In the Holocene is based on a 2012 group exhibition of the same name at the MIT List Visual Arts Center that explored art as a speculative science, investigating principles more commonly associated with scientific or mathematical thought. Through the work of an intergenerational group of artists, the exhibition and book propose that art acts as an investigative and experimental form of inquiry, addressing or amending what is explained through traditional scientific or mathematical means: entropy, matter, time (cosmic, geological), energy, topology, mimicry, perception, consciousness, et cetera. Sometimes employing scientific methodologies or the epistemology of science, other times investigating phenomena not restricted to any scientific discipline, art can be seen as a form of inquiry into the physical and natural world. In this sense, both art and science share an interest in knowledge, realism, and observable phenomena, yet are subject to different logics, principles of reasoning, and conclusions.
Works by Berenice Abbott, John Baldessari, Rosa Barba, Robert Barry, Uta Barth, Joseph Beuys, Alighiero Boetti, Carol Bove, Marcel Broodthaers, Matthew Buckingham, Hanne Darboven, Thea Djordjadze, Aurélien Froment, Terry Fox, Laurent Grasso, João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva, Rashid Johnson, Kitty Kraus, Germaine Kruip, Daria Martin, John McCracken, Trevor Paglen, Man Ray, Ben Rivers, Pamela Rosenkranz, Robert Smithson, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Georges Vantongerloo, Lawrence Weiner
Berenice Abbott, Leonor Antunes, Marcel Broodthaers, Roger Callois, Hanne Darboven and Lucy R. Lippard, Eric Duyckaerts, Max Frisch, Frederich Froebel, Joao Maria Gusmao and Pedro Paiva, Florian Hecker and Quintin Meillasoux, Alfred Jarry, On Kawara, John Latham, Sol LeWitt, F. T. Marinetti, Daria Martin, Mario Merz, Helen Mirra, Man Ray, Ben Rivers and Mark von Schlegell, Pamela Rosenkranz and Erik Wysocan, Robert Smithson, Paul Valéry, Iannis Xenakis