Figuring the Anthroscene
‘When humans look back, the Anthropocene will probably represent one of the six biggest extinction in our planet's history.’- Environmental scientist Will Steffen
Figuring the Anthroscene is Catherine Manchester’s new exhibition at The Asterisk. The title and works themselves refer to the geological time period that has seen humans altering the landscape and climate.
The term Anthroscene is a more user-friendly version of the term Anthropocene denotes the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. Some geologists argue that this epoch began with the industrial revolution, while others believe that there is no clear-cut evidence to back the claim of a new epoch. Similarly, some scientific researchers claim that permanent damage has been done, while environmentalists believe there is a chance to establish a sustainable civilisation and cede some of our territory back to other species. Manchesters works have a soft, mysteriousness to them as though matching the confusion in the scientific debate.
Manchester supposes that perhaps we got into such trouble by our innate tendency of human psychology to see things in our own image or anthropomorphism. Humans have been shapers, thinkers, dreamers, disrupters, dwellers, occupiers and visitors.
Her work Honeymoon Stranding refers to humans comparatively late arrival in geographic terms. She believes this is humans ‘honeymoon’ stage of life, which does not bode well for the rest of the relationship!
While figures populate the paintings, prehistoric lizards also make their presence known, such as in Homeworld/ Fire and Water, a title inspired by George Griffiths science fiction work which seeks to shine light on the miraculous beginnings of life.
The exhibition follows from her earlier series Model Habitats which was about intervention and human designs on the environment.
“It’s not possible to reverse the damage we’ve done… We are undoubtedly exterminating species at a speed which has never been known before.”- David Attenborough.