"This is the second interview of the series I started last week, based on my recent book about future, sci-fi and design fictions. After Warren Ellis, here’s Bruce Sterling (whose blogging have moved to this wonderful tumblr called ‘Wolf in Living Room’:
"NN: In your opinion, as a science-fiction writer, how to you perceive this difficulty to go beyond the standard visions of "the Future" (from flying cars to humanoid robots)?
"BS: At SXSW 2014 I was on a panel with Warren Ellis, Joi Ito and Daniel Suarez where an interesting atemporal design-fiction issue came up. We science fiction writers were discussing the problem of inventing something far-fetched, satirical, extrapolative or socially critical and then discovering that it was already commercially available on the shelves of Wal-Mart. This was immediately called the “Wal-Mart Problem.”
"Atemporally speaking, it’s clearly possible to write a form of "futuristic" science fiction in which all the "sci-fi gadgets" are already real objects in Wal-Mart. …"
What you’re looking at are, in the gallery’s words, “the radioactive ruins of secret cities on the border between Kazakhstan and Russia,” architectural targets now collapsing wall by wall into the barren plain.
The region they’re in was known simply as the “Polygon,” a suitably abstract designation for what was essentially a nuclear sacrifice zone.
Via MIT News:
The MIT BioSuit, a skintight spacesuit that offers improved mobility and reduced mass compared to modern gas-pressurized spacesuits.
Photo-illustration: Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT
by Ben Woodard
Brooklyn, NY: punctum books, 2013. 118 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0615785387. OPEN-ACCESS e-book + $12.00 [€11.00] in print.
For too long, the Earth has been used to ground thought instead of bending it; such grounding leaves the planet as nothing but a stage for phenomenology, deconstruction, or other forms of anthropocentric philosophy. In far too much continental philosophy, the Earth is a cold, dead place enlivened only by human thought—either as a thing to be exploited, or as an object of nostalgia. Geophilosophy seeks instead to question the ground of thinking itself, the relation of the inorganic to the capacities and limits of thought. This book constructs an eclectic variant of geophilosophy through engagements with digging machines, nuclear waste, cyclones and volcanoes, giant worms, secret vessels, decay, subterranean cities, hell, demon souls, black suns, and xenoarcheaology, via continental theory (Nietzsche, Schelling, Deleuze, et alia) and various cultural objects such as horror films, videogames, and weird Lovecraftian fictions, with special attention to Speculative Realism and the work of Reza Negarestani. In a time where the earth as a whole is threatened by ecological collapse, On an Ungrounded Earth generates a perversely realist account of the earth as a dynamic engine materially invading and upsetting our attempts to reduce it to merely the ground beneath our feet.
edited by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen
Oliphaunt Books (an imprint of punctum books)
FORTHCOMING: October 2014
Gathering into lively conversation scholars in medieval, early modern and object studies, Inhuman Nature explores the activity of the things, forces, and relations that enable, sustain and operate indifferently to us.
THE DIATOMIST is a short documentary about Klaus Kemp, master of the Victorian art of diatom arrangement. Diatoms are single cell algae that create jewel-like glass shells around themselves. Microscopists of the Victorian era would arrange them into complex patterns, invisible to the naked eye but spectacular when viewed under magnification.The best of these arrangements are stunning technical feats that reveal the hidden grandeur of some of the smallest organisms on Earth. Klaus Kemp has devoted his entire life to understanding and perfecting diatom arrangement and he is now acknowledged as the last great practitioner of this beautiful combination of art and science. THE DIATOMIST showcases his incredible work. Soundtrack by Ryuichi Sakamoto, Bernard Herrmann and Cults Percussion Ensemble. MATTHEW KILLIP is an English filmmaker living in New York. His documentaries have been broadcast on UK television and exhibited in festivals including Sundance and True/False. The Diatomist Matthew Killip
Thomas Pynchon. The Anthropocene. Ferguson. Geoheliocentrism. Teju Cole. Thomas Kuhn’s theory of paradigms. Antigone. A wall. The sixth extinction.