The Anthropocene hypothesis proposes that with the invention of James Watt’s steam engine, the Earth entered a new geologic era characterized by an unprecedented level of human intervention in natural processes. If man makes nature rather than being the passive object of its processes, what new ways of thinking can be generated with regard to long-standing questions in the arts and humanities? In turn, how can the arts and humanities offer a critical perspective on the scientific theory behind the Anthropocene?
In January 2013, Haus der Kulturen der Welt (in cooperation with the Max Planck Society, the Deutsches Museum, and the Rachel Carson Center) launched a series of exhibitions and events designed to interrogate, and experiment with, the idea of the Anthropocene, using it as a starting point for critical reflection across the disciplines. The Anthropocene Project brings together thinkers from all fields in a collaborative effort to explore not just questions about the Anthropocene theory itself, but also questions about how we can integrate the disciplinary perspectives and working practices of artists, humanists, and scientists. The project team of curators, scientists, artists, and writers hopes to find innovative ways of combining disciplinary perspectives in the making of future theory.