Reverse Geology

by Karen Vermeren

28th November, 7pm

Artist book presentation ‘Reverse Geology’ by Karen Vermeren – 28th November, 7pm, Berlin

From June until September 2017, Karen Vermeren was an artist in residence at Air Berlin Alexanderplatz. Vermeren links the quarry Rüdersdorf with the city of Berlin, in which the limestone from the mine – transformed in cement and concrete – appears in new patterns and constellations. The transparent drawings are merged in an artist book and will be presented by the artist in Books People Places in Berlin. 

Fragment from the book by Elke Couchez:
“By way of a concluding remark, it is difficult not to touch on recent debates about the ‘geological turn’. Scientists from multiple fields have announced a new geological age, the so-called Anthropocene, succeeding the Holocene. They argue that in this new era, the single force influencing the planet is man’s impact on the earth, for instance in terms of affecting weather patterns and planetary biodiversity.[i]

Although Vermeren does not directly point to the disastrous environmental consequences of this man-centred era, her work raises questions about the various factors – physical, social, political, economic, cultural – that act upon and transform the earth. Instead of looking at the organic processes that have shaped the earth, as geologists do, she uses stones to consider the anthropogenic processes that shape our environment.

This book can thus be read as a case of reverse geology, reading time not backwards, into the deep geological time of the past, but forwards. And it thereby poses the fairly urgent question of how artists can creatively and critically respond to a changing geologic now.[ii]”

[i] Irmgard Emmelhainz, ‘Conditions of Visuality Under the Anthropocene and Images of the Anthropocene to Come’, E-Flux Journal 63 (2015): https://www.e-flux.com/journal/63/60882/conditions-of-visuality-under-the-anthropocene-and-images-of-the-anthropocene-to-come/.[ii] This was a central question of an interdisciplinary, artist-led project entitled The Geological Turn: Art and the Anthropocene, created in collaboration with atmospheric chemist and Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen, artist Rasheed Araeen, professor TJ Demos and geologist Jan Zalasiewicz. See: http://thegeologicalturn.tumblr.com.

Drawings: Karen Vermeren
Text (English): Elke Couchez 
Graphic Design: Louis Lüthi
Publisher: Stockmans Publications
Supported by AIR Berlin Alexanderplatz, Yellow Press, Sint Lucas School of Arts Antwerp, Kunsten & Erfgoed Vlaanderen
ISBN : 9789077207680
Paperback, Soft Cover, 88 p, A4,
Price 25€

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