Speculative Seas

Maritime circulation of people, goods and infrastructure networks provide a dramatic visibility to the commerce of globalization.  If the global as a scale possesses ontological force and form, the sea is its manifestation.  Yet the isolation of the sea from everyday life, indeed its quarantining in certain historical moments,  in cultures and cities across the world throws up extremely interesting questions in relation to the speculative ethos of contemporary globalization.  Can we use the sea and its traffic to contemplate the contradictory impulses embedded in speculative thought and action?  Speculation involves forms of action that are fundamentally caught within calculative logics; it involves the philosophical exploration of the relationship between the real and the contingent; it also involves a deeply material relation to the contingent for acts of speculation cannot take place without either a material point of departure or a future material base as anchor.  The immorality of such form of action is fundamentally in question today.  Tracking between the sea as metaphor and as empirical base of contradictory circulations, I open a series of speculations on speculation.


Vyjayanthi Rao

Vyjayanthi Rao is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at The New School for Social Research.  She works on cities after globalization, specifically in the intersections of urban planning, design, art, violence, and speculation in the articulation of the contemporary global city.  She is the author of numerous articles on these topics and is currently working on a book manuscript titled The Speculative City.