Me, You, and Everyone We Know: Interrelationality, Alterity, Globalization
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Me, You, and Everyone We Know: Interrelationality, Alterity, Globalization

e-flux

​Ursula Biemann, Remote Sensing (clip), 2001. Courtesy of Women Make Movies, New York.

June 23, 2021
Me, You, and Everyone We Know: Interrelationality, Alterity, Globalization
A new online series on e-flux Video & Film, programmed by Irmgard Emmelhainz
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e-flux Video & Film is very pleased to present Me, You, and Everyone We Know: Interrelationality, Alterity, Globalization, a new online series of films and discussions programmed by Irmgard Emmelhainz

In the pre-history of globalization, modernity was promoted by international postwar agencies that prescribed epistemologies, means of economic organization and production methods, and even a cultural sensibility to the so-called third-world countries. From a decolonial standpoint, modernity and colonialism are inextricable; indeed, they form the basis of our contemporary globalized socioeconomic and political systems: market-based predatory relationships. In order to normalize these toxic forms of interdependency and interrelationships that are leading to civilizational and environmental collapse, human and non-human inhabitants of the world are differentiated by means of signifiers, for instance, of alterity, class, gender, ethnic origin, and religion. These differentiations affect how we relate to each other and how we become subjects. This series gathers audiovisual works from Canada, Europe, North and South America, and Australia, from inside or on the margins of Western civilization. Beyond positing the question of whether decolonizing would mean undoing these differential categories and bringing justice to oppressed peoples, they provide pieces in a puzzle that could enable us to better see global capitalism not as a generalized, abstract whole, but as heterogeneous processes composed of beliefs, knowledges, relationships, daily practices, and the disassociation from our bodies and from social relationships that denigrate the reproduction of life in favor of production and consumption cycles. As such, they bring forth a pressing view on the contradictions and toxic interrelationships inherent to the subject of Western modernity, who has sought to feel at home anywhere on the globe, yet now finds itself increasingly alien to the basic means to reproduce life.

Me, You, and Everyone We Know will run in four thematic parts from June 23 through August 18, 2021. Each part will include a two-week group screening, and a live discussion. 

We start with the films in Part One, currently streaming on e-flux Video & Film. Watch them here.

With films and videos by Ariela Aïsha Azoulay, Yael Bartana, Cooper Battersby and Emily Vey Duke, Ursula Biemannb.h. YaelJohn BockMaja BorgNoël Burch and Allan SekulaMiguel CalderónSara EliassenJohn GreysonClarisse HahnMike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, Nicholas ManganJuan Manuel Sepúlveda, and Miguel Ventura.

And discussions with Franco “Bifo” BerardiAnita ChariElena Comay del JuncoJohn Paul RiccoMiguel VenturaSoyoung Yoon, and others to be announced.

Program

Part One: Socioeconomic Systems (Hatred for Capitalism)

Screening: Wednesday, June 23–Tuesday, July 6, 2021
Ursula Biemann, Remote Sensing, 2001, 53 minutes
Maja Borg, Future My Love, 2012, 97 minutes
Nicholas Mangan, Nauru – Notes from a Cretaceous World, 2010, 14:50 minutes
Allan Sekula and Noël Burch, The Forgotten Space, 2012, 112 minutes

Discussion: Tuesday, July 6, 2021 at 1pm EST
Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Anita Chari, and Soyoung Yoon, moderated by Irmgard Emmelhainz
Livestream and Q&A with audience

Modernity meant the promise of public peace and equality guaranteed through the apparatus of the nation-state and the sustenance of lives through the production and exchange of goods, services, and bodies in the market. The works in this program describe the mechanisms behind the “rational society” of capitalism while touching upon the libidinal unconscious behind the normalization of exploitation and self-exploitation that constitute this regime of money: a dysfunctional organization of labor, desire, and power that maintains capitalist flows. The discussion accompanying this program will address the relationship between the sensible (aesthetics and communication) and politics under current absolute extractivist capitalism, as well as the utopias that have legitimated and perpetuated it such as democracy, progress, and development. How to go about a critique of capitalism at the current conjunction of extractivism and global warming (of which the COVID-19 pandemic is one manifestation), in a climate of extreme alienation and polarization? What systemic alternative can we envision toward a transition to de-marketization? Or are we headed to the globalization of state capitalism foretold by the East Asian model? Or even worse, neo-techno-feudalism? What potential political subjectivities can we envision at this conjuncture?

Part Two: Gendering, Disgendering, Transgendering

Screening: Wednesday, July 7–Tuesday, July 20, 2021
Maja Borg, Man, 2016, 13 minutes
Sara Eliassen, A Blank Slate, 2014, 28 minutes
Paul McCarthy and Mike Kelley, Fresh Acconci, 1992, 45 minutes
Miguel Ventura, How Shall I Love You, My New Little One?, 2001, 30 minutes
John Greyson, Fig Trees, 2009, 104 minutes

Discussion: Tuesday, July 20, 2021 at 1pm EST
Elena Comay del Junco, John Paul Ricco, and Miguel Ventura, moderated by Irmgard Emmelhainz
Livestream and Q&A with audience

The works in this program address forms of gendering, disgendering, and transgendering from the hyper-coded cinematographic image, to subjective experience, radical imagination, and public space.

Endocrine disruptors polluting our environment are altering reproduction and the sexual morphology of organisms, challenging heteronormative understandings of sexed biologies, and attesting to the fact that bodies are constituted in symbiosis with the environment through processes, relations, adaptations, metabolisms. This metamorphosis threatening fertility is triggering cultural nerves and anxieties about heteronormative essentialisms, again. One way queer theory has dealt with these essentialisms has been through dismantling the hermeneutics surrounding gender, sexuality, and identity, towards illegibility and the blurring or resignification of sexuality and binary roles. Trans theory, on the other hand, has sought to give back the specificity and difference of the gender/sex binary beyond the sovereign hierarchies of being commanded by God and prescribed by nature (McKenzie Wark). If queer theory is about contesting oppressive heteronormativity by creating peripheral forms of being, sexuality, and identities beyond the socially accepted norms, trans theory is about becomings, potential, desire, and transformation beyond the dominant metaphysical order. Queer and trans people have long been perceived as harbingers of civilizational collapse, while simultaneously pointing the way out of, or through it. However, as current junctions in theory and experience suggest, the two positions may be pursuing, or in need of pursuing, different paths. Will they meet at the exit? 

Part Three: Interrelational Arrangements (Interdependency and Survival)

Screening: Wednesday, July 21–Tuesday, August 3, 2021
Miguel Calderón, Camaleón, 2017, 26:23 minutes
Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby, Beauty Plus Pity, 2009, 14:19 minutes
Miguel Calderón, El placer después (Pleasure Afterwards), 2019, 30 minutes
Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby, You Were an Amazement on the Day You Were Born, 2019 30 minutes
b.h. Yael, Lessons for Polygamists, 2017, 14:33 minutes

Discussion: Date and speakers to be announced

No biological organism can be alive on its own, yet our relationships to others and to the environment are determined by the modern fantasy of the independent individual fending for herself in a Darwinist drive for success and survival. These relationships also give shape to how we sustain ourselves, how we survive in the world, and how we think of ourselves as individual subjects. Under globalized capitalism, the qualities and intensities of interpersonal and environmental relationships also pass through the market and are characterized by extreme alienation and dissociation. The works in this program deal with the hopes and dysfunctions of contemporary subjectivity and interrelational arrangements as determined by modernity and capitalism. Today, the market has erased the boundaries between biological life and politics, perpetuating the colonial hierarchy of a racialized social and political life that makes certain bodies vulnerable and subject to technologies of oppression and dispossession, while it protects others. As precarity is exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, discussions on decolonial interrationality, reciprocity, and mutual aid emerge seeking to finally transcend the white-savior complex behind human rights and welfare state discourses. In our hyper-individualized imaginaries, we have set empathy in place as a structural emotion to relate to others, yet we are either insensitive to their pain or embedded in toxic forms of empathic codependency. We can only hope for impossible attachments and autonomous forms of mutual aid. 

Part Four: Frames for Alterity (Ethnography, Human Rights, Class, and Race)  

Screening: Wednesday, August 4–Tuesday, August 17, 2021
Juan Manuel Sepúlveda, The Ballad of Oppenheimer Park, 2016, 71 minutes
Ariela Aïsha Azoulay, Un-Documented: Unlearning Imperial Plunder (2019), 36 minutes
Yael Bartana, Pardes (Orchard), 2014, 71 minutes
Clarisse Hahn, Mescaline, 2015, 45 minutes
Zacharias Kunuk, Inuit Knowlege and Climate Change, 2010, 60 minutes
John Bock, Hell’s Bells, 2017, 60 minutes

Discussion: Date and speakers to be announced

Ethnography in the 21st century has delivered images of vanishing populations made redundant or communities self-destroying, appearing as the collateral damage of the globalization of modernity. Ethnography today, moreover, only makes sense ethically and politically as autoethnography or as ethnographic fiction, as opposed to the ethnographer-as-subject delivering his or her point of view in relationship to an alien community. The works in this program draw a constellation of the contemporary discourses we are working with to frame the remnants of colonial alterity: decolonization as restitution, the unresolved contradictions of class and race polarization, human rights as an apparatus to deal with mass political and climate refugees, and empathy as the emotion that will fix all these problems. 

Irmgard Emmelhainz is an independent translator, writer, researcher, and lecturer based in Mexico City. Her book Jean-Luc Godard’s Political Filmmaking was published by Palgrave MacMillan in 2019. The translated expanded version of The Tyranny of Common Sense: Mexico’s Neoliberal Conversion is coming out this fall with SUNY Press, and so is Toxic Loves, Impossible Futures: Feminist Lives as Resistance (Vanderbilt). She is a member of the SNCA in Mexico (National System for Arts Creators).

For more information, contact program [​at​] e-flux.com.

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