Terra. Designing our Planet

Has Earth become a design object, an artefact that humans can measure, control and even modify ?

This exhibition takes stock of an action that has unfolded since humans first settled, i.e. that of designing our planet. Since the scientific revolution in the Age of Enlightenment, this process has accelerated, and even more so in the 1960s, with the conquest of space and, in particular, the view of Earth from space. Born of necessity, linked to agriculture and then to the organisation of human activities, accelerated by utilitarian and conquering ambitions, then by a techno-scientific vision linked to the industrial revolutions, the design of our planet is embodied in different processes: representing the world through cartography, shaping it through land-use planning, modelling it to anticipate natural phenomena and, today, influencing it through geoengineering projects that aim to react to the new climate regime through artificial interventions on a planetary scale.

If we understand design as a method that produces projects and relationships rather than objects or if we focus on the attitude of human beings towards the rest of the living and nonliving world, then considering our planet as a design project, as this exhibition suggests, allows us to critically examine our contemporary Western stance.

Jolanthe Kugler
Scott Longfellow

Camille Neméthy

Graphic identity

Fragmentin & Renaud Defrancesco, Displuvium, 2019
Photo © Vandy, Edited by Renaud Defrancesco & Fragmentin
Carte de la Terre carrée et stationnaire, Orlando Ferguson, L.H. Everts & Co., 1893
© Library of Congress
Dome over Manhattan, Richard Buckminster Fuller, 1959
© Richard Buckminster Fuller Estate
Archives des objets impossibles : Globes, Dunne & Raby, 2019. Vue de l’exposition, Alternatives for Living, Haus Lange, Krefeld Kunstmuseen Krefeld.
© Dunne & Raby, Photo: Dirk Rose
Klaas Verpoest, The Solitary One, 2021
© Video still