Noah Travis Phillips

"Deep(er) Purple(s) - a critical-speculative "cite-fi" tone cluster"

Contribution (performance-lecture/text) to "Speculative Figures and Speculative Futures: Our Uncanny Postapocalypse"
as part of NeMLA #52 2021



      This postapocalyptic and post-anthropocene critical fiction essay (@5000 words) functions on two levels; first, via narrative, it explores a science-fictional thought experiment, in which the characters construct a (speculative and sonic) spiritual technology. The essay implements multiple conceptual tools, such as "allegorization of experience", "conceptual mobility", "affective proximity" and applies what could be considered musical approaches to develop the text. Through the idea of the tone cluster the text presents multiple authorial voices. References vary widely and have their origins in art historical sources, as well as theory and philosophy, sound studies, and science fiction. As the protagonists construct this science-fictional spiritual technology they also confront issues of the anthropocene and posthuman, including climate change, extinction, and the mythology/ies of technoculture. In their distant future, they reinterpret artifacts to reflect on our present. Together they (re)world from strange fragments, as the world rewilds around them. Topics intersect and resonate in uncanny syzygy. Supplementarily, this text performs as an example of and reflects on its status as "cite-fi": a short science-fiction narrative, informed by personal research interests and trajectories, supported by critical thinking and citations as collateral. These texts are hybrid, and walk the web of amalgamation: from quotes to narrative prose. They produce interdisciplinary insights, conceptual leaps, and wormholes. "Cite-fi" is a pedagogical tool the author uses in a class taught about Speculative Cultures and Critical Futures. This praxis insists on imagining radical futures that provide alternate perspectives on and possibilities for the present. This essay models that approach, while also expanding its edges.