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Dossiers
Authors
  • Lawrence Abu Hamdan
  • Babak Afrassiabi
    • Babak Afrassiabi is an artist who works both in Iran and the Netherlands. Since 2004, he has collaborated with Nasrin Tabatabai on various joint projects and the publication of the bilingual magazine Pages (Farsi and English). Their work seeks to articulate the undecidable space between art and its historical conditions, including the recurring question of the place of the archive in defining the juncture between politics, history, and the practice of art. The artists’ work has been presented internationally in various solo and group exhibitions and they have been tutors at the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht (2008–13), and Erg, école supérieure des arts, Brussels (2015–).
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      published contributions
  • S. Ayesha Hameed
    • Dr. S. Ayesha Hameed is a Lecturer in Visual Cultures and the Joint Programme Leader in Fine Art and History of Art Research Fellow in Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths, London. She received her PhD in Social and Political Thought at York University, Canada in 2008
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Sammy Baloji
  • On Barak
    • On Barak is a social and cultural historian of science and technology in non-Western settings. He has been a senior lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University since 2012. Prior to this, he was a member of the Princeton Society of Fellows. In 2009, Barak received a joint PhD in History and Middle Eastern Studies from New York University. His most recent book is On Time: Technology and Temporality in Modern Egypt (University of California Press, 2013), and his current publication project, Coalonialism: Energy and Empire before the Age of Oil, is funded by a European Union Marie Curie Award and an Israel Science Foundation Grant.
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      published contributions
  • Anil Bawa-Cavia
    • Anil Bawa-Cavia is a computer scientist with a background in machine learning. He runs STDIO, a speculative software studio. His practice engages with algorithms, protocols, encodings, and other software artifacts and his doctoral research at the Center for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) at University College London was on complex networks in urbanism. He is a founding member of Call & Response, a sonic arts collective and gallery space in London, and a member of the New Centre for Research & Practice.
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      published contributions
  • Etienne Benson
  • Josh Berson
  • Jeremy Bolen
  • Axel Braun
    • Axel Braun studied photography at the Folkwang University of the Arts, Essen, and fine arts at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris. His artistic research deals with controversial infrastructure projects, tautology as an attempt to understand reality, and failed utopias in art and architecture. Currently, he is pursuing the long-term project Towards an Understanding of Anthropocene Landscapes. Recently exhibited works include Some Kind of Opposition (2016) at Galeria Centralis, Budapest, and Dragonflies drift downstream on a river (2015) at Kunstmuseum Bochum.
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      published contributions
  • Keith Breckenridge
  • François Bucher
    • s, focusing on ethical and aesthetic problems of cinema and television, and more recently on the image as an interdimensional field. His work has been exhibited at
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      published contributions
  • Lino Camprubí
  • Zachary Caple
  • Ele Carpenter
    • Dr. Ele Carpenter is a senior lecturer in curating at Goldsmiths, London. Her curatorial practice responds to interdisciplinary socio-political contexts such as the nuclear economy and the relationship between craft and code.
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      published contributions
  • Andrew Chubb
    • Andrew Chubb is a PhD candidate at the University of Western Australia conducting research on the relationship between Chinese public opinion and government policy in the South China Sea. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Contemporary China, Pacific Affairs, East Asia Forum, and Information, Communication & Society. His blog, South Sea Conversations (southseaconversations.wordpress.com), provides translations and analysis of Chinese discourse on the South and East China Sea issues.
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      published contributions
  • Louis Chude-Sokei
    • Louis Chude-Sokei is a writer and scholar currently teaching in the English Department at the University of Washington, Seattle. His academic interests range from West African, Caribbean, and American literary and cultural studies to a particular focus on sound, technology, and performance. His literary and public work focuses on immigration and black-on-black cultural contacts, conflicts, and exchanges. Chude-Sokei is the author of the award-winning book The Last “Darky”: Bert Williams, Black-on-Black Minstrelsy, and the African Diaspora (2006) and The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics (2016).
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      published contributions
  • Claire Colebrook
    • Claire Colebrook is a professor of English at Penn State University. Her areas of specialization are contemporary literature, visual culture, and theory and cultural studies. She has written articles on poetry, literary theory, queer theory, and contemporary culture. Colebrook is the co-editor of the series Critical Climate Change, published by Open Humanities Press, and a member of the advisory board of the Institute for Critical Climate Change. She recently completed two books on extinction for Open Humanities Press, Death of the PostHuman and Sex after Life (both 2014), and with Tom Cohen and J. Hillis Miller co-authored Twilight of the Anthropocene Idols (2016).
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      published contributions
  • Rana Dasgupta
  • Filip De Boeck
    • Filip De Boeck is actively involved in teaching, promoting, coordinating and supervising research in and on Africa at the Institute for Anthropological research in Africa at the U
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Seth Denizen
    • Seth Denizen is a researcher and design practitioner trained in landscape architecture and evolutionary biology. Since completing research on the sexual behavior and evolutionary ecology of small Trinidadian fish, his work has focused on the aesthetics of scientific representation, madness, and public parks, the design of t
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      published contributions
  • Jonathan Donges
    • Jonathan Donges is a postdoctoral researcher who holds a joint position at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (as Stordalen Scholar) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He studies planetary boundaries and social dynamics in the Earth system from a complex dynamical system perspective. At Potsdam, he is Co-head of the flagship COPAN (Coevolutionary Pathways) project (www.pik-potsdam.de/copan). His published research includes work on complex network theory, dynamical systems theory, and time series analysis, with a focus on their application to our understanding of past and present climate variability and its interactions with humankind on planet Earth.
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      published contributions
  • Keller Easterling
  • David Edgerton
    • David Edgerton is Hans Rausing Professor of the History of Science and Technology and a professor of modern British history at King’s College London. After teaching at the University of Manchester, he became the founding director of the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at Imperial College London (1993–2003), and moved along with the centre to King’s College London in August 2013. He is the author of many works, including The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History since 1900 (2007), which argues for and exemplifies new ways of thinking about the material constitution of modernity.
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      published contributions
  • Technosphere Editorial
  • Sasha Engelmann
  • Jennifer Gabrys
    • Jennifer Gabrys is Reader in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Principal Investigator on the ERC-funded project, "Citizen Sense." Her publications include Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of Electronics (University of Michigan Press, 2011); and Program Earth: Environmental Sensing Technology and the Making of a Computational Planet (University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming).
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      published contributions
  • Oliver Gantner
  • Florian Goldmann
    • Florian Goldmann is a Berlin-based artist and a PhD candidate at the DFG Research Training Center Visibility and Visualisation – Hybrid Forms of Pictorial Knowledge as well as at the Brandenburg Center for Media Studies, both Potsdam University. His research focus is the utilization of models as a means of both commemorating and predicting catastrophe. In 2015, he took part in the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai, Japan. Goldmann is one of the founders of the research collective STRATAGRIDS and the author of Flexible Signposts to Coded Territories (2012), an analysis of football hooligan graffiti in Athens as a system of fluid signage.
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      published contributions
  • Johan Gärdebo
    • Johan Gärdebo is a PhD candidate at the Royal Institute of Technology affiliated to the Environmental Humanities Laboratory (EHL). H
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Orit Halpern
    • Orit Halpern is a Strategic Hire in Interactive Design and an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University, Montreal. Her work bridges the histories of science, computing, and cybernetics with design and art practice. She is also a co-director of the Speculative Life Research Cluster, Montreal, a laboratory situated at the intersection of art and life sciences, architecture and design, and computational media (www.speculativelife.com). Her recent monograph, Beautiful Data (2015), is a history of interactivity, data visualization, and ubiquitous computing. www.orithalpern.net
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      published contributions
  • Carola Hein
    • Carola Hein is a professor of the history of architecture and urban planning in the Architecture Department at Delft University of Technology. She has published widely on topics in contemporary and historical architectural and urban planning, notably that of Europe and Japan. Her current research interests include transmission of architectural and urban ideas along international networks, focusing specifically on port cities, and the global architecture of oil. Her books include Port Cities: Dynamic Landscapes and Global Networks (2011), Cities, Autonomy, and Decentralization in Japan (2006), and The Capital of Europe: Architecture and Urban Planning for the European Union (2004).
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      published contributions
  • Julian Henriques
    • Julian Henriques is the convener of the MA in Script Writing and Director of the Topology Research Unit in the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. Prior to this, he ran the film and television department at the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) at the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica. His credits as a writer and director include the reggae musical feature film Babymother (1998) and as a sound artist, Knots & Donuts, exhibited at Tate Modern in 2011. Henriques researches street cultures and technologies and his publications include Changing the Subject: Psychology, Social Regulation, and Subjectivity (1998), Sonic Bodies: Reggae Sound Systems, Performance Techniques, and Ways of Knowing (2011), and Sonic Media (forthcoming).
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      published contributions
  • Hanna Husberg
    • Hanna Husberg is a Stockholm-based artist. She graduated from ENSB-A in Paris in 2007 and is currently a PhD in Practice candidate at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna.
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      published contributions
  • Erich Hörl
  • Timothy Johnson
  • Peter K. Haff
  • Laleh Khalili
  • Alexander Klose
    • Dr. Alexander Klose studied History, Law, Philosophy, Art, and Cultural Studies. From 2005-07 he held a scholarship at Bauhaus Universität Weimar for his PhD project on standardized containers used in transport as one of the leading material media in the 20th century. Between 2009 and 2014 he worked as a research associate and programme developer at Kulturstiftung des Bundes. In 2015 in the forefront of COP 21, he co-curated Blackmarket for Useful Knowledge and Non-Knowledge No. 18 – On Becoming Earthlings: 150 dialogues and exercises in shrinking and expanding the Human at Musée de l'Homme, Paris. His latest publication is: The Container Principle. How a box changes the way we think (2015).
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      published contributions
  • Karin Knorr Cetina
    • Rico, in the 1960s. She finished her education in Paris and London. Knorr has taught, exhibited, and lectured internationally, including at Tate Britain, Tate Modern, the University of Westminster, and Goldsmiths in London, as well as Harvard Univ
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      published contributions
  • Scott Knowles
  • Nile Koetting
  • Nicole Koltick
    • Nicole Koltick is an assistant professor in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University, Philadelphia. She is Founding Director of the Design Futures Lab at Westphal College, which is currently pursuing design research to stimulate debate on the potential implications of emerging technological and scientific developments within society. Koltick’s practice spans art, science, technology, design, and philosophy, and current work focuses on the philosophical, material, and relational implications of aesthetics as they intersect with emerging developments in computational creativity, artificially intelligent autonomous systems, robotics, and synthetic biological hybrids.
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      published contributions
  • Nik Kosmas
  • Matthijs Kouw
    • Matthijs Kouw joined the Rathenau Instituut, The Hague, in March 2016. He holds an MA in Philosophy and an MSc in Science and Technology Studies from the University of Amsterdam as well as a PhD from Maastricht University. In his PhD thesis, Kouw describes how and to what extent reliance on models can introduce vulnerabilities through the assumptions, uncertainties, and blind spots concomitant with modeling practice. He was employed as a postdoctoral researcher at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), during which time he acted as a member of the Dutch delegation for plenary sessions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
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      published contributions
  • Lars Kulik
    • Lars Kulik studied biology at the Humboldt University of Berlin. He received his doctorate on the development of social behavior of rhesus monkeys at the University of Leipzig and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. He lives with his family in Berlin.
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      published contributions
  • Richard L. Hindle
    • Richard L. Hindle is an assistant professor of landscape architecture and environmental planning at the University of California, Berkeley. His current research focuses on patent innovation in landscape related technologies, from large-scale mappings of riverine and coastal systems to detailed historical studies on the antecedents of vegetated architecture. His work explores the potential of new technological narratives and material processes to reframe theory, practice, and the production of landscape. Recent works include the articles “Levees That Might Have Been” (2015), and “Infrastructures of Innovation” in Scaling Infrastructure (MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism, 2016), and the exhibition Geographies of Innovation at UC Berkeley (2015).
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Brian Larkin
  • John Law
    • hn Law was a professor of sociology at Keele University, Lancaster, and the Open University, Milton Keynes, and a co-director of the Economic and Social Researc
    • 1
      published contributions
  • S. Løchlann Jain
  • Donald MacKenzie
  • Laura McLean
    • Laura McLean is a curator, artist, and writer based in London. She is a graduate of Goldsmiths College and Sydney College of the Arts, where she later lectured. She has also studied at Alberta College of Art and Design, and the Universität der Künste Berlin.
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Eden Medina
    • Eden Medina is an associate professor of informatics and computing, affiliated associate professor of law, and adjunct associate professor of history at Indiana University, Bloomington. Her research and teaching address the social, historical, and legal dimensions of our increasingly data-driven world, including the relationship of technology to human rights and free expression, the relationship between political innovation and technological innovation, and the ways that human and political values shape technological design. Medina’s writings also use science and technology as a way to broaden understandings of Latin American history and the geography of innovation. She is the author of Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende's Chile (2011) and the co-editor of Beyond Imported Magic: Essays on Science, Technology, and Society in Latin America (2014).
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      published contributions
  • Anne-Sophie Milon
    • Anne-Sophie Milon is an artist and a freelance illustrator and animator working and living in Bristol, UK. After completing two Masters in Art, she has recently concluded the program of experimentation in Art and Politics at SciencesPo (SPEAP) in Paris.
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Gerald Nestler
    • Gerald Nestler is an artist and writer who combines theory and post-disciplinary conversation with video, installation, performance, text, code, graphics, sound, and speech. He explores what he calls the derivative condition of contemporary social relations and its paradigmatic financial models, operations, processes, narratives, and fictions. He is currently working on an “aesthetics of resolution” that maps counterfictions and counterimaginations for “renegade activism,” which revolves around the demonstration as a combined artistic, technological, social, and political practice. Nestler holds a practice-based PhD from the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London.
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      published contributions
  • James P. M. Syvitski
    • James P. M. Syvitski is Executive Director of the Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System (CSDMS) at the University of Colorado Boulder. From 2011 to 2016, he chaired the International Council for Science’s International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), which provides essential scientific leadership and knowledge of the Earth system to help guide society toward a sustainable pathway during rapid global change. His specialty is the global flux of water and sediment (river and ocean borne) and its trends in the Anthropocene. He works at the forefront of computational geosciences, including sediment transport, land-ocean interactions, and Earth-surface dynamics.
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Luciana Parisi
    • Luciana Parisi is Reader in Cultural Theory, Chair of the PhD program in Cultural Studies, and Co-director of the Digital Culture Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research focuses on cybernetics, information theory and computation, complexity and evolutionary theories, and the technocapitalist investment in artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. Her books include Abstract Sex: Philosophy, Biotechnology and the Mutations of Desire (2004) and Contagious Architecture: Computation, Aesthetics, and Space (2013). She is currently researching the history of automation and the philosophical consequences of logical thinking in machines.
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      published contributions
  • Lisa Parks
  • Matteo Pasquinelli
  • Arno Rosemarin
  • Dorion Sagan
  • Birgit Schneider
  • Lizzie Stark
    • Lizzie Stark is an author, journalist, and experience designer. She is the author of two books, Pandora’s DNA (2014), exploring so-called ‘breast cancer genes’ and her first book, Leaving Mundania (2012), which investigates the subculture of live action role play, or larp. Her journalism and essays have appeared in The Washington Post, the Daily Beast, The Today Show Website, io9, Fusion, the Philadelphia Inquirer and elsewhere. She holds an MS from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has organized numerous conventions and experiences across the US. Her most recent work is as a programming coordinator for Living Games Austin, and as co-editor and contributor for the #Feminism anthology, which collects 34 nano-games written by feminists from eleven countries.
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Lucy Suchman
    • ology of Science and Technology in the Department of Sociology at the University of Lancaster, UK. Her research interests within the field of feminist science and technology studies are focused on technological imaginaries and material practices
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Jenna Sutela
    • Jenna Sutela’s installations, texts, and sound performances seek to identify and react to precarious social and material moments, often in relation to technology. Most recently, she has been exploring exceedingly complex biological and computational systems, ultimately unknowable and always becoming something new. Her work has been presented, among other places, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; and the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and her writing has been published by Fiktion, Harvard Design Magazine, and Sternberg Press.
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      published contributions
  • Bronislaw Szerszynski
    • Bronislaw Szerszynski is a Reader in Sociology at Lancaster University in the UK. Szerszynski’s work has developed across several themes, including the role of Western religious history in shaping contemporary understandings of technology and the environment—typified by his book Nature, Technology and the Sacred (Wiley-Blackwell, 2005).
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      published contributions
  • Elisa T. Bertuzzo
    • Elisa T. Bertuzzo studied comparative literature, sociology, communication, and media studies and holds a PhD in urban studies. She was a curator and project leader with Habitat Forum Berlin, including for the project Paradigmising Karail Basti (2010–16). Bridging discourses from the fields of cultural and urban studies, her research focuses on the everyday life facets of urbanization and settlement in South Asia. On that topic, she published Fragmented Dhaka: Analysing Everyday Life with Henri Lefebvre’s Theory of Production of Space (2009) and runs her multimedia project Archives of Movement (since 2012), which deals with the everyday life of temporary labor migrants in Bangladesh and India.
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      published contributions
  • Gregory T. Cushman
    • Gregory T. Cushman is Associate Professor of International Environmental History at the University of Kansas.
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      published contributions
  • Nasrin Tabatabai
    • Nasrin Tabatabai is an artist who works both in Iran and the Netherlands. Since 2004, she has collaborated with Babak Afrassiabi on various joint projects and the publication of the bilingual magazine Pages (Farsi and English). Their work seeks to articulate the undecidable space between art and its historical conditions, including the recurring question of the place of the archive in defining the juncture between politics, history, and the practice of art. The artists’ work has been presented internationally in various solo and group exhibitions and they have been tutors at the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht (2008–13), and Erg, école supérieure des arts, Brussels (2015–).
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Katerina Teaiwa
    • Dr. Katerina Teaiwa is Associate Professor at the Department of Gender, Media and Cultural Studies, School of Culture, History & Language and the president of the Australian Association for Pacific Studies. Her main area of research looks at the histories of phosphate mining in the central Pacific. Her work does not only span academic research, publications, and lectures, but also manifests itself in other formats within the arts and popular culture. Her work has inspired a permanent exhibition at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, which tells the story of Pacific phosphate mining through Banaban dance. In 2015, she published „Consuming Ocean Island: Stories of People and Phosphate from Banaba“, Indiana University Press. She is currently working with visual artist Yuki Kihara on a multimedia exhibition for Carriageworks in Sydney.
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      published contributions
  • Jol Thomson
  • Claire Tolan
  • John Tresch
  • Etienne Turpin
    • Etienne Turpin is a philosopher, Founding Director of anexact office, and a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, where he coordinates the Humanitarian Infrastructures Group and co-directs the PetaBencana.id disaster mapping project for the Urban Risk Lab. He is the editor of Architecture in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Design, Deep Tim
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      published contributions
  • Asonseh Ukah
    • Asonzeh Ukah is a sociologist and historian of religion. He joined the University of Cape Town in 2013 and previously taught at the University of Bayreuth (2005–13), where he also earned a doctorate and habilitation in history of religions. His research interests include religious urbanism, the sociology of Pentecostalism, and religion and media. He is Director of the Research Institute on Christianity and Society in Africa (RICSA), University of Cape Town, and Affiliated Senior Fellow of Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS), University of Bayreuth. He is the author of A New Paradigm of Pentecostal Power (2008) and Bourdieu in Africa (edited with Magnus Echtler, 2016).
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      published contributions
  • Underworlds
  • Sebastian Vehlken
    • Sebastian Vehlken is a media theorist and cultural historian at Leuphana University Lüneburg and Permanent Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study on Media Cultures of Computer Simulation (MECS). From 2013 to 2017, he worked as MECS Junior Director, and in 2015–16, he was a visiting professor at Humboldt-Universität Berlin, the University of Vienna, and Leuphana. His areas of interest include the theory and history of computer simulation and digital media, the media history of swarm intelligence, and the epistemology of think tanks. His current research project, Plutonium Worlds, explores the application of computer simulations in West German fast breeder reactor programs.
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      published contributions
  • Vladimir Vernadsky
  • Davor Vidas
    • Davor Vidas is a research professor in international law and Director of the Law of the Sea Programme at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Lysaker, Norway. He is Chair of the Committee on International Law and Sea Level Rise and a member of the Anthropocene Working Group. Vidas has been involved in international law research for over thirty years, focusing since 2009 on implications of the Anthropocene for the development of international law. Among his books are The World Ocean in Globalisation (2011) and Law, Technology and Science for Oceans in Globalisation (2010). He is the editor-in-chief of the book series Anthropocene (Skolska knjiga, Zagreb), launched in 2017.
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      published contributions
  • Hannes Wiedemann
    • Hannes Wiedemann is a Berlin-based photographer. He studied at the Ostkreuz School of Photography, Berlin. For his project Grinders (2015–16), he followed the American bodyhacking community, a small group of people across the United States working out of garages and basements to become real cyborgs. Recent exhibitions include NEW PHOTOGRAPHY II (2017) at Gallery ALAN, Istanbul, and HUMAN UPGRADE, with Susanna Hertrich (2016), at Schader-Stiftung Gallery, Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt. www.hanneswiedemann.com
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      published contributions
  • Cary Wolfe
    • Cary Wolfe is Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Professor of English and Founding Director of 3CT: Center for Critical and Cultural Theory at Rice University, Houston. He is the author of What Is Posthumanism? (2010), a book that weaves together principal concerns of his work: animal studies, system theory, pragmatism, and post-structuralism. It is part of the series Posthumanities, for which he serves as Founding Editor at the University of Minnesota Press. His most recent publication is Before the Law: Humans and Other Animals in Biopolitical Frame (2013) and earlier books and edited collections include Animal Rites: American Culture, The Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory (2003) and Zoontologies: The Question of the Animal (2003).
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      published contributions
  • Andrew Yang
  • Jan Zalasiewicz
    • Dr. Jan Zalasiewicz is Professor of Palaeobiology at the University of Leicester and Chair of the Anthropocene Working Group of the International Commission on Stratigraphy. A field geologist, paleontologist, and stratigrapher, he teaches and publishes on geology and earth history, in particular on fossil ecosystems and environments that span over half a billion years of geological time.
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Anna Zett
  • Liv Østmo
    • Liv Østmo is one of the founders and current Dean of the Sámi University of Applied Sciences, Kautokeino, Norway, where she researches and lectures on the subject of multicultural understanding. For the last eight years, Østmo has worked with traditional Sámi knowledge and she is currently working on putting the finishing touches on a methodology book about the documentation of this knowledge.
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      published contributions
Source: The IceCube Neutrino Observatory
Flying through IceCube strings

Ve Vm Vt. The Ideal Cosmic Messengers

In their critical description of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, Sasha Engelmann and Jol Thomson guide us into the depths of Antarctica’s ancient ice where ghost-like neutrinos cast electromagnetic showers, or cascades, as they chance to interact with the Earth. In this way, neutrinos challenge notions of scale and boundedness in the physical sciences and the technosphere.
ACT I: Thinking Neutrinos
SASHA: The neutrino is omnipresent. It is a phantom. It oscillates, that is, unlike other particles it changes as it travels. It is often called the “ideal cosmic messenger.” Trillions of neutrinos are passing through our bodies and through this text at this very moment ‒ an invisible rain.
  • JOL: Neutrinos are subatomic particles, or leptons, that interact only via the “weak force”: the force that governs particle decay; fusion and fission processes. Unlike all other known forms of matter, they are not susceptible to electromagnetic fields, and so they travel in nearly perfect straight lines. It is said that a neutrino could pass through 100 Light-years of Lead without ever slowing down.
SASHA: Due to these qualities, neutrinos often evade determination, experiment, observation, measurement, and manipulation ‒ they are the radically imperceptible.
  • JOL: The neutrino was once the most probable candidate for the “missing mass” that physicists call dark matter. Although this hypothesis has been refuted now, neutrinos are nevertheless integral to our understanding of other "weak interactors": dark matter and, perhaps, energy. Since they are so abundant and yet so elusive, they summon an entirely new genre of experimental physical observation ‒ which has a host of implications outside the scope of this dialogue. Even with the most sophisticated technologies, we can only sense neutrinos as traces, when they rarely interact (decay) with charged matter, producing “electromagnetic and hadronic showers,” or: cascades.
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IceCube Event ID 116807,9493609. Most probable neutrino energy: 880 TeV, October 28, 2010. Source: IceCube Collaboration
  • JOL: Neutrinos help us think.Here, we are inspired by the lines, “Think we must. We must think,” at the beginning of Donna Haraway’s essay "Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Cthulucene," e-flux, no. 75 (September 2016). Haraway remembers these lines from Isabelle Stengers and Vincianne Despret’s work, Women Who Make a Fuss: The unfaithful daughters of Virginia Woolf, trans. April Knutson. Minneapolis, MN: Univocal, 2014.
    The neutrino is our collaborator in, among other things, thinking about the limits of technologically extended sensing. It is a guide asking us questions about the articulation of the technosphere.
SASHA: But how does it do this?
  • JOL: Because it motivates spectacular, post-human assemblages of sensing, where the distinction between what constitutes technology or nature is complicated. We could also say that the neutrino is luring the Technosphere outside of itself. The otherwise imperceptible neutrino organizes vast assemblages of materials, built infrastructures, devices, humans, ice sheets, equations, knowledge systems, oceans, algorithms, laws, and discourses. With these subatomic particles as our cosmic allies, we are equipped to reclaim territory from the unknown, and to ask questions of the technosphere’s capacity to be what it claims to be: a sphere. And we are motivated to highlight the inadequacies of static conceptions of scale and agency in thinking with our unique planet.
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ACT II: The-Cubic-Kilometer-of-Antarctic-Ice-Observatory
SASHA: What do we mean by “spectacular” forms of sensing? There are many ways to sense neutrino-traces. And there are many kinds of neutrinos. There are atmospheric neutrinos (those produced from the interaction of cosmic rays in our atmosphere), and geo-neutrinos (those produced from Earth’s core). But let’s focus on extragalactic neutrinos: those very high-energy neutrinos that are emitted from black holes, active galactic nuclei, and supernovae far outside our galaxy. These neutrinos travel vast distances, through interstellar space.
  • JOL: Extragalactic, high-energy neutrino detection requires a clearing of the field, a level of cosmic silence, that, on the extremely rare occasion of a neutrino's decay, will allow a neutrino cascade-event to be sensed. Thus, many "neutrino telescopes" are situated deep underground in repurposed mines or caverns ‒ the quietest places in our planet. In the case of detectors such as Super-Kamiokande in Japan ‒ comprising a fifty-thousand-liter tank of ultra-pure water buried deep below the Japanese Alps ‒ the rock above the sensor apparatus acts as a shield from other high-energy particles that are constantly showering the planet. Rock, strata, natural and artificial caves: even the Mountain becomes a technology. Technology becomes a Mountain.
SASHA: Detecting these high-energy “cosmic messengers” also requires what sounds like science fiction: the cooperation of a cubic kilometer of ancient Antarctic ice.
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The IceCube Neutrino Observatory. Source: The IceCube Neutrino Observatory

SASHA: One of the youngest and most prolific “neutrino telescopes,” and that which has been the subject of our ethnographic fieldwork – the IceCube Neutrino Observatory – . . .
  • JOL: . . . is embedded 2.5-kilometers down ‒ into the 200,000-year-old ice shelf at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica ‒ at the Geographic South Pole.
SASHA: The IceCube physically comprises eighty-six strings hexagonally latticed, instrumented into one-cubic kilometer of Antarctica’s snow-ice. Each string has sixty sensors, or “Digital Optical Modules” (DOMs) which are sensitive to Cherenkov radiation (more on that below). The IceCube uses 5,160 DOMs in total, to sense neutrinos across a 25 order of magnitude energy spectrum. You can think about it as a massive molecular crystal with threaded beads extending kilometers deep into solid ice ‒ with a tiny research station (the "IceTop") perched on top, like a frozen spider.
  • JOL: The IceCube Neutrino Observatory represents one of the largest, strangest, and most complex collaborations in the history of scientific research. The collaboration essentially spent 300 million dollars to stare into ice. Nostradamus stared into Obsidian. Hamlet scryed a cloud. Like so many ancient forms of crystallomancy, hydromancy, and geomancy, the IceCube apparatus captures visions of another world in a translucent body. Visions looking both forward and back: tracing the outlines of dying stars millions of light-years away, or looking beyond the cosmic microwave background to see the first 380,000 years of the Cosmos.
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IceCube schematic. Source: IceCube South Pole Neutrino Observatory

SASHA: When a high-energy neutrino flying through space passes through the Earth and interacts with a molecule of this Antarctic ice, the resulting blue Cherenkov radiation is sensed by the IceCube’s DOMs. Cherenkov radiation is an ultraviolet evidence of particles traveling faster than the speed of light in the ice-medium ‒ they are superluminal. The DOMs analyze, amplify, and digitize the information to send to the IceTop, and via satellite to hundreds of scientists around the world. The neutrino intra-acts with all of the entangled agencies implicated in the IceCube, with the technosphere itself, with our writing this text, with the magazine you are reading, with the website hosting it. In many ways, you are reading this because a neutrino arrived on Earth four years ago, and its name was Bert.In an interview, the director of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, Dr. Francis Halzen, told us that after much discussion among PhD students, the first high-energy neutrino to be sensed by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory was nick-named Bert.
  • JOL: Neutrinos as lures for thought are diverse. Take for example the superluminal Cherenkov blues of radioactive decay. Here is another example of a “limit,” or a cosmic and physical law, shown to be a relative, contingent form of resistance. Einstein’s famous speed limit for light is only applicable for the spaces between things ‒ for the vacuum of space ‒ and does not apply to atmospheres, bodies, metals, water, or ice. There are hosts of occasions where energy and particles travel faster than light, and these leave an ultraviolet trace.
SASHA: In fact, the same researchers at the Deutsche Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) laboratory in Zeuthen, who designed and constructed the IceCube’s sensors, are building the CTA or Cherenkov Gamma Ray Telescopes in Spain and Chile, which will sense these superluminal blues in our own atmosphere, where particles exceed the speed of light in the medium of air.For more information, see [CTA Telescopes planned for sites in the Northern and Southern hemispheres](https://portal.cta-observatory.org/Pages/Home.aspx).
ACT III: Are there Cascades in the Technosphere?
SASHA: In dialogue with the technosphere, we have one further question: If an Antarctic ice shelf is actually the “detector” for this cosmic messaging, can we still speak of boundaries or “spheres” of the human, the bio-geo-physical, and the technical?
  • JOL: Let’s think a cascade: when a neutrino meets the ice. The neutrino cascade is a “waterfall of causality in which one event triggers and affects the next.Our emphasis, see Fulton cited in Kathleen Rooney, Review of Cascade Experiment: Selected Poems. Harvard Review, (27), 2004, 176. Retrieved on 21st August 2015 from http://www.jstor.org/stable/27568963
    Each cascade is a bifurcation and a nexus: while the event occurs on a subatomic dimension, and is sensed via Cherenkov radiation, a cascade transmits the direction, energy level, and location of the neutrino’s astrophysical origin. In this way, subatomic and cosmological entities and forces are intimately entangled in the performance of a cascade. They perform simultaneously. They cannot be separated.
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  • JOL: In the ice, a cascade also occurs across hundreds of meters.
SASHA: When a cascade unfurls, it is felt as a pulse in the technosphere. The data is almost-instantly transmitted to processing centers in Wisconsin, through arrays of satellites and algorithmic sorting. Servers are alerted. PhD students awake. Francis Halzen’s telephone rings. Theories are born. Rumors circulate. Another point is added to the neutrino “sky.”
  • JOL: These phenomena lead us to understand the cascade as the expression of entanglement in the liminal spaces between subatomic particles, an ice shelf, digital sensors, human labor and curiosity, equations, hypotheses, and vast technological and bureaucratic architectures. Sending shock waves across such assemblages, cascade phenomena collapse static, singular notions of scale(s) and trouble the distinctions between human and nonhuman, technology and matter.
SASHA: To be sure, a neutrino cascade is an unusual event. But it is one we can use to think more about scale and agency.
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Neutrino Cascade. Source: IceCube MasterClass

SASHA: In the literature developing the Technosphere concept, relations between humans, nonhumans, and the technosphere are often articulated in “small-scale” and “large-scale” components. Scale, categories, and spheres are useful analytical tools. However, they cannot be the only tools we use, especially when faced with such superluminal visions. Indeed, what might be lost in the gesture of defining the relations between humans, nonhumans, and technical infrastructures using categories like large and small?
  • JOL: If we accept static scales, spheres, and boundaries as primary regimes of analysis, there would be no cascades in the technosphere. These events would be, at best, hallucination. We need other tools, other concepts for thinking and feeling, for being and becoming more sensitive. The cascade is such a concept. With the cascade, we find that a single neutrino sends ripples through devices, computations, infrastructures, scientific collaborations, theories, and imaginaries of the universe.
SASHA: This brings us to our next provocation.
ACT IV: New Physics in the Technosphere?
JOL: According to Dr Francis Halzen and numerous other neutrino physicists, the strange qualities of neutrinos provide experimental evidence that the Standard Model ‒ the “Rule Book” of Physics ‒ is flawed. A new, “exotic” model, therefore, is glimpsed in neutrino astronomy and physics.
  • SASHA: The rule book may be flawed, because it doesn’t account for the degree to which neutrinos oscillate between “heavier” and “lighter” masses. There is a “non-zero flavor oscillation” of neutrino particles which, properly described by a joint Japanese‒Canadian effort, won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2015.For more information on the Nobel Prize in Physics, won jointly by Dr Takaaki Kajita and Dr Arthur B. McDonald, see [online] (https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2015/)
    In other words, for neutrinos, to change flavor is to change mass.
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Source: Creative Commons

JOL: The capacity for a particle to change mass in mid-flight is another indication of limits being transcended.
  • SASHA: The search for dark matter plays a role here. A better rule book for physics would describe and account for the behavior of dark matter particles, which, like neutrinos, interact very weakly with matter.
JOL: A new or “exotic” model of particle physics is sought-after by many physicists for many reasons. Some of these reasons may be born from the adventure of discovery; others from a desire to witness a more elegant “theory of everything”; yet others for the more pragmatic reasons of funding and institutional support; and still others to reclaim territory from the unknown.
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Cylindrical (theta-phi) projection. Source: Super-Kamiokande Collaboration

  • SASHA: Such a model has interesting consequences for the expression of our planet’s technosphere insofar as it could redefine the “quality energy” that supports it. And it is precisely our ghost-like collaborators, their cascading performances, and the bodies of the Earth conspiring to detect them, which are announcing new ways of thinking, doing, and engaging with these dark and “exotic” matters.
JOL: This is the technosphere lured outside itself; lured outside its own imposed limits, infrastructures, equations, knowledge systems, discourses, and devices. And it is lured toward new horizons of energy, description, and matter. It is apprehending a Great Outdoors.The term “Great Outdoors” is a fundamental concept in the articulation of the speculative philosophy of Quentin Meillassoux. The term indicates an ancestral spacetime “outside” of human thought and existence. It is conveyed through ‘arche-fossils’ such as radiocarbon dating, or in our case, neutrinos. See Quentin Meillassoux, After Finitude, trans. Ray Brassier. London: Continuum, 2008.
ACT V: Who’s afraid of Karen Barad?
SASHA: Thinking with neutrinos, we have set out some implications for understanding the technosphere. We proceed with the physicist-philosopher Karen Barad.
  1. Neutrinos lure the technosphere outside itself. “The entity in question may be small, but its consequences may be quite profound.See Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007: 110.
  2. Neutrinos invite us to think the technosphere otherwise, in terms that do not rely on scalar analysis. We need trans-scalar concepts (e.g. cascades) to approach the agential and technical capacities of our planet. “Events and things do not occupy particular positions in space and time; rather, space, time, and matter are iteratively produced and performed [. . .]. The very nature and possibilities of change are reworked.(Barad, 2007: 393)
  3. Limits are situated constructions. They can be better understood as greater or lesser degrees of resistance. “Boundary transgressions should be equated not with the dissolution of traversed boundaries (as some authors have suggested) but with the ongoing reconfiguring of boundaries [. . .] the neutrino, passing through matter as if it were transparent, innocently traversing all borders [. . .] with undiscriminating ease and disregard for obstacles [. . .] the realization of a mobility and reach that know no bounds.(Barad, 2007: 245-246)
  4. The articulation of limits in the development of the technosphere is a disservice to the concept because it excludes important questions and insights, as well as vast phenomenal realms (e.g. neutrinos and cascades). “Apparatuses, in Bohr’s sense, are not passive observing instruments. On the contrary, they are productive of (and part of) phenomena [. . .]. But while focusing on the lack of an inherent distinction between the apparatus and the object, Bohr does not directly address the question of where the apparatus “ends.” [. . .] For example, if a computer interface is hooked up to a given instrument, is the computer part of the apparatus? Is the printer attached to the computer part of the apparatus? Is the paper that is fed into the printer? Is the person who feeds the paper? How about the person who reads the marks on the paper? [. . .] What precisely constitutes the limits of the apparatus that gives meaning to certain concepts at the exclusion of others? [. . .] What is needed is an articulation of the notion of apparatuses that acknowledges this complexity.(Barad, 2007: 199)
  5. There is a Great Outdoors.
EPILOGUE
An ice shelf is a detector and the technosphere is of the world, just as are humans and neutrinos. All of our elements, ghosts, and particles, wrought together, are like so many ice-embedded modules peering into the crystal cosmos, waiting for the message to arrive.
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