Planetary/Human Evacuation

22Oct13

One of things that troubles me about the prometheanism of accelarationism is the relation between one’s materials and the possibility ( to say nothing of the trajectory) of escape. Is it mainly a means of efficent breach – of leaving the ruinous mold of the earth behind after we’ve paid our due, or is it a question of responsibility to maintaining the possible generacity of those grounds in other directions and, if so, to what extent? Is this the tension of gravity, of escaping the traphole of the Earth, with the distributive tension of the surface materials? The future is out there and/or the future is already here but unevenly distributed.

It would seem to be a betrayal on all sides is necessary to escape the gravity well of the near-exhausted earth. Ben Singleton’s recent talk about Maximum Jailbreak at the CTM points out there is now a strange alliance between asteroid miners and radical ecologists in that resource limitation because a local concern that can be overcome by escaping to Mars or other locations for instance taking Krafft Ehricke‘s extraterrestrial imperative ie that there are not limits to growth or, by connection to human creativity. The infinitude of creativity is the assertive upswing of X’s essay on the importance of philosophy for artificial intelligence – that creativity is a central enigma. Yet we have this recent essay on the business of creativity, of creativity swallowed up by the businessification of creativity in the guru figure.

So with Prometheus we also have Kubernetes the navigator, a navigator who is perhaps a ‘bad navigator’ because he never tries to go back (or cannot find his way back). Thinking is nature’s way of optimizing itself through maximal self-modeling by perforating nature with thought. But what does this mean for thought and nature taking the proliferation of technologies as the killing floor of concepts?

This past weekend I attended several keynotes and panels at the Apps and Affect conference organized by my friend Svitlana Matviyekno as well as Nandita Biswas-Mellamphy, Nick Dyer-Witherford, and others. It is not surprising that based on the topic that many discussions centered around technological determinism, gamification, and ubiquitous computing as tool for capitalist domination. Discussions of gamification and work seemed to be dividable by the concept of navigation – as navigation is not as brainless as both competitors. Ed Keller, much to my manic glee, stated that artificial design tells us more and more about the weirdness of nature and that there is, in the end, no separating intelligence (or humanity as reasoners) from nature. Patricia Clough (following Luciana Parisi) called for an end to the crude opposition of quantities and qualities (echoing some of the theme’s of Reza’s talk here back in March in reference to magnitudes). In a related vein, Alexander Galloway called for a better understanding of compression and a tactics of withdrawal given the seemingly inseparable mess of Deleuzian networks and capital.

If it is time to stop broadly bemoaning the ‘enframing’ or otherwise frightening aspects of technology for the sake of it, then as I mentioned before the task is one of picking a good fiction – a good fiction for collective action whether geo-engineering or the colonization of Mars is needed. But the collective fictions are doomed to be post-ideological capital – we know what we are doing but we do it anyway, or just doomed (ecological collapse, post-apocalyptic porn etc). This is punctuated by the assertion that we are all only collective in an alone together sense – we collective act to advertise that we are alone, or unique, or what have you. On the one hand I’d like to think (too optimistically) that so called ‘being alone together’ could train us to do labor in isolation – to be on long treks through space or in strange work environments for the sake of geo-engineering: being along-together as the prerequisite for distributed collectivity. What is the way to evacuate the narratives and find a pragmatic tool-based collectivization that is not merely us distracted by the tools themselves?

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2 Responses to “Planetary/Human Evacuation”

  1. Reblogged this on ‡ CHIASMA and commented:
    New thoughts from Ben Woodard: the prometheanism of accelarationism


  1. 1 The Prejudice Against Prometheus ~ Alberto Toscano | Senselogi©

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