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 not an obstacle nor a harmonious other. Humanity forms nature. Humanity and nature are one, 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 thought models for culture, politics and everyday life. Popularized by Nobel laureate and chemist Paul Crutzen, the basis for the Anthropocene as our current geological epoch rests on the claim that humankind is the driving power behind planetary transformation. Over the next two years, the HKW, Berlin, embarks on an exploration of this hypothesis and its manifold implications.
The Anthropocene Project opens with a four-day gathering, bringing together renowned thinkers, artists, filmmakers, scientists, and scholars to meet, discuss, and debate an archipelago of thoughts and to becomes virtual hub for communication. Fundamental positions, issues, and implications posed by “the age of mankind” are considered: If the opposition between humanity and nature has been dissolved, what processes must we undergo to shift our perspectives and trained perceptions? Where to draw the borders of an ever-expanding “planetary garden”? Is it necessary to rethink the nature of economies, or should we assign nature its own economy? What impact does the Anthropocene have on global, political decision making? What image of humanity forms if nature appears in the image of man, as if it were human?
The Opening employs multiple formats to facilitate presentation, discussion, and reflection. Organized around the themes “Perspectives,” ”Times,” ”Gardens,” ”Oikos,” and “Techné,” five Island Stagings offer trans-disciplinary landscapes and thingly narratives where our entanglement within the world may unfold. Keynotes will address the socio-political, philosophical, and creative capacity of the Anthropocene thesis to (re)mobilize the planet. Pointed questions to and provocative opinions around the Anthropocene are exchanged in a series of Dialogues. Two Roundtables tackle storytelling and friction under the sign of the Anthropocene. Specially commissioned Artistic Interventions present visual, spatial, and poetic reflections, particularly considering the cosmological dimensions of the Anthropocene thesis. A Research Forum brings together researchers and experts to discuss their ongoing projects. A Metabolic Kitchen, an architectonic culinary intervention designed by raumlaborberlin, suggests a sensory experience of social relations approached via metabolic processes.
Akeel Bilgrami, Arno Brandlhuber, Christina von Braun, Claire Colebrook, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Lorraine Daston, Erle Ellis, Harun Farocki, Kodwo Eshun, Renée Green, Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Aldo Haesler, Ursula K. Heise, Rem Koolhaas, John Law, Xavier Le Roy, Emma Marris, Gloria Meynen, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, raumlaborberlin, Daniel Rosenberg, smudge studio, Will Steffen, Michael Taussig, Paulo Tavares, John Tresch, Eyal Weizman, Cary Wolfe, Jan Zalasiewicz
10–13 January 2013
Haus der Kulturen der Welt