Objects of the Misanthropocene: Unearthing futures

26th Sep 2022  -  10th Feb 2023
Octagon Gallery

Free. Closed Christmas – New Year.

Sent back in time from distant futures, the objects in this Octagon Gallery exhibition were unearthed from a remarkable crash site discovered during the construction of the UCL Student Centre in 2012. What they reveal is set to revolutionise our understanding of the past, future and time itself.

Through painstaking forensic investigation, a team from the UCL Institute of Archaeology has identified that the crash site contained the remains of a time-travelling vehicle carrying objects from a future museum. Was the museum attempting to send the objects back to us as a warning?

Curators from this future museum present us with nematode worms put to work by humans, a pocket-sized T-rex worshipped by an extinction cult, and a gilded horn controversially removed from the last unicorn. Other objects reveal the harsh realities of the Survival Lottery, in which only the winners receive sufficient resources to survive, a planning application by a family of potato migrants, human-fungi hybrids, representing a new and resilient stage in human evolution, and edible human meat.

These discoveries come at a time in which the world is grappling with the implications of entering the Anthropocene, the geological epoch in which humans have irreversibly altered Earth’s climate and caused the depletion of resources on a planetary scale.

The unearthed objects reveal what lies in store for us. They announce what the excavation team now term the ‘Misanthropocene’, our future world ravaged by apocalyptic damage, unable to sustain human futures.

This exhibition presents these extraordinary finds to the public for the first time, as a provocative message sent back from the edge of the Anthropocene.

Read about the origins of this extraordinary project

Find out more about the Illegal Museum of Beyond

2023 free events programme

Artist Talk with Xiao Yuhan
Wednesday 18 January 2023, 13:30

Exhibition Mis-tour with Deep Love
Wednesday 1 February 14:15 and Thursday 2 February 18:00

Fossils from Another World
Thursday 16 February 2023, 10:00 and 14:00

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