A Horoscope for 2012
— By Adri Wong | February 6, 2012
Uncertainty and volatility rule global markets and “distrust” sums up the mood among investors. HYDRA editors have created a “Survive & Thrive” manual for those of us facing pre-post-Apocalyptic distress, tied together with our three simple themes for the year 2012. [Source: Forbes].
1. The Future Perfect
[U]sed to describe an event that is expected or planned to happen before another event in the future. It is a grammatical combination of the future tense, or other marking of future time, and the perfect, itself a combination of tense and aspect. [Source: Wikipedia].
2011: We witnessed the end of the world, over and over again. May 21 came and went. A nuclear plant melted down. Our films showed us the world colliding with astral bodies; life turning to ashes; ashes turning to stars. We watched disease ravage our species, and aliens destroy our civilization – in 3D. Britney danced until the world ended, and the Soft Moon played the world into decay. International lit-mag Words Without Borders devoted an issue to the Apocalypse, including an obituary for God, and correspondence to the aforementioned decedent regarding the difficulties of constructing an Ark. Also: a dispatch from a McDonalds, where the author awaited the end of days. Artists Bigert & Bergström experimented with eschatology and created, in collaboration with Cabinet, a calendar for the end of world – “starring comets, aliens, floods, returning messiahs, and more.” Britain’s Tate museum presented an exhibition of paintings depicting biblical disaster entitled “Apocalypse.”
In 2012 we will have experienced the apocalypse, yet remain in anticipation of it. Expect the narration of your literature and the perspective of your poetry to adjust accordingly. Performers and artists will will shift the locus of their experimentation from “omens” to “eulogies” and “wakes.” Music will anticipatorily sound like it has been dug out the wreckage; musicians will further pursue the wow & flutter of music played back on a disintegrating cassette tape. All of this reminiscent of what Jose-Luis Moctezuma has described as “a standpoint of oblivion . . . a perspective of the Anachronism. The Anachronism of the Human Species.”
This year, our journalists and editorialists will be preemptively preoccupied with the question: “What happened?” The U.S. presidential election of 2012 will also center on this question, with the exceptionalist addition of “-to America?” In the words of Newt Gingrich’s friend, we have shifted from “Yes we can” to “Why we couldn’t.” Though perhaps the question might more be more appropriately phrased: “What have we wrought?” — as Junot Diaz suggested in his vanguard post-Ap, future-perfect essay in the Boston Review last May:
I suspect that once we have finished ransacking our planet’s resources, once we have pushed a couple thousand more species into extinction and exhausted the water table and poisoned everything in sight and exacerbated the atmospheric warming that will finish off the icecaps and drown out our coastlines, once our market operations have parsed the world into the extremes of ultra-rich and not-quite-dead, once the famished billions that our economic systems left behind have in their insatiable hunger finished stripping the biosphere clean, what we will be left with will be a stricken, forlorn desolation, a future out of a sci-fi fever dream where the super-rich will live in walled-up plantations of impossible privilege and the rest of us will wallow in unimaginable extremity, staggering around the waste and being picked off by the hundreds of thousands by “natural disasters”—by “acts of god.”
** An Exclusive Tip for Hydra Readers: When language finally goes public in August, we recommend you invest in “will have” and “decline.”
You will want to be mindful of the prophet who will advise us that the Rapture already happened, but we were all “left behind.” It is time to rewatch Terminator, read Homestuck, turn your gaze backwards, contemplate chronology.
2. Drift & Wobble
2011 was a year of unanchoring. While the few possessors of static power attempted to hunker down in their burrows, the masses detached themselves from institutions, political parties, dictators; dismantled those barriers that wouldn’t budge; poured into public spaces. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, personhood unhitched from the body, ending centuries of the primacy of the individual, signaling the coming age of incorporation: the age of politics without identity, everyone the anonymous speaker behind an amorphous “PAC.” The Tea Party, ever prescient, sensed the coming contamination, hence their shrieking through 2011. Foreigners in our midst, gays in our military, Kenyans in our White House. All this a futile flailing out against the advent of fluctuation and multiplicity, the demise of the discrete, the blurring of boundaries. In a word: “wobble.” Wobble reflected sonically this past year in the tremors of “brostep,” in the psychedelic flux between dream life and wakefulness of hypnagogic pop.
Now unmoored, we will drift. We will disperse like ink into water.
Like osmosis, like a reverse infection, we will all find it impossible to stop ourselves from bleeding into unchosen territories. We will move through entities we may not wish to move through. The popular phrase “agent provocateur” from the Occupy encampments will seem increasingly absurd. Everyone will be coopted. Everyone will coopt. Voters will continue to float from candidate to candidate. The lines between ideologies will become ever fuzzier, parties and factions ever more porous. There will be no deviation that can maintain itself as deviant. Will Anonymous infiltrate the Cartels? Will the Cartels buy their way into Anonymous? Who will be the absorbed/assumed and who the absorber/assumer?
Genres and eras will accelerate towards each other, leading to crashes that will create new artistic-visual-musical-molecular structures. We will witness the final dissolution of rigidly delineated social groups (i.e. subcultures) attached to a genre. Artists will preoccupy themselves with the project of producing “uncategorizable” cultural products, works outside/beyond genre, even while they cross geographic and temporal boundaries to borrow mercilessly from scenes gone by or far-flung.
Although we will no longer be a society of enclosures, magnetism will remain in the system. This nodal organization will privilege charisma (though that privilege will always be fleeting). 2012 will be a good year for gurus, for messiahs, for TV psychics, Malcolm Gladwells, and Ron Paul. There will be a dramatic uptick in the occurrence of Jerusalem Syndrome.
Without borders there will be no borderlands, no transgressions. Most of us will spend the year connecting to new nodes, forging new networks and constellations. For the radical, though, the challenge of 2012 is to be fugitive, to cast oneself further adrift into abandoned territories, into interstices and silences, forgotten spaces where ruptures may be discovered, moving constantly outwards like the expanding universe.
The occult themes of 2011 will multiply this year. Post-apocalypse, our artists will now explore their undead selves. It has already been creeping up on us: the return and reinvention of darkwave and goth, musical representations of decay, the rise of Zola Jesus, Spoek Mathambo’s eerie Township Tech. 2012 will be the year that everyone grits their teeth and concedes that Pitchfork was onto something with that “witchhouse” meme that inspired so much shit-talking in 2010. Expect more theremin in your music, more drone in your electronica – dissonance, distortion, and chromatic scales. The interest in creating horror soundtrack revived by the Odd Future crew (see: Goblin) will be taken up by other, older heads. This darkness will be in search of some transcendence. In 2012 someone will create something that sounds like a hip-hop “Godspeed You Black Emperor” album.
(Also, there will be more progressive “progressive R&B,” and more of it. But that’s neither here nor there.)
As currency becomes asymptotically meaningless, and gold becomes the subject of interest for Ron Paul and the rest of us, there will be a renewed interest in alchemy. Speculation in this most precious of metals will reach even more dramatic heights. But instead of seeking the substance that transforms baser metals, the emphasis will be on pulling gold bars out of the ether. The private sector will invest its every last dollar into cultivating new forms of divination by numbers.
The greatest alchemic leap of 2012 will be that of the human soul to the cloud. Apple enabled iCloud in the fall of 2011, calling upon users to store their data—documents, photos, notes, music, memories—in remote servers and to auto-sync their appliances to this central hub. A prophecy, a threat, a promise by Steve Jobs: “We are going to move… the center of your digital life into the cloud.” Applying already existing technologies, the “wired individual” will in 2012 complete the outsourcing of her memories and experiences, setting the groundwork for collective cyber-consciousness as a means of transcendence. The organizing hope of this new era is articulated by the ad copy for one of 2011′s most popular apps:
You’re seconds away from having perfect memory! Evernote is ready to collect all of your ideas, experiences, thoughts, and memories into an always-accessible place. Take down your inspirations and ideas as they happen.
Call it a gothic materialism, perhaps. Now our scientists look to other metals, to the conductivity of copper and fiberoptic cables, as a means to perfect our capabilities, as a way to purify the human soul. His theory of relativity disproven, Einstein in 2012 will be recognized as the mystic and sorcerer he really was. Our old ones having failed us, we will climb down ever darker tunnels in search of new gods.