msb ~006 Welcome to the snarge matrix

Welcome to the snarge matrix

Future Remains
Photos: Tim Flach / Cover Design: Isaac Tobin
University of Chicago Press 2018

I’m reading Future Remains: a cabinet of curiosities for the Anthropocene and one entry has collided with my imagination. Gary Kroll’s Snarge is a meditation on the impact – literally and metaphorically – between human and non-human in The Great Acceleration that is our age. 

Snarge, he explains is the term naturalists use for “the avian tissue that’s left over after a bird-strike … a horrible word that onomatopoeically conveys the peculiarly destructive violence of acceleration in the Anthropocene.”

He takes us beyond the collision of birds and planes, taking a broad sweep of “all collisions between forms of fossil-fuel based human mobility and solar-based animal mobility… Thus, snarge is the sum-total of all the dead or decaying tissue left over when plane hits bird, car hits mammal, boat hits manatee, ship hits whale, train hits cattle or elephant, and so on.” And all the infrastructures and decision systems of human transportation, he suggests, make up the ‘snarge matrix’, a term that “highlights the unintended but nevertheless designed death of animal lives.”


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