Rania Ghosn’s The Planet After Geoengineering
2020-21 CAST International Performance & Exhibition Grant
Speculative futures for planet Earth
The term “geoengineering” refers to a set of technologies that offsets the effects of anthropogenic climate change by deliberately intervening in planetary systems. While largely speculative and unproven, such large-scale technological proposals mostly circulate in abstract climate models that are produced and discussed by experts in earth science and engineering. How do we engage speculatively—and make public—such interventions in earth systems? The Planet After Geoengineering deploys a geographic speculative method to imagine how a proposed climate manipulation program or project is likely to produce a livable world 200 years from now.
Commissioned for the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale and responding to the theme, “How will we live together?,” The Planet After Geoengineering tracks five geoengineering technologies in a series of 25 large-scale drawings that make visible geographies of deployments—sites, forms, externalities, the color of the sky, the smell of the air—and situates future promises within the genealogies of modern climate control technologies ranging from 19th-century rainmaking machines to Cold War weather modification schemes. In drawings and narratives, The Planet After Geoengineering makes geoengineering and its controversies public, inviting the viewer to interrogate the expansion of engineering (and by extension, design) to the scale of the planet.
In addition to the drawings installed in the Biennale’s As One Planet exhibition, the project includes an animation with music by Christine Southworth and Evan Ziporyn, and a graphic novel featuring essays by geographer Kathryn Yusoff, theorist Benjamin Bratton, and climate intervention researcher Holly Jean Buck.
The Planet After Geoengineering
May 22 – November 21, 2021
2020 Venice Architecture Biennale
Giardini della Biennale, Venice, Italy
Rania Ghosn is an associate professor of Architecture and Urbanism at MIT and founding principal of DESIGN EARTH with El Hadi Jazairy. The design research practice examines the geographies of technological systems to open up aesthetic and political concerns for architecture and urbanism. Ghosn’s work critically frames the urban condition at the intersection of politics, aesthetics, and technological systems—be they energy, trash, or farming.
The work of DESIGN EARTH is widely recognized, including a Young Architects Prize from The Architectural League of New York. Rania Ghosn received the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Faculty Design Award (2017 and 2014), a Jacques Rougerie Foundation’s First Prize (2015), and honorable mentions for their competition entries in City Vision, Organic Skyscraper, Archinect’s Dry Futures and The Architect’s Newspaper Best of Design Awards in Architectural Representation. DESIGN EARTH has exhibited internationally at Venice Architecture Biennale, Oslo Architecture Triennale, Lisbon Architecture Triennale, Parsons School of Design at the New School, MIT Keller Gallery, and Sursock Museum in Beirut. Some of their recent writings are published in Harvard Design Magazine, Pidgin, Volume, Journal of Architectural Education, San Rocco, MONU, Avery Review, Thresholds, Bracket, and Perspecta.
Ghosn holds a Doctor of Design from Harvard University Graduate School of Design, a Master in Geography from University College London, and a Bachelor of Architecture from American University of Beirut. Prior to joining MIT, she was an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan and a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Boston University. Ghosn is founding editor of the journal New Geographies and editor-in-chief of NG2: Landscapes of Energy. She is co-author of Geographies of Trash (ACTAR, 2015) and GeoStories (ACTAR, 2018).
“In the midst of a climate crisis, DESIGN EARTH thinks with and against technologies that counteract the effects of anthropogenic climate change by deliberately intervening in Earth systems.” – e-flux, 2021