Cheng Guo (China)
A collaboration with: Institute for Environmental Studies - VU University Amsterdam
Anon. investigates the intriguing micro- and macro-entanglements of culture, technology
and nature through an intervention in geological history: an attempt to extract and erase
physical human traces, or ‘hyperobjects’ (e.g. artifacts, microplastics, industrial
chemicals and other types of anthropogenic homo-matters) from 1 m2 of reclaimed land.
In the process of artificially transforming the engineered land into the “non-artificial”, the
invisible records of modern humanity are revealed and a new mystery is created as an
archeological puzzle for future intelligent beings. We are left in the now with questions
surrounding the essence of human activities and the relation of these ‘hyperobjects’ with
the world, in this age of Anthropocene.
The jury found this project to be a compelling and poetic means to question human impact on the land, and the potential futility of attempting that impact’s erasure. In recursive layers, human effort washes away human effort in a performance, involving the transformation of land that was never land even to begin with. The jury was impressed by the artist’s planning and investment in both the practical and conceptual aspects of his proposal.