McKenzie Wark: General Intellects: Twenty-One Thinkers for the Twenty First Century (2017)

5 July 2017, dusan

“A guide to the thinkers and ideas that will shape the future

What happened to the public intellectuals that used to challenge and inform us? Who is the Sartre or De Beauvoir of the internet age? General Intellects argues we no longer have such singular figures, but there are, instead, general intellects whose writing could, if read collectively, explain our times. Covering topics such as culture, politics, work, technology, and the Anthropocene, each chapter is a concise account of an individual thinker, providing useful context and connections to the work of the others. McKenzie Wark’s distinctive readings are appreciations, but are nonetheless critical of how neoliberal universities militate against cooperative intellectual work that endeavors to understand and also change the world.”

The thinkers included are Amy Wendling, Kojin Karatani, Paolo Virno, Yann Moulier Boutang, Maurizio Lazzarato, Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Angela McRobbie, Paul Gilroy, Slavoj Žižek, Jodi Dean, Chantal Mouffe, Wendy Brown, Judith Butler, Hiroki Azuma, Paul B. Préciado, Wendy Chun, Alexander Galloway, Timothy Morton, Quentin Meillassoux, Isabelle Stengers, and Donna Haraway.

Publisher Verso, London, 2017
Public Seminar series
ISBN 9781786631909, 1786631903
viii+325 pages

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See also extra chapters on Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Nick Land, Sianne Ngai, Wang Hui, Amitav Ghosh, Yves Citton and Bruno Latour.

Robin Mackay, Armen Avanessian (eds.), #Accelerate: The Accelerationist Reader (2014)

26 June 2016, dusan

Accelerationism is the name of a contemporary political heresy: the insistence that the only radical political response to capitalism is not to protest, disrupt, critique, or détourne it, but to accelerate and exacerbate its uprooting, alienating, decoding, abstractive tendencies.

#Accelerate presents a genealogy of accelerationism, tracking the impulse through 90s UK darkside cyberculture and the theory-fictions of Nick Land, Sadie Plant, Iain Grant, and CCRU, across the cultural underground of the 80s (rave, acid house, SF cinema) and back to its sources in delirious post-68 ferment, in texts whose searing nihilistic jouissance would later be disavowed by their authors and the marxist and academic establishment alike.

On either side of this central sequence, the book includes texts by Marx that call attention to his own ‘Prometheanism’, and key works from recent years document the recent extraordinary emergence of new accelerationisms steeled against the onslaughts of neoliberal capitalist realism, and retooled for the twenty-first century.

At the forefront of the energetic contemporary debate around this disputed, problematic term, #Accelerate activates a historical conversation about futurality, technology, politics, enjoyment and capital. This is a legacy shot through with contradictions, yet urgently galvanized today by the poverty of ‘reasonable’ contemporary political alternatives.”

Publisher Urbanomic, Falmouth, with Merve, Berlin, 2014
ISBN 9780957529557
536 pages

Reviews: Malcolm Harris (New Inquiry), J.J. Charlesworth (Art Review), Simon O’Sullivan (Mute), Alex Andrews (Review31), Orlando Read (Frieze).
Commentaries: McKenzie Wark (Public Seminar), David Cunningham (Radical Philosophy).

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Hal Foster: Bad New Days: Art, Criticism, Emergency (2015)

3 April 2016, dusan

Bad New Days examines the evolution of art and criticism in Western Europe and North America over the last twenty-five years, exploring their dynamic relation to the general condition of emergency instilled by neoliberalism and the war on terror.

Considering the work of artists such as Thomas Hirschhorn, Tacita Dean, and Isa Genzken, and the writing of thinkers like Jacques Rancière, Bruno Latour, and Giorgio Agamben, Hal Foster shows the ways in which art has anticipated this condition, at times resisting the collapse of the social contract or gesturing toward its repair; at other times burlesquing it.

Against the claim that art making has become so heterogeneous as to defy historical analysis, Foster argues that the critic must still articulate a clear account of the contemporary in all its complexity. To that end, he offers several paradigms for the art of recent years, which he terms “abject,” “archival,” “mimetic,” and “precarious.””

Publisher Verso, London and New York, 2015
ISBN 1784781460, 9781784781460
208 pages

Presentation and discussion (video, The Kitchen, NYC, Sep 2015)
Interview (John Douglas Millar, Mute, Nov 2015)

Reviews: Mark Steven (Affirmations 2015), Brian Dillon (Guardian 2015), Rachel Wetzler (ArtNews 2015).

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Near Futures Online, 1: Europe at a Crossroads (2016)

31 March 2016, dusan

Europe at a Crossroads, the pilot issue of Near Futures Online, examines the recent history and potential fate of the two faces of “crisis” in today’s Europe, namely: the resistance and eventual surrender of the Greek government to the dictates of its creditors, and the growing tensions regarding the reception of asylum seekers and the place of immigrants in the EU.”

Near Futures Online, the online companion of Zone Books’ Near Futures series, is a forum dedicated to the analysis of the challenges borne out of national governments’ and international institutions’ responses to some critical events – the financial crisis of 2008, the “Arab Springs” of 2011 – as well as ongoing developments such as climate change and soaring inequalities. Organized around a specific question, each issue of NFO brings together scholars, journalists, political activists, and artists, and includes contributions belonging to different genres and using a variety of media – essays and reportages, interviews and dialogues, photo essays and videos. Contributors are invited to address questions raised by NFO through an engagement with particular debates, histories, policies, and actors as well as to examine their possible trajectories in the near future.”

Edited by Michel Feher, William Callison, Milad Odabaei, and Aurélie Windels
Publisher Zone Books, Mar 2016
Open access

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Richard Barbrook with Andy Cameron: The Internet Revolution: From Dot-com Capitalism to Cybernetic Communism (2015)

22 October 2015, dusan

“Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron’s The Californian Ideology, originally published in 1995 by Mute magazine and the nettime mailinglist, is the iconic text of the first wave of Net criticism. The internet might have fundamentally changed in the last two decades, but their demolition of the neoliberal orthodoxies of Silicon Valley remains shocking and provocative. They question the cult of the dot-com entrepreneur, challenging the theory of technological determinism and refuting the myths of American history. Denounced as the work of ‘looney lefties’ by Silicon Valley’s boosters when it first appeared, The Californian Ideology has since been vindicated by the corporate take-over of the Net and the exposure of the NSA’s mass surveillance programmes.

Published in 1999 at the peak of the dot-com bubble, Richard Barbrook’s Cyber-Communism offers an alternative vision of the shape of things to come, inspired by Marshall McLuhan’s paradoxical ‘thought probes’. With the Californian Ideology growing stronger, the Net was celebrated as the mechanical perfection of neoliberal economics. Barbrook shows how this futurist prophecy is borrowed from America’s defunct Cold War enemy: Stalinist Russia. Technological progress was the catalyst of social transformation. With copyright weakening, intellectual commodities were mutating into gifts. Invented in capitalist America, the Net in the late-1990s had become the first working model of communism in human history.

In an introduction written specially for this 20th anniversary edition, Richard Barbrook takes a fresh look at the hippie capitalists who shaped Silicon Valley and explains how their influence continues to this day. These thought probes are still relevant in understanding the contradictory impact of ubiquitous social media within the modern world. As McLuhan had insisted, theoretical provocation creates political understanding.”

Publisher Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam, Oct 2015
Network Notebooks series, 10
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
ISBN 9789492302014
51 pages

Replies to ‘The Californian Ideology’ published in Mute 4 (Spring 1996): Introduction, Louis Rossetto (Wired’s editor-in-chief), Franco (Bifo) Berardi, Celia Pearce.

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