• Socrates in Quarantine by Viki Mladenova

    2020-06-30

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #38

    One death has proven to be exceptionally devastating for Western politics and philosophy, as well as for political philosophy - and has left its mark on the life in the city (polis). Socrates’ death illustrates many philosophical, political, and ethical themes, strong impressions of many debates, and deep insights into two complex matters that can be observed in their restless omnipresence from antiquity to the present day: common living (or the existence of the community) and the living of a singular self (or singular existence). Through the reconstruction of Socrates’ final moments, by using Plato’s dialogue Phaedo in this case, and in light of the current pandemic of the COVID-19 virus, among other things, two strong elements of the life in the city emerge - dialogue and friendship. In his last moments, Socrates did not discuss Athens, or life in the polis, or the Athenians - the usual sources of his questions and his art of midwifery (i.e., the Socratic method), his final breath that can still be felt, perhaps now better than ever, carried his last wish - that his friends take care of themselves, because if they do not, that would mean the end of the dialogues they had. This fusion of the care of the self and dialogue actually reveals how mutual dependency between singular and common living is possible and why it is necessary.

     

    Read more about Socrates in Quarantine by Viki Mladenova
  • Contingency and the Neoliberal Biopolitical Regime of Permissiveness in the COVID-19 Pandemic by Mark Horvath and Adam Lovasz

    2020-06-24

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #37

    What is the role of the nonhuman in strategies of governance that attempt to regulate life? Can a mode of power be imagined which is capable of instrumentalizing chance? Power and contingency are intimately connected modalities. Biopolitics in general is a modern phenomenon, and is inseparable from the history of what has become known as neoliberalism. Therefore, our investigation is also dedicated to unpacking the significance of the neoliberal political tradition. Without the agonistic, self-restricting neoliberal mode of power, there could be no all-encompassing regulation of life. Neoliberal biopolitics is characterized above all by permisiveness. It is about letting processes take their course. The concept of biopower specifically is first mentioned by Foucault in a March 17, 1976 lecture. The role of the sovereign in traditional regimes of sovereignty is based on “the right to kill.” Even if the ruler does not manufacture subjects directly, he nonetheless has the right to take their lives away. Sovereignty traditionally pertains to the absolute right of power “to take life or let live.” From the age of eighteenth century rationalism onwards, however, a new form of power emerges, which can be summarized as “the power to ‘make’ live and ‘let’ die.”

     

    Read more about Contingency and the Neoliberal Biopolitical Regime of Permissiveness in the COVID-19 Pandemic by Mark Horvath and Adam Lovasz
  • New Pandemic, Old Walls by Mark Cinkevich

    2020-06-14

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #36

    With the spread of coronavirus, it became of crucial importance to analyze which narratives are used to talk about the problem. Whether one of war, the end of the world, or conspiracy, narratives have the capacity to frame and determine the perceptions of the phenomenon. Levi R. Bryant was among the first major intellectual figures who, in his essay “A World Is Ending,” introduced the narrative of the globality of the epidemic and referred to it as the planetary problem. Although the globality of the pandemic is not to be disputed, the implications of the planetary narrative glimpse onto kinds of dynamics that made many intellectuals claim the meaninglessness of a great degree of COVID-19-prompted interventions.

    Read more about New Pandemic, Old Walls by Mark Cinkevich
  • Capital Panic by Boyan Manchev

    2020-06-04

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    Photo by (c) Boryana Pandova

    LOCKDOWN THEORY #35

    In the middle of the sultry day, at the seemingly dullest of noontide moments, when time follows its usual course as if nothing could ever break it, when danger is out of mind, then all of a sudden its course somehow comes to a standstill: time stops running. The moment freezes: as if the wings of butterflies freeze fluttering around the blooming spring flowers, as if the buzzing of bees stills to a freeze, the air stops quivering, everything is at once in motion and in calm. Time has stopped.

    Read more about Capital Panic by Boyan Manchev
  • Return to a New Normality? Challenges of the Post-Pandemic Era by Antonis Galanopoulos

    2020-04-29

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #34

    As countries around the world begin contemplating the end of lockdown measures, the question of the post-pandemic era arose recently in the press. The most commonly mentioned slogan to signify this new era is the “return to normality” or, even more provocatively, the “return to a new normality.” How can one return to a place where s/he was not before? This paradox, the return to something new, has significant theoretical implications that this commentary would like to address.

    Read more about Return to a New Normality? Challenges of the Post-Pandemic Era by Antonis Galanopoulos
  • Morbid Mobilities by Tsvetelina Hristova

    2020-04-28

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #33

    Epidemics spread by parasitizing on already established flows of mobility of people and new crises parasite on crises that have settled to be the normality. In the weeks after COVID-19 reached EU, the epidemic has accelerated the conjuncture of existing modes of exploitation, extraction, and exclusion. Kim Moody points out in a recent piece that the link between the spread of COVID-19 and transnational supply chains might be a lot more significant than what is immediately apparent from epidemiological models. This invisibilized dependency between the spread of the virus and the mobility of capital and labour is only one way in which the current rapidly developing COVID-19 crisis is not just a health emergency but much more than this, it is a problem of labour. Labour, and in particular migrant labour, has become the central subject of this crisis - monitored, contained, and stirred into “essential” mobilities.

    Read more about Morbid Mobilities by Tsvetelina Hristova
  • Viral Subjects by Richard B. Keys

    2020-04-27

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #32

    The virus embodies a particular face of nature, one that is at once representative of the radical contingency of evolution and nature as such, and at the same time embodies the fundamental entanglement of both life and death. Its blind drive to life and the incidental death of its hosts betrays a fundamental lack of evolutionary telos or purpose to nature. If the virus can be said to be intelligent, it is only in terms of an alien swarm intelligence that is unthinkable to the human, only to be glimpsed in the intersection of the statistical modelling of its spread and in the sickness, horror, and grief of its victims and their loved ones. In the virus we see the contingency of the evolutionary process on display, an interplay of random mutation and environmental entrainment; from its first encounter with a receptive human host in Wuhan, to its spread around the world.

     

    Read more about Viral Subjects by Richard B. Keys
  • On the Philosophy that Should Not Be by Fabio Gironi

    2020-04-26

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #31

    I hesitated to accept Katerina Kolozova’s and Stanimir Panayotov’s invitation to write a short contribution for Identities. Not only have I have recently announced - in a more public way than I initially envisaged - my permanent withdrawal from both academic philosophy and the publishing world, but I also used some rather strident words to denounce the meaninglessness of some “COVID-19-prompted interventions” published, in the last weeks, by far more academically glamorous intellectuals than myself. Since I stand by both my decision and my opinions, for me to start pontificating about my intellectual reaction to the current crisis would be inconsistent at best. But the unexpected coincidence - and indeed what I have experienced as the mutual reinforcement - of these two biographical watershed moments perhaps can help me better articulate a conviction of mine that, in another context, has been polemically described as anti-intellectualist.

    Read more about On the Philosophy that Should Not Be by Fabio Gironi
  • Bodiless by David Roden

    2020-04-21

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #30

    Can we afford us any longer? Bodies hurt too much. Their pleasures are less trauma than a geologic diarrhoea. It’s shameful a vaulting planetary economy still uses us - like discovering a cache of unused condoms under pristine sand.

    No wonder we dream disconnection, communism, or apocalypse; bored with our biology, our perpetually retarded political instincts, or bad teeth.

    Read more about Bodiless by David Roden
  • A Remarkable Brain by Claire Colebrook

    2020-04-19

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #29

    Lockdown. Quarantine. A Land at War, at war with itself. Self-isolation. These twenty-first-century events not only have precedents; they are constitutive of who we are. Using the word “we” these days is not smart, even if there are claims that a virus knows no borders, and that - to quote Slavoj Žižek – “we’re all in the same boat now” (a claim that modifies Dipesh Chakrabarty’s 2009 prediction that there would be “no lifeboats for the rich”). The “we” I use is the “we” made possible by a pre-history of self-isolation, lockdown and quarantine. The way this virus has played out is not at all in the manner of a “China virus,” and is far closer to Alexis Wright’s white virus that seeks to make a land great again: “The virus was nostalgia for foreign things, they said, or what the French say, nostalgie de la boue; a sickness developed from channeling every scrap of energy towards an imaginary, ideal world with songs of solidarity, like We Shall Overcome” (Wright 2013, 3).

    Read more about A Remarkable Brain by Claire Colebrook
  • What Is It Like to Be Schrödinger’s Cat? and Other Tales from the Edge of Planetarization by Davor Löffler

    2020-04-18

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #28

    Nothing philosophical about the Coronavirus and the current situation can be said. A very clearly defined object and a very clearly defined state present themselves to us. There is a virus and, if you contract it, you may die. That’s it. It is very binary, a simple yes or no outcome, a simple if-then relation. In its lack of ambiguity and contingency, the global situation does not leave any space for interpretation, exegesis, or contextualization. It is a material circumstance, hardly different, for example, from questions like whether an organism can take in sufficient amounts of air, water, or nutrition, or a meteorite striking the earth. Within the phase space of the trillions of possible viruses, one had developed a composition that allows it to nest itself in various hosts. Some of these hosts remain unharmed by the virus’s reproductive capacity, while others with ACE2-receptors in the linings of their airways may suffer from the virus’s evolutionary, obviously successful, path to proliferation.

    Read more about What Is It Like to Be Schrödinger’s Cat? and Other Tales from the Edge of Planetarization by Davor Löffler
  • Towards the New Abnormal by Rumen Rachev

    2020-04-15

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #27

    The stress test of institutions and infrastructures in 2020 shows more than ever what our capabilities are and what we are all capable of achieving in times that call for new abnormalities, since what was constituted as “unusual” and “abnormal” before is now being adopted as daily life practices (excessive washing of hands, paranoia about germs, keeping social distancing, etc). It is no longer a problem that you are too paranoid or reclusive to engage with the public; now the problem is that you are not paranoid or reclusive enough to stay away from others. Whoever is up there as the big Other witnessing us at the moment might find future predicaments quite fascinating to speculate about and act upon.

    Read more about Towards the New Abnormal by Rumen Rachev
  • Sapientia by Gil Anidjar

    2020-04-14

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    Photo by the author

    LOCKDOWN THEORY #26

    I don’t know about you, but it has become obvious to me that, its recent rebranding notwithstanding, the name “sapiens” is a misnomer.

    Around 1758, Carl Linnaeus coined the phrase “homo sapiens.” He may have tried to register some hesitation. On the same line as “homo sapiens,” and by no more than appositional logic, he inscribed another Latin phrase. “Nosce Te Ipsum,” Linnaeus wrote. Know Thyself.

    Read more about Sapientia by Gil Anidjar
  • UNIVERSAL BASIC PODCAST: Peak Podcast in the Time of Covideocracy and Zoom Isolationism by Jonty Tiplady

    2020-04-13

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    Author’s screenshot of Joe Biden exiting stage.

    LOCKDOWN THEORY #25

    In an essay on Benjamin, Rebecca Comay speaks of the “unaccountable loquaciousness” that marks the experience of melancholia in Freud, eine aufdringliche Mitteilsamket. “So much over-sharing,” she writes, “can be oppressive in its exorbitant demands.” In Leo Bersani’s recent work this same loquacity is explicitly connected to what is required “if the human is to survive as an event in the history of our planet.” Christopher Bollas notes in the psychotic the tendency to talk too much as an attempt to structure the world back into place, and calls this “psychic dehydration.” The great podcasts of the present display some of this, all of this, or more. Red Scare, TrueAnon, TekWars, New Models, and so on: these are the ballads of our time. Or rather, these are what happens when we don’t know what to say at the end of time. We talk too much.

    Read more about UNIVERSAL BASIC PODCAST: Peak Podcast in the Time of Covideocracy and Zoom Isolationism by Jonty Tiplady
  • Zarathustra (Un)Vaccinated by Zlatomir Zlatanov

    2020-04-08

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    Photo by (c) Mario Shumanov

    LOCKDOWN THEORY #24

    Between me and the other there is only the discourse and the death.

    Signifiers as thwarted impulses (of the death drive) - why not say the same for pathogens, they are death in the form of human life (“Politics is therefore death that lives a human life,” à la Achille Mbembe).

    We have always been the infected uninfected, the abandoned-symbiotians. In its origin democracy is an autoimmune disease, albeit within the realm of the nihilism of sign and the number.

    Read more about Zarathustra (Un)Vaccinated by Zlatomir Zlatanov
  • Western Expansion: Disease, Los Angeles by Barrett Avner

    2020-04-08

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #23

    If we’re approaching a new world, then I’d leave the last behind. I joked recently that if your sense of being is derived from cheap pleasures like corporate rave-culture and boutique wine bars, then the unprecedented lack of consumer viability is bound to be maddening. Many have lost their strip clubs, brunch, college, malls, and thus, any sense of purpose or belonging in this world. The economy doesn’t produce the things that people desire, it produces desire itself. Does the preservation of life devoid of expansion/unclaimed space seem like enough to justify its own existence? The operational chains of civilization seemed to function on a mechanical level, but with the underlying suspicion that they’re buttressed by military power and market-illusion participation.

    Read more about Western Expansion: Disease, Los Angeles by Barrett Avner
  • Reconfiguring by Adam Louis Klein

    2020-04-07

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #21

    I would like to suggest that we imagine this crisis in terms of the overlapping of multiple temporalities. At the same time, I would suggest that we understand it in terms of a single kind of temporality, a temporality which recursively transforms itself on multiple scales. This temporality is periodicity, the much maligned “cyclical time,” the way reality oscillates, bends, bounces back and forth, and turns around a center, a center which may also be the point of transition and instability.

    Read more about Reconfiguring by Adam Louis Klein
  • The Dissident Goddesses’ Network CORONA STATEMENT by Elisabeth von Samsonow

    2020-04-06

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #20

    The Dissident Goddesses’ Network comments on this moment from the perspective of a - not new - radical claim for socio-ecological change and reorientation. The current crisis is a crisis of life. During this time of deep exhale the condition and fragility of planetary existence becomes manifest. And it is the time of Gaia’s epiphany. This paper addresses all of us, the survivors, the “people of Gaia” (Bruno Latour and Gilles Deleuze/ Félix Guattari), dedicated to those who passed away and will pass away during this pandemy.

    Read more about The Dissident Goddesses’ Network CORONA STATEMENT by Elisabeth von Samsonow
  • The Virus and the Tree by Alexander Wilson

    2020-04-06

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #19

    1. From a biological perspective, humans inhabit the outer branches of the so-called tree of life; or, perhaps more accurately, a minuscule and most fragile twig, a freshly sprouted thorn.

    2. This putative tree of life has traditionally been reserved for cellular life, and thus did not always include viruses. Viruses seem to maintain an existence between cellular life and non-life, or inert matter. Though mainstream biology now includes viruses within the category of life, their structures, their evolution, and their life cycles are still reasons to treat them differently from the cellular life that populates the tree, which infinitely ramifies from a single point, LUCA, the Last Universal Common Ancestor.

    Read more about The Virus and the Tree by Alexander Wilson
  • Do Not Offend the Flies by Oxana Timofeeva

    2020-04-06

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #18

    On the penultimate day of February, I felt incredibly exhausted. That day I had given a speech in Ljubljana - a presentation of a book on animals, translated into Slovenian. By then, COVID-19 had become one of the most frequent topics of public discussion, but not yet the most important one. The main topic of discussion in Slovenia at the time was politics - the right-wing had ascended to power. People came to attend my presentation straight away from a protest rally. However, general anxiety could already be sensed. The hotel where I usually stay in this city was in the peculiar state of complete absence of Chinese tourists. The virus outbreak had already started in Europe, quite nearby in fact, in Italy. There were confirmed cases in the Austrian ski resorts region as well, but none had been reported in Slovenia. Against such news background, I was bothered by a strange feeling: to come, speak publicly, and infect someone would be terrible, but I came to realize that just after the event, not before!

    Read more about Do Not Offend the Flies by Oxana Timofeeva
  • Global Public Health as a Priority by Jana Lozanoska

    2020-04-05

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #17

    We live in the twenty-first century, the century of increased technological and scientific advances, but the entire world seems completely unprepared for a virus pandemic. Meanwhile, NASA scientists are making intensive explorations on Mars; there are attempts for reproduction of the sun energy, reconstruction of the Big Bang, etc.

    On the other hand, the Oscar winning Joker has correctly mapped out the fragility of the U.S. health system, as well as social inequalities within, which could be juxtaposed to the global situation as we are witnessing the complete failure of liberalism both as a political and economic model under the threat of the COVID-19. The question is what follows after that? The Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek has mentioned few times already that COVID-19 will bring about the fall of capitalism and renewal of communism. Even though one can agree partly with Žižek, however, one should be wary about romanticizing this “renewal.”

    Read more about Global Public Health as a Priority by Jana Lozanoska
  • Dreams about Time by Adriana Zaharijević

    2020-04-05

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    Photo by (c) Marilea Pudar

    LOCKDOWN THEORY #16

    It might be that it is only now that I read what philosophers have to say, with some urgency, about the world. I read everything, from the invocations of the Mother Earth, from the types of ethical response to crisis, state of exception and bare life conspiracy theories, juxtapositions of freedom vs security, the “return of the history” claims, to endless ruminations on authoritarianism in the neoliberal guise. I read these pieces as if everything depends on that, devouring them. Obviously, I too seek answers.

    Read more about Dreams about Time by Adriana Zaharijević
  • The Curve of the Clock by Ben Woodard

    2020-04-04

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #15

    In one of his many beautiful asides in On Growth and Form (a book often mentioned but little discussed), D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson emphasizes the different gradients of growth within an organism. The structural biologist points out that while the gradient is measurable, it is difficult to visualize across species nor is it easy to picture an organism as a singular entity when its parts grow at different speeds at once and also different times. These temporal differences only make sense when understood as a difference in form, form is what occurs when processes sharing a body are activated unevenly. A flowering plant demonstrates this gradient most obviously as the blossoms become more seldom and smaller further away from the main stalk. This clustering of differently paced temporal processes spatialized as variety of form creates an aesthetic effect that Thompson calls “phase-beauty.” The waves of an ocean or in a field of wheat are beautiful because it is a heterogeneous distribution of materially continuous yet tempo-spatially uneven events.

    Read more about The Curve of the Clock by Ben Woodard
  • Past-Present-Future and the 2019-20 Coronavirus Pandemic by Iris van der Tuin

    2020-04-04

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #14

    The workings of time and temporality during the corona pandemic are frightening. I write this on April 2, 2020 at 2pm. But what counts is what happened two to three weeks ago. On an individual level: I may be very sick just a few days from now and I may have infected others while I was not having any of the known COVID-19 symptoms and went out to do my necessary grocery shopping last week. My body may have caught the coronavirus in the past, making my future and the futures of those around me uncertain. Right now, while writing, I feel fine. On the population level: our governments’ physical distancing strategies of the past few weeks have co-constituted the numbers of positive tests that are presented to us as the most up to date. Therefore, the data points on the curve representing The Netherlands and other countries that I will get to see on the 8 o’clock news also reference the past. Past behaviors and policies leap into the unknown futures of individual patients, local communities, and entire populations. My question is thus: Where are we at in the present?

    Read more about Past-Present-Future and the 2019-20 Coronavirus Pandemic by Iris van der Tuin
  • Lockdown Theory by Jonathan Fardy

    2020-04-04

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #13

    1. Exile-at-Home

    The death toll will rise again tomorrow. And tomorrow the same buffoon will command. Days are busy caring for baby. Nights are busy teaching to a screen. I’m also writing. A new book is underway. It’s about Marxism and Laruelle. These days, for me, “Laruelle” is an allegorical figure for thinking beyond philosophy or thinking philosophy’s limit. But to think a limit is to think both sides as Wittgenstein says somewhere. Doing theory can feel hopeless and self-indulgent in the face of present realities. But there are precedents.

    Read more about Lockdown Theory by Jonathan Fardy
  • A World Is Ending by Levi R. Bryant

    2020-04-03

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #12

    As I watch the pandemic unfold I find that I can only think in fragments. It is as if I have lost what Kant called the “transcendental unity of apperception”, that formal “I think” that is supposed to accompany all of my representations, and have instead become a series of disparate and disconnected impressions without a unity behind them. In the Transcendental Deduction Kant said that the conditions for the possibility of experience are also the conditions for the possibility of the objects of experience. In the Transcendental Dialectic, he tries to show how the Idea of the world as a whole or totality is a condition for our experience. If my formal “I think” has shattered, does this also mean that the world has shattered given that there is a parallelism between the two? I will therefore write in fragments, hoping that they might help me to find some unity, some logos, beneath these fragments that would allow me to make sense again.

    Read more about A World Is Ending by Levi R. Bryant
  • Theory in a Pandemic by McKenzie Wark

    2020-04-03

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #11

    I hesitate to write anything directly about the COVID-19 pandemic. Certain pronouncements by theorists whose work I read have not gone over well. They mostly seem to take the form of attempts to demonstrate why the pandemic proves them right. It seems foolish to make such claims. And not foolish in the good way. I wash my hands of them.

    So what’s a theorist to do? One can look at precedents. A precedent that is ready to hand is the AIDS pandemic. Sure, it’s a very different pandemic, but there are still things to learn. One is that the critical response had an urgency to it, but that good work took some time. It took a while to identify the situations in which theory could articulate what was at stake and where its interventions might matter.

    Read more about Theory in a Pandemic by McKenzie Wark
  • The Wonder of the Most Dramatic Contradiction of Capitalism by Katerina Kolozova

    2020-04-03

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #10

    Amidst the frustration caused by the restricted and police controlled freedom to move, to socially interact, the suspended right to assembly and the impossibility to enjoy in what gives us pleasure through social interaction, we are witnessing a phenomenon far more fascinating than our human frustration. The machine of capital, the automaton of producing surplus value or simply monetary value –  can pause. Therefore, it can stop. The industries that currently operate tend to produce just as much as required to keep the moribund economy on life support and sustain humanity in life. In times of corona, in times when a dumb virus purposelessly disrupts or temporarily (and we do not know for how long) cancels reality, economy dictated by use rather than surplus value begins to seem possible. Thanks to a purposeless intervention of a silly thing, a virus, a different political economy has emerged. It is so for the time-being, but no one knows how long this impermanence will last. Currently, we all act as if it were here to stay. We treat it as permanence. A meaningless intrusion in a world built in a particular way has turned upside down, suspended or perhaps abolished a discursive universe and the philosophy of exploitation of matter pertaining to it, i.e., the World as we know it. The “real” (in Lacanian) sense, has severed the signifying automaton – the pleasure principle – and is inviting the symbolic to restructure itself. In fact, the language and not merely the symbolic must now create sense out of this nonsense.

    Read more about The Wonder of the Most Dramatic Contradiction of Capitalism by Katerina Kolozova
  • Self-Lockdown by Andrea Pető

    2020-04-02

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #9

    I have received an email from a dear colleague from a university in one of the Nordic countries. I am anonymizing protagonists for a reason which will be obvious by the end of the story. In the letter, she informed me that she is editing a book with her colleagues on how universities can be sites of resistance. As I wrote a lot on this topic, she inquired if I would find the time to contribute.

    Read more about Self-Lockdown by Andrea Pető
  • Animality, Metaethical Judgments and Predictive Justice by Ekin Erkan

    2020-04-02

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #8

    In a wading pool of philosophical mire and superimpositions - square cubes retrofitted upon cylindrical perforations - Anne-Françoise Schmid, “scientist amongst philosophers and philosopher amongst scientists,” rises from the morass, pronouncing that:

    [t]he Earth is then silent, and is only perceived by the plants. La Mettrie could have taught us this in L’Homme-Plante. This silence is profound, more profound than the philosopher believes it to be, who thinks to have seamed [couturé] his system - for example, by his exclusion of women and animals. It is the silence which reaches him when, finally, he learns that there are other philosophies as lively as his and that he must postulate the de jure multiplicity of philosophies. Therefore, philosophy is silent: only isolated philosophies are talkative [bavardes]. ... We have the obligation of a silence, but a new silence, which does not result from the absence of noise.

    Indeed, it is not a unified theory that Schmid seeks to impose but rather a political and poetic musing, one which recalls Katerina Kolozova’s comments in Capitalism’s Holocaust of Animals (2019) concerning animality as a brute scaffold upon which Capital materiality creates “victims-in-person.” This reduction is the foundational gesture of Capital, diffuse and ripe for exacting surplus out of “pure value” - that is, life-preservation and vestiges of “reason” from divine violence: “[t]he Earth sees us, the animal sees us, the woman sees us. And the planet sees us, too. We believed we were the only ones to see.”

    Read more about Animality, Metaethical Judgments and Predictive Justice by Ekin Erkan
  • Writing Theory During a Pandemic by João Florêncio

    2020-04-01

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #7 

    Soon after the COVID-19 pandemic reached Europe, triggering a variety of national public health responses throughout the continent, several theorists and philosophers started publishing texts online and in printed media, trying to make sense of what had become a planetary public health event due to the scale of its geographical reach, its global real-time mediation and the more or less concerted responses from national governments and public health authorities. From the already infamous debate between Giorgio Agamben, Roberto Esposito, Jean-Luc Nancy and others on the biopolitics of state responses to the pandemic, to The New Centre for Research & Practice’s series of Zoom conversations entitled “Sheltering Places: Thinking the COVID-19 Pandemic,” or “The Losers Conspiracy” - Paul Preciado recent piece for Artforum - Arts and Humanities scholars have been quick to respond to what is very much a fast-developing and still-ongoing situation with as yet no clear end in sight.

    Read more about Writing Theory During a Pandemic by João Florêncio
  • Contagion and Visibility: Notes on the Phenomenology of a Pandemic by J.-P. Caron

    2020-04-01

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    Photo by (c) Agnaldo Mori 

    LOCKDOWN THEORY #6

    1. I must start by offering a somewhat insincere apology since I am here approaching theoretical themes that have to do with representational purport and the visibility of the phenomena such representations might yield. It is an apology in the sense that in such urgent times it seems like a luxury to be enmeshed in the field of not scientific theorization about the virus, which is not the business of a philosopher, but of theorization of the conditions of theorization of the social/natural situation we are in. But it is also insincere in the sense that the justification and worth of such endeavor shall be given in the context of the development here pursued. For the moment we shall put our confidence in Slavoj Žižek’s dictum: “Don’t act, think,” for thinking paves the way to what shall be done, when what shall be done is not provided by our habitual protocols of action. In a sense, I am not proposing solutions, though, much more stating why is it so difficult to implement solutions from the point of view of the subject through a sketch of a phenomenology of the situation of contagion.

    Read more about Contagion and Visibility: Notes on the Phenomenology of a Pandemic by J.-P. Caron
  • Plague Diary by Nina Power

    2020-03-31

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    Photo by (c) Thomas Celan

    LOCKDOWN THEORY #5

    What was the old world? There were parks, cafes, and meetings, casual and otherwise. There were groups and walks with friends in parks. There were projects. Now there are no projects. What is existence for? We are back to philosophical basics: the question, the dialogue, if you are fortunate, the time to wonder, the question of values and virtues: courage, self-control, introspection, contemplation, pursuing a thought to the end. Is it easier to sleep now, or harder? The concept of time is an object for modern man, we dwell in a kind of domestic eternity, and dream of tidying, or of meeting people outside, of having something to do.

    I am very glad I am not still sick. I think of all the people who are forced to confront their addictions in isolation, who are going through withdrawal, who are in the midst of shadows, who have to face the jolting harshness of a non-intoxicated world in such a dystopian way. Meaning is a minimal game at the best of times. Can you generate it out of yourself? What were you distracting yourself from before all this? Who do you love? Who loves you? Have you behaved kindly, or have you been selfish? Are you afraid to die? I don’t want to die, because I got my life back, but I am not afraid to die, because I got my life back.

    Read more about Plague Diary by Nina Power
  • #stayhomefree by Jelisaveta Blagojević

    2020-03-31

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #4

    I do not write any diary, I have no good advice for the coming days, no fateful or encouraging thoughts, none of it. I believe I am going through a lot of mediocre stuff through this period: poor concentration, searching for answers, reading between the lines, hysteria, sadness, paranoia, and so it goes round and round. I sleep poorly, I’m bad when I’m awake even, but nothing worth mentioning. When I look at how we were crushed on all sides, I’m not so bad. There you go.

    Now, mostly I have some questions.

    Read more about #stayhomefree by Jelisaveta Blagojević
  • Necrototal-19-∞ by Stanimir Panayotov

    2020-03-31

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    Photo by (c) Geo Kalev

    LOCKDOWN THEORY #3

    Delete the “ism.” Delete the theory of the present. No, the present is not deleted. And do not delete and obliterate theory itself, but subtract the theoretical ism from the persisting systems of thought and their practices.

    Understand that there is no ideological formation to be unearthed from the perverse repertoires of the historical past. Those who flaunt the specter of new authoritarianisms and totalitarianisms should wrap their heads around the question: What is it to think these political concepts - authority and totality - without the finality of their isms? We are in a totally new situation of some sort of neomalthusianism (for lack of a better wor[l]d) which demands not only to produce a collective intelligence upending the bio/necro dyad, but to subtract and suspend the ordinary concepto-political management.

    Tabula rasa reloaded.

     

    Read more about Necrototal-19-∞ by Stanimir Panayotov
  • The Philosopher’s Vision by Anne-Françoise Schmid

    2020-03-31

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #2

    The philosopher sees the Earth, lives in the World and dreams of the Universe. He doesn’t understand that the Earth looks at him, the World deals [l’agit] with him and that he will only come to the Universe when he will be capable of inverting vision.

    What is to be done? To read the poet, the one who sees, as Borgès wrote, that he has forgotten that the Moon in his poem reveals all of the beauties of the Earth. Or to read a thinking geologist, like Vernadsky, who sees the thought of the philosopher active in the terrestrial crust. The Earth is then silent, and is only perceived by the plants. La Mettrie could have taught us this in L’Homme-Plante.

    Read more about The Philosopher’s Vision by Anne-Françoise Schmid
  • La vision du philosophe par Anne-Françoise Schmid

    2020-03-31

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    LOCKDOWN THEORY #2

    Le philosophe voit la Terre, il vit dans le Monde et rêve de l’univers. Il ne comprend pas que la Terre le regarde, que le Monde l’agit et qu’il ne verra l’univers que lorsqu’il sera capable d’inverser la vision.

    Que faire? Lire le poète, celui qui s’aperçoit, comme l’écrit Borgès, qu’il a oublié la Lune dans son poème révélant toutes les beautés de la Terre. Ou un géologue penseur, tel Vernatsky, qui voit la pensée du philosophe active dans la croûte terrestre. Elle est alors silencieuse, et n’est perçue que par les végétaux. La Mettrie aurait pu peut-être nous l’apprendre dans L’Homme-Plante.

     

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  • Refugees, Europe, Death and Covid-19 by Marina Gržinić

    2020-03-30

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    Starting today, March 30, 2020, Identities: Journal for Politics, Gender and Culture will begin publishing the LOCKDOWN THEORY series - short, fast and timely theory and reflections on the global COVID-19 pandemic. We will invite some of our authors and other names globally to share their thoughts, emotions and ideas on what is happening and will be happening during and after this crisis. 

    LOCKDOWN THEORY #1

    Intro

    In March 2020, at the border of Greece and Turkey a tension and a flow of refugees trashed as bargain for dirty business between the European Union/Greece and Turkey. At the same time, we have an outbreak of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in EU, where Italy is the state with a total quarantine. On 28 March 2020, USA reported more than 100.000 infected.

    These two situations collide and what we have in front of us still developing transcends the easy analysis, as we can put together crumbs of events. One thing is sure; thousands are left to die at the border in between Greece and Turkey, again. Italy is on the other side transformed in a middle age leprosy complete isolation. We see in the 21-century disease, isolation and self-, let’s say, voluntary segregation that Valdemir Zamparoni (2016) defines as methods that are central to a colonial medical environment. We can think on this method as a form of self-segregation in order to allow immunization. However, if we connect these two at a first site disparate situation we see that at the border in between the European Union/Greece and Turkey is about “to kill,” and in Italy it is about “to let live.” These two sides are the depiction of contemporary neoliberal necropolitics.

    Read more about Refugees, Europe, Death and Covid-19 by Marina Gržinić
  • Second Revised Edition of Katerina Kolozova's The Lived Revolution: Solidarity with the Body in Pain as the New Political Universal

    2018-08-22

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    Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities - Skopje and Identites are glad to announce the second revised edition of Katerina Kolozova's monograph The Lived Revolution: Solidarity with the Body in Pain as the New Political Universal.

    Read more about Second Revised Edition of Katerina Kolozova's The Lived Revolution: Solidarity with the Body in Pain as the New Political Universal