Processes like glacial melt, species extinction, economic growth and the formation of political policies are both deeply intertwined and follow very particular individual temporalities. How can
Processes like glacial melt, species extinction, economic growth and the formation of political policies are both deeply intertwined and follow very particular individual temporalities. How can we meaningfully and urgently address these critical clashes of planetary and societal time?
The early Anthropocene is characterized by a critical dynamic of conflicting temporalities. While Earth’s spheres – from the biosphere to the technosphere – are undergoing various dynamics of extreme acceleration and disruption, societal processes and institutions of governance and decision-making seem unable to keep pace. The Earth system is apparently about to cross a number of tipping points that will affect life on the planet for an indefinite period of time. The narrowing time corridors for disrupting these dynamics transform the question of justice and survival in the Anthropocene into a question of aligning these critical temporalities.
By closely examining the imprints that these “clashing presents” have already left in Earth’s archives, this three-part session explores the competing time horizons, latency effects and accelerations that run counter to the pulse of late-Holocene societies. Each session starts from a site of stratigraphic research on the Anthropocene to explore a specific set of conflicting temporalities.
Mineral deposits in caves can contain rich data sets on past environmental conditions. But chemical information in water and minerals often takes a long time to travel from Earth’s surface and into caves, where they then slowly solidify as stalagmites and other forms of speleothems. This often results in a time lag of several decades between a climate event and its recording within a cave structure. This session takes the stratigraphic research in Ernesto Cave, Italy, as a literal and metaphorical starting point to explore possibilities of reconfiguration and reconciliation of the conflicting temporalities of the Anthropocene. How can we conceive a truly planetary time? Is decelerating a viable strategy for gaining time? Or should we rather make efforts to turn the time of confusion and collapse into a time of potential and renewal?
Haus der Kulturen der WeltJohn-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10, Berlin