Report from the field trip : the shape of the camel came with the dialogue
Project Speculation: Desert takes off from the two interlinked futurist descriptions of anthropogenic impact on the planet: the desert planet and the drowned world. The desert planet and the drowned world from one angle seem to be absolute opposites: the latter the result of global warming leading to melting polar arctic ice and the permafrost layer, leading to apocalyptic visions of gigantic tsunamis, unconquerable floods, and drowned cities or countries, while the former represents the desertification of the planet, loss of greenery, biodiversity and arable land, with widespread hunger, drought phenomena and so on. From another angle, the desert planet is the ultimate future, for many deserts of the present were not too long ago covered in water, or lush greenery, and teeming with life-whose presences remain to this day. In India and the subcontinent, there is no dearth of examples of parts of the country suffering droughts, desertification, and flooding at the same time, leading to widespread destruction of property and loss of life- not just human life, but all manner of flora and fauna. Nuclear apocalypses of the Cold War period have been replaced by these apocalypses for a new epoch in the new millennium. If statistical models and extrapolations such as the planetary boundaries model are acknowledged, then one can see that these problems of our time will only intensify, leading to scientific visions and science fictional visions merging with spiritual-apocalyptic visions of the end-times.
The project maps this mergence from three intersecting nodes: the geo-cultural, the biological, and the science fictional, uniting the theoretical and practical engagements of the three different members of the group. At the heart of this project is what we call the “speculative desert.” This speculative desert will be researched, classified, and designed in terms of fictional and real deserts, the real and imagined creatures and technologies that inhabit these deserts, the socio-cultural life in these deserts, and the geological peculiarities of these deserts and their futures.