Index - Anthropocene

The life-giving, political, and economic components of our „animated waters“ (Vernadsky 1933, Margulis 1990) exemplify a pressing melancholy of our position as a human species. Spatially and temporally: as holobionts, as fluid beings, in our own bodies, in urban habitats, in the ecosystem, and in the Anthropocene.

This work draws from a stay at the river Schwärze and the bodily encounters occurring during this stay, which reflect the fluidity of water. Along the lifeline and contact zone between the forests of Brandenburg and the city of Berlin, the film immerses in wet ontologies (Gaard 2001, Steinberg & Peters 2015, Neimanis 2016) of multiple phenomena.

Capturing the essence and pains through analog photoprocesses, hydrotests, creative writing, and filmmaking.

Inspired by Nils Bubandt et al.’s “Rubberboot Methods for the Anthropocene,” I  immerse myself in the watery bodies and let my sensory apparatuses guide me. During this process, I allow ideas to naturally surface and take form. On the journey unexpectedly I am confronted with my physical vulnerability and my bodily fluids out of sync. This revelation broadens my perspective, leading me to consider the interconnected urbanized and inner human waters within the greater web of entanglements. 

Ideas for this work materialize through analog photographic techniques, including photograms and chemigrams, taken at the water’s edge as well as using scientific methods for hydro-probing and testing blending art and science in my exploration.

Excerpt by Astrida Neimanis and diary by me.

An interactive environment created using 3ds max and Unreal software. The project puts the player in the role of a castaway who finds himself on a deserted island overgrown with tall bushes and inhabited by insect-like creatures. The person using the project finds a collection of elements that are interpretations of children’s toys, remnants of the Anthropocene and whirling insects, accompanied by the melody of a lullaby. These objects allude to the need for arrangement and redirection of attention, which is reinforced in humans from birth as a cure for anxiety and loneliness.

In the island’s playground, the player must manipulate objects to move through the environment. The process of rearranging the island’s elements involves clearing, depositing and changing the current of the river surrounding the island, which leads to a reduction in the insect population and then lowering the water level. Every move of the player, that is, every interference with the island’s ecosystem has negative consequences, and the player is responsible for his impact on the environment.

The project refers to the disastrous hydrological situation in Poland. It is contributed not only by climate change, but primarily by human activity. Catchment areas – i.e. areas from which water flows down watercourses into a single body of water, such as seas, rivers and lakes – have been heavily transformed and improperly drained. This, combined with heavy rains, prolonged periods of drought and faulty hydrological measures, means that most water is lost irretrievably. The water footprint of a statistical Pole is nearly 4,000 liters, and 80% of consumption comes from surface water. As a consequence of these factors, 50% of the country’s land area is at risk of drought and could become a desert in the future.






Lagunas is a fictional & interactive installation, a triptych between memory, death, and water. Prehistoric landscapes are the scenario for the chronicles of a drowning man, disclosing the rarity of water on Planet Earth.

Lagunas is dark, still, and somber. Silent landscapes, dying fish, the water of a thick dark lake, seaweed and mud cover the depths. Below the surface, a man drowns. From the abyss, archaic rocks are attracted by magnetic forces. Drilling machines emerge, turning between the cliffs, intercepting the stones in levitation and destroying the rocks, which fall back into the water. The abandoned body of the man, receives the impacts of the stones, wakes up, strives to save his life, and loses consciousness…

The drilling machines embody the hydraulic fracturing techniques used to extract fossils fuels from the shale rock of the Earth. The water contamination process consequence of the hydraulic rupture is visualized from close-up animations to larger-scale images where the fracking fluid travels through the pipelines reaching the groundwater. High-pressure impulsions cause the nearby shale rock to crack, creating fissures where fuels flow into the surface of the Earth, while rests of toxic fluids contaminate the water of the subsoil of the Earth.

Three water valves are used in Lagunas as interactive devices. When the water valves are rotated, image and sound are activated. Further than interacting with image and sound events, the level/amount of interaction of the participants is continuously analyzed. An interactive scenario adapts to the behavior of the spectators, allowing variations and deviations on the fictional order. The water tabs are used all along the experience as triggers & controllers for the interactive scenario of the installation.

The lakes and mountain landscapes have been shoot in Colombia, in the “Chingaza Natural National Park”, a natural reserve located in the Eastern Cordillera of the Andes, in the northeast of Bogotá. The underwater images were filmed in a lake in the Netherlands, using a high-speed cinema camera (Phantom-Flex) and shoot at 300fps. The landscapes & underwater images are composited with 3D (CGI) generated images.

Description from the artist’s website: Lagunas | Laura Colmenares Guerra (