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Natures of the Datasphere – NEW PAPER

Knowledge of the hyperobject
Earth, and of the hyperobject
biosphere, presents us with
viscous surfaces from which
nothing can be forcibly peeled.
There is no Away on this surface,
no here and no there.

Timothy MortonHyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology After the End of the World

Unit 2 will be a 10-day digital-only studio that challenges students to examine the specific ways in which catastrophic climate change will impact the settlements in which they live. Students will develop a critical position on their research and present and package their work in a compelling digital and web-native format, making creative use of GIS and photogrammetry software.

According to a recent report by the Australian Academy of Science, the Earth is set to heat by 3°C above the pre-industrial average by the end of 2100 — even if the pledges of the signatories of the Paris climate accords are met on time. In a 3° degree world, extreme weather events such as floods, heatwaves, bushfires, and storms will increase in frequency and intensity, with pronounced effects for cities.

These extreme events will not occur in isolation but compound one another. For example, elevated sea level in combination with longer cyclones will prolong and deepen the effects of coastal flooding. Increased dryness and higher temperatures in combination with changed wind patterns will make record bushfire events more likely.

Unit 2 will explore with students the contentions that spatial practitioners are well placed to both visualise and communicate these effects and to work in concert with experts in other fields to mitigate and adapt to them. The studio will embrace the digital as an environment with unique possibilities for sharing and collaborating with peers. Students will be taught how to use GIS software, with which they will be able to visualise, analyse and export different forms of geodata. Students will also be taught photogrammetry software, with which they will be able to document and share findings from their own neighbourhood in a digital environment. They will then be encouraged to resist the biases of those
technologies in pursuit of their own critical position. Through research, lectures, and dialogue with one another, students will engage with a number of key concepts, such as the hyperobject of climate breakdown, the anthropocene and the challenges it poses for long-standing ecological thinking, and the complexity and interrelation of the constituent parts of the Earth system.