4th OFF-EARTH ATLAS WORKSHOP : 'Cosmologies'

cosmologies cover

To attend this event, please register here.


OFF-EARTH ATLAS is a joint project of the University College London (UCL) and the Université Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL), in partnership with the Collège de France and the Maison Française d’Oxford. It aims to foster a sustained dialogue between anthropology, and the social sciences/ humanities more generally, and all who are engaged in the ongoing endeavour to explore and exploit outer space. A series of workshops will cast new light on four key aspects of that emerging dialogue: “Forms of Life” (Paris), “Territories” (London), ‘Architectures and Infrastructures’ (London), “Cosmologies’’ (Oxford). Ultimately, these will result in an Off Earth Atlas, containing some fifty images and graphs accompanied by short texts. 

Convened by Delphine Marie Mercier (UCL) & Perig Pitrou (MFO)
Thinking through humans’ existence on Earth requires a reflection on our place in the Universe. Symmetrically, space exploration projects depend on a diversity of ways to build worlds on Earth, according to cultures and time periods. This workshop explores this diversity by focusing on intellectual, visual, and political powers of Cosmologies. The term Cosmology is understood here as a general category encompassing the plurality of the totalisation processes elaborated by humans using different paths: modern western sciences, indigenous knowledge, mythological and religious narratives, or artistic practices. How do understandings and representations of outer space depend on culturally and historically grounded earthian experiences? How are they related to each other? Finally, how are cosmologies as intellectual and technoscientific processes made visible and powerful within material cultures?


With the support of the Off Earth Atlas Team: Victor Buchli, David Jeevendrampillai, Delphine Mercier, Perig Pitrou, Istvan Praet, Gerald Sim


9h00 Welcome coffee

9h30 Off-Earth Atlas /Cosmologies
Perig Pitrou, CNRS, Maison Française d’Oxford, Collège de France, University PSL 

David Jeevendrampillai, University College London

9h50 Off-Earth Atlas / Curatorial project
Delphine Mercier, University College London

Gerald Sim, University College London 

Chair : Elie Danziger, CNRS, Collège de France, University PSL

10h00 John Tresch, Warburg Institute
Dialectical Cosmograms: Caetano Veloso in Jail and in Orbit

10h30  Paola Castaño, University of Exeter
The Scales of Plant Experimentation in Low Earth Orbit

11h00 Break 

11h30 Nicholas Campion, University of Wales Trinity Saint David
Cosmo-logics. Exploring the imaginal terrain of outer and inner space

12h00 Catriona Howie, European Space Agency
Making the Cosmos at Home

12h30 Giles Bunch, University College London 
Space modules and sailing ships: the role of ambivalent Columbianism in the production of European ‘Man’ in ESA’s contribution to the ISS

13h00 Lunch
Chair : Paddy Edgley, University College London

14h30 Lauren Reid, Freie Universität, Berlin
Astronomy, religions and finding the ‘right way’ to engage the cosmos 

15h00 Jenia Gorbanenko, University College London
Fabio Gygi, School of Oriental and African Studies

Celestial Buddha: A Temple in Space

15h30 Anne Johnson, Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico
Mexican Mars

16h00 Break

16h30 Hilding Neilson, Memorial University of Newfoundland & Labrador
The stars are our relations: Indigenous histories and futurisms in space

17h00 Valerie Olson, University of California, Irvine
System as cosmology

17h30 Final comments
Victor Buchli, University College London

Istvan Praet, Durham University

18h15 Reception