Leaving Biosphere 2


A publication and computer game about community, growing vegetables and utopias.

Weaving together speculative narratives and historical accounts, this project takes as its starting point the scientific research facility Biosphere 2: the largest closed ecological system ever created. Completed in the early 1990s and located in the Arizona desert, eight “Biospherians” were sealed inside the three-acre glass enclosure to measure survivability.

Holly’s late grandfather Bill Chaloner – a paleo-botanist – was involved with developing the facility in its early stages. Drawing on their conversations and books from her grandfather’s library, Holly reimagines Biosphere 2 in a post-apocalyptic future seen through the eyes of a resident, Danny, who has grown up in a community squatting the abandoned site.

Holly has created a computer role playing game with a mixture of digital, photographs and hand painted material. This is soundtracked with a specially commissioned album of the same name by Personnel, written in tandem with the game’s development.

By blending factual narratives with speculative science fiction, Holly challenges understandings of truth and performance in our everyday lives, while attempting to find new potential in flawed historical experiments. Leaving Biosphere 2 considers the feelings and emotional conflicts embedded within utopian narratives. It uses role-play, science fiction and world building exercises to foster new ways of understanding our real world existence and imagining future worlds.

The publication is edited by Naomi Pearce and Holly White and includes an A5 booklet and fold-out role-playing game.

Contributions from :

Naomi Pearce
Julia Tcharfas
Holly White
Uma Breakdown
Beth Bramich
Hardeep Pandhal
Mariam Chaudhry
Jaakko Pallasvuo
Linda Stupart

There are also scripts, maps and character sheets for two related games: The Forest of Paper and Quest to the South Lung. These were created during the developmental phases of the project in collaboration with the wonderful Rumpus Room; an art and social action project working in collaboration with young people, children and families living in Govanhill.

The publication was made with Saffa Khan at Tender Hands Press.

This is a project from CCA Glasgow’s exciting online space CCA Annex in conjunction with Glasgow Seed Library.

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