Collective Mapping of the Critical Zone: A Creative Research Project on Ecological Imaging

by Maria Particia Tinajero and Lisa Taliano

English | Spanish

This is a trans-disciplinary approach to re-imagine the place where we live together, not as a blue marble floating in space, but rather as a dynamic multiplicity of human and non-human agency.

In this project we accept the challenge of leading philosophers and scientists to shift the way in which we look at the world and the planet in order to engage with the problems of climate change. The methodology includes an invitation to artists, philosophers, scientist, and activists to collaborate on collective representations of the world, as experienced from our immediate lived environment. Representations in the form of mappings that are not about locating ourselves on the longitude and latitude coordinates, but rather about tracing and recording the multi-layer interaction, trajectories and overlapping activity of humans and non-humans, living and non-living beings, in making the critical zone. The Critical zone is the very thin layer on the earth’s crust held together by living organisms, the zone from tree top to bedrock.  It is the “heterogeneous, near surface environment in which complex interactions involving rock, soil, water, air, and living organisms regulate the natural habitat and determine the availability of life-sustaining resources” [1]

There are two ways of participating in the project of re-imagining the world as an assemblage in which the parts are always greater than whole.

  1. You can create a visual, acoustic or descriptive map of the living and non-living entities that make the critical zone in which you live, and give a brief description of how you do this. 
  2. From the perspective of processes and relationships, create a representation of how you imagine the shape of the earth to be based on your experience in the critical zone?

We encourage trans-disciplinary entries. Activists, scientists, and philosophers can participate by submitting a ten page paper.

We have compiled a list of critical zone related resources to help you situate the project, and offer the following link as a source of inspiration and research tool.


This is an experimental collaboration that begins in the middle. On October 5, we will kick off the project with open conversations and installations of invited artists presenting their work. The submitted work for the open call participation will be added to the installation on October 26 at which time participating artists will have the opportunity to present their work.

Open Call Submission Deadline : January 1, 2020

To submit your work for consideration complete the form and upload files here Submission Form.

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