Brett and I have been artists in residency at the Danish Art Workshops (Statens Værksteder for Kunst) for the past several weeks. We are preparing for an upcoming performance project as part of the 2014 Acts Performance Festival at the Roskilde Museum of Contemporary Art. For our project, we decided to expand on an earlier idea–the Powerless Powerpoint–which was inspired by the amazing performers at Bread and Puppet Theater in Vermont.

Alphabet of the Anthropocene | Mythological Quarter

We think about the Powerless Powerpoint as a slide presentation without electricity, an analog version of the ubiquitous digital technology used in professional life.  The digital slides are transformed into portable objects for presentations of information that take on a physical presence beyond the removed glow of a the LCD projector.

Alphabet of the Anthropocene | Mythological Quarter

 

Our original version of the Powerless Powerpoint focused on communicating our art practice in a graphic style. The new version is: Alphabet of the Anthropocene  and it focuses on defining terms that are part of life in an anthropogenic epoch. The debated but also widely used term Anthropocene describes a new geological era shaped by human society. Human society has had such a decisive and devastating impact on the global environment that scientists have come up with this term to describe that impact. Science reporter, Andew Revkin writing in the New York times describes the Anthropocene thusly:

This is the proposed epoch of Earth history that, proponents say, has begun with the rise of the human species as a globally potent biogeophysical force, capable of leaving a durable imprint in the geological record.

The term is still up for debate but it is being heavily researched and discussed, evidenced by, for example, the new Anthropocene focused research initiative at Aaarhus University in Aarhus, Denmark.

Alphabet of the Anthropocene | Mythological Quarter

We selected seven letters  and made seven slides to describe the various impacts human society is having on the environment.  We hope to continue adding to our anthropogenic alphabet in the future, eventually filling out all of the letters in this apocalyptic set of characters. The letters and words/phrases that we produced this time are as follows, with links that help explain each one:

A is for Anthropocene

J is for Jellification

K is for Keep it in the Ground

P is for Plastisphere

S is for Super Cargo Ships

T is for Trophic Cascade

U is for Uneconomic Growth

Alphabet of the Anthropocene | Mythological Quarter

Alphabet of the Anthropocene | Mythological Quarter

The Acts 2014 Performance Festival runs from June 14-15, June this summer. The festival is organized by Sanne Kofod Olsen, Mette Truberg Jensen and the Museum for Contemporary Art (Museet for Samtidskunst) in Roskilde with invited curators Judith Schwarzbart, Sanne Krogh Groth, and Rasmus Homboe. Artists include Arendse Krabbe, Sharon Hayes, Andrea Geyer, Anna Lundh, and Ragnhild May among others.

One Response to A is for Anthropocene

  1. […] slowly entered the crowded shopping street in downtown Roskilde with the Powerless Powerpoint: A is for Anthropocene. It towered above the people milling between stores and restaurants, the 1 meter x 1.5 meter […]

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