Mark Williams encourages us as members of the anthropoceneto rethink our self-proclaimed geological hegemony -as it were- and confronts us with our collective arrogance on a geo-temporal scale and platform. Williams begins by questioning if the anthropocenereally exists and if humans are really significant to geological change. As a Professor of Geology who uses preset-day earth processes as a key to the past, he posits that the past four hundred, million years can she light on the true scale of our geological impact. At Sonic Acts 2015 the audience was briefly guided through planet Earth’s evolutionary timeline, which bears 4 major changes in the biosphere. Changes in the environmental and geological components of the planet over time appear to be a common occurrence. Thus the anthropocene-described as an epoch of geological time with signals of us embedded in rock- is merely a succession in the geological record as opposed to a unique global phenomenon. Of course there are differences between the anthropoceneand other geological epochs in terms of influential agents, however the key difference –which may as well be a source of change- is the existence of sentience in our geological era; there is now a capacity for geological imagination. Even of one could argue that all of these changes are transient, if we would disappear there would be clear lasting evidence of our existence. Mark Williams maintains that we are at the beginning of the anthropoceneand that the processes taking place that sustain this epoch are only accelerating. Williams wants us to think of our geological impact over time. This notion is perfectly demonstrated in the work of filmmaker Lukas Marxt who aims to capture time. While viewing the works of Lukas Marxt both post-apocalyptic and prehumen landscapes come to mind. In 2010 he began working with landscapes while he was storm hunting, leading him to inspiring places such as an oil platform, and artic and desert landscapes. Marxt chooses to isolate himself in such places in order to ponder being and existing within the landscape and making human time visible. His film High Tide that screened at Sonic Acts 2015 is one of three films, which allow us to think about how one perceives time in these particular spaces. In High Tide we seem to be standing on a boat sailing along a mountainside. The water is calm and all one can hear is a seemingly distant rumbling that is the sound of the engine along with a moving body of water. The boat is sailing quite fast, however our perception is that of a slow succession due to our focusing on the remote mountains moving slowly along the horizon. The spectacle is almost hypnotizing, until you are disrupted by a second rumbling noise as the boat begins to turn. Within this 360-degree rotation of the boat we sequentially come to face the open sea, another mountain slope, a glacier (or maybe another chain of mountains in the distance), and a chain of mountains once more. Our sailing has thus been interrupted by a panoramic view within the rotation of the vehicle transporting us, only to stop and face the mountains we were facing before. However this time while facing the maintain slopes we are no longer moving in any direction in the space; we are standing still. In our stillness we perceive a semi-circular wave surrounding us. Behind this wave the water is patterned with the waves of a calm seascape, which looks rough in comparison to the flattened glass-like surface of the water before the wave alongside our boat. The image we see is at once the beginning and the end of our journey, for Marxt it is the minute intervention in-between the two moments –the rotation of the boat- that is most interesting; he describes this as human time as apposed to geological time. The most interesting moment for me during High Tide was the last image wherein we see that the intervention of human time still alters the image of geological space. Even though we are looking at the same mountain slope, there is evidence of our time spent within this pristine space; manifested within a wave segmenting two layers of water; one ripple and one flat. Arguably these layers can be seen as akin to the geological layers described by Mark Williams earlier today. Our movements in the space have been imbedded within the ocean surface directly surrounding us, while in the distance geological time seems to move on without is. We are but at the brim of our traces left within the geological space. This still image at the end of Marxt’s film is a perfect representation of Williams statement that we are at the beginning of the anthropocene and that people should take a closer look at our affects on the planet. We are too close to the rim of our geological epoch to stand out significantly against the grand and seemingly still image of a larger and overarching geological time.

Still of the film High Tide by Lukas Marxt
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