• Staring at the Sun
    Alice Bucknell

Alice Bucknell, “Earth Engine,” 2024. Film still. Developed at Medialab Matadero in Madrid, in collaboration with Anna Norelius, Brandon Tay, Carlo Udina, Cocompi, and Juan Pablo Pacheco

This fiction-theory research project examines the possibilities and pitfalls of solar geoengineering—a deliberate, large-scale modification of the Earth’s climate systems—through the lens of Derecho, a $35 million supercomputer unveiled in Cheyenne, Wyoming in 2023. As the most powerful climate supercomputer in the world, Derecho is tasked with evaluating the likely outcome of various solar geoengineering strategies. Staring at the Sun blurs the borders between fact and fiction, reality, and simulation, unfurling across a “sci-fi documentary” shot across Derecho’s headquarters, corporate geoengineering facilities in Switzerland, and inside a game engine environment. Folded into the project’s narrative is Earth Engine, an infinite video game also developed by Bucknell that integrates real-time simulation and climate data to collapse boundaries between technology and ecology, present and projection, player, and planet. Taken together, the project examines the implications of planetary-scale engineering projects and the paradox of predictive technologies in foreclosing other possible futures. Staring at the Sun is also supported by the Enter the Hyperscientific residency program at EPFL and Mudac in Lausanne.

Alice Bucknell is an artist and writer based in Los Angeles. Their recent work has focused on creating cinematic universes within game worlds, exploring the affective dimensions of video games as interfaces for understanding complex systems, relations, and forms of knowledge. Their work has appeared internationally at Ars Electronica with transmediale, Arcade Seoul, the 18th International Architecture Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia, Venice; Gray Area,San Francisco; Singapore Art Museum; and Serpentine.London, among others. Their writing appears in publications including ArtReviewe-flux ArchitectureFrieze, and Harvard Design Magazine. In 2024, they are the recipient of the Collide Residency at CERN and Copenhagen Contemporary, in residence at EPFL in Lausanne, and a mentor at the Algorithmic Ideation Assembly (ARIA) Summer School in Ljubljana. Bucknell received a master’s degree in contemporary art practice from the Royal College of Art and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Chicago. They are currently faculty at SCI-Arc in Los Angeles.