Steve Rowell

Un/Learning Archives in the Age of the Sixth Extinction


A workshop and fieldwork project as part of the Whole Life Academy II, scheduled for June 2020 online and April 2021 in Berlin at Silent Green and the Haus der Kulteren der Welt This workshop will examine archives as related to natural sites, the built environment, climate change, and deep time.

In what ways is the archive a viable repository of potential regenerative material for the future and in what ways is it an input in a positive feedback system of mutually assured destruction––an irrational fear response in the face of loss that condemns that which is not-yet-dead to the already-past?

What knowledge is needed to make these archives legible?

Does that knowledge exist in official archives, or does the “official” and “representational” character of archiving render illegible those nontraditional archives that don’t consider as a priori the separation of humans and non-humans?

Can interactions with nontraditional archives rebuild the archive as a non-imperial institution?

In collaboration with Priyanka Basu. Details forthcoming

The toxic chemical fog used by the Nazis to camouflage the German Battleship Tirpitz during an attack on Norway stunted the trees in Norwegian forests Evidence is still present in the trees' growth rings today. Dendrochronology, ecology, and war. Image: "The Wreck of the Tirpitz, June 1945" 1945, Stephen Bone, oil on board, Imperial War Museum, © IWM Art.IWM ART LD 5441

Sites of Interest
  • Museum of Natural History Berlin
  • The Seed Bank of the Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin
  • silent green Kulturquartier, Film Feld Forschung / Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art
  • Teufelsberg 
  • Sandra Jasper - geographer, Humboldt-Universität
  • Anna-Sophie Springer - curator and founder of K. Verlag
  • Florian Wüst - film curator, artist, and publisher