For artists and intellectuals, the pandemic offers an occasion to rethink the content and form of work. Rather than remaining stuck in an “infinity mirror” of the status quo, defined by endless crisis predicated on the notion of their unprecedented occurrence, the Aero-sol-nauts dare to imagine and conjure a livable future.
“Donna Haraway’s ‘thick-now’, the thick, chaotic and lumpy present, speaks of the exceptionality of the present build upon our collective and individual experiences, which does not necessarily directly correspond or relate to the past,” they explain. “Without a stable referent from the past, without – let us say – a precedent, we are caught in the extraordinary present. Seemingly, there is no way out, and just as there is no past, there is no future, either. As Frederick Jameson has put it, “in the current conjecture it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.”
They look for “curious conjunctions” and “shortcuts between histories and futures” to locate moments “threads that the virus makes graspable” and to share “molecular memories between beasts that have long since separated.”
The COVID-19 pandemic makes the deep-now all the more apparent, inviting us to experience empathy with ancestors annihilated by plagues in the past, as well as with others today who live under totalitarian regimes or unending war. “Deep-time,” they note, “operates on the biological basis, but the linkage grows into the cultural realm.”