The Anthropocene at HKW

From 2013

The Anthropocene has become a fixed element of contemporary debates. In this new geological age, humankind has become a force of nature, inscribing itself in the geological depths of the planet.

With the objective of launching a discourse on questions of the planet’s present and future in German-speaking countries, HKW has been exploring the Anthropocene since 2013. Currently, actors from the arts, research and civil society are addressing the Mississippi River, an exemplary topography of the Anthropocene. Until 2019, in the research project Mississippi. An Anthropocene River, they will be developing local approaches to global changes along the course of the river.

In 2013, the Anthropocene Project was the prelude to HKW’s examination of the new geological age. The two-year research project probed the cultural, socio-economic and political implications of the Anthropocene with exhibitions, performances and workshops. Since then, the Anthropocene Curriculum has been testing pathways for a transdisciplinary culture of knowledge and education and new methods of mediation that meet the challenges of the Anthropocene. The website reflects the current state of research and makes the results of the process available to the public.

Campus 2014: The Anthropocene Issue identified the “technosphere” as a suitable descriptive model for Anthropocene dynamics. The Anthropocene world is characterized by pipelines, highways, airports, and electricity and data networks. These infrastructures have manifested a new correlation between the interaction of natural environments and socio-technical forces. Since 2015, the Technosphere research project has brought scientists, artists and social actors into a dialogue with one another and grappled with the dilemma of technologies with global effects.


Past projects

Campus 2014 & 2016

How does the Anthropocene change academic approaches to the world? For two issues of the Anthropocene Campus, international teachers and researchers from the natural sciences, humanities, art, and architecture developed model teaching programs of “earth-bound knowledge.” Each tested them in experimental teaching formats together with 100 selected young academics and cultural professionals.