THE ANTHROPOCENE SLAM: A CABINET OF CURIOSITIES NOVEMBER 8-10

WISCONSIN INSTITUTES FOR DISCOVERY DELUCA FORUM MADISON

LIQUID ROCK

photo of underground rock formation

We present the most concrete of objects, and will reveal its fluid and foundational history in the Anthropocene.

Inspired by tension between static principles of capture manifest in the cabinet of curiosity, and a new geological epoch that highlights humanity's world-forming force, we will engage with ideas of speed, force and scale.

A solidifying slab of concrete is our object. Often overlooked in climate change discourse, concrete constitutes the unexplored icon of the Anthropocene. The most widely used material in our world, after water, its carbon footprint is immense; cement production alone, contributes 5% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

Our concrete constructions epitomise modernity. From Ancient Rome to contemporary Dubai, concrete has achieved the unthinkable. Yet, it is not impervious to decay, despite our efforts to raise concrete barriers against the elements.

In this material's story we reveal its volcanic relations and accidental beginnings, the delicate chemical balance of its own mix, and its entanglement with humankind's own environmental history.

Our object - a small concrete slab - will emerge from a process of pouring and curing performed before the public. Accompanying our exhibit a short film will narrate the process of formation and the story of humankind's liquid rock.

Presenters