Sites and Localization at Planetary Dimensions
In this lecture we’ll look at the transformation of the ‘site’ of situated thought in view of planetary entanglement. This connects more broadly with the problem of space, and its historical orthodoxies of representation. Long-Euromodernity is inseparable from its reinvention of space (from Renaissance perspectivism, to the infamous grid, through to today’s modelling software applications), serving as a way to positionally localize co-emergence of an image of “Man” as the construction of Eurohumanism, that has since punitively manifested as a globally-scaled, economically neoliberal, mono-humanism.
If we are to posit “the planetary” as an index for paradigmatic socio-historical transformation (and not only a geo-epistemological recognition), we require commensurate spatiotemporal figurations to embed and relocalize ourselves as well. If every historical episteme ushers in distinct discursive practices, activities need to be embedded somewhere and somewhen to be practicable. This way, we may surmise that every historical epoch must also construct its own distinctive space for localizing reason, positionality, relationality and activity to gain realizable, that is, more than sheer discursive, purchase.
Rather than pitting the global against the local (or vice-versa), the planetary compels a thinking of spatiotemporal entanglement; a genre of thinking that combats a false imaginary of the planetary as synonymous with sheer largesse, thereby eclipsing “the local”. Conversely, such high-dimensional space endemic to planetary entanglement deeply troubles what is commonly understood as “local” within the ongoing legacies of Eurohumanist spaces of representation and reason.
Image: Diagram courtesy of Patricia Reed. From the essay “Orientation in a Big World: On the Necessity of Horizonless Perspectives” in e-flux Journal #101, 2019.