© 2016 - IMPRINT
Dossiers
Authors

Editorial

Exploring the amorphous fabric of technologies, environments, and humans shaping Earth's critical future.

The technosphere is the defining matrix and main driver behind the ongoing transition of this planet into the new geological epoch of humankind, the Anthropocene. Stemming from the ubiquity of human culture and global technologies, it forms a new and highly dynamic component of the Earth system, amorphous in its gestalt yet powerful in altering the history of this planet and the conditions for life on it. Mobilizing and transforming massive amounts of materials and energy, it is comparable in scale and function to other terrestrial spheres such as the bio- and hydrosphere, with which it connects and intersects. Put differently, it constitutes a form of a higher ecology generated by the cumulative interweaving of technologies and natural environments to the point where both become inseparable. Manifest since at least the mid-twentieth century with the onset of the “Great Acceleration,” the technosphere has now reached an enormous, not yet determinate potential to alter the surface of the Earth as well as its great depths – from the orbital level to the deep sea. Owing to the capability of a single species to actuate technics that radically transform our planet, the technosphere thus represents a steep rupture and a qualitative shift in the way our planet has functioned for millions of years. How does the technosphere operate? How does it reorganize and re-functionalize the physicality and chemistry of living and non-living matter? And how does it change the ways we perceive the world?


We see the technosphere concept as a thinking tool to crack open our current situation. This situation presents itself in the vertigo of larger-than human systems and the intractability of super-wicked problems. The technosphere presents a model to frame them meaningfully. Our ignorance about the character of the technosphere’s dynamics is a leading factor in the difficulty of developing a comprehensive approach to the planetary crises of the twenty-first century. Over the course of HKW’s Technosphere project (2015‒18), our team and interlocutors have and will continue to investigate its questions through public events, workshops, curricula, publications, and other research activities, hoping to reduce that gap and to develop descriptive capabilities for understanding and engaging with a highly dynamic, trans-technical world. Technosphere Magazine maps out specific dimensions, condensations, aggregations, “apparatuses,” problematics, conflict zones, ruptures, and operational failures, through and by which the technosphere becomes visible. A growing conglomeration of topical dossiers embody the curatorial grasp and pathway of the Technosphere Magazine, portending trajectories, converging points, interweavings and hidden associations between distant fields of impact. The magazine will thereby act as a calibrating device, tying together all these approaches into an organ that can display and communicate the concept of the technosphere while affording a source from which the concept can be discussed, debated, and re-tooled in dynamic ways. From autumn 2016 until spring 2019, Technosphere Magazine invites artist Nina Jäger to translate its subjects into collages. Each of her works enters into a conversation with the dossier it accompanies, speaks to its facets, topics, projections, or inherent imaginaries. Approaching its subjects via both their earthliness and the technical objects through which they are perceived, these artworks create an echo space of each dossier. The collages are just one dimension of our ongoing collaboration with the experimental online journal continent., whose editorial team has continuously accompanied the Technosphere project throughout the years. Their work provides an indispensable expansion of perspective to the discourse around the technosphere, projecting yet another facet of its many contexts and manifestations.

The Editors