Cultural Anthropology: Lessons for Liberalism from the “Illiberal East” (2018)

29 April 2018, dusan

“The cumulative effects of Brexit, the resurgence of populist politics in Europe, and the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States have given rise to the perception that Western liberal democracies are undergoing profound change, if not a bona fide crisis. Moreover, there is a sense that it is the political liberalism of the post–Cold War period—rather than its far less popular companion ideology of neoliberalism—that finds itself in disarray. As scholars and commentators rummage through their intellectual toolboxes for explanatory frameworks, many are turning to (post)socialist histories and experiences as heuristic devices for making sense of the upheavals in Western politics. In this Hot Spots series, we suggest that the postsocialist transition, as both discursive space and set of practices that attempted to make capitalists out of socialists and liberals out of totalitarians, renders the former socialist world a rich site for understanding the current shifts in the Western political landscape. We aim to make sense of this landscape in a way that is attuned to both long-term processes and to the state of emergency reinforced with each new wave of current events. Even though the ground appears to be constantly shifting beneath our feet, these essays insist that detailed, historically and geopolitically sensitive analysis of actually existing post–Cold War liberalisms is one key approach for making sense of the present.”

Edited by Dace Dzenovska and Larisa Kurtović
Publisher Society for Cultural Anthropology, Apr 2018
Hot Spots series
ISSN 1548-1360

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Glossary of Common Knowledge (2017)

10 March 2017, dusan

The Glossary of Common Knowledge is a research project by MG+MSUM, Ljubljana, in the frame of L’Internationale, aiming to negotiate various positions, contexts and local narratives about contemporary art. The glossary entries were produced through six seminars (2014-17), each focusing on one selected referential field: historicization, subjectivization, geo-politics, other institutionality, and commons. The resulting website now functions as an open platform accepting new contributions.

Fields and terms:

Historicization: archive, constellation, emancipation, temporally embodied sound, estrangement, heterochronia, humanism, intuition, pathological fracture, phantom (pain), reconstruction, self-historicization, temporalities, tendencies in art, the contemporary.

Subjectivization: creleasure, dancing as insurrectional practice, decolonize, evidence, fragility, interest, kapwa, loser, over-identification, radical imagination, self-determination, self-representation, on subjectivization, the subject, travesti, unrest.

Geo-politics: agitational visual language, alignment, catastrophe, eurasia, event, global resistance, institutional geopolitical strategies, migrancy, non-aligned movement, pandemic, postsocialism, south, tudigong, god of the land, white space.

Constituencies: agency, autonomy, biotope, bureaucratisation, collaboration / co-labour, construction, the continuity-form and counter-continuity, de-professionalization, intervenor, labour, ñande / ore, the eternal network / la fête permanente, the rest is missing.

Commons: to baffle, basic income, the brotherhood & unity highway, constituent power of the common, corrected slogan, data asymmetry , friendship, heterotopian homonymy, institution, noosphere, palimpsest, rog, self-management, solidarity, theft.

Other institutionality: a residual, adab, alternating, conspiratory institutions?, dark room, deviant, family, global crowd, interdependence, lobbying, reflexive / reflexivity, stultifera navis, the sustainable museum, the art hypothesis, translation.

Curated by Zdenka Badovinac, Bojana Piškur and Jesús Carrillo (MNCARS) in collaboration with L’Internationale, et al
Publisher MG+MSUM, Ljubljana, 2017

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Seminar recordings structured by terms discussed

Benjamin H. Bratton: The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty (2016)

10 November 2016, dusan

“What has planetary-scale computation done to our geopolitical realities? It takes different forms at different scales—from energy and mineral sourcing and subterranean cloud infrastructure to urban software and massive universal addressing systems; from interfaces drawn by the augmentation of the hand and eye to users identified by self—quantification and the arrival of legions of sensors, algorithms, and robots. Together, how do these distort and deform modern political geographies and produce new territories in their own image?

In The Stack, Benjamin Bratton proposes that these different genres of computation—smart grids, cloud platforms, mobile apps, smart cities, the Internet of Things, automation—can be seen not as so many species evolving on their own, but as forming a coherent whole: an accidental megastructure called The Stack that is both a computational apparatus and a new governing architecture. We are inside The Stack and it is inside of us.

In an account that is both theoretical and technical, drawing on political philosophy, architectural theory, and software studies, Bratton explores six layers of The Stack: Earth, Cloud, City, Address, Interface, User. Each is mapped on its own terms and understood as a component within the larger whole built from hard and soft systems intermingling—not only computational forms but also social, human, and physical forces. This model, informed by the logic of the multilayered structure of protocol “stacks,” in which network technologies operate within a modular and vertical order, offers a comprehensive image of our emerging infrastructure and a platform for its ongoing reinvention.

The Stack is an interdisciplinary design brief for a new geopolitics that works with and for planetary-scale computation. Interweaving the continental, urban, and perceptual scales, it shows how we can better build, dwell within, communicate with, and govern our worlds.”

Publisher MIT Press, 2016
Software Studies series
ISBN 9780262029575, 026202957X
xx+502 pages

Reviews: Mercedes Bunz (Media Culture Society, 2016), Roger Whitson (2016), Marc Tuters (Computational Culture, 2017).
Commentary: McKenzie Wark (Public Seminar, 2016), Lukáš Likavčan (Artalk, 2017).

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