Daniel Keller developed the workshop New Models Module 1: Imagining Collapse with his network from the New Models community. New Models is a Berlin-based media node for art, politics, and pop culture, as well as critical analysis of emergent online ecosystems. New Models exists across platforms with all channels running through their aggregator newmodels.io, and features two podcast streams hosted by Daniel Keller, Caroline Busta, and @LILINTERNET, as well as Discord server for art, tech, pop culture, politics, media, advertising, ecology and critical theory. New Models developed an education curriculum for the first time with 221A, and it was presented as streamed teaching sessions, developed into editorial content, and it informs the platforms ongoing podcasts.
Through a multimedia presentation and lecture, a Q&A, and interactive exercises we explored some of the foundational concepts, teleologies and online communities engaged in the discussion around climate change and collapse, moving away from the impossibility of ‘sustainability’ and resilience and towards a strategy of ‘coping’ and ‘relinquishment’. The workshop was based in diverse and interlocking memeplexes about coping with, and maintaining dignity and individual sovereignty in the face of inevitable 21st century climate tragedy.
Since at least the 1990s, the conventional messaging around climate change has been focused on “resilience”–recycling, driving/flying less, reducing plastics, building/farming with the expectation of more volatile weather patterns–all with the intention of being able to mitigate the velocity of climate change and society’s chances of snapping back to “normal” in the wake of extreme events. But increasingly, people who work in the climate sector feel that this hope-and-resilience narrative suppresses the full truth: that in the face of climate change, untold loss is inevitable — and that the timeline for living life as we know it, is far shorter as assumed.
Some in this cohort are starting to shift the conversation from “resilience” to one of “relinquishment,” advocating for a policy prescription that supports societies in psychologically preparing for this change. Indeed the model for this … acknowledging the limits of human production, de-possessing, assuming loss… is the opposite of the narrative capitalism sets out: one of total control, perpetual accumulation, requirement of gains. And not surprisingly it is not only in the science community where this shift in thinking has already begun to take place.
Christine Lariviere is the Senior Social Media and Communications manager for Climate-KIC, the European Union’s main climate innovation initiative.
Stephanie Wakefield is aGeographer and Urban Studies Foundation Research Fellow based at Florida International University in Miami.
Joshua Citarella is an artist based in New York, who studied at The School of Visual Arts (New York, and published the PDF Politigram & the Post-Left (2018).
Daniel Keller is a New Models co-founder, an artist, writer and filmmaker whose wide-ranging output sits at the intersection of politics, economics, technology, culture and collaboration. He is a contributor to DIS, Texte Zur Kunst, Frieze and Spike Art.
Caroline Busta is a New Models co-founder writer and critic based in Berlin. From 2014-2017, she served as the editor-in-chief of Texte zur Kunst and, prior to that, as an associate editor of Artforum in New York.
@LILINTERNET is a New Models cofounder, director, and cultural critic. His video clients include Beyoncé, Nike, and Vogue, and his writing has been published in Texte zur Kunst and Metahaven’s catalogue Psyop (2018).