The idea that struck me the most about the lecture this week was the idea that there are some that think that the Anthropocene can be gathered together and put into an exhibit. While it is a hot topic that currently has been the topic of discussion for geologists and biologists, the idea that an era that is alive in the present day can be aggregated and described with any sort of credibility or relevancy at all. As was brought up in the lecture, “Today’s science is tomorrow’s history of science”. For example, while the current academic climate has a very negative view of the way that humans are treating their environment, there is a chance that developments will come about in the future that turn the negatives of today into positives in the future. If that does end up happening, our notions today that the world is in a state of crisis will look as foolish as the past scientifically believed idea of a geocentric solar system. It was interesting though to see the different takes that the museums took on the Anthropocene. The German museum seemed to take a forward-looking approach to what we might accomplish in the future, while the Smithsonian seemed to look more at past and present failures towards nature.
This is the topic that I have chosen to explore in my semester project. I am doing this through a study of how the relationship between humans and nature can be seen through stadiums. Stadiums are massive monuments that show human domination, but there are many cases of them failing and being left to ruin. As technology has progressed and architecture has made advances, stadiums have become comically large and grandiose in some circumstances. In a way, stadia represent man’s ultimate dominion over nature. Even the concept of building a stadium lends the assumption that those doing the construction have become superior over their environment. They are thriving so well in their circumstances that they have the time and resources to erect an arena made specifically for entertainment. Instead of focusing on subsistence needs or quality of living improvements, these people have decided that they would rather enjoy leisure. On average, rain causes baseball teams to cancel games 35 times per year. Periodically, snow causes events to be cancelled or relocated. Imagine a multibillion dollar, massive complex rendered useless due to some rain. Seems like poor planning to me.
For another example, some of the greatest ruins in the world are seen in Rome. The crown jewel of these ruins is, in fact, another stadium. The Coliseum, finished in the first century AD, was one of the first large scale stadiums constructed in the world. Along with the Circus Maximus, these two massive structures, holding 80,000 and 200,000, respectively, were grand shows of Roman prowess in an age where they dominated the known world. Many during the period likely thought that the reign of the Romans would be a permanent fixture, but as we know now, their period of dominance was temporary. In the same way today, one who visits a massive venue could think that man has become a dominant force in his arena, but that likely won’t be permanently true.