In ec[o]topia, the plant.
In ec[o]topia, I immerse myself in the many displacements that linger over and up through the wasted, devastated spaces of dead and dying dreams of progress. I imagine dwelling in the dumps littered with tiny technological shards of rare earth. Pressed and electrified, they belong to the waste pickers now, they are a livelihood. I don’t answer my obsolete cell phone if it still knows how to ring. In ec[o]topia, I seek the full ethical and political expression of an ontology of displaced desire. Everything which desires, displaces. And I ask: If this is true, how do we denounce displacement? How do we place desire? We rethink that most humble form of life: The plant. The plant is desire mobile, globalized, and nomadic, not for the sake of mobility, globalization, or nomadism, but as a mode of struggle attached to spaces of mourning, drawn to melancholy natures, to what will have been. This is desire which listens closely for the life that overcomes death on terms dictated by that to which dreams abandon themselves. It makes an atmosphere from air, it breathes itself into existence from the vast undoing of its ancestors. It does not forget because it does not remember.
If the ruin is a metaphor for hope, as María Zambrano tells us, it is so because it is left to other devices, to be determined by the underdetermined, that first wave of weeds waiting there, always, our botanical kismet. The ruin is precisely that which is unimproved by the impossible dream of invulnerability, of an ever-better life. The weed does not know a better life, only this life and this place, where it waits for decades before emerging. The ruin calls it forth to carpet over the false dream of progress, that dream which concentrates vulnerability elsewhere at uncalculable cost, the dream that creates destruction as a nihilistic mode of renewing demands for improvement. This is not something of which we dream. If there is no possibility of stepping outside this dream, no freedom from its incessant demand to try again later, when the market is better, when the weather makes sense, when the server is back online, then I affirm my desire to be as far away as possible. To be a seed, waiting not for my messiah to come, but for my displacer to move on; to not be underfoot anymore. I seek the freedom of emergence. And as I drift like the angel of queer history, out of the past, I call out the policies of renewal, redevelopment, and revitalization for what they are: Death unaccounted for, murder by other means. I say, with anyone whose displacement is mandated, that this is not new, this is not developed, this is not vital. It’s the same old story, dressed for the promised apocalypse. We don’t need it, we’re already living it. So, move on, and let us grow in our own way.
This is just getting better and better…
With respect, Brian