To break that tiresome cycle (that is, to keep immunity but ditch the scapegoating), we will need to cultivate a more-than-human listening for planetary messages. These parting human words conclude this essay’s philosophical polemic in progress—what we might as well call symbiontics. That ongoing diatribe argues that symbiosis (the state of “with-living”) is that-which-is, the ontic. Symbiontics refutes existential philosophies built on the individual in favor of the scale of our aggregation among aggregations. Its matrixial obsessions avoid the apotheosis of the one in favor of that continuous condition of convivial codependence that is life—beginning from our ancient endosymbiotic couplings and continuing through to our ongoing incorporations of viral lysogenic forms. Since our strange species has invented art as a way of changing ourselves, can this cultural evolutionary force emerge, postcrisis, to help pry us from misguided imaginings of ourselves as “individuals”? Can art join in the historic project that is already underway, the very human campaign of fusing environmental and social justice, of breaking with extraction capitalism, of fashioning a planetary redistribution of energies of which viruses have always been a part? May our pandemical solidarities transform into a humbled awareness of ourselves as entangled and interdependent heterotrophs, utterly woven together, just another genome in the planetary holobiont.
Full article at Artforum: