Technology scholar Jussi Parikka has proposed this critical pun on the Anthropocene in order to emphasize that our celebrated digital culture has a biophysical basis “in the depths and deep times of the planet.” (Parikka n.d.: 56) Parikka details the human and ecological damage that makes our smart phones, tablets, and laptops possible, and comments: “In short, the addition of the obscene is self-explanatory when one starts to consider the unsustainable, politically dubious, and ethically suspicious practices that maintain technological culture and its corporate networks. The relation of the mineral ore coltan, essential in cellphone manufacture, to the bloody civil war in Congo and the use of child labor has been discussed now for some years in cultural theory…. We can remind ourselves of the environmentally disastrous consequences of planned obsolescence of electronic media, the energy costs of digital culture, and, for instance, the neocolonial arrangements of material and energy extraction across the globe…. To call it ‘anthrobscene’ is just to emphasize what we knew but perhaps shied away from acting on: a horrific human-caused drive toward a sixth mass extinction of species.” (Parikka n.d.: 6) (GR)
Image: Armin Linke and Giulia Bruno, Peninsula Farms, Bahrain, 2014. Courtesy of the artists.