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Tenement Press is an occasional publisher of esoteric,
accidental, angular, & interdisciplinary literatures.

‘My head is my only house unless it rains’

Don Glen Vliet

‘Were a wind to arise
I could put up a sail
Were there no sailI’d make one of canvas and sticks’

Bertolt Brecht, ‘Motto’
(Bucknow Elegies)

Harun Farocki, Das Silber und das Kreuz /
The Silver and the Cross (2010)

Terra Cosmica / Traces of Georealism
Giovanbattista Tusa

Tenement Press #13
160pp [Approx.]



Publishing 23rd August 2024

An ‘end-times’ philosophical enquiry in which
the author argues with stones and geological time
to compose a suite of interlinked fragments.

An act of lapidary; a five-part antagonisation of the
elements; an essay on representation, visualisation
and prediction; an ecologue on ecology wherein the
author argues that ‘the world is doomed to its own
inevitable end if sustainability is understood from the
perspective of an economically sustainable future
defined by the limits of capitalist management

Gaspar Miguel des Berrío, ‘El Cerro Rico y la Villa Imperial de Potosi’ /
‘Cerro Rico and the Imperial Municipality of Potosi’ (1758)

(It is almost impossible to see in retrospect what was not built in perspective.)


Our age is characterised by the increasing humanisation of a planet that is more and more subject to metaphoric representation and visualisation. The memorialisation, anthropomorphism, and narratological charge of time has birthed an intellectual industry in which the summation of history plays out like a hand of cards. A game in which retrospect and hindsight informs our present and sits us ever at the mercy of prediction and chance in a time increasingly defined by catastrophe, and as emergent crises affect every stratum of life and lived experience. We are currently witnessing a mutation of our thinking that disrupts the mythical imaginary that had hitherto confined viruses, climate change and atmospheric turbulence to an unalterable background in the all-too-human narrative of the struggle against nature.

Giovanbattista Tusa’s Terra Cosmica / Traces of Georealism is the result of a series of lectures and essays—a quintet of pieces published over the course of a four-year period—that, woven together into a new collation of interlinked fragments, calls time on time to consider the new form of planetary realism resultant of this restructuring of the imagination. Tusa presents a cosmic remapping of our modes of thinking that assumes that our contemporary moment is absented from its representability, its history of representations, and all means of explanation, thus remaining open to a sense of its own infinity… Open to an encounter with that which remains absent and unknowable, with neither horizon nor memory available as any weathervane for comprehension and action. Tusa’s work is a scrutiny of our exosystemic condition; a suite of exploratory antagonisms on the need for a new philosophical perspectivism of time, of earth, and a new charter for the foundations of thought and thinking.

A conceptualisation of ‘Growth’ today is unimaginable if it is not linked to a scenario of scarcity, in contrast to pre-modern theological views that instead assumed the abundance of creation, the original richness of the world. Inspired by this vision of sustainability, ecological thinking today is immediately associated with a language of finitude. Degrowth, self-restraint, responsibility, ecosystem vulnerability ... these are all terms associated with a universalist model of progress that seemed to know no limits, except those that arise from temporary inequalities or unfavourable geopolitical conditions.

In Terra Cosmica, Giovanbattista Tusa argues that the world is doomed to its own inevitable end if sustainability is understood from the perspective of an economically sustainable future defined by the limits of capitalist management. If we step out of this impoverished perspective of the concept of limit and the condition of finitude, then we open ourselves to an ecological perspective that understands the world as part of a cosmic diversity that cannot be contained in a more or less extended totality of resources. Tusa’s is a work of mineral anarchy; a study of the vertigo of our present thinking; a reorientation of an effort to explore human duration via myth, legend, and symbol; a consideration of a necessary mutation of perspective in our contemporary moment.


Jean-Luc Nancy
& Giovanbattista Tusa
on ‘The Impossible’ ...


The Planetary Conversations series is an attempt to reimagine the shape of an engaged public philosophy for the age of a pandemic and mass quarantines. Sitting philosophers, artists, and activists in contact, the series sought to create a space for encounters between distinct places and times.



Tusa                Our age is plagued by an incessant proliferation of visions of the future. Increasingly powerful computers produce predictive models based on the visualization and aggregation of dataon tidal levels, global temperatures, rainfall. These models also allow to simulate military operations capable of addressing the insurgencies of populations exhausted by the disciplinary measures against pandemics as well as border disorders caused by mass migrations. However, as our power of vision is growing invisibilities are also multiplying, proliferating.

The world today seems more and more inaccessible to previous forms of human thought. Haunted by viruses and extinction fantasies, our imagination is confronted with the fact that to something which, now latent, will be enlightened one day. Like the threat of extinction, this inaccessibility is not bound to recede like a shadow in the sun but rather to transform the possibilities of existence. As possibilities change, the impossible too undergoes mutation. If philosophy is bound since its origins to a specific form of visibility, which seeks to reveal the world as splendour of what is hidden, then with the emergence of scales and perspectives with no precedents in their references, philosophy is driven to face up to new perceptions, arising from contact with territories it had never explored.

Nancy            The territories that philosophy indeed never explored, one can say that they are territories of obscurity,indeed invisibility. There is a paradigm of vision, thus of visibility,that is intrinsically linked to philosophy in its Platonic inauguration. However, for a long time, philosophy nurtured the idea of an other visibility, the one that Plato regarded asthe visibility of the idea or form, which is a form that cannot be perceived by the senses. The discrepancy between a visible that is invisible to the senses and sensitive visibility has long been the rule. With modernity, something else started.

The idea or the form became the process of progression through which humanity, at least European humanity, thought it was moving towards a realisation of itself, of the essence of mankind.

For several centuries now, we have been deeply accustomed, without even realizing it, to this thought, which is not even a thought but this kind of feeling we had for a long time that 'it will happen.' In fact, we never stopped anticipating a possibility to come. And now, we discover that the very foreseeability, what you mentioned, that is, all the possibilitiesof calculating the future, that this foreseeability that exists, prevents at the same time what is to come in its necessary and absolute novelty,in its irruption.It prevents what is to come from coming to be.

Today, the future bars what is to come, which makes it also that the idea of possibility bars any idea of the impossible. So it is an invitation to philosophy by philosophy itself to think what could be the meaning of not seeing or of seeing in the dark. When we are in the dark, we see nothing, yet we do not only see nothing either. When we are in the dark, we see entoptic spots, I think this is their name, and we also perceive something through the other senses, the sense of hearing or touch. It is almost like a reversal of Plato. Instead of ascending towards the sun, the point is to go back down into the cave, not even a cave with shadows projected on the wallsbut a really dark one, and ask ourselves then: how can we think the cave and the being-in-the-cave as such?


The Planetary Conversations series includes dialogues
with, amongst others Slavoj Žižek, Claire Fontaine, Amanda
Srecko HorvatMichael Marder, and more.  

See here ...

The moment the earth was transformed into [an] artefact, nature ended, and ecology began: ‘ecological’ thinking became inescapable as the planet became a work of art. Technology is no longer a system at the disposal of human reason to act on the world because human beings are no
longer the subject, but the object of an echo-technical metamorphosis.

From Tusa’s ‘Post-Scriptum’

Mundus patet’ / ‘The earth is open
(Mosaic, Pompeii)

Giovanbattista Tusa is a philosopher and video artist based in Lisbon at the Nova Institute of Philosophy (IFILNOVA) at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, where he coordinates the X-CENTRIC FUTURES research seminar. As a documentary filmmaker and video artist, his works have been shown in Cuba, at the Biennale Della Danza in Venice, in Coimbra  and in Paris. His publications include The End, co-authored with Alain Badiou (Polity, 2019)—translated into French, Portuguese and Spanish—and the edited books Fernando Pessoa & Philosophy: Countless Lives Inhabit Us (Rowman & Littlefield, 2021), PPPP: Pier Paolo Pasolini Philosopher (Mimesis International, 2022), and Dispositif: A Cartography (MIT Press, 2023). He is also co-editor, with Michael Marder, of Contemporanea: A Glossary for the 21st Century (MIT Press, 2024). Tusa has also worked as editor and translator for the Italian editions of L’equivalence des catastrophes / The Equivalence of Catastrophes and Exclu le juif en nous / Excluding the Jew Within Us by Jean Luc-Nancy; Á la recherche du réel perdu / In Search of the Lost Real by Alain Badiou; Be My Body for Me: Domination and Servitude in Hegel by Catherine Malabou and Judith Butler; and Edward Said’s Freud and the Non-European. Tusa is the director of the Futures. Of Philosophy series, Planetary Conversations, in collaboration with The Philosophical Salon.  


Tenement Press