Survival: living in the ruins
We are living out the loss of certainty about our present, and a lost belief that the future will be better. In order to remake our ability to survive in a world without hope, we need to renew the stories that we tell about how our pasts becomes our futures.
Our lives are not the end of the world, the apocalypse is us.
We are living with the decline of global hyper-capitalism that offered up economic progress for ecological ruin. The end of the world is the polarised opposites of either human genocide or human induced ecocide. Knowledge of the precarity of our damaged world brings new forms of indeterminate entanglements into being that require disturbance to enhance the coming together of unpredictable diverse agents. The pluri-temporalities of multiple agents respond to long based waves of time, across epochs, cross generational, irregular rhythms that track cyclical and reversible time, decoupled from the teleological imperative of progress to increasing wealth.
Collaborative survival requires a response to the changing circumstances that take place beyond human mastery. To do this we need to listen to the symphony of troubled stories to understand the messy patchiness of our mutual survival.
Living in the ruins may not just mean salvaging from the vestiges of post-capitalist disrupted life worlds and the scavenging of temporary survival until the accumulated residuals are used up. This requires imagining our survival beyond the winners and losers of a Mad Max apocalypse and becomes dissolved into humans inhabiting entangled complex worlds that are neither harmonious nor oppositional. We are all aliens in these future worlds, the pleasures of speculation can open up communications to chance encounters, where a shared reality becomes a sympathy with the hybrids that lie in between embracing, fearing, and fetishizing otherness.
Click the image to read curatorial interpretations
Royal Academy of Arts, 2019. Eco-Visionaries: Conversations on a planet in a state of emergency. Royal Academy of Arts Exhibition 23 November 2019-23 February 2020.
Tsing, A. L., 2015. The mushroom at the end of the world: on the possibility of life in capitalist ruins. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.