[-empyre-] Introducing Week 2: Mediated Natures, Speculative Futures and Justice and thank you to Week One

Meredith Drum meredithdrum at gmail.com
Mon Oct 16 09:40:06 AEDT 2017

Following Tyler and Elaine’s posts, I have also been considering Ben + Brian’s prompt re a “larger, scaled up, possible method” that might inform “policies of land management, social organization, agriculture practices.” 

I admit I fear scaling up as the horizon baffles me. Yet I don’t want to be stuck in the local.

I just listened to a lecture by Mckenzie Wark, in which he suggests that our time (Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene) is geologically unprecedented, and we don’t yet have the language, the intellectual tools to cope with it. Further he proposes that we might not be dealing with capitalism anymore but something worse.(1) So what do we do?

I lean on Wark again as I like his answer from another context: “In the absence of a single counter-hegemonic ideology, perhaps something like a meta-utopia might be useful, and more fun.”(2)  As I understand him, this would require a willingness to negotiate with others who have different notions of, different languages for and approaches toward, a good life; and to find ways to collaborate with different kinds of labor and world views from various laborers. Importantly, he encourages parallel experiments. 

So here’s to parallel experiments, including those imagined in science fiction - and in the case of our discussion, parallel experiments with multi-species wording.

Staying with a labor-centered approach, what about utopia from the prospective of plant labor? Or species in close cultural symbiotic (hopefully mutual) relations to humans: Can we imagine utopia from the perspective of canine laborers - dogs in airports sniffing for drugs or boarding planes as emotional support for human partners? Or algae? Lab rats? Crows?

Warm Wishes,


(1) Lecture as part of the Anthropocene Curriculum, Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt and the Max Planck  Institute for the History of Science

(2) From Wark’s article Chthulucene, Capitalocene, Anthropocene, published 9/8-2016 on the New School’s Public Seminar. 

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