Published in  
June 9, 2019


I’m thinking of the response-abilities possible in a time of bleak optimism.

For an essay on “climate disruption”, I have been reading Karen Barad through Quentin Meillassoux, thinking diffractively with the concept of the messianic and the latter’s speculative realist notion of unthinkability. While slugging through their dense writings, Alethea broke through with a painting she had just done. She had created her own planet. She called the planet “My”. She brought it to me with innocent eyes, wanting to see what I thought of it.

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Something about her art conjured something important for me. I’m yet to figure it out. On the one hand is the escapism it suggests: that we can merely shoot off to whole new worlds to continue in the linear track of progress – soaring on magic carpets. A proposal the Elon Musks and Bezoses of the world might be proud of. On the other hand (the hand with which she painted this treatise), there is a powerful magic afoot, one which solicits our attention to imagine climate trouble not as a problem within the world, but as the world in its transience. A world we have often framed in very deadening ways. A world we have not allowed agency to contribute to its own emergence. A world that resists stability and is often noticed, as if for the first time, through the hand of a five year old unschooled child.