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The End of Man

A Feminist Counterapocalypse

2018
Author:

Joanna Zylinska

The End of Man

Debugging the Anthropocene’s insistence on apocalyptic tropes

The End of Man rethinks the prophecy of the end of humans, interrogating the rise in populism around the world and offering an ethical vision of a “feminist counterapocalypse,” which challenges many of the masculinist and technicist solutions to our planetary crises. The book is accompanied by a short photo-film, Exit Man, which ultimately asks: If unbridled progress is no longer an option, what kinds of coexistences and collaborations do we create in its aftermath?

Where the Anthropocene has become linked to an apocalyptic narrative, and where this narrative carries a widespread escapist belief that salvation will come from a supernatural elsewhere, Joanna Zylinska has a different take. The End of Man rethinks the prophecy of the end of humans, interrogating the rise in populism around the world and offering an ethical vision of a “feminist counterapocalypse,” which challenges many of the masculinist and technicist solutions to our planetary crises. The book is accompanied by a short photo-film, Exit Man, which ultimately asks: If unbridled progress is no longer an option, what kinds of coexistences and collaborations do we create in its aftermath?

The End of Man

Joanna Zylinska is professor of new media and communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is a photomedia artist, curator, and author of several books.

The End of Man

The End of Man, One More Time.
By Joanna Zylinska

The apocalypse is back—with a vengeance! Cue the visually intriguing Altered Carbon on Netflix, the conceptually teasing yet disappointingly humanist Humans on Channel 4 in the UK, and the just plain terribleBlade Runner 2049 (surely a crime against cinema, if not against humanity). But let me make what might seem like an odd link. The current return of the android, the robot, and the cyborg on the big and small screen, fueled by a renewed interest in Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the part of Silicon Valley researchers and investors, looks to me like a response (although not necessarily a direct or even acknowledged one) to a number of planetary-scale issues. Among them are climate change, the depletion of the Earth’s resources, and the impending extinction of various species—including our own. In other words, I am making a connection here between the apocalyptic prophecies about AI replacing “us” with the dominant crisis narrative of our times: the Anthropocene.