Art in the Garden
by Open Spatial Workshop (Scott Mitchell, Terri Bird, Bianca Hester)*
Presented within the Monash Earth Sciences Garden, Anthropocite (2015) tells a story of material transformation. This story parallels the multiple geological narratives evident in the surrounding rocks. Through this speculative narrative Open Spatial Workshop (OSW) endeavours to think beyond the material detritus that currently surrounds us and to place human activity within a geological time frame.
Artist Scott Mitchell explains how Anthropocite responds to recent critical discussions surrounding the accumulated effects of human activity that are driving planetary transformations. "Dramatic changes in atmosphere, accelerated species extinction, extraction and concentration of raw materials, production of new substancesand the reshaping of extensive areas of land through building and development have led to the call for a new epoch in geological time scale be recognised. This emerging geological epoch has been termed the 'Anthropocene'. This artwork explores how the Anthropocene may be evident in rock formations of the future," Scott Mitchell said.
The resulting public work manifests as a new rock type called 'anthropocite' and an associated video narrative.
The anthropocite rock is composed of a range of recycled materials including concrete, asphalt, glass and plastic, and was produced through an experimental process that builds on traditional glass and ceramic methodologies. The rocks are constructed using a layering process that mirrors sedimentary rock formation and encased in a crust of 'magma'. The work incorporates a Bluetooth Beacon that links visitors on site to www.anthropocite.com where the video narrative may be viewed.
Anthropocite was developed in conversation with geological scientists from the School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment at Monash University, rush\wright associates and Dermot Henry, Manager of the Natural Science Collections at Museum Victoria. Technical assistance was provided by Brent King and Alex Lyne from MADA (Monash University Art Design & Architecture) and Sophie Takach. The work was commissioned by Monash University for the Monash Earth Sciences Garden and is part of the Monash University Collection.
*OSW is a collaboration of artists who are also lecturers. Scott Mitchell: RMIT University; Terri Bird: Monash University; Bianca Hester: University of Sydney.