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Installation view featuring Ivana Bašić's sculptures depicting elongated figurative creatures

Installation View. Through the hum of black velvet sleep, 2017, Marlborough New York. Photo: Pierre Le Hors. 

Today, the idea of the future «tend to revolve around ideas of ecological apocalypse, the dismantling of the welfare state, or corporate-led dystopia». That's what Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams first say in "Inventing the Future". We need to rethink of it and invent it in a utopian way in order to be able to believe in it and to begin to act differently in the present. Anyway, none of the two authors, give a possible vision of our future on this planet; it’s the American biologist Donna Haraway who finally gives it for the first time in Staying with the Trouble. Haraway affirms that much of the Anthropocene discourse «saps our capacity for imagining and caring for other worlds, both those that exist precariously now […] and those we need to bring into being in alliance with other critters, for still possible recuperating pasts, presents, and futures» and that so the Capitalocene «does not have to be the last biodiverse geological epoch that includes our species too. There are so many good stories yet to tell, so many netbags yet to string, and not just by human beings.»

As Haraway writes, the revolt against the aching gestures of the Anthropocene and the unravelling of the world by the Capitalocene is carried out by returning to practice the tentacular thinking to know «what thoughts think thoughts» and to practice the making of new forms of kinship, of mutual interpenetration, outside the established patterns of the family, of genetic transmission, outside of binary excluding stereotypes. That is to, consider the other non-human and conceive hybridization with it. One of the fundamental paths to the practice of thinking is to tell stories; on the other hand, the path to the practice of making is to shape them. Based on theories of Ursula Le Guin, Bruno Latour and Isabelle Stengers, we should first learn to think and create outside of the aggressive and phallic storytelling of Human in History. It is necessary to free the imagination by removing the egocentric, selfish and closed figure of the man. For Haraway it’s essential to conceive of hybridization between companion species starting from the way we speak, a step which seems fundamental to think of new stories to contrast with the dramatic ones of the Anthropocene and the Capitalocene. Her book, in fact, can be considered as a collection of imagined or reported string figures stories, characterized by the richness of neologisms functional to the story of the Chthulucene, a geological period in which the planet Terrapolis is immersed. Haraway imagines another way of life, where the human being, transformed into a guman, is co-starring with other living beings in the making of critters, multigender and multispecies creatures, full of significant otherness connected and becoming-with to each other and with the environment. Capable of living with the problem, these creatures are working the soil and in the soil, because they belong to the mud more than to the sky and are emerging by the game of string figures with companion species, an exercise of imagination to activate the practice of making kin. Throughout the book, it also clear how much it’s necessary to start from the way we see an to change it to conceive new forms, which can take on these hybrid creatures. That’s why Haraway proposes the figure of Ptonia Theron/Medusa/Gorgone in order to think about the physiognomy in a totally different way. The Gorgone is a female figure without any lineage and any classification of or by gender, her configuration breaks with «modern humanist (including technohumanist) figurations of the Anthropos». In this perspective it’s essential to read some significant works by a series of woman artists, whose work is very different from each other and, who have begun to unhinge the vision and deconstruct the aesthetic of anthropocentric image, through a practice of making which opposes to contemporary patriarchal, heteronormative and binary politics.

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