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Friday, 11 November 2011

Retrofuturism and the ontological Potemkin

Fabi Borges suggests that there is something retrofuturistic in wondering about the future of ontology. Retrofuturism as in the steampunk movement (http://www.steampunk.com/) or as with the chap-hoppers (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703716904576133674200088328.html) or even our as in our idea of anarcheology.

There is something interesting to that. The idea is to reinvent what is archaic, what is constitutive. Think of a capacity to bring about things (instaurer) that reaches the constitutive because it reaches everywhere. The issues that bringing about the constitutive raise are somehow akin to those raised by the much discussed boutade by Latour: "after 1864 the microbes existed since ever". I believe that there is something to the constructivist or antirealist idea that things are thoroughly up for grabs. Surely, not up for our species' grab, but up for the rest of the world grab. The rest of the world (the constituted, not the constututing) is sponsoring what is ontologically constitutive - if anything is. (Sponsoring in the sense of the previous posts, as a translation of gestifted or instauré.)

Retrofuturism then points at an ontological Potemkin, a revolt of all forces and things against their (constitutive) masters. Mutual dependence implies that the ground is grounded by the grounded, which, maybe by being grounded, sponsor it. It is in that sense like Latour's boutade: the future can rewrite history (and not only our accounts of history). Hence, the idea that existence needs sponsoring and that there is nothing but immanent sponsoring seems to be one straightforward way to understand that everything as up for grabs.

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