Anthropocene Observatory

The Observatory is dedicated to the present and history of the mathematical calculation of dynamic processes, as well as their planning, modeling, and management, since the start of the modern period. It portrays their spatial and human ramifications and geopolitical effects, first in the colonial era and industrialization, and later in the cybernetization that has led to today’s modeling and risk calculation of global processes. Does a complex world exist beyond models that feed on massive data input, yet are always reductive? Are climate change, the world economy, the oceans, etc. under control, or does the idea of controllability only lead to ever greater blind spots, collateral effects, and risks? From vegetable plantations to global centers of climate modeling and reinsurance companies, from CO₂ markets to environmental monitoring, from system engineering to management theory – networked computers and other calculation systems form the material basis for diverse practices and procedures that connect science, the financial world, and telecommunications with political strategies in the Anthropocene.

In several film episodes Anthropocene Observatory is exploring scenes and scenarios of a geological age. How is planet Earth becoming an object of planning?

Operating as an observatory, a composition of documentary practices, discourses and interventions, the project traces the formation of the Anthropocene thesis. Information about scientific research is acquired, registered, evaluated, processed, stored, archived, organised and re-distributed across a number of specific international agencies and organisations. These behind-the-scenes processes that lead to the equally complex decision making procedures form new discourses and figures of shift. They are documented in a series of short films, interviews and documentary materials: the project produces an image of the unfolding of the thesis of the Anthropocene in its many streams of influence.

Armin Linke works on a constantly expanding archive of human activity and the different forms of natural and manmade landscapes. He calls into question the boundaries between fiction and realities through the combined use of photography, film, and other visual media. His multimedia installations have been exhibited at the 9th, 10th and 14th Architecture Biennale, Venice, 2004, 2012 and 2014; and shown as part of the film program at the 7th Graz Biennial on Media and Architecture, 2006. He is a professor at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design, guest professor at the Università IUAV di Venezia, and research affiliate at the MIT Visual Arts Program in Cambridge, USA.

John Palmesino and Ann-Sofi Rönnskog together founded Territorial Agency, which is devoted to projects involving sustainable processes of transformation in urbanized landscapes. Their approach combines architecture, analysis, the representation of various interests and action. John Palmesino’s works have been shown at 10th Architecture Biennale, Venice, 2006; the documenta11, Kassel, 2002; the Triennale di Milano, 2002; and at a range of other exhibitions.

Anthropocene Observatory, a project by Armin Linke, Territorial Agency (John Palmesino and Ann-Sofi Rönnskog), and Anselm Franke