Talk at Remote Control Conference in Berlin

Berlin, Humboldt University, Remote Control Conference
June, 29th – 30th 2017

Isabell Schicke gave a presentation on climate mediation – shifting scales of atmospheric intervention.

The escalating explicitness and inversion of the notion of environment is one of the most exciting cultural, technological and scientific endeavors in the 20th and 21st centuries. This inversion is also in many ways a pre-condition for the large-scale development of practices and technologies of remote control discussed during the workshop. The scientific exploration of the atmosphere made great contributions to this environmental inversion, at the latest with the discovery of a planetary scaleanthropogenic climate change. However, attempts to investigate the history of this exploration from an interventionist perspective are still rare. I use the opportunity of the workshop to discuss both historical and contemporary targets of atmospheric intervention through the lens of remote control, because it allows us to embed some of the recent debates on climate change policies in a broader context of control thinking and to highlight some of the problems and asymmetries involved. I compare the more laboratory-inspired atmospheric experiments to control spatially distant atmospheric environments in the mid of the 20th century with the recent visions of climate or geoengineering and the temporal scales and complexities involved. This comparison will hopefully contribute an analysis of the changing scope of atmospheric intervention and the shifting scales of remote control.