THE FUTURE LATER: McKenzie Wark takes over the Verso blog


It’s easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine that you don’t know the rest of the quote. Fredric Jameson’s quip has become a mantra of our era as climate change and grinding, unapologetic income inequality vivify the reasons why capitalism must end at the same time they seem to push the how further from reach.

The vagaries of current events aren’t the only factor. “The real problems with democratic life today,” Marc Augé writes, “stem from the fact that technological innovations exploited by financial capitalism have replaced yesterday’s myths in the definition of happiness for all, and are promoting an ideology of the present, an ideology of the future now, which in turn paralyses all thought about the future.”

In The Future, Augé attempts to distinguish our conceptualizations of the future from the eternal, terrified present—and, in doing so, provides the inspiration for Verso Futures, a new series of essay-length interventions that theorize at the outer limits of political and social possibility. The first set in the series brings Augé’s book together with Isabell Lorey’s State of Insecurity, an investigation of subject formation in the age of precarious labor; Paolo Virno’s Déjà vu and the End of History, which proffers a radical new theory of historical temporality; and Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi’s Heroes: Mass Murder and Suicide, a look at the most extreme embodiments of the cultural nihilism produced under financial capitalism. 

Like the writers in the Futures series, McKenzie Wark has been rethinking the past in an effort to discover a future that breaks with the paralyzing terror that accompanies our understanding of the present. In his forthcoming Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene. Wark looks for ways to think, and perhaps even combat, the philosophical foundations of the Anthropocene. 

In even the most dire apocalyptic scenarios, it is easy to picture the indomitable Wark hanging in there, only accelerating his ceaseless production of high-quality theory, reimagining what comes next with material drawn from the abandoned archives, observed from the subtlest stirrings of the barren present. In that spirit, we have handed Wark the keys to the Verso blog for a week to elaborate on some of the speculative concerns (and concerns with the speculative) that his recent work shares with Verso Futures