How to Abandon the Earth & Change the World
Design Cultures + Creativity
University of Maryland, College Park
The year is 2018. Recent wars and human-made ecological disasters have motivated a successful fund-raising campaign to temporarily send a small group of Millennials off-Earth in order to rethink what it means to be human.In this trans-disciplinary course, we are those Millennials, and we will be researching, developing, and designing the cultural futures of human space exploration and off-planet world-making. We will use hands-on practices, from sketching and visual media, to electronics, code, and installation art, alongside justice-focused design practices to re-conceive what ‘civilization’ is, and can be.Human space exploration has used near-Earth space to study Earth itself: weather, navigation, and communications amongst other concerns. Yet space travel and the potential ‘colonization’ of other planets and asteroids should also include understanding the social and physical effects of embedded histories of racism and bias, inequitable distributions of wealth, food and water, and colonization of land and people. Therefore, in this course, we will focus on designing and developing the techno-social aspects of a spaceship, a ‘colony’ on Mars, and new ways of governance in order to create a more just world, here on Earth.