This article revisits the problematic of the cognitive mapping of capital by probing the affinity between two representational predicaments: the depopulated nature of images of human-altered landscapes in the “new topographics” photography and its epigones, and the current debate over the definition of the Anthropocene. It looks in Fredric Jameson’s treatment of the time of capital, and of the place therein of dead labor, for a clue to critically rethink both these phenomena, revealing their profound affinity in the aporia besetting our thinking of historical agency under capitalist conditions. The article concludes with a brief reflection on what it might mean to define communism in this light as the “resurrection of dead labor.”
The World Is Already without Us
Alberto Toscano is reader in critical theory and codirector of the Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of The Theatre of Production (2006), Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea (2010), and, with Jeff Kinkle, Cartographies of the Absolute (2015). He edits the Italian List for Seagull Books and sits on the editorial board of the journal Historical Materialism.