In Depth

Text=Yohji Suzuki


Booting up the Critical Zone

Interview with Bruno Latour

ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany

16 May 2018


Copyright: Armin Linke



To begin


For five days from May 14, 2018, I participated in a workshop at HfG Karlsruhe (Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe, or Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design) in Germany. The workshop was to help prepare for an exhibition to be held in the ZKM (Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, or Center for Art and Media) in 2020, and this was the second such event. The main curator for the exhibition is Bruno Latour, a famous philosopher of science technology and society.


The objective of the exhibition is to create a new representation of the Earth. Around two and a half years will be devoted to preparing for the exhibition, gathering academics, curators, artists and more from around the world, and involving the graduate students at HfG and staff at ZKM. While over half of the 30 participants are from Germany, there are also members from France, Italy, Austria, Russia, Turkey, South Korea, and the United States.


The workshop started with morning exercises on the first day. In a wide-open building of HfG as well as ZKM, the sister institution redefining its former use as an ammunition factory, a pleasant light shines in through its windows on sunny days. After refreshing our minds and bodies, we listened to the day’s topics in lectures and talks by Latour and other guests. We were given assignments before lunch and formed groups to work on them during the afternoon. The topics of the assignments were “what can we do to make ourselves sensitive to the sensitivity of other life forms?” and “think diplomatically about how we, with our new worldview, should introduce ourselves to people with an old worldview,” so we had to really use our heads. In the evening, each group presented its work and discussions were held. The presentations could take any form, including slides, posters, artworks, performances, or skits. In the following days we watched films and viewed ZKM exhibitions. There were also opportunities for each participant to freely present research on his or her own topic. In this way, the participants all followed their own areas of interest, gradually becoming involved with the concept of the exhibition, and started to influence one another. Each of the five days of the workshop had an exhausting schedule.


According to Latour, we are approaching the next big revolution in our approach to the Earth since Galileo’s heliocentric theory. Just as Galileo tried to prove his theory through use of a telescope and sketches of the moon, a group of scientists are working to explain a new view of the Earth, called the Critical Zone, using new observation technology and methods of expression. With this dramatic plot as a background, Latour is aiming to make his exhibition into a public experiment to demonstrate his new view of the Earth, just as Foucault used a pendulum to prove the Earth’s rotation. To accomplish this, he is willing to gather any materials needed and exhibit things in any way necessary. A faint sense of tension and excitement enveloped the participants, as if they were having their last meeting on the eve of the revelation of a secret monumental enough to overturn accepted history.


I would like to introduce this process in which I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in Japanese, so I requested an interview with Latour. I think it will be very stimulating for anyone involved in the arts or science. The interview was held during lunchtime on Wednesday, in a break in the workshop’s packed schedule.



Update a representation of the Earth


— Could you tell me about the new exhibition that you are now preparing? ZKM might be distant but many people in Japan have an interest in what you are doing. I hope we can share our concerns and work side by side from Japan.


This new exhibition is about the Earth, but it is trying to understand the Earth from a new perspective. It is not the Earth drawn, let’s say, according to 18th or 19th century geographical ideals nor is it a geographical grid or geographical imaginary. Even though these notions are very useful for many reasons, the Earth is now to be understood as something that reacts to our action. The Earth is now understood as having a sort of agency. This new understanding will not be terribly surprising for Japanese people who are used to earthquakes. But now we are living through another earthquake, one in which the Earth reacts to human society, in which human society acts as an earthquake affecting the Earth. This requires a change in the representation of the Earth’s surface. After discussion with some scientists, I picked the term critical zone.[1] This will be an exhibition on a new representation of the critical zone.


— What made you start to work on these subjects?


I have worked on the question of ecology for let’s say, 25 years – basically since I wrote Politics of Nature[2] in 1995. At that time, we hoped that this question of ecology would only modify, not revolutionize political theory. I wrote the book in a very standard manner for political theory. I was only trying to show where this question might fit in the normal repertoire of political philosophy. However, I found it impossible to bring this question into politics. To talk about ecology required complicated changes with the cosmology of people impacted by ecological crisis. I then did a series of exhibitions, including one in Toulouse,[3] in 2014-15, when the notion of the Anthropocene took center stage. I basically followed Gaia first, by reading Lovelock[4] and writing Facing Gaia,[5] and immediately made links to the artist’s work. Actually, that case required both science and art, simultaneously. Integrating these two things is a very complicated effort, requiring a collaboration between the artist and scientists to give it shape. So my first idea, trying to force ecology into political theory, was wrong. It requires many other forms of sensibility. This led me to create Reset Modernity![6] next, which was in a way a preparation for this new exhibition on the critical zone. This argument is now under full development, thanks to the help of many of my scientist friends. There is a logical connection. I am also working on this topic because it is incredibly urgent. The urgency has continued to increase, but people’s sensitivity has not followed suit. This is why you need an exhibition to modify the repertoire by which we become sensitive to this urgency.


— Please articulate the meaning and differences between the terms critical zone, Gaia, and the terrestrial.


Gaia is a half scientific and half mythic term. I like it, but it is very difficult to define because of the reaction to James Lovelock’s writings. This is why I try not to use Gaia at public events. It takes ages to explain what exactly Gaia is… The reason it is so difficult to define is because the term comes from two very controversial but important scientists, James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis.[7] It is very difficult to simplify the use of term. Critical zone has a big advantage because no one yet clearly understands what it means. And it does not designate the whole of nature. It only refers to the surface of the earth, where life has spread. I think that the big advantage of this concept is that it doesn’t immediately jump to the question of the universe, of physics, etc… You are just dealing with the tiny, tiny surface of the earth, which allows you to concentrate your attention not on all of the sciences, but only a select few. It also allows us to concentrate on the very influential role of humanity, not as a whole but as a part. If you study the galaxy, for example, human action is not very relevant, except for producing the knowledge. However, if you study critical zone, human activity is everywhere. This is why I use this term now. The third one, the terrestrial, is a complete invention of mine. If you wanted to translate into Japanese…


— I think it would be difficult to do so.


There is a good word in German: heimat. I’m sure it exists in Japanese. It means something like belonging to a place which has cultural significance. Usually there’s a term in all languages referring to a land to be defended. The soil of the Japanese islands for instance. Look for the translation of heimat, the concept of which is very disputed in Germany because of its association with reactionary politics. Anyway, the terrestrial is an invention made through contrast. It’s not nature, it’s not… If you read Augustin Berque,[8] the French specialist on Japan, he has many terms[9] to describe these sites in Japanese culture. Anyway, the terrestrial is my invention, so we need a definition. The terrestrial is actually a political science term to describe where all of us will finally land at the end of modernism. Thus, it is a concept to describe the Earth, differing from the Globe. There is a triangle formed between the Globe, the Local, and the Terrestrial.


The political attractors. Alexandra Arènes, Atelier SOC (



— So you are trying to make a contrast against something abstract and ethereal.


While the Globe is supposed to be material, it is not as it remains largely a cartographic abstraction. It doesn’t have properties of interest in the notion of Critical Zones. In a way we are re-describing what it is to be on Earth – again. We did it when geography was invented, we read it like a riddle again… Another way of saying this is that we are rediscovering geography.


— So you are once again emphasizing the feeling of landing.


I hope for the book, Down to Earth,[10] to be available in Japanese because I am very interested to know how it will be translated.



In the context of history


— Could you describe these concepts in a historical context? I think it’s very important for this exhibition.


Well, again if you take Japan as a case there is one instance of swift modernization in the 19th century, recent enough for Japanese people to remember, the Meiji restoration. So, you have the experience of having had to re-discover what the Earth was about, and what globalization was about after two centuries of isolation, of forced isolation. In a way, in Japan, it must be easier to understand what is happening now, a re-re-description of the Earth in a very short time, as suddenly we have to understand that the Earth has property and agency to react to our actions. The Earth is a system, which is not the same notion we had re-defined when we were modernizing in the 19th century. So there is a deep historical grounding in this quick succession – which lasted a long time in Europe, from the 17th century to 21st century. However, I am very interested in the fact that this took place in an extremely short period in Japan.


— May I ask you to explain from the European perspective which made a concept of the Globe?


That’s easy, because in the European tradition, the Globe was completely and simultaneously understood with occupation of other people’s lands. I mean it was completely linked to the notion of empire – and to the development of globalization. This is a cliché of historiography. For Europeans there is a complete fusion of globalization, cartography and the history of the last three centuries of war. That was a geopolitical imagination so to speak, drawing up a checker-, or chessboard of sorts. And now of course the chessboard is changing its shape. New definitions of conflict, war game, and boundaries are appearing. But again, it’s different in Japan. All of this happened in a little over a century and half. In 150 years you moved from a shogunate to the new Earth. So maybe this is easier to understand in Japan than here.


— To make your point more understandable, we have to make the relationship between history and the present more sensable. How can an exhibition function in that sense?


Exhibitions cannot do much; they can’t replace books in terms of argumentation. But their big advantage is that they provide a spatial form of understanding, which is excellent for what amounts to a shift in spatial consciousness. If an exhibition is well done it provides a bodily experience in space, a sort of muscle memory if you will, just like what Reset Modernity! did. It’s physical, but if it’s well done it gets into your mind as well. I think we succeeded with the three exhibitions we did here in transforming the physical space into a conceptual space and the conceptual space into a bodily experience. It helps people make sense of the complexity of the historical situation. This is exactly what is missing in all these discussions about the ecological crisis. If you keep talking about nature being in danger, no one cares. It’s too far away, it’s too complicated. Precisely it’s associated with the old climatic regime so to speak, what I call the cartographic imaginary, an inert thing. So in that sense I think exhibitions have a powerful role to play, a more powerful role than books. This is because it’s easier to be immersed into the spirit of an exhibition than the spirit of a book.


— How do you think about history itself? The importance of thinking in a historical context is too often underestimated or overlooked.


Yes, but on the other hand, with these questions right now, it’s almost the opposite case. The timing of news about the earth’s behavior is so tight. There are so many things happening and the sense of urgency is so strong. However, I think an exhibition should also do the opposite, that is slow down and take some distance from the crisis. We should not have a strident, intense, urgent exhibition. We should take a more historical distance. Stories appearing everyday in the news are terrifying. Yesterday there was an article on the disappearance of ice in the Arctic saying that it had never been so small. What can you do with news like that? It’s terrifying. So I think we need to take some distance.


by Michelle Mantel


Tackling problems for which no one knows the answer with a group


— I would like to move to more practical questions about exhibitions. Please talk about the organization behind the making of the exhibition. The group I’m joining is one of several groups, isn’t it? I remember you said there is another group which consists of more scientific people.


There are the scientists I’m working with in Paris. Then, there is a group of exemplary students from SPEAP[11] which I built in Paris. I hope we succeed in maintaining it, as right now the situation is unsure. We already number about 20. That’s all.


— So we actually have two other groups now?


There is of course Martin’s[12] group, which includes Martin, Bettina[13] and all the curators. Technically it is me, Martin, Bettina, Weibel,[14] and the scientific advisors. Then there is the group of scientists interested in the show. The head is in Paris, but the members are from all around the world, including China. Maybe we can also include Japan if we can find critical zone scientists there.


— I was impressed by the very open-minded and animated discussion we had in the working group. Everyone spoke so actively. I think that unless someone carefully sets it up, it’s difficult to find a mood so conducive to discussion. Do you have any thoughts on such an educative method? What do you think about the educational effect of this workshop on the participants?


No, I don’t have any such method. I propose a topic and a method and then I distribute my ignorance to the participants! I don’t know the solution either. This is what I have always done. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but most of the time it works (laugh). So it’s more like saying that we should go up that mountain, I don’t know how to go there, but it is the place where we should be in a month or a year. Do you want to do it? Are you up for it? They say yes, and then we go (laugh). And you have no method; it’s the goal which is important. When I did Make It Work[15] with Frédérique Aït-Touati,[16] the assembly in 2015 around the Paris agreement, I said we have to do a COP meeting, it will be in May, and the non-human must be represented. And I found the money. The rest was done by students. When I did Controversy Mapping[17] in Paris for many years I just said “let’s do Controversy Mapping” having no idea how to actually do it. But the student did it. And then my job is to encourage people, push them forward, and try not to say negative things even if the students are not very good.


— That really impressed me.


That’s all. I have no great method.


Make It Work


Learning from artists


— Did the approach of working at an art museum have any impact on your own thought?


Yes, a lot. That’s where I feed off my ideas, especially for this topic. This was not the case in the old days because I didn’t know any artists. Since the day I met Peter Weibel exactly 20 years ago and Hans Ulrich Obrist[18] 21 years ago, I learned to learn from artists. Before, I knew how to dive deep into classical arts, especially painting, but I didn’t have any interest in contemporary art. Without doing an exhibition, I wouldn’t have used the art so to speak. Now I’m very good at learning from artists. And it does feed me. Because the whole thing we do on Lovelock, Brecht,[19] Gaia, the whole work I introduced was completely inspired by the artists and my work with them. We did plays, from which I learnt enormously. Yeah, the answer is yes. It’s not art applied to concepts, it’s not visualization of concepts. It’s about creating a situation and an exhibition or a play, where you learn new ways to think about your topic from the artists. The idea for my book Facing Gaia, actually started with a dancer.


— Could you explain using a more concrete example?


Let’s take a good example. Take Galileo looking at the moon for the first time with a telescope. If he had not been a good craftsman, he would not have recognized what he saw. But it’s only because he used to paint and draw that he saw the shadows of mountains etc. That’s a classical example. Now if you take Gaia for me, it’s a dancing movement[20] inseparable from the book because, the dance still remains an enigma in my mind. It’s like a myth. It’s deeper than any form I could develop in the book. In that sense the concept in the book is a work of art developed, revealed if you wish. The critical zone, the very concept of the critical zone is not my invention. Scientists use this concept but in a narrower sense than how I use it. The reason why I extended it to materialization and images and so on, like the paper we did with Alexandra,[21] is that it is of great interest to scientists. Suddenly they see in this diagram* made by Alexandra with my advice. These diagrams are scientific, so to speak, but without art, science would have failed to represent what it wishes to show. So you have a constant exchange because science is entirely about representation and visualization, so is mythology.


*The “energetic maelstrom”

Axonometric view rendering visible the position of the sun in a cartographic view, but also its role in a dynamic hydrological and geochemical perspective. Matter and elements are activated by a cosmo-tectonic circulation.

Arènes, Alexandra, Bruno Latour, and Jérôme Gaillardet. “Giving Depth to the Surface: An Exercise in the Gaia-Graphy of Critical Zones.” The Anthropocene Review (2018).


Exhibitions curated by BL


— Please talk about approaches you have tried for making exhibitions in the past. Please illustrate cases of both success and failure, if you can.


I began with a bit of adventure with Hans Ulrich Obrist called Laboratorium, [22] which was at the time staging famous scientific experiments in public. I would say it was halfway a success, halfway a failure, but it was very simple. And then Iconoclash[22] was a big success in terms of exhibition, and the catalogue even more. Making Things Public was actually a failure in terms of art, since we did not produce any really worthwhile art pieces. The exhibition was always more of a design thing, but it worked as an exhibition. And that was really the meaning of the show. We were trying to establish a comparative basis between all of the practices of representation no matter if they were about politics proper or politics extended to other forms. I don’t think it worked as an art show. In that sense it was a failure. Reset Modernity! was the best so far, because of Martin. It was simultaneously beautiful and had enormously important works of art, and the exhibition was very informative, so for me it was a success. For Toulouse, I was not directly involved in the choice of the art pieces, but I organized an interesting series of lectures. However, the theme was too close to the Anthropocene, so I think it was a bit naïve. That’s my experience. I’m not a curator and my career is short. I like the collaborative aspect. Of course, you need to know what grounds you will use to judge whether something is a failure or a success. For me, changing every time gave me perspective. The problem in exhibitions is visitors. And although those three exhibitions have achieved a sort of mythical status, not many people came to see them. However, Margit[23] told me the most often asked about exhibition here in the archives is Iconoclash. So it has become a sort of success in terms of reputation.



»Reset Modernity!«, 2016, Photo © ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Photo: Jonas Zillius


— Can you tell me any more behind-the-scenes information? Have you always had workshops like this Critical Zone exhibition?


Yes we always have because Hans Ulrich Obrist had already involved multiple curators for the show Laboratorium. For Iconoclash, we were seven curators. I was the main curator, but I delegated things, and we worked for 2 or 3 years, meeting in Paris, Bern, and many other places. For Making Things Public, we worked together with Valérie Pihet,[24] who had been helping me in Paris for 2 years. Actually, Making Things Public was really my show in the sense that I made all the decisions. However, lots of friends helped me. Reset Modernity! was again a collaborative work. The process took about 2 years with a small team and was very intense. We met almost 3 times a week. But again it was a small group, not trying to be bigger than it needed to be.


— So this time it’s bigger than…


Yeah it’s bigger because also I want to involve a lot of scientists. I also want to conduct fieldwork simultaneously. I do a lot of fieldwork and visit many places, as a member of Critical Zone Observatory.[25] I go from one city to another, I have already visited many and I keep traveling. I hope to travel more in October and November.


— I have to ask more about the Observatory. What are you doing in the CZO?


I observe (laugh). I do very classical science studies, like I did when I was a young sociologist of science.


— So, you are observing scientists who are observing the critical zone.


Right. It’s not so useful right now because everything is on the web now. I’m actually observing what Daniel[26] and Martin[27] do on a daily basis, so to speak, when they visit the artists’ studios. I take pictures, visit them and get involved in their activities.


Practice in China and Iran


— Please tell us about your experience of Reset Modernity! in China and Iran. What did it mean for you?


I think it was too complicated. Martin did something interesting in Shanghai, holding a three or four day meeting. In Iran it was immensely complicated because Iran is an immensely complicated country with an even more complicated political situation! The idea was to replicate in other countries the preparatory work we did in Europe for Reset Modernity! I mean, the whole idea of Reset Modernity! is good, but the problem of modernity in my rendering, is linked to the anthropology of We Have Never Been Modern,[28] which is not so widespread. Without the knowledge of my work, we keep falling back into clichés of West/East and modern/non-modern. It’s very difficult to escape from those tropes. It’s not easier in Japan, as far I can tell. In China and Iran, they are obsessed with East/West considerations which of course means nothing anthropologically since we have never been modern in either Europe, Japan, China or Iran! The only difference in Japan is that you are not completely submerged by colonialism, or a postcolonial attitude. The view of our workshops was to say: “let’s put aside all this nonsense about East and West and focus rather on this new climatic regime that concerns all of us.” It takes a long time to for people to really grasp the concept. You need to read We Have Never Been Modern to understand what it means, you need to read about the sociology of science, but it’s too complicated.


— It sounds strange that you don’t know Japanese people who are committed to your project. If Japanese people can understand better than the Chinese or Iranians—


We didn’t try to do Reset Modernity! there. It would have been really interesting, but we didn’t try it in Japan. Yuko could have acted as one of our mediators so to speak.


Alliance: an exchange between art and science


— Could you tell me more about peers who have attracted your attention recently? For example, you praised Richard Powers’[29] new novel The Overstory.[30]


Richard Powers is my alter-ego in novelist form. As far as I can tell, he does exactly the same thing I do but as a novelist, and of course much better (laugh). That’s another way to answer the question of what the connections between art and science are. I’ve exchanged ideas and opinions with him for 20 years. But he is a great novelist, and I’m not. He is concerned about how you can bring the non-human into the plot of history. I’m sure that his book The Overstory will be translated into Japanese. So in literature, Powers would be my friend so to speak. I think he is much younger than me. He is about 60.


— Also could you introduce some other novelists, scientists or academics? Donna Haraway[31] is very famous and she has also been introduced in Japan. But for example, the work of Isabelle Stengers[32] is not translated into Japanese. So I want to know who is in your alliance.


Donna, certainly, and Isabelle. I have known Isabelle for 40 years. We work together constantly. Her work is not so easy to translate because she writes a bit abstractly. She is a very important philosopher though. And then of course there are a lot of younger thinkers like Didier Debaise,[33] who is a student of Isabelle, and another student of hers, Vinciane Despret,[34] a philosopher of animals from Belgium. She is very good. And of course, there is my master, Simon Shaffer.[35] I don’t know which if any of his works are translated into Japanese. I have many friends. And then there are artists of course, such as Saraceno,[36] who I like a lot.


A task to undertake


— To wrap up this interview, please reveal as much as you can about your upcoming plans.


I don’t have any concrete plans beyond the 2020 exhibition. That’s already a lot of things. I’d like to go back to AIME, An Inquiry of Modes of Existence.[37]


— Is there still something left to do with it?


It’s endless. There are many things to do with AIME. It’s endless. But I have no time to do these because I have been seized by Gaia. However, if I were really a philosopher, I would work only on AIME, since in the long run this is what will be most important. AIME might be more important but it’s not on the same timeline as Gaia. There is a point where we have to feel the weight of the new climatic regime. It’s too heavy. I did what I could, but what can you do? So maybe when I turn 72 or 73, at the end of the series, I will go back to AIME and work seriously on it because it would be the end my life so to speak. I would like to say that AIME is the most interesting thing I have done philosophically. Let’s see what happens. The political situation right now is so awful that we cannot afford to just sit around. I mean you have to move, you have to act.


— Thank you very much for such a wonderful interview.


My pleasure.





[1] This refers to the thin, membrane-like layer covering the surface of the globe, stretching from the tips of trees and plants that circulate gas and water to the bottom of the groundwater. One can assume that all important interactions in the ecosystem are contained within this region. It was proposed by sedimentologist Gail Ashley (1941-) in the late 1990s as an area of study deserving collaboration from academics in all fields related to earth science. Observation posts (Critical Zone Observatories) have already been set up by the US National Science Foundation and other organizations at several dozen locations around the world. Latour is proposing the critical zone as a new worldview to take the place of the current “global” worldview.

[2] Latour, Bruno. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy. (Originally published as: Politiques de la nature: comment faire entrer les sciences en démocratie, Paris, 1999) Translated by Cathy Porter. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004.

[3] The Anthropocene Monument. *Exhibition=3.10.2014-04.01.2015 held at les Abattoirs, Toulouse.

[4] James Lovelock (1919-), a British scientist who proposed the Gaia theory.

[5] Latour, Bruno. Facing Gaia: Eight Lectures on the New Climatic Regime. (Originally published as: Face à Gaïa: huit conférences sur le nouveau régime climatique, Paris, 2015) Translated by Cathy Porter. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2017.

[6] Latour, Bruno, and Christoph Leclercq, eds. Reset modernity!. Karlsruhe: ZKM Center for Art and Media, 2016. *Exhibition=16.04.2016-21.08.2016 held at ZKM.

[7] Lynn Margulis (1938-2011), an American biologist known for proposing the theory of symbiogenesis who supported Lovelock’s Gaia theory from a unique perspective.

[8] Augustin Berque (1942-), a French geographer and thinker. Several of his books have been translated and published in Japan

[9] That word may be “fūdo,” in Japanese, or “milieu/médiance.” Fluent in Japanese, Berque expanded on Tetsuro Watsuji’s theory of fūdo, and added his own unique philosophical meanings to it. Directly translated, Latour’s “terrestrial” would mean something to do with the earth or the earth’s surface, but it would be hard to quickly compare the nuances of Latour’s term and the meaning Berque imbued in the term fūdo and come up with a suitable translation.

[10] Latour, Bruno. Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime. (Originally published as: Où Atterrir?: Comment S’orienter En Politique. Paris: La Découverte, 2017) Translated by Cathy Porter. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2018.

[11] Programme d’expérimentation en arts et politique. A Master’s program targeting mid-career adults launched by Bruno Latour and Valérie Pihet at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris) in 2010. This program seeks to integrate science, art, and politics.

[12] Martin Guinard-Terrin (1989-), a French artist / curator. In addition to working with Latour to curate Reset Modernity!, he is participating in the later-mentioned AIME.

[13] Bettina Korintenberg, a curator at ZKM.

[14] Peter Weibel (1944-), an Austrian artist and critic who has served as the Director of ZKM from 1999.

[15] A project that displayed the efforts of multiple representatives as they negotiate towards an agreement, in imitation of COP21. Held in May of 2015. It sought to construct a political model transcending the interests of each nation’s government by including representatives for youth and NGO groups in addition to representatives from France, India, and other countries, and furthermore, involved representatives for the non-human, such as oceans, forests, soil, and the Internet.

[16] Frédérique Aït-Touati (1977-), a French researcher in the fields of the history of literature and science. Associate Professor at CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique, or National Center for Scientific Research)

[17] A project started by Latour at the Paris Institute of Political Studies. Drawing on data visualization, he sought to visualize an arrangement of political discussions. Currently it has become an academic methodology taught at multiple universities. The archive can be viewed at:

[18] Hans Ulrich Obrist (1968-), a Swiss curator. Latour conducted a lecture performance entitled “The Theatre of Proof” at Laboratorium, an exhibition curated by Obrist in 1999.

[19] Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), a German playwright. At a workshop in January, participants viewed the movie version (1975, directed by Joseph Losey) of Brecht’s play “Life of Galileo” (1939).

[20] The Angel of Geostory by Stéphanie Ganachaud (2013).

[21] Alexandra Arènes, an architect. She is working on visualization of the critical zone in the research project called Gaïa-graphy.

[22] Latour, Bruno, and Peter Weibel, eds. Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy. Karlsruhe: ZKM Center for Art and Media; Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2005. *Exhibition=20.03.2005-03.10.2005 held at ZKM.

[23] Margit Rosen, a curator, Head of Collections, Archives & Research at ZKM.

[24] Valérie Pihet, co-founder of SPEAP.

[25] Refer to footnote 1.

[26] Daniel Fetzner (1966-), a German media scientist and Professor at Offenburg University of Applied Sciences. A participant in Latour’s working group. Currently leading the DE/GLOBALIZE research project along with Dornberg.

[27] Martin Dornberg (1959-), a German practitioner of psychosomatic medicine, and philosopher. A participant in Latour’s working group.

[28] Bruno Latour. Nous n’avons jamais été modernes: Essai d’anthropologie symétrique. Paris, 1991, 1997., translated into Japanese by Kumiko Kawamura (Tokyo : Shinhyoron, 2008).

[29] Richard Powers (1957-), an American novelist.

[30] Powers, Richard. The Overstory, W. W. Norton & Company, 2018.

[31] Donna Haraway (1944-), an American feminist theorist and scientific thinker.

[32] Isabelle Stengers (1949-), a Belgian philosopher and scientific thinker.

[33] Didier Debaise, a French thinker.

[34] Vinciane Despret (1959-), a Belgian scientific thinker.

[35] Simon Schaffer (1955-), a British scientific historian. His book Leviathan and the Air-Pump, co-authored by Steven Shapin, has been translated into Japanese (translated by Kazuhiro Shibata / Kuninobu Sakamoto and supervised by Hideyuki Yoshimoto, Nagoya Daigaku University Press, 2016).

[36] Tomás Saraceno (1973-), an Argentine artist.

[37] An Inquiry into Modes of Existence. A research project that seeks to classify the various “modes of existence” that compose our world and depict them with negotiable relationships. Has received the support of the European Research Council from 2011 and has published literature and constructed a participatory online platform. Positioned as an attempt by Latour to answer the question of “if we are not modern people, then just what was the fiction called modernity?” he raised in We have never been modern. Latour, Bruno. An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns. (Originally published as: Enquête sur les Modes d’Existence. Une Anthropologie des Modernes, Paris, 2012) Translated by Cathy Porter. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2013.



Text=Yohji Suzuki ( Graduated the Master’s program at Graduate School of Global Arts in March 2018 )

Portrait by Yosuke Amemiya