Blind Sensorium
Timeline preview

The interactive timeline is a digital adaptation of the video installation Blind Sensorium. Il paradosso dell’Antropocene—a synthesis of more than ten years of fieldwork by Armin Linke and his collaborators Giulia Bruno and Giuseppe Ielasi. Using both photography and film, they have produced a visual anthropology of the politics of climate change. Linke and his team have followed and interviewed scientists, politicians, and activists and have gained access to laboratories, data centers, and political negotiation rooms—sites of resource extraction and critical locations for the Earth’s ecosystems. The resulting film presents an image of the entangled relations, the deadlock between politics, science, economics, finance, culture, and the logic of technological innovation.

This long-term project resulted in a 103-minute film accompanied by a 17-meter-long timeline—including videos, sound, photographs, and text—visualizing and deepening the scenes and topics of the film. On the tablets, additional footage serves as footnotes and researchers react with short lectures to the different issues presented in the video installation. The digital translation presents selected episodes of the main film and the associated timeline, with a commentary by Armin Linke.

Paul J. Crutzen interviewed in his home by Giulia Bruno and John Palmesino on the occasion of his 80th birthday celebrations organized by the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Mainz, Germany


Paul J. Crutzen is a Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric chemist who discovered that nitrogen oxides quicken the breakdown of the Earth’s ozone layer. His explanation of atmospheric chemical reactions has had an enormous impact on global awareness of environmental pollution and climate change. He is also known for popularizing the term “Anthropocene” to describe a proposed new geological era in which human actions have a decisive effect on the Earth.

John Palmesino, Territorial Agency, Co-founder of the Anthropocene Observatory

“I segni del tempo”: Revolutions and Recourses in the Anthropocene

Berlin, Germany, 06/01/2019

John Palmesino is an architect and urbanist. Together with Ann-Sofi Rönnskog, he has established Territorial Agency, an independent organization based in London that combines architecture, analysis, advocacy, and action for integrated spatial transformation of contemporary territories. Territorial Agency works on comprehensive projects for the strengthening of regional performance and in the organization of seminars, workshops, exhibitions, and public events as a process of building capacity to innovate. Recent projects include Anthropocene Observatory, Museum of Oil, The Coast of Europe, North. Their work has been presented in international exhibitions and they lecture worldwide. Palmesino is a fellow of the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, University of London. He has led the research activities of ETH Studio Basel – Contemporary City Institute, and he is a founding member of “multiplicity,” a research network dealing with contemporary architecture, urbanism, arts, and general culture.

Will Steffen talks about the “Utility of the Anthropocene to the Earth System science community” at the 4th Anthropocene Working Group Meeting, held in Mainz, Germany, September 5–8, 2018, hosted by the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany


In this lecture, climate-change expert Will Steffen gives a detailed description of the use of the term “Anthropocene” and related research agendas within the Earth System sciences. Will Steffen is a researcher at the Australian National University, Canberra. He has served as the Science Adviser to the Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and was chair of the Antarctic Science Advisory Committee. From 1998 to 2004, he was the Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), a coordinating body of national environmental change organizations based in Stockholm.

Firefighters working in the peatland forest, Kecamatan Sungai Sembilan, Kota Dumai, Sumatra, Indonesia


Indonesia has drained many of its peatlands to grow oil palms and other crops and has seen some of the most devastating peat fires over the past decade. Fires are extremely rare in non-degraded and non-drained peatland, but fires in drained peatlands can last for weeks, sometimes even months, burning right down into the thick layers of peat across large areas. Worldwide, peatlands store massive amounts of carbon in thick blankets of wet organic matter accumulated in the ground over centuries. Though they cover just three to five percent of Earth’s land surface, peatlands store a quarter of all soil carbon; thus, the fires that go along with the transition to palm oil plantations constitute- one of the world’s worst environmental disasters of recent years.

Friends of National Parks Foundation (FNPF), reforestation site “Beguruh Reforestation Project,” villagers from Sungai Sekonyer replanting the trees in areas of forest destroyed by fire inside Kalimantan’s Tanjung Puting National Park (TPNP), Kumai, Central Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia


Friends of National Parks Foundation (FNPF) runs one Orangutan habitat restoration project in Kalimantan’s Tanjung Puting National Park, the largest national park in South East Asia, and another in Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve. Reforestation sites in Tanjung Puting are at Pesalat and Beguruh. The Beguruh site, a mixture of dry land and wetland peat swamp, is close to the Tanjung Harapan orangutan rehabilitation and release post. FNPF is growing saplings and integrating local people into its work, such as villagers from Sungai Sekonyer, who are filling polybags with soil for the seedlings. The area is severely degraded of trees, with natural tree regeneration restricted by Imperata, a weed that grows in the dry areas, and by blade grass and ferns in the wetland peat swamps.

Nayakrishi Andalon Ecological Farm, seed storage for traditional and local rice seeds, Tangail, Bangladesh


Activist and philosopher Farhad Mazhar initiated a local seed-storage facility in Bangladesh, aimed at resisting the industrial standardization by agribusinesses and dedicated to preserving the countless varieties of rice once cultivated in the area.

Municipality greenhouse nursery, Bahrain


Geographically located in an area of low rainfall and poor soil conditions, Bahrain has been seeking to redevelop its industrial agricultural production in recent decades. Before the discovery and development of the oil industry, date palm cultivation and the marine pearl industry were the country’s main sources of income.

Eduardo Neves, Professor of Archeology at the Museum of Archeology and Ethnology – University of São Paulo (MAE-USP), at the National Museum of Brazil/Federal University of Rio de Janeiro – (UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Eduardo Góes Neves is Professor of Archaeology at the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, and a leading researcher working in Amazonia. From 1995 to 2010, he directed the Central Amazon Project in the Brazilian Amazon. He co-curated the exhibition and catalogue Unknown Amazon: Culture in Nature in Ancient Brazil (British Museum, 2001). His current area of research is Southwestern Amazonia, at the border of Bolivia and Brazil, where he has been studying mid-Holocene occupations on fluvial shell mounds, as well as the archaeology of late precolonial mound-building societies.

The building of the National Museum of Brazil was largely destroyed by a fire in 2018. The fire destroyed the museum's collection of thousands of indigenous artifacts from the country's pre-Columbian Indo-American culture.

Gifford Lectures, Edinburgh, UK


Bruno Latour is a French sociologist of science, anthropologist, and an influential theorist in the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS). After teaching at the École des Mines de Paris (Centre de Sociologie de l’Innovation) from 1982 to 2006, he became Professor of Sciences Po Paris (2006–17), where he was Scientific Director of the Sciences Po Médialab. Bruno Latour is one of the most influential intellectuals in the Western world today. Latour’s work on modernity, the meaning of things, or actor-network theory has been and continues to be widely and intensively discussed in both the natural sciences and the humanities. He is the recipient of the 2013 Holberg Memorial Prize, which is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize, for the social sciences and humanities.

2013 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP19), Warsaw, Poland


In November 2013, the 19th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP19 or CMP9) in Warsaw was where delegates met to negotiate a global climate agreement. The conference, which took place in Warsaw’s main football stadium, was characterized mainly by disagreements over damage and loss compensation payments by developed countries to developing ones. Here, the temporary architectural structure for the event–including its heating system– can be seen on the stadium’s turf.

German Climate Computing Center (Deutsches Klimarechenzentrum DKRZ), Hamburg, Germany


This Climate Computing Center is one of Germany’s most energy-intensive buildings; it stores the data of past global climate history. On the roof, the fans of the ventilation system needed to cool its supercomputers can be seen.

The German Climate Computing Center conducts high-performance computing for research into climate and Earth systems. A large building constructed around the computer room cools the machines. Every six years, computers are upgraded to more energy-efficient models. The annual electricity bill for the German Climate Computing Center runs to about two million euros.

“So it is not just about storage space but also about storage time. Storage spaces are cooled rooms—be they film archives, meat halls, or computer centers. The cooling tries to solve the problem of storage time. We encounter a strange paradox in our contemporary data world.” Peter Weibel

Prof. Dr. Birgit Schneider, Professor of Media Ecology at the Institute of Arts and Media, University of Potsdam

From Data to Climate Worlds: A Short Genealogy of Climate Maps

Berlin, Germany, 03/02/2019

Birgit Schneider holds a PhD in cultural studies and is currently Professor of Media Ecology at the Potsdam University Institute for Arts and Media, in the European Media Studies program. She studied art history and media studies, philosophy, and media art at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design; Goldsmiths, University of London; and the Humboldt University of Berlin. Her research focuses on technical and scientific images, with a strong emphasis on questions of mediality, media aesthetics, codes, diagrams, and textuality from the 17th century to the present. Her current research concentrates on the visual communication of climate since 1800 and on a genealogy of climate-change visualization between science, aesthetics, and politics.

Paul N. Edwards (University of Michigan), Paris


Paul N. Edwards is Professor in the interdisciplinary School of Information and the Department of History at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on the history, politics, and culture of information technologies and infrastructures. He is the author of A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming (MIT Press, 2010) and co-editor of Changing the Atmosphere: Expert Knowledge and Environmental Governance (MIT Press, 2001). His current research concerns the history and future of knowledge infrastructures, as well as further work on the history of climate science, including climate data and climate models, and other large-scale information infrastructures.

In the interview, he explains the science behind global warming and the history of atmospheric modeling: how scientists learned to understand the atmosphere, to measure it, trace its past, and model its future.

Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO), Laboratories, Awali, Bahrain


An octane motor-test facility for fuel quality control; various chemical quality tests; black bottles with different batches of petroleum for quality testing.

The Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO), the national oil company of Bahrain, operates oil wells and laboratories. The first oil well on the Arabian side of the Persian Gulf, oil first spurted from it on October 16, 1931. The initial oil flow rate was 9,600 barrels per day; at its peak, in the 1970s, the well produced 70,000 barrels.

Jan Zalasiewicz talks about “Neobiota signals for biostratigraphy” and various ways of measuring the “human impact” through the distribution of species at the 4th Anthropocene Working Group Meeting, held in Mainz, Germany, September 5–8, 2018, hosted by the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany


Jan Zalasiewicz is Chair of the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) of the International Commission on Stratigraphy—the body that is considering the Anthropocene as a potential addition to the Geologic Time Scale (GTS). A field geologist, paleontologist, and stratigrapher, Jan Zalasiewicz is Senior Lecturer in Geology and Professor of Palaeobiology at the University of Leicester, UK. He teaches various aspects of geology and Earth history, and his research on fossil ecosystems and environments, spanning over half a billion years of geological time, includes the study of the Anthropocene concept. He also writes popular science books on the evolution of our planet.

Centre for Ice and Climate, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Ice core repository with cores from Antarctica and Greenland, Copenhagen, Denmark


Ice cores provide a comprehensive and dense climate history and are able to document the full dynamics of the integrated atmosphere-ocean-ice system. The Centre for Ice and Climate reconstructs the climate of the distant past by using ice cores from Greenland and global climate models. Here, a researcher at the Centre for Ice and Climate at the Niels Bohr Institute is preparing ice cores for investigation—for the purposes of which they have to warm them up from minus 25/30°C to minus 15/20°C.

Glaciologist Jørgen Peder Steffensen, Professor and Ice Core Curator explains the process of ice core analysis and how to interpret ice-core derived data in a broad, climatic context.

Armin Linke in collaboration with Giulia Bruno and Giuseppe Ielasi
Blind Sensorium. Il paradosso dell’Antropocene

Video installation, 103 min, loop, 2019

Camera, editing: Armin Linke
Camera, editing: Giulia Bruno
Sound design, editing: Giuseppe Ielasi
Location sound: Renato Rinaldi, Armin Linke
Color grading: Giulia Bruno
Video-archive programming: Nicholas Boncardo de Leo
Video-archive assistance: Martina Pozzan

ROV video archive material courtesy of GEOMAR – Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel and Ghent University Marine Biology Research Group
Drone footage material courtesy of Irendra Radjawali

Blind Sensorium. Il paradosso dell’Antropocene – Timeline

Videos, audio files, C-prints, texts displayed on a 17-meter-long table, metal, wood, vinyl, tablets, headphones, magnets, 2019

Concept: Armin Linke, Giulia Bruno
Architecture: Aristide Antonas, Elina Axioti, Yannikos Vasiloulis
Graphic design: Mevis & van Deursen with Line Arngaard
Project management, editing: Kati Simon
Text: Armin Linke, Anselm Franke
Translation: Maria Nadotti (EN-IT), Stephen Piccolo (IT-EN)
Copy-editing, proofreading: Amanda Gomez, Hannah Sarid de Mowbray (EN)

The video installation and associated timeline Blind Sensorium. Il paradosso dell’Antropocene were commissioned and produced by Fondazione Matera-Basilicata 2019 as part of the Matera European Capital of Culture 2019 program and realized with the support of Fundació Sorigué (Lleida, Spain), TBA21–Academy, Montura/Tasci Srl, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Berlin.

Armin Linke’s fieldwork began with the Anthropocene Observatory project at Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Berlin, a cooperation with Territorial Agency (John Palmesino and Ann-Sofi Rönnskog) and HKW curator Anselm Franke. The next chapter of this research, Prospecting Ocean, was a comprehensive exhibition project commissioned and produced by the TBA21–Academy in partnership with the Institute of Marine Sciences of the National Research Council of Italy (CNR-ISMAR) and curated by Stefanie Hessler. Prospecting Ocean emerged from Linke’s long-term Anthropocene research and his participation in three expeditions to the Pacific Ocean with TBA21–Academy’s exploratory program The Current, curated by Ute Meta Bauer.

Blind Sensorium. Il paradosso dell’Antropocene
– Timeline preview

Digital adaptation of the video installation consisting of the main film and the associated timeline, videos, audio files, photographs, and texts, 2020

Concept: Armin Linke, Giulia Bruno
Design: Mevis & van Deursen with Line Arngaard
Programming: Line Arngaard with the kind help of Tomas Celizna
Production coordination and textual work: Kati Simon

Produced in collaboration with the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe as part of the virtual exhibition platform Critical Zones.