Communities of Compost
Eric Stein's Compost Epistemology is a lovely collection of passages that interrogates the idea of the digital garbage heap that I've expressed previously here:
Do we risk creating such a nightmare for ourselves with a perpetually expanding web of hyperlinked notes? How do we prevent such a garbage heap from accumulating in the first place?
Particularly, there is a passages from Donna Haraway's Staying with Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene that struck me:
The Communities of Compost worked and played hard to understand how to inherit the layers upon layers of living and dying that infuse every place and every corridor. Unlike inhabitants in many other utopian movements, stories, or literatures in the history of the earth, the Children of Compost knew they could not deceive themselves that they could start from scratch. Precisely the opposite insight moved them; they asked and responded to the question of how to live in the ruins that were still inhabited, with ghosts and with the living too.
How do we prevent a digital garbage heap from accumulating? From Haraway's perspective (as I gather it), this question is bound in utopian thinking, as if we could start from scratch in some digital (or digital free) Eden. It cannot be done. Haraway instead brings out questions of inheritance rather than prevention, questions that ask how we live within these ruins than how we get rid of them. Such questions strike me as more fruitful than the previous framing. (thanks for helping me “embrace the heap” Eric)
I am moved by this image — ruins inhabited with ghosts and the living. Sounds like the web.