Iceberg [Antropobsceno]
site specific (permanent installation)
ciment, neon, nature
10 x 7 x 11 m
Parque das Esculturas - Casa do Governador (Vila Velha, ES, Brazil)
Fernando Velázquez, 2021-22

Responsible architect: André Mafra
Structural calculation: Sergio Massao Adati
Landscaping: Henrique Zanetta and Andre Mafra
Construction: Lucas Resolve
Team: José Lucas Santos, Marcos Vinicius Nascimento da Silva, Vinicius de Lima Silva, Gustavo de Souza Lima, Alisson Gomes Dos Santos
Photography: Ignez Capovill
Text: Daniela Labra

Iceberg [Antropobsceno]

“I am a compostist, not a posthumanist: we are all compost, compost, not posthuman.”
Donna Haraway

Fernando Velázquez's research and artistic production has been widespread in the field of digital visuality and artificial intelligence for almost two decades. Known for the surfaces of moving images with great technological aesthetic appeal, his works, however, result from critical, interdisciplinary and transcultural investigations. Velázquez studied architecture, music, and fine arts in Uruguay, but earned a degree in Multimedia Design upon migrating to Brazil. Professor, curator and essayist, his entire production reflects a diverse body of thought based on a critical view of technology and capitalism, and on the knowledge of ancestral cultures, among others.

His work installed at Parque das Esculturas at Casa do Governador (Vila Velha-ES, Brazil) is a site-specific built with cement, plants, light and neon. Its shapes and dimensions evoke a kind of primitive temple with basic lines without ornaments, except for the light that makes the word “Antropobsceno" (Anthropobscene) shine inside. This neologism that gives the work its title amplifies the term Anthropocene with all the weight that surrounds it, in an artistic space that stimulates poetic, sensitive, spiritual, bodily and also critical experiences.

The term Anthropocene was coined by chemistry Nobel Prize-winning Paul Crutzen in 2000. Since then, it has generated several debates and is now informally accepted in the scientific community. As philosopher and activist Donna Haraway said, “from the beginning, uses of the term Anthropocene have emphasized human action in warming and acidifying the oceans through CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.” The Anthropocene thus became a reference for global environmental change, and defines a geological epoch thanks to the substantial planetary impact of human activities on terrestrial ecosystems. The realization of planetary deterioration by human action confronts us with the unsustainability of an autophagic way of existence. Contradictorily, it is the consumption of natural resources that increases the more automated and artificial contexts on which humanity has become dependent.

This temple to the anthropobscene offers, then, an opposite movement. It is a space of calm that leads to the contemplation of our inner times. It provides a temporality far removed from the anxiety of Cronos, the god of ancient Greece who spread across the planet with European colonization and today sets the pace of life with his ticking clocks: Time is Money! The permanent installation in the garden transports the visitor to a temporal consciousness compatible with what we really are: living organisms that are part of a gigantic spaceship called the Cosmos, where the planet Earth is a grain and humanity a fragile and vibrant atom.

"Anthropobscene" - which seems to have sprouted from the earth like a tuber and will be taken in an emergent way by the plants strategically placed in its surroundings - leads us to reflect on the urgency of considering all earthly organisms as our relatives. That's right. Why human and interspecies fraternity is the only way to change the course of planetary destruction that will wipe out our home and bloodline. For some, our species' way out lies in colonizing Mars. However, it is a salvation possible only for those who can afford the expensive ticket for a new, as yet unlikely, Noah's Ark, powered by electricity and fossil fuel as long as it exists.

Daniela Labra, May 2022

HARAWAY, Donna. Antropoceno, Capitaloceno, Plantationoceno, Chthuluceno: fazendo parentes. Translation by Susana Dias, Mara Verônica and Ana Godoy. In: ClimaCom Cultura Científica - pesquisa, jornalismo e arte Ι Ano 3 - N. 5 / April 2016. Pages 139-146.