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On the distribution of bodies in space

Stefan Hölscher (ed.), Gerald Siegmund (ed.)

Dance, Politics & Co-Immunity

The past years have seen a re-emergence of the need to think about and conceptualise the arts in general and dance in particular in terms of the political. Developments in globalised neo-liberal capitalism and the changes it has produced in the social fabric seem to beg for a statement of some kind from the artistic field. What is more, these changes increasingly affect the production and reception of dance itself, thereby laying bare the ideological underpinnings of its claim for...
  • community
  • performativity
  • globalization
  • body
  • politics
Maria Zinfert

“With a woman like that you can even live in ­Berlin”

  • biography
  • History of photography
  • Siegfried Kracauer
  • 1930s
  • photographic images
  • photography
  • Paris
  • archive
  • portrait
  • 1950s
  • collection
  • exile
  • 20th century
Maurizio Lazzarato

The endless array of merchandise

In contemporary capitalism, subjectivity is the product of a mass industry organized on a global level. For Félix Guattari this is actually the first and most important of capitalist productions, because it preconditions and is part of production in all other forms of merchandise. Subjectivity is a ‘key merchandise,’ which in its ‘nature’ is put together, developed and manufactured in the same way as a car, electricity, or a washing machine. Capitalism organizes the production and control of subjectivity through two different systems, which weave together the manufacture of the individuated subject (“social subjection”) and what seems to be the opposite, de-subjectification (“machinic enslavement”). Therefore capitalism exercises a twofold hold over subjectivity.

Social subjection involves techniques of government, which pass by way of, and mobilize, representation (political and linguistic), areas of knowledge, discursive visual practices, etc., and produce ‘subjects of rights,’ ‘political subjects,’ in short: ‘subjects’ of ‘I’s,’ of individuals. By...

  • Governmentality
  • capitalism
  • identity
  • data
  • algorithms
Elisabeth Bronfen

Con Artist Don Draper, the archetypical American hero

  • cultural imaginary
  • Stanley Cavell
  • society
  • television
  • America
  • serial
  • USA
  • 1960s
  • happiness
  • lie
  • advertising


Orit Halpern

Temporality, Rationality, Affect in Cybernetics

In 1948 on a conference on circuits and brains in Pasadena California, the prominent cybernetician and neural net pioneer Warren McCulloch addressed a room of the most prominent mathematicians, psychologists, and physiologists of the day. In his comments he sought to titillate his respectable audience by offering them a seemingly unintuitive analogy. Finite state automata, those models of calculative and computational reason, the templates for programming, the very seats of repetition, reliability, mechanical, logical and anticipatable behavior, were “psychotic” but brain-like.

These statements cannot, however, be thought in terms of human subjectivity or psychology. McCulloch, while trained as a psychiatrist, was not discussing patients in mental clinics. Rather he was responding to a famous paper delivered by the mathematician John von Neumann on logical automata. The psychiatrist had no intention to argue about the essential characteristics, the ontology, of machines or minds. He recognized that computers were not yet the same...

  • affects
  • Cybernetics
  • artificial intelligence
  • logics
  • epistemology
Bette Talvacchia

»Covered by an outer skin of another's devising«

Derek Jarman’s version of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II presents an extradialogic commentary on how the image of Queen Isabella can be literally made-up by means of a procession of outfits that follow their own rhythm of elaboration as the film—and the plot—progresses. The lavish clothes do not add up to a stable indicator of the queen’s intrinsic and unalterable identity; nothing like the costumes in classic cinema that express character and personality. They remain, instead, a group of images rife with conflicting bits of visual information, which even the most hardworking spectator will have trouble forcing together. This is because the attire of the queen does not so much serve to characterize Isabella as to comment on the role that she assumes.

The costumes/images belong to a system of representation different from that of Marlowe’s sixteenth-century dialogue; they are patterned on the template for “how to be female” in Hollywood films....

  • film
  • gender
  • fashion
  • identity


The world is all that is the case

Françoise Armengaud, Annabelle Buxton

Wittgenstein’s Rhinoceros

The two young men meet up at the Cambridge railroad station. While waiting for the train, they browse the shelves of the station bookshop. All of a sudden, Wittgenstein grabs Pinsent’s arm: “Look at the title of this book!” “What a coincidence!” exclaims Pinsent, “It is perfect for you!” Both start to laugh. They purchase the novel of a famous English detective novelist entitled A Rhinoceros in the Library. Wittgenstein is very excited. “David, listen carefully,” he says to Pinsent. “I already have three things...
  • thinking
  • logics
  • Wittgenstein
  • young readers
Ana Vujanović

Thinking a grid of politicality

The connection between politics and dance is one of the most discussed topics in the performing arts today. Before I take a closer look at what constitutes this link, I will introduce some epistemic and social frameworks within which we can speak of politics when we speak about contemporary performance and art in general. Then, I will continue with a discussion of the characteristic modalities of politicality that I register on the actual international dance scene.

To begin with, I want to emphasize that my focus in this text will not be a particular politics of contemporary dance. Rather, I want to concentrate on the problematics of politicality as the aspect of an artwork or art practice that addresses the ways it acts and intervenes in the public sphere. In doing so, politicality implies discussions about and conflicts around topics such as the subjects and objects that perform in a public...

  • body
  • community
  • performativity
  • globalization
  • politics
Brian Massumi

Complexifying the Subject of Interest

We are enjoined to rational choice. We are taught that our freedom is one with the freedom of choice. We are told we become who we are by how we choose. We are assured that if we choose well, according to our own best interests, we will end up serving the interests of all. We are told that there is a mechanism in place to ensure this convergence between our interests and others’. Market is its name. Its “invisible hand” adjusts best choices to each other, its magic touch guided by the principle of competition. Competition weeds out suboptimal choices, selecting for efficiency. Efficiencies multiply each other, minimizing effort and maximizing profit for all. The market, we are further led to believe, is self-regulating. It has a natural inclination toward optimization. As political subjects, we are enjoined to vote, rationally, in its interests so that we may pursue our own,...

  • epistemology
  • crisis
  • critique of neoliberalism
  • Homo economicus
  • affects