Critical Zone Sensor

A point of departure

Menno Brouwer

As found in the territorial mapping, the territory of Almaty is of great environmental importance for the country, for its livestock, its agriculture and its ecology. However, the territory is also fragile with its environmental disasters such as earthquakes, mudflows, landslides and its necessary infrastructure to prevent these disasters. One can state that there is a certain critical notion to the territory of Almaty.

Simultaneously, an investigation in the personal fascination on the relationship between music and architecture was conducted. This research started with an investigation into Rhythmanalysis by Henri Lefebvre and more specifically the territorialisation of Rhythmanalysis as an attempt to analyse the environmental rhythms on the territory of Almaty. However, this research got more specific when I started looking into Sonic Acts, an Amsterdam based interdisciplinary arts organisation. Through a wide range of cross-disciplinary programmes, Sonic Acts explores the rapidly changing relationship between art, science, technology, and the environment.

Their publication ‘The Geologic Imagination’[1] 1 - Altena, A. M. van der Velden, B., van der Velden, L. The Geologic Imagination. Sonic Acts Press, 2015. is inspired by geosciences and zooms in on Planet Earth. Fundamental to The Geologic Imagination is the idea that we live in a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. Humanity has become a geological force that irreversibly changed the composition of the Earth, atmosphere and the oceans. Consequently, the perspective has shifted from humans at the center of the world to the forces that act on timescales beyond the conceivable. These ideas challenge us to rethink our attachments to the world, and our concepts of nature, culture, and ecology.

The Critical territory of Almaty, with its ecological significance and environmental disaster is strongly influenced by both long term geological forces and short term forces of the Anthropocene. In his text, ‘On long wave sythesis’[2] 2 - Ganchrow, R.On Long-Wave Synthesis In The geologic imagination. Sonic Acts Press, 2015. 180-198. , as part of the ‘Geologic Imagination’ publication, Sonologist Raviv Ganchrow investigates infrasound as the bandwith of the Anthropocene. Infrasound are low-frequency sounds below the lower limit of audibility made perceivable through sensing devices. Due to infrasound waves traveling the earth multiple times, they can be monitored thousands of kilometers away from their original sources. Infrasound reveals human activity as an anthropogenic geological force capable of interacting with the scale of the territory and even the earth. Ganchrow’s text, the Anthropocene and infrasound, which is made perceivable through sensing devices form the departure point of the theory paper.


TU Delft / Faculty of Architecture