Apocalyptic Design in the Capitalocene: Every-day Geopolitics and Blockchain

Christopher Speed, Katherine Symons

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


“We are not spectators of apocalyptic films, we are participants; their ecology is an invitation to feel the condition of the Anthropocene and what might lie beyond.” Ginn 2015

This paper introduces the concept of ‘apocalyptic design’, because much of what you (the reader) are doing now must be considered as apocalyptic in the context of the Anthropocene. Everything we do now, every act that is tied to the expenditure of carbon, must be see (to some extent) to anticipate the end of the world. As Jason Moore argues, we can see oil-driven capitalism as the fundamental organising principle of nature and society (2016).

We propose the term ‘apocalyptic design’ in parallel to the wide genre of films that can be described as ‘apocalyptic cinema’ that foretell an end to the world. In particular we use Franklin Ginn’s analysis of Béla Tarr’s film The Turin Horse that reconfigures our relationship with a world that is ending by “measuring our sensitivity to the Earth (rather than measuring the Earth’s sensitivity to human activities)” (2015). His paper ‘When Horses Won’t Eat: Apocalypse and the Anthropocene’ discusses the representation of the Anthropocene through traditional apocalyptic Hollywood cinema, and draws attention to stark differences in the way that people, animals, resources and the landscape relate to one another in The Turin Horse. Our paper borrows this analysis to introduce a relationship between humans and more-than-humans within the Smart City that changes the power relationships in order to slow down the end of the world.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2018
EventParticipatory Design Conference 2018 - , Belgium
Duration: 20 Aug 201824 Aug 2018


ConferenceParticipatory Design Conference 2018


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