Walking through the Anthropocene. Encountering materialisations of the geological epoch in an exhibition space


  • Bergsveinn Þórsson University of Oslo




The Anthropocene has been mobilised as a conceptual framework for museums to engage with the global environmental crisis. This article examines the exhibition Welcome to the Anthropocene: The Earth in our Hands that was on display at the Deutsches Museum from 2014 to 2016. Proclaimed as the first largescale exhibition on the concept, the museum attempted to translate its underlying arguments into three-dimensional space. Viewing exhibitions as an assemblage of display technologies, objects and texts, the intention is to examine how the concept materialises in the exhibition space. The findings outline three different versions of the Anthropocene: understanding the Anthropocene as a history, experiencing the Anthropocene through spatial exploration and the concept as a tool to catch slippages. Locating three versions in a single exhibition reveals the complexity of the Anthropocene as a framework for museums and also highlights the possibility of addressing it in different ways simultaneously.

Author Biography

Bergsveinn Þórsson, University of Oslo

Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages