Many Worlds Hypothesis

Beyond the very narrow sliver afforded by human cognition, the universe is largely incomprehensible. The many worlds interpretation provides an explanation for the act of observation that “forces” a quantum state to appear resolved by positing that there are worlds created for each and every quantum possibility to be realized. From the universe we exist in right now runs a central path, but from that path will be a procession of perpetually forking paths - tiny variations of reality that create a number of possible worlds so vast as to seem infinite, but it is not.

This theoretical framework although profound, has little implication sensorially on our day-to-day lived reality, even as you have read this entry countless trillions of new worlds have branched off into their own distinct and separate realities, forever fracturing. A forest of all possible realities. 

[The] thinker observed that all the books, no matter how diverse they might be, are made up of the same elements: the space, the period, the comma, the twenty-two letters of the alphabet. He also alleged a fact which travelers have confirmed: In the vast Library there are no two identical books. From these two incontrovertible premises he deduced that the Library is total and that its shelves register all the possible combinations of the twenty-odd orthographical symbols (a number which, though extremely vast, is not infinite): Everything: the minutely detailed history of the future, the archangels' autobiographies, the faithful catalogues of the Library, thousands and thousands of false catalogues, the demonstration of the fallacy of those catalogues, the demonstration of the fallacy of the true catalogue, the Gnostic gospel of Basilides, the commentary on that gospel, the commentary on the commentary on that gospel, the true story of your death, the translation of every book in all languages, the interpolations of every book in all books.”

excerpt from The Library of Babel, by Jorge Luis Borges (1941)

Gemini South and SOAR Observatories

Completed at the turn of the last century, in 1997 and 2000 respectively, SOAR and Gemini South are two powerful observatories that live atop Cerro Pachón in Chile. Sitting at 2,737 and 2,712 meters of altitude, they are positioned above the cloud line, hidden within the dark and clear skies afforded by the arid air of the Atacamas and bounding Andes Mountains.

Gemini South has a twin telescope in Hawai’i, which, in tandem to it, provides hemispheric views of the sky that surrounds us. SOAR and Gemini South exist within a conglomerate of observatories that share the peaks of Cerro Pachón and Tololo, together forming perhaps the most mystic astronomical location on Earth.

A Wave

A wave is a momentary object formed by the interaction of wind and the surface of a large body of water (though waves can also emerge from earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, or tidal forces as Earth and the Moon interact gravitationally). In each case, a wave is a vehicle that transports energy elsewhere. The classic morphology of a wave begins to achieve its pronounced form as it approaches shallow waters. A shoreline’s physical relief in large part determines the natural rhythm of the waves. Waves generally travel in caravans of twelve or sixteen, with swells quietly self-organizing miles out into the sea before rising to crescendo, crashing, and finally dissolving.

Ocean Gyre

An unaltered satellite image captured by NASA on July 18, 2018 showing a massive 25-kilometer gyre of phytoplankton in the Gulf of Finland within the Baltic Sea. Although beautiful with its elegant spiral underscoring a morphogenetic baseline for matter in the universe, the recent proliferation of phytoplankton has caused die-offs in the sea, with oxygen levels at lowest point in at least the past 1500 years.

Large Eye

Believed to be the eerie remains of a massive swordfish, the large eyeball depicted here washed ashore in Florida in 2012, presumably after being excised by a deep-sea angler. The object arrives on shore as omen, a talisman of dark, foreboding futures.

Vera C. Rubin Observatory

On a ridge peak rising 9000 feet above sea level in the Andes Mountains are a cluster of intensely powerful celestial observatories. Among them is the nearly complete Vera C. Rubin Observatory, formerly known as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, or LSST. With first light expected in 2024, Rubin will begin a ten-year observation of the sky, producing the most precise map of the universe ever created and redrawing our understanding of the cosmos and our place within it.

Rubin comprises billions of decisions materialized in individual components, patents, touches, and technologies, all serving to intensify human capacity for visualization and understanding. The observatory exists as a set of thresholds for what can be made material at this moment.

The same conditions that make for near-perfect earthbound astronomy (high elevations, a remote location, arid conditions, stable weather) also act as agents for the preservation of the viewing object itself. This ridgetop inadvertently enshrines LSST within a longer durational horizon, preserving it for future generations as a strange, complex, and distantly knowable machine — a beacon reporting to the future our current dreams as well as our abilities.


by Jane Hirshfield

The arborist has determined:
senescence      beetles      canker
quickened by drought
                           but in any case
not prunable   not treatable   not to be propped.
And so.
The branch from which the sharp-shinned hawks and their mate-cries.
The trunk where the ant.
The red squirrels’ eighty-foot playground.
The bark   cambium   pine-sap   cluster of needles.
The Japanese patterns      the ink-net.
The dapple on certain fish.
Today, for some, a universe will vanish.
First noisily,
then just another silence.
The silence of after, once the theater has emptied.
Of bewilderment after the glacier,
the species, the star.
Something else, in the scale of quickening things,
will replace it,
this hole of light in the light, the puzzled birds swerving around it.

Uncontacted Peoples

Uncontacted peoples are communities on Earth that exist outside of what is normatively understood as modern, globalized society. It is a persuasive Western myth that these groups are truly untouched and disconnected, and one that perpetuates a troubling fetishization. Through an intermediary, such groups are not uncontactable, or even never contacted; they choose the degree to which they engage with the world-at-large, intentionally remaining isolated. But even so, they cannot escape the material detritus and ecological effects of civilization: Their tools may be of refined metals, or they may hunt with guns bartered from neighbors who barter with villages. 

One of the more controversial and resonant contributions from the American media franchise Star Trek (1966-present) is the concept of the Prime Directive. The central guiding principle of space exploration within the series states that, in effect, a technologically superior group — in this case, the explorers — should not interfere with the natural development of more "primitive" alien civilizations. Even in the sci-fi realm of unfettered, idealized imagination, the idea of first contact is deeply problematic and rife with discomfort.

Communities’ deliberate and voluntary recusal from the systems of modernity, taken alongside our own projections of who indeed are “uncontacted peoples,” bring to focus a number of existential anxieties. In starkest relief might be the most urgent: What are our intrinsic obligations as fellow humans on Earth to provide the agentic possibility for uncontacted peoples to live and thrive apart?

Mecca during Hajj

The above photograph shows Muslim pilgrims at the end of hajj, performing tawaf, the counterclockwise circling of the central Kaaba in seven circuits within the world’s largest mosque, the Masjid al-Haram, in Mecca, Saudia Arabia. The city acts as the nexus of the Muslim globe, gathering over 15 million hajji annually. The power of crowds, of highly coordinated movements, and of simply walking together tap inward toward ancient spiritual reserves locked away within our bodies. The process—for religious and secular people—creates an encounter with one’s self through its dissolution into the many. Here, we meet ourselves just as human beings, achieving a highly spiritualized state within the envelope of being alive.


The image depicts an aspirational but defunct data storage device that ceased production in 2013. The MiniDisc was billed as the optimal music delivery format after CDs came to prominence in the early 1990s, as MiniDiscs combined the digital clarity and listening ease of CDs with the durability and recordability of cassettes.   

Released in 1992, the Sony MZ-1 was the first MiniDisc player to hit the market. The player used the Faraday effect to read the disc with a simple laser and binary code. The compressed sound that is produced by the player is lossy audio; psychoacoustics use the inherent flaws in human sensorial perception to create compressed audio that sounds identical to the uncompressed version.

The format’s demise was built into its origin, which coincided with the emergence of the internet. Although offering very real archival advantages, the MiniDisc could not functionally compete with the internet’s budding file-sharing platforms.


The concept of “medium” is ubiquitous within the arts, existing as a simple shorthand for the material with which one might use to make a work of art. Though normally despiritualized in everyday use, at its core, the idea of a medium is much stranger, enchanted, and more deeply central to artistic practice than simply choosing between paints, wood, or a saxophone. A medium is a necessary in-between, a communicative conduit to and from the realms an artist visits. Through practice, a medium allows an artist entrance to a world beyond, but it is also the tool with which to communicate the journey. To re-imagine the term “medium,” we by proxy must also reimagine the role of artists within shared, communal life — in the process discovering, or rediscovering, the foundations for newly spiritualized practices.

Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory

In the Andes Mountains, Cerro Tololo rises 9000 feet above sea level and is crowned by a cluster of 14 intensely powerful astronomical telescopes built since 1963. The Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) hinges upon the cooperation and partnership of a consortium of international institutions. At any moment, the site is host to dozens of researchers and astronomers from around the world, making its remote regional location in the Andes all the more unique and improbable.

Babylonian World Map

Dating to roughly the 6th Century, this Babylonian clay tablet contains a labeled depiction of the known world, including the Euphrates, Babylon, and several other cities bound inside of a ring-shaped ocean. This object is believed to be one of the earliest maps alluding the entire Earth.

Animal Mourning

Mourning is the outward display of grief over the loss of an entity important to the mourner. Historically, Western scientific orthodoxy forwarded the notion that animals lack the necessary intelligence to emote and grieve. Our lag in understanding (or misunderstanding) of animal grief can be attributed to lack of non-anecdotal data, but also our built-in anthropological biases, which can short-circuit cross-species empathic understanding. 

Many animals have been observed showing signs of grief, including crows, ravens, dolphins, orcas, and chimps. Elephants have powerful contact calls that can be heard and recognized by members of their herd miles away. When researchers played field recordings of a deceased elephant’s call, herd members ran with urgency toward the sound. Upon arriving to only a speaker broadcasting sounds, their excitement switched to confusion and sadness. This emotive reaction was witnessed two years after the elephant’s death.

When researchers told Koko—a captive western gorilla famed for her use of sign language—that her friend, a kitten, had been struck by a vehicle, she ignored them for ten minutes, after which she signed "bad, sad, bad," "frown, cry, frown, sad, trouble," and “kitty, sleep.” Later researchers heard her imitating the sound of human weeping.

Alex, a gray parrot who was the subject of a 30-year experiment in avian learning, showed the emotional intelligence of a toddler. Falling suddenly ill, his last words revealed a self-awareness of his own abstract mortality: “You be good, I love you, see you tomorrow.”

The Tides

Being of the Earth, we have normalized its systems, rhythms, and events, in the process taming much of the strangeness and mysterious beauty that exists all around us. There are perhaps no phenomena more bizarre, as well as universally ubiquitous, than Earth’s tides. Our Moon — proportionately a massive object in our solar system, so much so that the Earth and Moon are technically designated a double planet system — generates a strong gravitational grip. This hold is reified most noticeably as tidal events that cause the earth’s oceans to bulge and recede twice per day on most coastlines.

The alignment of the Sun, Moon, and Earth during new and full moon phases generates even more pronounced and extreme tides, known as spring tides, when the solar gravitational pull is combined with the lunar. Inversely, during quarter moons, a more subtle neap tide results from lunar and solar gravitational forces acting against one another.

Diesel Generator

A generator's function is to unlock energy stored within a petro-state, converting it so that it may be consumed electrically. Objects powered by electricity—air conditioner units, laptops, microwaves, server farms—feed off this ancient reserve of compressed time, creating a hyperbolic release. The overabundance of released energy distorts time, as it has existed on the planet, and in the process destabilizes Earth-scale systems reliant on stability, resulting in shifts such as climate change.

DNA Data Storage

Bodies are communities of sorts–holding billions of cells, biomes with thousands of bacterial strains, and cascading interspecies interactions that sustain us every day. The community of a body also contains material archives: data stored in the nuclei of cells thanks to DNA. In recent years, there has been a desire to use this capacity in a non-localized way by synthesizing DNA to store non-genetic data. Using a process that encodes binary data into the data system of the four nucleotides of DNA–known as DNA Data Storage–a single gram of DNA could store 215 petabytes of data for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

Compact Disc

The image depicts a Sony CD-R (compact disc-recordable), a standardized object exactly 120 mm in diameter and 1.2 mm thick. The flat, round form encodes data on reflective material, sandwiched between polycarbonate etched with microscopic bumps that interact with a laser from either a compact disc player, for music, or an optical drive, for computer applications and files. All data encoded on CDs is binary, existing as ones and zeros, making it largely inaccessible without a translator. The format was co-developed by Philips and Sony in 1979 and was released publicly in 1982. The CD, like vinyl albums, 8-track, cassette tapes, VHS, beta, Zip drives, and floppy disks, is obsolete, with the production of CDs having largely phased out by the mid-2000s. Well over 200 billion CDs have been manufactured.


A song is a vocal incantation performed by a number of animals on Earth, including humans. Song, being an inherently ephemeral form of expression, lacks material embodiment making it largely absent within our archaeological record before the advent of recorded audio platforms. 

In the modern era, love songs are by far the most common form. The stylistic range of possible songs is breathtaking, but a number of formal qualities seem to persist: the use of an intro, verse, refrain, chorus, hook, bridge, break, repetition, and outro all executed within three to four minutes.

Although most popular music has an extremely short cultural half-life, some songs manage to connect listeners across time, space, and social boundaries. The pop genre is a site of tremendous competition with the goal of achieving mass appeal, yet these songs must operate within an extremely narrow bandwidth of creative possibility and adhere to pre-established orthodoxies.

At the risk of over-determining scope, studio recordings that reach levels of perfection might be “Walk On By” (1964) by Dionne Warwick; “Hold Me Now 12” Extended Mix” (1983) by the Thompson Twins; "22nd Century" (1971) by Nina Simone; “Sara” (1979) by Fleetwood Mac; “Buildings” (2013) by Yung Lean featuring Thaiboy Digital and Bladee; “Nights,” (2016) by Frank Ocean; "My Favorite Things," (1961) by John Coltrane (w/ McCoy Tyner); or "Helplessly Hoping" (1969) by Crosby, Stills and Nash. Such extreme levels of sonic coordination achieve something close to transcendence into a higher order of creation. In these and similar cases, the song becomes divine, mystical, seemingly delivered into the world without creation, as if it were always there. 

A subset of recorded live performances might fall into a separate category, where song and performer momentarily cohere, reaching the highest limit of joy. In instances such as these, one can find beauty where a shadow of terror forms, reminding us of our own fragility and inevitable oblivion. Songs of this ilk might be “Love Cry,” a bootleg recording from John Coltrane’s funeral in 1967, by Albert Ayler; “See My Jumper Hanging On the Line,” a 1978 field recording by R.L. Burnside; or “Walk In The Park,” Live at WFUV/The Alternate Side, by Beach House.

The Golden Record

The Golden Record is a 12-inch analog record that accompanied one of the twinned deep-space Voyager probes launched in 1977. It now cruises, along with the probe, through interstellar space at 35,000 miles per hour. The Golden Record’s aspirational function is one of speculative communication, designed to relay coded information about Earth, its location, and its inhabitants to an imagined extraterrestrial being.  

The record contains a highly curated selection of 115 images, 90 minutes of music, and greetings in multiple languages. Its etched cover depicts coded markings that attempt to communicate precepts: both a primer that both establishes a logic system for decoding and data to be decoded. The cipher uses fundamental concepts within the universe as the basis for communication — hydrogen atoms, pulsars for location, time and mathematics, binary code, and uranium-238 as an extremely durable material clock.

Teignmouth Electron

The Teignmouth Electron is a 41-foot plywood and fiberglass trimaran sailing vessel helmed by Donald Crowhurst from 1968 to the summer of 1969. The craft was designed with the intention of sailing the fastest solo race around the world without stopping. Based on modified plans by Alfred Piver, the Electron's construction was squeezed into what would become a dangerously compressed production schedule. Entering open seas for the first time in the autumn of 1968, the boat immediately encountered problems, with fittings breaking, hulls taking on water, and erratic steering issues menacing the entire voyage. 

With these problems hampering progress, months into the race Crowhurst intentionally reported a false position slightly ahead of his actual location. At this moment, reality cleaves into two lived experiences for Crowhurst and the Electron. Every preceding day over the next eight months, Crowhurst plotted two locations: an imagined false journey around the world at breakneck speeds, and a factual one in which he circled the doldrums of the South Atlantic, waiting for the invented Electron to chart back to the Atlantic where they could merge and return home.  

This proved astoundingly difficult. After months alone at sea, on June 24, 1969, in Logbook 2, which chronicled his true nautical positions, Crowhurst began a feverish 25,000-word manifesto about the nature of existence and humans' relationship to time and space. The work is framed by moments of immense beauty, lucidity, and genius, and also loopy and mad offerings including instructions for humankind to reach transcendence.

The snippets of his journal that have been publicly released offer a rare portrait into an extreme moment: the mind outwitting itself while negotiating the precipice of truth, time, and life itself. His final, haunted words read: “It is the end, it is the Mercy.” Crowhurt is believed to have committed suicide shortly after. The Electron was found nine days later while ghosting into a shipping lane. Onboard, both of Crowhurst's log books were left in plain view, offering a key to unlock his months alone at sea.


Scale is a human construct used to help understand the size of objects in relation to other objects and ourselves. Even as “scale” can be a powerful cognitive tool, it also exists as an overarching hegemonic system constraining how we imagine and perceive realities—our bodies being the conductor of this hegemony.

If we allow ourselves the psychic latitude to pause the belief that our own physical thresholds and sensorial capacities represent guideposts for true ontological limits, and begin reorchestrating an imaginary based on the inevitability of infinitely larger and infinitely smaller spaces, we obliviate our bodies as proxies to reality. We enter into peace with spaces, distances, and scales of time that surpass comfortable notions of ourselves, of being human. At this moment, the profound strangeness and beauty of Earth finds space to rush in.


A temporal event, synchronicity is the sudden salience of two discrete events occuring at more or the less the same time. The concurrence conjoins the events into a single meta-occurrence that can build asymmetrical importance. At any moment, billions of possible recombinatory synchronistic events exist in latent form, as pure possibility. The emergence of just two rogue events that happen to unfold simultaneously can produce the perception of momentary harmonic balance, even divination. 

Psychotherapist Carl Jung used the term synchronicity to explain “temporally coincident occurrences of acausal events.” Specifically, he used it to describe the moment that meaning is found in events, objects, or thoughts that are not objectively connected. Jung believed this to be a paranormal occurrence and linked it to his idea of a universally shared unconscious.  

The idea of synchronicity sits alongside the more clinical idea of apophenia, finding meaning or patterns in randomness. Primates, humans included, use pattern recognition as a survival skill as it gives us the ability to predict outcomes. Apophenia is when that instinct short circuits and creates perceived meaning in coincidences, i.e. our human ancestors studying the cosmos and marking synchronous occurrences, eclipses, or celestial objects as they momentarily aligned with terrestrial forms.

Care Practices

Care practices are formations of community maintenance that begin on a one-to-one scale, with the fractal potential to replicate at the scale of an entire community and beyond. At their most aspirational, care practices are ritualistic in their consistency, impetus, and devotion. They seek mutual preservation, nourishment, growth, and proper respect executed through an infinite number of sensitive gestures and offerings. The practice of caring for another being–an object, or body in the widest sense–demands a kind of other-seeing that dissolves one’s own ego. To care is to attend to another’s needs and desires; listening for how to proceed requires an act of unfolding our assumptions about the other. A practice of care is a transferable skill set offering endless seeds for creativity in the flow of iteration; these seeds are necessary to both express love and offer protection.


Whether thatched, woven, felted, woolen, cotton, quilted, knitted, crocheted, patchwork, fleece, hide, down, or poly-filled, a blanket is a flexible object scaled to the human body functioning as a medium to help its user trap and retain radiant heat. Humans having long ago lost our ancestral fur, a blanket became a necessary proto-technology — a soft, pliable external membrane conforming to the shape of our bodies, helping to stave off chills and regulating temperature. 

The object is typically used during rest and sleep, enfolding and encasing the body or bodies, not always for warmth per se, but for comfort in a broader sense, extending to the psychological state of the blanket-barer. 

The shape and size of blankets through time have been bound by the same distinct anthro-dimensions, linking disparate cultures, peoples, and times through a shared object. Different climates and technologies dictate material shifts, but within an enormous bandwidth of possible variants, there exists a narrowly defined, predictable, and ultimately normative form that continues to be made today.

Emergence of Water

How water emerged on Earth has been a mystery to researchers, though a number of theories exist. One posits that water didn't so much emerge on Earth as accumulate through trillions of meteorite impacts, each containing some amount of water. The Allende meteorite fell in Mexico in 1969 and has helped support the science behind the theory of asteroidal water. The idea that water — the defining substance of Earth from which all biotic life has evolved — is actually extraterrestrial in origin challenges a set of presumptive origin myths and links all earthly life more directly to the larger cosmos.

Atacama Desert

The Atacama is a desert located in the North of Chile, bordering Perú. One of the driest locations in the world, it was part of the massive 15-to-16th-century Tawantinsuyu Empire that ran vertically across a large swath of the continent. The Atacama Desert consists of a massive plateau along 1000 km of South America’s Pacific coast line, whose 5000 m elevation provides an optimally dark environment for various astronomical observatories, including those on Cerros Pachón and Tololo.

Water Birth

Water birth is a birthing style adopted by some humans in which the expectant parent, or surrogate parent is intentionally immersed in water for some or all of the labor and delivery process. It’s believed that the natural buoyancy provided by being in water while undergoing labor is of benefit by lowering physical and emotional stresses for the laborer and baby, thereby alleviating pain naturally while increasing oxygen flow and improving the effectiveness of contractions.   

The first documented water birth occurred in 1803 in France, but there is anecdotal evidence of water births being practiced for millennia all over the world — from South Pacific Islanders giving birth in shallow seawater, to Egyptian pharaohs born in the Nile, women of Guyana in South America going to a special demarcated zone along a local river to give birth, and many more.

For some, the decision to give birth in water is linked to the urge to provide a more hospitable, transitional zone between the womb and the baby’s entrance into the world — warm water becoming an interstitial step between the amniotic fluid and the atmosphere of Earth.

Tehching Hsieh | Earth

On December 31, 1986, after five sequential one-year performances staged in and around New York City, artist Tehching Hsieh released a characteristically enigmatic letter stating that he had a thirteen-year plan. During that time he would make art but not show it, and this work would conclude on his 49th birthday, the eve of the new millennium. Along with this short missive, he released an image listing the span of years bookending the project, along with the word “EARTH.” He then largely disappeared from public life. 

Hsieh emerged on January 1, 2000, releasing a simple, text-based collage that read, “I kept myself alive. I passed the Dec 31, 1999.” For all of Hseih’s legendarily intense rigor, this new work, in its outward laissez-faire formlessness, alienated many of his admirers, who considered it a footnote to his earlier performances. 

Over time, the piece in its scope and simple terms — living on Earth; staying alive; experiencing time and life directly, unperturbed by the framing machinations of performed gestures — is one of the most misunderstood, enigmatic, and important artworks of the last century.

Pottery Shards

Pottery shards exist in nearly every pocket of the world. Archaeologically, a shard’s existence evinces a shift away from hunter-gatherer practices to more sedentary, agrarian cultures. Archaeologists have long analyzed shards for clues to the complexity of the cultures and civilizations in question, as they can provide evidence of refined divisions of labor, mining capabilities, knowledge of chemistry, supply chains, trade routes, and more.

Fairy Circles

Fairy circles are small circular patches of barren land ranging from 7 to 49 feet in diameter. The origin of these circles is unknown, with theories stretching from the quotidian to supernatural, spanning folklore and science. These vegetal patterns were until recently thought to exist only in southwestern Africa, until similar rings were documented in the Pilbara region of Australia.

12E | OS

12E | OS (Twelve Earths | Open Signal) was a multi-day event organized by Fathomers, David Kim, and Michael Jones McKean in West Hollywood in the summer of 2018 which convened a small group of artists, designers, entrepreneurs, poets, and scholars. 12E | OS commenced with a presentation by McKean, then, over two days, participants met for five roundtable sessions moderated by Kim, with co-moderation by McKean. 

Sessions centered around “communication” as it might relate to the still speculative design of a set of “beacons” linked to Twelve Earths’ sites. The group wrestled with questions, including:

What might we wish to communicate?
How might we make ourselves understood over centuries, let alone millennia?
How do we account for non-human perspectives?
In what objects and technologies might Twelve Earths’ beacons be constructed?
Can they both acknowledge the global and respond sensitively to local conditions?

Participants induced: Ahmed Best, Damian Bradfield, Lonny J. Avi Brooks, Melissa Lo, Saki Mafundikwa, Elizabeth Metzger, Bridget D. Samuels, Safiya Sinclair, Nina Tandon, Rosten Woo. The design team was helmed by: Jackson Cantor, Jeremiah Chiu, Elise Co.


A garden is a planned or semi-planned outdoor space where humans tend to vegetal life. Gardens can be for aesthetic enjoyment, food production, or some hybrid of both. In each case, the care of a garden can bring deep pleasure to the gardener. There are many normative garden formats with varying aesthetic protocols, yet many, especially private gardens are more or less unplanned. 

Some gardens become intergenerational projects, and their upkeep and maintenance is shared, dissolving individual authorship in the process. A garden’s unspoken contract of care extends indefinitely into the future, a preserved trust that someone will adapt, maintain, care for, and continue the garden. This commitment is silently embedded within the garden’s logic; its distinction among other things, its beauty, and its coordinated and accreted efforts all silently signal to future generations that it is special and should be maintained. A garden is a hyperbolic space, one that even in its most naturalistic state is a construct, seated within the world but separate from the world at large.

F-1 Fuel Plate

The F-1 is one of five, nine-ton engines produced by Rocketdyne in California that equipped each Saturn V rocket launched within the Apollo program in the 1960s and ’70s. Containing thousands of intricate hand-milled components, the object is the most powerful engine ever produced.

The F-1 fuel plate is the outer, crucial membrane between the skyscraper-sized rocket and the world itself. It is the liminal barrier where a blast inferno is created, lifting the object skyward. The plate is the site of complete, near-mystical control. In less than three minutes, an entire swimming pool of liquid oxygen and kerosene are pumped at extreme pressure and velocity through the fuel plate’s tiny drilled holes, each custom-pitched at arcane, seemingly random angles and spacing. An ignition spark initiates an improbably stable hellfire, producing one of the loudest sounds ever recorded. Burntime lasts 165 seconds, at which point stage one is released, freefalling, trashed to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean where 64 F-1s currently remain.

Approximately 3200 full-scale tests were performed during the development of the F-1 from 1959 to 1961. Although the F-1 went on to be one of the most successful engines ever created, engineers remain unsure to this day as to exactly why the plate works.

Mummified hand with copper coin

The image depicts the mummified hand and forearm of an unidentified premature baby found in the village of Nyárlőrinc, in Southern Hungary, in a medieval cemetery. The hand was discovered holding a copper coin, a custom practiced to help ensure the deceased entrance to the afterlife. Copper has natural preservative qualities, and the coin inadvertently mummified the fetus's small hand.

Gemasolar Concentrated Solar Array

Arranged concentrically over 480 acres, 2650 mirrored heliostats direct and focus sunlight toward a central tower containing massive quantities of salt. The salt acts as a storage medium or battery for the collected heat, turns molten, and continues to produce electricity through the night.

The Lapedo Child's Pendants

A series of pendants were discovered in 1998 in the Lapedo Valley of Leiria, Portugal, at the Abrigo do Lagar Velho archaeological site. They were found alongside the remains of a ceremoniously buried skeleton now known as the “Lapedo Child.” The site revealed a tiny perforated shell. The shell, a common Littorina obtusata, or flat periwinkle, was coated with ochre pigment and featured a pronounced, intentionally carved-out, circular hole. The shell’s discovery near the child’s neck led researchers to believe that it was part of a necklace, perhaps a pendant.

Accompanying the shell were a series of ochre-stained, perforated deer canines. It is believed that the teeth formed a headdress for the ritual burial. The smallness of these objects–none over two centimeters–and the delicate handiwork adds to a feeling of preciousness. Infused with the life of the maker and the wearer, the amulet provides a form of metaphysical protection, whether for a wearer in this plane or someone who has passed into another.

The child’s remains and ceremonial artifacts are kept in the National Archaeology Museum in Lisbon, Portugal.

The Great Circuit

The Great Circuit, 2004–06, is a conceptual artwork by Michael Jones McKean that determined the longest straight-line route around the earth that someone might conceivably travel. The route takes into consideration the millions of imperceptible shifts in elevation encountered when traveling on foot to ultimately arrive at the longest path around the Earth. The project in many ways is the foundation for Twelve Earths.  

The Great Circuit began in 2004 as a conceptual query into static limitations of our physical worlds overlaid by our ever-increasing technological capacities to decode previously unsolvable riddles. After two years of studio research, McKean—with the help of Grand Arts, in Kansas City, Missouri—commissioned the University of Kansas Department of Geography and Cartography to build a computer program to sift and arrange billions of newly available geographic data points. In late spring of 2006, the route was discovered.


Fire is a combustion event wherein a burning object produces light, heat, and smoke—the combined sensorial effects of a hyperbolic release of stored solar energy. When controlled by humans, fire is considered a proto-technology used within nearly every facet of life: rituals, agriculture, cooking, heating, lighting, ambience, messaging, cremation, propulsion, metallurgy, ceramics, incendiary weaponry, energy production, and much more. 

Although fire is a worldwide phenomenon that appears in the archaeological record soon after humans emerged, our ability to control and understand its powers remains imperfect. The catastrophic impact of wildfires (pictured here is California’s devastating Camp Fire from 2018) and global warming stand as blatant evidence of this fact.

Mirrors of the LSST

Because of the complexity and overwhelming precision necessary to build the Vera C. Rubin Observatory’s Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, its aggregate components are being constructed around the world before being transported to Cerro Pachón high within the Chilean Andes.

One of the observatory’s primary components is its large reflecting mirror, an 8.4-meter (30-foot) cast-glass, circular disc weighing over 25 metric tons. The object is composed of a primary and tertiary mirror — together, technically called M1M3; there is also a secondary M2 mirror — and was fabricated over seven years at the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab on the campus of the University of Arizona. After years of grinding and polishing to bring the surface to mathematical perfection, the object was completed in 2015.

Even with tons of solid glass and specially engineered honeycombed latticing, astronomers anticipate  microscopic distortions occurring due to pressure, temperature changes, and more. To correct these aberrations, hundreds of small actuator pads are applied to the back of the mirror. The pads apply precise amounts of pressure, in effect imperceptibly flexing the mirror toward a more perfectly calibrated state, allowing it to collect more coherent light from deeper reaches of the cosmos.  

The image above depicts the Mirror Lab in 2008, where 51,900 pounds of glass were loaded into a rotating furnace to begin casting the LSST’s mirrors. James Burge, founder of the university’s Arizona Optical Systems, compared the process to sanding a table, but with tolerances of only one millionth of an inch.


A circle is a shape whose perimeter line curves in on itself, connecting, and in the process creating two discrete zones: an interior space and an exterior. The circle and its dimensional expression, the sphere, can be found at all scales on Earth and in the cosmos: subatomic orbits, the formation of stars, the optics of a full moon, the eye’s iris and pupil, a midday rainbow, water ripples, tree rings, and countless more. As a primary form in which matter on Earth self-organizes, morphologically the circle is an essential concept in engineering, mathematics, calculus, geometry, geodesy, and astronomy.


When studying evolution, scientists rely on two primary sources of data: fossil records and DNA mutations. DNA mutations are relatively predictable and offer a proxy for an imagined evolutionary clock. Recent studies show that the DNA of an octopus has remained largely unchanged in its evolutionary history. Thus, its clock runs incalculably slower than those of the rest of life on Earth.

Instead of evolving using the slow process of seemingly random DNA mutations, the octopus uses extensive RNA editing. Roughly 60% of its RNA can be edited. Humans, as a comparison, have 1% editable RNA. It is theorized that the octopus’s life spans — sometimes as short as six months — have led to this wholly unique evolution.

Straight Lines in Nature

Straight lines rarely occur in nature, making their occurrence when observed outside the built environment something rare, even strange. Yet, hiding in plain sight is perhaps the oldest, most recognizable and striking straight line: the horizon.

The Sun

Earth’s daystar: From our terrestrial vantage, the Sun is a blazing alien disk that predictably traverses the sky, warming and lighting all before slipping beneath the horizon. Its observable skypath and pitch are consistent year over year, but change subtly each day, quietly announcing Earth's journey around the star with respect to its axial tilt. 

All life on Earth has a co-evolved dependency with the sun, its consistent nuclear forces distributing to us just a tiny fraction of its total heat-energy production from some 93 million miles away. All life, from the microbial Proterozoic to multicellular Cambrian explosions, the megafauna of the Mesozoic, and our lives within the Anthropocene, are beholden to the Sun.

As we look out our window this evening to commune with the Sun setting over the horizon, we can easily imagine our early archaic ancestors a mere two million years ago witnessing an identical solar event. Watching the orb grow strange, elliptical, large, red, low. Shadows elongating toward eventual darkness. Though we might consider this sunset-event as a singular moment of the day, it is occurring continuously as a circadian wave wrapping around the Earth in perpetuity. Within each object, stone, plant, being, and building is located a hidden memory-core indexing this rhythmic moment in common communion with our 4.6 billion-year-old sun.

Blue Whale/Mayflower

The image depicts an aerial silhouette comparison of a blue whale and the Mayflower, the vessel responsible for transporting about 130 English Puritans and crew to North America in 1620, beginning en masse the colonization of North America by Europeans. Both are about 90 feet in length.

An Island

An island is an often isolated landmass completely surrounded by water. The exact number of islands on Earth — ranging in size from Greenland to Palau’s Little Rock (pictured) — is unknown, though it numbers well into the millions. Of these millions, only about 11,000 islands are known to be inhabited by humans.

Sandia Report

Sandia Report: Expert Judgement on Markers to Deter Inadvertent Human Intrusion into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant was a report published in 1993 to consider best-practice methodology for successfully detering humans from the transuranic radioactive waste that is stored at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad, New Mexico. The publicly accessible document, some 350 pages long, discusses strategies for various marker systems and message formats that could effectively communicate the dangers of the plant harboring vast quantities of radioactive matter with a projected half-life of 10,000 years.

The project draws parallels with other speculative communication projects such as Voyager's Golden Record. In the case of WIPP,  the vastness of time inherently destabilizes our means of effective, direct communication. Because of this, various alternative methods were explored — folklore, bioengineering, semiotics, and symbology among them. Additionally, material scientists were consulted to aid in the consideration of materials for a proposed messaging system that could withstand 10,000 year durations.

Thompson Twins

Dark Sky Locations

In an age where densely populated cities generate concentrations of light that can be viewed from space, large swaths of populations are divorced from a relationship to the sky. Much of the last generation has never seen a true night sky, with the Milky Way and nebulae fully visible, with their naked eye. Unlike our ancestors who were able to experience and commune with the night sky at will, massive light pollution has moved wider society away from such relationality. Some spaces still honor the importance of a clear sky. Often marked by observatories or remoteness from human activities, Dark Sky Locations deploy strategies similar to national sites of heritage in their organized attempts to cherish a true view of the night sky.

Cerro Pachón, Chile–the site of Vera C. Rubin Observatory–is one of the darkest sky locations. Far from any major city and perched at high altitude with little to no cloud coverage, it is an ideal location for the observatory’s constant sky survey.


Archaeology exists as an umbrella holding an entire subset of disciplines dedicated to uncovering time across different registers, such as Archaeoastronomy, Acoustic Archaeology, Experimental Archaeology, Future Archaeology, and New Archaeology. Archaeology is the study of history and prehistory using materials that have been excavated from Earth. Anchored by material culture, the field uses everything from organic remains to manufactured objects in order to grasp at the deep timelines and stories congealed in our present. Historically, the discipline has been extractive, rubbing against the many ethical quandaries related to excavating burial remains and sacred artifacts. Embedded in the practice is also the sensitivity of deciding who will steward objects, tend to their material condition, and properly contextualize and share their cultural meanings.


Bone is the mineral, lithic, internal scaffolding of all vertebrate animals—including humans. Bone anatomy among seemingly disparate species existing in diverse habitats is strikingly similar, composed of regular features: a cranial system, vertebral system, protection of organs via ribs, and bones for limbs. When conditions are right, bones over time can transmute into stone, becoming part of a fossil record.

Bones are also ubiquitous objects. Considering just Homo Sapiens, there are approximately 20 quadrillion individual human bones that have exisited...


A rainbow is an ephemeral, out-of-time object activated by our optical sensory perception. Its gestalt form — a perfect semi-circle composed of individual colors — is produced from the precise triangulation between the sun, water drops in the air, and a human or avian viewer. These three elements must align in perfect symmetry, creating a fixed 42-degree angle from the apogee of the arc, to result in the essential multicolored spectral form. 

A rainbow is one of the most universal forms, transcending time, language, and culture. In its rarity, the sudden emergence of a rainbow is charged with meaning and significance. Interpretations of the rainbow have formed the foundation to countless origin myths and stories.

Witnessing a rainbow is a fleeting experience that binds us to a brief moment in time, while also bridging generations. When we see a rainbow, we commune with our ancestors, seeing exactly the same colors and shapes they saw while astral projecting into the future, sharing in the experience of an identical, out-of-time form that our children’s children will eventually see. Coded within the rainbow is  consistency, an extreme fidelity to its essential form. It does not evolve or degrade in the same way as the organic, the mechanical, or even the geologic. It is constant.


An earthquake is a geological event perceived as the shaking of Earth's surface, sometimes felt simultaneously by millions of people spread over thousands of square miles. An earthquake is usually the result of at least two tectonic plates moving and grinding against one another. Earthquakes are short but extremely memorable moments, where the trusted ground itself, along with our vertically built environments, becomes momentarily unreliable, fluid. They mark instances of extreme awareness that our physical world, which generally appears stoic and inert, is undergirded by unpredictable, chaotic, and unimaginably strong forces.

The Mirror Lab @ AU

The Richard F. Caris Mirror Laboratory, surrealistically located within Arizona University’s football stadium, alchemically deploys primordial processes, using fire and transformation to create objects that surpass the precision of even the most finely cut jewels, but at the scale proportional to a building. A single mirror might require nearly a decade to perfect to exacting detail. The Lab has also developed technologies that move away from solid glass in favor of lighter weight, biomimetic honeycomb structures. This honeycomb technology allows glass mirrors to be both lighter and larger, expanding the limits of what telescopes can do.

Mammalian Brain Morphology

All bilaterians are thought to have descended from a common ancestor that appeared early in the Cambrian Period, somewhere inside 485-540 million years ago. Over this time span, mammals emerged and evolved more complex cranial systems, including the neocortex  -  which controls higher-order functions such as, cognition, complex motor commands, spatial reasoning and advanced communication. Each mammal species' individual brain morphology and size underscores a set of capacities. 

Brain to over-all weight ratio is generally accepted as a norm when classifying animal intelligence. By sheer size and weight the sperm whale has the largest brain.

Cape Canaveral

Because of its relative isolation on the Floridian Peninsula and sheer distance from the Bering Strait land bridge, which historically delivered migrating people out of Asia into North America, it is believed that the first human populations arrived to what is now referred to as “Cape Canaveral” only about 10,000 years ago, extremely late. 

Before the colonial era, the Ais and Timucuan people both frequented the area due to its abundance of seafood and edible vegetation. Having never physically visited the cape itself, the infamous conquistador Juan Ponce de León claimed the region for Spain while searching for the fountain of youth; its first documented mention, though, as “Cape Canavera,” dates some 50 years later to 1564. The location was briefly under French control before being reclaimed by the Spanish, and then years later became a British territory under the first Treaty of Paris. The area eventually became a US territory in 1783, following the Revolutionary War, and was granted statehood in 1845. 

In the summer of 1950, the United States’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration, known commonly as NASA, designated Cape Canaveral as its primary launch site. The location offered an amalgam of nearly perfect geo-conditions (its poor weather withstanding) for large-scale rocketry operations. Next to acres and acres of unpopulated land to its east, the cape juts into a horizon of water in the Atlantic Ocean. Further, the site capitalizes on its relative proximity to the Earth’s equator, where the linear velocity of Earth’s surface is greatest, allowing aloft spacecraft launched at a slight easterly pitch to be aided by Earth’s natural rotation, within seconds placing rocket over sparsely populated ocean waters where spent combustion stages can crash-land in isolation.

Blue Whale

The blue whale is the largest animal ever to have existed on Earth. There are four blue whale subgroups, the largest growing to nearly 100 feet in length and 173 tons in weight. Though hunted nearly to extinction by the twentieth century, blue whale populations have since rebounded, though they still face significant threats from illegal whaling, collisions with vessels, ocean contamination, and global heating. 

Although researchers have assembled many agreed-upon biological facts about blue whales, little is understood about their lives behaviorally. Further, much of our working knowledge of whales has been re-evaluated as false misunderstandings based on our own myopic anthropocentrism. For instance, as blue whales are generally found alone or in small groups, early researchers surmised inaccurately that they must be asocial. In actuality, echolocation and their excellent sense of hearing — amplified by their claim as one of the loudest animals on Earth and the vast distances sound can travel in salinic ocean water — enable blue whales to communicate with friends, lovers, and relatives up to a thousand miles away.

Albert Ayler

Albert Ayler was a saxophonist and leading innovator within 60's era Free Jazz. Ayler’s incendiary compositions quoted simple brass marching band rhythms and gospel hymns, dotted with delirious repetition often bending into berserk tonal breakdowns. His compositions referenced a spiritual horizon underscored by short, evocative titles: Spirits, Vibrations, Saints, Mothers, Children, Angels, Bells, Spirits Rejoice, and Holy Family. He often performed the same group of compositions again and again, searching not laterally, but for deeper reserves within each new improvisation.

In 1967, he performed with his brother, Donald, at John Coltrane's funeral in New York City delivering perhaps the most moving performance ever recorded - Love Cry. The 6 minute work crescendos with Ayler entering vocally, wailing, shouting; simultaneously channelling joy, rapture, and terror.


Archaeoastronomy is the interdisciplinary field that merges the study of the sky with analysis of how the sky has determined ancient cultural patterns, behaviors, and methods. As a study, it also focuses on symbols and myths that are born from the sky.

One of the largest areas of study included in archaeoastronomy is the link between astronomy and agriculture in ancient civilizations. In the ancient capital of the Tawantinsuyu, Machu Picchu, an observatory was built using two man-made lakes as mirrors to the night sky. These proto-mirrors let the Incans know what seasons were approaching by analyzing how the constellations lined-up in the lakes. These constellations were uniquely viewed in concert with dark patches–nebulae or dark clouds — in the milky way to form the images of animals that would represent the seasons.

Twelve Earths \ Ring Finding

Near the conception of Twelve Earths, in late 2016, artist Michael Jones McKean created a list of categories that, in its breadth and scope, attempted speculatively to describe Earth via a discrete selection of locations, objects, and events that would be unified spatially by a perfect ring around the Earth. These preliminary categories ranged from sites of high technology to locations harboring ancient flora, from globally networked mining complexes to places of archaeological significance, from geological anomalies to results of ecological trauma, from birthing wards to remote islands, and many more.

These categories acted as the frame from which a massive coordinate-database of locations was generated. From this archive, an algorithm was developed to search for circular patterns within this sprawling, naturally chaotic dataset—in the process drawing millions of rings around the Earth, while connecting billions of recombinatory possibilities.

From this enormous bank of rings, a process was established to begin honing an inactionable number of possibilities into a smaller group that could be studied and analyzed by hand. This process distilled millions of rings down to hundreds, giving way to a final selection of candidates that could be more deeply studied. From this analysis, four rings—each remarkable, strange, mysterious, and tonally idiosyncratic—were studied in granular detail. Finally, from this intensely research-driven, process-oriented approach, the Twelve Earths ring path gradually and gracefully emerged.

Hurricane Lane

Shown here is an image of Hurricane Lane, a Category 5 tropical cyclone which existed for 14 days in 2018 in the Pacific Ocean, eventually making landfall on Hawaii. Hurricanes are emergent weather events that gain strength based on a number of macro-scale forces: the Earth’s spin, oceanic warming patterns, and a combination of cool temperatures and high humidity in the lower to middle troposphere. The formation of the central eye relays visibly that the weather event has achieved full coherency, maturing into its short but powerfully destructive life as one of Earth's most massive objects.


A mine is the enduring anthro-morphological imprint on and below Earth’s surface as a result of the systematic excavation of geological materials — precious metals, minerals, elements, rare earth matter, gemstones, and rock — that were distributed throughout the Earth’s crust at the time of its formation. Mines, then, are our archaeological legacy, a robust and time-stamped record of insatiable development, expansion, and material transmutation. The process of extracting these non-renewable resources is degenerative and polluting, with lasting negative environmental impacts. 

There will come a time in the not-so-distant future when the planet has been completely stripped of its original deposits, skinned and barren. The twisting, esoteric, once-buzzing subterranean pockmarks will go dormant, yet humans’ thirst for resources will not. One possible scenario, albeit with apocalyptic undertones, will be that resource extraction will simply pivot to landfill mining, beginning a second wave of mining operations that some researchers posit we are already slouching toward. An alternate if decidedly sci-fi horizon is the no longer nascent prospect of interplanetary mining operations.


According to Karen Barad, human touch is but an electromagnetic interaction. Devoid of physical contact, touch involves sensing electromagnetic repulsion between the surfaces of yourself and another, between one object and another. In this technical cul-de-sac, however, there exists an infinitude of potential to sense, feel, and be moved. As Barad writes, “So much happens in a touch: an infinity of others—other beings, other spaces, other times—are aroused.” A touch’s momentary union unleashes a sense of corporeal belonging, transformation, and co-creation, reaching beyond a discreet moment of contact’s seemingly ephemeral reach.

Flensing a Whale

This image of unknown origin has circulated within McKean's studio since at least 2003. Along with a few other images, it formed a mood board for his exhibition Riverboat Lovesongs for the Ghost Whale Regatta (Grand Arts, Kansas City, Missouri; 2006), which obliquely imagined an omniscient whale seamlessly traversing Earth, seas, and sky. This parallel Earth-world was the spiritual scaffold for The Great Circuit, which created the path for the development of Twelve Earths.

Bristlecone Pine

The Pinus longaeva bristlecone variant is a rare tree species found only in the subalpine groves at high altitude in sections of Utah, Nevada, and eastern California. Bristlecone pines are among the longest-living life forms on Earth, with some trees aged over 5000 years. They are particularly well adapted to survive in harsh environments with dry, rocky soil, cold temperatures, high winds, and short growing seasons. These conditions in aggregate serve to slow the tree’s physiology, dialing down metabolic consumption, wherein the tree lives within an envelope of exceedingly slow, steady-state growth, subsisting near the threshold of dormancy.


Our existence is not singular because nothing makes itself in isolation. We are always accompanied and accompanying, always interconnected. Even our bodies are microcosms composed of a nearly unthinkable number of microorganisms that make every process within ourselves possible, crafting material stories within and without our bodies. Looking outwards, this multiplicity is felt across all kinds of species boundaries: we only belong insofar as we inter-belong, being and unfolding in everyday acts of symbiosis, knitting a dense meshwork of embodied perspectives.

National Geographic

Continuously published since 1888, its iconic yellow spines grace countless shelves and fill hidden-away attic boxes in many American households. The monthly volumes have managed to inspire generations of children, teenagers, and adults alike to discover an expansive world with awe and fascination from the comfort of their armchairs and blanket forts. 

Despite now publishing 35 local editions around the world for places including Japan, Slovenia, Indonesia, the UAE, Kazakhstan, and Thailand, deep within NatGeo’s historical DNA exists, perhaps inadvertently, a silent motor of global gentrification. Simultaneously sparking readers’ curiosity toward animal and microbial life, diverse human populations, geology, and archaeology, it also captions the Earth as a set of statistics, facts, tables, and yummy nature photos — alongside problematic ethnographic examinations — contouring a manageable, Linnaean template to imagine a wholly anthropogenic Earth, delimiting panoptic shadow realties in favor of bright-lit, desk-based, pseudo-colonialism. 

In truth, its virtues as a source of information and inspiration, especially before widespread use of the internet, probably outweigh its flaws, but a proper critical examination of the seeds it has planted within generations of youth feels appropriate, if not overdue.


The limits of capitalism are bound only by the limits of its internal coding toward ultimate oblivion — the death drive. The system imposes a total, global, hegemonic framework that structures nearly all social, economic, and political life on Earth. Capitalism necessitates the pursuit of more, no matter its collateral damage to lives, love, and ecologies. Nothing is too much or ever enough. And as it stands, the horizon of perpetual growth within capitalism's frame of unlogic is predetermined: palliative doom. 

Degrowth is an urgent corrective, an expansive practical ethos of less and better. A simple philosophical pivot, from maximum profit to human thriving, a shift away from anti-human velocities and accelerationist terminus to sustainable speeds and methodologies recognizing that all actions create reactions. Dominos fall; reduce production, distribute resources proportionally, and sustain the environment. Activate new multitudes, new communities, new ways of relating, communicating, and building by leveraging the latent potential of what already is.


Anthropocentrism is the belief that humans are the most important entity in the universe. The belief has long been central to Western spiritual, intellectual, and cultural belief systems. Arguably, humans have been engaged in a slow-motion, staccato advance toward more fully embracing a *de-*anthropocentric experience of life and living.

This decoupling from Earth’s central narrative had audacious and violent beginnings with the advent of heliocentrism, the scientific discovery that Earth revolves around the Sun and not vice versa. So strong is the human desire to plot ourselves at the center of all experience that heliocentrism has had to be discovered in multiple ways and places, repeatedly over thousands of years. 

De-anthropocentrism exists parallel to a longer arc of justice related to anti-racism; feminisms; vegetarianism and veganism; and deep ecology and environmentalism.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging Machine

An MRI machine is an intricate machine for advanced medical diagnostics that in its complexity culls the limits of Earth's material storehouse. The machine expresses these thresholds by underwriting a new form of animism: techno-animism. Although the machine's inner workings are mappable, they escape the complete grasp of any one individual, creating an object of mystery and unknowability. The object is the final site harnessing massively diverse processes and scales—from operations at huge rare-earth Gadolinium mines in Mongolia to invisible super-charged magnetic fields realigning the rotational axis of protons found in living tissues.

Lapedo Child

The Lapedo Child, also known as Lagar Velho 1, was an Upper Paleolithic, Gravettian-era child who died at around 4 or 5 years of age 29,000 years ago. The remains were discovered in the Lapedo Valley in 1998. The child provided important clues into human evolution, puzzling the fixed notions we had about evolution by displaying characteristics of both Neanderthals and Early Modern Humans. The child continues to hold clues to a long lineage of ritualistic burial and community mourning due to its unique circumstances of burial.

The child’s remains, now a designated National Treasure of Portugal, are kept in the National Archaeology Museum in Lisbon, Portugal.

Rubin Observatory Construction

In centuries past, massive churches, castles, mosques, pyramids, and megalith structures were among a group of complex intergenerational building projects, some taking more than 100 years to complete. Today, even the most extensive structures now can be constructed in little over a year. However, a small cadre of object-architecture exists that stretches the limits of technical possibility and financing. Among this small group are astronomical observatories.

As of August 2020, the Vera C. Rubin Observatory (pictured here in August 2018 and formerly known as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope) perched atop Cerro Pachón in the Coquimbo Region of Chile is still under construction. The object was conceived of abstractly as early as 1996, with a full-scale design completed in 2008; site excavation commenced in 2011. With construction delayed due to COVID-19, first light and final commissioning have been pushed to 2022–23. 

Aside from COVID, the extended timeline is due to a number of factors: the object’s raw technical ambition pushing construction into unnavigated territory, as well as the closely couched and cascading economic realities of building a complex machine on a remote mountaintop location with equipment fabricated around the world with miniscule tolerance thresholds. Further, time itself becomes a competing factor wherein a project must weather vastly different funding climates with multiple global economic slowdowns, rebounds, and expansions; differing political imperatives that call into relief cross-border collaborative efforts; or even intra-border, left-right political sea changes. All the while, the speed of technological change runs parallel to construction, threatening to obsolesce elements of the project before it's even complete.

Perfect World

Prescribing to the many-worlds hypothesis, there exists a conceivable version of the world split off from the one in which you are reading this caption right now. In this new speculative world, given some baseline, agreed-upon criteria (such as the elimination of unnecessary suffering, maximal flourishing for all living entities, harmonic scaling, etc.), there exists objectively a most perfect version.  

Even in the entirely imperfect world that we all exist in currently, we manage to catch momentary glimpses of perfection at the scale of our bodies — a split second where total rightness flashes before us. The moment is fleeting, fragile, lasting for a second or two at most.


Although the weakest of the natural forces, gravity exerts the most influence at a macroscopic scale, guiding the formation of all matter in the cosmos. On Earth, we experience gravity as an invisible background logic binding and fixing matter on the planet. The totality of gravity’s forces (our planet’s rotation and the Moon’s push and pull) at any moment on the surface of Earth is measured as a unit: 1G. Yet because humanity’s emergence is framed in part by gravity’s binding logic and because we are coevolving with other organisms also beholden to its measure, we seldom feel it as an aberrant event. Even so, gravity and its effects can be witnessed all around us — raindrops falling from the sky, drooping and sagging skin on aged bodies, a rock tossed upward only to return to the ground, a slouching wildflower thirsty for water.

Esmé Mars Grosche-McKean

Esmé is a human on Earth, born in Autun, France on January 18, 2016 at 5:32 PM local time. His father is Michael Jones McKean and his mother is Julie Grosche. As of this writing he is nearly 5 years old. His birth and life up to this moment have been in part a long-form teaching event for his father, the spiritual fruits of which have factored deeply into the design and creation of Twelve Earths. His birth set into motion a series of deepening queries about the nature of shared experience on Earth through the  profound, out-of-time love-of-child, helping to clear a path to more deeply personal, speculative, and generative relationships with the future.

The Whole Earth Image

The image depicted was taken on December 7, 1972, from the Apollo 17 spacecraft, 18,000 miles from Earth’s surface. A heavily cropped and re-oriented version of this photograph is believed to be the most widely reproduced image of all time, marking the first popular occurrence of Earth’s inhabitants bearing witness to their planet as a discrete object in space.

When published, NASA designers chose to rotate the image 180 degrees to better configure its alignment with our historical conception of a “globe,” orienting the South Pole “down.” The published image was also dramatically cropped to remove most of the original’s black, empty space, believing it might induce an existential panic within the public, revealing Earth and its inhabitants to be so small and alone within the vastness of space. In fact, the release of the image — which indeed underscored our smallness and implied fragility — was largely credited with a generational awakening toward environmentalism, and the image became a touchstone for many sharing a belief in connectivity, epiphany, and human prosperity.

Cerro Dominador Solar Thermal Power Plant

Under construction in the Antofagasta region of Chile since 2014, the Cerro Dominador Solar Thermal Power Plant’s concentric array of 10,600 mirror heliostats came online to produce power in February 2020. As with all concentrated solar facilities, the system’s ground-based, concave mirrors track the Sun, angling its light and heat energy towards a central tower. The Cerro Dominador Facility tower holds an astounding 45,000 tons of molten salt containing heat energy that is stored to be converted to grid-based electrical energy.

You & i are Earth

Housed now in the Museum of London, this ceramic tin-glazed earthenware plate was allegedly discovered in the London Sewer. The plate was most likely made in Southwark, England, in 1661. It is unknown exactly if this phrase was at the time meant to convey “we are, together, of this Earth,” or to be taken more comically (“we are just dirt”).


Posthumanism encompasses a wide discourse of divergent, macrostate ideas theorizing humankind’s arc toward existences outside of long-held notions defining the thresholds of human life. Posthuman theory is often occupied with what human life may be becoming (futurity), but it is also interested in the wake of this progression from the past and what humans have come to lose of themselves in the process.

A number of questions emerge:

As new posthuman skill sets inevitably emerge to help us cope, excel, or simply distract us from the conditions of modern technocratic life, what other parts of ourselves will atrophy in lockstep?

Does this cycle of radical emergence and atrophy — change — actually describe a natural condition of humanhood?

Can we conceive productively of an innate set of conditions that define an envelope of “being human,” but one that also welcomes in emergent possibilities for radical growth, becoming, and interbelonging?

Posthuman discourse encompasses a spectrum of debate around the effect of technology on life and human thriving. The subset of transhumanism explores technological enhancement of the human body, not only via cybernetics, but also through genetic engineering, psychopharmacology, life-extension therapies, neural interfaces, cognitive techniques, and wearable and implanted computers to create a posthuman being with specific capabilities that radically exceed present human capacity.

More benign but no less significant, posthuman theories also can challenge global anthropocentrism and human exceptionalism by asserting more inclusive definitions of what constitutes life, interrogating the hierarchical ordering of species, and furthering an increased moral responsibility for non-human systems.

Search for Exoplanets

Scientists have long theorized the existence of other planets outside of the Solar System, but until recently, they could not confirm it. The first true detection of an exoplanet took place in 1992 with the discovery of several terrestrial-mass planets orbiting the pulsar PSR B1257+12. In the years following, humans’ known cache of exoplanets has grown exponentially, totaling 4268 confirmed exoplanets as of 2020. 

As spending on costly speculative science is driven to some degree by public support, exoplanet research has inevitably slouched toward an interest in ourselves. This built-in anthropocentrism has manifested an urge within exoplanetary research to discover ourselves again in the cosmos, the search for a planet identical to Earth.

Environmental Personhood

Related to New Animism, environmental personhood is a legal process wherein an object or an assemblage of objects become legally recognized as individuals, with all the rights commensurate with personhood. Some entities that have attained personhood include Mount Taranaki, in New Zealand (pictured above); the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers, in India; the Vilcabamba River, in Ecuador; and the Atrato River, in Colombia. The legal process is controversial, though becoming less rare, as communities and activists left with little recourse to protect the environment use the law as a conservation tactic.

Algorithmic Trading \ Hong Kong Stock Exchange

Closing its physical trading floor in 2017, the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, the fifth largest globally, trended with stock exchanges around the world in transitioning entirely to electronic trading. As super-fast algorithmic trading becomes default practice, massive quantities of energy and capital flow globally at post-human registers and mystical speeds, triggering events such as 2010’s Flash Crash — a 36-minute trillion-dollar market collapse and subsequent rebound — whose precipitation still confounds analysts.


Pictured here are more than 50 massive, upright stones arranged in a 110-foot-diameter circle comprising a late Neolithic to early Bronze Age megalith in Northern Ireland. 

A megalith is a massive stone typically arranged in coordination with other stones and deliberately placed by prehistoric cultures. While visually similar, megaliths vary broadly in location, size, purpose, and configuration. They can be seen all over the world, scattered throughout Africa, Asia, stretching to the Korean peninsula, and as distant as Micronesia, but live most famously at sites like Easter Island in the Pacific and England’s Stonehenge.

Exactly how megaliths were moved into place and why remains a matter of speculation. It seems some were tombs; others appear to align astrologically, pointing to a function as archaic observatories or, more simply, elaborate solstice clocks chiming once per year. More speculatively, others may have been part of elaborate ley lines drawn in the landscape. In all cases, they appear to hold a ritualistic presence.

The objects, in their massive weight—some stones are heavier than a tractor-trailer and likely were hauled twenty or more miles—present a series of open questions about our ancestors' relationship to time and permanence and the built-in communicative possibility of their actions, made permanent in stone surviving vast stretches of time.

Twelve Earths | Open Signal Reader

Open Signal, or 12E|OS was a convening held in the summer of 2018 in West Hollywood (see the entry for “Open Signal”) that sought to speculate on a set of probing questions about deep time communication. Prior to the weekend retreat, which included twelve invited participants from around the world, artist Michael Jones McKean and co-curator David Kim created a reader to distribute to Open Signal participants.

Among the texts shared were: Hannah Arendt’s “Man’s Conquest of Space”; David Bohm’s “On Communication”; Jorge Luis Borges’s “The Library of Babel”; Italo Calvino's “The Sword of the Sun”; Ralph Waldo Emerson's “Circles”; Donna Haraway’s “Making Kin”; a medley of short quotes on memes and communication theory; the Sandia Report; Samuel Scheffler’s “The Normativity of Tradition”; and Susan Sontag’s “The Aesthetics of Silence.” These readings are followed by a compendium of images. The reader is available as a PDF upon request.


Historically, a diaspora was an occurrence of mass human migration prompted by coercion, violence, or an otherwise unintended uprooting. Diaspora leans on the notion of “homeland” and a mass, usually sudden, population departure from that homeland to one or numerous host countries. Diasporas are characterized by sustained connection to their homelands by individuals’ and communities’ maintaining political and/or cultural ties. Oftentimes, those individuals and communities never fully integrate — by choice or not — into the host culture.

At its conception, the notion of diaspora described a condition of spiritual anguish accompanying the dispersal of the Jewish people beyond the Holy Land. This continued into the twentieth century, when other globally scattered groups began to adopt the term, such as Armenian and African peoples. Today, diaspora describes migrations of many kinds, including corporate and informational movement.

India is connected to the world's largest diaspora from a single country, with an overseas Indian community estimated at over 17.5 million people. As the effects of climate change begin to transform more and more parts of the world, a looming climate diaspora will continue, displacing millions of people around the world.

Sky Surveys

Sky surveys, in contrast to astronomical capture that focuses on a singular object, seek to map or image swaths of sky. They are some of the most important databases for astronomy. In a way, we can and have engaged in surveying the sky with the naked eye. Many cultures with ancient astronomical practices did not rely on imaging technology, but rather on spotting areas of darkness and illumination in the night sky. These surveys belong to an ancient lineage of mapping that has advanced over many generations as technology has advanced beyond that of our visioning limits.

Unlike a typical observatory–which is used to observe select areas and objects in the sky–a sky survey observatory captures a series of fragments that encompass the entire observable sky. These images are repeatedly stitched together to create a moving image map of the sky. For this reason, sky surveys are particularly useful in finding moving objects.

New Animism

Much has been written about the legal status of personhood (see environmental personhood) conferred to objects within nature. Taken alone or in part with other forms of nouveau spiritualism, or reapplied to new materialist philosophies, this legal process could be interpreted as evidence of an emergent form of animism.

With the Age of Enlightenment, humans began unraveling the inner life of matter, and with it, Western intellectual orthodoxies shifted in lockstep away from long held strains of animist thinking. As technologies developed, natural systems became more deeply aggregated; the singular body became a container of organs. Those organs derived from tissues. Tissues broke into cells, which revealed molecules and then atoms. More advances invited entrance into a subatomic world of protons and quarks and bosons. 

Historically, with each new stage of scientific aggregation, we depart from more fully communing or being at peace with an enchanted whole. New Animism suggests a re-assembly of these knowable parts into a singular unit — one that doesn’t dispense with accrued knowledges of the material world (be it folk or scientific) but polishes these newly revealed facets crystalline, turning matter into something uniquely kaledescopic, powerful, and strange.


Pangea is the earth's most recent major supercontinent—the congealed, momentary meta-continent composed of the planet’s currently distributed land masses. The supercontinent was centered on the equator and surrounded by the superocean Panthalassa. Pangea assembled 335 million years ago from earlier continental units including Laurentia, Baltica, and Gondwana, which had previously broken off from the preceding supercontinent Pannotia. Pangea began to break apart into the present-day continents 175 million years ago, with Australia being the last continent to cleave from the Arctic around 55-60 million years ago. The formation and separation of landmasses is understood in terms of plate tectonics. Today, the breakup continues in the Red Sea Rift and East African Rift. Future major supercontinents are predicted to emerge in 250 million years.    

Pangea and its steady slo-mo morphological transmutation over billions of years evidences vast  expanses of temporal variability occurring simultaneously on Earth. Imagine the lifespan of a fairy fly, an insect barely larger than the period at the end of this sentence: its birth, growth, reproduction, and death compressed within just a few turns of Earth on its axis.

Larvae Circle

An exceedingly rare circle event. A group of hundreds of dark-winged fungus gnat larvae form a circle during mass migration in the larval stage. The closed circle is believed to be formed accidentally when the head of the mass accidentally overtakes its own tail. As more insects join, a strangely beautiful larval contra dance ensues.


Spaces are enclosures of a physical, emotional, or metaphysical nature. Space can constitute an unrestricted area, a container of intentional time and space, a place of belonging, or the distance between things. While space can refer to emptiness, it is inherently full: of molecules, of moisture, of affect, and of the infinite potential to hold and to shape. Space is where we measure and balance our own subjectivites, understanding the distance that can be breached between a me, and an us.

Big Data Astronomy

Big Data Astronomy is an emergent branch of astronomy using huge, decentralized computing power to shift the boundaries of our understanding of the cosmos. It can translate post-human amounts of data into connections or pixels we ourselves could never see, or synthesize.

As technology threatens the myth of the astronomer gleaning cosmic insights by gazing into the night sky through a telescopic eyepiece, there is an allure of working with ever-burgeoning data sets, where a single night’s observation could yield more data than could be analyzed by a village of individuals in an entire lifetime. For example, the Square Kilmere Array, planned for 2027 in South Africa and Australia, plans to generate the amount of data that roughly currently comprises the entire internet, every year.

Lake Manicouagan

Lake Manicouagan is an annular lake in central Quebec, Canada. Its rare circular morphology was created about 214 million years ago by the impact of a meteorite roughly 5 km, or 3 miles, in diameter.

Mapping, flatness, dimensionality, distortion

A simple limitation undergirds our most basic ability to perceive a three-dimensional object: At any moment, we can only witness one side at a given time. Even as we move about the object, a shadow side will forever be hidden from view. From a sculptural standpoint, our inability to perceive an object in total creates a set of psychedelic, formal, and conceptual opportunities. 

Cartographers have puzzled over this conundrum as it relates to the Earth in very different ways for centuries. The problem distills to a seemingly simple task: how best to flatten a sphere allowing for all-at-once viewing without compromising the map’s accuracy. This undertaking has been attempted dozens of times with different flat projections, yet each generates a crumbtrail of sacrifices in the quest: strange polar distortions, split-up spaces, compromised legibility, and general esotericism.  

In the diagram shown, which uses the triangle as a basic unit, the Dymaxion map was developed by Buckminster Fuller and Shoji Sadao as an attempt to show Earth’s continents with minimum distortion. The projection added a novel feature: the ability to fold the map into a three-dimensional icosahedron, a polyhedron with twenty faces, suggesting the volume of the planet.

Vera C. Rubin Camera

The Vera C. Rubin Telescope employs the most powerful camera ever built. Built at SLAC in California, at 5.5 ft (1.65 m) by 9.8 ft (3 m) it is roughly the size of an SUV. Its vast sensor works as a techno iris, and at 3,200 megapixels, it will unlock more details of the universe than we could have ever imagined. The camera's base, built directly into bedrock, binds the camera to Earth itself. Poetically, this appendage to Earth can be furthered, the camera viewed as a prosthetic eye made for the Earth to see and connect with celestial-kind.

The Archive

An archive is a collection of stored materials that are preserved around a particular topic, comprising both digital and physical objects. Some archives are living, sustained through generations of collective labor and belief. The scale and scope of archives varies greatly. Some are informally housed in basements, shoeboxes, binders, and spare closets. Others exist institutionally, with codified record-keeping systems, organizational strategies, codes of ethics, and material technologies to ensure the longevity of the artifacts at hand.

Self-healing Concrete

Self-healing concrete is created by adding select bacteria to a novel concrete mixture that facilitates autogenous repairs. Over time as cracks inevitably emerge in the cured surface, rainwater seeps in, activating the dormant bacteria, which begin feeding on calcium lactate (present within the mixture) which then transforms into insoluble limestone. This limestone scars over, effectively repairing the cracks. 

The bacteria also consume oxygen and steer this corrosive element away from any metal rebar reinforcements, deterring rust and adding another firewall to decay. The bacteria can lie dormant in the concrete for up to 200 years, essentially creating a living structure that sustains itself over several generations.  

As Twelve Earths explores the communicative possibilities related to extended, extra-generational time horizons, we also are experimenting with materials — some highly speculative — that may help to encode a communiqué.


A birthday is the celebration of the calendar day each person emerged on the planet—our day of birth. It takes slightly more than one year (365.25 days) for Earth to complete a revolution around the Sun. Our birthdays mark the celestial alignment of the Sun and Earth, echoing the identical position each year of the moment we were born. Birthdays are historical crossings, where we collect another year of life celebrated with individual gatherings, gift-giving, and special food, but it is one we share in unison with 21 million other people on Earth who were born the exact same day, celebrating with us the world over.


Considered a megacity, Chongqing is home to more than 8.5 million people and is nested within a larger municipality of nearly 30 million people. Winding through Chongqing is the ancient Yangtze River, an important source of water, irrigation, sanitation, transportation, and industry since the region's continuous settlement starting in 316 BCE.


A talisman is an enchanted object that has acquired extra-material properties that seem to exist beyond its here-and-now physical reality. Customarily, the purpose of a talisman can be highly specific, such as protection from a defined threat, a blessing for a deliberate act, an invocation of a specific element. However, it is also common for talismans to exist as wholesale charms, channeling a battery of powers in the broadest sense such as healing, protection, good fortune, and enlightenment.  

In popular culture, talismans are often misrepresented as blind faith in the occult, rather than a rational appeal to an incomprehensible universe. The talisman exists solidly within the ancient practice of sculpture-making, crafting matter into other, while imbuing the material world with new resonance beyond the optical.


Books are a durable technology designed at the scale of the human body to store and transmit information. Books emerged out of tablature, scrolls, and codices as a way to record and share increasingly complex, usually textual information. There have been approximately 130 million book titles published in history, but this does not account for the vast numbers of unpublished works, diaries, journals, zines, and artist books that also exist within the form. In total, there are hundreds of billions of books in circulation and private collections. 

Mass literacy emerged in lockstep with the development of printing presses capable of producing manuscript copies for cheap distribution. In this way, books exist both as vessels of specific information but also invent the possibility for information itself to newly exist and be transmitted. Born out of the magical, nonlinearity of oral folklore traditions, books, and with it reading, brought on a new style of thinking, imagining, and processing. With its determined linearity, as well as baked-in deployment of “beginnings” and “endings,” books and book reading also ushered in a shift in how we began to reconceptualize time.


Apple is a multinational technology company that was instrumental in ushering in the age of personal computing. The company, despite its folkloric beginnings in a suburban California garage, directly employs more than 137,000 people, but its global job footprint in aggregate is well over 10 million, including 2.4 million people in the United States and 4.8 million people in China. About 12,000 people work in the official headquarters in Cupertino, California — a massive circular building (pictured here from satellite) with a one-mile circumference.

Apple was the first company on Earth to be valued at more than one trillion US dollars, and as of early  2021, exceeds two trillion dollars, fiscally exceeding the GDP of all but a handful of wealthy countries. Although Apple is recognized for creating the era of personal computing under the wing of its co-founder and first CEO, Steve Jobs, the company also created a series of diminutive objects that paradigmatically altered the technological landscape, in process re-composing the nature of lived experience in much of the world. Perhaps no device has been more significant than the iPhone — a small, networked, touch-screen device released in 2007 during our still-nascent, utopian understanding of technology, its powers, and its possibilities. 

Surpassing the discrete artifacts created by the company, the Apple brand, in its vast reach and global ubiquity, supersedes any one person, object, store, or factory, even surpassing the company’s extreme monetary evaluation. Its scale of operations is aligned with planetary processes, tectonic in scale, a pure hyperobject materially influencing global systems, from mining operations in West Papua and Mongolia to vast supply-chain networks crisscrossing the earth and geo-politics. The company, when understood through its vast, disambiguated flows of energy, is astonishing in its aggregate power as a single entity.

Gansu Wind Farm

With more than 7000 turbines arranged in a gridded pattern on the outskirts of the Gobi Desert, the Gansu Wind Farm is the largest wind farm — and among the largest power stations — on Earth. The vast complex, easily seen from outer space, covers more than 100,000 acres of desolate landscape and is capable of generating 20,000 MW of electricity, enough energy to fully power a small country. The placement of the farm is based upon a set of rare geological and meteorological occurrences that have created consistent, intense winds for thousands of years.

Despite the enormity of the farm and the seeming anonymity of its produce, the quotidian worlds touched by the wind are many: a small nightstand light illuminating pages as a child reads in bed; a bullet train speeding across the countryside; vast supercomputers running facial recognition software. Through the farm, the wind is radically reconditioned into experiences, capacities, moments, data, and time.

Deep Time

Our common, lived experience of time is bound within the corporeality of our body and its rhythms. The pull of air in and out of our lungs, the cadence of our heart beating, the distance of our neural connections, and the sum of our experiences as they accrue over a lifetime each affect our sensation of time. ‘Deep Time,’ a catchall for temporal events cast outside of human registration, extend beyond our ability to feel or ‘witness’ them without the aid of a prosthetic. Yet even with whole fields of study to help grapple with extended time horizons—geology, astronomy, archaeology—our ability to feel and understand flows of time outside of ourselves as they extend into deeper duration fields has largely atrophied.


Spirals can be found in structures at all scales within the natural world. Bracketing these limits might be, on the one side, billions of spiral galaxies scattered within the cosmos and, on the other, the shape of DNA within all living things. In between these poles exists a boundless material expression of the spiral in form: the gestalt of hurricanes, a chameleon’s tail, phyllotaxis plant growth, unfurling fern fronds, countless shells — including whelks, periwinkles, top shells, limpets, nautiluses, and snails — pine cones, and delicate looping contours of human inner ears.

Kola Superdeep Borehole

The Kola Superdeep Borehole is the result of a Soviet drilling project begun in 1970 on the Kola Peninsula within the Arctic Circle. The project's seemingly simple goal was to drill as deep as possible into the Earth's crust. The project was active until the fall of the Soviet Union, reaching an ultimate depth of 12,262 m (40,230 ft or 7.62 miles), making it the deepest point on Earth.

Rock Shelter at Lagar Velho

A rock shelter is a naturally occurring architecture formed when a series of large rocks create an eve, or vault, protecting would-be people under it from the elements. Through time, this simple lithic morphology has magnetized humans, becoming places of habitation. More contemporarily, rock shelters have thus frequently become sites of archaeological excavations.

The rock shelter at Lagar Velho is limestone—a sedimentary rock composed of calcium carbonate and formed from primordial organic remains. Because of its unique composition, limestone acts alchemically to preserve bone matter and fossilized objects, which in part created the conditions for the bones at Abrigo do Lagar Velho to be preserved.


CosmicOS, is one of various language systems designed by the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) community in attempts to develop a mode of communication with intelligent extraterrestrial life. CosmicOS was inspired by Hans Freudenthal's Lincos language system that functions using mathematical principles and logic. The message is written with only four basic symbols representing the binary digits ‘one’ and ‘zero,’ and open and close brackets.


Although we have records of early prehistoric sculptures (Venus of Willendorf, et al.), the very first three-dimensional compositions will forever remain in question. They could have very well been something like an inspired twist of hair — an inchoate braid. It's not difficult to imagine Homo habilis parting a friend’s hair, twisting it together, and remaking it into a new, beautiful shape, an extension of simple communal grooming rituals. Our predecessors may have easily found pleasure in the act, not just for the utility of social bonding, but also for a distant, emergent feeling of signification.

Islet of Vila Franco do Campo

This small islet sits less than a kilometer off the southern shore of Sao Miguel Island in the Portuguese Autonomous Region of the Azores. Its nearly perfect geomorphic circular islet is the result of the caldera of an ancient submerged volcano.

First Light

First Light is a celebrated ceremonial event that honors a largely-agreed-upon moment when a telescope is opened and light photons make contact with its optical components. The night sky enters the telescope, reflects off a series of mirrors, hits a precise alignment of photo sensors, and is translated into resulting data that forms an image.

First light images tend to be blurry or of poor quality, and therefore have little to no scientific interest. Sometimes first light yields nothing, as with the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990. Despite having no practical value, first light images are often some of the most famous and recognized astronomical photographs in the world. The Gran Telescopio Canaria’s 2007 first light, for example, was of Tycho 1205081, a star near Polaris. The image is blurry yet stunning, capturing two galaxies spinning–both with a pale lavender hue–almost mid-embrace.


A caldera is a massive geomorphic object created in the wake of a volcanic eruption. The object exists as forensic evidence relaying intricate details of the past volcanic event. Formally, a caldera is typically circular, bowl-shaped, with nearly vertical walls. Over time, land collapses into its interior volume created by the emptied-out magma chamber. The biggest calderas can reach 50 km in diameter. Some become filled with water.


The deepest depths of the sea, the edge of a cliff, the electromagnetic feel of touch, the complexity of a cellular organism, quantum dis/appearance: all of these sensations, big and small, inspire awe. Awe is an experience of scale directly correlated to your experience of your own body. It’s an experience where the sheer massiveness, intricacy, or intimacy of a thing, vista, experience, relationship, or concept exceeds you, along with the language and brain-space we use to access, describe, and interpret it. Awe can put us beside ourselves. It can move the bounds of what we thought was possible, both in concept and feeling.

Circular Glyphs

From top left, clockwise: (1) An internationally recognized warning sign, often meaning dangerous radioactivity, used also in computing to mean external or offline storage, referencing the magnetic tape cassettes once used for storing data. (2) Alchemical symbol for gold, also used in pre-Columbian Peruvian holy statues. (3) From the Hobo symbology meaning “here lives a kind woman, tell a pitiful story.” (4) Ancient Chinese ideogram for sunrise, used later in Western astrology with a similar meaning.


A singularity can be simply conceived as a unique event with profound consequences. Within this framework exists the possibility of enormous asymmetrical effects leading to disproportionate changes within the world. 

For instance, complex life on Earth began with a singularity event — the first adaptive mutation within a single-cell organism. This small, microscopic event started a chain reaction wherein natural selection became the principal author of survival and reproduction for millions of discrete organisms across billions of years of evolutionary history. This staccatoed arc eventually led to a new singularity — hominids acquiring the ability to manipulate their environments via tool-making instead of heeding to the slow process of evolution. Each tool proto-humans and humans created led to greater and faster technological growth, accelerating toward de facto dominion over the planet. In his famed pseudo-scientific hypothesis The Singularity Is Near (2005), Ray Kurzweil proposed a close future moment when advanced technology will surpass the need for humans to maintain its existence — a new, machinic singularity that would reorder entrenched hierarchies.

Video Home System

Most information we consume today will never possess a fixed material form. The Video Home System, or VHS, was the first widely available consumer technology for playing and recording on magnetic video tape. First mass-produced at an accessible price point in the 1970s, VHS brought about a paradigm shift in home media distribution, consumption, and creation. For the first time, moving images, imprinted on 800 feet of magnetic ribbon and bound in a rectangular plastic shell, were physical things—to be held, owned, stored, duplicated, edited, recorded over, and erased.

Despite industry-driven hysteria over piracy, VHS was massively profitable for film and television. The introduction of the technically superior optical disc format (DVD) in the mid-1990s marked the slow beginning of the end of VHS. And though the format became outmoded at the turn of the century, VHS players were still manufactured until 2016. 

The cassettes also proved to be fragile and temperamental. Strange fluctuations in sound, tape speed, and static—the result of simply existing in Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic fields—required constant attention and adjustment. Now, the once-ubiquitous medium, 40 years and several billion VHS tapes later, turns landfills and basements into graveyard archives, plastic husks intact but inner spools rotting.

Concentrated Solar Facility

Somewhat rare, virtually silent energy stations requiring a large circurcular footprint and precise geometry, concentrated solar power plants are currently located in Australia, South Africa, Spain, Morocco, the United States, India, and China. In each example, a tall, central monolith is erected. Stored in its apex are thousands of pounds of salt. Circling this vertical structure are hundreds of identical, concave heliostats tracking the sun’s daily arc across the sky. With geometric precision, the sun’s rays are reflected toward the top of the tower, heating the salt until it is molten. This burning core turns water into vapor which acts upon a turbine, in turn producing electricity. The tower glows — a small sun that can be seen for miles. The structure is a temple to the sun, a techno-spiritual zone of awe and surrender.

Death Ceremonies

In parallel with biologic death, humans (and Homo neanderthalensis) have engaged in ceremonies around death for hundreds of thousands of years. Ceremonial practices relating to death range widely, from secular events engineered for the living to process grief, to a vast array of religious, spiritual, and mystical ceremonies each nodding differently to the supernatural. Some believe the performance of specific rituals will unlock access to the afterlife. Various objects and processes for preparing the dead have also been observed—including coffins, shrouds, adornments, crypts, mummification, assorted cremation practices, endocannibalism, embalming, and ritual dissection.

Enewetak Atoll

This coral atoll consists of 40 islands and is part of the Ralik Chain of the Marshall Islands. Inhabited as early as 1000 BCE, Enewetak Atoll was used as a primary nuclear testing ground from 1946 to 1958 for the United States. On the atoll's easterly edge lies the Runit Dome, a massive concrete dome completed in 1980 to bury an estimated 73,000 cubic meters of radioactive material.

Dig Site and Vessels

In many ways, the image pictured represents a prototypical scene from an unknown archaeological dig site. A resting array of colorful petro-chemical vessels used in the excavation process form a fleeting and beautiful composition: the contemporary objects rhyme across time with the ceramic shards unearthed there.

Great Blue Hole

Located within Lighthouse Reef, about 43 miles off the shore of Belize, exists the Great Blue Hole. Made popular by Jacques Cousteau in the early 1970s, the 318-meter-wide and 124-meter-deep sinkhole continues to magnetize the collective imagination of people the world over. The sinkhole is relatively young, formed intermittently during Quaternary glaciation periods 153,000, 66,000, 60,000, and 15,000 years ago.


Childhood is an interstitial zone of early development in humans, historically bracketed by infancy and the onset of puberty. However, this designated bookending is perpetually in flux as cultures continue to segment out additional psychological zones of adolescence within human development. This remodeling, coupled with the effects of vast generational wealth inequalities and longer life spans that extend the terms of parental support, has effectively feathered out the boundaries of pre-adulthood. To combat this, government entities have sought to delineate the beginnings of legal adulthood (typically ages 15 to 18) and have by proxy determined the temporal envelope of the child and the distinct rights of children. 

Childhood, or more precisely the concept of “the child,” exists politically as a perpetual horizon, an abstraction of innocence and hope contained by futurity and unrealized potential. In this way, the child is often weaponized as leverage within political theater.

Promax J-1 Super Jumbo

Designed in South Korea in 1987 primarily for the US market, the Clairtone 7985 Promax J-1 Super Jumbo (sometimes branded as “Tecsonic”) is a massive boombox stretching 31 inches long and 16 1/2 inches tall, weighing over 25 pounds with 10 D batteries installed for portable operation. The boombox itself is an assemblage of hundreds of discrete interlocking, cast and factory-fabricated parts. 

The object factored heavily into the plot of director Spike Lee’s famed Do the Right Thing (1989). In the film, the boombox was carried by Radio Raheem until its emotional climax in which the owner of Sal’s Pizzeria destroys the object with a wooden bat, setting into motion Raheem’s death at the hands of police by chokehold asphyxiation. Simply following plot points, the boombox could be written away as an elaborate MacGuffin device, but its energy and ontology in the film run much deeper, as it is the medium Raheem uses to interface with the world. Metaphorically, the boombox becomes a campfire, a talisman, a techno-amulet, an oracle that is itself powerful, empowering its users through its mystical, agentic properties.

Cetacean Stranding

An aerial image of beached sperm whales from November 14, 2017. Whale beachings, a type of animal suicide, are still largely mysterious events, though there is evidence that whales have engaged in this behavior throughout history. A few explanatory theories circulate, involving environmental changes, echolocation, and geomagnetic disturbances, as well as strong social cohesion among larger cetaceans.

Grasberg Mine

Located in the Sudirman Mountains of Indonesia, in the Papuan Province, the Grasberg Mine is a complex of open-pit, underground, and concentrator facilities that together orchestrate one of the most massive resource extraction operations ever built — by volume, the largest gold mine in the world. Largely hidden away within snow-capped mountains, the mine brings to focus a web of global imperialist energies, employing nearly 20,000 miners, machinists, geologists, engineers, accountants, lawyers, and more as far away as Arizona and Spain.

The object itself is the primary port from which billions of objects are created: Wedding rings, bracelets, smartphones, computers, and server farms around the world are filled with delicate components manufactured with Grasberg gold. With ever-increasing speed and precision, these technologies fuel a flow of information at speeds that collapse temporal distances, shrouding the Earth in signal — an emergent techno-nervous system.

Golden Ratio in Circles

Pictured here, an elegant expression of the golden ratio using circles.


Earth’s closest celestial companion, the Moon completes its circle around our planet every 29.5 days. Because of the Moon’s large size (nearly equal to the planet Mercury), Earth and its natural satellite are considered a double planet system.

Prevailing theories suggest that a collision about 4.5 billion years ago occurred between a young earth and a massive, rogue object is responsible for the formation of our moon. Because of its size and its relative nearness to us, the moon exerts a constant and materially real influence over every living thing on Earth. Despite its inert lifelessness, the Moon affects phenomena as varied as pulling at the oceans in the form of tidal rhythms and coaxing nocturnal flowers into bloom.


For every location on Earth, there exists its antipode; a tandem geo-position living directly opposite on the far-side of the planet. An antipode identifies two specific points on the Earth's surface as if a tunnel was bored between them, connecting the two points through a straight line. An antipode is a kind of shadow, sister location — one by definition the furthest away possible — following everywhere underfoot, pivoting precisely at Earth's fulcrum-core. 

Although the continents are in continuous slo-mo drift pulling apart only to collide again, in Earth’s current geomorphic state, relatively few land-to-land antipodal connections exist. This underscores Earth's watery surface, but also the peculiarity of our current continental configurations.

Growth Rings

The transversal view of a tree exposes its growth rings. Using dendrochronology, we can decode the tree's inner life, including its age, exact year of formation, and history of fire, seasonal weather patterns, disease, climate change and more. In periods of fast growth in the spring, trees form an outer light ring, while periods of slower growth in the autumn are responsible for the dark rings. These rings are used by paleoclimatologists to study past climate conditions as far back as 10,000 years ago. 

The notion of growth rings for moderns is ubiquitous, but knowledge of these rings is not mentioned in the historical record until 300 BCE, in Greece, when advanced metallurgical techniques emerged that could produce saw blades capable of cutting small trees.

Arecibo Message

Broadcast from the Arecibo Radio Telescope in Puerto Rico on November 16, 1974, the Arecibo Message (as it has come to be known) is a binary code aimed at the M13 globular star cluster, some 25,000 light years from Earth. The message when deciphered contains pictogram encryptions for the numbers 1-10, elemental atomic numbers for DNA, nucleotide formulae for DNA, double-helix of DNA, a human figure, our solar system, and information about the originating transmitting telescope.


The horizon is an unattainable limit perceived as being perpetually at the edge of the witnessable world where the earth and sky appear to touch. As our planet is spherical, the horizon exists as an ever-shifting threshold.

Through time, people have gone to extreme measures to see and commune with the horizon. The Aguada Fénix site in the Mayan Lowlands is a massive, thirty-foot-tall earthen platform that frames a volume bigger than the pyramids of Egypt and reaches just above the Yucatán tree canopy. In this open expanse, people can see the horizon in any direction. For the Korowai people of the rainforests in southeastern West Papua, the horizon is all but invisible in the dense overstory of the forest there. Ingeniously, the Korowai build elaborately engineered structures at seemingly impossible heights among the treetops to gain views of the horizon.

Human Death

Human death is the irreversible biologic event where a person ceases to exist as a living organism. Since the emergence of Homo sapiens sapiens, over 100 billion people have died on Earth. Today, two people die nearly every second. The ubiquity of death lives in deep contradiction to the intensity of human energies that circulate around the event. The matter-of-fact physiology of death forks open the sociological, the philosophical, spiritual, the familial, and the personal with expressions of grief, sadness, and despair in those that remain living. Even as humans continue to dream of life extension or immortality, death is shared by all people in an unbroken continuum. Like everyone who has ever lived, we will also all die.

Indigenous Land Acknowledgment

An indigenous land acknowledgment, or territory acknowledgment, is an emergent custom within colonized areas, particularly in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, and with rising frequency in the United States. A statement is often presented to audiences at the beginning of ceremonies, lectures, or any public event with the purpose of acknowledging the land’s historical stewards and subtly underscoring an awareness of Indigenous presence and their territorial rights in contemporary life. Indigenous land acknowledgements raise questions of cultural ownership, reparations, displacement, and the role of powerful, colonizing nation-states in relation to the sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples.


Whaling describes the deliberate hunting of whales for food and resources. The industry evolved from a subsistence practice in coastal communities to a sophisticated and insatiable globalized paracolonial industry. Fleets of ships crossed vast oceans in pursuit of a diminishing extranatural resource to power empires back home.

The hunt and ship-based rendering process bridges the pathological: Men with spears and hooks butcher mammals that dwarf them in size; a slightly larger ship groans under the weight of a fresh kill; hours or even days pass while refining—cutting, burning and melting—the carcass to its viable component parts.

The uses for those whale parts (bones, meat, blubber) were varied and, though vital for a time, quickly obsolesced in the marketplace. Whale meat today is riddled with carcinogens and heavy metals, the by-products and markers of the Anthropocene, which whaling played an essential part in creating, effectively forming a material feedback loop. The primary export, whale oil, was a sort of skeleton key to modernity, powering steam engines and lamps; lubricating wristwatches, skillets, and automotive transmissions; cleaning factory floors; and serving as a salve for trench foot.

Prayag Kumbh Mela

A sacred Hindu gathering held in Allahabad, India, at the Triveni Sangam. The site is the confluence of two physical rivers, the Ganga and the Yamuna, as well as a third mythical river, the Saraswati. The most recent ceremony in 2013 saw more than 120 million visitors over two months, including more than 30 million in a single day, making it the world’s largest human gathering ever recorded. Held every twelve years, the next full Kumbh Mela is planned for 2025.

Water Ripples

A stone is tossed upward over a pond. The object crests and begins its inevitable fall. The stone picks up velocity as it descends and makes contact with the pond. The water's surface, previously held in tension by a tiny molecular membrane, is disturbed. As the stone sinks to the pond's depths, a column of water rises upwards, peaking, then buckles quickly in a compensatory downward direction, and water ripples stretch outward in concentric capillary waves. On the pond’s surface plane, perfect circular formations are distributed rhymically in every direction.

Skidi Pawnee Sky Chart

Considered some of the most sophisticated skywatchers in pre-Columbian North America, the Skidi Pawnee mapped and recorded the celestial region above their lands with near-perfect accuracy. The Skidi Pawnee were less concerned with the sun and moon, focusing most of their astronomical efforts on further-away stars, from which they believed they had once descended. A particular circular constellation the Skidi called the Council of Chiefs formed the basis of their culture, the circle shape guiding everything from governance and architecture to social interactions, agriculture, and religious beliefs.


Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn, known familiarly as Siegfried & Roy, were German-American magicians made famous by their feline stage companions, often white lions and tigers. During a 2003 performance, a white Bengal tiger named Mantecore mauled Roy, severing his spine and nearly causing him to bleed to death. The event led to the cancellation of the duo’s show at the Mirage hotel in Las Vegas and effectively ended their careers.

The moment of contact between Mantecore and Roy can be viewed deterministically as an inevitable live-action metaphor, in which the animal’s activated agency lives in response to a human — and especially Euro-American colonialist — desire to control nature and to re-contour its inherent wildness; to tame, dominate, and possess it.

In 2020, Roy died of complications from the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

Remains of Homo Naledi

Discovered in 2013 in Rising Star Cave in the Cradle of Humankind, South Africa, Homo naledi existed some 335,000 to 236,000 years ago. The discovery of H. nadeli further emphasized the extended period hominins lived on earth, from as early as one million years ago to as late as 20,000 years ago—including the species H. habilis, H. erectus, H. neanderthalensis, H. floresiensis, H. rudolfensis, Australopithecus sediba, and many others. This diversity of morphological expression has made some evolutionary scientists begin reclassifying Homo sapiens not as the apex human of development, but as one of many sapiens, in the process proposing new taxonomies, i.e. H. sapiens-neanderthalensis, or H. sapiens-sapiens.

H. Neanderthalis Birth

The image depicts a virtual reconstruction of a Neanderthal fetus based on the fossil remains of a neonate Neanderthal discovered in the Mezmaiskaya Cave in Russia, and an adult female Neanderthal discovered in the Tabun Cave in Israel. 

Modern technology and recent fossil analysis have allowed archaeologists and anthropologists to virtually reconstruct and study the conditions of childbirth and early development of Neanderthals to better understand the evolutionary development of modern humans. The reconstruction suggests that Neanderthal’s encountered similar obstetric challenges as modern humans based on newborn cranium sizes. These challenges would necessitate having social structures within communities in place to help with the birthing process.


The modern hospital emerged in its current form around the eighteenth century as a site where medical care is administered to people. It is an agreed-upon, default location where modern humans give birth to offspring, convalesce, and finally return to die. The hospital building itself is a kind of earthbound pivot between the birth of a human life and that life’s end. Deterministically, this pivot point connects two seemingly infinite lines: one traveling backward, enfolding all the past events leading up to birth, and the other, afterlife, a line unfolding forward into the future.

Intelligence of Wind

We can describe the forces and conditions that create wind, but at the scale of one’s body, from within our envelope of skin, wind remains magical. Standing in a room, sheer curtains billow. An invisible wrap of coolness shrouds our faces, the smallest hairs alerted, the salty meniscus of our eyes caressed. Moving through the petrochemical fibers of clothing, wind finds contact with hidden-away skin. In a room, the breeze finds forgotten voids, discovering the space’s secret meta-volume. At once, the dust, the spiders, the shadows beneath the couch, and the life-smears above the headboard become known to the wind. Its intelligence is total. The curtain exhales and the wind dissolves, roving elsewhere.


Forecasting is an ancient process of making predictions about the future based on available data from the past and present. Tens of thousands of years ago, as human populations shifted from hunter-gatherer communities to more complex agrarian societies, more reliable methods of prediction rose according to societal sophistication. Understanding predictive seasonal rhythms necessary for cyclical farming, i.e. when to plow, seed, grow, sow, and preserve, was an early form of forecasting that lived in parallel to mystical divination techniques performed by shamen, fortune tellers, psychics, oracles, clairvoyants, witches, and prophets. With continual shifts in technology, the roles of those collectively agreed upon within a society to vision and foretell possible futures has changed in lockstep. 

Modern forecasting is increasingly done computationally with massive datasets capable of revealing more latent patterning and trends. Although an algorithmic process might appear novel, the computer, aided by satellites and globally networked, real-time systems, is simply the most modern tool of divination — an outgrowth of systems that have included cards, crystals, rods, runes, tea leaves, bones, sky charts, calendars, folklore, religion, statistics, and more.

Star Map

Shown above is a Neo-Assyrian clay tablet depicting a planisphere or star chart dividing the sky into eight sections that represent the night sky over the ancient city of Nineveh on January 3 and 4 in 650 BCE. Astronomers have identified the chart as depicting the modern constellation Gemini.

Opytnoe Pole

One of hundreds of concrete structures built within Semipalitinsk’s Polygon perimeter used to measure the effects of hundreds of nuclear blasts conducted over decades of testing. The geometric objects,  scattered within the otherwise vast and barren steppe of Kazakhstan, serve as an informal and tragic monument to the atomic area and the wake of destruction and disease it continues to inflict.

Kerepakupai Vená \ Angel Falls

Located in Venezuela, Angel Falls is the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall with a height of 979 meters (3212 feet), almost twenty times the height of the famed Niagara Falls on the United States–Canada border. The local Indigenous population near Angel Falls — the Pemon — called the falls Kerepakupai Vená, translating to "waterfall of the deepest place." 

The falls are part of a surreal landscape, one seemingly conjured within a CGI environment, composed by dozens of tepuis — flat table-top mountains — and what geologists believe are the mountainous remnants of the ancient supercontinent known as Gondwana. At two billion years old, some of these structures are among the oldest in the world.


Lifetime is the temporal envelope in which a form (organic or inorganic) exists before undergoing a final-state change that ends the continuity towards existence. For organic entities, a lifetime is normatively bookended by one’s birth and death. Lifetime more speculatively can be expanded to include non-living entities–a VHS player, a house, etc. The endurance of objects through planned obsolescence, disintegration, and perceptions of brokenness informs the rubric of product design–beginnings and endings marked by production, replacement, and disposal. The pathway of a lifetime converges, diverges, and intimately overlaps through time. It weaves between objects, animals, humans, plants, planets, and the universe itself. As inexact segments, lifetimes are often optimized, whether foreclosed or lengthened, for desired outcomes: the elongation of an average human lifespan, the space-age promise of plastics.


Sony Corporation is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Tokyo. As of 2020, its diversified business includes consumer and professional electronics, semiconductors, entertainment, financial services, and gaming. In 1970 Sony was the first Japanese company with shares in the New York Stock Exchange. The company owns the largest music entertainment business in the world (Sony Music Entertainment founded in 1992), the largest video game console business (Sony Computer Entertainment 1993, expanding to America in 1994 and Europe), and one of the largest video game publishing businesses. From 1968 to early 2000’s, Sony produced a continuum of successful and revolutionary consumer electronic devices including the Trinitron television (1968), the 3.5-inch floppy disc format (1981), the CDP-101 compact disc player (1992), the TC-50 cassette recorder (1969), the Walkman TPS-L2 (1979), the JumboTron (1985), and the Blu-ray format (2003). With its diversified offerings, globalized market, and intimate reach into the fabric of daily life, Sony’s presence reaches that of other massive global brands across time: the Catholic Church, the Dutch East India Company, and Apple.


Perceived as a territory in its own right, the seafloor is a vast expanse of underwater land. For humans, it remains a mostly inaccessible and unknowable commons of the aquatic world. It is more expansive than any continent, with unbroken mountain ranges running 10,000 miles pole to pole. While it is no longer out of the question for humans to visit the Mariana Trench—the deepest location on Earth—the vast and common seafloor remains for the most part unexplored and unknown.

Origins of Burial

Also called inhumation, the earliest remnants of human burial practices indicate an emergent sensibility toward the spiritual importance of interring our dead in the ground. As early as 300,000 years ago, our Stone Age relatives in Southern Africa, Homo naledi, were already involved in elaborate rituals of returning their deceased back to Earth. These burials considered not just sanitation practice, but also ceremony, ritual, care, and a relationship to community and spirit. A wealth of similar evidence trails through thousands of years and cultures, calling forward ritualistic and intentional burials all around the world, which are still being unfolded, deciphered, and practiced.

Darvaza Gas Crater

Near the desert village of Derweze in Turkmenistan, there is a massive 230-foot-wide crater on fire that is colloquially known as the Door to Hell. In 1971, Soviet engineers in search of oil fields began drilling. Their operation collapsed into a large pocket of natural gas, and the crater was set on fire to prevent massive emissions of methane into the surrounding area. It was predicted to burn out within a couple of weeks but has been burning nonstop for nearly 50 years.

Sedan Crater

Classically, craters are the result of massive meteorites making impact with the Earth's surface, the quintessential circular indentation evidence of the impact long after the event itself. In the age of the anthropocene, craters at the scale of super-large impact events can also be created through human intervention, as is the case with the 1962 Sedan Crater in Nevada. This 390-by-100-meter crater is the result of a nuclear test, the largest cratering shot produced by the infamous Plowshare Program, which in the process exposed over 13 million people to radiation in an instant.

The Round House

Designed by architects Evgeny Stamo and Alexander Markelov, this 1972 structure in Moscow, Russia, is a stunning example of circular architecture, and it was almost certainly part of the Foster + Partners mood board for their design of the $5 billion Apple Park in Cupertino, California.

Voyager Math Primer

Mathematical definitions, relaying in the most direct terms a set of mathematical precepts —a primer for communication, The drawing was produced by Frank Drake for the Voyager spacecraft Golden Record.

Mir Mine

The Mir Mine is an open-pit diamond mine in the Siberian region of eastern Russia and is one of the largest excavated holes on Earth. Opened in 1957, the mine currently produces about 10 million carats of diamonds per year and is scheduled to remain in operation through 2070.

500 Meter Aperture Spherical Telescope