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Lecture on Drift

31 May 2023 - "Drift as a Planetary Phenomenon"

Time Location Participation
6 pm c.t.


Bismarckstraße 37, 35390 Gießen

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or spontaneous participation

We invite all participants to an informal gathering at the planetary Hub afterwards.

Guest Lecture

Prof. Dr. Bronislaw Szerszynski

Lancaster University, United Kingdom

In this lecture-performance I will explore ‘drift’ as a primordial form of motion within the extended body of the Earth. We will hear about a participatory experiment into the ‘drift economy’, in which different kinds of balloon were launched into the atmosphere in order to explore the physics, poetics and politics of drift, and in which people were invited to imagine a radically different mobility system that uses the kinds of motion employed by the inanimate parts of the Earth. What can balloons and other drifting things tell us about the planetary conditions for motion?  How do living and non-living entities engage in ‘driftwork’, in which drift is subsumed within a wider set of purposes or functions? How can drift remind us of our debt to the planetary mobility commons – the Earth seen as a storehouse of accumulated experiments and potentialities? And if drift is gift, a kind of motion given without expectation of return, what acts of solidarity should drift draw from us?



Dr. Jason Waite (Fellow with the Planetary Scholars & Artists in Residence Program 2023)

Prof. Dr. Sven Opitz (Professor for Sociology, Philipps University Marburg)

Prof. Dr. Bronislaw Szerszynski 

Bronislaw Szerszynski is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Lancaster University.  His research draws on the social and natural sciences, arts and humanities in order to situate the changing relationship between humans, environment and technology in the longer perspective of human and planetary history.  He is co-author with Nigel Clark of Planetary Social Thought (2021), author of Nature, Technology and the Sacred (2005), and co-editor of Risk, Environment and Modernity (1996), Re-Ordering Nature (2003), Nature Performed (2003) and Technofutures (2015).  As well as academic publications, his outputs also include performances, creative writing, art-science exhibitions and events, and experimental participatory workshops.  He was co-organiser of the public art–science events Between Nature: Explorations in Ecology and Performance (Lancaster, 2000), Experimentality (Lancaster/Manchester/London, 2009-10), and Anthropocene Monument, with Bruno Latour and Olivier Michelon (Toulouse, 2014-2015).