Reflecting on the thematic focus of this year’s edition of the Biennial, we’d be hard-pressed to find common infrastructures in more urgent need of better nurturing and management than the shared technical and ecological planetary commons which sustains us. From the climate crisis to the COVID-19 pandemic, various ongoing emergencies have brought to the forefront both the invisible tethers which bind us to one another and shatter the illusory figure of the “individual” separate from the biological/ecological/technical milieu, as well as the dire necessity for more viable, coordinated, responsible common systemic responses. Shifting away from anthropocentric perspectives in both theory and practice, Planetary Commons brings together air, oceans, earth, and humans as a subset of metabolic flows all under a shared common planetary interior. It offers a selection of curated projects from The Terraforming and The Revenge of the Real, both ongoing initiatives by Strelka Institute to revisit the relationship between the “natural/artificial” and “human/non-human” in order to help initiate an alternative common future for a more viable planetarity.
Edited by Timur Zolotoev (Strelka Mag) and Nicolay Boyadjiev (The Terraforming)
Backcasting Kardashev One reverse engineers the famous Russian astrophysicist’s classification system for extraterrestrial civilizations—the Kardashev scale, in which energy is a proxy for civilizational development—in order to repurpose it as a lens revealing the necessity of rethinking energy, civilization, and planetarity here on Earth.
Anthropocentric climate change and the appropriation of biological and geological commons have caused wide-ranging biodiversity loss through the fragmentation of natural habitats and land degradation. Veha prototypes E.O. Wilson’s “Half-Earth” concept as a speculative zoning experiment at the scale of Russia, aimed at upholding a more viable planetarity.
Daleko is a future common world where the concepts of externality and waste at a planetary scale have been re-imagined, re-composed, and re-narrativized through animated science fiction vignettes relative to the Russian Territory.
Could a Keynesian “pyramid scheme” establish a “viable planetarity” by re-orienting the forces of global labor to address the climate crisis? With a dose of irony, the design inquiry of building 138,462 Carbon Pyramids imagines what it would mean—for labor, economies, and landscapes—to translate an abstract figure into a real carbon management solution.
A Viable Planetary Future beyond Extraction, Predation & Production
Comparing the ways of seizing and extracting energy with that of a sea slug called elysia chlorotica reveals the magnitude of the modern logic of extraction and the distance technocapitalism has achieved from a larger understanding of the cosmic functioning of energy. Can elysia chlorotica provide us with an alternative framework to help restore a planetary state of climate balance and justice?
Protocols for the Phase Transition: Towards New Alliances
As new urgencies surface and new territories are defined, new alliances must be built. Inspired by the typology of a starling murmuration, A.S.T. proposes a set of protocols for the construction of twenty-first-century alliances that traverse borders, nation-states, and species.
Patricia Margarita Hernandez