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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
    • 1
      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.
    • 1
      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.
    • 1
      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).
    • 1
      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
    • 1
      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.
    • 1
      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
  • Eberhard Faust
  • 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).
    • 1
      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).
    • 1
      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).
    • 1
      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.
    • 1
      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
  • 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.
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      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.
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      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
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      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.
    • 1
      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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2. The Criticality of Phosphorus. Data, Peaks & Politics

The criticality of an element is defined by the relevance of its most important economic applications and the risks, both current and future, to its supply and the sustainability of its extraction and use.

Specifically, the criticality of phosphorus explores how the element entered into various essential parts of contemporary life, from global food production via industrial processes to high tech and future technologies. It also strongly suggests that phosphorus will be scarce. The question is, when? Since 2008, discussions about a possible “Peak Phosphorus” have triggered numerous studies which aim to determine the amount of extant phosphorus resources (some even predicting its complete disappearance within the next thirty years).
While Arno Rosemarin’s contribution highlights the criticality of Phosphorus within the global agrarian industry, and calls for better national and international governance, Oliver Gantner’s text takes a look into the complexities in the predictions of its sustainability. The criticality of phosphorus seems, at least in the nearer future, not due to the rarity of the element, but rather to factors that range from politics to geopolitics, law to industry, know-how to transparency.
Furthermore, a calculation of phosphorus criticality has to be calculated as the criticality of a specific type of phosphorus in a specific field with its specific value chain, its conditions, processes, functions and structures. The fertilizer industry and the lithium-ion battery production (and therefore the computer and mobile phone market) both rely on phosphorus. An assessment of their criticality will lead to different results based on widely varying factors. But such an assessment, that is not based on the actual element, but rather on its industrial, political, juridical and economic framework highlights yet another problem in the prediction of phosphorus future availability: Data.


Speculating Realism

Woke up this morning Got myself an abstract coffee Finishing up I couldn't find no grounds To tell my future. Motherfucker!
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Lifting phosphorus into the circular economy: a challenge for governance
The governance issues surrounding phosphorus management within the global food system are complex, non-linear and predominantly driven by markets. As a result, there are numerous uncertainties, externalities and risks in terms of long-term phosphorus sustainability and food security. This necessitates new forms of governance involving steering from the top, commitment, actions, decisions, shared responsibilities and coordination between stakeholders at different territorial levels— supranational, national, regional, and local, enmeshed in territorially overarching policy networks.

Global supply chain losses of phosphorus: from mine to meal

Phosphorus is not a well understood element. It is confusing for non-experts to hear that phosphorus is an essential element found in all forms of life, a key component of food and dairy products, but at the same time it can be a water pollutant that causes toxic algal blooms and that it can also be a key component in explosive incendiary devices, pesticides and long-life rechargeable batteries. It is also not well known that phosphorus is one of the key elements in agricultural fertilizer and that nutrient-poor soils have low levels of available phosphate.
Losses and inefficiencies along the phosphorus value chain are significant and it will take decades of technological and governance innovation to improve system components. As Brown (2003) coined it, the present way we use phosphorus is like driving a car at top speed down the highway with no fuel indicator on the dashboard, and we will do nothing until we first run out of gas. This calls for a concerted effort to develop the global and regional governance of this essential and valuable resource.
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20% to the consumer for the EU it is 25% (Schröder et al 2010)
01. What if this sentence is false? 02. What if this sentence is true? 03. What if it's all just really harsh and cruel? 04. What if we really are alone here? 05. What if we're telling the same stories, over and over again?
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Governance

Governance must operate at multiple scales in order to capture variations in the territorial reach of policy externalities. Since externalities arising from the provision of public goods vary immensely from planet-wide to local, as it is in the case of phosphorus extraction and use, so should the scale of governance which must be multi-level to internalize externalities.
Governance of phosphorus a complex topic since it spans over the entire value chain from mining and extraction to production and use of chemical fertilizers, the agricultural practices depending on soil characteristics and the crops being grown, food and fodder processing, consumption and waste systems including reuse throughout. The threats posed by phosphorus limitation cut across traditional jurisdictions and scopes of organization, and stretches across local to global scale levels.

Phosphorus governance from a multi-level perspective

Unpacking the governance questions surrounding phosphorus reveals a wide array of complex issues at diverse scales including access to data on proven commercial rock reserves, data from exploratory activities, control over exploitation and trade, the role of national and multi-national industries, the role of sovereign governments and regional country partners, and the role of multi-lateral UN and financial organizations. Leadership, coordination and cooperation on these questions has been lacking within the EU until recent years and when it comes to managing phosphorus reserves, leadership remains lacking within the UN system.
In particular, stakeholder coordination is conspicuously absent in terms of the lack of institutional oversight of the issue of phosphorus scarcity. Within industry, transparency regarding prospecting, potential reserves and commercial reserves is lacking, partly because this is how the mining industry is set up. There is no reliable and independent source of data when it comes to phosphorus reserves. The USGS publishes monthly updates and remains the sole source of data affecting global data governance.
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What if parrots could tell the future?
Governance must operate at multiple scales in order to capture variations in the territorial reach of policy externalities. Since externalities arising from the provision of public goods vary immensely from planet-wide to local, as it is in the case of phosphorus extraction and use, so should the scale of governance which must be multi-level to internalize externalities. ‘‘Scale’’ refers to spatial, temporal, quantitative, or analytical dimensions used to measure and study any phenomenon, and ‘‘level’’ refers to the units of analysis that are located at different positions on the scale.
Multi-level governance (MLG) is "a system of continuous negotiation among nested government at several territorial tiers". There are both vertical and horizontal dimensions of MLG. ‘‘Multi-level’’ refers to the increased interdependence of governments operating at different territorial levels, while ‘‘governance’’ refers to the increasing interdependence between governments and non-governmental actors at various territorial levels.
The MLG concept considers policy and decision-making processes involving the simultaneous mobilization of public authorities at different jurisdictional levels as well as that of dispersing power horizontally and vertically to the private sector, NGOs and social movements, and are useful in explaining complex governance patterns.

Peak

Phosphorus is an essential element with no substitute and is not properly understood by humanity as a critical substance for our survivorship as a species. This beckons a serious review of how it is being governed and managed. There are a number of key interacting factors contributing to the present poor level of phosphorus governance.
These include the common perception among consumers and producers that phosophorus and fertilizers are ubiquitous without limits; little knowledge about the highly skewed geographic distribution of commercial amounts of phosphorus with domination in one country (Morocco); the absence of the UN system in monitoring availability and consumption of phosphorus resulting in uncertainty about the size and extent of the commercial reserves; and the glaring inefficiencies in various steps in the phosphate value chain from resources.
In 2008 when oil prices per barrel exceeded $140, phosphorus world prices increased by eight hundred percent in just a few months. Since then there has been an increased interest in knowing more about the absence of sustainable practices, the low efficiency along the value chain and possible peak behavior in supply.
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Historical global sources of phosphorus fertilizers (1800-2000)

Geopolitics has a direct and indirect impact on phosphorus market prices. The two significant hikes in 1974 and 2008 occurred in connection with increases in oil prices. The large short-term price hike of eight hundred percent in 2008 resulted in a long-term higher price level which has remained running at about three hundred percent the 2005 levels. That the levels remained high has been classified by Elser et al. (2014) as ‘‘scarcity pricing’’ or an indication of long-term disruption of the phosphate market.
There were several contributing factors that could have contributed to the rapid increase in price during 2008. For example, there was an upswing in biofuel prices and since sulfuric acid (derived mainly from oil refineries) is a key ingredient in the production of phosphoric acid, its price was a significant determinant as well. Other factors were that China imposed an export embargo in 2008, the presence of cartel activity among various producers, political instability in Northern Africa, and preferential free trade agreements between large users and Morocco (e.g., US, India, and EU).
Following the spike in prices in 2008, the UN (FAO) held three global summits on food security but the words fertilizer nor phosphorus cannot be found at all in the declaration (FAO 2009). These meetings reinforced that seventy percent more food will need to be produced by 2050 to meet the demand from nine billion people and that the World Food Program needed increased backing. The need to manage fertilizers and global phosphorus limitations were not discussed. Here again the absence of the UN on the question of phosphorus governance was apparent.
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Varying trends in estimates of phosphate rock reserves (megatons)

There has been an increased interest in knowing more about the absence of sustainable practices, the low efficiency along the value chain and possible peak behavior in supply Critical needs surrounding phosphorus governance, however, remains a new subject. In 2009 there was discussion surrounding the possible threat of peak phosphorus and a reaction to this in 2010 attempted to redefine the data on commercial reserves particularly for Morocco. This so far has been the most significant change in data governance in modern time for phosphorus and has significantly altered the global outlook on commercial reserves.

Status of phosphate rock reserves, resources, and geographic distribution

Phosphate reserves are defined as geological deposits containing phosphate (RP) that can be economically extracted. Commerciality is determined by both market and technological capacities so this is a changing and dynamic process. Geopolitical factors also contribute to whether a certain deposit is commercially competitive. Phosphate resources go beyond the commercial reserves and include PR that could become commercially viable in the future.
The longevity of the availability of the reserves has been coined ‘‘reserves lifetime’’ and is estimated by dividing the known reserves by the current annual consumption. This estimate is influenced by a number of factors which include: type of deposit, distribution of reserves according to deposit size, costs, price level, intensity of exploration, and development of technology.
06. What if we're all at great danger because the only adequate metaphor for all of this is that it's a wooden boat? 07. What if the problem is that we're all always infallible? 08. What if the solution is to look at it as we do when we pick cabbages in the market?
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The debate on the estimated global PR reserves has attracted much attention during the last decade. Several authors have presented different scenarios for the depletion of PR reserves. One of the most influential is that of Cordell et al. (2009) who first suggested that global PR reserves will run out in thirty to fourty years. A more specific estimate is presented by Wellmer and Becker-Platen (2013) who reported that the PR reserve lifetime was eighty-one years. In 2010, the USGS estimate for global PR reserves was sixteen billion tons. The IFDC (2010) estimate of global commercial PR reserves was much higher at sixty billion tons. IFDC’s method of PR reserve estimation included review of industry and government reports, statistics, scientific literature and presentations (Van Kauwenbergh et al. 2013).
The main source for this change was a reinterpretation of the data for Morocco which was given fifty billion tons of commercial RP from what was originally identified as a potential base reserve. In 2011, USGS followed up with major revisions to its PR estimates and reported a revised global figure of sixty-five billion tons, four times higher than what was previously reported. The IFDC report and the USGS response to it was not followed by the media but had a major impact on dampening the debate on peak phosphorus and stimulating large investments in Morocco as well as other locations in the world. The only reaction to the IFDC report was a critical assessment by Edixhoven et al. (2014) which questions fundamentally the validity of the IFDC assessment.
Indeed, the USGS data when projected over a few decades provides, to say the least, a picture of instability in the system of defining what is and what is not a commercial resource. The data for China, Morocco, Algeria and Iraq have all taken abrupt and massive jumps. These can be seen as indicators of a lack of international governance on how these data are to be scrutinized and published. In the latest USGS report the present known global commercial PR reserves are concentrated mainly in a few countries. Morocco and Western Sahara alone has seventy-four percent of world phosphorus reserves and six countries together hold ninety percent of the reserves. With this as background, the observed absence of an authoritative coordinator such as the UN as a governing body in this question seems all more apparent and this will become even more obvious as the geopolitics of phosphorus become more complicated over the years ahead.
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"The slurry pipeline leads into the future" —Mohammed VI, King of Morocco
The Criticality of PhosphorUS
Phosphorus is known for its relevance in biological systems as an essential nutrient for plants. Moreover, phosphorus is a vital element for all life on earth, in particular building the backbone of DNA (desoxyribonucleic acid), and as energy carrier ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Due to this fact, the societal relevance of phosphorus is enormous, especially as humans and animals take up phosphorus trough their diet. Currently, phosphorus is facing less attention in the public awareness except in negative contexts, such as the former eutrophication of water bodies by detergents, or the use of firebombs. The Peak Phosphorus debate changed things and awakened the public and scientific interest.
Peak Phosphorus describes the maximum phosphate rock production rate to a predicted point of time. After the peak of production is reached, phosphorus production is predicted to gradually decline. The Peak Phosphorus concept tries to estimate the duration mankind can proceed to extract phosphate rock in the same rate of production it is being extracted today. Simply, the Peak Phosphorus tries to estimate how long phosphate rock will last.
In 2010 Cordell predicted that Peak Phosphorus will be the year 2033. In the same year Cordell made her prediction, the International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) published a report on global phosphate reserves and resources, resulting in a reassessment of Moroccan reserves. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) accepted this in its data on mineral reserves and resources, which was the database of the Cordell study, and is almost exclusively the database of all work on phosphate scarcity. Following her prediction, the Reserves-to-Production Ratio also changed from one hundred to over three hundred years. Since then, more research was carried on the validity of the Peak Concept.
According to the latest findings the concept of Peak Phosphorus is not applicable on phosphate rock–in particular; phosphorus is not substitutable in biological systems. There will be no supply-driven Peak Phosphorus, but a demand-driven Peak Phosphorus that is likely to be followed by a plateau phase of phosphate consumption. Reserves are not static, but dynamic, and forecasts are only as accurate as their underlying data.
09. What if this is merely a trivial phallic mental projection? 10. What if the fault is not the character but the entire play? 11. What if you left the stove on?
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Hereafter, the total the number of projects and initiatives related to phosphorus is growing continuously. At the same time methods of assessing raw materials are gaining more importance and interest, above all raw materials, criticality. Unlike the Peak Concept, or the Reserves-to-Production Ratio, raw materials criticality assessment applies multi-criteria from cradle to cradle, such as geopolitics, law, substitutability, and recycling.
The report “Critical Raw Materials for the EU”, became one of the most popular studies in 2010. Criticality studies aim to give an overview and comparison of multiple raw materials that is easily understood by everyone. In contrast to common belief, there is no standardization on how such an assessment has to be conducted. Hence, undefined possible approaches and different targets and scopes are leading to multiple results, as well as interpretations.
Phosphorus criticality needs to be analyzed due to its societal relevance. Phosphorus has a tremendous variety of industrial applications, besides its main application, fertilizer, or, to a smaller extent, animal feed, which have to be taken into account when assessing its criticality.
The study “Criticality of Phosphorus” focuses on a differentiation of these applications and uses, dealing with different value added and production chains, and unveiling hidden bottlenecks. The study assesses the availability, functionalities, and uses provided by phosphate rock or other phosphate sources, and not just with the finiteness of phosphate rock. It requires a deep, comprehensive, and cross-sectional understanding of phosphate rock reserves, resources, phosphate processing, and all its different end uses.
12. What if we're just reading too much into this? 13. What if the words 'perhaps' and 'maybe' mean exactly the same thing? 14. What if the words 'autumn' and 'fall' mean two very different things?
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Sedimentary or igneous phosphate rock is mined and beneficiated to phosphate rock concentrate by crushing, milling, washing, calcining, or flotation techniques. Typically, sulfuric acid is added, which reacts with the phosphate rock concentrate and produces crude phosphoric acid, and, as its by product, phosphogypsum. The crude phosphoric acid serves as intermediate in fertilizer manufacturing to produce phosphate fertilizers by, for instance, adding ammonia. For uses with higher purity requirements than fertilizer, the phosphoric acid is subsequently purified, making it into Purified Wet Phosphoric Acid (PWA).
Another way to process phosphate rock, stemming from former times, is the production of elemental phosphorus (P4), using temperatures of 2000° C. Elemental phosphorus is used to produce thermal acid (TPA), which features high purity and phosphorus derivatives. Together PWA, TPA, P4 and its derivatives form an overlap for the production of food, animal feed, and industrial phosphates. Animal feed (about eight percent), as well as food and industrial phosphates (about seven percent), have lower volumes than the global production of fertilizers (about eighty-five percent). There are myriad of uses in minute quantities that are essential for other functionalities, for example, toothpaste, antifreeze, flame retardants, battery electrolytes, electroless nickel plating, glyphosate, pet food, beverages, baking agents (as well as dairy), seafood, and meat additives.
15. What if what if and what would be the implications of that? 16. What if I'm insulted by the mere question?
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The assessment of functionalities like applications or end uses show huge range, in particular phosphate fertilizers and a phosphorus derived application like flame retardants show different value added and production chains, and hence may have different bottlenecks in terms of satisfying supply.
Assessing the criticality of functionalities makes these bottlenecks in supply and value chains visible. Unfortunately, this approach needs in-depth analysis and more detailed information than currently exists, which makes it difficult to compile all its relevant data.
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Phosphorus and industrial phosphates

China, for instance, is a black box, although it’s currently the world leader in terms of phosphate rock production (forty-four percent), its total phosphate consumption data, beyond cumulative production, is very poor. Information is available for big companies only (e.g., Yuntianhua or Wengfu). There are many small and medium sized enterprises, in particular mines, phosphoric acid, and fertilizer plants but it’s hardly possible to gain even the slightest information about company names and their production data. The reasons are diverse and comprise language barriers or business sensitive information. This is why information on China’s fertilizer industry is basically clustered in the hotspots regions Hubei, Yunnan, or Sichuan only.
Criticality of phosphorus does not result because of the finiteness of the element, but rather from factors that have to do with politics, law, and industry, their know-how and the transparency of their processes and structures, their available data, and its reliability and validity. Criticality of phosphorus has to be assessed as the criticality of a specific type of phosphorus in a specific field, with its specific conditions, processes, and functionalities.

Maybe is my favorite word, And how I prefer its stochastic definition, Like that in a Markov chain, The same way I prefer Voltaire's God, Where future states depend only upon the present one. The present and “maybe”, That is, Et al. —D. Kaufman, Maybe

References Arno Rosemarin: Arno Rosemarin, Technosphere Act III Oct 2 2015; Lifting phosphorus into the circular economy – a global and regional governance challenge. The governance gap surrounding phosphorus; Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst DOI 10.1007/s10705-015-9747-9; Received: 17 March 2015 / Accepted: 12 October 2015; Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015. References Oliver Gantner: Gantner, O. (2016): Ressourcenstrategische Betrachtung der Kritikalität von Phosphor. Shaker, Aachen; 242 pages. Gantner, O.; Schipper, W.; Weigand, J.J. (2014): Technological Use of Phosphorus: The Non-fertilizer, Non-feed and Non-dertergent Domain. In: Sustainable Phosphorus Management: A Global Transdisciplinary Roadmap. Scholz, R.W.; Roy, A.H.; Brand, F.S., Hellums, D.T.; Ulrich, A.U.; Springer, Heidelberg; 299 pages.

The poem "Speculating Realism" was written by Marian Kaiser, the poem "Maybe" was written by Dimitri Kaufman.