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Spherical encounters of the Anthropocene: from Telescope to Kaleidoscope



Spherical encounters of the Anthropocene refers to the impact of humanity’s global ecological footprint that is addressed through the metaphor of the spheres. The new human-generated Anthropo-Noo-spheres and their interaction with the Spheres of Earth are tackled through ecocritical investigation showcasing the diverse representational modalities and intermedial expressions found in the Planetarium and artistic spherical environments. The technological requirements for high quality geoscientific visualizations have taken about a decade longer to mature than the astronomical features of digital planetariums, but Earth System Science is finally adopted by the Planetarium and artists.
From Telescope to Kaleidoscope refers to the transition between the emergence of the modern scientific, telescopic viewpoint, and the increasing rationalization and bureaucratization of society enabled by the technological and economic advances of the age, that created a sense of alienation of the individual, from the natural environment and the social other, to an environmental re-enchantment, a regaining of our sense of wonder and awe brought back by the kaleidoscopic visions artists apply to these spherical mediums. As this article seeks to demonstrate, the scientific and imaginative visions fused into interconnected, parallel universes can challenge our mundane notions opening up new causal connections, creating exciting discoveries, all under the notion of Anthropocene. However, these spherical environments showcasing kaleidoscopic visions are not an aestheticization of the Anthroposphere, but a testimony that artists as antennas capture and showcase the contemporary human sentiment, topics and observations by conveying experiential projects which involve strategies to forge communities, to re-build lost paradises, to re-connect us with the sky and earth, to foster regeneration and new sustainable systems and to ask future questions. Through the stylistic element of the Cosmic Zoom, we are travelling from the unknown of the outer space to the inner reaches of our human heart.

Keywords: sphairopoiia (the art of sphere-making), enviromental reenchantment of the world, overview effect, liminoid, cosmic zoom, dome, anthroposphere, sphere interactions

DOI: 10.24193/ekphrasis.24.8