Art and fiction in the (new) age of space exploration

Coded Matter(s): Terra Fiction

The idea of terraformation was once the domain of writers and artists. We’re entering a new space race to colonise and terraform the universe. Silicon Valley companies like SpaceX, Google and Planetary Resources are in the front seat. Read further below.

Coded Matter(s): Terra Fiction

As we edge closer towards inevitable environmental collapse these big tech companies are scrambling to colonise new habitable worlds on distant planets. By shooting a cherry-red Tesla car into space, they shape the future narrative of man in space. But what are we leaving behind on Earth? If today’s technological leaps aren’t improving our natural environments than what legacy will we inherit in worlds abroad?​

At Coded Matter(s): Terra Fiction FIBER and De Brakke Grond invite speakers working in the fields of art, literature, science, design and digital culture to reassess man’s future relationship with the earth and the cosmos. Today, visionary artists and researchers are turning back to our earth to imagine futures that position humans and our technologies inside a more balanced ecology. Our programme presents alternative perspectives of what this future could look like. Speculative designers, art-scientists and writers will share their research and evolving ideas to challenge the big-tech model.

Taking the stage

With the addition of Maja Kuzmanovic and Nik Gaffney from the Brussels-based lab for speculative culture FoAM and the screening of Matthew C. Wilson's film, the setup for the second installment of the Coded Matter (s) Worldbuilding trilogy is complete! On September 27th these names will enter the stage:

At Coded Matter(s): Terra Fiction writer and former astronomer Pippa Goldschmidt will recite out of her short story collection The Need for Better Regulation of Outer Space and reflect on these questions. She’ll also give insights in international and domestic space law as she briefly worked in space policy and regulation within the UK Government.

The stories of E.J. Swift investigates the geopolitical effects of climate change. She will discuss the role of speculative fiction in imagining alternative worlds, and how it might offer us a vision for a better future. She will share some of her approaches to world-building in fiction, and consider the challenges for the writer in creating a believable universe.

Solarpunk researcher and technology theorist Jay Springett explains the strategic story of land-as-platform. Springett is a writer, theorist, promoter of do-it-yourself culture and editor of Solarpunks. Solarpunk is a subgenre of science fiction. It examines what free energy sources and decentralized energy infrastructure can mean for future society.

Miha Turšič presents a new Waag project and asks the question: Can we learn about ourselves by studying outer space? 

How will scientists and engineers working with artists and designers accomplish this pivotal endeavour? Art scholar Ivan Henriques presents Symbiotic Machine for Space Exploration, a project that aims to create an autonomous system for improving terra forming ecosystems and facilitating atmospheric formation on other planets. 

True to FoAM’s motto “grow your own worlds”, Maja Kuzmanovic and Nik Gaffney create propositions,  immersive situations and (peak) experiences. The Brussels-based speculative culture laboratory provides insight into the importance of transdisciplinary collaboration for the re-presentation of possible futures. For Terra Fiction, FoAM presents a lecture/performance where geological time, microbial contamination, non-corvid interaction, death and dying co-exist alongside audiovisual atmospheres from the Sonoran desert, Balkan forests and urban jungles. We’ll delve into the mythic and sensual dimensions of panpsychism, where everything shares an elemental consciousness. What would be the implications of such a worldview for our lives on Earth and beyond?


Terra Fiction is the second installment of FIBER’s ongoing Coded Matter(s): Worldbuilding project. These lecture events question the design of contemporary world visions and technological narratives, which are contributing to greater socio-economic inequality and environmental destruction.

Foto's Coded Matter(s): Big Bias17/05/2018
Sebastiaan Ter Burg