Readers of this blog may find this recently compiled reader on the ambivalence of occupy and/or evacuate useful.

XOXO: Love Letters to Our Friends, Hate Mail to our Frenemies. On Commitment and Withdrawal.

Edited by Kelly Gallagher, Becky Nasadowski, and Heath Schultz. 244 pages.

We’ve opted not to provide another critique of the summit-hopping days of the counter-globalization movement or a discussion on the impossibility of artists to engage with a radical praxis being worked out in the streets. Instead we’ve found ourselves reflecting on an ‘exuberant politics’ that describes forms of living in relationships with those you care for, and the struggles we commit ourselves to. This might be described as the exuberance of an embodied joy arrived at through the building of care, love, commitment, and experimentation with our friends and comrades. This altered definition of exuberance notes long-term temporality, or a desired split with capitalist time and space, and locates liveliness not in a moment, an action, or event but over time through communal efforts. In this reader these ideas are reflected primarily in exploring two themes that we might crudely refer to as commitment and exodus. —From the Introduction

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Grey Room #52 on Debord’s cinema, edited by Jason E Smith
Issue 52 is available in its entirety here.

For an extensive archive on Debord’s and SI film, see Situationist Film

Grey Room 52
Contents:

Contributors

Guy Debord, Filmaker
Jason E Smith

With and Against Cinema
International Situationnite 1

Hurlements en faveur de vous
Kaira M. Cabañas

Cinema against the Permanent Curfew of Geometry: Guy Debord’s Sur le passage de quelques personnes à travers une assez courte unité de temps (1959)
Sonyoung Yoon

Missed Encounters: Critique de la séparation between the Riot and the ‘Young Girl’
Jason E Smith

The Insolent Edit
McKenzie Wark

Guy Debord’s Time-Image: In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni (1978)
Benjamin Noys

Guy Debord and the Cultural Revolution
Sven Lütticken

When We Were on the Shenandoah
Jacques Rancière

[excerpt from the introduction to written by Jason E Smith for The Winter is over: Writings on Transformation Denied, 1989-1995 by Toni Negri]

… In their 1962 text heralding the coming end of the bad days — a pronouncement echoed in Negri’s declaration that winter is over — the S.I. declared that these riotous days in which the ravages of the 1950s youth rebellion were married to the vandalism of workers striking the metropolis would eventually, and necessarily, be transformed into a positive project, ultimately reconverting the machines of consumption into forces capable of expanding the real power of men. This is why they could speak of a new cycle of struggles: the larval forms of conflict always take a violent, even criminal, form whose value lies not in the destruction they undertake but in the quality of insubordination they articulate. The time of riots eventually wises up, and the machine-breaking and commodity riots necessarily follow an arc that, with an increasing degree of theoretical and strategic comprehension, will seek not to demolish this machinery so much as seize and repurpose it in view of founding another society, another world, another life, one no longer serving the ends of capitalist accumulation and the compulsions of its real abstractions. By 1973, however, Debord — in the film version of his Society of the Spectacle — had come to believe, it seems, that the contemporary capitalist city, whose exemplary figure is that of Paris now assassinated, that just such fundamental project of the S.I. in its earlier phases was one of seizing the machines and means of capitalist accumulation in view of constructing and collectively dominating the environment, the built environment of Paris of the 1970s was to the contrary so unsalvageable that it was good — or so the film, in its intertexts and imagery, suggests — only for the fire. Cruelly alluding to the recent arson of a poorly built middle school that killed 16 children and four adults, Debord asserts that shabby scenery of the metropolis is rebuild so constantly and so shoddily, in the interests of both profit and repressive control, that it can only be an incitement to vandalism and unavoidably produces arsonists: the décor of capitalism in its spectacular stage is as flammable as a French middle school. His next and final film, made five years later, will f course be called In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni: we turn around in the night and are consumed by fire…

[reposted from Occupy Everything, a lovely text by Cara Baldwin]

March 30, 2011

I have made a rather radical decision today. I have decided to write with my hands. So what? It’s the tiniest gesture toward embodiment.

My own.

I understand I am to speak today on behalf of someone[s] and something[s] other than myself. This strange [and impossible task is one I’ve set out to do every day for several years now. And while I don’t intend to turn my back on it–especially not now–I am first struck by the foreign impression of my own hand hitting paper.

To set out to write in this way is to see my own handwriting for the first in a very long time. It’s grown sloppy. I dreamt last night I was looking at my writing from years ago. How clearly cloying my penmanship was then. It expressed a sincere desire for legibility and understanding–even approval.

I’ve said that I am interested in exploring issues of intimacy and scale. It seems to me this has to do with a certain agency and trust; the Derridian, the multitudes, the figure and the ground. It has to do with Sedgwick, Ettinger; the interpersonal and the many many ways we become distanced from ourselves and one another.

I am writing outside and without pause or hesitation.

This goes to the question–and what is at stake– in the term ‘militant research’. We have chosen this term, this phrase, to indicate a set of intentions and manner of working that operates in resistance. One that is not [for the moment] easily absorbed into the language of the institution as, say ‘research-based art practices’ or ‘activist art’ might be. When it loses its force of resistance, we will abandon it, tactically [evacuate].

OCCUPY EVERYTHING [and/or EVACUATE]

We’ve said that Occupy Everything is an artist run platform dedicated to militant research, critical pedagogy and public practices that include mediatic intervention, feminism and the anti-enclosure movement.

It began at The Public School in Los Angeles in a class called The UC Strikes and Beyond and was inspired by the words and actions of occupiers everywhere.

It is an autonomously organized group that operates with both vertical and horizontal modes of distribution. It is porous and connected to an expanding [and/or contracting] constellation of projects that include The Public School, AAAARG and The Journal of Aesthetics & Protest. Respectively, these represent variously ‘flat’ or ‘horizontal’ approaches to institutional frameworks that could be understood as a school, a library and a press.

This emphasis on information-sharing and militant research takes place in an openly declared ‘Information War’ that is, in fact, nothing less than a Class War.

[I]

As I write this, I pause to consult with a social worker who directs me to public resources for food and shelter. I respond to an email from my friend and collaborator asking when I might come to stay with them. I overheard another friend last week explain my presence in her home by saying I was ‘between places’. I reflected at length on these things, the cost of transportation and liminal spaces [neither here/ nor there].

The project of OE as it stands is configured around occupation and evacuation; embodiment and withdrawal. The militance of this investigation is not one of over identification with institutional frames, but rather, a recognition of their violence.

2001 Film by The Imaginary Party aka Tiqqun, with accompanying script below.

SCRIPT:
[download pdf]

to the lost children:

[Long sequence of multiple people dining at a cafe sitting on the same bar stool facing the street through a diner window. Each person is filmed from outside, unaware of the cameraperson.]

Voice 1 (masculine):

The great social body of Empire, the great big social body of Empire, which is like an enormous round jellyfish beached on all the roundness of the earth… …is implanted with electrodes.

Hundreds, thousands… such an unbelievable number of electrodes, and such a variety of different types that they don’t even seem like electrodes. There’s the TV electrode, of course, but there’s also the money electrode, the pharmaceutical electrode, and the Jeune-Fille electrode. With those thousands and millions of electrodes, so many kinds that I can’t even count them, they manage the dull encephalogram of the imperial metropolis. It’s through these mostly imperceptible channels, that they transmit, second by second, the information, the mental states, the affects and the counter-affects that prolong our universal sleep. Not to mention all the receptors that are attached to the electrodes. The journalists, sociologists, cops, intellectuals, professors and other agents who… incomprehensibly…  have been delegated with the task of supervising the activity of the electrodes. Read the rest of this entry »

Revisiting the Situationists

January 29, 2012

I’ve been working on re-working Guy Debord’s 1973 film version of The Society of the Spectacle, (more to come)

And for some additional fun, I’ve put together several texts about the Situationists, as well as some other peripheral texts about May 68 and the Lettrists that you might enjoy! I know I will. Thanks to aaaaarg for most these great finds!

Situationist Inernational Online
[link]

Situationist International Anthology (BOP)
[link]

Read the rest of this entry »

Bifo: After the Future

June 21, 2011

“Our future, Berardi argues, has come and gone; the concept has lost its usefulness. Now it’s our responsibility to decide what comes next.”

Gary Genesko directed this teaser video in which Bifo discusses the new book, After the Future.

I’ve taken a little time to transcribe the video, forgive any minor mistakes and mediocre grammar.

AFTER THE FUTURE

You know, all along the modern times the myth of the future has been connected to the myth of energy; think about Faust, for instance. This idea that the future is energy: more and more and more. More speed, more strength, more consumption, more things, more violence. Futurism is the point of passage, the final step to full modernity, and futurism is the exaltation of violence, of despising the woman, for instance. The woman is weakness, is senselessness, is feebleness. Everything the modern energy wants to forget about: forget the woman, despise the woman, exalt war, exalt violence, exalt acceleration. This is futurism.

Read the rest of this entry »

We made a reader! Check it.
download: [screen] [print]

Here are the contents:

I. Finding ourselves, Finding each other
Imaginary Committee, Communiqué no.2 | To Our Friends
Anonymous, Some passing thoughts on the Berkeley and Santa Cruz occupations, from someone who was there briefly
Inoperative Committee, Preoccupied: The Logic of Occupation
Research and Destroy, Communiqué from an Absent Future: On the Terminus of Student Life
Brian Holmes, Research and Destroy, and Dead Labor, Communiqué from an Absent Future—Further discussion
Unicommon, Invent the Future, Reverse the Present
Francesco Raparelli, From Tute Bianche to the Book Bloc

II. Further Analysis
Alberto De Nicola and Gigi Roggero, Eight Theses on University, Hierarchization and Institutions of the Common
Christopher Newfield and Edu-factory Collective, The Corporate University and the Financial Crisis: What is Going On?
Jeffrey Williams, The Pedagogy of Debt
George Caffentzis, The Student Loan Debt Abolition Movement in the U.S.
George Caffentzis and Silvia Federici, notes on Edu-factory and Cognitive Capitalism

III. Strategies, Tactics and notes Toward an Overflow
Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, “The University and the Undercommons
Edu-factory Collective,All Power to Self-Education!
Gerald Raunig, Instituent Practices: Fleeting, Instituting, Transforming
Brian Holmes, Extradisciplinary Investigations. Towards a New Critique of Institutions
Brian Holmes, Articulating the Cracks in World Power: Interview with 16 Beaver
Joan Miguel Gual and Francesco Salvini of Universidad Nómada, Be Network, My Friend

[Appendix] Notes Toward Lessons Learned
Manuela Zechner, Movement, Learning: A few Reflections on the Exciting UK Winter 2010
Anonymous, No Conclusions When Another World is Unpopular
Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, Lesson of Insurrection: A Call to Revolt on a European Scale