Intensifications – Lecture at CCA Canadian Centre for Architecture Montreal

Lecture by John Palmesino at CCA Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal
5 November 2015, 6PM

multiplicity solid seaImage: multiplicity, Solid Sea, documenta 11, Kassel 2002

Territories are the complex set of relations to things that keep us alive. They are bound spaces, where intersecting borders establish semi-stable relations between polities and their material base of operations. A new intensification is reshaping the surface and the cycles of the Earth: the Anthropocene marks an exit from modern forms of territorial organization of humanity. Remote sensing and technologies of measuring and surveying are used to enter into the multiple oscillations and reverberations that the Anthropocene lays out, with new territories cutting through pre-established ones, often in a violent way. New territories reconfigure the transient relations between the institutionalized forms of cohabitation and their material spaces. No more figure/ground.

The lecture by John Palmesino is held in the ambit of the CCA exhibition The Other Architect, which features work by multiplicity, the international research network co-founded by John with Stefano Boeri, Francesco Jodice, Giovanni La Varra, Francisca Insulza, Maddalena Bregani.

Transformation Marathon


John Palmesino and Ann-Sofi Rönnskog / Territorial Agency present their work at the Transformation Marathon, Serpentine Galleries, the tenth in the Serpentine’s annual festival of ideas.
On stage: 10am-10pm, Saturday 17 October, Serpentine Sackler Gallery and live-streamed via YouTube.
On air: Midnight-noon, Sunday 18 October, Serpentine Radio at
Celebrating its tenth anniversary since the inaugural 2006 Interview Marathon, this year’s Transformation Marathon addresses cultural, political and physical shifts, asking how significant change can be achieved today. Returning to its 24-hour format of 2006, the second half of the Transformation Marathon takes place on the first-ever broadcast of Serpentine Radio, accessible online from 12am (midnight) on Sunday 18 October.

Serpentine Galleries

Mesopotamia: territorial transformations at the age of global war.
Multiyear satellite multispectral analysis, normalised difference vegetation index.
©Territorial Agency

Anthropocene Monument

A sketch for an Anthropocene monument
A monument is a structure to remind an event, it is an inscription that communicates memory to a group, and in this sense it binds the group to its memory.
We propose to consider the digital archives of Earth Observation satellites that have been orbiting the planet for more than 40 years, as the monument to the Anthropocene. The new geological epoch marks and signs the complex interactions between the Earth System and the many world-systems of contemporaneity. The conjunction between Earth System and world-systems opens up and readdresses territories, reshapes boundaries, severs pre-established links and transforms long-term forms that characterise the links between polities and spaces.
The Earth Observation archives are accessible through a wide system of interconnected digital repositories and archives. On the surface, a square of 30 metres indicates an area that is monitored by a satellite at regular intervals. This square – one pixel of remote sensing data – should be covered in special reflective materials, and act as a calibration device for the sensors on the satellite. Detailed technical details on how to treat the surface of the pixel are articulated by ESA, NASA and other international space agencies.
As the satellites return in their orbits over the pixel – every sixteen days – we are reminded of the planetary transformations that our actions are generating. The modulation, registration, and calibration of our actions in reference to the measurements of environmental properties scanned by the sensors of the satellites, remind us and alert us to the complex stratigraphic new territorial formations we inhabit.

Anthropocene Monument - A symposium-performance
From 10 to 12 October 2014
Les Abattoirs
Toulouse, France

A recent announcement indicating changes in calibration technologies for Landsat 8

Oct 25, 2013 • In the near future, calibration changes will be made that will affect the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) Band 10 and all of the Operational Land Imager (OLI) bands onboard Landsat 8.
The calibration for TIRS Band 10 will be lowered by a constant 0.32 W/(m2 sr µm) for every TIRS Band 10 pixel. This adjustment is being made due to significant discrepancies as compared to surface water temperature measurements. Studies are ongoing to better characterize the source of the calibration errors, and if possible, provide a more accurate scene-dependent correction. No adjustment will be made to TIRS Band 11, as indications are that its calibration is further off and more variable. Until indicated otherwise, users should work with TIRS Band 10 data as a single spectral band (like Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+)) and should not attempt a split-window correction using both TIRS Bands 10 and 11.
Prior to this reprocessing effort, users can subtract 0.32 W/(m2 sr µm) from the TIRS Band 10 Top-Of-Atmosphere (TOA) radiance data to improve the accuracy of their current image products or to avoid downloading a new image product after reprocessing occurs. Once a more accurate scene-dependent correction is determined, a second purge and reprocessing will take place.
The OLI radiance-to-reflectance conversion coefficients will be adjusted for the cirrus band (Band 9) to account for on-orbit performance. The prelaunch derived coefficients were calculated using heliostat measurements, which were expected to be in error because little sunlight reaches the ground at these wavelengths. This adjustment changes the reflectance by about 7 percent in the cirrus band. Additionally, the precision of the other spectral bands’ radiance-to-reflectance conversion coefficients will be increased, changing the reflectance by up to 0.3 percent.
The relative gains of single detectors on the edges of each OLI Sensor Chip Assembly (SCA) will be updated to correct slight striping that is typically not visible. This update will affect all OLI spectral bands.
Source: USGS Landsat Project

Tate Modern – The Anthropocene Project

The Anthropocene Project
Tate Modern, Starr Auditorium
Friday 5 June 2015, 10.15 – 17.00

Anthropocene Observatory – The Dark Abyss of Time

The Museum of Evolution of Life – Chandigarh, India 2014, © Anthropocene Observatory – Armin Linke

Humanity is in the midst of a global crisis. Economic and technological developments of the last hundred years have made human beings into the strongest driving force of geological and ecological processes – with massive consequences not only for nature, but also for humankind itself. Beyond merely describing this phenomenon, the new conceptual framework offered by the Anthropocene thesis opens up an integrated perspective from which to grapple with this changed reality.

Taking the pioneering Anthropocene Project 2013–14 at HKW in Berlin as a starting point, historian Dipesh Chakrabarty, the artist collective The Otolith Group, the research organization Territorial Agency (John Palmesino and Ann-Sofi Rönnskog), geologist Jan Zalaseiwicz, photographer Armin Linke, curator Anselm Franke, and philosopher and HKW Director Bernd Scherer will present a range of artistic and theoretical approaches and concepts.

Running order




Welcome by Marko Daniel


Introduction by Bernd Scherer


Jan Zalasiewicz Defining the Anthropocene

Defining the Anthropocene is an extraordinary challenge.  In only centuries, humans have driven geological change without precedent in this planet’s 4.6 billion-year history. Understanding this change needs fusion of knowledge of ancient catastrophes and modern humans, within which we might consider the Tate itself - as a remarkable future technofossil.


Dipesh Chakrabarty The Human Condition in the Anthropocene

This lecture distinguishes between two uses of the expression ‘The Anthropocene’ as a contested name for current planetary environmental crises and as a rigorous concept, the idea of a new geological epoch that requires scientific ratification. It will ask why contemporary discussions of the Anthropocene caught in the tension produced by the necessity to see humans against very different scales of time: the history of European expansion and the consequent rise of global capitalism, and in the deeper context of geological time. It concludes with some thoughts on the human condition in the Anthropocene.


Discussion chaired by Bernd Scherer


Screening of Medium Earth, 2013, The Otolith Group


Lunch break


Introduction by Anselm Franke


The Otolith Group The Earthquake Sensitive as Planetary Subject

How to explore the millennial time of geology in relation to the infrastructural unconscious of contemporary urbanism? In The Otolith Group’s Medium Earth, tectonic forces express themselves in boulder outcrops and the fractures of cast concrete. What forms of life emerge in the animation of physical geographies undergoing continental pressures?


Territorial Agency with Armin Linke Anthropocene Observatory

This project combines film, photography, documentation, interviews, spatial and territorial analysis, to form an archive and a series of installations, exhibitions and workshops that trace the formation of the Anthropocene thesis. The Anthropocene Observatory documents in detail the practices and activities - often behind the scenes - of scientific institutions, international and local agencies and research organisations where the Anthropocene is unfolding in its many streams of influence.


Plenary discussion chaired by Anselm Franke


Closing remarks Bernd Scherer




Dipesh Chakrabarty is the Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor of History, South Asian Languages and Civilizations, and Law at the University of Chicago. He is the author of many articles and books including “The Climate of History: Four Theses,” Critical Inquiry (2009), The Calling of History: Sir Jadunath Sarkar and His Empire of Truth (2015, forthcoming), Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (2008;2000), Habitations of Modernity: Essays in the Wake of Subaltern Studies (2002), Rethinking Working-Class History: Bengal 1890-1940 (2000; 1989). He is a founding member of the editorial collective of Subaltern Studies, a founding editor of Postcolonial Studies, and is a Consulting Editor of Critical Inquiry. Chakrabarty is currently working on a book on climate change and on a collection of essays on history’s relationship to the present. Chakrabarty was elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004 and Honorary Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 2006. He was recently named the recipient of the 2014 Toynbee Prize for his contributions to global history.

Marko Daniel is Convenor, Public Programmes, Tate Modern.

Anselm Franke is Head of the Visual Arts department at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, where he was part of the curatorial team of the Anthropocene Projectand organised exhibitions such as Animism in 2012, and together with Diedrich Diederichsen The Whole Earth in 2013, and Forensis together with Eyal Weizman in 2014. He also was chief curator of the Taipei Biennale 2012 and the Shanghai Biennale 2014.

Armin Linke is an artist working with film and photography, combining different mediums to blur the border between fiction and reality. He is working on an ongoing archive on human activity and the most varied natural and manmade landscapes. His multimedia installation about the contemporary Alpine landscape was awarded at the 9th Architecture Venice Biennale. He is professor at the HfG Karlsruhe.

Territorial Agency / John Palmesino and Ann-Sofi Rönnskog. Territorial Agency is an independent organisation based in London that innovatively promotes and works for sustainable territorial transformations. Its works combine contemporary architecture, urbanism, spatial analysis and extended stakeholder networks. John Palmesino and Ann-Sofi Rönnskog teach at the Architectural Association.

The Otolith Group is an award winning artist led collective and organisation founded by Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun in 2002 that integrates film and video making, artists writing, workshops, exhibition curation, publication and developing public platforms for the close readings of the image in the contemporary world. The Group’s work is formally engaged with research led projects exploring the legacies and potentialities of artists led proposals around the document and the essay film, the archive, the aural and sonic medium, speculative futures and science-fictions.

Bernd M. Scherer is Director of Haus der Kulturen der Welt since 2006. He holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken. Philosopher and author of several publications focusing on aesthetics and international cultural exchange, Scherer came to the HKW from the Goethe-Institut. Since January 2011, he teaches as Honorary Professor at the Institute for European Ethnology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Jan Zalasiewicz is a Professor in Geology at the University of Leicester, who has published extensively in scientific journals, focusing on fossil ecosystems. He is the author of four books: The Planet in a PebbleThe Earth After Us and (with Mark Williams) The Goldilocks Planet and Ocean Worlds.

In co-operation with HKW

How to sort out the many ambiguities of the concept of the Anthropocene – Lecture by Bruno Latour

In the ambit of the Anthropocene Observatory project in Utrecht,  BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht and the Centre for the Humanities, Utrecht University, Utrecht organise a lecture by philosopher Bruno Latour, followed by a response by anthropologist Anna Tsing. The lecture takes place on Saturday, 18 April 2015 from 11.00–13.00 hrs at the Stadsschouwburg in Utrecht.

This gathering centers around the so-called Anthropocene thesis that identifies our present time as a geological epoch defined by human disturbance of Earth’s ecosystems. Bruno Latour discusses the use—and many ambiguities—of the hybrid, novel, and yet unstable concept of the Anthropocene as one informed by the disciplines of geology, philosophy, theology, and social science. Latour has articulated the Anthropocene as a “wake-up call,” radically reframing both the time and space we find ourselves living in. The final refusal of the separation between Nature and Human, which “has paralyzed science and politics since the dawn of modernism,” the Anthropocene is the most probable alternative we have to usher ourselves out of the notion of modernization at a point when “the dreams that could be nurtured at the time of the Holocene cannot last.” Anna Tsing responds to Latour’s lecture from the perspective of her own research on the notion of “living in the Anthropocene,” weaving together insights from the fields of anthropology, biology, and philosophy to inquire into the possible ways of understanding the “kinds of lives that are made and the futures that are possible in the ruined, re-wilded, and unintended landscapes” of this geological era.

Introduction by Maria Hlavajova, General and Artistic Director BAK

Introduction by Rosi Braidotti, Distinguished University Professor and founding Director of the Centre for the Humanities at Utrecht University

Lecture by Bruno Latour

Introduction to response by Rosi Braidotti

Response by Anna Tsing

Conclusion notes

Bruno Latour is a philosopher, anthropologist, and sociologist of science who currently teaches at Sciences Po in Paris. His many books include An Inquiry into Modes of Existence (2013), Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory (2005); Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy (2004); and We Have Never Been Modern (1991).

Anna Tsing is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California at Santa Cruz and Niels Bohr Professor in the Department of Culture and Society at Aarhus University, Aarhus. She is author of, among other books, Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection (2005) as well as the co-edited volumes Words in Motion: Toward a Global Lexicon (2009) (with Carol Gluck), Communities and Conservation: Histories and Politics of Community-Based Natural Resource Management (2005) (with J. Peter Brosius and Charles Zerner), and Nature in the Global South: Environmental Projects in South and Southeast Asia (2003) (with Paul Greenough).

The lecture is part of BAK’s long-term research series titled Future Vocabularies(2014–2016) and its chapter on “ Human-Inhuman-Posthuman,” developed in collaboration with prof. Rosi Braidotti in her capacity as BAK Research Fellow and co-organized with the Centre for the Humanities. Also part of this chapter, the exhibition and discursive environment Anthropocene Observatory by Territorial Agency (John Palmesino and Ann-Sofi Rönnskog), artist Armin Linke, and curator Anselm Franke is on view at BAK till 26 April 2015.

The activities of BAK have been made possible by the City Council of Utrecht and the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science of the Netherlands. The project Future Vocabularies is realized with generous support from the DOEN Foundation, Amsterdam.

Paris – Make it work! Climate change negotiations

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ParisClimat 2015
Make it Work!

Territorial Agency formed a delegation to ParisClimat 2015-Make it Work! conference organised by SciencesPo with Prof Bruno Latour. The conference simulates climate change negotiations in view of COP21 in December.
Territorial Agency's delegation is formed by current AA students from Diploma 4 and team.
Territorial Agency will represent the territories of oil in the ground.

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