Lukáš Likavčan, Introduction to Comparative
Planetology, Strelka Press, 2019.
Different philosophical and visual imaginations of the Earth reflect different geopolitical arrangements and translate into different geophysical and biochemical realities on the planetary scale. Following in the footsteps of science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson, the philosophical endeavor of studying and comparing these kinds of imaginations, as well as preparing their alternative articulation, might be called comparative planetology, argues philosopher Lukáš Likavčan.
His book Introduction to Comparative Planetology, published by Strelka Press, presents an intertwined analysis of visual cultures of imagining the Earth and geopolitics of climate emergency. It compares different “figures” of the planet—the Planetary, the Globe, Terrestrial, Earth-without-us and Spectral Earth—in order to assess their geopolitical implications.
These implications are then mapped on respective prospects of these figures in developing an infrastructural space for planetary coordination of our design interventions against runaway global heating, and ultimately against mass species extinction.
The book looks at the way we envisage our planet through cultural artifacts, in order to ask questions such as “For what Earth do we design?” or “What geopolitical tendencies does our imagination of Earth endorse?”
By examining existing intuitive conceptions of the planet and proposing new ones, comparative planetology contributes to the emergence of a solid theoretical conceptualization of the planet in contemporary thinking about politics, media, design, and architecture.