Strontium synchrotron radiation X-ray fluorescence map of annually laminated stalagmite acquired at the XFM beamline of the Australian Synchrotron., Image by Andrea Borsato © All Rights Reserved
Scans of a section of the coral core of the Anthropocene GSSP candidate site West Flower Garden Bank Reef, USA, Photo: Kristine DeLong, photomontage: NODE Berlin Oslo

May 19–22, 2022

Unearthing the Present

Opening Days

May 19–22, 2022

Throughout HKW

Free admission

What is the new geological epoch made of? The Opening Days connect the geological analysis of the present with a discussion of the changing scope for social and political agency.

How does a new geological epoch take shape? What do the sediments of Earth tell us about the present and about the actions and decisions we have to take today? The planet has entered the first stage of the Anthropocene: a highly disruptive transitional period of “global weirding” within which ecological patterns and societal structures are changing radically. Over the past two years, the Anthropocene Working Group has been assembling stratigraphic evidence for the geological reality of the new Earth epoch. Unearthing the Present connects these analyses with a discussion of the changing scope for social and political agency. In collaborative Core Readings, scientists, researchers, artists and activists decipher stratigraphic samples from pacific corals, from lake deposits in northeastern China and from speleothems found in an Italian cave. They examine the microscopic traces left in Earth’s archives by the burning of fossil fuels, atmospheric nuclear bomb testing and the disruption of marine ecosystems to jointly identify ways and means of responding to these signals.

Part of Evidence & Experiment