• Utopia 500

Anthropocene and Art

Climate Change is a threat that negatively affects the world and all living things in it. It is not only an atmospheric phenomenon but also an ethical, cultural, economic, social, political, and evil problem for mankind and the future. We are living in a time of the "Anthropocene." The term Anthropocene means that it is the current epoch that began in the 1800s with the onset of industrialization and is regarded as the period in which human activities and societies have become a pervasive global geophysical force on climate and environment. As humans have entered the Anthropocene phase, awareness of human impacts on the environment has grown on a global scale.


Illustration by Adele Peters


This, of course, had an impact on art, artists, music, and musicians around the world. For example, Australian singer, songwriter, and composer Nick Cave has a song called "Anthrocene" (2016) in which he sings about the devastation in the world. He says, "All the fine winds gone/And this sweet world is so much older/Animals pull the night around their shoulders/Flowers fall to their naked knees." Also, Canadian musician Grimes has an album titled "Miss Anthropocene" (2020), which she says is about the "anthropomorphic goddess of climate change." Last year, on December 14, 2021, one of Turkey's most successful rock groups, Manga, released its album "Anthroposen 001."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14O_HOQXSEM&ab_channel=NickCave%26TheBad



So, last May, we hosted Manga at Ege University as part of the event "The Anthropocene Through the Eyes of Art, Literature, and Music," organized by the Faculty of Literature, Department of American Culture and Literature. As 4th-grade students, we opened Manga's "Anthropocene 001 album" for discussion with group members, Ferman Akgül, Yağmur Sarıgül, Cem Bahtiyar, and Özgür Can Öney, on academic discourse. Dr. Nesrin Yavaş, from the Department of American Culture and Literature, moderated the discussion. She introduced the topic by saying, "Basically, what is claimed with the concept of the Anthropocene is that the human species has turned into a powerful force that can negatively change the natural cycles of the earth. It has become a dominant power that endangers the health and life of other living things with which it shares the earth, and a leading actor that damages ecosystems on a global scale." It seems that we have already destroyed our planet and our future.



Human impact has reached a point where our influence on the Earth's system far exceeds the Earth's natural cycles. This is where art enters the scene and speaks about big corporations, corruption, poverty, and social injustice as opposed to the authorized or formal texts that show nothing but scientific language and graphics. Therefore, Manga's album "Antroposen 001" offers us a not-so-dystopian world. When asked about the album, Ferman Akguel said, "We made an effort to make them [listeners] aware of the Anthropocene and to bring awareness of this issue to a broader mass. That is why we think our audience is listening to this album consciously. We were afraid of the image we found, and that fear inspired us. There are many things that we are inspired by: Love, fear, anxiety, etc. We have taken a path, and we try to express it in words and music."




Art, music, and literature have a great impact on our lives, and they can raise awareness of many problems in the world. Therefore, they are of enormous importance for the success of sustainability and the fight against the climate crisis. Music has a transformative power and can easily explain what is difficult to explain, whether it is with sounds or lyrics. Dr. Nesrin Yavaş added, "Manga's album 'Anthropocene' is of great importance. What we need are storytellers. This panel is a combination of different stories." Since climate change is an insidious force, we cannot know its exact consequences, and the future is unknown. Moreover, people do not believe in something because they do not know how it will turn out. At this point, music in its context can reach a wider audience by touching our emotions and linking them with emotional lyrics. With Manga's "Anthroposen 001" album, we can feel full of emotions within social, cultural, political, and economic dimensions, and sympathize with people, animals, and nature that we find difficult to separate ourselves from. Manga's drummer of Manga, Özgür Can Öney also said, "When it comes to climate and environmental pollution, there will be no activism or artistic production motive on this issue as long as people living in their homes are not affected. As long as we continue to consume technology in the name of comfort, this problem will persist."



Photo: Markus Spiske


Art, music, and literature have a great impact on our lives, and they can raise awareness of many problems in the world. Therefore, they are of enormous importance for the success of sustainability and the fight against the climate crisis. Music has a transformative power and can easily explain what is difficult to explain, whether it is with sounds or lyrics. Dr. Nesrin Yavaş added, "Manga's album 'Anthropocene' is of great importance. What we need are storytellers. This panel is a combination of different stories." Since climate change is an insidious force, we cannot know its exact consequences, and the future is unknown. Moreover, people do not believe in something because they do not know how it will turn out. At this point, music in its context can reach a wider audience by touching our emotions and linking them with emotional lyrics. With Manga's "Anthroposen 001" album, we can feel full of emotions within social, cultural, political, and economic dimensions, and sympathize with people, animals, and nature that we find difficult to separate ourselves from. Manga's drummer of Manga, Özgür Can Öney also said, "When it comes to climate and environmental pollution, there will be no activism or artistic production motive on this issue as long as people living in their homes are not affected. As long as we continue to consume technology in the name of comfort, this problem will persist."



Many countries around the world are suffering from unbearably high temperatures. However, people do not react and act because they do not realize the seriousness of the situation. Therefore, it is crucial for artists to create a platform for raising awareness about social, political, and environmental issues, and Manga can represent climate change beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries and make us think outside the box. What they have done opens up visions to see the likely consequences of climate change.


Ferman Akgül, Ege University, 2022 / Ege Ajans






Sources

Soylu, Efe Ufuk, and Muhammet Atagün. “Türkiye’nin Sevilen Grubu Manga, Egeli Gençlerle Buluştu.” Ege Ajans, Ege Ajans, 18 May 2021, https://www.euegeajans.com/index.php/2022/05/18/turkiyenin-sevilen-grubu-manga-egeli-genclerle-bulustu/.



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