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“The Visible is not a Container”- Ecologies of Remote Sensing – Guest Lecture by Göçke Önal, 23.10.

“The visible is not a container”- Ecologies of Remote Sensing – Guest Lecture by Göçke Önal, 23.10.

Guest Lecturer: Gökçe Önal from the TU Delft Faculty of Architecture, Date: 23.10.2023, Time: 16.30 – 18.00 EET

Twentieth-century advancements in environmental monitoring rendered remote sensors increasingly operational in the detection, extraction, and accumulation of resources. Today, remote sensing networks remain imperative to sustaining the growing territories of “new” extractivisms – from mineral resources to data-intensive domains of bodies, behaviors, relations and labor. This presentation addresses sensing as an inherently extractive practice of reducing the world in its image. Asking “what sensors do?”, it departs from the contested sites of resource mining and extends toward different scales of institutional surveillance, ranging from spatial to bodily encounters. Paying close attention to the infrastructure of sensing platforms – namely, the apparatuses, networks and processes comprising the data-acquisition ecology – the talk further introduces the (digital) image as a setting from which to reframe questions of visuality in the age of planetary monitoring.

Recommended readings:

Lucía Jalón Oyarzun, ‘Nightfaring & Invisible Maps: Of Maps Perceived, but Not Drawn’, The Funambulist 18 (2018): https://thefunambulist.net/magazine/cartography-power/nightfaring-invisible-maps-maps-perceived-not-drawn-lucia-jalon-oyarzun

Jennifer Gabrys, Program Earth: Environmental Sensing Technology and the Making of a Computational Planet (London: Minnesota Press, 2016), 1-10.

Shannon Mattern, “All Eyes on the Border,” Places Journal (2018), https://doi.org/10.22269/180925

Optional for those interested in sensing: John May, “Logic of the Managerial Surface,” Praxis: Journal of Writing Building 13 (2011): 116–24.


Gökçe Önal is a scholar at TU Delft Faculty of Architecture with the research group Border & Territories. She has  taught in METU (2013–16) and TU Delft (2016–17), and contributed to the development of the TU Delft-based MOOC project ‘Means of Architectural Design’ (2017–19). Her doctoral research investigates remote sensing practices and digitisation in relation to the developing cultures of architecture.

Ecological Thinking

This is the course blog for K-JI-11-23A – Ecological Thinking. In 2023-24, we explore “Vertical Ecologies” by visual arts, film and performance. The course is co-organized by Giovanna Esposito Yussif and Samir Bhowmik. Previously, in 2022-23, we organized a year-long collaborative research studio with Aarhus University, DK, Research Pavilion 2023 and Helsinki Biennial 2023 on the themes of environmental data, sensing and contamination.

Header image credit: Abelardo Gil-Fournier and Jussi Parikka / Seed, Image, Ground (2020)- With permission from the authors.

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