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” Technospheres, you’re soaking in them ! ” XLt analyst
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An upcoming XLterrestrials public analysis event :
< May 18 > The XLt Guide to Technospheres + Exit Strategies, at Spektrum Berlin - 20:00h
An evening of cinema hacking + media navigations + public forum … to investigate where we’re at in the globalized Technotopian cesspools, and to set our sights on what’s to be done !
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XLT analysis : Life and Death in the Technospheres v.3
( work-in-progress )
Foto Notes + Analytical Trajectories
Everything you ever wanted to know about the technosphere mindfuck, but were afraid to ask …
The central image(s) in the poster above are from the work of J. Henry Fair’s “Industrial Scars” found at this site (*) . Each foto is an aerial view of the devastation and toxic legacies of corporate industries.
If we have time, we may track down the story of each, but just to give you a few examples: the two grayish ones are “Coal Ash” byproduct from a power plant in Moncks Corner, South Carolina ( top-right ), and another in Pineville, S.C. (bottom, center ). *
Another pic is from the tar sands in Alberta, CA,. from inside a tank, an oil sands “upgrader” ( bottom-right ). In one sense, the single-most ecologically devastating + earth-changing industrial project on the planet.
All 6 pictures represent one of the primary aspects of the term Technosphere(s) – the corporate-krapitalist threats to life on earth ! One angle on the multi-faceted ways this term is now framing our planetary crises, it reveals how our current social operating systems has constructed legal + economic frameworks for systematic exploitation and environmental degradation on a global scale, and which must be challenged and/or eradicated, if we want to get any handle on the forces that now threaten the entire habitat of ALL living species.
On the surface, this is NOT exactly the immediate or implied focus of J.Henry Fair’s exotic visualized versions of illuminating these environmental nightmares. Many will know by now that by examining deeper, one will eventually uncover that it’s the socio-political-economic engines – and mis-governance – that are driving this off-the-cliff level of destruction. Which can and should be defined as Ecocidal.
Other pictures at the ground level and community levels will illuminate the more specific horrors as they are unfolding: real people’s suffering, children suffering, people dying of cancers, bodies mangled in resource wars, etc. Arundhati Roy calls them with a valuable precision Lifestyle Wars.
We don’t know enough about Fair to critique the intentions, but the omissions are important. And companies responsible are not detailed in the website documentation ( for that approach, see below). And exhibitions and press coverage for the project are taken to a highly professional art business scale. Just to say, harder + more precise confrontation will not get this kind of exposure.
The introduction to his views of industrial scars, published in 2011 as The Day After Tomorrow: Images of Our Earth In Crisis, states that ( aside from its aesthetic capture of a strange macabre beauty ) his book is also “about the power that the consumer has to shape the world through the purchase decisions she makes. “
But this not an entirely accurate nor useful analysis of “industrial scars” nor a properly-scaled strategy against its global implications i.e. climate terror, total biosphere impacts, ecocide.
Similar flaws may be found in the way we construct new conceptual frames for the Anthropocene, and let’s call it, for provocation, its bastard twin : the Technosphere.
Currently an individual citizen does not have much room to maneuver outside these corporate-designs, the dominant, aggresssive, predatory and thoroughly undemocratic technospheres.
And To exit these disastrous constructions (+ imperial habits ) requires revolutionary thinking, revolutionary politics, and revolutionary mobilizations from below. An internationalist citizenry reclaiming earth’s biosphere and its natural resources ( protected as a global commons ) and establishing an entirely new governance, which acts as reliable custodians for our shared habitats seems like the only intelligent way out, if it’s not already TOO LATE.
To say “Exit” is already a controversial frame in academic settings … But XLterrestrials may be positioning this language in order to accommodate a more activist-oriented platform.
It appears that Scientists have already attempted to define ( and limit ) the Anthropocene concept to a non-negotiable identifier, and thereby setting the dials for a specific future, which entails devolutionary + mutational outcomes and ongoing species extinctions. I.e. we heard multiple times during the HKW seminar, that there is no longer a “natural” biosphere to be reclaimed.
In their accounts and interpretations, we already live in its altered realities. We have entered a 2nd nature realm, made by us. Fair enough, for many contexts. But therein enters a future trajectory, that rather than taking some responsibility and urgent ( turnabout ) actions to preserve and repair, we proceed towards a planet with this irreversible co-evolutionary techno-industrial production stage intact. I.e. further disrupting and experimental, intentional geo-engineering ( w/ vested interests ). As if, we then agree – as some scientific consensus – to provide psychopathic corporate entities the license, the keys, the go-ahead to further profit, plunder and eco-mutilate.
We’ll have to come back to those debates later… But to lay some seeds here: Even if one accepts this conclusion of irreversibility ( the ‘no going back’ ), there are vastly different cultures which will have vastly different relationships to these questions, these trajectories, these destinies. As another provocation, we will perhaps suggest the tact of a 3rd nature ( which was mentioned by a HKW participant in jest, but we’ll take it here as a useable abstraction goal ), whereby all corporate resources be immediately reconstituted as public resources in order to begin reparations + restoration ( as much as possible ) – toward 1st nature origins.
One might argue, our situation now is that the global population is locked-in, a hostage to an authoritarian technological determinism, an authoritarian western-centric technosphere logic and agendas… And one must not be too timid to call it Techno-Industrial Fascism, whenever applicable. The casualties of our technospheres are already immeasurable, ruthless and grim.
And this is an angle one hoped could be put more on the table at a fairly diverse group that gathered for HKW’s seminar last week… but even there, in a relatively diplomatic and open, explorative setting, the crux of the matter seemed often sidelined by the less confrontational frameworks.
Nevertheless examining HKW’s curriculum experiments and results- which essentially is a social laboratory microcosm of the new planetary classroom – will be extremely useful to understand how a citizenry can become better informed and more aligned in global solidarity in order to navigate these dangerous, volatile and highly contested places and times.
In contrast to Fair’s photography…
A more tactical depiction + scope of what we may now call the Maladies of Technosphere, is the mapping project – Petropolis – created by Brian Holmes and contributors….
This was presented in the Seminar: ” Governing the Technosphere “, and there’s much useful information and perspective to share on that, if time allows, in our next texts.
Given these contexts, perhaps now we can begin to properly discuss Irreversibles and Inevitabilities.
* A quick search – as we were hunting more info on the locations in Fair’s images – reveals an article in Scientific American about how coal industry waste is far more toxic than one might imagine. Among a variety of problems, it actually leaves horrific radioactive toxicity … The article claims its more serious threat to public health then nuclear power plants. But that also opens more complicated political debates, which plays out between different energy company interests. More than we have time for here. Suffice to say, for humans and living organisms, they both suck !
v.4? … coming soon !?