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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
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      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
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      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
  • 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).
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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
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      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
  • 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).
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      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
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      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.
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      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.
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      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.
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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–).
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      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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Resilience as Infrastructure

In the current design of large-scale infrastructural projects, the planetary future hinges on a new norm: perpetual prototyping and demoing. Media historian and social scientist Orit Halpern uses three case studies focused on urban development and extraction infrastructures to demonstrate how the logic of resilience operates against solution building and toward a precarious tolerance designed to retain normalcy through disaster.
What does posing questions about planetary futures and technology in terms of infrastructural discourses produce?

To begin thinking this question, I want to contemplate a number of scenes that set the stage, so to speak, for thinking about infrastructural futures and imaginaries.
The first set of images is the site of mass extraction of boulders and sand from the riverbeds at the base of the Himalayas in Siliguri in West Bengal. In March‒April 2016, I visited there ‒ the Haldia Port and Kolkata ‒ with a team as part of the Logistical Worlds research group. Siliguri is located on the borders between Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and China. The Asian Development Bank has invested large sums in the area developing a new “silk” road, part of a broader Asian Highway plan to increase and improve the road infrastructure throughout South and Southeast Asia, which will bridge and link West Bengal and Tibet. While the economic goals of such an endeavor are unclear, the political objective of China holding Tibet is an unspoken but largely accepted truth. The road, however, demands massive financing and, of course, like all roads ‒ concrete.
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Concrete demands sand particles that are clean, smooth, hard, and without clay or chemical coatings or contamination for the mixture. Sand that has been worn by water, usually dredged from a river or seabed. The most striking element of this environment, for me, was witnessing the intense forms of environmental and human devastation wrought through the endless efforts to get sand from riverbeds. In order to fuel the purported construction boom within the locality. The boom is being created by the new Asian Highway projects that will tie these regions of India to Chinese-held Tibet, Bangladesh, Nepal, and more broadly the wide-scale real-estate speculation currently happening throughout India. The extraction of sand and boulders from riverbeds in the interest of real-estate speculation amounts to a massive geo-engineering project, whose scale is yet to be recognized even. The result of this speculative extraction is that the rivers are sinking into the earth and drying up, thus effectively destroying a major source of water for much of India. The full ecological and human consequences are playing themselves out in what is a large-scale experiment in destruction, with no clear endpoint. Phenomenologically, this situation manifests itself through a level of particulate dust that makes breathing difficult and the dust is omnipresent on one’s body and belongings at all times when in Siliguri.
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Haldia Port, 2016.

Some 600 kilometers to the south lies the great city of Kolkata. One of the largest and densest settlements on Earth, it has long been at the heart of global trade and commerce, and central in the development of capitalism.
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District 5, also called Rajarat, is one of the newer areas of the city. It was supposed to be designated a “smart” city by the government. It never achieved this designation, but it has been developed in the interest of producing a space for high-tech corporations and luxury housing for the envisioned workers of these industries. While the high-tech industry never moved to Kolkata, and most of the existing firms are largely secondary-service providers to the central operations located in Bangalore and elsewhere, the construction continues. The space is crisscrossed by endless highway developments and flyovers; one of which actually collapsed during our visit in Kolkata on March 31, 2016, killing many. This is the result of overly rapid construction, corruption, and the velocity of speculation and derivation in the real-estate sector. The space feels monumental, and empty. In fact many of these developments are empty, some not even connected to the information and bandwidth infrastructures that is their purported raison d’être. Much of the housing, here as across India, has never been, and might never be, occupied, having been bought solely for speculation by foreign investors. Reportedly, most such construction is also heavily leveraged: the debt and cost to both the state and the developers having long ago been credit‒debt swapped by large investment banks located in the global financial hubs, long before the ground was even broken for construction. While the function of these spaces in terms of life is unclear, the profit has long ago already been made in the financial centers of Mumbai and even more likely in New York, Frankfurt, and London. At the same time, as a result of the complex assembly of histories of caste, colonialism, and capitalism, these constructions have cost some 30,000 people their homes. Claimed through the right of eminent domain, the previous residents of these spaces are often dispossessed with little remuneration, since most of the lower caste inhabitants never owned the land, even if they had lived on and farmed it, over decades. As a result, these people end up occupying the ubiquitous shantytowns of Kolkata, and seeking transitory labor in locations such as the port, where often they supply labor usually carried out by automated machines in other regions, under enormous duress. Living in areas lacking any public health infrastructure ‒ without sanitation and often not connected to the electrical grid ‒ these individuals literally are being worked to death and living under severe conditions. The cost in morbidity and mortality is enormous: according to the union representatives to whom we spoke, dock workers, for example, retire by their late thirties, their bodies incapable of delivering at the speed necessary for unloading and loading the ships.
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Mirroring these scenes of graphic anthropocenic violence, there is another series of scenes that I wish to hold together also and to consider this in relation to my opening scene. These are images of other marketing and technological logistical endeavors that share in the positive speculation on precariousness and environmental destruction. For example, one of the more astounding recent demonstrations of hopeful speculation made upon New York City’s future devastation. The 2011 Rising Currents exhibition at MOMA, ironically occurred moments before the real Hurricane Sandy hit. The most popular exhibition is one that is now funded to the tune of 60 million dollars off Staten Island: the growing of oysters as living barriers or reefs, life itself recruited for infrastructure. The very recruitment of life itself, our and other organisms’ bodies for and as infrastructure, poses historically situated questions about the relationship between this new form of managing in the interest of making “resilient” Manhattan through the use of “living” infrastructures. The irony of this scene is that the oysters are slowly dying off, the result of being used under such polluted and inhospitable environments, and the rising acidity and temperature of the water. They are dying due to their use. A state perhaps that goes beyond extraction and even subsumption. This death, however, is beautifully rendered in a way that embraces this terminal destruction pleasurable for us, and which recruits into this embrace the destruction, basically, of New York City. A second project for surviving tidal surges repeats this theme of pleasurable destruction.Video "New Aqueous City" by nARCHITECS (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7folAgxX-g).

As the waters rise in the renderings of the prototype buildings, this terrestrial change offers both new real-estate and agricultural opportunities. When finally the big storm hits, as we see in the video, individuals calmly gather up on the roof of what appears to be a fancy condominium complex, prepared for evacuation by helicopter. As the helicopter swoops down, all is beautiful, the light is rosy, there is no wind or rain. It looks pleasant. The reality of evacuation in the aftermath of events such as Hurricane Katrina, and the latest disaster of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, of course, are a far cry from these sleek and sanitary animations. These images resemble nothing like those of other devastated environments. But one cannot help but wonder who is being left behind, and who is not being saved by this very expensive mode of rescue.NArchitects (http://narchitects.com/work/moma-rising-currents/), (accessed January 13, 2017).
And such logistical and infrastructural “nightmares” to cite Ned Rossiter, propagate. There are many examples, such as the shiny glean of Norman Foster’s latest large-scale development in the Middle East in Masdar, Abu Dhabi. Initially conceived as a Zero-Carbon Growth Development, it has largely failed as a large residential community, but succeeded in becoming an engineering school linked to MIT, and a venture capital fund for investment in energy technologies. Let’s take another example: the “super trees” in Singapore’s Gardens By the Bay ‒ globally displayed in the Systems, applications and products (SAP) advertising that populates airports globally. These “trees” are designed to photosynthesize energy for a garden that at least in theory is a repository for biodiversity. But as anthropologist, Natasha Myers notes, in reality, most of the plants hoarded in Singapore cannot even live within that environment.Natasha Myers, “Edenic Apocalypse Meets the Garden against Eden: Building and Breaking the Infrastructures of Garden Enclosures,” Infrastructure, Environment and Life in the Anthropocene, no. 31 (2015), papers delivered at the Research Hub at Concordia University, Montreal.
Thus while these trees are providing energy, their other main function is actually venting heat given off from the massive cooling systems of the underground arboretums. These trees provide, however, a gleaming and luminescent way to sense technical progress and circulate risks (if we consider that SAP provides software for supply-chain management) in the face of environmental devastation. I could continue, since such examples of beautifully adorned negative futures proliferate. All these architectures of pleasurable destruction are parametrically rendered to smooth away the capacity to encounter the impossibility of witnessing disaster and move us away from encounters with the radical difference of the Earth or the environment, and even more critically from encountering the other beings that are suffering to make this pleasant space of capital possible. I argue that these spaces are the doppelgangers of the logistical territories that shape life in West Bengal. They are the luxury exemplars of a world assumed to be unsustainable, and precarious to life, but still manageable and profitable through particular forms of high-technology, logistical management, in particular through computational mediums, which intervene and re-organize the very fabric of time and space that comprise our contemporary lived ecologies. These scenes open up a series of questions as to how speculation and computation are joined together, how they operate under conditions of environmental and human catastrophe. I propose that these images are the traces of a new form of speculative hope, which is indoctrinated within an emergent paradigm of what I want to label “resilient hope.” Resilient hope links the high-technology computational infrastructures of ubiquitous computing and “smartness,” data centers, and finance, to the far more “concrete,” if we will, spaces of locations such as West Bengal.
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Luck charms in Taxi, Kolkata, 2016.

Resilience as Infrastructure
In that this is a short and speculative piece, I want to focus on how resilience and technology marry to create this form of preemptive infrastructural governance that naturalizes precariousness, sacrifice, and violence as necessary economic values rather than political options. Resilience is a particular logic: it is not about a future that is better, but rather about an ecology that can absorb constant shocks while maintaining its functionality and organization. It is a state, following the work of Bruce Braun, of permanent management without ideas of progress, change, or improvement. The irony is that this hopeless situation is actually met with hopeful speculation, usually through new forms of temporal management in finance and technology. Thus, real-estate speculation can continue to occur on new silk roads, and on never-to-be-occupied “smart” or at least high-end developments, even as the Himalayan flood planes are destroyed because the end never arrives, but is simply delayed, or more appropriately derived. Resilience is a complicated term, for it plays important, but differing, roles in multiple fields, such as in the engineering and material sciences (since the nineteenth century, the “modulus of resilience” has served as a measure of the capacity of materials such as woods and metals to return to their original shapes after an impact), as well as in ecology, psychology, sociology, geography, business literature, and public policymaking (in which fields resilience names ways in which ecosystems, individuals, communities, corporations, and states, respectively, respond to stress, adversity, and rapid change). The understanding of resilience most crucial to large-scale planning projects and contemporary discourse was first forged in the field of ecology in the 1970s, and especially in the work of Crawford Stanley Holling, who established a key distinction between “stability” and “resilience.C. S. Holling, “Resilience and Stability of Ecological Systems,” Annual Review of Ecological Systems, vol. 4 (1973), pp. 1‒23.
Working from a systems perspective, and interested in the question of how humans could best manage elements of ecosystems that were of commercial interest (e.g. salmon, wood, etc.), Holling developed the concept of resilience in order to contest the premise that ecosystems were most healthy when they returned quickly to a state of equilibrium after being disturbed. Holling called the return to a state of equilibrium “stability,” but argued that stable systems were often unable to compensate for significant and swift environmental changes. As Holling put it, the “stability view [of ecosystem management] emphasizes the equilibrium, the maintenance of a predictable world, and the harvesting of nature’s excess production with as little fluctuation as possible,” yet this very approach that “assures a stable maximum sustained yield of a renewable resource might so change [the conditions of that system] […] that a chance and rare event that previously could be absorbed can trigger a sudden dramatic change and loss of structural integrity of the system.Holling, “Resilience and Stability of Ecological Systems,” p. 21.
Resilience, by contrast, denoted for Holling the capacity of a system to change in periods of intense external perturbation, and thus persist over long time periods. The concept of resilience thus enabled a management approach to ecosystems that “would emphasize the need to keep options open, the need to view events in a regional rather than a local context, and the need to emphasize heterogeneity.Holling, “Resilience and Stability of Ecological Systems,” p. 21.
Resilience is in this sense, linked conceptually to concepts of crisis and states of exception; that is, resilience is a virtue when the latter are assumed either to be quasi-constant or the most relevant states. Holling also underscored that the movement from valuing stability to valuing resilience depended upon an epistemological shift: “Flowing from this would be not the presumption of sufficient knowledge, but the recognition of our ignorance: not the assumption that future events are expected, but that they will be unexpected.Holling, “Resilience and Stability of Ecological Systems,” p. 21.
Contemporary planning, finance, and design practice abstracts the concept of resilience from a systems approach to ecology and turns it into all-purpose epistemology and value, positing resilience as a more general strategy for managing uncertainty without endpoint, and encouraging the premise that our world is indeed so complex that unexpected events are the norm. Resilience also functions in the landscape of planning and management to collapse the distinction between emergence (which would simply denote something new) and emergency (which denotes something new that threatens), and does so in the interest of producing a world where any change can be technically managed and assimilated, while maintaining the ongoing survival of the system, rather than specifically the species. Nowhere is this better exemplified then in the opening example of New York City, whose current slogan after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 is “Fix and Fortify.” A more clear statement about the stance of urban planners to trauma could, perhaps not be found. It is very clear that planning must simply assume and assimilate future, unknowable shocks, and that these shocks may come in any form ‒ security, economic, environmental. Furthermore, in this case, the destruction of New York City becomes an opportunity for innovation, design thinking, and real-estate speculation. The discourse is abundantly positive. As the catalogue to the show opens:
MoMA and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center joined forces to address one of the most urgent challenges facing the nation’s largest city: sea-level rise resulting from global climate change. Though the national debate on infrastructure is currently focused on “shovel-ready” projects that will stimulate the economy, we now have an important opportunity to foster new research and fresh thinking about the use of New York City’s harbor and coastline. As in past economic recessions, construction has slowed dramatically in New York, and much of the city’s remarkable pool of architectural talent is available to focus on innovation.
This rather stunning statement turns economic tragedy, the unemployment of most architects, and the imagined coming environmental apocalypse into an opportunity for speculation ‒ technically, aesthetically, and economically. A literal transformation of emergency into emergence; a model for managing perceived and real risks to the population and infrastructure of the territory, not through “solving” the problem, but through absorbing shocks, and modulating the way the environment is managed. Such logics pervade the landscape of large logistical and computational environments. Let’s return to the initial example of the imagined, never-constructed, high-bandwidth “smart city” of Rajarat. The development of such so-called smart cities follows, on the one hand the logic of software development. That is, every present state of the smart city is understood as a demo or prototype of a future smart city; every operation in the smart city is understood in terms or testing and updating. As a consequence, there is never a finished product, but rather infinitely replicable, yet always preliminary versions of these cities around the globe. Engineers we interviewed at the site openly spoke of it as an “experiment” and as a “test,” admitting the system did not work, but could be improved in the next instantiation elsewhere in the world. This idea of the infrastructure as a “demo” avoids any actual questions as to whether there is an impact to this construction on the planet, or labor, or its inhabitants, and opens the door to assimilate any difficulty or challenge into the next version. The concept of resilience, here, is married to a concept of a future that is always a version, perhaps a derivative replica, of another moment. This is a form of time where difference is not historical or progressive, but repetitive in practice (the same method is repeated again and again) while producing constantly differing territories. This is a self-referential difference, only measured or understood in relation to the many other versions of smart cities, all of which are built by the same corporate and national assemblages.

RESILIENCE AND DERIVATION
This design logic of repetitive demoing accompanied by the aestheticization of sacrifice facilitates the management and negotiation of risks through derivation (from an imagined origin) in a manner that avoids ever having to finally discover the impact of respective events ‒ whether weather, economic, or security ‒ on the world. Every version, demo, or prototype allows us to commence with failing to encounter the planet, or the violences of security, by labeling it “a never truly completed effort” from which the next version may be derived. What is true of design is mirrored in finance. As Melinda Cooper has noted in discussing weather futures, contemporary markets have now produced derivatives that are literally producing value from betting on adverse and unpredictable events in relation to one another not as discrete occurrences with lived impacts. As she notes:
As a futures methodology, scenario planning is designed to foster decision-making under conditions of uncertainty. Its focus is not risk as such, but rather the radical uncertainty of unknowable contingencies –events for which it is impossible to assign a probability distribution on the basis of past frequencies […] In the process, it is the very relationship between the measurable ‘substance’ of the commodity – its stored value –and the event-related nature of price that is reworked: where traditional derivatives contracts traded in the future prices of commodities, financial derivatives trade in futures of futures, turning promise itself into the means and ends of accumulation.Melinda Cooper, “Turbulent Worlds: Financial Markets and Environmental Crisis,” Theory, Culture & Society, vol. 27, nos 2‒3 (2010), pp. 167‒90; 173‒78.
Time, here, becomes not a relationship to the spatial circulation of goods, labor, and commodity, but a thing in itself, a non-historical, but also non-geological or environmental time. Time as a pure ecology of self-reference. Such understandings of time, of course, demand that we ask: What is the relationship between derivation and extraction? And provokes new practices most significantly around measurement, since no longer is time = money, but money derives from the time = time. The form of time, here, is speculative not predictive. This logic takes its built form in engineering and design through the production of the testbed, demo, or prototype, which is a form of speculation on a future, without prediction; a practice invoked in many places, as for example through the prototypes and design demos that plan and re-perform, seemingly without consequence, the destruction of New York City. Another way to think about how resilience and prototyping or demoing is linked is through distinguishing between risk and uncertainty. If the Cold War was about nuclear testing and simulation as a means to avoid the unthinkable, but nonetheless predictable, nuclear war ‒ now the formula has now been changed.It is important to recognize that there are also alternative histories of temporality and control within computing coming from cybernetics. In the work on organizations and economics from figures such as Herbert Simon, and in the work on neural nets coming from the heritage of Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts, ideas of “Fuzzy” problems and logic were prevalent, and preemption, not prediction, was a dominant theme. These influences went on to be very important and influential in engineering and financial culture, particularly through the figure of Nicholas Negroponte and through architectural collectives such as Archigram and the Metabolists. For more information see: Orit Halpern, “Cybernetic Rationality,” Distinktion: Scandinavian Journal of Social Theory, vol. 15, no. 2 (2014), pp. 1‒16; Judy L. Klein et al., How Reason Almost Lost Its Mind: The Strange Career of Cold War Rationality. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2013.
This distinction is best summated in the separation between risk and uncertainty first laid out in the 1920s by the economist Frank Knight. According to Knight, uncertainty, unlike risk, has no clearly defined endpoints or values.Frank Knight, Risk, Uncertainty, Profit. Boston: Schaffner and Marx Houghton Mifflin, Co., 1921 (http://www.econlib.org/library/Knight/knRUP.html.web).
It offers no clear-cut terminal events. In this case, the test no longer serves as a simulation of life. Rather, the test-bed makes human life itself an experiment for technological futures. This “uncertainty” embeds itself in our technologies ‒ of both architecture and finance. Thus, in financial markets, we continually “swap,” “derive,” and “leverage,” never fully accounting for risks in the hope that circulation will defer any need actually to represent risk, and in infrastructure, engineering, and computing, we do the same. As future risk transforms into uncertainty, high-tech, particularly “smart” and “ubiquitous” computing infrastructures, become the language and the practice by which to imagine our future. Instead of looking for utopian answers to our questions regarding the future, we focus on quantitative and algorithmic methods, on logistics, on how to move things, and not where they end up or the measurement of the impacts of these actions. Resilience, now married to the infrastructures of ubiquitous computing and logistics, becomes the dominant method for engaging with possible urban (but also more sui generis infrastructures of transport, energy grids, financial systems. etc.) collapse. At the same time, terms like “smartness” become our new catchphrase for an emerging form of technical rationality whose major goal is management of an uncertain future, through a constant deferral of future results or evaluation, through a continuous mode of self-referential data collection without endpoint, and the construction of forms of financial instrumentation and accounting that no longer engage, or even need to engage with, alienate, or translate, extraction from history, geology, or life. One of the key (and troubling) consequences of these two operations that now shape and form many logistical territories ‒ the practice of demoing, prototyping, and versioning and the imaginary and discourse of resilience ‒ is to obscure differences in kinds of catastrophes. While every crisis event ‒ for example, the 2008 subprime mortgage collapse or the Tohoku earthquake of 2011 ‒ different, within the demo-logic that underwrites the production of smart and resilient cities, supply chains, and infrastructures, these differences can be subsumed under the general concept of ongoing crisis without clear event structure. That is, whether threatened by terrorism, subprime mortgages, energy shortages, or hurricanes, smartness always responds in essentially the same way (and this because the demo is a form of temporal management that through its very practices and discourses evacuates any historical and contextual specificity of the catastrophe). It is precisely this evacuation of differences, temporalities, and societal structures that most concerns me in confronting the extraordinary rise of ubiquitous computing and high-tech infrastructures as solutions to political, social, environmental, and historical problems confronting urban design and planning, and engines for producing new forms of territory and governance. This logic also prompts us to ask about the possible alternatives. Our challenge, then, is fundamentally to transform the current resilient hopes of deferring negative futures through the practices of demoing, which mirrors the models of software development, to another mode. This demands that we begin to examine the social movements, construction projects, and many efforts in art, design, the humanities science, and politics, which have challenged the positive embrace of end times, and fought to reintroduce other forms of time, and life, into space. When concrete first emerged as an ideal material in architecture and in art, it was in the interest of producing another world, one that was not yet here. Today, we face another challenge ‒ one of imagining another world while recognizing the tragedy that already has, and is still, occurring to most of life on Earth. This demands a change of tense for design and politics. We cannot dream of creative destruction, since we have indeed already destroyed the world, but nor can we continue to embrace a world without futures.

Unless otherwise indicated, all videos and photographs can be attributed to Orit Halpern.