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Microbiocene: Ancient ooze to future myths


"Welcome to the Microbiocene. Although, you’ve always been here. The Microbiocene, an ancient and ongoing epoch, has been unfolding and expanding since the beginning of life nearly 4 billion years ago. Overarching the Holocene, the Pleistocene, and our current, forty year-old era contestably named Anthropocene, the Microbiocene will continue on, far beyond our species’ lifespan. Now, as we become aware of the tremendous impact our species has upon the planet and its biosphere, we seek guidance from our tiny ancestors..."

Microbiocene materially explores past, present and future life on Earth by translating hidden information from deep in the ocean to tell tales of ancient ecologies and inspire new narratives. By analysing the microfossil molecules of Ehux (Emiliania huxleyi) left within the sea sediment, ancient environmental conditions are revealed. This data combined with poetic speculation construct past and future myths, which can be found on the monument written in ‘microglyphs’ - a microbe-centric language system co-created by the collaborating artists and scientists.

The monumental sculpture is 3D-printed using the sea sediment from the studies. The nature of the bioinspired shapes combined with the 3D-printing techniques create an aesthetic which references both the information rich layers of sea sediment and future experimental architecture. Thus, Microbiocene presents a point in time where we start carving out ways of moving away from narratives of the Anthropocene and into the mindset and materiality of deep time. By reading the relics of this future archaeological site, visitors are invited to explore and imagine what we can learn from more-than-human ‘kindoms’.