DAE Research Festival

16 March 2022

Talk on Design and Temporality for the DAE Research Festival, 16 March 2022 @ 15:50-16:30, in Eindhoven, NL and online.

Put very tersely, planetary recognition deals a fundamental blow to Euromodern cosmology, and the worlds that have been constructed in its image, oftentimes by violent force. By “world” here, I do not mean the Earth, but rather the organization of coexistence, which implies socio-technical, semantic, taxonomic, material, political and economic configurations. The end of history, as a domain of strictly human affairs in Chakrabarty’s sense, coincides with what Denise Ferreira da Silva calls for as an end to the world as we know it. While on the surface this statement may seem dystopian, her emphasis on the “as we know it”, incites us to think and experiment with referential frameworks for understanding coexistence in conditions of inseparability. In a cosmology conditioned by the principle of separability, which da Silva identifies as foundational to the Euromodern project in ethical and epistemic terms, the world is operationalized, sorted, thought and configured to confirm its existence as a “ordered whole composed of separate parts relating through the mediation of constant units of measurement”.[1] Less abstractly, we see such cosmology put into action in the appraisal of *some* humans as masterfully separate from the ground, or nature, which encourages an appraisal of the earth as a mere resource-base to nourish voracious human appetites. And through the design of time itself, exemplified by the instantiation of the prime meridian located in Greenwich – a temporal system designed in 1884 that facilitated global navigation incentivized by trade, as well as the coordination of railroad scheduling. The ramifications of this particular cosmology inflated to global proportions, has also forced us to grapple with existential questions, not only on an individual scale of confronting one’s finitude, but at the species dimension of possible finitude or extinction, implicating the integration of evolutionary temporality. The unidirectional, exclusively human, referential design of time belonging to Euromodernity figures ancestrality in purely unburdonsome terms. If the future is guaranteed to be better than the past according to the forward march of time, it becomes possible to separate ones activities from ancestral accountability. With the recognition of Anthropogenic climate change and the dimensions of coexistence revealed through planetary models, this conceptual temporal divorce from ancestrality, now becomes materially evident as an existential threat.

[1] Denise Ferreira da Silva, “On Difference Without Separability,” in Live Uncertainty: Catalogue for the 32nd Sao Paolo Biennale, (2016) 57-65.