Anthropocene Observatory: Armin Linke, »Whirlwind«, Pantelleria, Italy, 2007, © Armin Linke

Oct 16–Dec 8, 2014

The Anthropocene Project. A Report

Exhibitions, Discourse, Publications, Workshops, Media Competition

Oct 16–Dec 8, 2014

With the traditional methods of knowledge acquisition – the natural sciences on the one side and the humanities on the other – mankind has reached a limit. What can we do, how can we know? With what means, methods and senses can we encounter the world of our own creation? In A Report, an extensive program of events in conclusion to the Anthropocene Project, the HKW will be exploring precisely these questions.

The indivisible concatenation of industrial metabolism, climate change, urbanisation, soil erosion and the extinction of species, as well as a new social (self)consciousness have shown: The rapid reformation of cause and effect, means and end, quality and quantity requires a new approach to the world which is not governed by postmodern discourse but material interconnections and processes – from the accumulation of plastics into artificial islands in the ocean, to the particularity of a speck of dust on its way from the Sahara to the Brazilian rainforest. A new sense of amazement at the wonder of planet earth is required: What can we do, how can we know – and to what extent are the two connected? With what means, methods and senses can we encounter the world of our own creation?

The core of the program is the long opening weekend with A Matter Theater and exhibitions by Adam Avikainen, The Otolith Group and the Anthropocene Observatory. A Matter Theater explores and negotiates knowledge and perceptual practices: international artists, theorists and scientists localise the effects of human activity within the dynamic structure of material cycles and earth states, geo-historical events and planetary techniques. However, A Report includes more: The four volume publication Textures of the Anthropocene: Grain Vapor Ray takes the materiality of the world by its word – in the form of the Particular (Grain), the Volatile (Vapor) and the Radiant (Ray): A selection of historic texts from Hippocrates to Borges, an archive of reflections on objects and their transformation, commented on and extended by contemporary authors. The book forms the material and theoretical framework for A Report and will be presented here for the first time.

The Anthropocene Working Group, established by the International Commission on Stratigraphy, is contributing to science history, developing a proposal for the ratification of the Anthropocene as a geological epoch. It will hold its first official meeting on this weekend at the HKW, its forum event will be open to the public.

The media competition Future Storytelling is looking for cross-media narrative strategies which do justice to the Anthropocene thesis; the best projects will be premiered as part of A Report. An online Encyclopedia provides a list of the most important terms of the Anthropocene Project and its online material.

The publication series intercalations: a paginated exhibition, initiated by the curators’ network Synapse, examines the potential of the book as a form of exhibition, questioning traditional dialectical categories such as man/nature, human/non-human, subject/object. The first volume will be published in October.

And in November the Anthropocene Campus will be launched, presenting the current status of the Anthropocene Curriculum: a model project for knowledge production in cooperation with the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.

Adam Avikainen, Ayreen Anastas und Rene Gabri, Torsten Blume, Geoffrey C. Bowker, Rana Dasgupta, Matt Edgeworth, Michael Ellis, Joyeeta Gupta, Peter K. Haff, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Yannis Hamilakis, Dorothea von Hantelmann, Alan Haywood, Erich Hörl, Franck Leibovici, Armin Linke, Flora Lysen, Margarida Mendes, Molly Nesbit, Naomi Oreskes, The Otolith Group, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Simon Price, Jürgen Renn, Daniel D. Richter, Tomás Saraceno, Benjamin Steininger, STRATAGRIDS, Colin P. Summerhayes, James Syvitski, Bronislaw Szerszynski, Territorial Agency (John Palmesino und Ann-Sofi Rönnskog), John Tresch, Etienne Turpin, Bettina Vismann, Colin Waters, Allen S. Weiss, Mark Williams, Jan Zalasiewicz and others.

THE ANTHROPOCENE PROJECT is an initiative of Haus der Kulturen der Welt in cooperation with the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Deutsches Museum, the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Munich, and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam. “intercalations: a paginated exhibition” is supported by the Ernst Schering Foundation.

In the framework of: