No. 30 (2023): Issue No. 30, April 2023 – Main Topic: Cosmographies of Worlding and Unworlding

Christian England, Oankali parent with Oankali-human hybrid child (courtesy of the artist).

Editor’s Note

Across the arts and sciences – as well as that stretch Derrida calls lifedeath – the ontological turn has challenged Descartes’ founding of the modern world on human subjectivity, shaking the very foundations of aesthetic experience and experience itself. Facing global eco-anxieties of the Anthropocene, COVID, militant nationalisms, and critiques of extractive knowledge production, some seek the world’s worlding, others its unworlding; some practice universal design, others pluriversal design; some call for cosmopolitics, some cosmotechnics.

Online and off, both Dasein and design foreground technologically embodied experience in the most intimate and alienating of events, radically extending the forms, functions, and contexts of artistic and aesthetic practices of un/worlding to activists, communities, and researchers, while experiential wisdoms from the Global South and Eastern philosophy open radically new engagements with Western ontology, epistemology, technology, and aesthetics. Artists may play leading roles, supporting roles, and sometimes no role at all in emerging forms of contributory and action-based research.

The toxic effects of social media and other pharmakological platforms – and thus too their curative potential – within political, cultural, and other processes of un/worlding, demand heightened reflection and critico-creative experimentation.

Globally, the sharing of aesthetic practices at individual and collective scale increasingly unfolds via transversal network, transient ideation, and algorithmic processing by any media necessary. Given the multiple cascading crises of world-making/breaking: Who or what makes and unmakes worlds today, what composition of players constitute contemporary cosmography? Which aesthetic practices, materials, and structures enable and/or disable contemporary subject formation, sociotechnic collaboration, and shared world making? To what ends – if any – might such world-making or -unmaking proceed, and for whom or what? What signposts or onto-historical markers might guide these ways of proceeding toward or beyond the all too human?

Guest Issue Editor

Professor Jon McKenzie

Published: 15.04.2023

MAIN TOPIC: Interview