This image is taken from the Geologic Time Viewer, a project presented last week at MIT, which shows how materials created over millions of years in geologic time are now a part of our everyday lives.

The Viewer (you can see six panels from it below, but you really need to look at the whole thing) was designed by Smudge Studio's Elizabeth Ellsworth and Jamie Kruse, who also created the Friends of the Pleistocene project. They explain:

Unlike the official Geologic Time Scale-our Viewer does not end with the present as culmination. Instead, we locate the present as the middle of geologic time. Neither beginning nor end, the present is where geologic and human forces are in the midst of unfolding and enfolding. The right represents time past, the left, how geologic time has been enculturated by human design in the present.

Through a window cut in the middle of a geologic time scale, users view their surroundings as the present geologic era—a qualitatively new era called the Anthropocene. Unlike all geologic strata that came before, the Anthropocene's strata will include a distinct layer of sediment containing elements unique because of their human design (ie nuclear fallout and plastic).

The Viewer's text and graphic design suggest that all geologic time is contemporary; the materialities of every previous geologic epoch flow into the present-as-middle and give form to our daily lives. Here, these materials are continuously remixed by geologic forces and enculturated by human design as products, limits and affordances.

Geologic Time Viewer via Smudge Studio