The Sky Within Each of Us

Words by Emanuele Coccia

Heaven in Matter, Emanuele Coccia (2021)

Commencing the anthology of artwork within the pages of FUTURA PROXIMA CURATED FOR GUCCI is The Sky Within Us, an essay written by Italian philosopher and author Emanuele Coccia. The timeless horological project is named after the closest star to our sun, Proxima Centauri, resonating with the themes often found in the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales professor’s body of work. The Sky Within Us, featured below, as well as his latest video project, Heaven in Matter (2021), both serve as poignant reminders that light and earthly bodies are molecularly intertwined, revealing the eternal reincarnations of the celestial source.

The light that bathes and illuminates us is older than the moment in which we live. It is the past of the star in front of us: a moment that escaped her and that now becomes our present. Thanks to light, every moment is this strange heterochrony: the present of something is a past of another body. Conversely, sunlight can only conceive of the smallest of terrestrial bodies as an absolute future. And it wishes to touch it because of this. To make it its near future — the future of light.

We are used to trying to read the future in the sky. Yet the sky is a huge cosmic graveyard: the light we see is often older than our own existence. And the constellations through which we try to divine our future are archaeological forms of a sky that no longer exists at the moment we look at it.

For this reason, in the sky all times are confused. The absolute past of the cosmos — its very origin — becomes the figure and form of our future. Vice versa, the future mixes with the matter of the past and reforms it.

It is not above our heads. It is not beyond the horizon. Day after day, the Earth feeds on it.

The sky is the flesh of everything alive. A cosmic flux pervades its mineral flesh. Extraterrestrial energy pervades the bodies of plants and animals. Life takes shape around this celestial fluid: the slightest breath, gesture or movement is the demonstration of this light sky shaping inside of us.

Whether it is alive or not. Whatever it may be. It may be as hard as granite, as bendable as plastic or devoid of substance like gas escaping from a volcano. The smallest portion of matter hides a secret as tremendous as the most remote stars and planets.

The heavens are all around. Life is the sky colonising, pervading stones with the sun and ‘sky-ifing’ the planet. Through living things, the heavens alter the flesh of the Earth which becomes the writing of the sky, the reincarnation of its light.

Every little thing on Earth speaks the heavens. In all living things, ‘I’ is the heavens, while in every living thing’s face the sky rewrites its rules.

Inside every living creature, the sky shows its true face, more unpredictable than the vision of a comet or a shooting star. Elements become alive with chaos. All is desire. Desire of other bodies, desire of other forms, desire of other lives. Everything comes into something else; everything feeds on everything; everything is formed from everything. The smallest portion of matter strives to expose itself to external bodies. It’s an endless spreading. What we call life is nothing but the heavens in a viral state.

FUTURA PROXIMA curated for Gucci

FUTURA PROXIMA curated for Gucci

FUTURA PROXIMA curated for Gucci

History is quickening. No living matter remains in its original place or state. Every atom, every molecule has already lived countless lives. Everything comes from elsewhere.

We experienced it when we were born. To be born is never a beginning. Every living creature repeats, continues or alters someone else’s life; a life that was already living. It is the continuation and metamorphosis of a life which was already there before its new body took form. At this latitude, the sky is ageless. The living matter is very young and extremely old. As old as life on this planet.

Thanks to life, each and every stone on this planet produces an equivalence between the Earth and the Heavens. Inhabiting stone houses, walking upon the stone does not mean being somewhere. It means witnessing the fusion between the celestial and the terrestrial topography — that is a cartographical revolution in progress.

To find the way in the sky hidden in every stone, one needs to draw new astral maps. We must learn to read matter like we read the sky, to identify constellations. Associating bodies which have nothing in common but the story they enable to tell. The sky lives like an endless fairy tale, which never stops changing.

Thanks to heaven, the earth ceases to be doomed to a destiny of absolute autonomy. We are a possible variant of a life that has shown itself elsewhere under a thousand other forms. We are the heavens itself. A celestial neighbourhood. A domesticated sky.

Thanks to the sky, earth continues to build its near futures out of the most distant matter of the cosmos. Our next futures will always be extraterrestrial.

FUTURA PROXIMA curated for Gucci

Photography by Carlijn Jacobs. Make-up by Thomas De Kluyver. Hair by Olivier Schawalder. Evie Harris at Ford Models wears Gucci Hortus Deliciarum High Jewelry.

Design by Ohlman Consorti.




The 26th issue is the Vietnamese-American designer’s most intimate project to date, inviting readers to explore the idea of home and understand the internal narratives of the shy designer.

Read more

See all Articles

A News in your inbox