In today’s isolation, the social world and its art are atomized. The situation has thrown into relief the intimate confusion of relational geniality and its mechanisms of exclusion and privilege. Now all places of meeting are gone, the stratified guest list, presaging access to a shared welcome, is torn up. Its fragments fill the air.

The e-flux journal texts in this reader archive the leak between hospitality and colonial mindsets, where separation promises resistance.

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Compiled by Andrew Stooke
8 Essays
Kim Turcot DiFruscia: Liberalism’s “work” on the body is at the heart of your thought. In your book The Empire of Love (2006), you make a conceptual distinction between “carnality” and “corporeality.” How do you pose the sexual body through that distinction? Elizabeth A. Povinelli: Empire of Love makes a distinction between “carnality” and “corporeality” for a set of analytical reasons: to try to understand materiality in late-liberal forms of power and to try to…
Political-Cultural Queerings The discourse on precarization that has emerged in the past decade, primarily in Europe, rests on an extremely complex understanding of social insecurity and its productivity. The various strands of this discourse have been brought together again and again in the context of the European precarious movement organized under EuroMayDay. 1 This transnational movement, in existence since the early 2000s, thematizes precarious working and living conditions as the…
An Architektur: The term “commons” occurs in a variety of historical contexts. First of all, the term came up in relation to land enclosures during pre- or early capitalism in England; second, in relation to the Italian autonomia movement of the 1960s; and third, today, in the context of file-sharing networks, but also increasingly in the alter-globalization movement. Could you tell us more about your interest in the commons? Massimo De Angelis: My interest in the commons is…
1. Recently I found myself at the Clark Art Institute in Massachusetts, standing in front of an orientalist image. Together with a colleague I was looking at The Slave Market by Jean-Léon Gérôme, painted in 1866, only one year after the official abolition of slavery in the US. The caption of the painting said the following: A young woman has been stripped by a slave trader and presented to a group of fully clothed men for examination. A prospective buyer probes her teeth….

The word “propaganda” originates from biology, literally referring to the reproduction and duplication—the propagation—of plants and animals. In this time of catastrophe on earth and corporate and nationalist schemes to export that very same catastrophe to other living worlds, Haraway’s rethinking of propaganda offers a precondition for collective survival and the perseverance of new socialist forms of living. Neo-constructivist, cosmist, and assemblist training camps and biospheres: these are the terms for a morphological vocabulary of a hyperempathic propaganda art that makes living worlds of comradeship in deep past, deep present, and deep future imaginable and realizable.

“We strike art in order to liberate art from itself.” —MTL 1 In the fall of 2008, at the height of both the electoral season and the global financial crisis, a sprawling exhibition entitled Democracy in America was set up by the public arts organization Creative Time for one week inside the Armory building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The title of the project at once ironized de Tocqueville’s infamous celebration of the “exceptional” nature of US political culture,…
This is a story about counterinsurgency as well as community organizing. It is a story about getting to know people as an occupying force, and getting to know people as neighbors. It is a story, ultimately, about the military entering the terrain of that thing called culture. This story has fascinating, hardworking protagonists such as General David Petraeus, socially engaged artists like Suzanne Lacy, and anthropologists-turned-military-consultants like Montgomery “Mitzy” McFate. It is…

To Live and Think Like Pigs is an account of two dominant ideas from the 1990s that have now, two and three decades later, become markers of crypto-freedom in the hands of global data boys and have led to tragic inequalities of movement. It is a book against the way chaos theory, nomadism, and anemic underdeveloped concepts of difference were used throughout the 1990s as an enlightening model—and against poorly deployed mathematics-as-theory in general. To Live and Think Like Pigs is an account against a nomadism that appeared as a liberatory metaphor at the end of the twentieth century, yet in the twenty-first has become a dominant model of the cultural class in permanent motion, and a concomitant growing underclass penned in and restrained. It is a book against the “rational” individual as human data unit. It is against the political “market.” It is against the self-policing of all aspects in life. It predicts the envy culture of “rhinoceros psychologies and reservoirs of the imaginary for the pack leaders of mass individualism.” And roundly mocks them. And in so doing, also roundly mocks our 2019.


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