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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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Detail of collage © Beate Geissler & Oliver Sann, Hopium Economy

The Chemist and the Breacher

More than a metaphor describing the technosphere, addiction in fact characterizes it. In this text, artists Beate Geissler and Oliver Sann collage a series of interviews and research vignettes on methamphetamine in the US. This collection of different scenes, excerpted from the project Hopium Economy (2019), approaches a form of molecular technology intertwining DIY chemistry and the mass use of agricultural steroids.
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Collage © Beate Geissler & Oliver Sann, Hopium Economy

Scene I: Methamphetamine
Beyond a wide field of corn lies a sea of soy, before the lushness begins to shrink. Large swaths of vegetation appear, never ending, infinite green, revealing miles of bizarre, agricultural, linear marks that form grids—a imprint composed by earth-shattering extractions in search of soil and oil. Streams of water, man-made canals, control the water that feeds the landscape in a range of invisible, indistinguishable, toxic transparencies. The ceaseless sea of soil cultivation is interrupted by clusters of erect, shiny, polished tower —the silos—and by uncountable agricultural suppositories holding the promise of growth and prosperity, the steroids for the land.
Breacher: Pseudoephedrine is the raw material, the drug they’re after. That’s Sudafed. It’s an over-the-counter or prescription sinus cold medicine, but they have to have a whole lot, because in a Sudafed pill there’s only a minute amount of pseudoephedrine. The rest of it is pill dough, inert material, that carries the amphetamine into your body so you can absorb it. What they do is they take a large amount of those pills … It probably takes at least 150 or 200 of those pills to make a pill soak—this is what it’s called. They crush those pills up because they don’t want that pill dough. They don’t want that inert material. They crush that up, put that in a solution usually of camping fuel-like … you’d use in a camper … you know, a camping thing? … to get that to fall out to get the chemical reaction to make the amphetamine dough move over to the side they want it on, where they can get the product they want.
(pauses)
They use lithium batteries, so they’ll take lithium batteries, tear all the lithium out of them. Well, you know lithium is super flammable as well if it gets with water, so they have to have pretty clean, dry … They’re going to put this lithium in that camping fuel with their pill soak, after they get finished, which they’ve soaked off. Then, after lithium, they use ether, spray cans of ether. You can’t go to Rural King now and buy a case of ether to start your tractor without signing for it and showing ID.
Then, at the very end, when it’s all mixed up, it’s not actually cooked over a fire per se. It’s stirred and dealt with, and it’s an exothermic reaction, so it gets hot on its own. Once they get there, then they have a pink liquid and they do what they call smoking it off. They have to make a HCL [hydrochloric acid gas] generator.
How they make an HCL generator is they use salt—table salt—and liquid fire, or drain cleaner, what you would pour down your drain to clean your drain out because it’s a real caustic solution. When you mix caustic and salt together, you get hydrochloric acid, which makes hydrochloric gas, which they put in a soda bottle, with a tube running out of it. They run that tube over into their liquid. Then, as the gas comes off the hydrochloric acid and goes into the liquid, it bubbles in there and it looks like a snow globe. If you shake up a globe at Christmas time, it’s that white stuff that falls down, you know?
That’s where we wanted to catch them. We wanted to catch them right there, and that’s a short period of time, you know? Half an hour to smoke off a batch, but when they got that tube stuck in there and this methamphetamine, crystal methamphetamine—that’s what they’re after—is falling out, they got dope now. I can arrest them for possession of methamphetamine and manufacturing methamphetamine because they got to finish the product. Other than that, after that’s all finished, it’s smoked off.
It depends on how big their cook is. We had one guy here … he was using a washing machine for his pill soak, so he would fill the washing machine tube up with pills. He was making big batches, $100,000 batches.
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Photograph © Beate Geissler & Oliver Sann, Hopium Economy

Chemist: One of the things that natural scientists are aware of is that we are interacting with systems that are natural. There’s this sense of, how do you relate to that? That difference? The traditional view of science—the very male-dominated, very Western view of science—is that nature is something to be conquered and controlled. This is where you get into certain perspectives that look at things in ways that are hardly very respectful of nature, but still have this sense of, again, gaining control. I think that’s still the dominant default narrative. Sometimes it’s discovery. We find out how nature works. Some of it’s synthesis. We actually make new objects, so it’s not just natural objects. There are synthetic objects. There are synthetic chemists. They make things that never existed before in the universe.
Breacher: After they’ve got this white material, then they pour that in coffee filters and let them sit out to drip-dry and drain, and whenever that gets dry … It all depends on how good a cook is, how good they are. If they’re real good cooks, they get great big crystals. I mean, tight crystal methamphetamine. Like the Medellín Cartel and those guys down in South America and Mexico, they make really good dope. They’re really smart about it, and they got the time to do it. Some of our local cooks here get in a big hurry, and they get more powder and then they get crystals. Same dope, same drug. It’s just on the street that crystals look…
There’s two methods that generally are used locally here. There’s a Nazi method, and then there’s the red phosphorus method. Red phosphorus is a flammable material that is used at the end of a match striker, where you strike your match. The scratcher part. That’s red phosphorus. That’s what makes it fire off. Now, that replaces anhydrous ammonia, so the rest of the cook is pretty much the same except you just replace the anhydrous ammonia with the red phosphorus.
What they do differently in the red phosphorus method is they don’t use anhydrous, and they take the red phosphorus and soak it in hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide makes the red phosphorus go over to the liquid side, so they just pour off a red liquid and they use that instead of the anhydrous ammonia. But, in the Nazi method—which is used in 99 percent of all meth labs here locally, even probably nationwide, with the exception of a big city where it’s not readily available—they use anhydrous ammonia.
Hitler developed that. He used it with his troops. He would give it to his troops. They were invincible. Go, go, go, go. He developed that and it’s just been brought down. Now, you know, whether he was the original developer or not, I don’t know, but he did make a lot of methamphetamine. A lot.
“The young soldier, though, needed more of the drug, much more. He was exhausted by the war, becoming ‘cold and apathetic, completely without interests,’ as he himself observed. In letters sent home by the army postal service, he asked his family to send more. On May 20, 1940, for example, he wrote: ‘Perhaps you could obtain some more Pervitin for my supplies?’ He found just one pill was as effective for staying alert as liters of strong coffee. And—even better—when he took the drug, all his worries seemed to disappear. For a couple of hours, he felt happy. This 22-year-old, who wrote numerous letters home begging for more Pervitin, was not just any soldier —he was Heinrich Böll, who would go on to become one of Germany’s leading postwar writers and win a Nobel Prize for literature in 1972. And the drug he asked for is now illegal, notoriously so. We now know it as crystal meth.Fabienne Hurst, “WWII Drug: The German Granddaddy of Crystal Meth,” Spiegel Online, May 30, 2013, http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/crystal-meth-origins-link-back-to-nazi-germany-and-world-war-ii-a-901755.html.

Chemist: The test tube is a stage. Yeah, I think it’s easy enough to say that. Chemists will refer to molecules as their agential characters. The idea that each has a property. I mean the very word, it has a property. The property is invariant. Is a suggestion. We’re very interested in what molecules do, and finding that out and then using that knowledge. But the idea that these are choices, no, we don’t make a choice about when something melts. It just does.
Chemists are pretty spontaneously talking about, if not the actual word “agency,” then the activity of the substances that they’re working with. They know that they’re not making these things up. That there’s something that is doing something … Then it begins to move over into anthropomorphizing. It is a convenient bit of rhetorical play, e.g., if we talk about molecules as having desires. We have to talk about what the word “desire” means. Do they have conscious volition of knowing that there’s a particular outcome that they can choose within? The answer is almost certainly no. Do they have certain things that they will invariably do with great reliability, as if it is something that we can say it looks like they’re expecting? It sure looks that way.
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Highly Detail Special Forces Action Figure, "SWAT Team-Breacher," Source: https://picclick.com/WUA-1-6-SCALE-military-model-SWAT-SDU-BREACHER-142024834856.html#&gid=1&pid=4

Scene II: Special Weapons and Tactics Memories
“You get the feeling instantly. Euphoric, energized. People will stay up all night or even for several days. Increased brain activity combined with no sleep leads to hallucinations, paranoia, and erratic (sometimes violent) behavior. It feels like you wanna fuck hookers and do blow … It feels neurotic and obsessive.“What Does Meth Feel Like?,” R/Drugs, Reddit, posted January 3, 2018, https://www.reddit.com/r/Drugs/comments/7nxkk7/what_does_meth_feel_like.

Breacher: We’re standing at 3:00 in the morning at your door with ten other guys, and the way we move, we move in a stack. The first guy to the door is the pinner. That’s what his title is. He pins the door back if you have a screen door or a storm door. First guy’s the pinner. Second guy’s the breacher. He’s the guy with a ram. Pin the door back and breach, or the second guy is a break-and-rake guy. If we can’t get in the door, you break the window, rake it, and then we all go through the window. Actually, the third guy in the stack, if you ever see a stack of SWAT guys, the third guy in the stack is the first guy in the door. The first guy in line is the last guy in the door. He’s the cuff man. He’s the handcuff man.
Actually, the door pinner is the last cuff man to come in the door. The third guy is the first guy in the door, and my place in the stack was fourth, so I was the second guy in the door. That’s where things can go really bad. It’s a big adrenaline rush to stand at somebody’s front door knowing or not knowing—either way, it didn’t matter, because we always assumed that we were going to encounter a bad guy, and the bad guy was going to be armed and he was going to try and harm us in some way to prevent himself from going to jail. Once we go through your door, somebody’s going to jail if we catch you. We got enough probable cause pre-make up that we’re going to arrest you when we get there.
(pauses)
Yeah, it’s a game. It is. They know what they’re doing. They know they’re breaking the law. They know we’re trying to catch them, and when we do it’s like … And, they call us by name. They know us. Most of them, we’ve dealt with them before. We’ve been in this same place before, but they still want to fight. They all want to fight. Every one of them wants to fight.
Now, picture this: me, ten other guys. I don’t know what you sleep in, and don’t want to know, but 3:00 in the morning, we come unannounced in full black attire, black masks, elbow pads, kneepads, machine guns, handguns, Tasers, batons, gloves, and lots of handcuffs into your bedroom and say, "Hello, good morning. The police are here."
Are you going to try and get up and whoop all eleven of us? We’ve been up for a bit. We’ve had our coffee. We’re right ready to go. Every single time, they would jump up out of bed and want to fight all of us and beat us all up and throw us out of their house. They pay the rent there, and there is no reason we should be there. It never worked out for them, but they’d always try it. Every single one of them always did.
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Photograph © Beate Geissler & Oliver Sann, Hopium Economy

“The largest nitrogen producing plant in the United States is located in Donaldsonville, Louisiana. Every day the plant consumes a million dollars worth of natural gas, boils 30,000 tons of water from a local river into steam, and produces 5,000 tons of ammonia (2 million tons a year). Every day these 5,000 tons of ammonia are loaded onto railcars, placed onto barges, floated down the Mississippi River, and sprinkled onto corn and wheat fields across the land. Not all of the nitrogen contained in ammonia ends up in crops. Only about a third of the nitrogen layered onto a cornfield, for instance, ends up in a kernel of corn. The rest washes into streams and leeches into groundwater.Paul Offit, “Fertilizer Has Saved Billions of Lives, but It Also Has a Dark Side,” Popular Science April 3, 2017, https://www.popsci.com/fertilizer-nitrogen.
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Photograph © Beate Geissler & Oliver Sann, Hopium Economy

Scene III: Cook Party
“As they are driving along an isolated stretch of I-10, the police officer notices white fumes ahead of them on the road. Anhydrous ammonia is released from a container into the fields, into the air, it expands rapidly, forming a large cloud that acts like a heavier-than-air gas. When the officer arrives on the scene, he finds a lifeless body on the ground. Attempting to rescue the person, the officer becomes overthrown by the fumes and collapses. The exhalation exposes and obscures the setting.“Policeman Killed Instantly by an Ammonia Gas Tank,” YouTube video, 4:35, posted by 32bravo711, June 14, 2013, https://youtu.be/4D8FrKUYkK4.
Chemist: My understanding of addiction and my understanding of drug dependency is associated partly with the fact that in the presence of certain molecules, your cellular structure literally gets changed. I have no doubt that a scientist who’s really skilled and knows what they’re looking for can tell, "This neuron, this cell, or this bit of tissue and the cells in it, the materials in it—this is the place where a drug molecule would bind." They can say, "That sample’s from somebody who’s addicted, and that’s from somebody who’s not." Because these molecules will change our cellular structure. That’s not just happening only in addiction. Let’s be clear. We adapt, we are highly plastic. It’s not just plasticity in the brain. It’s plasticity at the cellular level. That’s well known. What happens though, I think, is that the substance of addiction has a particular ability.
Why are some substances stronger, more addictive? Why are nicotine and cocaine so much worse than THC in marijuana? It really has to do with the ability for that substance to agentially change the brain, the neurons, the body, the somatic reality of that human, so that a person who is addicted is no longer the same after the addiction than they were before. In a fundamental way, they are … I’m trying to avoid using the word “hybrid.” But they have been altered. The alteration is very specific to that molecule. It sure looks like the molecule is doing something to them.
The withdrawal is so bad, and getting off things. Because it’s not like you choose not to use it the second time. You’re no longer the person who used it once. You’re a person who’s used it for three months, and now you’re different. That molecule will make you pay a severe price if your nerves aren’t getting interactive with it. That’s a very molecular interaction. But again, it really has to do with the power of that molecule to change the environment in which it’s put. It’s not a virus. It’s not looking and saying, "I’m going to make…" Well, maybe. I could see a narrative where the nicotine molecule, by making people get addicted to it, gets people to grow more tobacco plants, and so there’s more nicotine in the world. Maybe there is a kind of viral analogy to this.
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Photograph © Beate Geissler & Oliver Sann, Hopium Economy

Breacher: Here’s how’d they get around getting their raw materials. They’d have a cook party. You bring the camping fuel. If you get stopped for any reason, doesn’t matter—you just got camping fuel. I can’t arrest you. Is that an ingredient in manufacturing methamphetamine? Yes. Can I get you for manufacturing methamphetamine? Absolutely not.
OK, he brings the camping fuel. I bring a case of lithium batteries. The only guy that can get caught on the way to the cook that can get in trouble is the guy bringing the anhydrous ammonia. But no—because everybody brings a box of pills with them. You can buy two boxes, so everybody brings two boxes of pills with them, of pseudoephedrine. The only person that can get busted on the way to the cook is the guy with the anhydrous ammonia, and the only thing he can get busted for is having anhydrous ammonia in an unapproved container, which is an infraction. It’s the same as getting a speeding ticket.
They’d have this cook. Everybody’s got everybody’s phone number, right? I say, "Shit, I got caught on the way." You switch over and have Jim now bring the camping fuel. Now that you’ve got caught … You got caught for speeding and you got ten gallons of camping fuel. You’re not coming to my house. You can go on back home. We’ll split the dope up with you later because you’re a good guy, you were going to bring it. You can bring it next time.
They don’t get caught.
“The Gulf of Mexico, located next to the Louisiana ammonia plant: Every year about 1.5 million tons of nitrogen are dumped into the Gulf. This excess nitrogen has caused an overgrowth of algae that clouds the water and chokes off oxygen and sunlight to other species, like fish and mollusks. Algal overgrowth has killed streams, lakes, and coastal ecosystems across the northern hemisphere. And it’s not just the fish that are dying. The birds that eat the fish are dying, too. Synthetic nitrogen pollution isn’t limited to the waters; it’s also entered the air and come back to earth as acid rain, further damaging lakes, streams, and forests as well as the animals that depend on them. These problems will only worsen.Offit, “Fertilizer Has Saved Billions of Lives.”

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Photograph © Beate Geissler & Oliver Sann, Hopium Economy

Scene IV: DANIEL AND VALERIE
“Your body is warm, tingley everywhere. If you run your fingers thru your hair you can still feel your fingers couple seconds later. Excited, happy, bursting with energy and joy. Then, you find your genitals and the rest of your life is ruined because all you do is smoke meth and masturbate. I used to love meth till it literally turned into only masturbation or sex. FUCK YOU METH!“What Does Meth Feel Like?,” R/Drugs, Reddit.
Chemist: Most people take a multivitamin. Just as certainly as we take in food. We take multivitamins. But I take a statin every day. A drug for cholesterol. Right? I am poisoning my liver in order to survive longer. I am not just the person I was born as. I’m not just the genes. I’m not just the nurture that I had. I am every day taking a molecule that changes who I am.
Then there are others as well. I think there’s a profound importance associated with that. Yes, it’s important … I mean, this thing isn’t going to make me live longer. But everybody says, "That’s technology." Well, I would tell you that CrestorRosuvastatin, sold under the tradename Crestor among others, is a statin medication used to prevent cardiovascular disease in those at high risk and to treat abnormal lipids.
is a pretty good technology too. I think there’s a lot of chemists who have that sense that what they’re doing is technology. It’s just not electronic technology. It’s molecular technology.
Breacher: I can take you to a person’s house right now, and walk up to the door and knock, wouldn’t think anything about it, say, "Hey, Daniel, what’s going on?" He and his wife will come outside instead of letting us in, and that’s what would happen, because I know they smoked methamphetamine this morning. No question in mind. They’ve got it at their house.
We went to a methamphetamine lab down in a township, and I happened to be second guy in line, I was the breacher. I was the one with the ram. It was actually only the second time I had done it. Our ram guy was out of commission. He was up at some training or something. When you hit a door, you want to blow it off the hinges seriously, so whoever the breach guy is, you want him to be a pretty big guy and be able to swing this big ole battering ram by himself. I’m worried to death. I’m more worried about, "Gosh dang it, I sure hope I can blow that door off the first hit," because I don’t want to have to hit it two or three times. So, the whole way down there in the truck, I’m sitting in the back of the truck and I’m really anxious about going in. Not about the dopers. I’m anxious about can I hit this door one time, because the guy who usually does it is Andy, our breach guy, and he’s 6’4”, 330 lbs, arms like that.
It would look like he was tapping it. Boom—and the whole thing would fall over. Anyway, we get out of the truck. We run up to the door, everybody gets in stack. We’re stacked up. We’re moved up, and how it works is if there’s eleven of us in a stack, we move in and when we get to a stopping point where we’re going to stop, everybody makes sure their guns are locked and loaded and ready to go, and then it starts with the guy in the back. I tap the guy in front of me on the back of the leg. When he’s ready, he taps the next guy. When the first guy, the door pinner, gets tapped, it’s on. We’re all moving. We all know we’re all going in unison to the door. We get there, we do that. Jeremy pins the door back and I mean I hit that door as hard as I could.
Well, Valerie, Daniel’s wife, was on a barstool leaned up against that door like this, and I seriously blew her all the way to the other side of the room with the door, and she was lying on the floor. As everybody moves in … I was the breacher, so I was the last guy in because you just get out of the way and let everybody pass you. She’s sitting over there on the floor and Doug has her sitting up on the wall, and she goes, "God dang, did Andy hit that door?" Doug said, "No, Donny was the breach guy tonight." She said, "Donny, god dammit, did you have to hit that door that hard?" I said, "What do you mean?" She said, "I was leaned up against that door on a barstool. I thought you had hit me with a truck." We’re just having a conversation like it was a big party. That’s just how it always went. She still got handcuffed, she went to jail, she went to see the judge.
She got her fine or whatever it was for being there, and so be it. Then I’ll see you again the next time. But that’s how we get acquainted. It becomes a relationship. It’s a game. I’m going to continue to play my end and you continue to try and catch me. If you do, good for you. We’ll have a discussion, talk about it, and then I’ll start over again tomorrow.
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Photograph © Beate Geissler & Oliver Sann, Hopium Economy


postscriptum
“In the Deutsches Museum in Munich, separated from onlookers by a small barrier, stands the tabletop device built by Fritz Haber and Robert Le Rossignol to fix nitrogen from the air. Onlookers occasionally stop, stare for a few seconds, and walk past, thinking little of this machine that launched the worldwide manufacture of synthetic fertilizer, a process that has given so many people their lives and—due to ongoing contamination of the environment with excess nitrogen—a process that has probably started the clock on their eventual destruction.Offit, “Fertilizer Has Saved Billions of Lives.”
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Photograph © Beate Geissler & Oliver Sann, Hopium Economy

Tentative fragment and excerpt from Hopium Economy, Version 3.1, February 2019