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'Habitus' installation featured in American research publication
‘WELCOME TO THE FABULOUS ANTHROPOCENE ERA’
Photographic documentation of an installation originally commissioned to mark the 80th anniversary of Edge Hill University at its new campus in Lancashire will be featured in an upcoming American University publication later in the year:
‘Agora: The Liberal Arts at Luther College is an interdisciplinary journal grounded in the humanities. The primary contributors are Luther College faculty, students, and invited guests.
The journal was established in 1988 by then Paideia Director Wilfred F. Bunge, Professor of Religion and Classics. View all issues in the Publications Archives’
The image will accompany the transcript of a lecture given by Professor Laura Peterson titled “Back to the Future: Understanding the Anthropocene.”
Selected Q & A with Robyn Woolston:
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE INSTALLATION?
Habitus includes 12 factual signs showing geological eras, epochs and eons that cover millions of years. You can see words like Silurian, Devonian and Jurassic on signposts within the trees on the campus. When you look more closely you realise they are all pointing towards the Vegas style sign. This is because they all detail histories prior to the one we are currently living in. Everything that has gone before has lead us to our current situation. Whether financial or environmental the state of the world has been built upon layer upon layer of knowledge, rather like sedimentary rock. And so, the centre-point of the installation is the sign that reads in gushing words: ‘Welcome to the Fabulous Anthropocene Era’. A time unlike no other where we are faced with signs that reflect back to us the care with which we choose to look after the planet…or not
WHY THE VEGAS SIGN?
In some respects it’s very similar to its American counterpart but it’s also very different. Habitus (2013) marries the exuberance and expansion of a time in history when entertainment, consumption and institutional lending were booming at an exponential rate. During the post-war period of the 1950’s Las Vegas became a magnet for Hollywood stars and entertainment legends alike with hundreds of millions of dollars circulating through the bars, restaurants and casinos. The design aesthetic of the time mirrors this history with futuristic curves, cantilevered structures, bright colours and ostentatious embellishments like starbursts. I have referenced this illustrious history within the work so as to act as direct contrast to our current environmental situation.
IN YOUR VERSION THE WORDS ARE DIFFERENT. WHY IS THAT?
Indeed, the place name is replaced by a geological period. Currently we are living within the Holocene period (a time that covers all human experience as well as all written history) yet a group of scholars had been convened by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) to decide whether or not we have entered a new geological period, namely the Anthropocene Era. Some say this new period began with the Industrial Revolution but some say it began earlier on, yet those that agree concede that our behaviors are having irreversible impacts upon the planet. Basically from radioactive traces within soil structures to species decline and glacial melt the effect we are having upon the earth is leaving permanent markers or signs within the history of the world.
To find out more about the original commission follow the link below.