Note — Sep 29, 2019

Comrades in Deep Future

At e-flux, artist Jonas Staal starts from the Muskian-Bezosian neocolonial, extractivist, corporatist state ideals for Mars, to then takes us through a series of “extremely diverse landmarks of emancipatory science and cosmic fiction” to begin articulating “a propaganda art of hyperempathy.” I’ll have to re-read to make more sense of how (or whether) all of this does fit together but an interesting read nonetheless, with Bogdanov, Le Guin, Butler, and Haraway; the constructivist and productivist, propaganda practice; and quick nods to the Kurdish women’s movement and the Zone à Défendre (ZAD) in Notre-Dame-des-Landes.

But the plan includes no physical political or cultural infrastructures to speak of, or any meaningful discourse on future forms of governance: there is no parliament or space of common decision-making, or cultural spaces (besides the bar) for that matter. […]

[C]ontemporary neocolonial, extractivist, and corporatist interplanetary objectives are blatantly clear, and as space law was drafted for and by nation-states, multinational companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin face only limited juridical hurdles in their objectives. […]

The catastrophes about to be exported into outer space replicate earthbound exploitation, but in emancipatory science and cosmic fiction it works the other way around: interplanetary imaginaries become ways of expanding our understanding and practice of terrestrial life. […]

A politics of hyperempathy, as Butler proposes in her literary social experiment, is inherently egalitarian: what I do to you I will feel equally myself. Muskian notions of the Mars “colony” and the human “pioneer,” which are agents of aggression, could then be rearticulated into hyperempathic models such as interplanetary cooperation and interplanetary guesting. […]

In Donna Haraway’s words, this demands a form of “sympoiesis,” meaning a practice of “making-with,” in accordance with her argument that “nothing is really autopoietic or self-organizing.”