Transversal Practices

Charlotte Bigg and two CREW members in their studio testing the planetarium. Photo: CREW.

Maaike Bleeker

Knowing, Karen Barad argues, is a distributed practice in which humans participate in larger material configurations. This text looks at how humans participate in practices of distributed knowing, starting from a proposal for a twenty-first century planetarium developed by Flemish artist Eric Joris and his company CREW. Joris’ planetarium demonstrates the potential of technology to address what Mark N. B. Hansen terms ‘the organism’s power of imaging’: an existential potential of comprehension that is grounded in the embodiment of the organism. The planetarium thus mediates in ways of knowing the universe that are situated (Donna Haraway) in embodied experience with movement and spatiality, and affords humans to participate in an unfolding of articulations of space. This allows for a non-representationalist approach to knowledge transmission that acknowledges the inseparability of observed object and agencies of observation (Barad). Instead of showing the solar system as a stable object of a vision from nowhere, the solar system emerges as what Federica Timeto calls a technospace: a dynamic and contingent formation whose emergence cannot be disjoined from the generativity of the mediations that traverse it.

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