Watch This: Into Eternity

This month's viewing suggestion comes courtesy of the occasional League of Strangers' studio-wide existential crisis.

By: Phyllida Bluemel,   1 minute

Into Eternity

If copywriting’s about knowing your audience, how do you begin to communicate with a reader 100,000 years into the future?

Maybe it’s working with far-future-facing tech firms or grappling with a year of radical weather; but tea break chats in the League of Strangers’ studio have taken a turn for the somewhat apocalyptic these days. Enter the 2010 documentary Into Eternity.

Into Eternity charts the construction of ‘Onkalo’  (‘hiding place’), the Finnish government’s nuclear waste disposal scheme. It turns out the safest place to hide radioactive material is down a great big hole, carved into bedrock and sealed away from the unstable surface – prone to wars, earthquakes and ice ages and other such hiccoughs – for 100,000 years.

Framed in a mythic way that pre-empts how the deeply buried danger might morph into legend over time, the doc troubles over the semantics of talking to the far distant future. Do we leave a sign saying “Danger, do not dig”? Do we let time forget? And how do we know this hasn’t all happened before? The Chauvet cave paintings were daubed 30,000 years ago. In 100,000 years, will language bear any resemblance to the languages we know now? Will humans?

One for the philosophers, the writers, and anyone who fancies a harsh encounter with their own mortality. For days when a deadline’s looming and it helps to remember that, in the grand scheme of things, we’re hardly here at all.

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