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Nina Jäger 2016

A Legacy of the Technosphere

In the end, the technosphere will be buried deep as any other conglomeration of earthly materials, forming timelines of past eras as patterns on the face of cliff faces. Aided by the illustrations of Anne-Sophie Milon, geologist Jan Zalasiewicz speculates about the underground fate of the technosphere’s debris and the puzzle of technofossils that far-future archaeologists will find when digging up the landfills of the global experiment called Anthropocene.

by Anne-Sophie Milon, Jan Zalasiewicz
412 seconds read

Möbius Trip. The Technosphere and Our Science Fiction Reality

In his feverish essay concerning the role of these efficient, yet paltry, energy distribution devices called humans, science writer Dorion Sagan exits the Anthropocene in pursuit of epochs, evolutionary constellations and thermodynamic possibilities beyond consensus models. A tireless and curious exploration about the trip that humanity is on.

by Dorion Sagan
1997 seconds read

Sensing Air and Generating Worlds of Data

As environments increasingly become computational so does computation become environmental. Tech-driven practices of environmental monitoring such as citizen-based air quality measurements and sensor networks generate material-political worlds through “creaturing data.” Jennifer Gabrys shows how the instrumentation of the planet with sensor devices produces specific forms of concretizations that have a life of their own and contour the earthly space anew.

by Jennifer Gabrys
130 seconds read

Technosphere Verticality

With satellites and their debris now orbiting the planet, it serves to explore this beyond-stratosphere infrastructure and how it monitors the technosphere’s more terrestrial happenings. Environmental historian Johan Gärdebo introduces us to this outermost layer of the technosphere and discusses the consequences of such verticality in “environing” the Earth.

by Johan Gärdebo, Johan Gärdebo
697 seconds read

Technosphere and Technoecology

In his coining of the term technosphere, geoscientist Peter Haff attempts to describe the physical properties of a human-technological system that takes on a role equivalent to the biosphere or hydrosphere. In this conversation with media philosopher Erich Hörl, Haff discusses the finer points of this concept while they both attempt to locate ethical and philosophical questions that emerge from it.

by Erich Hörl, Peter K. Haff
297 seconds read

The Biosphere in the Cosmic Medium

Life is a geological force. And so is technology. The blueprint and historical precursor to the technosphere concept is Vladimir Vernadsky’s holistic delineation of the biosphere. The following excerpt from his seminal book The Biosphere (1926) serves to apprehend the originality and daring proposition of such a grand scheme of entangling living and non-living matter.

by Vladimir Vernadsky
208 seconds read

The Virtual Field

Sensing is an integral part of collecting data in the field. As apparatuses become more refined, they increase the capacity and precision of data that can be collected in even the most forbidding of zones. Historian of science Etienne Benson describes how the increasingly complex infrastructure of sensing is altering the experience of fieldwork, the persona of the scientist, and the nature of the knowledge that is produced.

by Etienne Benson
376 seconds read

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.

by Sasha Engelmann, Jol Thomson, Sasha Engelmann, Jol Thomson
558 seconds read

Whistler

Free and ubiquitous energy has always been a utopian dream for the technosphere as it confronts the limits of a finite Earth system. In his artistic narration, Nile Koetting cycles through a series of inquiries about free and ubiquitous energy and the spectacle that results.

by Nile Koetting
326 seconds read

continent. inter-view: Bronislaw Szerszynski on the Technosphere

What will it do next? What will be the next surprising thing that the earth will do in its contingent, billions-of-years of self-organisation?

by Bronislaw Szerszynski
77 seconds read
The third innermost large body in this solar system is ripe with a grand composite formed by the local stew of cosmological, geophysical, and biochemical forces and developed through a long evolutionary process. The technosphere ingresses into this complex interweaving, hijacking the Earth system and modifying it in unforeseeable ways. Among the bits of matter and energy it refashions are some of the fundaments of life and non-life on Earth. Our understanding of the technosphere is thus intrinsically tied to the metabolic linkages that are established and maintained between the biosphere and the geospheres. What is the fundamental idea behind the concept of the technosphere within its original context as an emergent component of the Earth system? What does it mean when technics create a system potent enough to intervene in and rival other geospheres? What makes technical assemblages a functional part of the biogeophysical world and the Earth’s metabolism? And how does the technosphere itself play a role in establishing this system-based “world view” through its means of sensing, monitoring, and datafying Earth? Is the idea of the Earth system itself an effect of a vast technical apparatus?