For an essay on “climate disruption”, I have been reading Karen Barad through Quentin Meillassoux, thinking diffractively with the concept of the messianic and the latter’s speculative realist notion of unthinkability. I’m thinking of the response-abilities possible in a time of bleak optimism. While slugging through their dense writings, Alethea broke through with a painting she had just done. She had created her own planet. She called the planet “My”. She brought it to me with innocent eyes, wanting to see what I thought of it.
Something about her art conjured something important for me. I’m yet to figure it out. On the one hand is the escapism it suggests: that we can merely shoot off to whole new worlds to continue in the linear track of progress – soaring on magic carpets. A proposal the Elon Musks and Bezoses of the world might be proud of. On the other hand (the hand with which she painted this treatise), there is a powerful magic afoot, one which solicits our attention to imagine climate trouble not as a problem within the world, but as the world in its transience. A world we have often framed in very deadening ways. A world we have not allowed agency to contribute to its own emergence. A world that resists stability and is often noticed, as if for the first time, through the hand of a five year old unschooled child.