- This text is part of the ongoing project 'One Day Everything Will Be Free'
curated by Joseph Redwood-Martinez, and started while in residence at SALT Istanbul, 2011-2012. First published in the reader -
Will the electric car save the planet? And why should we care? – by Alexandru Balasescu
“Sustainability” is the buzzword in business strategies–from needle making to town building–and it more often than not refers to clean(er) and ideally regenerable energy. As utopian cities are projected and will be eventually built with the help of, ironically, petro-dollars, the form, materiality, and functioning of the objects of mobility will gradually change.
A possible different type of material culture is on the rise, bringing cultural transformations such as new types of sexuality, subjectivity, and normativity. Most probably, this will bring about “transformations by design” of the urban forms that we inhabit, but we can also be sure that forms of thought will profoundly shift in economic, legal, and, ultimately, ethical areas as well.
The Thingness of the Subject
In order to understand subjectivity we must able to conceive how things/objects are mediators in the process of subjectivation, prosthetics for the creation of the political and anthropological subject. We deal here with a triangulation of utmost importance, subject/body/object, that defined and followed us along our historical becoming.
• Unpolluting engine (sound included) = ecology in larger sense
• Alternative energy = exit from oil domination
• Clean energy = sterility as added value/symbol of safety/security
Let us turn to the fetish object of mobility–the car, the object driving the economy and embedding ideology in everyday life, the supreme master of our civilization that disciplines the bodies of the less unfortunate of us sometimes to an average of even five hours a day. I look at the car, engine functionality included, as a holistic metaphor of our economic paradigm, with its oil dependency but also with its bourgeois heteronormative underlying ideology.
The very representational field of thermic engine power is permeated by patriarchal representations of reproductive (and thus productive) systems. It also engenders usual images of masculinity.
• Show off/ vizible • Discrete/ invisible
• Liniarity • Ciclicity
• Production • Reproduction
• Unlimited growth • Redistribution
• Male sexuality • Female sexuality
• Performance • Pleasure
“Thought is asexual: one will see this limitation – anthitetical to sovereignity, to every sovereign attitude – make of the intellectual world the flat and subordinate world that we know, this world of useful and isolated things, in which laborious activity is the rule, in which it is implied that each one of us should keep his place in a mechanical order”. (Bataille)
• Cosmetic EV – saves the environment locally – however not globally. I.e. rare metal exploitation, nuclear energy, hidro-energy
• EV – its acceptance is dependent on the feminine redefinition of social relations and on the regression of patriarchal dominance. An alternative culturally acceptable offer will eventually replace possible male feelings of inadequacy: alternative energy needs alternative sexualities.
The need for E.V.E.
“The excess energy (wealth) can be used for the growth of a system […]; if the system can no longer grow or the excess cannot be completely absorbed in its growth, it must necessarily be lost without a profit ; it must be spent, willingly or not, gloriously or catastrophically.” (Bataille, 1967)
“We have grown accustomed to thinking the main question about economy is simply “up or down?”But even if we knew for sure what to measure, growth could at best be only an aspect of economic success […] And this is even without considering the possibility that growth – at least in many forms – is actively bad, destroying possibilities for an ecologically sustainable future or simply piling up too much “illth” alongside wealth”. (Craig Calhoun – founder of NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge, 2012).
E(lectric) V(ehicle) E(conomy)
Recognition of feminine orgasm in feminine terms – pleasure for pleasure, not for a projected scope (in the future) –
“[…] masculine economy tends to be “teleological”, centered on phallic orgasm qua pleasure par excellence, while feminine economy involves a dispersed network of particular pleasures that are not organized around some teleological central principle.” (Zizek)
It resonates in our thinking the economy far from limitless accumulation of linear movements (production of sameness, fragmentation of/through thought), and close to the celebration of cyclicality and holistic embrace of reality.
Saving the planet – is a matter of accepting the alternative sources of energy as models based on abundance and cyclicality – not scarcity. Thus one could hope the emergence of a economic model based on different values than that of unlimited growth. In other words the replacement of competition with other values: pleasure, charity, justice among others…
Read the whole text about E.V.E. by Alexandru Balasescu here:
Read more about “One day everything will be free” here: www.saltonline.org/en/#!/en/303/series-of-talks-absorbing-surplus/