Critical Zones

The Science and Politics of Landing on Earth

On view is the cover of the publication accompanying the exhibition Critical Zones. It shows a picture of a landscape shaped by craters. Below it is a short dialogue about how it feels to land on earth.

Type of publication
Exhibition catalog, Anthology
Author / Editor
Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel (eds.)
Publishing house, place
MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Artists and writers portray the disorientation of a world facing climate change.

This monumental volume, drawn from a 2020 exhibition at the ZKM Center for Art and Media, portrays the disorientation of life in a world facing climate change. It traces this disorientation to the disconnection between two different definitions of the land on which modern humans live: the sovereign nation from which they derive their rights, and another one, hidden, from which they gain their wealth—the land they live on, and the land they live from. Charting the land they will inhabit, they find not a globe, not the iconic “blue marble,” but a series of critical zones—patchy, heterogenous, discontinuous.

With short texts, longer essays, and more than 500 illustrations, the contributors explore the new landscape on which it may be possible for humans to land—what it means to be “on Earth,” whether the critical zone, the Gaia, or the terrestrial. They consider geopolitical conflicts and tools redesigned for the new “geopolitics of life forms.” The “thought exhibition” described in this book opens a fictional space to explore the new climate regime; the rest of the story is unknown.

Read the introduction here

Order the catalog here

472 pp, ca. 500 illus., 31.5 x 25 cm, hardcover
Organization / Institution
ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medien Karlsruhe

Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe (HfG), Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT), Naturkundemuseum Karlsruhe, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, OHGE – Observatoire hydrogeochimique de l’environnement


Project management: Jens Lutz
Design: Donato Ricci, Tommaso Trojani

Key topics