You may wonder about the cover image on the home page: it’s by Tomás Saraceno, titled On Space Time Foam. This is an odd image to place on an environmental resources site, and deliberately so: where is the environment? What gives with all that plastic?? It turns out that Saraceno is a favorite of Bruno Latour (see e.g. here), one of many scholarly inspirations behind our ENVS Program. On Space Time Foam has been described as
…a vision of the possible interrelationships between individuals and society, as a metaphor for the most advanced theories in physics, as a utopian architecture that transforms space, and as an experiment in social psychology.
Latour himself has provided an alternative explanation as part of his 2013 Gifford Lectures, “Facing Gaia: A New Enquiry Into Natural Religion.” To Latour, visitors to this art installation
…were learning to lose the feeling of what it is to be a Human jumping on solid ground or flying freely above it; they were experiencing what it is to be Earthbound to a land that moves just as much as them. By finding a way to fuse the visitors’ agitations with the reactions of the plastic sheets, the artist had given a direct and sensitive way to prefigure living in the Anthropocene where every move is a fusion of social relations, abrupt atmospheric change and chemistry (Lecture 6, “Inside the ‘Planetary Boundaries’: Gaia’s Estate”).