Tentacular Lexicon was a commission for the exhibition ‘Facing the Anthropocene’, a call to seven international artists to reflect on, and produce visual responses and a street guerrilla strategy to the questions the Earth is facing. It was curated by Carlota Mir and it included the works of Mari Bastashevski, Robel Temesgen, Marian Garrido, Han Sungpil, Grupo TOMA, Pinar Yoldas and Pablo DeSoto.
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, “Tentacular Lexicon” 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: Donna Haraway’s Staying with the Trouble: Making kin in the Chthulucene; Deborah Danowski & Eduardo Viveiros de Castro’s The Ends of the Worlds; and Anthropocene or Capitalocene? 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.
Facing the Anthropocene exhibition was displayed in May 2018 at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern, part of New Shape Forum: Open Sessions – Global Challenges Foundation, Stockholm, and by the streets of Stockholm. 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.