Eric Kluitenberg on Sun, 15 Oct 2017 00:07:45 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Constitutioanl radicalism

Hello Johnatan,

Maybe I should not have included that phrase on the infinity of art / techno-science / advanced capitalism, as it distracts from the main point about the necessity of  a deep engagement in deliberate acts of political design, and a shift from ‘revolutionary’ tactics to methodologies to tailor cultural and political interventions to specific situations.

Then again, the realisation that we are no longer looking at infinite horizons but at limited perimeters seems quite crucial.

The phrase is actually an implicit reference to an observation that Jean François Lyotard made in an essay titled “Presenting the Unpresentable: The Sublime” (1982). His observation there is that the avant-garde arts, techno-science, and advanced capitalism share an 'affinity with infinity’ (all Lyotard’s terms). The avant-garde arts testify to the infinity of possible ways of seeing, the techno-sciences to the infinity of possible ways of knowing, and advanced capitalism to the infinite capacity to realise (seeing all, knowing all, realising all).

This idea is over now - there is a clear and final boundary that we are approaching rapidly: the depletion of the earth’s resources. Gaia may reconfigure if we were to pass that boundary and tend towards a new semi-stable equilibrium, but that will be most likely without humans able to survive there. So, this introduces the finality that puts an end to this ‘affinity with infinity’ that Lyotard was talking about.

As for the specificity of these three terms: Lyotard uses them quite broadly, but with the avant-garde arts he refers primarily to the historical avantgardes in the arts (i.e. before WWII) and its post-war inheritors. The techno-sciences refers to the domain of the application of instrumental forms of knowledge production and technological methods that he had previously written extensively about in The postmodern Condition (1979), his report on the state of knowledge production. And finally with ‘advanced’ capitalism he refers to everything that comes after Ford and Frederick Taylor (scientific management).

You might be right that these categories are too broad to make them stick locally - still I think it is noteworthy that this idea of infinity that Lyotard suggested is over and done with - there is no such thing as infinity when it comes to human affairs, we must find ways to live within strict limitations or risk to become extinct as a species.

It is against this backdrop that the nitty gritty work of political design, applied to analysis, critique, mobilisation, new forms of organisation, concrete political intervention, civic networking, new forms of artistic enquiry and aesthetic experience, unfolds. And ‘laboratory Spain’ is one of the first places that I look for to find inspiration and practical models of cultural and political practice.

btw - Simona Levi keeps us up to date with much of that on this list every now and then, but the actual ground work is very extensive indeed, not just in Barcelona, so let’s take some cues from that!

Hope this elaboration helps somewhat to address your non-understanding…

all bests,

On 14 Oct 2017, at 15:49, Johnatan Petterson <> wrote:

hello Eric.
why not to call 'design' subversive input and outright denying of anything, or rather B.Latour would say, 'visualize' them. by design or by art-techno-science and advanced capitalism? i ask because these last three categories
do not make sense, they are not detailed to a symbolic meaning in my scope. they have a too broad range of signification, and so i cannot re-copy-paste them in the current understanding of this list' conversation. could you fragment these three words and stabilize around new categories, should you what would you advance. (to help you to better understand my non-understanding: i don't know at what point an artwork ceases to pertain to 'infinite horizon' (if the latter concept meant -any-thing) and becomes some designing, past a finite boundary? give some examples please! same with techno-science,, and 'advanced capitalism': how do you distinguish phases of capitalism, according to what schemes? (historical, paradigmatics, geographical, cultural, biological?? etc.) thanks)-


2017-10-14 13:50 GMT+02:00 Eric Kluitenberg <>:

In Latour’s terms - though I would not insist on them in any way - this would be part of the process of composing the good common world (of humans and nonhumans - the ‘collective’), and yes Gaia does provide us with a perimeter for that, which includes all political factions (even those in outright denial) - this is a perimeter, which is to say a final boundary to which we are drawing ever closer, and not an infinite horizon which recedes as we move forward. The end of infinity (of art, techno-science, and advanced capitalism) is a new condition to which all of these factions have to answer in one way or another.



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