Tentacular Lexicon

Tentacular Lexicon was a commission for the exhibition ‘Facing the Anthropocene’, an international call to 7 artists to produce visual responses and a street guerrilla strategy to the questions the Earth is facing, curated by Carlota Mir.

Facing the Anthropocene

According to Donna Haraway, the Anthropocene is coming to an end. Systemic extraction from the Earth as a way to live will no longer be possi- ble before we know it. Going beyond the temptation to imagine future utopias or dystopias, Haraway works with the idea of the Chtulucene, a speculative, trans-his- torical, trans-feminist, multi-force, multi-tempo- ral, post-human and relational space in which individuality and autonomy no longer make sense, but rather, human beings become just living beings, ‘making kin’ with all human and non-human forms of life, assimilating the com- plexity of what we have done, and what happens in the airs, waters, oceans, rocks, and atmos- pheres.

Aiming to end the age of the Anthropocene, which she sees not as the exceptional pinnacle of human creativity, but rather, as a terrible eco- logical, cultural, and social impoverishment and process of destruction, Haraway’s Chtulucene aims to respond to the most urgent of questions: learning to live and die on a damaged planet by ‘making kin’ with all life on Earth, an allusion to the biological concept of ‘sympoiesis’ (‘making with’).

Climate change, large-scale environmental deg- radation, biological extinction, violent conflict, famines, overpopulation, extreme poverty – based on current patterns and systems, the world is exposed to facing an array of global catastrophic events that the Anthropocene has brought about, challenges which understand no borders, and which cannot be solved from the perspective of the 20th century nation state apparatus. This call is an invitation to speculate, fictionalise, and reckon with, the spectrum of topics that the end (?) of the Anthropocene is bringing about – along with what futures and other possible ways of life – or death – may emerge from the conception and eventual transi- tion to alternative planetary regimes.

‘Facing the Anthropocene’ was an invitation to 8 international artists to reflect on, and produce creative visual responses to, the questions the Earth is facing, which was discussed in the ew Shape Forum in Stockholm in May 2018. The event, an initiative by Global Challenges Foundation which bring together notable policy-makers in global governance and cooperation and leading academics and scholars, among others, aimed to conceive and generate new global governance models that will effectively tackle the issues and global challenges the world faces and which, despite seeming so distant, are more than tangible already – and they require urgent attention and intellectual focus.

It included the works of Mari Bastashevski, Robel Temesgen, Marian Garrido, Han Sungpil, Grupo TOMA, Pinar Yoldas and Pablo DeSoto.

The exhibition display at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern, part of New Shape Forum: Open Sessions – Global Challenges Foundation.
For some weeks, hundreds of copies of the wonderful posters invaded the streets of Stockholm, luring passers-by into looking at soundscapes of human destruction, thinking about Gaia, Adbar, the Capitalocene, energy drink cans in future wastelands, making kin, possible architectural futures, and melting glaciers.
Tentacular Lexicon

With a meteoric rise in recent years as one of the academic terms that define our contemporaneity, the Anthropocene is today a mega-concept whose hegemony is difficult to escape. The Holocene was left behind, current geological epoch is defined by the effects of human activity from the bedrock to the limits of the stratosphere. Overwhelming global data evidences that atmospheric, geologic, hydrologic, biospheric and other Earth system processes are now altered by humans. Capturing public imagination in the natural sciences, the humanities and the arts, the Anthropocene has moved quickly from a proposal on the geological periodization of the planet to a multidisciplinary conversation of wide range generating new research projects, books, academic journals, doctoral theses, seminars, art exhibitions and cultural programs worldwide. Diving into that emerging interdisciplinary framework, this artwork addresses the Anthropocene both as a geological concept and a popular one by exploring propositions that critically inquire the term beyond stratigraphy and Earth system sciences. It visualises the lexicon from three books: Staying with the Trouble: Making kin in the Chthulucene, by Donna Haraway; The Ends of the Worlds, by Deborah Danowski & Eduardo Viveiros de Castro; and Anthropocene or Capitolocene?: Nature, History, and the Crisis of Capitalism, edited by Jason M. Moore. From different situated practices and disciplines, these contributions contest the way of naming of the Anthropocene, pointing out the need to open up the conversation to other narratives and ways of knowing.