Museum of Evolution of Life, Chandigarh, India, 2014, © Armin Linke/ Anthropocene Observatory

Apr 26, 2013–Dec 8, 2014

Anthropocene Observatory

Documentation, films, exhibition, archive


This project by Armin Linke, Territorial Agency (John Palmesino and Ann-Sofi Rönnskog), and Anselm Franke develops film productions on questions and implications of the thesis of the Anthropocene.

Anthropocene Observatory explores the destabilizing conditions entailed by the new geological epoch that reverberate across polities, institutions, law, international organizations, infrastructures, war, land, practices of scientific investigation, the sea, cities, markets, and planning institutions. Episode #4 THE DARK ABYSS OF TIME investigates how these conditions reshape territories: human spaces and their material counterparts.

The Anthropocene Observatory is dedicated to the present and history of the mathematical calculation of dynamic processes, as well as their planning, modeling, and management, since the start of the modern period. It portrays their spatial and human ramifications and geopolitical effects, first in the colonial era and industrialization, and later in the cybernetization that has led to today’s modeling and risk calculation of global processes. Does a complex world exist beyond models that feed on massive data input, yet are always reductive? Are climate change, the world economy, the oceans, etc. under control, or does the idea of controllability only lead to ever greater blind spots, collateral effects, and risks? From vegetable plantations to global centers of climate modeling and reinsurance companies, from CO₂ markets to environmental monitoring, from system engineering to management theory – networked computers and other calculation systems form the material basis for diverse practices and procedures that connect science, the financial world, and telecommunications with political strategies in the Anthropocene.

In several film episodes Anthropocene Observatory is exploring scenes and scenarios of a geological age. How is planet Earth becoming an object of planning?

Operating as an observatory, a composition of documentary practices, discourses and interventions, the project traces the formation of the Anthropocene thesis. Information about scientific research is acquired, registered, evaluated, processed, stored, archived, organised and re-distributed across a number of specific international agencies and organisations. These behind-the-scenes processes that lead to the equally complex decision making procedures form new discourses and figures of shift. They are documented in a series of short films, interviews and documentary materials: the project produces an image of the unfolding of the thesis of the Anthropocene in its many streams of influence.

A project by Armin Linke, Territorial Agency (John Palmesino and Ann-Sofi Rönnskog) and Anselm Franke

In the framework of