In his talk, writer and artist Evan Calder Williams revisits his 2010 book, “Combined and Uneven Apocalypse.” Taking as his starting point the proliferation of walking- dead stories and bunker-survival fantasies of an emerging “salvage punk” genre, Williams examines the sources of these obsessions. He argues that the apocalyptic images in the mass media reflect a permanent catastrophe that is already with us: the end of the world is not an event, but something permanently underway. It already exists in “pockets of hell on earth,” zones of abject poverty and domination where resources are harvested to ensure capitalism’s continued growth. These “barbaric pockets of anti-modernity” challenge any unilinear vision of progress. They are “signs of the times” and not vestiges of something outmoded. A decade later Williams looks at how the combination of affluence and savagery continues to shape both our reality and the visions of the end that we consume on TV, as the end seems to come closer and closer.
Evan Calder Williams (1982* Portland, Maine, lives in Woodstock, New York) is a theorist, writer, and filmmaker. His current work grapples with histories of sabotage, sickness, apocalyptic and speculative thinking, and technology, with a focus on forms of action and knowledge that contest profound social change even if they are not overtly “political.”