Trust is a pillar of the technosphere. It keeps the flow of goods, ideas, and policies circulating and provides orientation and managerial scaffolding to all kinds of relationships, keeping them intact—until they break. The role and authority of institutions is defined by trust, whether political, legal, economic, or scientific.
The Trust dossier explores how technology influences the establishment of trust relationships in both daily life environments and professional settings. Upon which criteria do we base our reliance on institutional structures, knowledge, and practices? How are technologies of authority organized, and who formulated the rules and directives we stick to? Which institutions, systems, and power structures do we consider trustworthy, and why?
In addressing the concept of the technosphere, almost all attention is drawn given to the techno. But what about the sphere? How do we approach, let alone understand, theis notion of an Earth-scale sphere embodying the technological condition of our planet?
This dossier seeks to circumscribe and visualize the forms and parameters created by the accidental megastructure of technics. The all-encompassing sphere of materials organized by technological influence and confluence forms the tentacular evolution from single technological components to planetary- (and post-planetary-) scale technological apparatuses. In this dossier we ask: If technics are everywhere, forming a cloudy mess, has the notion of a sphere become entirely inadequate to address agency?
Resonance and vibration, understood most often by humans in the form of sound, are too often categorized as a merely passive form of sensation. In point of fact, hearing, and in particular the organization of hearing in music, has been fundamental to the evolutionary development of the human species, including its specific cognition capacities and cultural practices. But this is only half the story. With modern technical instruments, sound and vibration have become essential operations for a whole host of sensing possibilities yet to be realized.
This dossier takes a close look at the many ways the technosphere operationalizes sound in seismology, ultrasound, maritime navigation, and ground-penetrating radar systems and sets the stage for new frontiers of sensation with sonic weapons, psychoacoustics, and frequency augmentation.
The northernmost reaches of the Earth converge around a pole as well known for symbolism as for its extreme climatic conditions. Ever since the Cold War, the Arctic has been a focal point of geoscientific research, the advancement of media and technology, and new geopolitics. Over the last several decades, heated climate change debates and melting terrains have reconfigured in tandem with an expansive drive for intercontinental commerce and resource exploration.
The Arctic dossier examines how this region, a highly engineered and technically activated space, has become a cold laboratory of the technosphere and its reach. Additionally, the dossier looks at the multiple registers of contention over the future of the planet, as daring infrastructure projects are constructed atop politically divisive deglaciated landscapes; opened-up waterways are parlayed by corporations, governments, and NGOs; and indigenous peoples vie for futures, lives, and livelihoods in an increasingly tense geosocial drama.