Geoengineering and the Eschaton in Supergiant Game’s Transistor (2014)

∞ “A blank canvas, a painter’s brush: Geoengineering and the Eschaton in Supergiant Game’s Transistor (2014)” (pdf) – Kaitlin Moore, 2021

Geoengineering –– or “deliberate large-scale interventions in the Earth’s climate system, in order to moderate global warming” (Royal Society 2009: ix) –– represents specific ontological and metaphysical assumptions that turn mastery, manipulation, and materialization into technological prerequisites. This article will use the 2014 video game Transistor to stage and in turn interrogate these assumptions. The aim of this analysis is twofold: the first, to examine Cloudbank, the world of Transistor, using the specialized rubrics of geoengineering as explicated by Frederic Neyrat, Bruno Latour, and Kathryn Yusoff, focusing specifically on the ways in which geoengineering projects facilitate the address of environmental exigencies by means of anthropocentric systems of value. The second will be to understand how, using Transistor, we might examine the ambivalent repercussions of our own aspirations towards a technological mastery over nature by means of geoengineering.

Keywords: anthropocene, apocalypse, eschatology, geoengineering, Supergiant Games, Transistor, video games

Kaitlin Moore is a third year Ph.D. student in Literary Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Kohler Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute of Discovery. Their interdisciplinary work focuses on the exchanges between literature and science, with particular emphasis placed on using cosmology and quantum mechanics as inquiries into poetics that span deep time and deep space. They are an acclaimed amateur astrophotographer and their works of poetry, prose, and photography have appeared in numerous literary journals.