“Massive Corporate Wealth Has Blocked the Democratic Process”: In Conversation With T.J. Demos

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http://blog.michelebonechi.com/

Vít Bohal: In your new book Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology you are critical of the recent dOCUMENTA (13) exhibition, stating that its overall conception “tended more toward the hybrid aesthetics of sci-fi than political engagement.” How can contemporary art be used effectively as a political tool, beyond partaking in a simple post-conceptual aestheticism?

TJ Demos: In Decolonizing Nature I argue that art can function as an effective political tool, though it depends what we mean by it. I contend that the political is intrinsically aesthetic, where aesthetic designates the sensible. How we organize that sensible realm is a crucial question. As we currently confront a global ecological crisis that is historically unprecedented—one that is frequently out of sight—it becomes imperative to create paths toward environmental sustainability that are made visible. And given that environmental violence is premised on racist, sexist and other forms of social and political inequality, it’s crucial, I argue, to view environmental sustainability as inextricable from social justice and political equality, and to show why.
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An Introduction to the Cybernetic Science Non-Fiction of Contemporary Geopolitics

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This text is an experiment with a speculative form which is neither as “objective” as science, nor as subjective as science-fiction. ‘Science non-fiction’ is not just a neologism. Even though it involves world-making, its logic is closer to design, for which models of non-existent or unknown entities are constructed and judged based on their function, and not on their ability to produce knowledge or contribute to a plot. However, unlike design, for which the challenge of invention is material and physical, science non-fictions construction of new machines is a conceptual project charged with a sobering historical neutrality; by blending the logic of science and science-fiction, science non-fiction holds the positive and the negative, its own nightmares as well as its dreams.
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Novelty Intermediation as Accelerationist Praxis

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I.

It is no exaggeration to state that Nick Srnicek’s and Alex Williams’ (S&W) #ACCELERATE: Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics1 served as a major breakthrough for those in support of emancipatory ideals of socially-oriented politics, but who recognized a certain uncanny symbiosis between the ever-deepening entrenchment of sociopathic politics and localist counter-status-quo movements that were failing to offer any actionable alternative. The glaring lack of an articulated paradigm fit for progressive praxis was filled by S&W’s theoretically profound, yet also, highly intuitive and hence powerful, change of perspective.
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In the Present Tense

The Splendor of Color Kaleidoscope, Video v1.3 1080p

The Splendor of Color Kaleidoscope, Video v1.3 1080

Some time ago I was invited to take part in a writing workshop in a beautiful location by the Baltic Sea. One morning, one of the invited guests suggested that we write a short story imagining how our lives would look like in the future. I panicked. How will my life look like in, lets say, ten years? I didnt know. So, I decided to focus on the present, on the here and now of the situation I was in. As I was observing the surroundings, scribbling something on the page, contemplating the bizarre circumstances, writing a few more sentences, observing the other people writing, it became clear to me that I was not interested in this question, I am not interested in absurd projections. If at the beginning I thought it was my lack of imagination, I quickly changed my mind. The thing is that the idea of projecting myself into a hypothetical future makes me want to throw up, and to stare at the horizon gives me unbearable headaches.
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Automation and Critique

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Recently, Alex Galloway has argued that the return to metaphysics in the form of a philosophical realism based on the apriority of axiomatics, contingency and object-oriented theories (Badiou, Meillasoux and Harman respectively) cannot but fail the critical project of materialism and its historical analysis of neoliberal capitalism.1 He asks: “Why, within the current renaissance of research in continental philosophy, is there a coincidence between the structure of ontological systems and the structure of the most highly evolved technologies of post-Fordist capitalism?”2 To prove that an uncanny complicity of these theories with techno-capitalism exists, Galloway argues that these theories unpack the very logic by which software-grounded capitalism operates.
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Accelerating Academia: On Hyperstition in Theory

Armen Avanessian, Andreas Töpfer, "Speculative Drawing: 2011–2014" (Sternberg Press).

Armen Avanessian, Andreas Töpfer, “Speculative Drawing: 2011–2014” (Sternberg Press).

 

Recall that hype is the ratio of expected earnings to earnings (EE/E), whereas the above impressions are based on the ratio of capitalization to earnings (K/E). The latter number reflects both hype and the discount rate (K/E = H/r), so unless we know what capitalists expect, we remain unable to say anything specific about hype. But we can speculate…

Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan, Capital as Power: A Study of Order and Creorder (2009)


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Childhood’s End: Inventing the Transgalactic

** ADDS DETAILS ** This undated handout image provided by NASA, released Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009, taken by the refurbished Hubble Space Telescope, shows a panoramic view of a colorful assortment of 100,000 stars residing in the crowded core of a giant star cluster, Globular Star Cluster Omega Centauri. (AP Photo/ NASA)

(AP Photo/ NASA)

Speed

  1. No speed without space. There is no way to address questions of speed or acceleration without also addressing the reorientation of space that coalesces with, gives rise to, and arises from them: doing so today means, at least, addressing not the earthly, not the worldly, not the global, but the planetary. Not the embedding of the local, the national, or the regional into a larger, more universal home, but the disembedding of environment as such into a properly transgalactic homelessness. Already, the subjective time of humans and humanity has been displaced by the deep time of the planetary: concepts like cosmism, geo-strata, the arche-fossil, and xenoism, are all testimony to this. But even phenomenologically, concepts like critical space, the empire of speed, grey ecology, and distance pollution have indicated the manner in which increasing speed collapses the distinction between the local, the national, the regional, the global, and the universal. Only the planetary is adequate for these transformations, and only the planetary, along with its transpatial correlates (planetary / transplanetary, galactic / transgalactic), will survive the coming transformations.


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The Inhuman and the Automaton: Exploitation and the Exploited in the Era of Late Capitalism

Torus Universe ©2014 Philipp Langer (Berlin/Germany)

Torus Universe ©2014 Philipp Langer (Berlin/Germany)

The radicalized dyad of technology and the organic which I will term the human-in-human resorting to the terminology of non-standard philosophy (Laruelle), homologous to and drawing on the idea of the cyborg (Haraway), cannot be reduced to a meaning or truth. François Laruelle’s human-in-human is neither physical nor transcendental (or linguistic) but rather a radical hybrid of the two. In other words, the human-in-human which is a cyborg escapes philosophy or the reduction to a “truth of the real” as a real that pretends to be more real (perfect) than the real itself. By virtue of its determination in the last instance as a radical dyad, the human-in-human is non-human or “inhuman” (Haraway), monstrous along with the animal, the machine and the darkness of the out-there.
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You Promised Me Primer and You Gave Me Gossip Girl

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I am going to talk about hyperstition. It is a term we used only once in the original Xenofeminism text, but it was lurking around quite a bit during the writing and I think is worth thinking through. I think it is very seductive as an idea, but I will argue it is also limited in what it can do and who can use it as a tool and when.1
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Universal Basic Income: A Radical Socioeconomic Alternative on the Horizon

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In the following paper I would like to introduce the concept of Universal Basic Income and present some grounds for its implementation by showing its moral justification and particularly its positive and radical egalitarian consequences. For reasons of space I will not address the issues of the feasibility and viability of basic income even though I am fully aware of their importance. And I will only briefly mention another very important issue – the normative justification for implementing basic income. Basic Income is an income paid by the state to each full member or accredited resident of a society, regardless of whether he or she wishes to engage in paid employment, or whether they are rich or poor. In other words, UBI functions independently of any other sources of income that a person might have, and irrespective of cohabitation arrangements in the domestic sphere1.
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