Aesthetic Ideology in the Anthropocene
On the Total Mobilization of the Earth into the Status of a Work of Art
Keywords:aestheticization of politics, anthropocene, modern technology, political myth, total mobilization, will to power
In light of the radical change to the reach and range of technical alteration, the co-evolution of mankind and the biosphere has become one of the principal questions of our age. As we find that man has altered the planet at just about every scale we are capable of measuring, the question concerning the essence of technology, in its power to not only imitate but in many ways even surpass the forces of nature, has become critical for the discussion about global environmental change. Often, the empirical findings of the geosciences have been interpreted as a motive to question the long-standing dualism between nature and artifice that itself has served, during almost the entirety of the history of Western philosophy, as the productive tension through which concepts such as technology and history have hitherto been conceptualized. But if much of our contemporary discourse on global environmental change is premised upon the functional and formal similarities between natural and artificial organs, I argue that returning to the intellectual current of 1920s and 30s Weimar Culture, where the relationship between globalization and industrialization first became of central hermeneutic concern, may shed new light on the Anthropocene as the conceptual site for a resurged geoaesthetics that denotes the ontological ubiquity of the designed environment, making the technological the foundation for a modern typological cosmology. Examining Ernst Jünger’s early work on the meaning of the planetary impact of modern technology, I caution that by reifying the cybernetic disclosure of the earth as a natural-artificial hybrid into a naturalistic ontology of work, we are liable to render our planet perfectly functional to its sustained instrumental appropriation as standing-reserve.
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