The mythology of posthuman age

By Alfredo Violante Widmer

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Our future couldn’t be bleaker, according to Simon Grab and his latest work. Yet, it’s somehow comforting to imagine life beyond our human experience. Are you at peace with it?

Simon: I think humankind is not worthy of this earth because we’re not capable of handling this fucked up situation anymore. In the long term, I believe, it’s a dead end. ‘Posthuman Species’ suggests we ignore our human-centred perspective and imagine a time way beyond the Anthropocene, with new lifeforms inhabiting our earth. Still set in a rather dark, nihilistic, dystopian surrounding, those new species will probably not have a very pleasant environment either. I’m trying to capture the sounds of these new species, listening carefully to how they communicate and evolve.

Dystopian music is a current theme in experimental electronica, there is definitely a common fear emerging. Do you still have some hope for humankind?

Simon: No doubt there’s an increasing amount of music releases being tagged dystopian, either by the author or the critics. The sound is heard as a reflection on the world’s situation and on current social discourses with the underlying assumption that we’re heading towards some sort of an apocalyptic age. From dark industrial brutality to fragmented electronica to abstract dreamy soundscapes I guess we do share the same scepticism and sorrows. The capitalist system has dramatically failed, leaving behind a world of greed, with vast exploitation of the people and our natural resources in favour of an ignorant self-designated elite in power. And of course I’m still in hope, I certainly still believe in activism and the urgency of a radical rupture. I try as much as I can to be part of the much-needed change. Essentially, I owe this to my kids!

Another theme you are very invested in is the negation of borders. Can you introduce me to the concept?

Simon: Negating existing or presumed borders is an essential thought in my work. Questioning my own framing and perspective, which are deeply rooted in my cultural context, and trying to overcome them. It’s a way of incorporating and expanding the anarchist idea(l) of radical self-determination in an open society based on solidarity in a world without borders. Internalising transdisciplinary thinking, overriding or negating genres, extensively pushing forward anti-national and transcultural collaborations or participatory community works, and most importantly, resisting the pressure from the capitalist system by forming alternative structures, in the real world but also in our brain. This militant mindset shapes my frequencies, sharpens my concepts and feeds my performances.

See Simon Grab live:

FRI 24 NOV @ Gaswerk – Winterthur, Switzerland

THU 05 DEC @ Helsinkiklub – Zurich, Switzerland

SUN 22 DEC @ Botanischer Garten – Bern, Switzerland

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Cover photo by Anne Morgenstern