HKW’s “1948 Unbound” – Into the Academic Bubble and Another Round of Grim Technospheres !?


° ° °

( still for Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear, 1953 )

° ° °

< Nov.30- Dec.2 > 1948 Unbound, Unleashing the technological Present, another round of HKW investigating the Technospheres, HKW Berlin

As usual there’s an extraordinary wealth of information at this HKW conference which aims to put our most pressing economic, environmental, sociological and political problems on the examination table. In this case, it’s pretty apparent we are looking at a horribly disfigured corpse… of  our humanity. Luckily, there’s no immediate stench! But it starts to penetrate your abilities to sleep once you’ve waded into its dark pools of collected histories projected onto the clean surfaces of  institutional introspection.

A wealth of information, but perhaps very poorly distributed, to pull up the now- cliched dismaltopian Grey Dismal, the twitter handle of armchair futurist William Gibson. Not the most radical of sci-fi thinkers, the kind of stories and lack of strategies you get from a libertarian subpop petri-dish (and now mainstream), written from a Singapore Starbucks, an Ibis Hotel, or an anywhere-cubicle.

We’ve arrived at day three of HKW’s gatherings, which is about to finalize with the topics of “Token” and “Chance”. So far we’ve seen “Switches”, “Seeds” and “Hydrocarbons”. All cleverly categorized areas to take apart or navigate the threads and/or calamities of Technospheres. But one has to wonder if we really are on the right page to address the massive challenges that lie ahead, considering we have so little representation of the global south and any primary victims of the horrors of the last 50 ( or couple hundred ) years of industrializing TECHNO-FASCISM. There’s something a little bit too cozy and cinematic about these presentations. And almost a total absence of urgency.

This new category of fascism… we’ll have to unpack further down the line of our analysis.

For now, we must be brief… to catch the next rounds…

- work-in-progress -

Notes from the Hrydrocarbon section, also called Petro-Noir or Petro-Melancholia… and other terms that were rolling off the academic tongues, a little bit like rappers stage act bling in a parallel uptown universe… or a voodoo institutional-career possession, a speaking in multi-disciplinary+departmental  tongues. ( see more on Benjamin Bratton below… please allow us a little humor on the matters at hand.)

For us , it was like watching a Bunuel movie, a Last Supper of academics and hydrocarbon Catholics who can’t figure out how to exit the room ( Viridiana )…. Aside from all the poetic rants and ironic odes to the ( beauty of )  oil legacies, no global citizen bothered to ask a simple question of a lifetime oil extractor – Dieter Hiller – working at the heights of imperialist plunder a simple question: Does he ( and even we, the hostage consumers  ) feel responsible for the deaths of millions of people !? Or in the event of massive “climate breakdown” ( Monbiot ) … Billions ?!

Some XLterrestrials blurted out in frustration at the end of their melancholy dinner party: “Your all cowards, you don’t want to change the world !”  …

As artist Morehshin Allahyari, on the 1st night’s Switches groupings, pointed out, we mostly over-intellectualize these problems in such conferences and exhibitions. Nothing we say here on these stages means anything to actual people on-the-ground ( Petro-Groundless-Zero , we might add to the flood of terminologies )  in the swampy toxic stew and crippling after-affects of all our society’s “technological prowess”…  the refugees of oil wars ( we might imagine a broad-scope here, namely all of us ) are too busy scouring the cracks in fortified wastelands for shelter, housing, food, livelihoods, freedom of movement, access to basic rights for even the most minimal survival. Even the average citizen of the not-so-sovereign, higher-ground states ( the topic which was explored in Tokens on the last day, more later )  are mostly clinging to false hopes in the new predatory technological immersions, while strapping themselves in for the wild ride of unprecedented political, technological and technocratic meltdowns, happening in a kind of slow-motion for some, but with a swift kick off the newly constructed cliffs for others.

Some days later… a week…  after a storm of tasks, deadlines, daily pressures, and even some personal news of an old friend dying in a tragic accident…. But we must continue to process the situations…

Benjamin Bratton and the Replicants Of Total Dystopia  !

Make no mistake, we can definitely appreciate the admirable skills with which Bratton rattles off a densely-packed lecture on his Stack analysis…  BUT…

more to come…

Leave a Reply