DOCTORAL THESIS DEFENSE: AND – PHENOMENOLOGY OF THE END

Thursday 23.10.2014, 12:00, Sampo-sali, Aalto Arts, Hämeentie 135, Helsinki.

Franco Berardi’s public defense of his thesis And – Phenomenology of the end. Cognition and sensibility in the transition from conjunctive to connective mode of social communication for a doctorate degree in philosophy at Aalto University.

Opponent: Geert Lovink, Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam

 

AND – PHENOMENOLOGY OF THE END. COGNITION AND SENSIBILITY IN THE TRANSITION FROM CONJUNCTIVE TO CONNECTIVE MODE OF SOCIAL COMMUNICATION

The thesis crystallizes Bifo’s research on today’s social and political mutation. It draws the provoking conclusion of his thinking: we are approaching the end. But the end of what?  For him the end is the mutation – and is the way it takes place. His thesis is a thesis about the experience and consequences of this mutation. A phenomenology of the and.

The thesis has three parts which trace together the aesthetic functioning of semiocapitalism, that is, the processes and techniques of organizing sensibility and embedding cognitive and emotional automatism at the deep level of perception, imagination and desire. How does the transition from industrial capitalism to semiocapitalism affect the field of aesthetic sensibility and emotional sensitivity and what are the consequences for social becoming? What is the difference between conjunctive and connective modes of social communication? What happens to the body of general intellect? What happens to our singular ways of becoming? How can a new social form come into existence when nothing new seems possible? What is the next game? What is the end game? What is the and game?

“In a rhizome there is no beginning and no end…This is why I’m writing this phenomenology of the end. There is no end. One may take this assertion as a source of endless despair, one may take this assertion as a source of endless hope. Both would be on a wrong path. Do not get me wrong, I don’t pretend to know what is good and what is bad. I am not hopeful, I’m not hopeless, because phenomenology is an infinite task. A phenomenology of the end is an interminable text. I decide to stop here because my life is not endless, and I’m approaching the end, but I know that I’m not stopping concatenating: and and and…”

HOW IS SENSIBILITY ORGANIZED?

Sensitive Info-sphere – Genealogy of the skin – Emotion in cybertime – Desensibilization – Frail psychosphere

Global skin – Homelessness and identity – Becoming American – Sin and pleasure – The sad flesh – Frigid sublimity – Videoporn and vanishing body – Wreckage of communism and psychic depression – Japanese disidentification – Nervous breakdown – Connectivity and suidice in South Korea

Aesthetic genealogy of capitalism – Capitalism and semiocapitalism – global imagination and baroque – Truth and measure – Puritanism and virtualization – Neo-baroque of semiocapitalism – Deregulation – Iconophobia – Truth effectiveness of iconocracy

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE BODY OF GENERAL INTELLECT?

Money, language, poetry – Emancipation of the sign – Financial abstraction – Floating values – Futurist mythology – Language, rhythm, respiration – Composition and recombination

Avatars of general intellect – Abstract labour and general intellect in Marx – Figures of modern intellectual – Cyber-time and the expansion of capitalism – The intellectual, the merchant, the worrier – Cognitarians – The artist, the engineer, the economist – Virtual utopia – The soul at work

The swarm effect – Absolute capitalism – Governnance – Complexity, chaos, meaning – Swarm/connectivity – Collapse and subjectivation

WHAT IS THE NEXT GAME?

Subjectivation – Social morphogenesis and neuro-plasticity – Cognitive mutation and the brain – Affection and language – The mind’s we – Subindividual and supercollective – Structure and machine – Chaosmic spasm – Social morphogenisis after the end of democracy – Capitalism as double bind – Generation by schism

Transhuman – Humanism as indetermination – Dismantlement of social civilization – History and evolution – Transhuman utopia – Self as access to the register of time – Discrete continuum

In the horizon of mutation – Capturing attention – the map captures the territory – Swarm experience – Neuro-totalitarianism in the making – Resisting mutation? – Morphogenetic vibration in neuromagma – Art, sensibility and neuroplasticity

Franco Berardi also known as “Bifo”, is an Italian political theorist and activist who decided to do his doctoral studies in Finland with us – he wanted to “become a doctor before I die”, he said :).  And – Phenomenology of the End is his thesis for a doctorate in philosophy.  For quite some time he has been working closely together with Mollecular organization, Future Art Base and Robin Hood in using contemporary art and contemporary artistic practices as examples, tools and inspiration of how to rethink the concept of economy and practices of social organization in the semiocapitalist context. Bifo is the founder of the legendary magazine A/traverso (1975-1981) and was part of the staff of Radio Alice, the first free radio station in Italy (1976-1978). Involved in the political movement of Autonomia in Italy during the 1970′s, he fled to Paris where he worked with Felix Guattari in the field of schizoanalysis. During the 1980′s he contributed to the magazines Semiotexte (New York), Chimerees (Paris), Metropoli (Rome) and Musica 80 (Milan). In the 1990′s he published Mutazione e Ciberpunk (Genoa, 1993), Cibernauti (Rome, 1994) and was the co-founder of the e-zine rekombinant.org. In the last decade he has published for example: Finance and Poetry (2013 Semiotexte), Félix (Palgrave McMillan London 2008) and The Soul at Work (Semiotexte, Los Angeles 2010) and Tietotyö ja prekaari mielentila [Infolabour and precarious states of mind] (Tutkijaliitto, Helsinki 2006).

And – Phenomenology of the End will be published by n-1 Publications in the end of 2014!

 

Geert Lovink is the opponent at Franco’s thesis defense. Geert is a Dutch/Australian media theorist and philosopher of contemporary culture. He is the founding director of the Institute of Network Cultures in Amsterdam.

Geert has been an active organizer of important meetings on issues currently being debated in the field of new media, technology and economy. Most recently for example Moneylab: Coining Alternatives which considered digital experiments with revenue models, payment systems and currencies; Unlike Us: Understanding Social Media Monopolies and their AlternativesEconomies of the Commons and Art and Politics of Netporn. A few of the important earlier conferences co-organized by Geert were Wetware (1991), Next Five Minutes (1993, 1996, 1999), Metaforum (1994, 1996), Ars Electronica (1996, 1998), Interface 3 (1995), and Tulipomania Dotcom (2000).

Geert was a founding member of ADILKNO/BILWET, also known as the Foundation for the Advancement of Illegal Knowledge, founded in 1983 as a critical project of underground media theory. One of their most important books, Bewegingsleer (1990), which was translated into English as Cracking the Movement, was written from the perspective of the squatters movement of Amsterdam from which the group emerged. As it says in the foreword to the book, ‘the smoke which the Movement Teachings (like any good theory) expel smells not of incense, myrrh and gold dust, but of tear gas, tires and mattresses’ (1990). ADILKNO/BILWET referred to their writings and manifestos as UTOs – Unidentified Theoretical Objects. A few of the UTOs which ADILKNO/BILWET have produced are Empire of Images (1985), The Media Archive (1992), The Datadandy (1994), and Electronic Solitude (1997).

From 1989–94 he was the editor of Mediamatic Magazine, in which many of the writings of ADILKNO first appeared. He has authored also numerous books, including Dark Fiber (2002), Uncanny Networks (2002), My First Recession (2003), The Principle of Notworking (2005), Tactical Media, the Second Decade (2005), and Zero Comments: Blogging and Critical Internet Culture (2007); he also co-edited Everyone is a Designer (2000), Catalogues of Strategies (2001), and Mobile Minded (2002), three books which chronicle the collaboration between Geert and the designer Mieke Gerritzen. His works have been translated into German, Spanish, Romanian, Italian and Japanese.

Geert’s contributions to the concept of tactical media have been highly influential in critical and militant wings of media theory: “What brings these tactical initiatives together is their carefully designed workings, their aesthetics beyond the question of taste. Being neither cute nor ugly, good or bad, tactical media appear, strike and disappear again. Instead of the old school rituals of negation and refusal, tactical media engage both makes and users, producers and viewers, into a game of appearances and disappearances.” To Geert tactical media is an important concept that grasps at the possibilities of engaging media in revolutionary ways to form powerful groups and networks. Tactical media holds the potential of radically altering the way in which humans organize and deliberate in a new media dominated world: “it should be possible for grassroots organizations, activists, artists and others to change the very structure of information technologies and networks”.

Geert is a member of the Robin Hood Asset Management Cooperative advisory board.

And - Phenomenology of the End

 

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