“Xeno-Terra: Migrant Ecosystems” presented by Rich

Symposium:


Presentation Title:

  • Xeno-Terra: Migrant Ecosystems

Presenter(s):



Abstract:

  • Xeno-Terra: Migrant Ecosystems most closely relates to the Ecospheric World and the Politics of Sentience. In a more abstract way, the project does speak to the Planetary as it references forced or required migration.

    Xeno-terra: Migrant Ecosystems (working title) looks toward a bleak, but possible, future, where climate change and ecological damage are irreversible and gives a glimpse into a dystopic technology to save what little remains. The project uses a purpose-built 3.5m blimp constructed specifically for this project by a US government supplier, and a fully self-contained hydroponic system that carries flora from particularly vulnerable ecosystems, in this case, Mongolia’s vast, but increasingly arid, grasslands. The ecosystem becomes migrant, paralleling the experience and marginalization of many of the world’s most vulnerable citizens who are disproportionately impacted by climate change.

    The project references the sentience of an ecosystem, and its inability to adapt quickly enough to human-triggered ecological collapse. The fundamental inequality of environmental destruction and the futility of the solution presented in Xeno-Terra makes a statement regarding the sickening disregard for those who have played no role in the choice to promote profit over sustainability. This dystopian image of a group of migrant ecosystems taking flight in narrowing regions of viable space plays to human desires for techno-solutionism while offering what would be ultimately a futile attempt at preserving life as it once was.

    Aesthetically, the is a mix between the rendering I have included below, the in-progress images and “La Minerve”, a 19th-century speculative balloon conveyance. Our talk will chart the development of the work since 2016 as the global climate emergency has become increasingly visible. We will track social and scientific trends in climate science, and the evolution of Xeno-terra as it moved from an AI-powered swarm to a more poetic climate migrant.

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