ISSUE 57 — SPRING 2022
What is posthumanist subjectivity? Which institutions, historical events, and philosophies continue to define its cultural coordinates? And how can we move towards new Posthumanism®™ approaches which disinherit the cultural strictures from continental philosophy and western art practices that subliminally privilege a very specific conception of the Human as universal human? The reconfiguration of methodologies, approaches, and optics demanded by this new ontological turn situates art as the most productive multidisciplinary forum by which to address the truly universal challenges posed by the Anthropocene.
Posthumanist discourses, and subsequently conceptions of the Anthropocene, have been substantially shaped by implicitly unacknowledged structural omissions. A foundation level endemic confusion of the specific with the universal critically compromises any anticipated radical paradigm shifts to, as philosopher Sylvia Wynter (2015) would have it, “give humanness a different future”. Again, according to Wynter, it is important that we urgently shift the hollow universalizing terms that obscure the subjective positions of the “we” at the center of popular Anthropocene discourse. This reference point “is not the referent-we of the human species itself", a fungible planetary human figure, but rather a culturally discreet Human (or Human®™) with specific anthropogenic activities and relations, both structurally and conceptually.
Which new conceptions of the Anthropocene may arise when geographical time collapses with historical time? What new thoughts on the Anthropocene can be revealed when we acknowledge that neither the responsibility nor the vulnerability of climate change, are evenly/universally distributed? How do we disrupt the narratives of the Anthropocene(s) that erase the roles and realities of the non-Human®™?
DR. GIOVANNI ALOI
EDITOR IN CHIEF
in this issue
Ariel René Jackson
Esther F. Jansen Vuslat D. Katsanis Mirela Kulović
text and image: Betelhem Makonnen
The call for the ‘Beyond posthumanism®™’ issue of Antennae was deeply informed by the work of the black Jamaican writer and cultural theorist Sylvia Wynter who across her vast scholarship introduced perspectives and worldviews that engender “the possibility of undoing and unsettling – not replacing or occupying – Western conceptions of what it means to be human”.
in conversation: Katherine McKittrick
and Betelhem Makonnen
Demonic Grounds moves between past and present, archives and fiction, theory and everyday, to focus on places negotiated by black women during and after the transatlantic slave trade. Katherine McKittrick addresses the geographic implications of slave auction blocks, Harriet Jacobs’s attic, black Canada and New France, as well as the conceptual spaces of feminism and Sylvia Wynter’s philosophies.
Socially engaged art & Wynterian ruptures
text: Dalaeja Foreman
This work is a theoretical analysis of socially-engaged-art practice as a political framework for grassroots organizing within communities deemed non-human by the hegemonic-white-supremacist-heteropatriarchal-colonial-capitalist gaze. Sylvia Wynter’s deconstruction of the “human” after the 1492 rupture is the base for reconceptualising humanity.
The posthuman racial ecology of W.E. B. DuBois
text: Stephanie Polsky
The article brings together the geographies, economies, and ecologies of the African American South, Wilhelmine Germany, and the Algorithmic South to illustrate how the cultivation of racial identity intersects at various points with the progress of both the Plantationocene and Anthropocene.
Workers liberation as environmental justice: beyond Amazon’s Plantationocene
text: Hiba Ali
Hiba Ali focuses on warehouse worker leaders, Hafsa Hasan and Hibaq Mohamed, associated with Awood Center, a non-for-profit that focuses on mobilizing East African workers in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
After Man and Nature: an ethos for
text Esther F. Jansen
In line with the bio-evolutionary governing principles of our overrepresented order of knowledge and being, the notion of the Anthropocene is both anthropocentric and ethnocentric.
"Posthumanist theory is substantially invested in notions of relationality, entanglement and po- rousness, yet there remains a specter at its core that renders it largely a product of a fixed axis that overwhelmingly tethers its worlding models to Eurocentric mono-cultural constructs"
Betelhem Makonnen, p 10
"This is how black people live—inventing and reinvent- ing knowledge systems—and part of this work is learning and teaching and sharing that inventiveness and re-inventiveness"
"Wynter’s methodology interprets this narrow perception of Humanity not as an ending point but as a beginning for the possibility of creation through the queered lens of cultural production, intangibility, and the necessity of fugitiveness"
Dalaeja Foreman, p 24
"It is, therefore, no coincidence that spaces the Internet seeks to smartly regulate are disproportionately inhabited by barely surviving individuals of colour, nor that a new set of White American male masters have located novel means through which to carve out profit by manipulating their behavioural futures"
Stephanie Polsky, p 46
Kenyan contemporary art & the time of the posthuman
text Joshua Williams
This essay explores questions of form, material and time in the work of the Kenyan artists Cyrus Kabiru, Wangechi Mutu and Wanuri Kahiu. It claims that Kabiru, Mutu and Kahiu’s work exists at the intersection of Afrofuturism and posthumanism.
A Billion Black Anthropocenes
in conversation: Kathryn Yusoff
and Betelhem Makonnen
Kathryn Yusoff examines how the grammar of geology is foundational to establishing the extractive economies of subjective life and the earth under colonialism and slavery.
The Black tradition of forecasting
text and images Ariel René Jackson
This work is a theoretical analysis of socially-engaged-art practice as a political framework for grassroots organizing within communities deemed non-human by the hegemonic-white-supremacist- heteropatriarchal-colonial-capitalist gaze. Sylvia Wynter’s deconstruction of the “human” after the 1492 rupture is the base for reconceptualising
text: Clareese Hill
What if the Earth spoke to you as a black woman?
The essay seeks to explore themes of the Black female body as it equates to the poor care and condition of the Earth being thrust towards the Anthropocene.
The postcollapse life
in conversation: Ilknur Demirkoparan,
Vuslat D. Katsanis, Mirela Kulovic'
In this conversation piece, the authors describe “postcollapse”
as a critical framework for rethinking human relationships and responsibility against the provincial identitari- anism dominant in both the Anthropocene discourse
and in the art world.
text and images: Mukhtara Yusuf
In this performative multi-form
text, mukhtara yusuf explores postbrokenism as an alternative model for healing the broken ontological “covenant” between human and nonhuman.
"Internal documents revealed that Amazon surveils the number of warehouse workers participating in union activity, detective agencies that spy on warehouse workers, and track environmentalist groups’ participation by its workers"
Hiba Ali, p 61
"The elevation of Man above the natural world and constructed as ontologically different from backward, or “lesser” humans, are two sides of the same coin".
Esther F. Jansen, p 65
"What if the promise of the posthuman, like the promise of the postcolonial, resides less in its futurity than in the break it marks or makes in time itself?"
Joshua Williams, p 72
"When we are talking about the An- thropocene we are actually talking about the induction of a globalizing material, spatial and affectual architecture into the world that can also be called colonialism and empire"
Kathryn Yusoff, p 87