As a final publication, the More-than-Planet Atlas will map out all the planetary imaginaries identified within the project in a visually appealing way with designed schematics, iconic images, and articles. While the project runs, the More-than-Planet Atlas will slowly be filled with planetary imaginaries, insights and essays. The Atlas will remain a reference book long after the project has ended, for organisations and professionals in art, research and space innovation.
The More-than-planet Atlas will equip European researchers, creatives, artists and designers with understandings and tools with which they can better engage citizens to contribute to socio-environmental transitions towards building heterogenous and inclusive understandings and expressions of shared planetary views, concerns, interests and heritage.
Societally inclusive environmental concepts
Western environmental concepts historically transitioned from imperial and colonial histories toward the modern globalism and contemporary geopolitics of the terrestrial and planetary (Lukavčan, 2019). Within such development it is usually forgotten that today's dominant Earth systems science that emerged at some point, was established, but also critically assessed through time. This last step provides an opportunity transitioning toward more societally inclusive environmental concepts, mainly those emerging from the philosophy of science and science technology studies.
The main difference between them is that the exclusively scientific approach takes the human out of the equation or neutralises it with generalised terms like the Anthropos. On the other side, societally sensitive environmental studies also look at hidden power structures (Bureau d'Etudes, 2015), non-human entities becoming tangled up with human infrastructure projects (Tsing, 2021), a fragile thick layer of Earth critically transformed by life (Latour, 2020), or just entanglements that resist systematisation—like in more-than-human studies (Jaque et al., 2021).
Ways of mattering
Since it matters which planet or environmental concept is portrayed (and which one is not), the More-than-Planet project aims to research how mattering (Law, 2004) can contribute to societally more inclusive environmental imaginaries. Mattering stands here as a study of how making facts and values is inevitably intertwined, and what cultural and societal arrangements (Haraway, 1991) can be built on top of that.
In a manner to sensitise citizens to environmental troubles, dominant matters-of-fact governed by science and matters-of-interest managed by industry and governments will be prioritised by matters-of-concern (Latour, 2004) and matters-of-care (Bellacasa, 2017).
Understanding the diversity of drivers behind environmental concepts will contribute to better accessibility of transdisciplinary environmental knowledge and provide agency to people as actors of change.
In parallel with environmental concepts, iconic images of Earth contributed to a modern understanding of a planet as a conceptual whole: Blue Marble, Pale Blue Dot, Earthrise and Overview Effect all depicted Earth as all-we-have, but still in a very generalised way. On the other hand, media studies and artists also explore Earth as an interface (ART+COM, 1994), a parametric future landscape (Brain, 2018), a vertical public space (Parks, 2005, 2013), critical environments (Forensic Architecture, 2020) or visual policymaking imaginaries (Territorial Agency, 2020).
Such examples overcame the concept of Earth as a neutral and systemised object of scientific observation while revealing technologies and data infrastructures underlying the mediation of Earth as a planetary concept. They demonstrate how artists - in a creative and concerned way - use the same tools as scientists, yet are better at identifying matters closer to citizens, especially those who face a variety of social and environmental troubles.
Although the epistemological base of environmental sciences, humanities, and arts are highly advanced in their respective fields, there is still a need to improve an understanding of how they can collectively contribute to societally inclusive planetary and environmental imaginaries.
- Which common environmental concepts are identifiable in contemporary environmental research agendas as well as planetary and environmental imaginaries (imaginaries as creative, cultural and social expressions across diverse media and practices)? How do they relate to ways of mattering, to the use and development of new technologies and infrastructures used for the production of planetary imaginaries?
- Which methods, technologies, and skills are needed for the creative sector to develop societally inclusive planetary imaginaries? What should be the structure of a Planetary Public Stack (that enables societally inclusive planetary imaginaries)?
- How can the creative sector empower citizens and the civil sector to contribute to the development of societally inclusive planetary conceptions, strengthen cultural- environmental literacy and comparative planetary imaginary, in other words to contribute to environmental transitions? What kind of research and innovation framework is required for more civil and public benefits?