The name of this blog is a play on Baudrillard’s conception of the ‘desert of the real’. In his understanding we are all captured by a medialandscape so strong that it has become impossible to perceive the world around us without it. In other words, our conception of the world is thoroughly constructed by and mediated through this mediascape.

Looking beyond the real than is a process of uncovering this ´Real´through critical thinking. The Real itself is constructed through several layers that we can move through analytically. There are the cultural drivers, the social truisms reasserted through our collective participation in the current media landscape, there is the sheer unavoidability of the untenability of material sustainability of this order of the Real and the resulting exploitation of humans and environment alike for neglecting this reality.

In my understanding, the Desert of the Real refers to the mediascape that is all around us. On the surface this mediascape traps us into a Modern subjectivity, a modern understanding that keep us trapped in the believe in some of the silly things such as ‘progress is good’ or ‘the West is the most advanced civilization ever’ or ‘I participate in society really well if I work hard and make a lot of money’. or ‘science (secretly meaning technological progress) will solve all our problems’.

At the same time we know all too well about how participation in modern society makes us feel disconnected from a substantial live and meaningful relations.  So many popular movies carry themes referring to this inner tension we feel in relationship to the epoch we are part of. Think of The Matrix, The Titanic, American Beauty, Requiem for  a Dream, Forest Gump  and The Truman Show. So we are familiar with the unease created by the participation in Modern Life.

Beyond that we know increasingly well how the sustenance of Modern life is based upon the extraction of ‘natural resources’ up to the point of destruction of Life and the oppression of the working poor in mines, at megafarms and in the factories. Ecocide is taking place everywhere and human life is reduced to exchange value dependent on whether you are rich enough to consume productively or not.

The collective imagination has become reduced to a Modern thinking and perceiving in which we can hardly see beyond  the trajectories into which Modernity seems to plunge us. We don’t dare to look beyond the paradigms of Modernity anymore, we cannot imagine a good life anymore without it.

The purpose of this blog is to share stories that open up the discussion on Modernity, living in the 21st century, the continued exploitation of life, humane or otherwise, and visions of a new horizon.

We are attempting to look beyond the ‘real´.

Proceeding from the analysis so far this project is about a re-eVALUE-ation of many things, the knowledges and perceptions of surpressed subjectivities to begin with. From the histories of surpressed knowledges we learn about the violence inherent to those knowledges we were raised into, that we were told to be a history of continuous progress into a better and more just future for everybody. We learn about how the categories that make the hierarchies in society are not only a byproduct of capitalism, but how they are constitutional to capitalism, Modernity, through colonialism.

We expand our horizon of understanding what it means to be a human being, but not just that. We aim to expand the horizon of understanding what it means to be a human being that shares the world with many species. Where not only machines have agency as Latour would have it, but mountains and rivers too.

Through sharing the stories found here we hope to enable others to find the cracks through which they can gaze through the desert of the ‘Real’ and find a foundation upon which dreams for a collective liberation can be borne and nourished.

 

 

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