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Cultures of Energy

Cultures of Energy brings writers, artists and scholars together to talk, think and feel their way into the Anthropocene. We cover serious issues like climate change, species extinction and energy transition. But we also try to confront seemingly huge and insurmountable problems with insight, creativity and laughter. We believe in the possibility of personal and cultural change. And we believe that the arts and humanities can help guide us toward a more sustainable future. Cultures of Energy is a Mingomena Media production. Co-hosts are @DominicBoyer and @CymeneHowe
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Now displaying: February, 2022
Feb 23, 2022
A potpourri of hot topix leads off this week’s episode: ASMR, Super Twosday, Ukraine, Bitcoin, and the correct pronunciation of Lindsey Lohan’s name. Then (17:36) we are so very thrilled to welcome Beth Povinelli back to the pod to discuss her latest book, The Inheritance (Duke UP 2021), a graphic memoir that plumbs the messy relationships among nationality, ethnicity, kinship, religion, and belonging. We talk about the dual origin stories of the project, both on a beach in Belyuen and in response to the recent rise of heritage (DNA) capitalism and surging white supremacism in the United States. We discuss the challenge of finding one’s way back to childhood and the fracturing that lies at the core of all identity claims. Beth explains how her experiences in Belyuen made her reconsider everything about her own home. We talk about how no two dispossessions are the same, the absorptive politics of whiteness for European immigrants, structures of care and disregard, and the cunning of the law of the father in families and settler society. At the end, we talk about how The Inheritance relates to her work with the Karrabing Film Collective, which work to intervene in settler narratives without being tied to settler literacy. Watch out for the film version of The Inheritance and check out Karrabing Film Collective works at https://www.kunststrom.com/karrabing-film-collective-en.html and https://www.madrenapoli.it/en/exhibition/rethinking-nature/. Outro music courtesy of Beth’s talented sister, Sharon. Thanks, Sharon!
Feb 17, 2022

Cymene and Dominic discuss extraterrestrial lavatology, evil corporate accounting software, skyfarms and chinchillas on this week’s intro. Then (14:15) we are so delighted to welcome David Farrier (U Edinburgh) to the podcast to discuss his justly acclaimed latest book, Footprints: In Search of Future Fossils (FSG, 2020). David talks about how the Anthropocene has distorted our sense of time and new relations with deep time inspired him to wonder about what humanity’s material legacy will look like far in the future. Whose material legacy is that exactly? Who might discover our future fossils? How do we decenter the human without indulging in extinction fantasies? What could story and myth do to protect future beings against some of the more toxic colonial legacies that are being left behind? What are the implications of the current colonization of the future and how can we become better ancestors? Finally, we talk about walking in the forest as a literary practice. Enjoy!

Feb 10, 2022

Cymene and Dominic talk about the vine that’s taking over their house and then (12:30) we welcome the New School’s magnificent Shannon Mattern to the podcast We discuss her new book A City is Not a Computer: Other Urban Intelligences (Princeton UP, 2021) which explores the limits of computational models for understanding knowledge in urban contexts. We begin with the deep history of urban intelligence and the role of cybernetics in offering computation as a universal analogy. We talk about other venerable tropes too, like the city as graft and the city as tree. We cover the limits of datafication to understand urban life. Does Shannon have a perfect urban dashboard model in mind? How much is big tech driving dashboardization and how much the charisma of universal representations? We talk failure and function, access as a tech panacea, smart cities, the politics of shade, libraries and kindred examples of “other urban intelligences.” Finally, we turn to the magic of Shannon’s Twitter work and how it informs her teaching. Enjoy!

Feb 2, 2022

Aaaaand we’re back! Cymene and Dominic start off with their usual nonsense, which culminates in a lively discussion of the missile silo now listed on the real estate site Zillow (we were wrong on some of the specs btw, it’s in Abilene, Kansas and only $380,000, survivalist bargain hunters can find all the deets here: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2432-Fair-Rd-Abilene-KS-67410/113177058_zpid/?utm_source=zillowgonewild&utm_medium=zillowgonewild&utm_campaign=zillowgonewild)  Then (15:31) we welcome our marvelous guest, Arturo Escobar. We start by discussing Arturo’s latest book Pluriversal Politics (Duke UP, 2020) and how the concept of pluriverse—a world where many worlds fit—emerged from an effort to understand emergence in a time of emergency. We talk about how the contemporary crisis is a crisis of a particular civilizational model and about the need to re/turn to an awareness of radical interdependence and possibility. Can Left politics overcome its reliance on the figure of “the enemy” and deal with its fear of the end of modernity so as to make its politics more pluriversal? What is radical social change? Why have the pathologies of isolation have proven to be worse than the pathologies of connection? We discuss Arturo’s interest in design alongside philosophy and anthropology and what it would mean to shift from an ontology of development to one of care. Arturo closes by gifting us an everyday exercise to help foster greater relational awareness. See you next week!

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