Gothic Pastoral
slouching in freefall



























When we think about nature, why do we imagine it as utopian and harmonious? What are we missing when we erase the brute exchange of life force and the realities {...} of the biotechnological era? We have to get acquainted with the idea that there is no real harmony in the universe as we have conceived it. - chen pin tao // various, "gaia"

The Gothic Pastoral exists at the edge of the anthropocene, looking down into the topology of waste and atrophy. The haze of smog a constant apparition. In free fall but apathetic to the rising ground. Slouching in free fall.

The slouch is a bio-product of capitalism (or whatever capitalism is now: the layered oppression of both capital and vectoral weight) in the pressure much like gravity forcing the subject forward and down. The kinetic-subject tethered to propulsion of systems both past and present, moves dumbly in the space of the fall. In this arena of empty air, one feels perhaps a sense of freedom, though this is just the sensation of the phantom limbs grasping at nothing or what cannot be held. The slouch is a position indicating tiredness but restricted in movement and suspended within the fluid body of capital. Burn-out in statue. Maladies and fatigue externalized. The final form.

Present demand for the liquid-self, both in the sense of the shapeless “essence” unable to settle on a form, restless and capricious (the self, as the infinite-scroll), and in monetization of all possible human behavior, is a widespread and urgent call to be moveable tissue, to fill the joints between technologies. This system of symbols embeds itself like the helix and the code, it is a force that exists on many levels in various shades of the auto-allo. The gothic pastoral is in a way the label that could denote the cursed algebra of modern economic systems. A phenomenon that is perhaps impossible, in that it is not a real phenomenon, but rather a suspended state of belief. The cursed and the placid. Though what else would a world built and maintained on slavery, genocide and oppresion exist as? For x to equal Y, the world denoted as being other, the outside, the developing world that is everywhere, in effect, must remain just that. The first world is dead, or never was; the rest must stay chatteled. The asymmetries would need to stay fixed. Perhaps, the apocalypses and the anthropocene are one in the same?

The rural landscape is part of complex social, economic and ethical histories determining the agrarian arrangements of the age: it is the hidden production site for the globalized affluence which supports our colletive fantasies of nature. To maintain the structure of Capital's stratified society, the "developing" tiers must remain forcibly stagnant, and subsequently romanticized by its beneficiaries. The Gothic Pastoral rejects this idyllic nostalgia as an illusion, and concerns itself with specific conditions of power: the technological transactions and human desires which determine our material realities. It indexes the hinterlands of fraught development, neons flashing through the smog palette (grey, blue-grey, violet-grey, burning orange sun), the prokaryotic repoduction of light-industrial outer suburbs, the no-mans-land of burst speculative bubbles.

Suspended mid-air while still drawn toward the earth, we shift through novel postures, we enounter hues and textures which could only be created as effluent, as damage: the unearthed skeletons in globalization's closet, the scrubby fields from which no human utillity can be wrought. Here, in this collapsing present, in this impure landcape of bittersweet ecstacies, we find our legacy and hone our vision.

Curated by Underground Flower & Rhizome Parking Garage
Text by Torre Alain & Ian Bruener