthropocene Project: An Opening. These days compose the initial set of programming that will extend into the next two years, in cooperation with the Max-Planck-Society, Deutsches Museum, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam. We’re incredibly honored to be presenting work at the Opening.
HKW is known for its support and celebration of international artists and thinkers, and we expect the our time in Berlin to be quite different from the typical conference experience. As explained on the website, “In a reflective effort to organize encounters within this newly claimed geological present, multiple formats have been developed for the opening event to facilitate presentation, discussion and reflection.” We will be participating in three events over the course of the four days: “Visual Perspectives,” including the screening of previously unseen footage from our recent field research in the American West this fall; the “Friction” roundtable; and an “Island” discussion. The array of formats, events, discussions, exhibitions, theme days and film projects will “use methods of arts and science to conduct a trans-disciplinary investigation into the basic questions of the age of mankind and attempt to create an understanding of the potential implications of the Anthropocene theory.”
Stay tuned to the sightings page on GeologicNow.com, where we plan to post images and updates from the conference. We’ll invite other attendees at the Opening to do so as well. If you happen to be in Berlin, the event is open to the public. You can learn more about programming and presenters and receive updates on upcoming events from the HKW website.
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