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Moral of the Extinction Marathon: We're in a crisis because of rampant abuses of power. Now what?


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Jesse Darling, Federico Campagna, Bifo Berardi

The conversation between artist Jesse Darling, writer Federico Campagna, and philosopher Bifo Berardi centered mainly on voice and language–possibly because Berardi himself has a voice that sounds like “bubbles popping up through the muck of a swamp,” as one audience member put it.

Although the conversation hit a dead end with an audience question suggesting that “emojis are a new form of international hieroglyphics,” voice seems like a pertinent topic of conversation if it is seen as an extension of agency. Of course, sitting through 20+ hours of presentations makes you think a lot about voice and affect–how it characterizes nationality, race, class, confidence, social power hierarchies, etc. It brings to mind how entrenched these signifiers of power are within our daily lives. We perform them automatically, and receive them passively.

The moral of the Extinction Marathon this weekend is that those who have power oftentimes abuse it and marginalize those that cannot speak for themselves. We overuse resources, which exist in a finite amount and are taken away from others, we blindly hunt animals to extinction with no empathy, because we have weapons of destruction and they don’t. Yet again, these power structures are so entrenched within the world, and ourselves, that it seems impossible to wrest them from those who perpetrate harm.

This prompts an unanswerable question: who deserves power, and how can we cultivate a culture of empathy? How can we protect power from being abused? As Campagna noted, the term “crisis” comes from the Greek “krisis,” which means “to decide.” To be in crisis, as we currently are, says Campagna, is to make a decision to take action.

Continuing the discussion from Extinction Marathon: Visions of the Future – Live coverage by Karen Archey: