Geo-scapes: Medializing the Earth. Online Workshop on the relationship between media, Earth and its representations. Graduiertenkolleg Medienanthropologie, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, 14th – 15th September 2021

Until the first photographs of Earth were taken from space, the planet could not be perceived in its entirety by standing on its surface. In order to represent its spherical form, an act of imagination was required that, through the use of the medium of cartography, would translate the imperceptible into the visible. This simple annotation, contained in the book by the British geographer Denis Cosgrove, Apollo’s Eye: A Cartographic Genealogy of the Earth in the Western Imagination, highlights the symbolic and cultural-historical value of terrestrial images, which for much of human history have represented the icon of our mythical space, the essence of our holistic existence, the document of our spatial imagination. Furthermore, it invites us to think about the importance of the Apollo space program which, although short, since its inauguration in 1961 has marked a turning point in the relationship between media, Earth and its representations. A real “spatial revolution” – to use a term dear to the German philosopher and jurist Carl Schmitt – which, through the grafting of a mechanical eye, for the first time transferred the subject’s point of observation into a new cosmological position.

The workshop Geo-scapes: Medializing the Earth questions the effects that this “ecumenical disorientation” has had on the languages of art and politics, on the cultural techniques of visualization, and on the way space is perceived, disciplined and organized. On the one hand, representations of planet Earth as isolated in cosmic space and without political boundaries have offered imaginative support to the maturation of a modern cosmopolitanism and the birth of a new ecological and environmentalist discourse, promoting artistic practices such as the Land Art or Peter Kennard’s montages. On the other hand, these representations have also accelerated the process of the Earth’s “medialization”, as exemplified by Al Gore’s Digital Earth, Google’s mapping systems, but also by new satellite technologies and the increasingly intensive use of drones. A complex of elements whose interconnections have not yet been properly explored, but which prove to be of high public interest, considering that the image of the Earth is the sign on the basis of which all the economic, political and cultural phenomena that are commonly called global are defined.

The workshop is public and will be held online.
Participation link will be made available on the website beforehand.


September 14, 2021

14:00 – 15:00
Jean-Marc Besse (Paris)
Is the Earth a planet? An approach through geography

15:00 – 16:00
Matteo Vegetti (Mendrisio)
Geo-scapes and geo-scales. The Earth in a trans-scalar perspective

– 30 min break –

16:30 – 17:30
Lorenz Engell (Weimar)
“The Earth opens her Eyes”. Günter Anders watches the Moonflight on Television

17:30 – 18:30
Tommaso Morawski (Weimar)
Geo-aesthethics: on the Earth as a medium

September 15, 2021

14:00 – 15:00
Bernhard Siegert (Weimar)
From Landscape to Geoscape: Robert Smithson’s posthuman maps

15:00 – 16:00
Mark Dorrian (Edinburgh)
Ice / Time

– 30 min break –

16:30 – 17:30
Teresa Castro (Paris)
Seeing the Earth from Space: Between Cartographic and Ecological Reason

17:30 – 18:30
Frédérique Aït-Touati (Paris)
Mapping ghost landscapes: the potential cartographies of Terra Forma