December 8, 2006

Paolo Virno: “Grammar of the Multitude” (Lecture)

Response: Martin Saar and Daniel Birnbaum

15th December, 6 p.m. in the Aula of the Städelschule

With “Grammar of the Multitude” (2005) Italian philosopher Paolo Virno made one of the most important contributions to the discourse on bio-politics and post-fordian labour relations. As a thinker who belongs to the radical Italian left wing and who was politically active in the environment of the operaistic movement, he has developed a brilliant analysis of the contemporary way of living. His book systematically explores how the recently much-invoked “Post-Fordism” in an essential way affects our existence, our conception of the subject and our labour relations. If it is the case that nowadays “virtuosity” is in demand and that language and communication have become the decisive powers of productivity, then this has to have consequences also for the production of art. In the framework of the symposiums “Under pressure” we shall discuss the new necessities described by Virno from the perspective of the artists. We will explore the options for action and will follow up the implications of the models he recommends, e.g. “exit” and “disobedience”.

“Unter Druck – Under pressure. About subject-shaped pictures, social individuals and the new spirit of capitalism” is a conference in three parts, organized by the ‘Institut für Kunstkritik’ (Institute for Art Criticism in co-operation with the ‘Institut für Sozialforschung’ (Institute for Social Research) Frankfurt.


Lecture: December 13, 2006,

Opening: December 15, 2006, 8 p.m.

Exhibition: December 16, 2006 – January 21, 2007

A bridge, an ellipsis, a sudden trailing off, the title of this exhibition, etc, the … might also be the blub blub blub of an underwater clam drawn by Jack Smith (“Ploduction Ploblems”), or a sort of mussel-talk taking over. In Réné Daumal’s unfinished novel Mount Analogue, which narrates the search for an invisible mountain (the largest on earth), there is a description of the money used in this place: smooth, pearl-like orbs dug out of the invisible mountain’s soil and very difficult to find. So on Mount Analogue, the … would also be a price, a sum, exact amount of invisible cash. (Excerpt from the index of the accompanying book, published by Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne)

December 8, 2006

Thank you for your RSVP.

Städelschule will be in touch.


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