Alexandra Arènes: TERRA FORMA Connectedness: From Territory to the Terrestrial

13. November 2023

Alexandra Arènes (Paris)
TERRA FORMA Connectedness: From Territory to the Terrestrial

The paper will present an ongoing research project in collaboration with geoscientists of the critical zone. Following Terra Forma, a book of speculative maps, which draws maps of territories using new reference models, a scientific project with the same name has been launched. Led by scientists of the critical zone, it aims to deploy new sensors to measure bio, geo, hydro, chemical and physical parameters in three major field observatories. The project aims to produce speculative maps of these territories as seen through the sensors, for use by the scientific community, but also for a non-academic audience (stakeholders, citizens). These maps are generated using 1. the sensors as new optical lenses to reveal invisible entities and phenomena, and 2. alternative models from the Terra Forma book: a reversal of the view of the earth to make the layers of the critical zone visible. This experiment will provide an opportunity to discuss three key aspects of the approach: 1. the making of boundary-objects with these cartographies deploying new methods; 2. the link between earth sensors and the development of a cosmopolitical vision of space; 3. the shift from territory to the terrestrial through connectivity by flows and cycles.

Alexandra Arènes holds a doctorate in Architecture from the University of Manchester. She co-founded Studio SOC (Société d’Objets Cartographiques) in 2016 to produce maps, workshops and exhibitions. The studio designed an installation at the ZKM Museum in Karlsruhe for the exhibition Critical Zones. Observatories for Earthly Politics, curated by Bruno Latour. She co-authored Terra Forma, a book of speculative maps published by MIT Press in 2022. Her research and practice address the understating and representation of landscapes in the context of climate change, among other work through her thesis “Design at the time of the Anthropocene: Reporting from the Critical Zone”.