DAWN OF THE ANTHROPOCENE
LIGORANOREESE / NORA LIGORANO, MARSHALL REESE
At 10 AM on Sunday, September 21, 2014, we unveiled a 3,000-pound ice sculpture of the words “The Future” at the intersection of Broadway and 23rd Streets at Flatiron North Plaza in New York City. This public art work coincided with the U.N. Climate Summit and the People’s Climate March to underscore the necessity for immediate action to confront global warming.
This event is part sculpture, part installation, part performance and an internet media event. But most of all, we make art for social change installing temporary public sculptures to mark important historical events. The Climate Summit is that and more. Our plan for “The Future,” measuring 21 feet wide and five feet tall, was that it melted away. We photographed and filmed the installation’s disappearance streaming it on the internet in real-time. We think of the website as an expanded documentary incorporating video, stills and written commentary. We’re going to have several short-term writers’ residencies happening simultaneously on site and post those writers’ texts as they’re written.
We call the piece, “Dawn of the Anthropocene” to describe the effect of humanity on the Earth’s systems. The term comes from Nobel prize scientist Paul Crutzen. In his and other scientists’ view, humanity has entered an age when the power and impact of humans is as great, if not greater, than nature’s.
When you begin to witness the rapid changes occurring on the planet, rising temperatures, increasing droughts, the extinction of vast numbers of species, you think about loss and disappearance. Ice is the perfect material for bringing awareness of what that kind of change means.