When he decided to name the 9th edition of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam DOWN TO EARTH, chief curator George Brugmans was inspired by the book Où aterrir? by Bruno Latour. In it, the French philosopher argues that landing again on Earth is now inescapably our new political, social and cultural task, and that we must redefine all our actions in terms of how they take us back to Earth.
photo by Bill Anders (1968), courtesy NASA
Indeed, Waar kunnen we landen? –where can we land?, as the Dutch translation of the title of Latour's book reads. Can we, as it were, resettle on planet Earth, in a sustainable balance with other life forms and one with nature, Brugmans asks in his curator introduction to this edition of the biennale.
In addition to Où aterrir? many more pivotal books have been published on the issues and challenges addressed in this biennale, books on economics and ecology, on politics and philosophy, and of course on design and change.
image: Aad Hoogendoorn
That's why DOWN TO EARTH: THE BIBLIOGRAPHY was presented in the exhibition RECLAIMING THE COMMONS, an overview of some sixty books, as well as quotes from them, that inspired Brugmans and Thijs van Spaandonk, a co-curator of DOWN TO EARTH.
At the request of NAI Booksellers, George Brugmans compiled his Top-16. Making a selection was not easy, but it provides those who do not have time to read all sixty books some guidance.
Most books are for sale via the special DOWN TO EARTH webpage of NAi Booksellers.