notes : Masahiro Terada

excerpts from Notes : Masahiro Terada

How is the tree a part of the Technosphere? All elements of the cosmos are composed of li, they all participate in the patterned unfolding of historical processes. All things are in a state of becoming (naru なる). Terada highlights the importance of moving away from preconceptions and biases that limit the technological—and technological history—to only a product of human making. In this way, the tree of the technosphere is all of its roots, growth, reproduction and decay—all of its energies, of naru becoming.

[6] EDITORS’ NOTE: Thinking about co-evolution, we also have to consider a co-history; where non-human technologies develop, how do we trace these evolutions? Human and non-human technologies—processes of becoming—are intricately linked. Can we broaden our vision to also encompass histories beyond those of humanity (not to mention those beyond dominant Euro-American historicity)? Vanessa Watts explains the foundational principles of Indigenous Place-Thought, “Our ability to have sophisticated governance systems is directly related to not only the animals’ ability to communicate with us, but their willingness to communicate with us.” Vanessa Watts. “Indigenous Place-Thought and Agency Amongst Humans and Non-humans (First Woman and Sky Woman Go on a European World Tour!) Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society 2, no. 1 (2013): 30.

Ecological histories are significant not only to an understanding of the cosmological role of a technosphere, but to inform and manipulate the materiality of media. Jussi Parikka observes that these alternative co-histories have always been documented in, “rust, dysfunction—a time of a different sort—languages of junk, pathology, geology, chemical reactions.” Jussi Parikka. “Mutating Media Ecologies.” continent. 4, no. 2 (2015): 24. Greater interconnectedness and complexity between “spheres” (rather, an increasing non-distinction of spheres, or as Lucy Suchman points out in her interview in this issue: “mess, slippage, non-coherence”), and awareness towards the agency of other beings, requires an intensified sensitivity towards these non-human languages and the histories that they inscribe.

[7] EDITORS’ NOTE: On the agency of all matter: “To be animate goes beyond being alive or acting, it is to be full of thought, desire, contemplation and will.” Vanessa Watts contrasts Indigenous Place-Thought with the contemporary turn in Euro-American thought towards this greater complexity of networks, but where the latter retains a self-destructive epistemological-ontological rift: “Interconnectivity is permitted, but only insofar as distinction from the thinking human and the acting natural world. True, the borders of flesh and soil rub up against each other but this does not mean one is guided by the other. The border where human-as-the-centre begins still exists and continues to determine the bounds for capacity and action.” (Watts. ibid. 29.)