Galería Juan Silió opens an exhibition of photographs by Michael Najjar
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Galería Juan Silió opens an exhibition of photographs by Michael Najjar
Michael Najjar, Liquid Time, 2017. Archival pigment print, 132 x 202 cm. Courtesy Galería Juan Silió y Michael Najjar. Photo: © Michael Najjar.

SANTANDER.- For living systems Earth has been the primary environment for eons. Climatic changes or other shifts in the information flow have resulted in the rise and fall of thousands of species over time. Now the human species faces existential threats arising from environmental transformation, overpopulation, climate change, terraforming, diminishing resources, and shortages in the energy, food and water supply. Human systems create and use new technologies as tools of social evolution. We now live in a techno-system functioning cooperatively with humanity and the natural system of the planet. This system called "Technosphere" is the defining matrix and main driver behind the ongoing transition of this planet into the new geological epoch of humankind, the Anthropocene. The Technosphere has now reached an enormous, not yet determinate potential to alter the surface of the Earth as well as its great depths – from the orbital level to the deep sea.

A key element for the survival of the human species is water. It is the most abundant chemical compound in the universe. It’s ubiquitous in our own solar system and fundamental to all life operations in space and on our home planet. Water has even been recently detected in far distant galaxies more than 12 billion light-years away. It's vital in supporting human habitation for things like drinking water, agriculture, radiation shielding, and oxygen. But water is also the key element in a process called "terraforming", whereby a hostile environment, like a planet that is too cold, too hot, or with an unbreathable atmosphere, can be altered to make it suitable for human life.

Such a process is not merely a futuristic scenario but represents exactly what is happening on Earth at this very moment as the process of atmospheric change brought about by increasing CO2 emissions heats up our planet and speeds up the process of climate change. This development poses a calamitous threat to the world population both present and future as one of its consequences is the retreat of glaciers and the melting of glacial ice which leads to globally rising sea levels, flooding, loss of habitable land and scarcity of food and drinking water. Implicit in the terraforming dialogue is the paradox that we might need to transform our neighbour planet Mars into a habitable environment precisely because we are transforming our home planet into an uninhabitable one.

The "terraforming" exhibition by Michael Najjar focusses on the on the dramatic transformation of our natural environment into post natural landscapes and the most existential question of the 21st century: saving the Earth’s future.

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