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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
  • Malin Ah-King
  • Memo Akten
    • . He is currently a PhD candidate at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he is researching artificial intelligence, machine learning, and expressive human-ma
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      published contributions
  • Jamie Allen
  • 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
  • Subhankar Banerjee
  • 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
  • Paul Boshears
  • Benjamin Bratton
    • for Media, Architecture and Design, Moscow. Bratton is also Professor of Digital Design at the Eur
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      published contributions
  • 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
  • Amy Cimini
  • 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
  • Flavio D'Abramo
  • Ana Dana Beroš
    • chitect and curator focused on creating uncertain, fragile environments that catalyze social chan
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      published contributions
  • Pietro Daniel Omodeo
  • 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
  • Rohini Devasher
  • 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
  • Anna Echterhölter
  • 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
  • Lois Epstein
    • stein is Arctic Program Director at the Wilderness Society an American land conservation non-profit. A licensed engineer, she has served on a number of federal advisory committees, including a National Academy of Sciences committee studying oil and gas regulations, and, for twelve years, a committee focusing on oil pipeline safety. Epstein holds a Master of Civil Engineering with a specialization in environme
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      published contributions
  • 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
  • Elaine Gan
  • Oliver Gantner
  • Beate Geissler and Oliver Sann
  • 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
  • Mark Graham
  • Jacques Grinevald
  • 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
  • Eva Hayward
  • Gerda Heck
  • Florian Hecker
    • dio 3 as the broadcaster’s first ever live binaural broadcast. Recent major exhibitions
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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
  • Sabine Höhler
  • Erich Hörl
  • Timothy Johnson
  • Peter K. Haff
  • Bernd Kasparek
  • 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
  • Matija Kralj
  • Kei Kreutler
  • 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
  • Hannah Landecker
  • Brian Larkin
  • Bruno Latour
  • 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
  • Yoneda Lemma
    • ents from one fiction to another. She has exhibited her work at V4ULT, Berlin; Le Cube, Par
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      published contributions
  • Esther Leslie
    • t theories of aesthetics and culture, with a particular focus on the work of Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno. It deals with the poetics of science, European literary and visual modern
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      published contributions
  • George Lewis
    • my of Arts and Letters, New York. He has been a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Chicago, since 1971. Lewis’s work as composer, electronic performer, installa
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      published contributions
  • S. Løchlann Jain
  • Donald MacKenzie
  • Stefan Maier
  • Chowra Makaremi
  • Annapurna Mamidipudi
  • 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
  • Daniel Niles
    • terial, millenary and momentary—that their knowledge takes, and, finally, the significance of this experience to our understanding of t
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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
  • Karen Pinkus
    • w York. She is also a faculty fellow of the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, Ithaca. Author of numerous publications in literary studies, Italian studies, critical theory, and environmental humanities, Pinkus is also Editor of the journal Diacritics. In her latest book, Fuel (2016), Pinkus thinks about issues crucial to climate ch
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      published contributions
  • Giulia Rispoli
  • Sophia Roosth
    • t when researchers are building new biological systems in order to investigate how biology works. She holds a PhD from the Massachuse
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      published contributions
  • Arno Rosemarin
  • Rafico Ruiz
    • afico Ruiz is Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Banting Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Alberta, Edmonton. He studies the relationships between mediation and social space, particularly in the Arctic and subarctic; the cultural geographies of natural resource engagements; and
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      published contributions
  • Kim Rygiel
    • f International Affairs in Waterloo, Canada. Her research focuses on border security, migration, and citizenship in North America and Europe. She investigates how citizens and non-citizens engage in citizenship practices and challenge notions
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      published contributions
  • Dorion Sagan
  • Isabelle Saint-Saëns
  • Birgit Schneider
  • Sever
    • SEVER was developed as a speculative design project by Francesco Sebregondi, Alexey Platonov, Inna Pokazanyeva, and Ildar Iakubov during the New Normal postgraduate program at Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, Moscow. SEVER seeks to intervene into current Arctic debates by disturbing the landscape of the region’s possible futures
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      published contributions
  • Jens Soentgen
  • C Spencer Yeh
  • Nick Srnicek
  • 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
  • Kaushik Sunder Rajan
    • echnology studies, and postcolonial studies, holding a special interest in the global political economy of biomedicine, with a comparative focus on the Un
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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–).
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Ksenia Tatarchenko
    • dies Institute, Geneva University, specializing in the history of Russian science and technology. She has held positions as a visiting Assistant Professor of History at NYU Shanghai and a post-doctoral fellow at the Harriman Institute, Columbia. Most broadly, she studies questions of knowledge circulation to situate Soviet developments in the global context. She is currently writing a book on science and innovation cultures in Siberia provisionally
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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
  • Terre Thaemlitz
  • 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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  • 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
  • Ben Vida
    • Korea, Australia ,and Europe at such institutions as the Guggenheim, New York; Centro Pecci, Prato, Italy; STUK Arts Center, Leuven
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      published contributions
  • 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
  • Kalindi Vora
  • Jennifer Walshe
    • porary Arts, New York; DAAD Berliner Künstle
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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
  • Elvia Wilk
  • 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.
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      published contributions
  • Anna Zett
  • Sander van der Leeuw
    • ionships, and complex systems theory. He investigates the preconditions for and the practices and role of invention, sustainability, and innovation in societies. He has done
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      published contributions
  • Liv Østmo
    • Liv Østmo is one of the founders and current Dean of the Sámi University of Applied Sciences, Kautokeino, Norway, where she researches and lectures on the subject of multicultural understanding. For the last eight years, Østmo has worked with traditional Sámi knowledge and she is currently working on putting the finishing touches on a methodology book about the documentation of this knowledge.
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      published contributions

3. Couture Cosmetique: Transgendered electroacoustique symptomatic of the need for a cultural makeover (Or... What's behind all that foundation?)

In this republication of the liner notes to Couture Cosmetique (1997), Terre Thaemlitz suggests that digital production tools allow uses of audio that readily draw a comparison to nonessentialist transgendered critiques of representation and the body. By rejecting the normative concepts we project onto technology, Thaemlitz points toward what other visions of the human might be freed up in the process.
Written in 1996 and lightly edited for the current publication. First published with the audio CD of the same name (US: Caipirinha Productions, 1997, CAI-2002-2; Japan: Daisyworld Discs, 1997, SYDW-0005). Endnotes marked “COMMENT” are newly added for this edition and not part of the original text.
[Music’s] order simulates the social order, and its dissonances express marginalities. —Jacques AttaliJacques Attali, Noise: The Political Economy of Music. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1985, p. 29.
While the development of Queer-positive imagery and graphics exploded with AIDS activism in the 1980s, sonically we have little more than, ʻHey-hey, ho-ho, Homophobia’s got to go!’ —Dont RhineDont Rhine, co-founder of Ultra-red, from personal correspondence, ca. 1994.
It has been suggested by myself and others that certain subgenres of what has come to be known as Contemporary Ambient music propose a complication of cultural processes by subverting the spectacle of melody and questioning the social functions of active and passive listening techniques. COMMENT 1 Similarly, while the genre remains dominated by male producers and cannot claim to transcend the conventional heterosexism and gender biases of the electronic music industry, it incorporates discourses that involve the active disclosure, inversion, and convolution of sonic and experiential relationships. The result is a vehicle of layered contents and contradictions that extend to the very manner in which it allows for the generation of multiple political discourses, while most forums for reception are despairingly apolitical and humanist in tone (an often frustrating passive-aggressive circumstance).
To exemplify this concept of contingency upon the contradictory, the sounds developed for Couture Cosmetique emphasize residual noises produced by some of today’s more popular digital synthesis techniques—including granular synthesis, pitch/time convolution, and heterodyne filter analysis—bringing into focus those sounds that currently exist in a repressed state at the periphery of popular contemporary music production. In this manner, the limitations of such audio technologies are used to intimate new functionalities, which remain excluded or omitted from popular development—a metaphor that may be applied to the construction and utilization of post-industrial technologies in general.
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“Technology” per se, particularly in its role as a medium for the development of First World cultures, becomes politicized with connotations of the contexts it fosters. These connotations are multifaceted, ranging from expanded agricultural production, to environmental destruction; from the identification of a glandular enlargement in the brains of “Homosexual men” embraced by some as an essentialist“Essentialist” refers to the conceptualization of identities that purport to reflect a primal “human essence.” A “nonessentialist” outlook, favored herein, refers to the conceptualization of identities as a strategy for self-mediation within a politicized social context. In nonessentialist terms, any identity construct’s claim to embody a “human essence,” be it Heterosexuality, Lesbianism, Gayness, Bisexuality, Transsexuality, etc., is understood for its social function as a means to justify the social orders it serves by disavowing its potential for social changeability. Nonessentialism attempts to complicate arguments of biological determinism by emphasizing that the application of a sense of propriety is an inevitable and inextricable social process, and that senses of propriety are contextual, and hence mutable and more viable as a philosophical basis for incorporating social differences. Nonessentialism is to be differentiated from a concept of “Nurture over Nature,” in that the former rejects the dichotomy of Society vs. Nature, as such a dichotomy proposes the teleological emergence of a purely learned (purely comprehensible) self.
argument for social acceptance in its identification of Lesbian and Gay desire as an extra-social experience of Nature, to the use of genetic research as a means of reducing social aberration; from the internet as a means for women to foster global associations and increase visibility in technological fields typically dominated by men, to the overwhelmingly male-oriented Heterosexism and Gay-male bias of internet porn; from the marketing of toy weapons and machinery for boys, to the marketing of baby dolls and domestic toys for girls. Thus technologies come to have multiple associations with gender and sexual orientation in popular media and “counterculture” discourses, both of which emphasize (critically or non) the use of technology to perpetuate and expand patriarchal First World marketplaces. Since it is through my interactions with such technologies and discourses that I mediate a sense of self, the metaphorical implications of electroacoustic audio production range from the hyperpersonal to the socially dissonant.
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I have found that this methodological framework for constructing audio has many similarities with nonessentialist factions of transgenderism (from gender confusion to Drag Kings and Queens), which also seek to complicate social processes. Transgenderism does this by actively questioning constructions of gender and sexuality, while its exploitation of essentialist constructs of femininity and masculinity references social contextuality. It is this referentiality that I feel makes nonessentialist transgenderism a more viable platform for gender analysis than essentialist transgendered methodologies, which propose a transcendental breach from those cultural influences they critique. However, as with apoliticism within the Contemporary Ambient genre, transgenderism’s ability to develop such analyses is largely overwritten by larger factions and popular discourses that embrace essentialist concepts of sexual and gender identities.
From laser discs to laser surgery, both Contemporary Ambient and transgenderism use post-industrial technologies as mediums of representation. Both embrace and abuse stereotypical applications of such technologies, and both must define such processes of recontextualization in relation to dominant social orders. The result of these abuses is not a neutralization of signifiers but an outgrowth of imbalances that serve to complicate the very orders with which they are in dialogue. I disbelieve Contemporary Ambient’s and electronic music’s ability to be adequately disassociated from masculine and patriarchal signifiers to represent a convincing fiction of androgyny (or femininity, for that matter). However, as is the case with androgyny, the circumstance does not gain impact through processes of gender disassociation as much as through an ability to embody simultaneity and contradictions of desire.
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It may be argued that all forms of recorded music are implicated in such a process of signification through the simultaneous dissolution of authorship via mass production, the essentialization of authorship and originality via the idolization of performers, and the manner in which we learn to author personal contents and possessiveness upon music we “love.” But what is of greater interest to me are means of production that seek to actively disclose these operations yet also acknowledge the limitations of their ability to identify such disclosures. For example, the transformation of Walter to Wendy Carlos amid the recontextualization of classical music from a purist acoustic (Natural) state to one of technological resynthesis (released by the apropos Trans-Electronic Music Productions, Inc.). Scanner’s utilization of audio voyeurism to construct an acoustic “Male gaze.” Laurie Anderson’s use of narrative performance and spectacle as a metaphor for processes of self-identification amid the “Male gaze.” Oval’s dislocation of authorship and process as a disavowal of Modernist gestures (implicit with testosterone-driven angst), and their simultaneous recuperation into a concept of the Modernist avant-garde. Insook Choi’s emphasis on the construction of audience and active observation techniques in the development of interactive audio media at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, Urbana, Illinois. And the ensuing contradiction between a desire to move away from the elitism of “Virtuoso/Master Listener” paradigms and its foiling by a contingency upon public access to largely unavailable technologies.
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Discussions of such productions’ ability to disclose and destabilize conventional processes of signification are hindered by dominant cultural discourses’ identification of subjective contents as differentiated from and prioritized above the social contexts in which such contents are developed and mediated. Press and producers alike ponder the Death of Ambient™, a death mandated by popular individualist ideologies’ incongruity with compositional practices that diffuse the subject in relation to her or his environment. COMMENT 2 Others attempt to recuperate Humanist and Universalist philosophies into this process of diffusion through the construction of Ethnoambient and Fourth World musics, genres that typically use samples of Third World instruments to invoke First World fantasies of the “Tribal.” However, such genres’ reliance upon essentialist fictions of an extrasocial condition of kinsmanship that is external to First World processes of cultural exchange (as defined by the necessity for Third World signifiers) results in a dichotomy that unintentionally excludes the First World Humanist subject from that extrasocial space s/he claims to inhabit in essence. Such types of music not only serve to conceal the social mechanisms that foster essentialism, but they also contribute to the construction of Diasporas through their imperialist suppression of localized contexts and contents.
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And yet, even in my most fervent disagreement with essentialist ideologies, I cannot ignore their pervasiveness in my own actions. I am plagued by half-awareness of the internalized processes of reification and fetishization that have led me to use audio and transgenderism as expressive mediums. I find that my actions must satiate simultaneous, and often oppositional, desires for personal catharsis and audience engagement. The former can lead to an over-aestheticization of the amorphous production strategies I hail, obscuring and reducing my intentions to trivia for private coveting or disclosure through addendums.For example, “Abandoned Left” focuses on feelings of paranoia and ineffectiveness among activists amid popular anti-Leftist sentiments and self-critique. To exemplify this condition, but largely obscured from observation, the track is constructed from digital analyses of fade-outs from 1970s jazz and R&B titles (perpetual moments of abandonment from music with both Leftist and populist connotations).
The latter typically involves compromises of content arising from the desire to establish dialogue with discourses I oppose. COMMENT 3
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The amalgamation of these pursuits is my consumption by activities that seek to actively incorporate their inability to coalesce into a singular content or propriety—an incorporation that is not a disavowal of strategy nor an assertion of functionality, but an acknowledgment of the cosmetic modality of all actions. Cosmetic in their ability to impart social order and arrangement (implicit in aestheticism), as well as in their intentional and unintentional concealment of social agendas; modal in their expression of moods and outlooks of the politics they reflect. Couture Cosmetique is a manifestation of this “critical cosmetology.”
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COMMENT 1: Although the term “Contemporary Ambient” may still apply to much of what is happening in today’s Ambient ouvre, I was specifically referring to that odd window of commercial viability from 1985 to 1995, during which Ambient audio was often heard in comedown rooms at raves. At its peak, the sound was perhaps most typified by the three UK producers the Orb, the Future Sound of London, and Aphex Twin. Basically, everything between Industrial Ambient of the early 1980s and Laptop Orchestras of the early ’90s. Keep in mind that this text was the liner notes to a commercially distributed album in a genre typically represented by cheap 3D computer graphics, holograms and P. L. U. R. (Peace, Love, Unity, Respect) spiritual jargon. So, on the one hand, the heavy-handed pseudo-academic flavor of this text was a reaction against the shallowness of the commercial audio marketplace. On the other hand, this injection of thematic content into a commercial CD was also a rejection of the notion that academia was the sole site of production for critical minded or “culturally important” computer music. COMMENT 2: The US economic bubble around Electronica and Contemporary Ambient music burst around 1995–96, triggering a massive retreat of interest in ambient music from both record labels and music distributors. At that time, there was a major shift of Ambient producers toward more easily marketable Drum ‘n’ Bass, Jungle, and Enigma-esque Ethno-audio-imperialism. I placed a trademark sign after the phrase “The Death of Ambient,” because at the time the expression was commonplace among industry folk and press. It functioned as a marketing justification for continuing to only invest in productions by producers with “star potential”—closing the door on a short-lived period of support for fringe productions and producers critical of authorship and ego branding. The signs of this shift were long coming and were the reason I cynically began releasing my Contemporary Ambient productions under my real name, “Terre Thaemlitz,” as early as 1994, with Tranquilizer (Instinct Records). Using my actual name rather than a project alias was a cynical gesture indicating my concerns about the problematic ways labels and press invariably censored non-ego notions of production. While they spoke of the “Death of Ambient” as a mystery, their bewilderment was simply a smoke screen for their own witting or unwitting roles in the genre’s cultural “homicide” by insisting the genre be marketed and sold like any other pop music. At the time, the alternative to producing Drum ‘n’ Bass or some other market-friendly techno variant was to become a “Sound Artist.” There is no doubt that the late ’90s revival of Sound Art within Fine Art marketplaces was a direct result of the large pool of unemployed Ambient and Experimental audio producers scrambling for work in other arenas. This peaked in the early ’00s, not in small part due to the 2003 bankruptcy of EFA, one of Europe’s largest electronic distributorships. Their closure had a domino effect of bankrupting many of the smaller labels they represented, the Frankfurt based label Mille Plateaux, which was one of the most important commercial outlets for electroacoustic audio and would release the bulk of my electroacoustic and piano solo albums between 1997-2003. Of course, curators, galleries, and museums refused to acknowledge any connection between their “rediscovery” of Sound Art and the economic crises happening in global audio marketplaces. Many audio producers with extensive careers were being portrayed in the arts as newcomers out of nowhere, who owed a cultural debt to art curators for their discovery. In reality, the curators were using the established cultural knowledge and expertise of such producers to enable their marketing of a Sound Art trend. COMMENT 3: I remember being very frustrated at that time by the way CD packaging budgets restricted the amount of text I was allowed to include in any given release. This meant most of my texts were limited to simply setting up the contextual framework of an album, with no space for in-depth particulars about the themes and technical processes behind individual tracks. And, as the last sentence of this paragraph states, in addition to the issue of limited space, I was submitting to a good deal of self-censorship and half-hearted “positivity” to get labels to release my work (i.e., the “positivity” of projecting notions of social momentum and cooperation among producers within the audio marketplace, and the possibility for conscious social change). “Negativity” in Ambient music was reserved for Industrial Ambient and Punk (which was not interesting to me), the market for which had died years ago (and so not interesting to labels and distributors). There was no room for negative thinking in the “triptastic” world vision offered by ’90s electronica and rave culture. Everything needed a positive spin. As a case in point, consider the perky conclusion of the Caipirinha press release for this album: “The result is challenging, confrontational, humorous, at times frightening, yet uniquely beautiful—indicative of Thaemlitz’s reservedly optimistic vision of the possibility for contentment through alternatives to dominant cultural methodologies. It’s an Ambient trip on a collision course with reality that you can’t afford to miss.” Oof. All images courtesy of Comatonse Recordings