Axiomatic Earth- Speculative Design -
The Axiomatic Earth is a seminar by Susana Calo, Adrien Lahoud and Godofredo Pereira with Mateo Pasquinelli and Susan Schuppli hosted within The Anthropocene Curriculum.
In the prologue Godofredo Pereira introduces the concept of technosphere through which the panel decided to approach the Anthropocene. The term technosphere is particularly difficult to understand. It seems there is no consensus or clarity on what this term represents. From what I understand, A technosphere is an ecosystem created by technologies that interacts with the biosphere by triggering natural processes. In other words, our technology impacts the biosphere and sets in motion natural processes that would never have happened naturally in that context.
In this context Godofredo Pereira refers to the technosphere as an ensemble of knowledge making processes used to classify, organise and understand the earth, the climate, societies, etc. Today, the earth and all that constitutes it, human or non-human, are increasingly captured by different systems of abstraction. The problem with abstraction through algorithms, is that its interpretation is subjective. This justifies his proposition to acknowledge the existence of multiple technospheres who through the scale used, the resolution of measurement, and their own rule set display their own agency in the process of knowledge making. According to him, the subject of technospheres then allows to introduce capitalism into the debate about the Anthropocene.
“The most competent and most aggressive machine that deploys abstraction in its own mode of functioning […] is capitalism.”
Classification abstraction. Disputes about how you measure, how you count not about the content.
The panel decided to approach this subject through a series of case studies of dispute. Talking about technospheres and how knowledge is produced then allows to shift the conversation from the content of the information to the process and biases of methodology. “When you ask, how do you count? You force into visibility a series of claims about the environment, society and the political”. T He challenges the notion of interdisciplinary arguing that it is a vague term that fails to imply how certain disciplines are involved in subjects rather than others. Deconstructing technospheres allow us to recognise that a dispute needs to be addressed at very specific scales, through a specific discipline, who uses its particular tools. The modes of knowing engaged are implied by the different participants in the discussion; Those participants differ depending on the subject.
This seminar and the essays that resulted from were very interesting in the light of my reflection on colonial legacy and the way knowledge of the world is created and consumed. This made me think about how these methodologies and their political agencies have evolved within our era. I wonder how our passage from observation to abstraction and description to prediction has affected if not increased the gap between certain disciplines or if some pollical ideologies have favoured the development of particular methodologies.
They have collected several case studies that investigate what conflicts arise from the confrontation of these technospheres.