I guess, dear Danae, I had it a bit blocked. Such as a defense mechanism, like when you turn off the telly, so you don’t see news and fantasize that all the crap is over with the screen off. But the ghosts come back (that’s really what makes them terrifying) and, in an old conference I saw some months ago, Donna Haraway (may the holy virgin of Chthulucene protect her) was again naming, precisely, the unbearable: how the geopolitical interests were set on the Arctic and its melting caused by global warming:
That is to say that even though sustainable technologies of all kinds are getting vast investments, way more money is going into sucking the last calorie of fossil fuel out of the tissues of the Earth and the melting of the ice in the Northwest Passage. The melting of ice in the Hudson Bay is a big part of this.
As an excellent Capricornian, I kept it in a very secret drawer in my brain and, of course, forgot about it. Needless to say, the ghost came back with its usual shenanigans: a text passed and forgotten in some data center in, I don’t know, Waco, Texas, soon appeared shiny on my computer to tell me boo! It was a 2016 article by Mél Hogan talking about the international telecommunications project that seeks to build a submarine internet cable passing under the Arctic. I went to see and, the truth is that there are multiple private and state projects on the subject to 2021. One, however, has already begun in August, built by the Russian government (in cooperation with China) due to the broad geostrategic interest.
For Hogan, this laying of fiber optic cables in the north is a project of the Anthropocene; that is, it could not even be thought of without the global warming that produces the melting of the Arctic and opens up a myriad of industries, from the extraction of the last calorie of fossil fuel -as Haraway would say- to the geological irruption of telecommunications. A further sign that industry embraces the climate crisis as an opportunity for development and colonial expansion rather than a signal to downsize or retreat altogether. But unlike the fossil fuel industry, even less accountability is required of the telecommunications industry. Perhaps a quote from The Salvage Collective from their book “The Tragedy of the Worker: Towards the Proletarocene” explains much better what we are up against with the Capitalocene industry:
“Here is a climate feedback mechanism purely intrinsic to capitalism, in which accumulation-by-extinction is a means to further accumulation-by-extinction.”
To change the tone a bit, my friend, and regarding the Arctic and the fact that we need to stop looking at the world but at the planet as a living organism in its spatial context, adding to the summer nights that have already arrived on this side of the continent and the ghosts that visit me, I say to you goodbye with a quote from Anton Pannekoek that I found in a super lovely text (seriously, the illustrations are beautiful) called “Marxist Astronomy The Milky Way According to Anton Pannekoek”:
What really is the Milky Way? Exactly speaking, it is a phantom; but a phantom of so wonderful a wealth of structures and forms, of bright and dark shapes, that, seen on dark summer nights, it belongs to the most beautiful scenes which nature offers to man’s eyes. It is true that its glimmer is so faint that it disappears where the eye tries to fix upon it—it is perceived only by the rods, not by the cones of the retina, hence is seen only by indirect vision; yet, when all other glare is absent, it gives an impression of brilliant beauty.
Kisses and hugs, Danae, mon amour.
Don’t you feel that we’re telling each other the same thing over and over? I wanted to talk to you about this through one of our chats but I guess that the epistolary format could help me clarify things regarding this problematic I’ve been thinking about.
I find that we’re in repeat mode: lots of information about how bad things are, lots of complicated words that we use to make sense of things. Anthropocene, neocolonialism, terraforming, all concepts that random people in the street haven’t heard nor care about.
And it’s not that I want to adopt that anti-intellectual posture that is so trendy in social media, you know how I like my philosophy, extra cryptic. The thing is that the climate emergency is a problem that is so serious that I consider that moral indignation among a few convinced people is of little help.
For instance, in the real world, in planet football, ecologic argumentations are totally unimportant, in this article published by the BBC they explain the environmental impact of the new competition formats proposed by FIFA and UEFA which involve a massive amount of air travel and carbon footprint.
Anyway, for my monthly letter I still gathered the type of content our readers are used to: Facebook doing damage control because in their “marketplace” people were selling land in the Amazon, an article stating that the climate crisis is a problem produced by capitalism (wow, never heard that take before), and a project made by European artists who released *another* manifesto for sustainable technologies, to fight “data colonialism”, etc.
However I want to highlight a special text, this critique of Benjamin Bratton’s terraforming theory written by Peter Polack, it was already time that someone said those things. Also Peter is cool, we were together in an artistic residency this year and he’s doing really interesting projects.
I’m so sorry amiga for all this resentment I’m putting in this letter, a letter with tons of cynicism, a letter that makes me think of buying weed to some random dealer in Santiago and getting a product that is not the best (beautiful literary metaphor here). Furthermore, this week I’ll be in Glasgow to attend COP26 events and I’m already anticipating that everything will be awful, it’s always the same for me every time I go to a UN event. I know that I will end up complaining for the enormous dilapidation of resources in meetings and activities that are utterly useless, a major performance in a context in which it has even been revealed that some countries are actively lobbying to defend fossil fuels.