The UK Health minister and businesses say that the media speculates, and this affects their speculations. Countries speculate against each other’s speculations. Timescales, vaccines, movements, land, ecological and human alliances, salaries, taxes... everything seems more prone to speculation than ever in the uncertainty of what we tend to refer to as the ‘new’ normal. We can render speculation in terms of social benefit — thinkable futures and catastrophe warnings — or social degradation — conspiracy theories, capital investments and pressures to medical progress. In terms of certainty: from opening multiple possibilities and connections such as in science fiction, art practices or speculative music; to closing down a future for the many such as in capitalist logics. Or in terms of subject-object identification through speculative realism, materialism, psychology and physics. Is speculation a useful term to think about our current times? And can multiple forms of speculation and their conflation help us understand our way into the new normal and our material and psychological circumstances?

Speakers: André M. Carrington (UC Riverside), Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou (SRI, UCL), Ming Tsao (composer) and Marina Vishmidt (Goldsmiths).

Music by Afrikan Sciences, Ming Tsao, Active Denial System and Shō.

Image: Heide Hinrichs, Atemwende (Breathturn) (2018), series of 12 drawings, 27,9 x 21,4 cm, pencil on paper.

Sound effects are by the BBC Sound Archive

Producer, Editor and Host: Albert Brenchat-Aguilar

Executive Producer and Host: Nicola Miller (IAS Director)

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