05.    Gods of the Anthopocene (2023-2024)
Location: Biesdorf, Marzahn, Hellersdorf,
Berlin, Germany

Performative intervention, Red deer antler, paint, XLR cables, condenser stereo microphones, zoom recorder, headphones

Thanks to Ewa Dutkiewicz (Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte Berlin), Sybille Zellerhoff (Bezirksamt Marzahn-Hellersdorf), Marcela Pappen (photography)

Gods of the Anthropocene is a continuation of DTA’s previous project Ancestors Rising (2022). In both works, we focus on Mesolithic antler headdresses that were found in industrial or modern landscapes in Germany. The antlers, representing rare archeological objects, were most likely part of a shamanic garb, worn during important ceremonies in the stone age. They might have symbolized a connection with the wider universe, reaching out into the cosmos from the top of the head like antennae, channeling messages from higher spirits. Both works reactivate the prehistoric antler artefacts through public, site-specific interventions on their exact finding locations.

Central to the project is a replica of a 11.000-year-old antler headdress that was found in 1953 in Berlin, on the premises of the modern neighbourhoods Biesdorf, Marzahn and Hellersdorf. In anticipation of a new archeological excavation in the area, the project revisits the location and reinterprets the object and its purpose within an anthropogenic context. The replica is used as a boompole for two condenser microphones and as such redesigned into a communication device to talk to inhabitants near the findsite. 
During several days of recording, DTA documents the journey through the neighborhood, asking inhabitants how they see their role as the new “Gods of the Anthropocene”. By doing so, the work emphasises that the challenges with which inhabitants are faced in times of climate crisis are not new. At the end of the last ice age, the climate also changed rapidly, meaning that the first inhabitants of this area had to adapt to unpredictable weather patterns previously. The warming period was characterized by strong climate fluctuations, making it difficult for people to survive. They depended on many factors, such as weather and the migration patterns of the animals they hunted. They lived as nomads and their fate lay in the hands of the weather gods and other deities they worshipped. The Mesolithic shaman created change in the physical world from the visions he received from the universe, affecting health, fertility, crops and hunt.

The object reconnects us back to a time when humans still saw themselves as part of the natural environment, slowly discovering agriculture and the usage of fire while also trying to find a balance between the human usages of resourches and the grace of natural gods. Rituals of sacrifice were meant to keep the gods satisfied and the humans in check with the forces of nature, contributing to a holistic balance with their surroundings. In the industrial era and the Anthropocene, this balance has been disturbed. In this project we revisit this important moment in human evolution by reactivating the headdress on the location where it was originally found and instead of asking the gods for help, we turn to the people themselves. The final result of the work will be in the form of a sound piece.

© Deep Time Agency, 2022