The Anthropocene Project. An Opening, Jan Zalasiewicz, Photo: Sebastian Bolesch
The Anthropocene Project. An Opening, Metabolic Kitchen: Time to Cook, Photo: Joachim Loch

Jan 10–13, 2013

The Anthropocene Project. An Opening

Dialogues, Keynotes, Island, Roundtables, Lecture Performances, Artistic Interventions, Research Forum

Jan 10–13, 2013

All events simultaneous translation German-English

'Nature as we know it is a concept that belongs to the past. No longer a force separate from and ambivalent to human activity, nature is neither an obstacle nor a harmonious other. Humanity forms nature. Humanity finds itself embedded within the recent geological record.' 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.

Over the next two years, the HKW – in cooperation with the Max-Planck-Society, Deutsches Museum, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam – will facilitate an exploration of this hypothesis’ manifold implications for research, science, and art.

The Anthropocene Project opens with an archipelago of thoughts, positions, and lines of debate. The Opening examines fundamental questions posed by and to the »age of mankind«. Renowned thinkers, artists, filmmakers, and academics from the natural sciences and the humanities gather within a series of dialogues, performances and island-stagings to negotiate and discuss this complex “post-Holocene” terrain from a variety of perspectives.

“Perspectives”, “Times”, “Gardens”, “Oikos”, and “Techné”— these are the five thematic islands where transdisciplinary encounters unfold a complex landscape of conversations and narratives. Departing from the narratives entangled within material and non-material “things”, invited participants present reflections on the intermingled status of humans and non-humans, addressing the aesthetic, political, and economic dimensions of the Anthropocene thesis. Who or what is the product and the producer? From what position and at what time can one consider the ever-mutating relationship between humanity and nature? Is it necessary to rethink the nature of economies, or should we assign nature its own economy? Where can the borders of an ever-expanding “planetary garden” be drawn? What technical means could or should be utilized in this transformative process?

Multiple routes and itineraries pass between these islands, linking and contrasting to trace out the conceptual landscape of the Anthropocene: KEYNOTES from diverse backgrounds will question the mobilizing power of the Anthropocene thesis for society, politics, philosophy, and design. In DIALOGUES, discussion partners from the natural sciences and humanities present a range of opinions and positions to controversial questions: is the Anthropocene a doomsday-device? Is it original? Is it legal? Is it a luxury? Is it beautiful? ROUNDTABLES bring together artistic and academic narratives to the fore. A RESEARCH FORUM debates transdisciplinary practices and research agendas within an Anthropocenic framework. LECTURE PERFORMANCES and artistic contributions engage with poetic cosmologies and Anthro¬pocenic models of the visual world. And a METABOLIC KITCHEN installed in the HKW Foyer stages a sensory experiment that considers metabolic processes.

In the framework of: