Marina Gržinić: CAPITAL, REPETITION
I. Capital Today, capitalism is clearly biopolitics, a radical institutionalization, control and subjugation of life, that needs, I argue, to be re-politicized – intensified by changes brought with modes of management of life outside the First Capitalist World – with necropolitics. Biopolitics is a horizon of articulating contemporary capitalist societies from the so-called politics of life, where life (it does not matter anymore, following Giorgio Agamben,1 if it’s bare/naked life or life-with-forms) is seen as the zero degree of intervention of each and every politics into contemporary societies. However, today capital’s surplus value is based on the capitalization of death (Latin necro) worlds. In the text “Necropolitics”2 (2003), Achille Mbembe discusses this new logic of capital and its processes of geopolitical demarcation of world zones that are based on the mobilization of the war machine. Mbembe claims that the concept of biopolitics, due to the war machine and the state of exception being one of the major logics of contemporary societies, should be replaced with necropolitics. Necropolitics is connected to the concept of necrocapitalism, i.e., contemporary capitalism, which organizes its forms of capital accumulation that involve dispossession and the subjugation of life according to the power of death. The necrocapitalist capturing of the social space implies new modes of governmentality that are informed by the norms of corporate-intensified rationality and deployed in managing violence, social conflicts, fear and the Multitude. No conflict that challenges the supreme requirements of capitalist rationalization – economic growth, profit maximization, productivity, efficiency and the like – is tolerable. I have argued that with this move, Mbembe gave us the possibility by which to re-politicize biopolitics. It is now the time, I argued, to call for the “necropolitical” intensification of biopolitics, and for its historization as well. If biopower, according to Foucault, is the exercise of the power “to make live and let die,” then necropower is the exercise of the power “to let live and make die.” To make live (to provide conditions for a better life) and/or to let live (being abandon to a life without means) present two different biopolitics; the latter is, in fact, pure necropolitics.
I want to continue with an in-depth analysis of global capitalism. In order to do this, I will make reference to Santiago López Petit’s book Global Mobilization. Brief Treatise for Attacking Reality.3 Petit’s book is a militant demand for further politicization of life. But contrary to numerous analyses of globalization seen as a process, Petit claims (through Badiou or, even more so, through Deleuze) that contemporary global capitalism is an event. Petit states that if we think of globalization as the result of a process, we imply a development and a progression (also, temporarily, a regression, a crisis), and therefore, we are not capable of understanding the way capitalism functions. If we think about neoliberal globalization, global capitalism, as a process, we therefore even imply capital emancipation (as it had been stated as throughout the previous decade in numerous exhibitions, symposia, books throughout Europe and the U.S., that capital is social, etc.). In such a situation, we are ready to accept, almost naturally, I would say, fake discourses of morality with which capitalism tries to cover up the outcome of the crisis these days (financialization of capital) by stating that it was all just some sort of a mistake, as capital is noble and that financialization, making money from money without investing into production, is just a single perversion, a mistake. No!
Capitalism, as elaborated by Petit, is not an irreversible process but a reversible and conflictual event. The core of this reversibility is presented by Petit in the following way. He states that in the world today all is brought back to one single event, and this is not the crisis, nor even Obama, but what he calls the unrestrainment of capital (in Spanish desbocamiento), that can be more colloquially grasped as ‘unrestraining’ or ‘unleashing’ of capital. Neoliberal globalization, as stated by Petit, is nothing more than the repetition of this single event, that is, the unrestrainment of capital. Marxism, says Petit, has traditionally connected the critique of capitalism with the defence of the idea of a limit that is accessed by capitalist development and proper to it. To access the limit means to reach the point of its imminent collapse. The hypothesis of the imminent collapse of capitalism is based on this idea. The collapse takes its point of departure from the crisis that is the crisis, on one hand, of over-supply and, on the other, of under-consumption. However, as Petit argues, the over-production of the means of production and over abundance of markets commodities that prevent the realization of profit, is nothing more than an excess of the means of production, that are in a particular present and already-historical moment, not suitable to function as capital. Nothing new, in fact. For what is happening today is the logic that stands at the core of capital: production solely for the benefit of capital in order to generate profit, surplus value, and not for the benefit of social life. Such a situation, that is an antinomy at the core of capital, does produce a living contradiction, but it is not bringing capitalism to an end. On the contrary, as stated by Marx and quoted by Petit “The true limit of the capitalist production is capital itself” (From Capital, volume III). Please keep this in mind, I will return to this point later.
The unrestrainment of capital creates a paradoxical spatialization that requires two repetitions: on the one hand, according to Petit, a founding repetition with which a system of hierarchy is reestablished, leading to the constant reconstruction of a center and a periphery; and, on the other hand, a so-called de-foundational repetition that presents itself as the erosion of hierarchies, producing dispersion, multiplicity and multi-reality. The unrestrainment of capital, as argued by Petit, implicates both repetitions at once. Thus, not only does repetition produce the “jouissance” of minimal difference, but repetition is also a mechanism of control, subjugation and repression. Repetition of the unrestrainment of capital, repeated vertically and horizontally, rearticulates a global space-time that repeatedly effectuates the co-propriety of capital and power. The unrestrainment of capital is, as argued by Petit, the only event that – being repeated in any moment and any place – unifies the world and connects everything that is going on within it. Repetition is also de-foundational to the degree with which, according to Petit, capital repeats indifference for equality.
I can propose, therefore, three major fields with which Petit tackles global capitalism. These are: reality, capital/power, and democracy. These segments are linked together through two almost old-fashioned mechanisms that are evidently still operative today: circularity in the way of self-referentiality and empty formalism, on the one side, and tautology that produces obviousness, on the other. Tautology means obviousness. This tautology, as argued by Petit, presents itself today as the complete and total coincidence of capitalism and reality. To say that capitalism and reality totally coincide means that today reality is reality. The date of the event that made that reality and capitalism coincide totally is, as argued by Petit, September 11th, 2001. Petit states that the outcome of September 11th, 2001 was the excess of reality, it was the moment when reality exploded. Petit warns us that in the global era, the debate between modernity and postmodernity has become obsolete. The global era is a break with modernity and with the postmodern radicalizations of modernity that were developed by Giddens, Beck and Lash. Petit states that the classical concept of modernity is about modernization. It is presented as an endogenous process that is caused by factors within the system. Modernity is presented as the work of reason itself. Likewise, modernity constructs a rationalist image of the world that implicates the duality subject/object, and the distance is, says Petit, that of man and the world. Postmodernism abolishes the distance and situates man inside the world that is made of signs and ahistorical languages. The global era oscillates this distance between zero and infinity. That is why there is the feeling of the absence of the world and at the same time we witness its over abundance. So it comes as no surprise that most of the theoretical books that have been published recently deal with this oscillation between zero and infinity. The limit of the postmodern discourse resides, therefore, in the contemplation of reality as neutral, that it has arrived today at political neutrality. But what it is necessary to do today is to call for the repoliticization of reality, and to de-link ourselves from its political neutrality.
I will claim, on the contrary, that modernity is important, as it allows the rethinking of two emancipative projects that failed historically: the Enlightenment and communism. The failures are historically clear, on one side we have the brutal history of colonialism, in the recent past we have the Holocaust and in the last decade, so to speak, we have Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Though we could go on and make a list of repetitions: Rwanda, Darfur, Chechnya, Gaza, etc. To be sure, colonialism led directly to Nazism and fascism. The other big project of modernism is communism, which has not been reflected well enough either, due to its past failure of Stalinism. The future of communism is paradoxical though, as it is emptied of its historical context today, in order to be presented as an infinite playground model of jouissance for emancipated Western intellectuals. I suggest, in relation to Alain Badiou, a political act of “FORCING,” implying a force that is the result of an approach that insists on a continued analysis of knowledge/coloniality/modernity. This forcing is especially based on the demand to de-link contemporary art and theory from contemporary forms of epistemological coloniality (as defined by Walter Mignolo4 and Madina Tlostanova5). Contemporary epistemological coloniality presents only the Western matrix of the Enlightenment and does not take into consideration the epistemological breaks and shifts taking place in the so-called “exterior,” or rather at the “edges” of Western European scientific thought.
Marina Garcés, in her book In the Prisons of the Possible,6 states that contemporary capitalism is not circumscribed within the articulation of a determined economic system and its production, but subsumes all spheres of life, thus coinciding with reality itself in the final analysis. The outcome is a political consensus, called democracy, whose institutions do not carry any political status anymore, but are seen as an “environment” that can only be adjusted and improved but not subverted and ousted in any case. Garcés talks about the democracy-market in which anything can pass, or be taken for granted, and where the world is presented in its naked truth. Meaning: this is what it is! It is a terminal obviousness that presents a world not as open, but as closed and without a future, despite seeing such an intensified theoretical reworking of infinity. In the background of the unrestrainment of capital, it is nevertheless necessary to think about the limits of capital. But to say that the unrestrainment of capital means going over the limit is, as Petit stated, not at all what this event is about. Because the only limit of capital is capital itself, so the unrestrainment of capital is not about something outside of it (as is said about the crisis, being something “abnormal,” and also something that will bring capitalism to its end); the unrestrainment of capital just means something more than capital.
Petit links capital and power in the following ways: 1. Capital is more (than) capital 2. Capital that is more than capital is power. Such a relation presents a new situation between capital and power, which is named by Petit as the co-propriety capital/power. This co-propriety capital/power needs a medium in order to take place. We have three fundamental media today where capital and power own each other: innovation, public space, and war.
Innovation: new information and communication technologies, biotechnologies, the pharmaceutical industry and science are proposed as fields of innovation with which we will supposedly overcome the present crisis. Public space is increasingly privatized and depoliticized; instead of politics, we talk about catastrophes (ecological, educational). War allows for the management of life through the capitalization of death (Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan).
Petit states that such a situation of the changed relation between capital and power, which is the relation of the co-propriety today, asks for a different relation between globalization and the nation-State. The nation-State is not a victim of globalization, as is constantly argued, rather the nation-State successfully adapts itself to globalization. We see this in the intensified measures that are implemented by the nation-States in terms of the privatization of all public sectors, from education to health and culture, and also in the way that class division and racism are managed in our capitalist contemporaneity. Intensified racism, if we just think about EU legislative policy, presents processes of class and institutional racializations that are supported by new, constantly reinvented neo-colonial structures. For the unrestrainment of capital to handle conflicts, it needs a formal frame, and this is neoliberal capitalist democracy. Democracy articulates two modes of power. As argued by Petit, one is the war-State (governance and violence with brutal exploitation, expropriation, discrimination, repression), and the other is postmodern fascism. They work as a grid of vertical and horizontal forces, and in order to escape Frederic Jameson’s old cognitive mapping, we can think, I propose, of their working together as in the case of computed tomography. This also means, as I have already stated in the past, that it is not possible to understand global capitalism if we do not include new media technology, the digitalized mode of programming in its logic of functioning. Computed tomography (CT) is a specialized X-ray imaging technique. It may be performed, as it is stated in medical technical language, as “plain” or with the injection of a “Contrast Agent.” This makes a perfect metaphor for analysis, as we can say that it is used as “plain” in Africa, Kosovo, Chechnya, as well on the workers (without any rights and over-exploited) from the former ex-Yugoslav republics in Slovenia, or when “just fixing” the situation with migrants (making them illegal) in the EU through seclusion and deportation. “Plain” means with pure, naked, bare force.
Or it can be used with the “Contrast Agent,” as in Iraq or Afghanistan or Pakistan. In these regions, major economic interests are at stake, such as petrol and heroin, vital for the U.S., EU, etc., and therefore, to cover this, it is necessary to have agents. CT creates an image by using an array of small individual X-Ray sensors and a computer. By spinning the X-Ray source, data is collected from multiple angles. A computer then processes information to create an image on the screen. The war-State is one face of democracy and serves for dominance. The other is postmodern fascism. It serves as the dissolution of the democratic state in a multi-reality of social technologies. Postmodern fascism, as stated by Petit, is constructed on the autonomy of each individual. As such, it is a self-governmentality that is based on the self-management of a proper autonomy. The war-State produces coherency. It homogenizes. Its action is propaganda. Think of the mobilization of the masses against terrorism, for example. Postmodern fascism, on the other hand, is informal, non-coherent, as it is based on the autonomy of differences. It produces differences. Its action is communication. These differences are brilliantly described in the book by Petit.
I claim that the war-State, in its verticality – functioning by way of force, violence, fear – is but a pure fascist state. However, it would be too simple if we would use historical fascism for its naming, because we would fail to emphasize what the major logic of dominance in the world today is, and this logic is the logic of war. The war-State definitely has elements of classical fascism: a sovereign leader, people, death as the management of life. While, on the other hand, there is also the neoliberal context of the autonomy of individuals, which is the neoliberal freedom of having rights to just be an individual brand. It is rightly so, as proposed by Petit, to name it postmodern fascism. As Petit says, postmodern fascism sterilizes the “Other,” evacuates the conflict from public space and neutralizes the political. It is not strange that we continuously repeat that global capitalism is about depoliticization. Postmodern fascism works through a constant self-mobilization, just think about the last U2 world tour, etc.
Making a reference to the already mentioned founding repetition of global capitalism with which a system of hierarchy is reestablished, leading to the constant repetition of a center and a periphery, it is necessary to emphasize that the former Eastern European states, notably former Yugoslavia and especially Serbia, had to pass through Turbo-Fascism before embracing postmodern fascism. Turbo-Fascism was proposed by Žarana Papić7 in order to conceptualize in the 1990s in the Balkans, specifically in Serbia, hegemonistic nationalisms, i.e., national separatisms, chauvinist and racist exclusion or marginalization of (old and new) minority groups that were and are closely connected with patriarchal, discriminatory and violent politics against women and their civil and social rights. In 2000, Žarana Papić argued: “I am freely labelling this as Turbo-Fascism.” She continues, “It is, of course, known that Fascism is a historical term; that the history of Nazi Germany is not the same as that of Milošević’s Serbia. However, in post-modernist and feminist theory we speak of ‘shifting concepts,’ when a new epoch inherits with some additions concepts belonging to an earlier one, like, for instance the feminist notion of shifting patriarchy. In my view, we should not fear the use of ‘big terms’ if they accurately describe certain political realities. Serbian Fascism had its own concentration camps, its own systematic representation of violence against Others, its own cult of the family and cult of the leader, an explicitly patriarchal structure, a culture of indifference towards the exclusion of the Other, a closure of society upon itself and upon its own past; it had a taboo on empathy and a taboo on multiculturalism; it had powerful media acting as proponents of genocide; it had a nationalist ideology; it had an epic mentality of listening to the word and obeying authority. The prefix ‘turbo’ refers to the specific mixture of politics, culture, ‘mental powers’ and the pauperisation of life in Serbia: the mixture of rural and urban, pre-modern and post-modern, pop culture and heroines, real and virtual, mystical and ‘normal,’ etc. In this term, despite its naive or innocent appearances, there is still fascism in its proper sense. Like all fascisms, Turbo-Fascism includes and celebrates a pejorative renaming, alienation, and finally removal, of the Other: Croats, Bosnians, and Albanians. Turbo-fascism in fact demands and basically relies on this culture of the normality of fascism that had been structurally constituted well before all the killings in the (Balkan/ex-Yugoslav) wars started.”8
Today, in order to understand the entanglement of capital/power in global capitalism, it is not enough to talk about turbo fascism, but it is necessary to apply the co-propriety of capital/power relations in the form of the neoliberal democratic state that presents itself, as already conceptualized in relation to Petit, as a war-State (governance and violence with brutal exploitation, expropriation, discrimination, repression), and postmodern fascism (that presents a state of pure autonomy of the subject that in the last analysis accepts freely not to do anything, meaning to be satisfied with nothing). I would like to reintroduce, therefore, two concepts in order to attack this situation: de-linking9 and de-coloniality10 (which I have already tackled briefly in this presentation), implicating a certain cut within contemporary processes of capitalist institutionalization, control and subjugation. De-linking means to de-link ourselves from the unrestrainment of capital that does not allow for just a simple opposition, as it does not function as it did in the 1970s as unity capital/power, but as I developed in reference to Petit, as co-propriety capital/power. This new format of capitalism presents an entanglement of capital and power. Therefore, what is necessary is not just to oppose, but to draw a line of division, in order to de-link ourselves from capital and power. De-coloniality on the other hand presents a new position that draws a line inside contemporary processes of coloniality and is not post-colonialism.
I can state that although capitalism has brought the world to its end, it is not the end yet!
II. Repetition Up to now, I have presented the system of functioning of global capitalism and its reality, exposing a logic of repetition, that has as its outcome, circularity, obviousness and formalization. These points are at the core of the Institution of Contemporary Art today. I name such a mechanism that simultaneously produces and eschews content, leaving us with an empty form – a performative repetitive mechanism. This mechanism will help us to understand what it is that makes more or less all large contemporary exhibitions and projects obsolete in terms of resistance and critique (though they are not obsolete from the side of those who organize and curate them (and maybe take part in them), as it is possible to make some money and get power). To explain this differently: What we have today as part of exhibitions, especially big powerful exhibition projects (biennials, documentas, manifestas, etc.) is a myriad of art works that present as content unbelievable features of contemporary capitalist exploitation, expropriations; these “features” are more and more visible, they show it all, so to speak, tout court, without any mediation. These art exhibitions are more and more intensified, they present art works that show capitalist corruption, police repression, massacres of people and animals, all is made visible with more and more drastically elaborated dimensions, reasons, connections of exploitation, expropriation, executions, etc., though all stay, so to speak, impotent.
The content is, at the same time of its presentation, made obsolete through a mechanism that I termed performative repetition and that functions as a process of voiding, emptying, extracting the meaning from these contents. What is left out of the discussion is precisely the ideological form with which the mentioned art works and projects are presented. I claim that this form presents, encapsulates so to speak, a process of emptying (not only of diminishing, but in many cases completely nullifying, etc.), what at the level of content was made visible. In the past, the social reality was presented as “normal;” that means on the level of content, it was displayed precisely differently from what was occurring in everyday life, therefore on the level of its reflection, on the level of the (art) form, it was necessary to produce something “abnormal;” something as a formal invention or as an excess, as an excessive surplus (in accordance with the social and political system in which they appeared, be it socialism or capitalism), in order to say that what was in reality on the level of content a normality, was in fact a lie. But what we have today is precisely the obverse; on the level of the “content,” so to speak, in reality the world is captured as it is, in its full extension of abnormality, monstrosity, exploitation, expropriation, while on the level of the form, this abnormality is normalized, is presented in such a way that the meaning of powerful content becomes empty, obsolete.
Content is abnormal and the form is normal; and moreover, form misrecognition is today presented consciously, snobbishly stylized, so to speak, out of all proportion. In such a situation, the knowledge that is “captured” through a scientific or art work is transformed through a performative politics of repetition into a pure ideological knowledge, but with a proviso saying that therefore we should not be preoccupied as it’s all anyway just a pure process of performativity. Therefore, what we get it is not just an upside (turned) down, but ideology made today again so to say “unconscious” and presented in the form of a game or a joke that is given a life of its own.
Therefore, if we agree with what Althusser writes in the 1970s regarding the difference between art and science, saying that this difference lies in the specific form, as reported by Agon Hamza, “in which the same object is given in quite a different way: art in the form of ‘seeing’ and ‘perceiving’ or ‘feeling,’ science in the form of knowledge (in the strict sense, by concepts),” then at that time all what was needed was to take a step on the right side in order to understand what was going on. But what in Althusser’s time presented a revolution is today a point of accepted knowledge and not any longer a point of an ideological dispute, and (this is an important difference). What’s additionally important is that today we witness the change between transparency and opacity. The “opacity” of the 1970s, which Althusser made clear by exposing the situation of ideological mystification between science and ideology, is today completely transparent. The specter of transparency is, in fact, as stated by Petit, haunting us. The only abnormal field is the social reality, which is excessive and opaque, while the mechanism of its presentation is totally transparent, framed within processes of total obviousness. This obviousness that presents itself as a performative repetitive mechanism makes ridiculous the abnormal social content.
If we follow Althusser’s definition of ideology as an imaginary deformed representation of the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence (by which he meant the relations of production), we should say that what ideology misrepresents today is not the reality, but itself. In a way, it behaves today as a cognizant post-Fordist mechanism that takes the presented mechanism of ideology’s materiality (that was presented in the 1970s, in the Fordist era, so to speak, if we make a reference to Paolo Virno) as its raw material, as its content. But what does this mean precisely? It makes imaginary today what was already identified as material, it transforms (again) through the repetitive performative ideological mechanism the materiality of ideology, the materiality of its apparatuses onto imaginary levels. The materiality of ideology is made today redundant, nullified and emptied through repetitive (ideological) performative mechanisms. To put it differently, what is clear on the level of content, so to speak, is on the level of form now made to be simply obsolete, ridiculous, not sexy or obvious enough, to the extent of not being attractive enough. But what we have today at work is another misrecognition that is not a misrecognition at all, but a reflected cognition that takes as its basis the ideological misrecognition of the 1970s, and repeats it in a way to make it ridiculous, or maybe better to say, an old knowledge; the materiality of ideology is now taken as raw material to be integrated in performative representations where this materiality is consciously set back to the level of the imaginary.
A perfect example of what has been said up to now is the 11th International Istanbul Biennial in 2009 curated by What, How & for Whom (WHW), a non-profit organization / visual culture and curators’ collective formed in 1999 and based in Zagreb, Croatia. The 11th International Istanbul Biennial had as its title “What Keeps Mankind Alive?,” as proposed by WHW, which is the title of the song that closes the second act of the play The Threepenny Opera, written by Bertolt Brecht in collaboration with Elisabeth Hauptmann and Kurt Weill in 1928. As the online text of the 11th International Istanbul Biennial (written by WHW) states, Brecht proposed with The Threepenny Opera a transformation of the “theatre apparatus” through an alteration of the existing notions of theatre “genres” and the play’s relationship with the audience. This transformation was based on Brecht’s assertion that “A CRIMINAL IS A BOURGEOIS AND A BOURGEOIS IS A CRIMINAL.” This assertion of Brecht’s, obviously at the core of WHW’s concept, is the main refrain that is at the core of the biennial as well. WHW not only affirms that it is “working for the criminals” (their wording), as stated online, but is also constructing such a framework around the biennial that is taking away the very possibility to intervene critically – transforming the critical discourse “working for the criminals” into a normalized fact, into a constative, making what we know obvious and, even more, taking this obviousness as a side fact (a criminal is a bourgeois and a bourgeois is a criminal).
In short, we can say that today the level of dealing with ideology is a level of transforming it into a commodity, that means into a source of normalization, through processes of performativity and repetition; the ruling ideology is not seen as preoccupying when being perceived as a process of misrecognition (as it was preoccupying for Althusser), but this misrecognition is today taken as the raw material for a stylish play. It is not a ghostly figure anymore, but a terrain for experimentation, invention and infinite imagination.
Making reference to Petit, we can state that the repetitive performative mechanism functions as indetermination, indecision, irresolution or what he calls gelatinization. What was before a solid ground, a materiality of intervention is today a process of multiplication that removes, empties the ground from its materiality. The repetitive performative mechanism functions as gelatinization, becoming opaque precisely through a process of transparency that is performed today as repetition. Gelatinization corresponds, as argued by Petit, today to global capitalism as reification corresponded to modernity. If reification was in relation to the distinction between the living and the dead, gelatinization requires a triadic model, according to Petit, the living, the dead and the inert. Gelatinization means giving an account of reality that presents itself as being occulted, abstract, and transparent. Reality is at the same time alive and dead and, therefore, as stated by Petit, it is multi-reality. Gelatinization is the solid surrounded by the liquid that is, I will claim, the repetitive performative mechanism. It is a double process, as stated by Petit, of opening and closing. What is even more horrifying, according to Petit, is that closing effectuates obviousness. Gelatinization means reality is covered with obviousness. Politically it presents, as argued by Petit, a catastrophe.
Therefore, in a difference from Marx’s analysis of commodity fetishism, today we do not have something normal on the level of society from which the analysis of the form of its presentation in art, for example, or in theory, will show us that actually what is a normal content situation is in reality the opposite, something strange and different from what is said, etc. Today, in a difference from Marx, that was the point of reference for Althusser, we live in a time in which the social reality is abnormal and the form of its articulation is here not to normalize this abnormality but to intensify it through voiding this abnormality of any content, meaning, etc. This emptying is going on as obviousness. So first the thing is being turned upside down, and then the form is just taking us somewhere else. This somewhere else is part of an obscene performative logic that is not even saying that what we are witnessing in reality is abnormal, but is simply emptying the content through indetermination, indecision, irresolution. Obfuscation is on the level of form practiced precisely with a double obfuscation, and as Marx would say, is also speculative, or as said by Petit, it is the former solid surrounded by the liquid that is the repetitive performative mechanism. The form is not hiding the content anymore, but the way in which it is presented through its formalization makes the content obsolete.
Šefik Tatlić, in his essay “Communication and Mass Intellect,”11 states that one of the major problems of global capitalism today is precisely this process of not only an upside-down, but a complete distortion, of a short-circuit between What, How & for Whom things are done and declared. For this distortion to be kept alive and undisturbed, what matters is not only the structures of events, the spheres of exhibitions that are privatized (this is so normalized today that a critique on this point is almost becoming obsolete), what is a problem is not that various places and infrastructures are monopolized (and that this monopolization is based on almost extreme intimate relations between money and affects, offering the possibility for unknown actors in the field of arts to be awarded with curating international exhibitions as payment for services done in the past), but what is at stake here and now is the very substance of the performative language used for the interaction, presentation and discursive rationalization of the project itself. Global capitalism does colonize life by appropriating language in itself, but not only its colloquial level, but as well its discursive formulations on which society and its different institutions stand upon. Through these appropriations, and being even clearer, with the kidnapping of languages and discourses, structures and activations, we see a system of transformation of these machineries, as pointed out by Tatlić, into mechanisms of normalization of the system. Even more, such a truth is not hidden behind any global conspiracy or some “strange” ideology; this truth is brutal in its banal simplicity, as it was said: “A CRIMINAL IS A BOURGEOIS AND A BOURGEOIS IS A CRIMINAL.” So what? But with reference to Brecht, I can argue, the profit is less banal, and more divinized.
We get necropolitics at its purest. Culture that is being communicated within the necropolitical, is not, as stated by Tatlić (who still referes to the biopolitical), any kind of imitation or fakeness; it is authentic and differential – authentic within the epistemic frame of references provided by the regime. Though through the performative repetitive mechanism it is presented as a kind of playfull fake in order to hide its entanglement (the co-propriety capital/power) with the system. Thus, the ideas, theories and discourses born under such circumstances are not any longer schematized cultural production, but consist exactly of “free” subjectivities that are critical of the system that produced them in the first place. As it was stated by Petit, in order to function, a contemporary postmodern fascism needs a proliferation of unbelievable “freedom” of particularities.
Marina Gržinić, philosopher and artist. She is researcher at the Institute of Philosophy at SRC of SASA in Ljubljana and professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.
1 Giorgio Agamben, State of Exception, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2005. 2 Achille Mbembe, “Necropolitics,” in Public Culture 15/1, 2003, pp. 11–40. 3 Santiago López Petit, La movilización global. Breve tratado para atacar la realidad [Global Mobilization. Brief Treatise for Attacking Reality], published in Spanish by Editorial Traficantes de Sueños, Barcelona in June 2009. 4 Cf. Marina Gržinić and Walter Mignolo, “De-linking epistemology from capital and pluri-versality,” in Reartikulacija, Issue No 6, 2009, http://www.reartikulacija.org/RE6/ENG/decoloniality6_ENG_mign.html, accessed on November, 19, 2009. 5 Cf. Madina Tlostanova, “Re(dis)articulating the myth of modernity through the decolonial perspective,” in Reartikulacija, Issue No 6, 2009, http://www.reartikulacija.org/RE6/ENG/transmediale6_ENG_tlost.html, accessed on November, 19, 2009. 6 Marina Garcés, En las prisiones de lo possible [In the Prisons of the Possible], published in Spanish by Edicions Bellaterra, Barcelona, 2002. 7 Cf. Žarana Papić, “Europe after 1989: ethnic wars, the fascisation of social life and body politics in Serbia,” in Filozofski vestnik, special number The Body, edited by Marina Gržinić Mauhler, Institute of Philosophy ZRC SAZU, Ljubljana 2002, pp. 191–205. 8 Cf. Ibid. 9 Cf. Marina Gržinić and Walter Mignolo, “De-linking epistemology from capital and pluri-versality,” op. cit. 10 Cf. Madina Tlostanova, “Re(dis)articulating the myth of modernity through the decolonial perspective,” op. cit. 11 Cf. Šefik Tatlić “Communication and Mass Intellect,” in Pavilion, Bucharest, 2010 (forthcoming).