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Research project by Stefan Niklas, funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation

The project develops the programmatic outlines of a theory of planetary aesthetics as contributing to the reflective self-understanding of democratic co-existence under the critical conditions of the “Anthropocene”. Such a theory reflects:

  • how aesthetic practices enable ways to imagine and to virtually experience the planetary system of the earth,
  • how this opens up a perspective on the continued habitability of the planet as the fundamental goal and self-understanding of democratic coexistence,
  • how especially the art of science fiction offers the concrete forms and speculative content for such a planetary perspective,
  • and how the debate about the political dimension of the "planetary age" must urgently be expanded towards the aesthetic.

The three sub-projects address (1) the theoretical links between aesthetics, democracy, and the study of the earth system, (2) science fiction as the aesthetic “pre-school” for a speculative perspective of the planetary, and (3) the programmatic synthesis of such a planetary aesthetics for the coming democratic society.