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Introduction to the newspaper during the Soil Assembly Convergence on June 21


Issue N°°6 / May 2024

Soil Assembly special • Planetary Peasants

Laboratories for habitable futures

We're delighted to announce the publication of issue no. 6 of The Laboratory Planet. It will be distributed from June 17 at the World Biodiversity Forum in Davos, at Awareness in Art in Zurich as part of the More-Than-Planet exhibition, for the launch of the Planetary Peasants program at the Werkleitz festival in Halle, on the occasion of 500 years of peasant revolts in Germany, and at other distribution points across Europe among the More-Than-Planet network.

The journal The Laboratory Planet was created in 2007, based on the intuition that from a “factory planet” it was necessary to move on to the analysis of a “laboratory planet” – where “acceptable risk” is the adjustment variable for experiments on a scale of 1. The newspapers postulated that 1945 was the symbolic date of this transition, with the atomic bomb as marker and symptom. At the time one were just beginning to hear talk of the “Great Acceleration” and the Anthropocene, but it was already clear that the construction of environmental monitoring, with its apparatus ranging from micro-sensors for terrestrial measurements to satellite observation, stemmed directly from the technologies and methodologies of Cold War nuclear deterrence.

But as science historian Christophe Bonneuil points out, awareness of the “planetary turn” goes back much farther than the view of the Earth from the Moon, or the founding of the International Union for Conservation of Nature at the end of the Second World War. He reminds us that, while the historian community now concedes the existence of a “consciousness of globality” since at least the 16th century, “regimes of planetarity” remain largely unclear. And as Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak wrote in 1999, “The globe is on our computers. Nobody lives on it”. Since then, the Indian philosopher has been encouraging us to move away from the technicist vision of the “globe”, perceived as invading and controlling the planet, towards a “planetary” gaze that would encounter this other that we inhabit, as well as the othernesses with whom we cohabit on Earth.

At a time when living conditions are deteriorating ever further, ecologically as well as socially and humanly, this is the direction we propose to take. In this issue, we imagine a peasant and neo-peasant future, invented by planetary peasants, organized in diverse territories, cultivating biotopes that are more heterogeneous, more democratic, and therefore more habitable than those of imperial cities. This issue opens up to a central section on the recent Soil Assembly initiative, and develops some of the experiences, reflections and surveys collected within this emerging network.

The Soil Assembly “situated” section is included in the "planetary" section.

We hope you’ll enjoy reading it!

Ewen Chardronnet & Bureau d’études

Editorial design: Ewen Chardronnet & Bureau d’études. Graphic design: François Robin & Bureau d’études + Ma Yuyuan. Original cartography : Bureau d’études. Coordination of English translations: Cherise Fong. Editorial administration: Ewen Chardronnet, Cherise Fong, Xavier Fourt, François Robin. Distribution: ART2M/Makery (Paris, FR), Ferme de la Mhotte (Bocage bourbonnais, FR), Awareness in Art (Zurich, CH), CREAM / Westminster University (London, UK), Spore Initiative (Berlin, DE), Werkleitz (Halle, DE), Ars Electronica (Linz, AT), Waag Future Labs (Amsterdam, NL), Projekt Atol (SL). Production: Anne-Cécile Worms & ART2M, as part of the More-Than-Planet (external section) and Rewilding Cultures (internal section) programs co-financed by the European Union. Co-production: Antre Peaux (Bourges, FR), as part of “Homo Photosyntheticus”, a research project coordinated by Ewen Chardronnet and Maya Minder and supported by the “Transition écologique et résilience : les acteurs culturels s’engagent” program of the Région Centre-Val-de-Loire; Awareness in Art (Zurich, CH), as part of the “Archipelago: Art and Science Investigations in Times of Unstable Knowledge” program co-financed by Pro Helvetia. Printing : Noticias de Navarra. Special thanks to the teams at Ferme de la Mhotte, Maria Ptqk, Antre Peaux and Awareness in Art; to the animators and active contributors to the Soil Assemblies network, including Maya Minder, Meena Vari, Vivek Vilasini, Neal White, Rustam Vania, Rob La Frenais, Vasanthi Dass, Pedro Soler; and to all the authors of this issue.



Image: Laboratory Planet

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