Perceiving Gaian Systems

March 28, 2019

San Francisco, CA

David McConville and Dawn Danby at Taohaus

Perceiving Gaian Systems was the initial gathering of our experimental lab exploring novel ways of perceiving and revealing humanity’s entanglements with the planetary holobiont. We began the process of prototyping narratives, artworks, and media designed to cultivate intuitions about the complex dynamics of Earth's autopoietic systems.

NASA, SETI, and other space programs and organizations have gone to great lengths to find extraterrestrial life and intelligence. So far Earth is still cosmically unique in being an autopoietic planet. Life continuously builds itself up. keeps itself going, and so creates the conditions for more life. But only up to a point--past which, at the moment, largely anthropogenic environmental stresses induce local deteriorations that ramify as waves of negative agency with global reach. So there’s an urgent need to fall in with Gaia’s regenerative cycles and to follow them across local and global scales.

We spent the morning learning about key concepts from Gaia theory, particularly how they relate to planetary cognition. We then collectively explored ways to generate and instrumentalize deep content for experiential programs that can make salutary interventions into planetary communications.

The inquiry has since been extended through Reworlding: The Art of Living Systems.