An exhibition created as a result of a joint investigation by architects, scientists, hackers and artists shows how forgotten research from 1971 which with Rijeka represents a predecessor of the idea of the Anthropocene can be applied as a tool for the prediction of the future of work and production in a space.
The exhibition project Terra Effluviens of designer and art historian Nikola Bojić, Almost fifty years after the creation of the original study ‘Systematisation of the Phenomenon of the Human Environment’ by Croatian architect Branko Petrović published in 1971 brings the original diagram from the study back to life, and to a very specific place, to Rijeka. The study was published in Yugoslavia amidst the Cold War tensions, of numerous technological and futuristic visions of the time and growing environmental problems, and then remained forgotten and hidden.
In the study were presented thirty or so diagrams which offered an insight into the entwinement of human, technological and natural systems. In the study Petrović connected technological predictions, new understandings of time and space and their relationships with the future dynamic of the planetary ecosystem, which from a contemporary perspective seems like an analytical vision of the crisis of the ecosystem which we find ourselves in today.
Due to its specific industrial history which has not only irreversibly redefined the natural environment but also the collective consciousness of people that has been created by work over the years, Rijeka appears like a perfect “zone” for the critical pondering of work which surpasses the current assumptions of exploitation, production and exponential growth. With its coastal and river ecological systems, networked with dense industrial infrastructure, Rijeka has served as an operational model for the study of the term “terra effluviens” (loosely translated as “land of toxic flow”), which was the central theme of the research.
The project connects students, theorists, scientists, hackers, architects and artists in a series of field experiments, speculative designer practices, discussions and the manufacture of prototypes, with the aim of the production of information and new knowledge which give an insight into the environmental condition of this space. By connecting such a forgotten study from 1971 with contemporary theoretical, artistic and designer research, the exhibition offers a new insight into the influence of humanity on the Earth that is so strong that the need for the proclamation a new epoch called the Anthropocene has emerged.
The project is completed by a new publication which brings together the results of the workshops, artistic works and theoretical texts written for this occasion, organised in relation to Petrović’s original, also re-published, texts and diagrams.