The Anthropocene Air Archive
Kronebreen, Svalbard, Norway
Glaciers provide a vertical timeline of Earth’s atmosphere. When it comes to glacial ice, time is directly correlated to depth below the surface. Older, deeper ice is flattened into exceedingly small layers. The increased pace of glacial melt associated with human industrial activity precipitates the increased loss of Earth’s climate archive and connection to our planet’s past. Time on the order of millennia risks disappearing in a handful years.
The project proposes an archive of the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution sited inside of a retreating glacier on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. The project is primarily a speculative building, an ecological artifact, that aims to reframe humans’ relationship to climate change and serve as a record of climatic decline for future civilizations.
The Anthropocene Air Archive is centered around a vertical ‘carving’ mechanism that simultaneously harvests ice cores and spatially translates the climate data encapsulated within through excavation. The excavation of the archive takes place over five years and is theoretically powered by the momentum generated by a landscape scheme of stakes. The stakes move with the downward flow of the glacier’s ice and are lost to its upward retreat. The glacier’s gradual disappearance works to preserve the atmospheric archive contained within its ice.
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