Anthropocene

September 30, 2014

01 posthuman landscape-01

The Anthropocene is the acknowledgement that humans are the dominant geologic force of our epoch. This can be seen as a simple statement of fact. It can be seen as an ethical imperative to reevaluate our use of natural resources. It can also be seen as a reenchantment of the universe in a way.

When most of science measures, analyses and objectify nature the concept of The Anthropocene suggests that science is an endeavour of self discovery. Implicit in the idea of Anthropocene is that in the same way geology treats nature in general she also have a specific understanding of the “nature” of man. Geology becomes less of an instrumental science (a technology?) and becomes a way of experiencing the world (a religion?).

Geology-as-world-view reminds me of the novella Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott written in 1884. Here humans are geometric shapes (women are lines and men are octagons) inhabiting a completely flat world. When I read about The Anthropocene I imagine trying to tell a story, maybe even inhabiting a world and living a life, through the technologies of modern geology.

For a while I think about high tech laboratory environments, microscopes, centrifuges, white coats and computers hooked up to global GIS databases. Then I remember my friend The Geologist telling me classification of ore is pretty much a case of describing colours, in a way it is much like the metaphor rich descriptions of the bouquet of a wine. The Geologist himself once left for Australia for a year because of a specific reddish hue.

So maybe the geology version is Colourland, an animated Kandinsky painting: an amazing blur of vibrant colours?
Wassliy Kandinsky happens to be The Geologists favourite painter…

Adam Ulveson

One Response to “Anthropocene”


  1. Women are lines and men are octagons: a story book of gendered geometries becoming coloured to frame a narrative of the Anthropocene: I think you are onto something here. Kandinsky could be a great source, as there is a focus on coloured rhythmical landscapes across his canvases. You could borrow his aesthetics in order to construct a fable of sorts. You could use Abbott’s Flatland to describe the characters that people your geometrical coloured universe. Is the geologist also a key character? Could it be that lines and octagons become more complicated, and gender multiplies into a thousand little geometrical sexes?
    HFrichot


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