Skip to main content
Living Surfaces: Images, Plants, and Environments of Media (Leonardo)

Living Surfaces: Images, Plants, and Environments of Media (Leonardo)

Current price: $45.00
Publication Date: June 25th, 2024
The MIT Press
Available for Preorder


An investigation of aesthetics and visualizations of planetary surfaces from an experimental media theory perspective.

What if every vista, every island—indeed, every geographical feature on Earth—could be viewed as an art object? In Living Surfaces, Abelardo Gil-Fournier and Jussi Parikka explore how the surface of the Earth has, over the last two centuries, become known and perceived as an environment of images. Living Surfaces features a range of case studies from eighteenth-century experiments with and observations of vegetal matter, photosynthesis, and plant physiology to twenty-first-century machine vision and AI techniques of calculating agricultural and other landscape surfaces. Mapping these different scales of vegetal images, Gil-Fournier and Parikka help us understand core questions that pertain to the artistic and architectural reference points for the Anthropocene.

With 42 black-and-white and full-color illustrations, Living Surfaces is an engaging and unique take on environmental surfaces as they come to occupy a central place in our understanding of planetary change.

About the Author

Abelardo Gil-Fournier is an artist and researcher. Initially trained in physics, he holds a PhD in Arts from the Winchester School of Art. His work has been shown and discussed in international venues and exhibitions.

Jussi Parikka is Professor of Digital Aesthetics and Culture at Aarhus University and Visiting Professor at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague as well as the Winchester School of Art. He is the author of Insect Media, A Geology of Media, What is Media Archaeology?, and Operational Images and a coauthor of The Lab Book.