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April 28, 2017

Technosphere Magazine

Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW)

Krebs Faraday Collaboration. © Steffen Fiedler and Daniel Foster Smith, 2010.

A new component of the Earth system is emerging, whose functions and impact are comparable to the bio- or hydrosphere: the technosphere. It develops where natural environments, enormous sociotechnical forces, and evermore "technological species" converge. Stemming from the ubiquity of human culture and global technologies, it forms the current history of this planet and the conditions for life upon it.

Technosphere Magazine aims to fathom this new sphere, sounding out its depths and properties, highlighting particular instances and phenomena, probing its logics and protocols. How does the technosphere operate? What are its organizing principles and infrastructures? How is it inscribed into individuals and how does it shape entire societies?

The magazine acts as a narrative tying together research pieces, philosophical essays, and artistic approaches in curated thematic dossiers, mapping out trajectories and converging points within the technosphere. It was launched in autumn 2016 with "Earth," "Phosphorus," "Anthropotechnics," "Infrastructure," and "Trauma." Until spring 2019, eight to ten dossiers will be released each year.


New dossiers online

"Land & Sea" explores how humans are and have been using the dividing line between terrestrial and marine spaces as territorial interfaces of organization, utilizing their forms and mimicking them in artificial environments through coast- and landform alteration, global material logistics, and technical apparatuses so as to become technologies of passage. The dossier includes an investigation of the island of Kish in the Persian Gulf by artists Nasrin Tabatabai and Babak Afrassiabi. They follow the recent history of the island that is defined by accelerated, almost obsessive, top-down modernization of infrastructure lacking any trace of coherence or feel for the locale.

"Creolized Technologies" are technologies that go through transformations and inversions, which make their standard forms and use more applicable to a local set of particularities. The dossier looks at how these local particularities and relations resonate as écho-mondes in the evolving and lasting use of creolized technologies beyond simple hacks or temporary fixes. For example, Historian of Science Eden Medina narrates the production process of the Citroen Yagán model creolized by Salvador Allende’s economic program based on ethnographic interviews with former automobile industry employees in Chile.

Toying with the notions traditionally used to define human species exceptionalism and fate (Homo: sapiens, faber, ludens, economicus), "Human" will pursue the muddling effects of the technosphere on these categories. This dossier reflects back on how the technosphere serves as an arena where concepts about the human converge, diverge, and evolve well beyond the intentions that motivated them. It includes a conversation between cultural theorists Claire Colebrook and Cary Wolfe who discuss how technologies that control and extend life challenge the idea of the finite human species.

"Risk Equipment" is the way in which we plan for contingency. From financial tools to scenario modeling to concrete landscaping, the planning apparatuses explored in this dossier attempt to stabilize the unstable through projecting information in anticipation of future risks. One example is a speculative piece by historian of science and interactive design practices Orit Halpern. She investigates how resilience and technology merge into infrastructures that enable imaginary futures between risk and uncertainty.

With contributions by On Barak, Anil Bawa-Cavia, Elisa T. Bertuzzo, Axel Braun, François Bucher & Lars Kulik, Andrew Chubb, Louis Chude-Sokei, Jonathan Donges & Seth Denizen, David Edgerton, Florian Goldmann, Carola Hein, Julian Henriques, Richard Hindle, Karin Knorr Cetina, Nicole Koltick, Matthijs Kouw, John Law & Liv Østmo, Gerald Nestler, Scott Knowles & Eberhard Faust, Luciana Parisi, Jenna Sutela, James P. M. Syvitski, Etienne Turpin, Asonzeh Ukah, Sebastian Vehlken, Davor Vidas, Hannes Wiedemann and many others


Dossiers forthcoming 2017: "Borders," "Trust," "Materials," "Spheres"

Concept and realization: Katrin Klingan, Christoph Rosol, Nick Houde. Technosphere (2015–18) is part of 100 Years of Now and collaborates with the publishing platform and online journal continent. toward experimental communication of project outputs.

Haus der Kulturen der Welt is supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media as well as by the Federal Foreign Office.

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