Nuclear Futurism: The Work of Art in The Age of Remainderless Destruction
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Starting from the end of history, the end of art and the failure of the future set out by such ends, Nuclear
Futurism reinvigorates art, literature and philosophy through the unlikely alliance of hauntology and the
Italian futurists. Tracing the paradoxes of the possibilities of total nuclear destruction reveals the terminal
condition of culture in the time of ends, where the logic of the apocalyptic without apocalypse holds sway.
These paradoxes also open the path for a new vision of the future in the form of experimental art and literature.
By re-examining the thought of both Derrida and Heidegger with regards to the history of art, the art of
history and their responses to the most dangerous technology of nuclear weapons the future is exposed
as a progressive event, rather than the atrophied and apocalyptic to-come of the present world. It is
happening now, opening up through the force of art and literature and charting a new path for a futural
outside or beyond the determinations and censures of Being.1 Already it is evident how the event mirrors the escape from the ontico-ontological difference previously configured in terms of speed. In this sense Ereignis is an important element in Heidegger’s critique of metaphysics. This critique proceeds by the way in which Ereignis operates in a dual manner. Ziarek describes this operation as such: Ereignis names then an occurring in which what comes to be is given into its own. But it is given
from his essence as a knowing subject that reveals truth as unconcealment. Enframing drives out all other modes of revealing and establishes itself as the truth of the world, but as a truth that does not reveal its own truthful essence.15 Heidegger sees this essence of technology in enframing as something dangerous. He writes: What is dangerous is not technology. Technology is not demonic; but its essence is mysterious. … The threat to man does not come in the first instance from the
the art industry. They no longer open up the worlds they once did, they are now merely objects of aesthetic appreciation, historical incidence or monetary value. They no longer participate in the unconcealment of the world. They are concealed from the world just as it is from them. The most obvious example of this enframing of art is the museum. By removing artworks from the world in which they are produced, and as a result are also producing, the museum quarantines them; it is the very
proclaims the actual arrival of that which will end history, be it absolute freedom in Hegel’s case, or the triumph of liberal democracy in Fukuyama’s case. Either way the proclamation of such an arrival would undermine the structures of thought that allowed the possibility of a progression towards such an end in the first place. Of course, what this close connection between messianic time and disaster points towards is the way in which the messianic must also be apocalyptic. The arrival of the
requests that when he dies he is buried in an unmarked grave scattered with acorns in an unknown forest, thus attempting remain only within the self-referntiality of writing and literature to escape the return to matter of second slope and maintain his commitment to absolute freedom. 40 M. Blanchot, ‘Literature and the Right to Death’. p. 391. This is in fact a reiteration of a quote from Hegel, which appears several times throughout Blanchot’s work. For a fuller account of the relation between