Post-capitalist Desire

Flores del futuro (2020)
Text by Alejandra Arrieta
Video available until April 1, 2023

The long, dark night of the end of history has to be grasped as
an enormous opportunity. […] From a situation in which nothing can happen,
suddenly anything is possible again.1
—Mark Fisher

Experimental cinema lives somewhere between hegemonic cinema and the visual arts; not so much “cinema” as to be considere cinema, nor so non-cinema as to be something else. It is an expression that literally takes the means of production of the cinematic device, to propose plastic, narrative and affective alternatives, and to—through a reorganization of the visible and the sensible—challenge our trained and ideologically charged relationship with the moving image.

Based on this tautological critique of the medium, experimental cinema—or investigative cinema—is political in that it unsettles the relationship between cinema-desire-capitalism and invites viewers to rethink ways of seeing and desiring. This sort of idealism inherent to the experimental practice of the image is what gave the intermediate artists Marcela Cuevas—who comes from theater, scenography and art direction—and Ana Mayra Täng—from photography and sound art—a privileged formality to imagine a post-capitalist world dominated by the vegetable kingdom.

Flores del futuro (2020) [Flowers of the future] is a videopoem that dares to imagine a possible future where flowers have moved away from humans and have evolved towards new possibilities of communication and expression, of relating and taking care of themselves. The work shows a future full of emotion and life, albeit non-human, set to music with a kind of 8-bit jazz, where flowers reveal with photogenic and histrionic affections, pains and sensations, at 10 frames per second.

This becoming-vegetable to which the piece invites is a recurring motif in the work of Marcela Cuevas, who since her first experimental film piece, Quiero ser una planta (2019) [I want to be a planta], has explored botany from its therapeutic, aesthetic and empathetic qualities that, as Deleuze and Guattari point out, evidence inter-species rhizomatic connections: “The wisdom of plants: even when they have roots, there is always an outside in which they make rhizome with something else: the wind, an animal, human beings…”.2

From the very properties of celluloid that link us ecologically to the materiality of film, to classics such as Stan Brakhage’s The Garden of Earthly Delights (1981) and Marie Menken’s Glimpse of the Garden (1957), plants and the garden maintain a close relationship with experimental cinema. Perhaps because this more playful approach to the image also implies a return to the childlike, the primal, the arcadian, to a relationship with nature and life beyond the human. Becoming-insect, becoming-plant, becoming-flower, are all positions that experimental or investigative cinema has adopted in a natural and necessary way to challenge the gaze and experience of cinema.

Cuevas and Täng, who also practice psychoanalysis and art therapy, encourage us to consider non-human forms of intelligence and methods of self-care that escape mercantile logic, to hopefully bring a little light to the dark path that is leading us towards the extinction of our species. It is this dark idealism that arises as an inevitable consequence of the realistic acceptance of our historical moment that provokes a post-capitalist desire,3 to imagine alternatives before jumping into the void.

Far from a colonization of outer space or performance before the simulation of the metaverse, the artists present a possible future located in the world, where life, like desire, is affirmative, machinic and reproductive, and is expressed in intensities and rhythms different from those of the human scale or the invisible hand. I also want to become a hibiscus and go with them.


  1. Mark Fischer, Capitalist Relais. Is There No Alternative (Zer0 Books, 2009).

  2. Gilles Deleuze y Félix Guattari, Mil mesetas (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987).

  3. Mark Fischer, Capitalist Relais. Is There No Alternative (Zer0 Books, 2009).


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