Borders delineate space. They organize land, people, and things into a larger structural architecture; this is why they are an essential factor in the technosphere, which portends to organize the whole Earth. Systematic borders are the inner scaffolding of the technosphere, determining flows of goods and people, negotiating relations, and maintaining the formal ecology of processes and things.
For this dossier, we explore the many direct and indirect technological means used to enforce rigid border structures. In turn, we investigate the order of things by questioning both the efficacy and rationale behind such borders, giving particular focus to the way in which they organize larger technospheric systems that, all in the same gesture, connect and separate spaces.
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?
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?
Stuff matters. In much of history, the real protagonists are the precious metals, burning hydrocarbons, superior aerogels, collapsing concrete, rare minerals, and toxic liquids. This goes for all chemical compounds, whether raw, processed, or newly designed, geogenic, biogenic, or anthropogenic. It is the inventory and also the political, ecologic, and economic criticality of the material world that humans will always have to situate themselves in relation to.
In the MATERIALS dossier, we discuss the criticality of the material world as the spatiotemporal backbone of the technosphere and, ultimately, ourselves. It asks about the relationship of artifacts and craft, questions the blurred lines between naturalness and artificiality, and seeks to understand why we have, at the apex of materiality’s reign, lost touch with the actual materials that matter so much.