Achille Mbembe, Brutalisme, Éditions de la Découverte, February 2020
Description from the publishers’ site (my translation)
« All the spheres of existence are henceforth penetrated by capital, and the ordering of human societies is effected from now on according to a single directive, that of digital computation. But as everything pushes towards an unprecedented unification of the planet, the old world of bodies and distances, of matter and extensions, of spaces and frontiers persists by metamorphosing itself. This transformation of the horizon of calculation is paradoxically conjugated with a spectacular return of animism, which expresses itself not on the model of the cult of the ancestors, but of the cult of the self and of the objects that are our multiple doubles.
With the becoming-artificial of humanity and its counterpart, the becoming-human of machines, we are thus engaged in a sort of existential ordeal. Being is from now on only experienced as an assemblage that is indissociably human and non human. The transformation of force into the last word of the truth of being signs the entry into the last age of man, that of the fabricable being in a fabricated world. Achille Mbembe here gives this age the name of brutalism, the great iron burden of our epoch, the weight of brute materials.
The transformation of humanity into matter and energy is the ultimate project of brutalism. In articulating the monumentality and the gigantism of such a project, this essay pleads for a refoundation of the communauty of humans in solidarity with the whole of life, which nevertheless will come about only on the condition of reparing what has been shattered ».
Thanks to Progressive Geographies for calling this essay to my attention.