Back to overview

Cycles of Circulation

English title Cycles of Circulation
Applicant Allen Jamie
Number 185494
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Institut für Experimentelle Design und Medienkulturen Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst, FHNW
Institution of higher education University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (without UTE) - FHNW
Main discipline Arts
Start/End 01.12.2019 - 30.11.2023
Approved amount 818'660.00
Show all

All Disciplines (2)

Climatology. Atmospherical Chemistry, Aeronomy

Keywords (11)

anthropocene; cybernetics; discourse; science communication; art history; visual ethnography; climate change; science and technology studies; artistic research; ethnography; ecology

Lay Summary (French)

Cycles of Circulation creates new ways of relating to and representing ecologies, and interventions in climate governance processes through creative and scholarly practices.
Lay summary
Cycles of Circulation creates new ways of relating to and representing ecologies, and interventions in climate governance processes through creative and scholarly practices. It examines historical as well as contemporary, speculative relationships at the intersection of political ecology, science and technology studies, and art, design and media as knowledge practices. We are interested in entangled metabolisms and in where ‘cycles’ are used and abused in ecological, technological and political histories and communications, and in the ramifications of these in public imaginaries.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 22.10.2019

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


Project partner


Archive Earth: Ambiguous Conversations and Conversions
Allen Jamie (2021), Archive Earth: Ambiguous Conversations and Conversions, in Roadsides, 005, 145.
Dust storms, green waves A lattice of violent, global relations sustains China's colonization of 'Xinjiang'
SuessSolveig (2021), Dust storms, green waves A lattice of violent, global relations sustains China's colonization of 'Xinjiang', Lausan, Hong Kong.
Arts of Science in the Contact Zone
ChatterjeeSria (2021), Arts of Science in the Contact Zone, in Troelenberg Eva-Maria (ed.), Heidelberg University Publishing, Heidelberg, 47.
Can Hope be Calculated?
AllenJamie, SindersCaroline (2021), Can Hope be Calculated?, AMRO, Linz, Austria.
Rethinking Midcentury Modern: A View from Postcolonial India
(2021), Rethinking Midcentury Modern: A View from Postcolonial India, in Mareis Claudia (ed.), Valiz, Valiz, 34.
The Bauhaus
ChatterjeeSria (2021), The Bauhaus, in Mukherjee Parul, Balaram Rakhee, Mitter Partha (ed.), Thames and Hudson, London, 76.
Geognostics — A Planetary Manual
Allen Jamie, Geognostics — A Planetary Manual, Motto Books, Berlin.
Overland, There's Shorter Time to Dream
SuessSolveig, Overland, There's Shorter Time to Dream, Preston H. Thomas, Ithaca, New York.

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
166400 Shift Register: Media-geological Grounding of the Anthropocene through Artistic Research 01.10.2016 Project funding


Cycles of Circulation (CC) is historically-informed artistic research, developing alternative nature-culture relations and governance in the Anthropocene, an era of irreversible human-created Earth-magnitude changes. Interdisciplinary and cross- gender and cultural, the project is framed by cycles: pervasive, useful, yet often delusive rhetorical and aesthetical paradigms that structure the experience, understanding, and management of planetary ecologies and presume a balance and harmony, antithetical to lived involvements, economics and policy, and the growing instability of the natural conditions that sustain life on Earth. The core questions of CC are framed by the metaphor of the “cycle”, tracing a history of representations of nature, linking this to contemporary conditions of acute representational and ecological crisis, and grounding new ways of thinking that challenge and displace regenerative cycles as root metaphor. The 1) past, 2) present and 3) future cycles, conspiring to produce, abstract and control nature, ecology, climate, weather and experience thereof are: 1) “Cycles of Spectacle”: What are visual and cultural histories of a modern “spectacle of nature”, an alienated and dominating nature-culture relation constituting both art and science? CC will study the representation and control of nature, climate and territory in art and patriarchal natural science of Colonial and Cold War Europe, with studies on the work by Alexander von Humboldt and Howard T. Odum; 2) “Cycles of Geoscience”: How do globalised, cybernetic sciences and ecology perpetuate this spectacle in ways that project unfounded mastery, authorising solutionist practices and techno-fixes like geoengineering? CC will examine representations, communications, models, metaphors in European and Chinese cross-cultural scientific and ecological governance and geoengineering frontiers through interventionist, artistic-ethnography; 3) “Cycles of Metabolism”: How might we develop new models and prototypes for political ecologies different from the current paradigm of incommensurate exchanges and limitless regeneration that have precipitated crises? Referring to alternative perspectives such as Marxist-ecofeminist and Asian philosophies, CC will design speculative pedagogies, design models and prototypes for “post-metabolic” life responding to the urgent need to inform and make different our modes of ecological governance and compose new communities of thought and practice. CC continues the artistic research of SNSF prototype project “Shift Register” (SR) (SNSF#166400, 2016-2018): critical-historical, perspectival investigations into knowledge production of and in the Anthropocene. Against linear models of knowledge-progress, as in the search for a “marker” that would indicate a new geological epoque, CC looks beyond SR to examine representations of nature as “cycle”. We ask if ecosystem recursivity has been interrupted, and of the appropriateness of control-loop governance. What do models like “carbon cycle”, “metabolic cycle” and “water cycle” reveal, hide, allow and disallow? Where has cyclical thinking been employed in unthought ways to naturalise unsustainable fictions of colonialism, capitalism, and modernity (e.g.: in product “life cycles”, economic “market cycles”, “natural climate cycles” of global-warming deniers)? CC ambitiously intends to involve itself in academic and cultural debates, as well as governance, science and geoengineering contexts, generating 1) two PhD theses, 2) two public workshops, 3) published pedagogies and articles 4) a multimedia documentary, 5) a public exhibition & congress, 6) a hybrid analog/digital book by CC researchers and partners. CC outputs will interest interdisciplinary Artistic Research, Historical and Postcolonial Studies, Science and Technology Studies, Gender and Asian Cross-cultural studies, Ecology and Political Science, engaging with and effecting the real-world contexts that these investigate. Two doctoral students (Karolina Sobecka, NN), a Postdoctoral role (Sria Chatterjee) and continues Dr. Jamie Allen’s media/ecology work at Institute of Experimental Design and Media Cultures (IXDM) are activated by the project, connecting FHNW HGK to academic and non-academic groups in Switzerland, U.S.A. and China. Human activity drives earth systems into states of novel, precarious instability. It is essential and urgent that the spectacle of nature, our models and representations of it as cyclically harmonious, be interrogated and rethought. Through historically and cross-culturally informed interventionist research and actions, CC reframes the art and science of life on Earth, impacting education and strategies of climate change governance.