Pressemitteilung vom 01.10.2018

Mississippi. An Anthropocene River

Anthropocene Curriculum

A research project on novel epistemic, aesthetic, and educational challenges 2018 - 2019

On October 3, the initiative “Year of German-American Friendship 2018/2019” will be launched, sponsored by the Federal Foreign Office, implemented by the Goethe-Institut and supported by the Federation of German Industries. Within this framework, Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) will be present in the USA with the project Mississippi. An Anthropocene River where it will advance the Anthropocene debate which has been substantially shaped by HKW since 2013.

The key term “Anthropocene”—the geological age of humankind—is now an indispensable part of the social and scientific discourse. The consequences of human impact on the ecosystem Earth, are assuming increasingly grave forms, as the example of this year’s heat wave in the northern hemisphere makes alarmingly clear. In order to identify potential for action within this dramatic transformation, HKW asks what new forms of cooperation could emerge from the new consciousness for the human role within the fabric of nature and technology. Director Bernd Scherer: “The unleashing of technological worlds and thus the anthropocenic reshaping of our planet will continue to accelerate. However, our categories of thought are not keeping pace with these processes of change. We speak a language that refers to a past world. Hence, I see cultural institutions faced with the task of developing languages for these rapid transformation processes, and thus possibilities for action which enable us to adequately negotiate these types of changes.“

The one-year project Mississippi. An Anthropocene River will examine the complex interactions between humans and the environment with respect to the Mississippi as a model landscape of the Anthropocene. The Mississippi River Valley, located in the heartland of the USA, is one of the largest river systems in the world, and along the meandering course of the river stretches an almost symbolic topography of the Anthropocene. The project explores the diverse region in its changing spatio-temporal formations to make this archival landscape legible. Along the river, researchers, artists, and local communities will develop concrete, regional approaches to issues of global change. At five Field Stations, transdisciplinary research teams will experiment with new scientific and educational methods.

In the following fall of 2019, the Field Stations will be connected by a downstream Anthropocene River Journey, and their work will be opened up to the public in participatory workshops and excursions. The journey will culminate in an international Anthropocene River Campus in New Orleans from November 9 to 16, 2019, which will publically reflect on the project’s thematic threads in experimental teaching formats. This concluding event will be organized in cooperation with the ByWater Institute of Tulane University.

A digital environment, specially developed for the project, will serve both as a collaborative research tool as well as provide public access to the outputs of the research teams and the participatory formats.

"With the Year of German-American Friendship 2018/2019 we aim to intensify the exchange with American civil society in all its facets. The Project Mississippi: An Anthropocene River addresses one of the central questions in our globalized world and unites, in an ideal fashion, the research and knowledge on both sides of the Atlantic," commented Christoph Mücher, project director of the “Year of German-American Friendship 2018/2019.”

Mississippi. An Anthropocene River will be an integral part of the Anthropocene Campus to be held in Berlin from April 16 to 26, 2020, presenting the Mississippi River Valley as a comparative model landscape of the Anthropocene. After seven years of collaboration on experimental forms of knowledge and education in the Anthropocene, the international network of the Anthropocene Curriculum (since 2013) and its partnering initiatives will come together once again at HKW. The aim is to carve out the concept’s potential for new, earth-bound forms of knowledge and action.

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Mississippi. An Anthropocene River is developed and organized by Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Berlin, and Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG), Berlin, in collaboration with numerous international partners. It is a part of the Anthropocene Curriculum (since 2013), an international long-term project for experimental forms of Anthropocene research and education.

The project Mississippi. An Anthropocene River is a part of the „Year of German-American Friendship” initiative in 2018/19 under the motto “Wunderbar together.” The „Year of German-American Friendship“ is a comprehensive and collaborative initiative funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, implemented by the Goethe-Institut, and with support from the Federation of German Industries (BDI). Mississippi. An Anthropocene River is additionally funded by the Max Planck Society.

The project Anthropocene Curriculum is supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media due to a ruling of the German Bundestag. Haus der Kulturen der Welt is supported by the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media as well as by the Federal Foreign Office.