THE END AFTER THE END
(and its images during the hyper-historic collapse)
Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain
This photograph documents the discovery of a fragment of space debris in the Murcian municipality of Calasparra, in November 2015. The image is presented and disseminated through a generalist journalistic medium to account for a fact, still certainly anecdotal, but that however points to an extremely important and topical question: the conditions of the new techno-spatial ontology determine our current material, experiential, perceptual and cognitive system-framework, known as the Technosphere.
We inhabit an extensive assembly of technical and technological, biological, computer, conceptual infrastructures, etc. that has symbiotically blended with the human being, establishing a habitable environment and a network of interdependencies shared with other non-humans. It is in this framework where technology has taken over while radically reconfiguring the conditions that affect our processes of subjectivation. Not in vain, the philosopher Luciano Floridi proposes the term "Hyperhistory" to designate the period characterized by our complete technological dependence, and by the current cybernetic contingencies managed mostly by non-human agents.
But what did the Murcian countrymen really see in the object found in the middle of the field? Would we know how to properly identify said object, its size or its origin? Today we know that it was a metallic sphere covered with carbon fiber that comes from the auxiliary fuel tanks of some artificial satellite. Furthermore, we know that there are 100 tons of space debris falling on Earth's surface every year (most of it on the sea or in uninhabited places). In fact, the increasing volume of satellite debris confronts us with a future scenario of cascading collisions that will produce more debris, ultimately causing the technical and computational collapse of the global telecommunications network. This is known as the Kessler syndrome and can eventually lead to armed, global and generalized technopolitical conflicts. This photograph points out the fact that it is the new materialities, with their massive infrastructures deployed by land, sea and air, which make possible both the development and the degradation of the current information society. Materialities that burst onto the terrain of hyperhistoric becoming. Perhaps for this reason, by way of poetic justice, satellite pieces return home falling on our consciences, warning us that technospheric accelerationism has already begun its collapse. Thus, they seem to claim a space that is currently informative and, above all, an urgent critical visuality.
The contrast of metal and carbon fiber with the clay soil of the Murcian garden show us an altered cultural paradox... striated and static space no longer exists, nor a nature predisposed to anthropocentric modernity uniformity. No sedimentation is possible unless it is hyperhistoric sedimentation. The system that we created, in which we’re included, already far exceeds our capacity for control. The Technosphere overwhelms us, and traces the possibility of an end after the end of history (already announced by Hegel, and later developed by Fukuyama): a dynamic, multidimensional and complex world without us, whose visual documents we are only just beginning to distinguish.