Expanded Territories seminar, Dec 5th

Thursday 5 December, 12.30 – 14.00
Room M324, 35 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5LS

Measurement as Argument:
Planetary Constructions, PostNatural Histories, and the Will to Knowledge

Seth Denizen, Anna-Sophie Springer, Etienne Turpin
Organized by Lindsay Bremner

In this Expanded Territories seminar, Denizen Springer and Turpin will consider the relationship among the construction of systems of thought, our knowledge of the Earth System, and what Michel Foucault, following Nietzsche, describes as the will to knowledge. By examining several key episodes in the mid to late nineteenth century, including Antonio Stoppani’s argument for an “Anthropozoic” era, Vasily Dokuchaev’s proposal for a soil science distinct from geology, Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn’s early cartography of Java, and Alfred Russel Wallace’s theory of biogeographical distribution, they observe how measurement as argument has advanced our understanding of the Earth system in its manifold complexity. Because these systems of thought are not given, but produced, they suggest “what real struggles and relations of domination are involved in the will to knowledge.” As the Anthropocene as an object of knowledge is being constructed by stratigraphers and geologists, a series of affinities connecting measurement, aesthetic practices and the production of evidence can be discerned. How measurement as argument will challenge our inherited views of the architectural object in the Anthropocene remains to be seen; what is evident already is that this will to knowledge frames both our perception of the world and our capacity to change it.

Seth Denizen is a designer and researcher who currently teaches in the Division of Landscape Architecture at Hong Kong University. Anna-Sophie Springer is a writer, curator, and editor and co-director of the independent press K. Verlag in Berlin, Germany. Etienne Turpin is the founder and director of anexact office in Jakarta, Indonesia, and author of Architecture in the Anthropocene, Encounters among Design, Deep Time, Science and Philosophy.

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