Peaceable Kingdoms in the Digital World
Keywords:Animal Videos, Utopia, Messianism, Peaceable Kingdom, Isaiah, Giorgio Agamben, Simone Weil
This essay argues that the biblical image of the peaceable kingdom offers a useful filter through which to examine and contemplate the passion and fervor for interspecies friendship in the digital era. I argue that the digital medium of the animal video (more specifically, animal videos that document and record interspecies friendships) can be read as an alternate spacetime: one alleged to be outside of predation. But I also argue that, when we look closer at both the biblical context of this passage as well as visions of interspecies kinship that derive from, or resonate with, the biblical text, the dystopian underside of this almost utopian image can be rendered with more clarity. Perhaps, however, this biblical image—with its messianic undertones—can also help us to set in sharper relief the non-predational, creaturely, potentialities that might still emerge from these digital peaceable kingdoms.
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