2007/07/23

SWARMACHINE Continental Drift

SWARMACHINE « Continental Drift:



Guattari speaks of a capitalist “drive” of deterritorialization, a “compulsion” for reterritorialization. What this means is that essential dimensions of human life are being twisted into violent and oppressive forms. The effect is to render the tremendous promise of a borderless world repulsive and even murderous, while at the same time precipitating the crisis, decay and regression of traditional social institutions, which appear increasingly incapable of contributing to equality or the respect for difference.

So after all the definitions of tactical media, and even of the “movement of movements,” what we still need to know is whether one can consciously participate in the improvisational, assymetrical force of microprocesses operating at

a global scale, and use their relative autonomy from institutional norms as a way to influence a more positive reterritorialization, a dynamic equilibrium, a viable coexistence with technoscientific development and the trend toward a unification of world society. To do this means taking on the risk of global micropolitics. It also means drawing mnemonic images from latent historical experience and the intricate textures of everyday life, and mixing them into media interventions in order to help reweave the imaginary threads that give radical-democratic movements a strong and paradoxical consistency: the resistance to arbitrary authority of course, but also solidarity across differences, the search for the common grounds of both oppression and liberation, and the desire to create consensus not on the basis of tradition but rather of invention, experimentation in reality and collective self-critique. The invention of new sensation and new memory out of the unexpected context of the event is one of the traits that has given the recent movements their surprising agility in the world space. As Maurizio Lazzarato has written:

The activist is not someone who becomes the brains of the movement, who sums up its force, anticipates its choices, draws his or her legitimacy from a capacity to read and interpret the evolution of power, but instead, the activist is simply someone who introduces a discontinuity in what exists. She creates a bifurcation in the flow of words, of desires, of images, to put them at the service of the multiplicity’s power of articulation; she links the singular situations together, without placing herself at a superior and totalizing point of view. She is an experimenter.

The close of his book makes clear, however, that what should be sought is not just a chaotic escape into the unpredictable. The point is to find articulations of human effort that can oppose and even durably replace the death-dealing powers of the present society. Right now, the prospects look extremely slim for any kind of grassroots intervention into a highly polarized conjuncture. But if things become desperately worse, or if on the contrary the political-economic pendulum makes one of its swings back to a more confident phase of expansion, the likelihood is that there will be important second chances for radical democracy movements, and new roles for improvised global media. The future belongs to those who can make the experimental difference.


The above definition applies equally well to being a poet, or cosmic creator.