Zt.Zzt in the Anthropocene: Arthropod Flesh, Solar-Strip Skin and Anthropocene Time in "The Old Drift"
Keywords:Anthropocene time, arthropods, drones, planetary, Anthrobscene
While Namwali Serpell’s novel The Old Drift can be read as a fictional account of colonial and post-colonial Zambian history, this article focuses on the text’s exploration of Anthropocene time—geobiochemical and planetary temporal scales that predate human histories, while also gesturing towards futures where Homo sapiens may be absent. This article focuses on deep temporality in the novel via the use of mosquito and Moskeetoze (mosquito-like microdrones) narrators. While mosquitoes facilitate encounters with the deep past and of entangled human-nonhuman histories, the Moskeetozes enable representations of the vicissitudes of the “Anthrobscene” (Parrikka) and the creative potentialities of improvised life that emerge in hazardscapes in the Global South. Additionally, The Old Drift gestures towards a speculative planetary future where mosquitoes and Moskeetozes integrate to evolve new forms of swarm intelligence and forms of life.
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