December 24th 1968, outer space. Williams Anders, a member of the Apollo 8 mission, photographs the Earth rising on the lunar horizon: Earthrise. The picture becomes instantaneously famous, permeating every corner of popular culture. For the first time in its history, humanity can contemplate the unambiguous finitude of its habitat. Thus, a new consciousness is born: this limited planet might not be able to sustain unlimited growth. The expanding occupation of territories and the ruthless exploitation of natural resources, intensified by technical progress and the competitive logic of capitalism, might not lead to global happiness, but to global crisis.
In our present this crisis appears to have arrived. Loss, extinction, disaster, catastrophe, appear to define our situation in relationship to the environment, each other, and the other species inhabiting our earth. Planetary Futures is a series of research studios that include two campuses for HKW; one conducted in 2016 the next in 2020. As well as a planetary futures summer school, held in August 2017, with more planned. We propose one of the first large scale collaborative research-creation and education projects integrating arts and design, the social sciences, and media studies, to conduct multi-sited artistic, ethnographic, philosophical, and historical research and creation on the material ways that designers, researchers and entrepreneurs negotiate the future, and translate ideas of life, speculation, and temporality into technology and the built environment.
These research studios will use ethnographic site research in Montreal and abroad to begin asking how we might imagine, and design, a future earth without escaping or denying the ruins of the one we inhabit? How shall we design and encounter the ineffable without denying history, colonialism, or normalizing violence? What forms of knowledge and experiment might produce non-normative ecologies of care between life forms? How shall we inhabit the catastrophe?