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Title: End Time: Apocalyptic Systems in Media Art and Design
Authors: Hamilton, Kevin
Halpern, Orit
Issue Date: 5-Jul-2016
Series/Report no.: Theories: Limiting the Anthropocene;06.11.2015 Session 3A
Abstract: In contemporary art, design, and architecture, generative, recombinatory or autopoetic aesthetics often come not from a space of open­ended possibility, but of hope against specific perceived crises or catastrophes. In other words, they start less with an Enlightenment tabula rasa than with a hypothetical terra nullius. By answering perceived large­scale ecological or humanitarian threats with systems, many contemporary generative projects share more in common with the mechanisms of state security than with their utopian forebears in high modernism. This presentation will read a number of infrastructure­focused art, media and design projects in light of apocalypse as a site of state power construction and modern subject formation. In the nuclear age, the projection of cataclysmic end is a powerful site for the construction and management of options. With the sensible, the rational, and the possible so tightly bound to the framing of life's mere continuation as a question, media projects that enact alternatives in the face of death deserve scrutiny for their own role in defining life.
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