Franco "Bifo" Berardi's newest book analyzes the contemporary changes taking place in our aesthetic and emotional sensibility -- changes the author claims are the result of semio-capitalism's capturing of the inner resources of the subjective process: our experience of time, our sensibility, the way we relate to each other, and our ability to imagine a future. Precarization and fractalization of labor have provoked a deep mutation in the psychosphere, and this can be seen in the rise of psychopathologies such as post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, panic, and attention deficit disorder. Sketching out an aesthetic genealogy of capitalist globalization, Berardi shows how we have arrived at a point of such complexity in the semiotic flows of capital that we can no longer process its excessive currents of information. A swarm effect now rules: it has become impossible to say "no." Social behavior is trapped in inescapable patterns of interaction coded by techno-linguistic machines, smartphones, screens of every size, and all of these sensory and emotional devices end up destroying our organism's sensibility by submitting it to the stress of competition and acceleration. Arguing for disentanglement rather than resistance, Berardi concludes by evoking the myth of La Malinche, the daughter of a noble Aztec family. It is a tale of a translator and traitor who betrayed her own people, yet what the myth portends is the rebirth of the world from the collapse of the old.
Author: Francesco Berardi
Publisher: Verso Books
Release Date: 2017-07-04
A comprehensive philosophy of contemporary life and politics, by one of the sharpest critics of the present We live in an age of impotence. Stuck between global war and global finance, between identity and capital, we seem to be incapable of producing the radical change that is so desperately needed. Is there still a way to disentangle ourselves from a global order that shapes our politics as well as our imagination? In his most systematic book to date, renowned Italian theorist Franco Berardi tackles this question through a solid yet visionary analysis of the three fundamental concepts of Possibility, Potency, and Power. Characterizing Possibility as the content, Potency as the energy, and Power as the form, Berardi suggests that the road to emancipation unravels from the awareness that the field of the possible is only limited, and not created, by the power structures that implement it. Other futures and other worlds are always already inscribed within the present, despite power’s attempt at keeping them invisible. Overcoming any temptation of giving in to despair or nostalgia, Berardi proposes the notion of Futurability as a way to remind us that even within the darkness of our current crisis lies dormant the horizon of possibility. From the Hardcover edition.
The post-'68 psychoanalyst and philosopher visits a newly democratic Brazil in 1982 and meets future President Luis Ignacia Lula da Silva: a guide to the radical thought and optimism at the root of today's Brazil.
Author: Gregory H. Williams
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Release Date: 2012-06-12
Permission to Laugh explores the work of three generations of German artists who, beginning in the 1960s, turned to jokes and wit in an effort to confront complex questions regarding German politics and history. Gregory H. Williams highlights six of them—Martin Kippenberger, Isa Genzken, Rosemarie Trockel, Albert Oehlen, Georg Herold, and Werner Büttner—who came of age in the mid-1970s in the art scenes of West Berlin, Cologne, and Hamburg. Williams argues that each employed a distinctive brand of humor that responded to the period of political apathy that followed a decade of intense political ferment in West Germany. Situating these artists between the politically motivated art of 1960s West Germany and the trends that followed German unification in 1990, Williams describes how they no longer heeded calls for a brighter future, turning to jokes, anecdotes, and linguistic play in their work instead of overt political messages. He reveals that behind these practices is a profound loss of faith in the belief that art has the force to promulgate political change, and humor enabled artists to register this changed perspective while still supporting isolated instances of critical social commentary. Providing a much-needed examination of the development of postmodernism in Germany, Permission to Laugh will appeal to scholars, curators, and critics invested in modern and contemporary German art, as well as fans of these internationally renowned artists.
Author: Avital Ronell
Publisher: U of Nebraska Press
Release Date: 1994
Genre: Social Science
Suspending the distinction between headline news and high theory, Avital Ronell examines the diverse figures of finitude in our modernity: war, guerrilla video, trauma TV, AIDS, music, divorce, sadism, electronic tagging, rumor. Her essays address such questions as, How do rumors kill? How has video become the conscience of TV? How have the police come to be everywhere, even where they are not? Is peace possible? “[W]riting to the community of those who have no community—to those who have known the infiniteness of abandonment,” her work explores the possibility, one possibility among many, that “this time we have gone too far”: “One last word. It is possible that we have gone too far. This possibility has to be considered if we, as a species, as a history, are going to get anywhere at all.”
After the Future explores a century-long obsession with the concept of the "future," starting with Marinetti's "Futurist Manifesto," tracing it through the punk movement of the early 70s, and into the media revolution of the 90s. The future, Bifo argues, has come and gone, the concept has lost its usefulness. Now it's our responsibility to decide what comes next.
"Poetry is the language of nonexchangeability, the return of infinite hermeneutics, and the return of the sensuous body of language. I'm talking about poetry here as an excess of language, a hidden resource which enables us to shift from one paradigm to another."--P.  of cover.
Author: Jean Baudrillard
Release Date: 2016-12-15
Genre: Social Science
Jean Baudrillard is one of the most celebrated and most controversial of contemporary social theorists. This major work occupies a central place in the rethinking of the humanities and social sciences around the idea of postmodernism. It leads the reader on an exhilarating tour encompassing the end of Marxism, the enchantment of fashion, symbolism about sex and the body, and the relations between economic exchange and death. Most significantly, the book represents Baudrillard's fullest elaboration of the concept of the three orders of the simulacra, defining the historical passage from production to reproduction to simulation. A classic in its field, Symbolic Exchange and Death is a key source for the redefinition of contemporary social thought. Baudrillard's critical gaze appraises social theories as diverse as cybernetics, ethnography, psychoanalysis, feminism, Marxism, communications theory and semiotics. This English translation begins with a new introductory essay.
Author: Francesco Berardi
Release Date: 2015-01-28
"What is the relationship between capitalism and mental health? Through an exhilarating mix of philosophical and psychoanalytical theory and reportage - from the suicide epidemic in Korea to the wave of American mass murders - the prominent Italian thinker Franco "Bifo" Berardi traces the social roots of the mental malaise of our age. His darkest and most unsettling book to date, Berardi proposes dystopian irony as a strategy to disentangle ourselves from the deadly embrace of neoliberalism"--