See v.1 for HKW links and seminar curriculum
An Intro to the XLterrestrials Analysis
Following 9 days of a trans-disciplinary seminar at HKW on the theme – Technosphere – which was a follow-up from a similarly-framed curriculum in 2014 on Anthropocene – one could easily feel overwhelmed by the immense challenges, and left to float in a muddied pool of academic and theoretical inquiries, a multitude of incongruous and conflicting perspectives.
What occurs inside the “HKW container” is not merely a unique and crucial pedagogic experiment, but a gathering which may ultimately be highly influential upon what eventually will become angles pursued in the socio-political + the technological, the scientific and analytical, then executed as public exhibitions, which then become threads informing policy in one of Germany’s ( and EU’s ) most central cultural thinktank nodes. The HKW sits directly across from the Reichstag, beside the governing legislative bodies, the Bundestag ( parliament ) and the Bundesrat (federal council ).
It seems incredibly unlikely, in this world of rigid bureaucratic dominance and controlling dysfunctions, that a strange and lively mix of diverse creatures – scientists, professors, artists, historians, students, critical theorists, activists, humans (and even a few XLterrestrials ) from various international contexts – were given access to tinker, to question, to contest, to play and meddle with a topic that attempts to grasp and handle… perhaps even steer… and maybe even set a course for … the future of the planet and a new planetary consciousness.
Hah, you / we may both laugh : “Such cultural inquiries will never come near the real levers that move today’s techno-futurist, increasingly cybernetic and post-democratic systems of governance.”
But then again, the inquiries and practices of defining the philosophical and conceptual frames of the Technosphere are so far beyond the day-to-day bureaucrats, the economists and corporate-krapital investment realms, that they probably cannot imagine what future maps could be born out of such a seminar. Maps, visualizations, deconstructions, alternatives, cultures of resistance, feral + garden mind-bodies, and actualized communities that hold the potential agency to wholly disrupt those myopic and/or murderous agendas.
That said, not all the forces and power of contributors within such seminar experiments do venture beyond their own primarily academic-institutional orientations, settings or horizons. [ In a later article we hope to elaborate on the timidity that arises in these professional / academic environments ]
And, in fact, there did exist a kind of tug-of-war between wild imaginings and the gravity of habits and habitus. But for those who have already jumped the fences one could detect a persistent strain – an obedient species of colonial + instrumentalizing thought patterns, an adherence to the permitted and conventional tracks, a subservience to some usual hierarchies.
So how wild and how high can one climb when the topic essentially comes down to the survival of life and human dignity on a planet that has already tipped the scales into a ridiculously eco-cidal, pathological and – it must be said – FASCIST trajectory?!
That is something we will have to tease out in whatever number of articles or events we’ll have time to produce over the next weeks, months… years?….
Meanwhile the Technosphere train at HKW will be running until 2018. Whether or not the XLterrestrials will find it a productive and sufficiently interventionist platform for that long is yet to be determined. But certainly we will not limit our analysis and strategies to that “container” alone !
to be cont.
[ Note: There is an immense wealth of information and many exciting ideas to relate from our experiences of the HKW curriculum which we'd like to be able to bring to your attention. To do it justice, and/or to challenge it, will require TIME + FINANCIAL SUPPORT. We have no institutional affiliations. We are an alien community garden where known and unknown seeds get planted. If you would like to donate to the XLterrestrials, please contact us ! ]
Foto Notes: 1. The aerial view of a factory farm / slaughterhouse in Texas 2. Rice fields in Southeast Asia.
These questions ” Whose Anthropocene? ” came from the seminar of looking at things from the African contexts… and a breakout group led by Chaz Maviyane-Davies… a brilliant artist, designer and “consciousness hacker” from Zimbabwe, now teaching in Boston … more on that in the next piece.
One resonating lesson from him was: “put it all down, try things out, you can always take things out later”… which helped us get over the writing blocks of the last days and overcome the feelings that the task to process the complexities here were too daunting !