c l i m a t e f u t u r i s m, 2016
Climate Futurism: Anything but a vision.
Interview with myself, held via email. February 2016
Can you describe what you mean by “climate futurism”?
It is a term developed to define the accelerating changes to all climates, whether localised or global. The two words together induce a particular awareness that identifies climate as having a timespan, however the terms also induces feelings of phenomena, perhaps fantasy…a fantastical timespan that is known to us, but its implausibility is more believable than its plausibility. Climate Futurism is about instrumentalising the organismic potential of the current state of our species vs. the planet.
You mention “localised” climate, what does this mean? (With regards to “global” climate")
Localisation is acted out in our portability; we zig zag across the surface of the earth, existing as a unit of both interior and exterior forces. To paraphrase the author William Gibson, things are morally neutral until we do something with them. We instrumentalise external entities and make them perform in a certain way. Like the midas touch, but instead the abject touch, (sometimes things we touch do turn to gold, and by gold I mean good, not currency). Our localised climates are specific but they are also a mirror to the global. It is a give/take scenario, a relationship we have been coming to terms with since we first became concious. The natural climate exists alongside this binary. A surveillor of both and effected by both too. The mother who nurtures but also punishes. She is duality itself - like her waves, back and forth, stable and unstable.
When you mention a “fantastical timespan”, are you refering to the effect if the internet?
The internet offers a coalition where one isn’t necessary - between ourselves and the infinite. As it grows, like a black hole, the original promise of a “world-wide-web” seems distant and those who happen to be residing there, (logging in, sharing, pinning, hashtagging) are like inhabitants of a lost civilisation, except data packages and browser histories act to prove their existence, who they are, where they have been, instead of artefacts dug up from the ground thousands of years later. Their zig zagging, the voyages, can be reduced to a point eighth of a second Google search. The compression that the internet enacts is having an impact on our bodies and the body of the land. Localised and global climates are burnt to disc, introducing Climate Futurism. But nature still holds its own in some way, well, for now at least. The fantastical timespan of change to climate is seemingly observed in retrospect and prediction. The place in between the “world-wide” is compressed where it needs to be expanded. Can we find that lost civilisation there? Or at least identify ourselves in this way?
You discuss climate change in quite abstract terms. Is this a coping mechanism?
There is a fad I have read about called “pre-trauma”. It is the speculative understanding of impending doom and complete lack of control. It is a fairly integrated social concept, and upon reading about it and others who are feeling it, from across the globe, not just the West, I felt some comfort. Coping mechanisms are in now way long term answers. I do not have much access to the practical and radical mechanism that are working to save the planet, or save “save the planet”. Demonstrations and marches are in some way leading to self-fulfillment, and I can;t help feel this kind of action is edging on being problematic and outdated.
What I am pertaining to with my doodles on Climate Futurism is that pictures of oil-filled seas, trash-filled lands, death, destruction, are still not enough to spark the kind of shift that is necessary at this point. These images-as-events are logged, and often at most that is all. I feel abstraction has possible instrumental promise, and can live inside and outside current cultural attitudes, with a hope to not becoming an attitude, or a trope, in itself.
“Mother nature” seems a romantic notion when referred to alongside the “black hole” of the internet. Why do you refer to nature in this seperate, specific way, and do you plan to reify it?
Nature’s reification has been a craze for a very long time, only now it seems to be a pastiche or a mockery as our species has been so unforgiving toward her. There is a sense of romanticism in the tone I take with her, as I think her metaphorical abilities as “mother” are useful when determining plausibility amongst the incomprehensibility of our “dying” planet. The internet and nature are both phenomena, however the internet interests us more because we created it. We have created nature too, however man-made greenery leaves a sour taste, as it is often unconvincing and off putting, (like AI). Can climate be enforced as a constant, as nature is? Not overtly in a haunting way, but in a concious way, for the people who are ignoring it?
If our species acts to identify itself as a “localised” or “lost” civilisation, what effect will this have and do you this kind of metaphorical, or fantastical, awareness can be utilised for social change?
The effect of identifying yourself as any kind of civilisation, lost or found, is a profound moment that can impact on the choices and decisions you then make, concerning you inhabitance on this planet. Perhaps “misplaced” is a more useful term to use when negotiating our species through its own historical and futuristic timeline, as it pertains to neither a hopeful nor a destitute state, but simply a state itself. This state is in flux, but we seemingly have come to terms with acceleration. The misplaced civilisation has a kind of power, or force, or potential control that mimics that of zombiefication - a routed, insatiable thirst for something like life. If the civilisation can balance this thirst, desire, with its integrated moral code, it has a chance to utilise its misplaced status in order to re-jig the situation around it, a kind of violent act that sends vibrations through surroundings. What I’m trying to get at is that “awareness” often either promotes a kind of elevated human endeavour e.g. I am going to save the children/world/animals, or a complete withdrawal from taking any kind of responsibility or making any kind of effort as what’s-the-point-we’re-all-fucked…the misplaced civilisation opens up an arena that involves realism and fantasticalism, as the misplaced inhabitant has no history or future to refer to. It lives in the current - it always will. It is localised and global and understands that neither are a constant. They are in a state of ebb and flow, stable and unstable like its mother, nature. Not Online, nor in Sleep Mode, but Busy.