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Chaos carolinense

continent. inter-view: Bronislaw Szerszynski on the Technosphere

cc.cc: What is the technosphere? Bronislaw Szerszynski: The technosphere is a candidate concept for thinking about what the earth will be next. Which is the big question that I'm focusing on at the moment. If we understand the earth as this self-organising system, the physicists might (maybe) think that it becomes less ordered and chaotic, goes from order to chaos. But in fact it has become so incredibly rich and complex, and not just life but in other ways as well; it has evolved all these new systems and spheres, and forms, entities, modes of existence—including life, but not just including life. What will it do next? What will be the next surprising thing that the earth will do in its contingent, billions-of-years of self-organisation? Is the technosphere a new, major transition for the earth, or actually, will the technosphere not establish itself as an autonomous sphere—is it a temporary phenomenon produced by the contingencies of human history? It could be a big deal for the earth, but it might be that the earth will do something else and surprise us in some other way. I say it is a candidate concept for whatever the earth does next.

This excerpt is taken from one of the fifteen inter-views by continent., held during The Technosphere, Now event at HKW, Berlin, October 2, 2015 where the continent. team extended invitations to speakers, engaging them in a semi-improvised discussion about their interests and research trajectories. As personal reflections, these hint at links between the individual and their passions for research, drawing out how epistemic trajectories are at once driven by a desire for proximity, and by the striving for distance and objectivity. The notion of the technosphere emerges in these discussions as the individual and collective efforts of human beings, seeking to know the world in a highly particular way. Read the entire annotated inter-view in continent.’s special issue 5.2/2016: The Technosphere, Now.