VIDEO: Faster Slower Future #4
Despite the extreme crises that the capitalist system has recently undergone, a post-capitalistic alternative seems more unthinkable than ever. We simply thunder on at an ever-faster pace. What we describe as ‘the left’ is breathlessly searching for ways out. New social, grassroots movements are increasingly calling for things to slow down. On the other hand, in recent years a new way of thinking about this speeding up has arisen – why not destroy capitalism using its own methods? Why not allow society to go into overdrive and pass into a new order?
During a two-day programme, we will be taking a detailed look at this Faster-Slower contradiction. Central to this is the philosophy of a recent political-philosophical movement: left accelerationism. This movement is part of a larger (abstract) philosophical movement: speculative realism. We give both supporters and opponents the chance to speak, but above all seek out challenging suggestions as to how to rethink the future.
The central guests are Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, who together wrote the #ACCELERATE MANIFESTO for an Accelerationist Politics and the book Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work.
19:00 – Benjamin Noys: Futures of Accelerationism
The debate about accelerationism has been violent and vituperative. Here I want to consider the battle over the notion of the future. Accelerationism, in its various forms, has often claimed a monopoly on the future. The argument is that only by engaging with capitalist forms of technology and abstraction can we envisage a future beyond capitalism. Neoliberal capitalism only provides more of the same, while accelerationism can force a new future into being or even invent the future. Here I want to consider various alternative futures, which are, at least, reactionary, if not fascist. My suggestion is accelerationism does not have a monopoly on the future and needs to consider how these reactionary futures engage certain forms of technology and abstraction to malign ends. Rather than continuing a polemic with accelerationism, one that has exhausted its novelty, the battle being fought here, tonight, is a battle to think the present as a warzone in which our future is at stake.
• Benjamin Noys is Professor of Critical Theory at the University of Chichester. He is the author of Georges Bataille: A Critical Introduction (2000), The Culture of Death (2005), The Persistence of the Negative: A Critique of Contemporary Theory (2010), Malign Velocities: Accelerationism & Capitalism (2014), and editor of Communization and Its Discontents (2011). He is currently writing Uncanny Life, a critical discussion of the problems of the vital and vitalism in contemporary theory.