At The End of The World, Plant a Tree
If the hellish events of 2020-2021 have left you feeling like the first stirrings of apocalypse are at long last come upon us, you clearly aren't alone. But just what do we do with ourselves, here at the end of all things? What happens to us — psychically, emotionally, socially, politically — when we accept and internalize that events capable of ending human civilization as we've known it have already taken place, and that all we're doing now is waiting for them to unfold in their fullest consequence?
We'll be touring some of the most common responses to this understanding — including the turn toward reactionary blood-and-soil nativism, the false comfort of left accelerationism, and the newly hegemonic rhetoric of "resilience" — before exploring what qualities might actually serve us best, as individuals and collectivities, as the epoch on which we've predicated our entire sense of being draws to its inevitable close.
By developing the notion that there are capacities to which we have permanent recourse, no matter what else happens, this conversation will hopefully leave you feeling able to face the gathering darkness with grace and equanimity. And, hey, if the apocalypse fails to arrive on time, at least you'll have a bunch of clever new things to say at parties.
This Keynote will take place on Saturday, October 30th from 11am - 12pm EDT.
Adam Greenfield is an American writer and urbanist, living in London since 2013. His most recent book is Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life (Verso, 2017).
Greenfield’s keynote will be addressing the Sustainable Cities and the Communities ISTAS21 sub-themes