Anthropocene

A Stroll Through the Bubbles of Chemicals and Men

In flipping through the future shock images of biosynthetic speculation, it’s easy to miss the historical trajectory to which biosynthetic practices belong. Etienne Turpin takes a look at the long twentieth century of ‘bubble-expanding’ invention and the underlying drive to maintain our sphere of seven billion people, in order to understand this trajectory. He regards proto-biosynthetic techniques like the Haber-Bosch process, which caused an agrarian revolution by synthetically introducing ammonia-produced fertilizer to farm fields, as a key to understanding the dynamics of living in this brave new biosynthetic world. 

This essay was originally published in Volume magazine issue #35. Get your copy here.

“Round about stood those who inspire terror, shouting: Here comes the New, it’s all new, salute the New, be new like us! And those who heard, heard nothing but their shouts, but those who saw, saw certain people who were not shouting. So the Old strode in disguised as the New, but it brought the New with it in its triumphal procession and presented it as the Old.” – Bertolt Brecht (1939)

Perhaps due to its predilection for technological innovation and so-called ‘emergent’ phenomena of technical, cultural, and otherwise mediated novelty, the discipline of architecture tends to characterize ‘the new’ like a keen and eager historicist: notwithstanding the real problem of even beginning to navigate the proliferation of contemporary architectural production in any meaningful way, ‘the new’ often appears within the disciplinary discourse as a diachronic sign that occludes the need for any considered, historical reading. Among the vicissitudes of contemporary architectural production, then, it is important to locate the discourse on biosynthetics within the longer trajectory of industrialization to avoid overestimating the novelty of such material practices, and, perhaps more importantly, to recognize the logic of the technocratic lure that conditions our apprehension of these novelties. It is the task of this essay to examine three related bubbles of our biosynthetic inheritance that would allow us to think – and therefore design within – the present condition of chemophilia and its attendant but lagging global toxicosis.1

However, before we turn to consider the spherology of chemical bubbles in our contemporary world, the broader context for this inquiry requires a more complete disclosure. To sufficiently locate the various biosynthetic phenomena within the longer trajectory of industrialization, this brave new world of production needs to be radically re-contextualized within the construction of an environment conditioned by human impact; this impact is primarily produced by technology and design in the long twentieth century, and its analysis begins, at least, with the Italian geologist Antonio Stoppani’s suggestion, in 1873, of an Anthropozoic period, and extends in this reading to the Dutch chemist Paul Crutzen’s more recent neologism the Anthropocene.2 By relocating the technocratic ambitions of biosynthetic production within the long century of the Anthropocene we can begin to track the material and epistemic changes that produce, by design, the contemporary biosynthetic environment of global climate change.3 In our currently accelerating global telemorphosis, wherein the critical distance that previously separated human actors from the environmental consequences of their actions is quickly being foreshortened, the discipline of architecture is tasked with reconsidering how relations among design, technology, and science in the long twentieth century might be reevaluated as a resource for determining the modes of urban adaptation necessary for human survival on a planet with a rapidly changing climate.4 It is with this task in mind that we might now take a stroll through the sensational Umwelt of biosemiotics in order to better comprehend the relation between the reduction of the world and its productive unlocking for the human species.

Strolling with Jakob von Uexküll

“A ‘scientific’ interpretation of the world, as you understand it, might therefore still be one of the most stupid of all possible interpretations of the world, meaning that it would be one of the poorest in meaning.” – Friedrich Nietzsche (1887)

To begin to locate our contemporary biosynthetic inheritance, one could certainly do worse than return to the very concept of ‘world’, and, with this concept, the exigencies of empirical description that motivated the pioneering Estonian biosemiotician Jakob von Uexküll. For Uexküll, the world, or Umwelt, was best understood as a perceptual field within which an organism performs as a subject. As the feminist philosopher of evolution Elizabeth Grosz explains in Chaos, Territory, Art, “Uexküll argues that an animal is not immersed wholesale in a given milieu, but at best engages with certain features that are of significance to it, that counterpoint, in some sense, with its own organs. Each organism in every species is surrounded by its Umwelt, ‘an island of the senses’ that is always a considerable simplification of the information and energy provided by any milieu.”5 This island of the senses is thus a kind of biological opportunism that nevertheless remains irreducible: “Uexküll advocates an extreme perspectivism in which objects are not autonomous or independent sets of qualities and quantities, but opportunities for engagement that offer themselves in particular ways to particular organs and remain otherwise indiscernible.”6 The work of Uexküll is thus a key to thinking outside the limits of any assumed objective horizon; each organism (as a species, and each organism in particular) is variously related to the world afforded to it according to its sensation, with the various overlapping elements creating innumerable coextensive forms-of-life and their equally innumerable expressions.

Life is also, without question, more than mere survival

In her writing, Grosz is part of an important trajectory developed by recent thinkers, including Georgio Agamben, and Deleuze and Guattari, who have taken up the work of Uexküll to help dispose of the remains of European phenomenology within contemporary philosophy. But, it is also interesting to note how Uexküll’s own introduction to ‘A Stroll Through the Worlds of Animals and Men’ (1934) presages the innovative spherological analysis of the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, which is well read within the design disciplines but still requires a more rigorous historical analysis. Uexküll begins by asserting that he is not at all claiming to have discovered a new science; instead, his work  “should be called a stroll into unfamiliar worlds; worlds strange to us but known to other creatures, manifold and varied as the animals themselves.”7 He gives, as the best example at hand, a walk through a sunny meadow that allows a glimpse into the worlds of the so-called lowly dwellers. “To do so,” Uexküll continues:

“we must first blow, in fancy, a soap bubble around each creature to represent its own world, filled with the perceptions which it alone knows. When we ourselves step into one of these bubbles, the familiar meadow is transformed. Many of its colorful features disappear, others no longer belong together but appear in new relationships. A new world comes into being. Through the bubble […] we see the world as it appears to the animals themselves, not as it appears to us.”8

Each living thing, including the human, is a melodic line of development

In this proto-spherology, Uexküll suggests that the entry into the bubble is one of epistemic opportunity: it allows a way of seeing and understanding that world of the animal that is foreign to the human, but which is, nevertheless, accessible through a kind of appropriation of sensibility. This appropriation, however, is also a matter of intrusion, in the strictest sense, and provokes a question of the relation between an Umwelt and a species’ survival.9 According to Grosz, for Uexküll, “Each living thing, including the human, is a melodic line of development, a movement of counterpoint, in a symphony composed of larger and more movements provided by its objects, the qualities that its world illuminates or sounds off for it. Both the organism and its Umwelt taken together are units of survival.”10 While this is, no doubt, a provocative image of life and its teeming multiplicities, life is also, without question, more than mere survival. In this regard, if the human species can be said to pose a challenge to the dynamism and openness of Uexküll’s biosemiotics, it is most especially by way of a radical remaking of its Umwelt that both exceeds, and is perhaps quite at odds with, survival. This occurs simultaneously in two directions: first, by unlocking worlds previously foreclosed to the human senses through the development of intrusive technological means; and, second, by expediting the growth of specific worlds by fantastically augmenting the distribution of their material components to create apparently advantageous conditions for the expansion of the human species.

A Bubble for Seven Billion: Toward a Prehistory of the Anthropocene 

“Do we really want to permit existence to be degraded for us like this – reduced to a mere exercise for a calculator and an indoor diversion for mathematicians?”

– Friedrich Nietzsche (1887)

In his magisterial reevaluation of both space and intimacy in the tradition of continental philosophy, Sloterdijk suggests that the moment of our brave new biosynthetic world is a bubble, and in more ways than we might first believe. His spherological project opens a whole series of questions for design, but with respect to our current argument, it engenders an especially poignant inquiry regarding the establishment of the place of the human. For Sloterdijk, “an inquiry into our location is more productive than ever, as it examines the place that humans create in order to have somewhere they can appear as those who they are.”11 That is, “Following a venerable tradition,” this creation of a place to disclose the quiddity of the human “bears the name ‘sphere’.”12 Accordingly:

“The sphere is the interior, disclosed, shared realm inhabited by humans – insofar as they succeed in becoming humans. Because living always means building spheres, both on a small and a large scale, humans are the beings that establish globes and look out on to horizons. Living in spheres means creating the dimension in which humans can be contained. Spheres are immune-systemically effective space creations for ecstatic beings that are operated upon by the outside.”13

The human is, first, a privileged sphere-maker

Here we see how Sloterdijk both appropriates and reforms the contour of Uexküll’s ethological bubble, suggesting that the human is, first, a privileged sphere-maker, but that, at the same time, the human is also passively acted upon by an outside. While the expansive work of his spherology implicates many further considerations and digressions, presently we will consider how, in the geological time of the Anthropocene, the aggregate impact of the human species must also be understood as a force acting on, unlocking, and harnessing the power of various worlds that augment and delimit the global horizons of the human. If the bubble that the human species inhabits can, in fact, be delimited, it is certainly the ambition of the discourse on the Anthropocene to develop an analysis of this historically-specified occupation.

In one of the first reports from popular media explaining the geological and stratigraphic discourse of the Anthropocene, environmental journalist Elizabeth Colbert poses a provocative question about these two figures, and our ability to understand the evidence of anthropogenic climate change. In her words:

“Way back in the 1870s, an Italian geologist named Antonio Stoppani proposed that people had introduced a new era, which he labeled the ‘Anthropozoic’. Stoppani’s proposal was ignored; other scientists found it unscientific. The Anthropocene, by contrast, struck a chord. Human impacts on the world have become a lot more obvious since Stoppani’s day, in part because the size of the population has roughly quadrupled, to nearly seven billion.”14

Colbert’s claim rests on much more than the scalar increase of human population; without denying the obvious importance of our demographic explosion, the human impact on the earth involves more than human population growth. Since their retort to Barry Commoners’ technological determinism in the academic journal Science in 1971, Paul R. Ehrlich and John Holdren’s equation I = P x A x T – where the human impact (I) on the environment is equal to the product of population (P), affluence (A), and technology (T) – has helped explain the constituent factors of anthropogenic climate change.15 [Fig. 03] This is to say that understanding growth necessarily requires understanding human impact on the environment within which growth is achieved, which is itself the effect of a multiplicative relation among populations, affluence, and technology. This equation also helps call to mind the interval between the first suggestion that human activity is equal to a geological force and the realization of this suggestion as a widely accepted concept (and one far exceeding its debated stratigraphic application); this period of latency can be understood, in my estimation, as the ‘prehistory’ of the Anthropocene, when technology and design affect a series of order of magnitude transformations within the natural environment. As noted above, these changes are both material and epistemic: they change how the environment works by adding previously foreign forces and thus altering the velocity of change of variously scaled ecological bubbles, or worlds; and, they change how the environment is known by reorienting which of its features are worthy of scientific inquiry and economic investment and development. With this equation in mind, we can now outline a few of the requisite trajectories along which we might begin to understand the precarity of a biosynthetic bubble for seven billion.

This period of latency can be understood as the ‘prehistory’ of the Anthropocene

The first vector of the Ehrlich and Holdren equation, population growth, requires re-examining the architecture and design of industrial agriculture over the course of the twentieth century. In 1899, the average annual consumption of commercial fertilizer in the United States reached 1,845,900 tons; the following year, the world population was approximately 1.6 billion and the average amount of arable land needed to feed one person was roughly five acres.16 With the development of the Haber-Bosch process (discussed in greater detail below) that, in 1910, first enabled the fixing of atmospheric nitrogen and the industrial production of synthetic ammonia, the amount of arable land needed to feed one person was reduced to 1.8 acres by 2008, in a world population quickly approaching seven billion.17 Such a radical transformation of the earth into a standing reserve for human consumption required a massive reorganization of agricultural technologies and techniques, including the exponential increase of fertilizers, pesticides, and other biosynthetic products such as ripening stimulants. From Marx’s account of the metabolic rift in nineteenth century England, to the rift in energy accounting in the metabolism of contemporary architecture and urbanization, an increasing human population coupled with an increasing rift between cities and ‘hinterlands’ is emblematic of Bruno Latour’s age of separations, and an essential component of the prehistory of the Anthropocene.18 Understanding the ‘great acceleration’ of human population growth following World War Two thus requires a careful reconstruction of the architecture and design of agriculture’s manifold practices, from early tractor and reaper production to advanced biochemistry, in order to begin to understand the stakes and the challenges facing the current bubble of agricultural production in our changing climate.

The 3.9 million-mile US road system is the largest structure built in the twentieth century

The second vector of the Ehrlich and Holdren equation, affluence, can be considered by way of the automobile, a key economic indicator of so-called ‘upward mobility’. The role of the automobile in shaping the architecture and urbanism of the twentieth century, from Albert Kahn’s designs for Henry Ford’s American manufacturing plants to the explosion of transportation infrastructure and its attendant re-patterning of ecologies and landscapes, is a decisive index for considering the exponential increase of global affluence in the twentieth century.19 The extensive 3.9 million-mile US road system, the largest structure built in the twentieth century, appears as a horizontal monument to the technical milieu, its physical structure and attendant effects constituting another essential case of how the Anthropocene has been designed. Thus, not only does this vector of inquiry enable a reconsideration of the architecture of mass production, factory and assembly logics, and the extensive resource extraction requirements for automobile and infrastructure production, it also beckons a consideration of the antagonism such designs wreak on the natural environment.20 These antagonisms are produced by the ability of firms to externalize environmental costs into a socially-inherited bubble, most especially by way of the proliferation of those bubbles known as atmospheric carbon dioxide; these externalized environmental spheres must be mapped among the complex material assemblages of twentieth century automobility as the index of global affluence anticipating the arrival of the earth’s billionth automobile.21

A focused consideration of the third line of the Ehrlich and Holdren equation would provoke a further examination of the production of energy in the twentieth century through a consideration of intellectual property and technological patents. The global demand for cheap energy is an especially consequential indicator of the Anthropocene, but the prehistory of this demand, and the architecture and design of the power grid, its relays, controls, and various technologies of modulation, all suggest a hypercomplex narrative of material assembly and environmental transformation. From the appearance of the term ‘megawatt’ (106 watts) in 1900 to account for the increasing usage of electrical energy for power and heat, all the way to the development of the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River in Hubei province, China, with a total hydroelectric output capacity of 22,500 megawatts, the global demand for energy has transformed the earth into a standing reserve of unlocked potential sources for power. The role of design within this context is formidable, however, the parallel register of technological patents related to the manipulation and modulation of energy must also be examined as a bubble developed in concert with the architecture and infrastructure of twentieth century power.22

The global demand for cheap energy is an especially consequential indicator of the Anthropocene

A Brave New Growth Industry

“This is our fate, as I have said; we grow in height; and even if this should be our fatality – for we dwell ever closer to the lightening – well, we do not on that account honor it less; it remains that which we do not wish to share, to make public – the fatality of the heights, our fatality.” – Friedrich Nietzsche (1887)

Even if the diagram of the Ehrlich and Holdren equation can be read as the bubble of the Anthropocene, of the many vast worlds unlocked by way of the technological innovations of the twentieth century none can be said to have more significance for the expansion of the bubble containing the human species than the Umwelt of fixed nitrogen. This claim is not meant to privilege the population (P) vector of the equation, but instead to emphasize the magnitude of the catalytic feedbacks stemming from this process and thus permitting – at least ‘in fancy’ – the exponential expansion of the human species. As the landscape architect Seth Denizen remarked in a recent interview about his research on soil science: “We should add here as well that the immensity of the change that is made possible by the Haber-Bosch process is usually quite understated. You have to realize that for the last billion years there has been a tendency for nitrogen to become an inert, atmospheric, biologically-unavailable gas through the metabolic processes that defined life on earth. The technology to produce the reverse reaction was held only by bacteria. Only bacteria had the Haber-Bosch process.”23 That is, until 1910 when BASF chemist Carl Bosch joined Fritz Haber to develop a process to fix atmospheric nitrogen and produce synthetic ammonia, the chemical world of nitrogen was only productive, or coextensive – that is, it was only an Umwelt – within the limited scope of bacterial reproduction. As Haber and Bosch unlocked this world and exposed it to human concerns, it was quickly enfolded into a process of world-making characteristic of the human species, namely, agriculture. By 1913, according to Michael A. Morris and John Gerrard: “the world’s first commercial ammonia synthesis plant to produce mineral fertilizer according to the Haber-Bosch Process opened in Oppau, Germany.”24 The appearance of this potent chemical world on the scene of human-scaled geopolitics led, somewhat obviously, to a series of spy missions, including operations by the UK government, with the goal of capturing and reproducing the secret of this prized German world-making process.

The immensity of the change that is made possible by the Haber-Bosch process is usually quite understated

Not least because synthetic ammonia can be converted to nitrate for use in fertilizers or explosives, the geopolitical maneuvers of World War One were highly attentive to the new worlds of growth (of armies) and destruction (of everything) unlocked by these biosynthetic processes. In fact, in 1917, the UK government elected that the town of Billingham, in North East England, be expanded as the site for chemical factories to supply the state with ammonia for the war effort. After the war, the Brunner Mond Company took over the plant, converting it to a site for the manufacture of biosynthetic fertilizers. Following a merger with three other major chemical companies in 1926, Brunner Mond formed the chemical giant Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), whose founder, Sir Alfred Mond, provided Aldous Huxley with an image of the World Controller Mustapha Mond in his well-known novel of 1932, Brave New World.25 In fact, it is precisely after his visit to this ICI plant in Billingham that Huxley began work on the novel.

Of course, Brave New World would create, in its own way, a literary Umwelt, complete with a paranoia distinct from that of Huxley’s student, Eric Arthur Blair, who eventually penned his prophetic and shocking novel, 1984, under the pseudonym George Orwell. Unlike the Orwellian world of total control, Huxley’s was an ambient environment of affirmation and positivity which overwhelmed its World State citizens with luxurious and mediated pleasures and distractions. The suspicion of such a dystopian world, while more difficult to articulate, nevertheless attracted the criticism of an especially prominent critic. In his rigorous adumbration, the German cultural theorist and philosopher Theodor Adorno made the following damning remarks: “It is not for its contemplative aspect as such, which it shares with all philosophy and representation, that the novel is to be criticized, but for its failure to contemplate a praxis which could explode the infamous continuum. […] If the great historical perspective is to be anything more than the Fata Morgana of the eye which surveys only to control, it must open on to the question of whether society will come to determine itself or bring about terrestrial catastrophe.”26 It is to this vast problematic of the relation between self-determination and tellurian disaster to which we now turn as a means to conclude these bubbling remarks.

End: Paroxysm

“The ice age is coming, the sun’s zooming in/ Engines stop running, the wheat is growing thin
A nuclear error, but I have no fear/ ’Cause London is drowning, and I live by the river.” – The Clash (1979)

To what, then, should we attribute the qualities of ‘the brave’ and ‘the new’ that Huxley discovered in his visit to the ICI plant? To answer this question we must again detour from design and reconsider the source of appropriation from which Huxley extracted the title of his novel: Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and, its biosynthetic industrial détournement. For Shakespeare, it is necessary that the character Miranda – who, prior to the moment of revelation lived on an isolated island in a bubble of limited reference – discovers the bewitching presence of other people whom lead to her terribly ironic assessment of the world:

“O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t.”27

Huxley, for his part, appropriates both the infamous line and its ironic force when his own character, the ‘savage’ John, remarks upon seeing the World State that it is, definitively, a ‘brave new world’. Like Miranda, who bears witness to the heinous behavior of drunken sailors stumbling out of their shipwrecked vessel but, due to her naivety, mistakes their activity for some noble conduct, the ‘savage’ easily mistakes the idiocy of the World State for the brave and the new. Read through this prism of citation, then, we might, by way of a conclusion, speculate a little further about how Huxley’s visit to the ICI helped decipher these ironic attributes.

In both Shakespeare and Huxley, the brave and the new is the horizon of intelligibility that results from a bubble: for Miranda, a world of drunken misbehavior from which she was previously exempted; for John, a world of banal organization from which he was formerly excluded. In both cases, the reality of the human is mistaken for a place of bravery and novelty; in reality, for both authors, the world of the human is a world of hubristic absurdity that contains the bubble of inexperience; that is, it is not the bubble from which the initiate emerges that makes him or her ignorant of reality, but the bubble of reality as such. With this inversion in mind, we might begin to re-imagine the vocation of design in the age of the Anthropocene; such an imagination would rediscover a critical relation to the technocratic novelties that populate our contemporary biosynthetic present while appropriating lines of inquiry for a renewed investigation of other-than-affluent architecture practices.

To conclude, we could recall the moment in Huxley’s Brave New World Revisted when the author begins to resemble his own ‘savage’ John character: “… human numbers are now increasing more rapidly than at any time in the history of the species. […] And this fantastically rapid doubling of our numbers will be taking place on a planet whose most desirable and productive areas are already densely populated, whose soils are being eroded by the frantic efforts of bad farmers to raise more food, and whose easily available mineral capital is being squandered with the reckless extravagance of a drunken sailor getting rid of his accumulated pay.”28 Huxley’s shock comes from the knowledge that when drunken sailors run out of money to squander, inevitably, a terrible fight breaks out. “Spheres stop being round,” as Sloterdijk warns, “when they burst.”29 It is among these inescapable planetary brawls, following the burst of our biosynthetic bubble, that design must learn to orient itself, find its footing, and punch well above its weight.

This essay would not have been possible without the careful and sagacious engagement of Kiel Moe, whose research, writing, and advice provoked these preliminary reflections on the so-called prehistory of the Anthropocene.

 REFERENCES

1 Mark Peter Sloterdijk,  Bubbles: Spheres Volume I: Microspherology (Los Angeles: Semiotext(e) / Foreign Agents, 2011).

2 Our interest – for the purposes of understanding the Anthropocene as a framework within which biosynthetics appear – is concerned with relations among design, technology, and science in the ‘long century’ between Stoppani and Crutzen; see Giovanni Arighi, The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power, and Origins of Our Times (London and New York: Verso, 1994).

3 Antonio Stoppani, ‘A New Force, A New Element, A New Input: Antonio Stoppani’s Anthropozoic’, translated from the 1873 Edition of the Corso di Geologia by Valeria Federighi, edited by Etienne Turpin and Valeria Federighi, in Making the Geologic Now: Responses to Material Conditions of Contemporary Life, edited by Elizabeth Ellsworth and Jamie Kruse (Brooklyn: Punctum Books, 2012), 34-41.

4 See Tom Cohen, editor, Telemorphosis: Theory in the Era of Climate Change Vol. 1 (Ann Arbor, Michigan: MPublishing/Open Humanities Press, 2012).

5 Elizabeth Grosz, Chaos, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008), 41.

6 Ibid.

7 Jakob von Uexküll, ‘A Stroll Through the Worlds of Animals and Men’, in Instinctive Behavior: The Development of a Modern Concept, translated and edited by Claire H. Schiller (New York: International Universities Press, Inc.), 5.

8 Ibid.

9 Jean-Luc Nancy, L’Intrus (Paris: Galilée, 2000).

Mark0 Grosz, Chaos, Territory, Art, 43.

Mark1 Sloterdijk,  Bubbles: Spheres Volume I: Microspherology, 28.

Mark2 Ibid.

Mark3 Ibid.

Mark4 Elizabeth Colbert, ‘Enter the Anthropocene: Age of Man’, in Making the Geologic Now: Responses to Material Conditions of Contemporary Life, edited by Elizabeth Ellsworth and Jamie Kruse (Brooklyn: Punctum Books, 2012), 28-32.

Mark5 Science and Public Affairs: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Vol. XXVIII, No. 5 (May 1972), 16-27; 42-56.

Mark6 John Gerrard and Michael A. Morris, ‘Corn Bomb: A Short History of Nitrogen 1660-2008’, in Collapse: Philosophical Research and Development, Issue VII: Culinary Materialism, edited by Reza Negarestani and Robin Mackay (July 2011), 85-118.

Mark7 Ibid.

Mark8 Bruno Latour, We Have Never Been Modern (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993

Mark9 Richard T.T. Forman et. al., Road Ecology: Science and Solutions (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2003).

20 See among other S. Solomon et al, editors, ‘Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis’, Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007).

2Mark John Sousanis, ‘World Vehicle Population Tops 1 Billion Units’, Wards Auto (August 15, 2011)

22 See Timothy Mitchell, ‘Carbon Democracy’, in Economy and Society 38:3, 399-432.

23 Etienne Turpin and Seth Denizen, ‘Stratophysical Approximations: A Conversation with Seth Denizen on the Urban Soils of the Anthropocene’, in OrgansEverywhere, Fall Issue (September 2012), 35.

24John Gerrard and Michael A. Morris, ‘Corn Bomb: A Short History of Nitrogen 1660-2008’, in Collapse: Philosophical Research and Development, Issue VII: Culinary Materialism, edited by Reza Negarestani and Robin Mackay (July 2011), 85-118.

25 The name is also a reference to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of Turkey.

26 Theodor Adorno, Prisms, translated by Samuel and Shierry Weber (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1997), 116.

27 William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene I, ll. 203–206.

28 Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited (New York: Rosetta Books, 2000), 6.

29 Peter Sloterdijk, Neither Sun Nor Death, with Hans-Jürgen Heinrichs, translated by Steve Corcoran (Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2011), 305.