Amanda Dolga

"(Re)Scaling the Anthropocene: Between Aesthetics and Politics. Boundaries, Terror and the Sublime. The Sound of the Anthropocene."

Section MS4, Mirna Pedalo

Keywords: environment, consumption, waste, sound, archival practice

Waste is often regarded as the ‘other’. Otherness – the unknown and scale-less territories occupied by ‘stuff’ that we have deemed redundant, worthless, and unnecessary. Refuse is a direct by-product of the production and consumption of resources, commodities & data. Waste production, gathering and management is a direct act of compiling in one way or another. There exists an odd parallel in the way we produce and compile waste and the way we generate and hyper-consume visual data. Both describe the current ‘human condition’ and the highly wasteful and overwhelming habits of a throw-away society influenced and led by the obsolescence of goods. Similarly, as we create and discard products, we create, store, and delete images. This ‘age of the image’ is a time of highly aestheticized overrepresentation of planetary disruptions and human actions. Humanity’s irreversible impact on Earth’s geology natural ecosystem and processes is now so profound that it has resulted in the proposition of a new geological epoch. The Anthropocene. It has no universal definition and beginning. It is formed of fundamentally ambiguous and scale-less infrastructures. These ‘beautifully’ complex infrastructural patterns have shaped the Earth’s surface into a patched canvas defined by the boundaries of human-making.

The project explores fundamental ambiguity, ‘otherness’ and scale-lessness of the notion of the Anthropocene, criticises its aestheticization, depiction and over-representation in popular culture via predominantly visual media such as photography, moving image and film. I have chosen to compile a visual archive as the primary means of evidence and a base of reference for my project. By critically engaging with and mediating different, existing sets of information and visual archive material I reject the image completely and unlearn making of an image. The rejection of the sublime image and its depiction of reality leads to the choice of sound as a counter-hegemony of the visual regime that we live in. As a final response I have focused on creating a soundpiece. An experimental and experiential compilation of sounds that provokes and creates a platform for the listener to be immersed in the overwhelming, disturbing, and frankly, uneasy sounds of the now invisible Anthroposcenery. It is a very intimate and sensory means to trigger an inner-monologue with the listener and to reconsider the occurring changes in the planetary systems both individually and collectively. It is a re-establishment of a relationship and the common grounds between the minuscule scale of oneself and the boundlessness of the other.