An ongoing series of video art postcards or “scenes” from this brave new geological era that we suddenly find ourselves in, the Anthropocene…

AnthropoScene I : Breakdown

The traffic just seems to be getting worse every day at Iceland's iceberg lagoon, Jökulsárlón...
Dur: 4'08" / Cinema 4K HDR video with stereo audio. Made during a residency at SÍM Iceland.

Australian video artist Adam Sébire brings wry black humour to global warming’s visible effects at one of the fast-retreating glaciers, Breiðamerkurjökull, in Iceland's Vatnajökull National Park: its astonishing iceberg procession is here reimagined as a traffic jam of cinematic proportions.

AnthropoScene II : Tideline

The tideline on an island's black-sand beach is blown ever higher.

Dur: 2'30" / FHD single-channel, stereo audio. Exhibited as a work-in-progress at the SÍM Gallery in central Reykjavík during Nov/Dec 2017.

Composer Martin Franke & filmmaker/video artist Adam Sébire explore anthropogenic sea level rise in this work filmed with UAV (drone) off remote Eastern Iceland.  Reverse motion creates an eerie prolepsis, a kind of previsional prescience of ever rising high tide lines.

Video © 2017 Adam Sébire (AU)   
Music © 2017 Martin Franke (DE/NL)

AnthropoScene III : Hellisheiði; or, the post-modern Prometheus

(Split-screen for preview only; to be presented as a 3 screen work, or 2 screens + core sample in vitrine). Premiére at Deutsches Museum, Munich, from 17 October 2018, part of the exhibition (Um)weltschmerz: An Exercise in Humility and Melancholia.

The Climeworks CarbFix2 project at Hellisheiði, Iceland is the world’s first industrial-scale "carbon scrubbing" trial to capture carbon dioxide (CO₂ ) directly from Earth's atmosphere. This CO₂ is mixed with water and pumped through domed injection wells into the volcanic basalt below, where it reacts and solidifies as a new type of rock.

Most climate change policy tacitly assumes the success of such geoengineering projects — despite the unknown long-term consequences of "hacking" our planet.

At COP21 in Paris, December 2015, the world’s leaders stated their “aspiration" to limit global warming to an upper limit of 1.5ºC this century. On the planet's present trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions there is no way to achieve this without what is termed geoengineering: using technology — most of it unproven — to “engineer" the climate.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is arguably the most benign of these technologies. But despite being politically attractive it has proven both difficult and expensive. Furthermore, all forms of climate engineering potentially come with what ethical philosophers such as Clive Hamilton term “moral hazards”.

Hellisheiði in Iceland is the other-worldly site of the CarbFix2 & Climeworks projects. Since October 2017 this test site has been "carbon scrubbing" directly from the surrounding air, mixing the captured CO₂ with water, and injecting it via domed wells into basalt rock formations surrounding Hengill, an active volcano, where it mineralises: anthropogenic carbon sequestered as anthropic rock.

This ongoing work comprises photographs, a three-screen installation, or possibly a standalone vertical video (below, left).

Homeostasis (see vertical video, left)

In a future geological era complex lifeforms have disappeared but the planet appears to be correcting an atmospheric imbalance itself as geological processes reverse. After only a few hundred thousand years, equilibrium — homeostasis — will have returned.

Tallscreen (vertical video) artwork made to accompany an exhibition of still photos documenting early geoengineering and carbon sequestration attempts at Hellisheði, Iceland, in late 2017.

Dur: 2'18" / FHD HDR single-channel video, 2.1 stereo audio.

Photographic stills & video art exhibited as a work-in-progress at SÍM Reykjavík, December 2017, and premiering at the Deutsches Museum, Munich in October 2018.

CarbFix 1 CO₂ injection test-site for carbon capture and sequestration technology.

CarbFix 1 CO₂ injection test-site for carbon capture and sequestration technology.

AnthropoScene IV : ∆Asea-ice (final shot from a work in progress)

How do we know if we’re seeing the "fingerprints" of anthropogenic global warming on an event?

Climate change attribution research or probabilistic event attribution is a relatively new field of enquiry. Using the formula from climate scientists Notz & Stroeve* the artist was able to calculate how much sea-ice would be destroyed by his emissions (5.23 tonnes of CO₂e) as he flew to northwest Greenland to document it. The work touches on the cognitive dissonances underlying climate change psychology.

The full equation is:

climate change event attribution — sea ice loss equation

...which, for 5.23 tonnes of CO₂e, works out at

     15.69m² ± 1.57m² of sea-ice permanently lost.

(Video above is the final shot from a 3-screen work-in-progress to be completed early 2019.)

* Peer-reviewed paper at: Notz, D., & Stroeve, J. (2016): Observed Arctic sea-ice loss directly follows anthropogenic CO₂ emission. Science, 354, 747–750.

©2019 Adam Sébire