“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Sunday, May 29, 2011

After the Agony, the Intimacy: More on Mark Fisher's Hauntology

In his talks, Fisher wonders what constitutes the next moment of history after the one he characterizes as hauntological non-place.

For me, what evaporated was space and time (in this I agree with Fisher). But this was a while ago. When then evaporates is the non-place itself, because the notion of being anywhere at all is replaced by its shadow, a threatening intimacy. After the end of the “world” there is intimacy with other lifeforms. “World,” “environment” and “place” (and even “space”) are simply reified euphemisms for a plenitude of non-totalizable lifeforms. Hills are made of them, the sky teems with them, oxygen is their shit.

The next moment of history, which I believe we are living (many of my talks have now argued this), is the moment at which humans catch up to the Darwinian and ecological knowledge that has been pressing on them for almost two hundred years, aided by phenomenological and scientific developments such as relativity and quantum theory and object-oriented ontology.

This has, I believe, serious implications for the practice of political critique and avant garde art. They are now seen as dialectical counterparts of the previous historical moment. They don't work, not because capitalism has won, but because ecological awareness demands something different.

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