Towards a Terran Resistance Front?

E-Flux‘s latest installment has a great piece by Sven Lütticken, ‘Toward a Terrestrial‘, riffing on communist history and its possible mutations towards a terrestrial politics. Latour’s theoretic attractor “The Terrestrial” is particularly interesting. Much to be worked out in that vein. Here are some poignant passages from the essay:

Latour and Danowski/Viveiros de Castro differentiate between Humans (the gas-guzzling inheritors of the “Moderns” and their state and corporate institutions) and whom they call the Earthbound or the Terrans, who are perhaps most fully incarnated in traditional, indigenous societies. This is a twenty-first century version of history as race war or class warfare; the real political conflict would be that between the Terrans and their Human enemies in (trans)national guises. One way of looking at the Terrestrial is precisely as an organizational form for Terrans…
Marx famously noted that what distinguishes the worst of architects from the best of bees is that the architect makes a conscious design, whereas the bee follows its instinct. In the age of swarm intelligence and hive minds, we are less certain about this distinction—less certain about not being bees. No doubt the Terrestrial in some way also imposes itself on the humans that build it, and no doubt issues of nonhuman representation, of including “nonhuman comrades,” are pressing. Yet it is clear that in a constellation that includes other technological and environmental actors, humans have a particular capacity—or a need—to translate what may be conflicting imperatives into design, and to ask: If the Terrestrial must be built, how to go about this project?
The Terrestrial can have presence as a specter, as branding without much in the way of organizational or institutional infrastructure to back it up. We have seen that historically, the international was a myth or a conspiracy theory before it took on a degree of reality—and internationals can always revert to that, or try to exploit their image as one tactic among others…
As with previous internationals, the coming Terrestrial can only be an intervention in and modulation of existing (capitalist) infrastructures…
What would the mechanisms of decision-making be like? How much organizational centralization is needed on top of a decentralized technological infrastructure? How to get beyond Marx-vs.-Bakunin reenactments? How to marshal the intelligence of the hive mind and of volatile combinations of distinct individuals? Are there actually existing institutions and organizational structures that can be incubators of the Terrestrial, including in the art world, that playground of global finance capital? If the contemporary condition is a “disjunctive unity of present times,” of different presents, then it come as no surprise that deepening and widening rifts traverse the field (or fields?) of art. Various types of para-institutional organization-building and movements to decolonize or “liberate” existing institutions are so many attempts to exit a dominant and dismal version of Contemporary Art to create and maintain platforms and forums for futurity beyond and against futurism…
The accelerationist future is already here: the unfolding future of surveillance capitalism, of machine learning and predictive analytics, of relentless value extraction from the fabric of human (inter)actions. There is no earthly reason to believe that an acceleration and intensification of this history would result in an Engels-style leap from quantity to quality, would result in a dialectical self-overcoming of capitalism, before the planet has become uninhabitable for those who self-identify as some kind of human. The transnational needs a notion of futurity that is multiple and open to contradictions between different versions of the present—contemporaneity as anachronistic montage. As Yuk Hui suggests, it is crucial to ask
what futures are still available for imagination and realization. If we identify Enlightenment thought with modern technology as an irreversible process guided by universality and rationality, then the only question that remains to be asked is: To be or not to be? But if we affirm that multiple cosmotechnics exist, and that these may allow us to transcend the limit of sheer rationality, then we can find a way out of never-ending modernity and the disasters that have accompanied it…

The only way to salvage the resources needed to stabilize value potentials inherent in the next waves of mutations is to steal modernity away from its zombie bride: capitalism. Terran savagery will be a strategic rejection of the machinic phalanx of capital, and a restoration of dignity through resolute and eclectic experiments with existenz. Such is mutant praxis; thus is ontopunk. Long live the Terran Liberation Front.

2 responses to “Towards a Terran Resistance Front?

  1. Or: every generation (from non-life to death). Come up with its own justifying discourse for its existence, that humans are bees, and do human-bee stuff, never getting anywhere through discourse but the justifying of activity ?

  2. Pingback: Concepts adequate to the times | synthetic zerø·

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