The Anthropocene Atlas of Geneva (TAAG): Representations of Global Environmental Change in Geneva’s Urban Ecologies
Initié et réalisé au Programme Master de recherche Critical Curatorial Cybermedia Studies (CCC) de la Haute École d’Art et de Design (HEAD), Genève
Introduced in the natural sciences global environmental change research community in 2000, the term “Anthropocene” demarks the current time period, in which human activities have come to influence a range of biophysical systems and processes. The Anthropocene thesis is generating vigorous interdisciplinary exchanges and debates and has stimulated numerous academic conferences, artistic projects and public exhibitions. To date, however, no art-led research has focused on how the scales and complexity of global anthropogenic change come to be represented and situated in local contexts. The proposed research is unique, in studying how various local actors understand the transformations of the Anthropocene and reflect them in their work and everyday activities. The Anthropocene Atlas of Geneva (TAAG) will produce new knowledge about how collective understandings of anthropogenic global environmental change are formed and put to work in a cosmopolitan Swiss city. It will make visible and comprehensible the processes by which interactions between social and biophysical systems are being represented in diverse ways, by diverse authors, speakers and image-makers, for diverse publics and contexts. Insight into the representation process supports rational public evaluation of the Anthropocene thesis and helps to clarify public discussion about stakes, challenges and responses. With its dense nexus of governmental institutions (including the UN World Meteorological Organization and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and NGOs, and its rich networks of scientific research communities, artistic projects and citizen initiatives, Geneva is an ideal terrain for this research.
Combining methods from art, philosophy and architecture, TAAG will survey, investigate, analyze and archive representations of anthropogenic change in the city and environs of Geneva, and will produce new interdisciplinary representations of the Anthropocene. The results will take form in a multimedia Atlas, distributed across four research outputs: (1) a project website/blog to share findings and solicit feedback; (2) an international exhibition, opening with a conference in Geneva and traveling to additional European cities; (3) an accompanying open-source book, composed of critical essays and exhibition catalog; and (4) two articles for peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journals. The TAAG research team, supported by its advisory research group and the resources, networks and partners of HEAD-Genève, Geneva School of Art and Design, is strongly positioned to realize this project. TAAG gathers artists and researchers from art, philosophy and architecture, informed by the work of the interdisciplinary research communities of science studies, environmental humanities and animal studies. Using the combinatory, consultative methodology of research by means of art, the team will develop appropriate interdisciplinary methods and contexts for the proposed fieldwork, investigation and analysis of representation processes, in order to realize research outputs.
The new knowledge and reflection produced will contribute to the research communities of science studies, environmental humanities, animal studies and art; will support and enhance the self-reflexivity of global change research communities in Geneva and beyond; and will help to clarify ongoing public evaluation and discussion of anthropogenic change on the local, national and international levels. The new representations, as well as the innovative Atlas form of the final outputs, will moreover stimulate further research and reflection among those working on anthropogenic change in the disciplines of art, philosophy and architecture.