(Raqs Media Collective, "With Respect to Residue" 2005)
RESIDUES is a threshold, a mobile digital border seeking to investigate and re-shape the relationship among eARTh, humans, animals, and machines, with(in) the networked, rhizomatic, schizophrenic, viral environment of current bio-genetically mixed reality.
Virtual currencies. Social relationships mediated on Web 2.0 platforms. New architectures rethought within the spaces of Augmented Reality (AR). The Internet of Things (IoT). Cyborg subjectivities configured and processed on smartphones and iPads screens. Furthermore, over-consumption coexisting with the depletion of world’s reserves of biodiversity. Environmentalism. Animal testing versus animal rights. Vegetarianism. Veganism. The epidemic of anorexia/bulimia in one part of the world contrasting with the poverty-induced starvation in the other. New forms of warfare entailing the use of remotely controlled technological weaponry. Neo-colonial experiments responding to the global economy demand of geophysical resources.
Faced with this scenario, where both organic and inorganic matters, human as well as non-human bodies are exposed to the bio-, therefore necro-political power of global capitalism; while the coming of the Anthropocene as a new phase in the history of planet Earth puts us before the evidence of the global scope of the metabolic rifts that compromise the sustainable relationship between organisms and their environments, RESIDUES turns to arts and aesthetics, in order to explore the possibilities of a resilient, sustainable entanglement between the planet and the multiplicity of its inhabitants.
Focusing on the political dimension of artistic gestures, RESIDUES seeks to explore, and hopefully evoke, new practices of dwelling with(in) that which is revealing and unfolding as a more and more promiscuous space: the shared, trans-species space of life.
Metabolism comes from Greek word metabolē: it literally means change. In biology, it is the set of life-sustaining chemical transformations within the cells of living organisms that allows them to grow and reproduce, mantain their structures - that is being resilient - and respond to their environments. In sociology, metabolism denotes the interdependent relationship between humanity and the rest of the nature. As Marx announced a century and a half ago, under capitalistic logics of production/consumption an ongoing irreparable rift in the interdependent process of social metabolism defines the growing scale of current ecological crisis.
Labor pounds and wheedles rocks and soil, plants and animals, extracting the molecular flows out of which our shared life is made and remade. (Wark, 2015)
A metabolic rift takes place when those molecular flows do not return from whence they came.
Then, the Anthropocene, that is the name that Paul Crutzen and others give to this period of geological time upon which the planet has entered,
a new phase in the history of the Earth, when natural and human forces become interwined, so that the fate of one determines the fate of the other, ... [emerges as] a series of metabolic rifts, where one molecule after another is extracted by labor and technique to make things for humans, but the waste products don't return so that the cycle can renew itself. The soils deplete, the seas recede, the climate alters, the gyre widens: a world on fire. (Wark, 2015)
The globalization of the world, of ‘Planet Earth’, is a semiotic-material production of some forms of life rather than others.
(D. Haraway, Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium. FemaleMan©_ Meets_OncoMouse™: Feminism and Technoscience, 1997)
From a postcolonial cyborg perspective, which cares about naturecultural differences and their processes of hybridization, one can spot new subjectivities arising from global economy's accelerated flows of production, distribution, and consumption: figures coming out of practices which are both, and simultaneously, material and semiotic, residual life forms sedimented at the base of our experience of a globalized world.
…figures [are] where the biological and the literary or artistic come together with all the force of lived reality. ...[they] are at the same time creatures of imagined possibility and creatures of fierce and ordinary reality. (Haraway 1997)
Chimerical visions, aspirations, figures invite us to inhabit the multiplicity of stories of which matter bodies are made: living political archives, platforms that make the materialization of political imagination, the actualization of an autre-mondialisation possible. (Preciado, 2013)
Figures disclose and announce relationships between signs and bodies, organisms and the environments they inhabit, part(ner)s and the whole neither preceding, nor containing them, inasmuch as they do not precede their own meeting:
Species of all kinds, living and not, are consequent on a subject- and object-shaping dance of encounters. (Haraway 1997)
Such a dance of encounters can be discerned in contemporary technologically mediated societies, where next figures (both close and yet to come) blur the ethico-aesthetical boundaries between nature and culture, the organic and the inorganic, among the vegetable, the mineral, the animal, the human, and the technological forces (with)in the planet: life forms struggling to be born.
Nature is a r-evolution: eternal return of the nascent estate.
The threshold - always already transgressed - of next possible worlds.