The Age of Speed: Accelerationism, Politics, and the Future Present

There is much I like in Nick and Alex’s “#ACCELERATE: manifesto for an accelerationist politics“, but I’m still unsure how rushing into the future (or reinventing it) is going to help us confront and change some of the more entrenched modes of production and consumption that are degrading this planet? The endgame for accelerated practices seem to offer only two futures: either ‘doom’ as the dark singularity of collapse or ‘zoom’ as the neon singularity of hyper-technological transformation. The choice really might be only these in that we are currently in a death/life race against the ongoing cannibalization, as Craig writes, of the planet. Our civilization is a runaway train with a few passengers trying desperately to fasten wings to its side in order to make it fly before it flies off the rails. So far it does not look goof for all the tiny Icarus’.

Southern Nights

We declare that the splendor of the world has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed.

– F.T. Marinetti, The Futurist Manifesto

The revolutionary contingent attains its ideal form not in the place of production, but in the street, where for a moment it stops being a cog in the technical machine and itself becomes a motor (machine of attack), in other words a producer of speed.

– Paul Virilio, Speed and Politics

What is at stake in our world today? Should we align ourselves with what one Japanese poet sang: “I pray for the music of the citizens walking.” Is this it? Movement, speed, the future as the force of acceleration? Has accelerationism become the order of the day? Maybe we need something on the order of what Mark Fischer describes, quoting Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus: “Not to withdraw from the process, but to go further, to ‘accelerate…

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