Covid-19 has brought late capitalism’s exterminist impulse into sharp relief. Globally, experiments on the part of both capital and the state — some of which would have been unthinkable before the pandemic — aim to determine just how much of the working-class is necessary and how much of it can be tossed aside. Even states that have intervened strongly in the welfare of their citizenry seem willing to engage in this dark calculus to some degree. The increasing dominance of cybernetic and algorithmic technologies continues to shape and interact with human subjectivity even well short of its elimination. More and more we are forced to reckon with the possibility of a political and cultural landscape of a vicious and reactionary post-humanism.
As others have argued, the only way out is not around, but through; not a rejection of myriad cultural technologies but a reimagination of radical subjectivity and temporalities in relation to them. This panel aims to examine what this means for contemporary strategies of emancipatory cultural resistance. It coincides roughly with the launch of Imago, a new annual journal dedicated to exploring questions of critical irrealism, published by the Locust Arts & Letters Collective. Subjects addressed will include the impact of online life on Brechtian alienation effect, surrealist critique of the currently-very-trendy genres of cyberpunk and synthwave, and how the left should understand the regroupment of the far-right on various online platforms.
Toward a Brechtian Cybernetics
Androids Leaping: What Were (and Are) Cyberpunk and Synthwave?
Slouching Towards Bethlehem (Again): Digital Retrenchment of the US Far Right and Fascists After the January 6th Putsch