I’ve been wanting to post something about the images of the Gulf oil spill (or, rather, of the unmitigated man made deep water volcanic vent of crude oil and gas) — about what they indicate (i.e. directly inform us about), what they symbolize (i.e., mean) and iconize (look like), and why it might be that CNN and other cable news outlets are so fascinated by the Spillcam. Of course, they mean different things to different people: corporate negligence or ecocide to some, more disappointment in political saviors to others, the dark ecological eye of the Real to yet others (at least that’s something like what I would expect to hear from Zizekians, Mortonites, and maybe dark vitalists), and perhaps just a vague of sense of weird (un)reality to most.
We leap from rock to rock across a raging river — economic crash, volcanic fog, oil spill, and so on — and these are the images that link the chain for us, the dream of globality, the chain we can use as a string of prayer beads or as the rope to strangle ourselves with.
I’ve been too busy writing and dealing with other matters to do much of either. But it’s a good time for thinking about the sorts of things Jane Bennett writes about in her political ecology of things. The reading group should be getting started over at Philosophy in a Time of Error shortly (and winding its way over here eventually).