Focus Theme: Anthropocene 


At the heart of the controversy surrounding the Anthropocene epoch is a unifying consensus that nuclear weapons testing—beginning with the Trinity test on July 16, 1945—constitutes its most readily identifiable origins. Despite this, since its height in the mid-1980s, the threat of nuclear harm has become almost invisible from public consciousness. A new nuclear imaginary is therefore emerging with the Earth, not human survival, at its centre.

The 2019-21 focus theme of the Archive is “the Anthropocene”. The chosen theme recognises not only the Anthropocene’s radiological signature, but the differentiated responsibility and vulnerability to nuclear harms that is inflicted on beings and things, as well as across space and time. Building on the prior focus theme of “Markers”, planned activities planned through 2021 include the continued acquisition of physical items along with their digitisation, as well as the production of a major volume that attempts to communicate the problem of nuclear harm into the far-future.