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  • 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–).
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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).
    • 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).
    • published contributions
  • Flavio D'Abramo
  • Ana Dana Beroš
    • chitect and curator focused on creating uncertain, fragile environments that catalyze social chan
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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.
    • published contributions
  • Design Earth
    • ollaborative architectural practice led by El Hadi Jazairy
    • 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.
    • 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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  • 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).
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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
    • published contributions
  • Eva Hayward
  • Gabrielle Hecht
  • Gerda Heck
  • Florian Hecker
    • dio 3 as the broadcaster’s first ever live binaural broadcast. Recent major exhibitions
    • 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).
    • 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).
    • 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.
    • published contributions
  • Sabine Höhler
  • Erich Hörl
  • Timothy Johnson
  • Peter K. Haff
  • Bernd Kasparek
  • Nikos Katsikis
  • Laleh Khalili
  • Axel Kleidon
  • 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).
    • 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.
    • 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).
    • 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.
    • 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).
    • published contributions
  • Hannah Landecker
  • Brian Larkin
  • Bruno Latour
  • Manfred Laubichler
  • 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
    • published contributions
  • Yoneda Lemma
    • ents from one fiction to another. She has exhibited her work at V4ULT, Berlin; Le Cube, Par
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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).
    • 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.
    • published contributions
  • Paul N. Edwards
  • 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.
    • published contributions
  • Huiying Ng
  • Daniel Niles
    • terial, millenary and momentary—that their knowledge takes, and, finally, the significance of this experience to our understanding of t
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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.
    • published contributions
  • Carolyn Steel
  • Benjamin Steininger
  • 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
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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).
    • 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.
    • published contributions
  • Gregory T. Cushman
    • Gregory T. Cushman is Associate Professor of International Environmental History at the University of Kansas.
    • 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–).
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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).
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • published contributions
  • Kalindi Vora
  • Jennifer Walshe
    • porary Arts, New York; DAAD Berliner Künstle
    • 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
    • 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).
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • published contributions
© Martin Kohout
Skinsmooth Average Eyes, 2016

In the Sphere of Chemical Technology

The relation between geological history and hypermodernity amounts to the smallest of catalytic processes. Historian of industrial chemistry Benjamin Steiniger describes the technological metabolism that is forging an intimate connection between fossil materiality and humankind.
We see that wherever the entrainment of energy is in action, from the flying gnat to the ocean steamer, then solely chemical energy is being used. The steamer charges coal and not something like compressed air or liquid carbon dioxide, and the gnat charges carbon compounds, and no other form of energy enables it to propel its tiny body across such disproportionally great distances. Wilhelm Ostwald, Naturphilosophische Vorlesungen (1902)
Metabolic processes are a central criterion of life. Some living organisms translate volatile cosmic radiation energy into stores of chemical energy, while others in turn metabolize these chemical energy stores to be able to move. Animals, plants, fungi, protozoa, bacteria—they all have their different roles to play in classification systems, in the realms and domains of life, because they propel very specific forms of metabolism: photosynthesis or fermentation, the inhaling and exhaling of breathing air, food intake and excrement. The interaction between different metabolisms—for instance, the respiration by animals of the oxygen produced by plants and the resulting supply of carbon dioxide that enables plants to grow—forms the cycles of metabolism. The waste product of one process is the starting product of another.
The metabolic system of humans corresponds to that of many other animals. We breathe and need oxygen, and we are omnivores or, as the case may be, herbivores. But, in fact, the metabolic system of humans far exceeds the organic biological framework of other animals, for we are not only a biological but also a technological species. And ever since the taming of fire, since the earliest ceramics, metallurgy, and pharmacy, the chemical stores of the technological human species encompasses far more than just food and breathing air. When determining the metabolic economy of even the simplest cooked meal, one could actually also add to the equation the firewood and the metabolism rate of the earthenware and all the other tools used. To establish and maintain forms of human life as social and technological cultural beings, countless substances, whether the simplest or the most complex, are mobilized, altered chemically, and in this form fed into existing or newly initiated metabolic cycles.
Two salient questions arise when thinking about metabolic processes: What is the ecological-technological niche of the anthropos as the dominant species in the Anthropocene; or, in other words, what is the scope of the activities of this anthropos and how are they incorporated into the Earth system? And how does the technosphere function as a medium between geohistorical, current-day, and future biospheres, atmospheres, and lithospheres? These issues can only be clarified by tracking the metabolic processes of the industrial anthropos fully in their breadth and range. This tracking would enable an ensemble of organic and inorganic metabolisms to become visible, an ensemble that, in the age of the Anthropocene, surpasses all local and regional limits and covers the planet in its entirety. Human activity is so potent precisely because it operates—and this is at the heart of this essay—in terms of bonding and carrying forward nonhuman chemical metabolic chains.
Planetary metabolism changes, when hydrocarbon molecules become "science-fashioned". Stills from: The Inside Story of Moderne Gasoline. Science-Fashioned Molecules For Top Performance, Fairbanks (Jerry) Inc., Standard Oil Company of Indiana (1946), Prelinger Archive San Francisco

One part of the cultural technological metabolic processes of the anthropos relates literally parasitically to other organic metabolisms, for instance those of farm animals, crop plants, yeast fungi, and bacteria. However, inorganic chemical processes, like the smelting of iron ores, are even involved in the context of organic metabolism processes. It was, after all, the vitalizing activity of prehistoric oceanic bacteria that, in a first step, made possible the accumulation of iron in banded iron formations, and, in the case of other bacteria, in the form of bog iron ore. Here technological chemistry continues and carries forward processes begun by organic metabolisms. Limestone calcination is also inconceivable without the maritime organisms that produced the limestone in the first place. However, whether technology bonds cycles or rather opens them further is still a matter of perspective in the case of smelting iron ore and processing limestone.
In contrast, the use of carbon and oil shows a much clearer picture. The massive release of fossil carbon is obviously to be approached as reciprocation, as the technological second half of a cycle that is organically initiated. One of the key characteristics of the industrial epoch—that is, the use of fossil energy carriers and fossil materiality, without which neither the production and accumulation of goods nor the historical course of modernity are conceivable—may be described as a modern fossil metabolism. What was bonded in carbons, oil, and gas by fossil organisms over thousands of years, and then over millions of years stored in the lithosphere, has been released again over just a few decades to fuel engines. The actual sparking of the chemical reaction in a combustion engine occurs within a range of one-fifth-hundredth of a second. The accumulation of the energy necessary for such ignition can only be estimated in millennia. Combustion in general—in other words, oxidation—would be impossible without the oxygen in the atmosphere, once supplied by fossil organisms and their metabolisms over billions of years. In this asymmetry between geohistorical, long-range accumulation and rapid technological dissipation resides, as is generally known, the greatest set of problems facing the modern industrial age, built entirely [as it is] on fossil resources.
Ubiquitous Metabolism
To accurately characterize geohistorically relevant human activities, the biological concept of metabolism needs to be extended in scope to include numerous forms of chemical and categorical changes of substances. The categorical role change from naturally occurring fossil substance into an economically calculated resource, and then further into a technological product, can be plotted and exemplified at several points. The calculating, tapping, and opening of an oil or coal deposit is one example of an initial access point where nature becomes technology.
In the sense of a genuine—that is, chemical—metabolism, it is the further steps in processing that are the relevant ones: first those that take place in the chemical plant or refinery, then in the case of fuels in engines and other power units.
Essentially a chemical concept, metabolism addresses a central point of the modern technosphere. Not only does the physical, geographical translocation of resources propel modern history, but so too does their chemical transformation. A molecular mobilization is at work behind planetary acceleration and mobilization. To remain metaphorically in the spherical imagery of the technosphere: the deliberate concatenation of the electronic spheres of chemical elements into new molecules first generated the planetary technosphere we are familiar with. It is scientifically formed—that is, artificial—molecules upon which typical phenomena of the Anthropocene are dependent, and eventually will also become visible as a sharply delineated layer in the sediments of the Earth.
On the level of chemical technology, it must be noted that while fuels are perhaps particularly conspicuous, they are by no means the only products of the modern fossil metabolism taking place in the chemical plant. And all these products, whether fuels, plastics, munitions, fertilizers, or pharmaceuticals, have, in one way or another, direct contact with very specific metabolisms. In civilian contexts, for example, explosives are important in construction and thus indispensable for infrastructure. Deployed instead as munitions, they have geopolitical and geostrategic effects on economic and cultural spheres, and thus on the structure of not only economic but also biotic metabolisms. As an icon of the aseptic in operating theaters or as packaging material for food items, plastic stands for the purposeful prevention of metabolic processes. It is also indispensable in information technology as an isolator and supportive material. Elsewhere, for instance, through unplanned, quasi-hormonal transpirations of specific synthetic molecules, plastic intervenes in the metabolism of organisms. Petrochemistry furnishes literally a complete arsenal of toxins, and thus of operators in metabolism, whether intentionally as pesticide or herbicide in agriculture, or as an undesirable—but somewhat tolerated—poisonous byproduct in scores of industrial processes.
Modern live is driven by products of a fossil-technical metabolism. 'Simplified flow diagram of the Shell Oil Montreal East Refinery.' Gerhard H. Lehmann: Erdölspaltung, (= ABC des Erdöls, Band 5), Heidelberg / Mainz: Hüthig u. Dreyer 1955, p.35.

In another form, fossil materiality is literally foodstuff. Hydrogen, extracted out of natural gas, is one of the components of ammonia, itself produced with fossil energy within the high-pressure reactors of the Haber process, and thus of fertilizer. And carbon dioxide, accumulated massively in refining processes, is injected straight into one of the largest greenhouse complexes in Europe, located in Rotterdam, and thus lands directly in our vegetables. We are thus not only eating food prepared for consumption using fossil energy, but are literally ingesting fossil molecules. Moreover, we also absorb in intimate ways pharmaceuticals and cosmetics produced from fossil resources into our bodies. Here, metabolic processes are propelled or, as in the case of disease or the aging processes, curbed. But even remote substances, concatenated with numerous metabolisms, are produced from fossil resources. One example is one of the most expensive substances readily available in everyday life: printing ink. One of the most important black pigments of the technology, known as carbon black, is paradoxically a waste product. That is, it emerges at the end of a thermodynamic exploitation chain that is technologically planned to create this particular waste. It is produced by deliberate sooting, that is, the burning of clear natural gas. And, thus, fossil raw material intervenes in the metabolism of any information based on printed paper. Not to mention other uses of carbon black that are possibly also relevant to metabolism, such as in tattooing. The list can be added to almost indefinitely. Metabolic processes are identifiable in almost every close or remote area of life, wherever a fossil substance is literally converted and wherever this conversion in turn interacts with other substance conversions.
Interconnected Processes: Chemistry and History
Alongside this horizontal perspective on the breadth and diversity of metabolic processes at the present historical juncture, the vertical perspective on the overall geohistorical course of metabolism is also of great interest. This perspective encompasses the course from the biogeochemical formation of fossil resources, to their technological consumption, and then their ecological afterlife. Firstly, this long geological and geohistorical framework reveals the role of current human history in the Earth system.
While a specific section in the material or energetic conversion may well catch the eye as particularly significant, it always has a before and an after. And both of the concepts pivotal to the debate pursued here, that of the technosphere and the Anthropocene, focus interest on an explicitly long time frame. We are dealing with processes and phenomena of the longest duration and development.
United States Geological Survey (USGS) World Petroleum Assessment 2000. Source: Wiki Commons

The sheer diversity of the individual phenomena thus needs to be abstracted further into more general concepts and principles. Probably the most general characteristic would be the releasing of fossil carbon as part of what media theorist McKenzie Wark has termed a “carbon liberation front.Wark, McKenzie, Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene. London: Verso, 2015.
At the same time, this provides only a very incomplete description of the process. The industrialized process of modern history, so unique in the course of history, cannot be explained by the mere act of “liberating” carbon. The releasing contributes to the Great Acceleration only because the fossil materiality intervenes into numerous other systems. Mobility, war, agriculture, pharmacy, capitalism, commodities, information technology—fossil materiality is a main operator in all these systems. It is decisive that these systems are continuously dynamic and at times self-reinforcing systems, into which carbon and oil—or more precisely, the artificial molecules produced out of carbon and oil—are incorporated. A multitude of substances are interconnected chemically so as to then unfurl an effect systematically across very different levels. Fossil energy is deployed with ever-increasing purpose and precision. For some time now, it has not been just raw materials that are being burned. In the production of fuels, fertilizers, and plastics, carbon and oil are not necessarily the most interesting components in the chemical process. How the various components in hydrocarbon chemistry are compounded depends not so much on the fuel source of oil itself but on the catalysts that steer the direction of the chemical reactions. It is through these chemical-cybernetic components that the “carbon liberation front” first becomes a coordinated, and thus historically and geohistorically influential, process.
Interestingly, a major aspect of organic metabolisms is also discernible here in industrial metabolisms. Metabolic processes may consume energy, but they also create structures. Less complex components nourish more complex organisms, whereas raw materials are refined in the chemical plant. When energy is invested—as it were—into molecules, technological substances, being far more potent than natural ones, can be won from fossilized nature.
Processes always occur over time. This applies to legal processes just as it does to chemical ones, and to historical and geological processes. Which constituents and which range of actions are measured and comprehended depends on the instruments of cognition and the guiding epistemological interest. As early as 1850, the chemist Christian Friedrich Schönbein compared chemical processes with the theater: “Every chemical event that is synthetic or analytic”—that is, the release or composition of a substance—is a drama made up of different acts, a genuine ‘processus’, i.e. it has a beginning, a middle and an end.Christian Schönbein, to Justus Liebig, March 5, 1868, quoted in Alwin Mittasch, Katalyse und Katalysatoren in Chemie und Biologie. Berlin: Verlag Julius Springer, 1936, p. 57.
In the case of chemistry, this means that a complex drama, a to-and-fro between completely different actors, can be played out within fractions of a second—although human perception often only perceives a simple separation or a compounding of substances. Or human perception observes just a tiny fragment of the action, whereby a small episode is taken to be the whole, when actually a much longer plotline needs to be followed if everything important is to be understood. How perceptual possibilities differentiate between not only phenomena but entire life worlds was demonstrated by another natural scientist of the nineteenth century, the entomologist Karl Ernst von Baer, in a proto-kinematic thought experiment. By necessity, according to Baer, the concepts of time for bacteria and for sequoias have to be different. Whereas not even the change from day to night is noticeably relevant in a bacterium’s life and perceptual span of just a few minutes, meaning life runs as if in a slow-motion replay, for a sequoia the seasons and decades rush past as if in a fast-forward time-lapse.
The conversion of fossil resources characteristic to the technosphere furnishes insights in both—here, metaphorically couched—directions, that is, into very slow and very fast processes. The technologies deployed in the scientific-industrial complex capture temporal processes down to the miniscule measurement of femtoseconds (10-15 of a second). Conversely, raw material geologists work with time grids spanning hundreds of millions of years. The substance conversion rates significant for our life world are a technological combination that would not be producible without scientific insights in both directions. The longest and shortest conversion rates have to be thought of in conjunction. The thought experiment described by Baer is greatly exceeded in both directions, in the direction of both the shortness and the length of processes.
'Simplified flow diagram of a Edeleanu unit.' Gerhard H. Lehmann: Erdölraffination, (= ABC des Erdöls, Band 6), Heidelberg / Mainz: Hüthig u. Dreyer 1955, p. 35.

As in the case of the chemical plant, for the technosphere overall it is not the slow fossil energy sources and raw materials that have the most interesting part to play in metabolism. In the 1930s, the Russian biogeochemist Vladimir Vernadsky conceived of the sphere of science as a “noosphere,” comprising a special part of the “biosphere.” Just as the biosphere describes a numerically very small but very special and productive part within the Earth system, the “noosphere” as the sphere of science describes a numerically very small but very special and productive part of the biosphere. Given the weighty technological infrastructures of concrete and metal across the planet, the criterion of a numerically very small noosphere is not applicable to all aspects of the technosphere. However, in the geohistorical context, the technosphere developed by humans is nonetheless to be understood as an asymmetrically small but powerful operator. As the catalysts of chemical technology accelerate and steer processes without ever being fully absorbed in them, the scientifically based technosphere has active and productive interfaces at its disposal that extend into countless metabolic systems. The most significant bridge the technosphere has forged—that is, the extended connection between the early history of life on earth (the life worlds of carboniferous forests and plankton oceans, the algae that generate the oxygen atmosphere) and the “modern way of life” of our present, as well as the resultant, geohistorical consequences for coming life forms—is indeed only understandable on evolutionary scales. The technological metabolism with fossil materiality moves substances intimately close to us, substances with which we would otherwise only be connected via long, evolutionary bonds. And the long-term effects of a changed planetary biosphere, one where connective points of a new evolution are started in microbiological plastic milieus, are discernible only through the prism of the very longest possible concepts of time.
The metabolic processes taking exemplarily place in refineries and engines are, in fact, evident in all areas of the lives of fossil-using modern humans and encompass stretches of time far surpassing the human frame of reference. It is, however, patently obvious that, as the operator of a geohistorical metabolism, human action is in fact participating in the one single stretch of whole time from “fossil” to “hypermodern.” We are even aware of this and fix our place in the cosmos precisely there, the place of the anthropos in the Anthropocene.
Skinsmooth Average Eyes, 2016 © Martin Kohout

Translated by Paul Bowman Special thanks to Martin Kohout for the visual material of his project Skinsmooth Average Eyes, 2016, https://martinkohout.com/skinsmooth-average-eyes/