The Blackwood Gallery in Mississauga, Ontario, has launched a multi-year, multi-media, multi-publics production on human-environment entanglements, called The Work of Wind: Air, Land, Sea. One of us (E. Sanders) opened their inaugural broadsheet with some reflections on the Geologic Time Spiral and the Anthropocene:

Drawing attention to the relative scales of geologic and human time, the Geologic Time Spiral is an apt starting place for an enquiry into the Anthropocene. Earth’s origin and early life are obscure, receding into a distant past some 4.5 billion years ago–but as time and the spiral unfold, more details emerge. Depicted is the story of a changing planet and evolving life, a story recovered from the rocks that form the planet’s crust. Human-time barely registers, yet our traces may define the next chapter. The spiral image also calls to mind oft-quoted lines from Yeats’s 1919 poem, ‘The Second Coming.’ The sentiment continues to resonate:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold…


More about The Work of Wind: Air, Land, Sea can be found here.


Image: J. Graham, W. Newman & J. Stacey, The Geological Time Spiral–A Path to the Past (ver. 1.2, 2008). US Geological Survey General Information