The themes for this issue focus on water, technology, and cosmos, alongside a series of dialogues.
A BODY OF WATER
In our first theme of this issue, we examine how ice, traditionally a symbol of eternity and stasis, has become a metaphor for change and decay in contemporary art. We also look at what it means to live on an island, surrounded by water, feeling the sea’s abundance alongside the threat of water shortages; and our meditation on OmVed Gardens’ pond draws on writer Astrida Neimanis’ theory of hydrocommons – looking at how water runs across nature, binding and connecting it and, implicitly, us.
NATURE AND TECHNOLOGY
We hear from John Francis Serwanga, the World Food Programme’s hydroponics expert, about how modern agricultural techniques are transforming school gardens in Zambia, allowing vegetables to grow even in places where the soil is less fertile. We also look at how businesses are using biomimicry to adapt natural phenomena into technical designs; and the way our relationship with technology will dictate how we navigate our way through the climate crisis.
AMONG THE STARS
Our photographic essay looks at what satellites can tell us about ourselves, giving us a historical overview of how we live our lives and our impacts on our planet. Science writer Jo Marchant describes the awe felt by astronauts looking back at earth and how most of us don’t confront our fear of the vast unknown in the same way. And we explore a smaller cosmos with early 20th century naturalist and filmmaker F. Percy Smith, who used his ingenuity to photograph and reveal nature’s intricacies in his microscopic portraits of everything from flowers to frogspawn.
Writer Johanna Tagada Hoffbeck looks at the link between switching off from email and improved mental health. Rachelle Robinett forages for edibles near her apartment in New York, US, and Jonny Keen explores the places abandoned by humankind that provide a new start for the natural world.