33. Multitudes 33 : Summer 2008

Multitudes : Summer

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Filippo Del Lucchese

Le triangle qui fait peur. Antifinalisme et monstruosité

Between the construction of an absolute monarchy of the state, designed to crush any revolt through fear and threats, and the one hand, and the monstrification of the power of any rebellious, heretical or contestatory « other », on the other hand, the author identitifies a third possible concept of monstrosity. This notion of monstrosity would escape these alternatives to claim its alterity, and therefore becomes monstrous not by virtue of its physical appearance, but by the autonomy of its demands in relation to any transcendental or final norms and by the actuality and immanent power of its condition.


Toni Negri

Le monstre politique. Vie nue et puissance

This article is the translation from Italian of the second part of the essay « Il mostro politico. Nuda vita e potenza », published in U. Fadini, A. Negri, C. T. Wolfe (a cura di), Desiderio del mostro. Dal circo al laboratorio alla politica, Manifestolibri, Roma 2001. In this text the author develops his critique of Agamben’s concept of bare life from a Spinozist point of view. To accept the rhetoric of bare life is to contain political discourse within the limits of an Hobbesian view of the world. In opposition, the Spinozist ontology of power (potentia) shows the monstrous character of the multitude, its collective force, its productivity, which only exists in and through the resistence to the Empire.


Charles T. Wolfe

L’anomalie du vivant. Réflexions sur le pouvoir messianique du monstre

Philosophy first encounters the figure of the monster as a challenge to order – whether natural or moral, the distinction is in fact secondary. This challenge can also be a bearer of meaning, as in a curse. Then philosophy « naturalises » this figure, either to erase any potentially chaotic dimension from the universe, or to construct an ontology (a « metaphysical romance », as it was called in the eighteenth century) of Life and its unpredictability, of which the monster is the prime case. But there is a third moment, a third « encounter » between philosophy and the monster, which marks a kind of return to its signifying power, this time in contemporary thought: the attribution to the monster of a messianic power. In what follows I attempt to evaluate the meaning and justification of this attribution.


Peter Linebaugh et Marcus Rediker

The Many-Headed Hydra. L’histoire cachée de l’Atlantique révolutionnaire

This article is the introduction of the volume The Many-Headed Hydra. The Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic, to be published by Amsterdam, a historical investigation of the multi-ethnique class which formed the cheap workforce which made possible the rising of capitalism and of modern transatlantic (and eventually global) economy, since the beginning of 17th century. A motley crowd made by merchants, pirates, workers, women, soldiers, convicted criminals, religious radicals, etc. developed forms of resistence and mutual cooperations, in order to escape the deep exploitation of the workforce, taking place in an economy already globalised. The authors tell the story of the role played by these wretched of modern world and of their fight for liberty.


Augusto Illuminati

Monstres, insurgés, intermittents

Cartography represents monsters at the borders of the known world. Those monsters are evoked by politics in order to denounce the dangers of revolution : the many-headed hydra which represents the nightmares of the dominant classes and that must be detroyed or subjugated. Heretics, sauvages, rebel slaves, the industrial proletariat and finally the precarious workers, whose anomaly is exploited to produce profit. But the ultimate cold monster, the Leviathan, is indeed the State…


Warren Montag

Locke et le concept d’inhumain

This essay attempts to develop Althusser’s suggestion that Locke’s political theory and its central concepts, from the state of nature to the social contract, rest on a heretofore unrecognized distinction between the human and the inhuman. Locke’s notion of a human species with rights and obligations conferred upon it by God is a political rather than biological or natural one. At the origin of humanity is a choice: the choice to consult or not to consult the reason that should govern human action. Those who choose to renounce reason form a counter-species whose existence poses an absolute threat to humanity and as such must be destroyed for the sake of the human itself.


Gianfranco Manfredi

Voltaire et les vampires

In his article on « Vampires », in the Dictionnaire philosophique, Voltaire both evokes the phenomenon of the so-called «vampire plague» which hit Central Europe during the 1730s and recalls the controversial interpretations of this phenomenon in France and abroad. He takes advantage of the occasion to renew his anti-religious polemic, with a caustic irony that doesn’t spare even a sincere Voltairian like Jean Baptiste Boyer d’Argens, who had offered a penetrating analysis of this phenomenon in his Lettres Juives. In his text, Voltaire chooses satire rather than an inquiry into causes of the phenomenon, revealing a superficial anthropological approach as well as the limits of an argument conceived as pure ideology.


Mark Neocleous

La tératologie politique : de la canaille et des monstres

This article explores the political meanings of a relatively unexplored dimension of Edmund Burke’s thought: the monster. After first showing the extent to which the figure of the monster appears in Burke’s category of the aesthetic, the author speculates on some of the political reasons for Burke’s use of the metaphor of the monstrous. The article suggests that these political reasons lie in Burke’s fear of the mob, and that this fear tells us something important about the conservative ideology of order.


Laurent Bove

Vivre contre un mur. Diagnostic sur l’état de notre nature en régime de terreur ordinaire

What does it mean to re-read Camus today? First of all, one must emphasize that he was a thinker of crisis and, despite appearances and abductions, a radical thinker of the refusal of domination and of resistance. It is this critical aspect which I seek to elucidate, in texts dating from 1937, and from the immediate post-war, Liberation period. In these writings one finds a reflection on anthropogenesis in a twofold relation to a monstrosity which must be defended, and an emerging political monstrosity, faced with which Camus strives to re-think the activity of resistance.


Yves Citton

SWITZEUROLANDIA : une monstruosité en devenir ?

Let’s call this monster Switzeurolandia, and let’s define it as a crossover between a national form of political monstruosity (Switzerland) and a post-national monster-in-progress (Eurolandia). And let’s consider this crossover through a projective hypothesis: the Swiss monster provides us with a scale-model of the type of economy of political affects that could well govern the future developments of the European Union, if it is abandoned to its current trends.


Michèle Collin et Barbara Szaniecki

Luttes-productions de la ville

« La ville productive », « The productive city », beyond the industrial factory, is now the territory of life AND work of the post fordist erea. Multitudes of precarious and intermittents are producing the city by new forms of life, desires, experimentations and innovations, creating unfunctionnal noises for the power institutions. We question the conflictual relationships hardly biopolitical between the urban spaces control by the power institutions and the subjective appropriations of the city’s territories by multitudes, constituent of new forms of democracy.


Thierry Baudouin et Michèle Collin

Territorialisations métropolitaines et projet urbain. Les Halles de Paris

While politicians dispute about frontiers of the metropole institution, the youngs does practice and struggle already the way of living metropolitan in Paris. The urban renovation of les Halles shows a deep biopolitic cut between the gathered bobos and politicians of the centre and the multiple appropriations of the territory by whole young people of the suburbs, creating new commons.


Barbara Szaniecki

D’autres monstres possibles

Sao Paulo has in recent years been acquainted with large movements of occupation of buildings in downtown area. Strongly affected by the reduction of the industrialization , the city experiences regularly problems of unemployment and housing. Collective of artists and graphists have joined the movement of “Sem Teto”, the Homeless, in order to develop a real media guerrilla whose multiplicity of aesthetic practices have reached a monstruous dimension. This analysis allows us to reflect on the constituent dimension of the productive multitude , through their aesthetic creations against the policies of gentrification in the metropolis. The fight against the Léviathan in the city of São Paulo entails the creation of other possible monsters.


Gerardo Silva

Ville occupée : sur le pouvoir destituant à Buenos Aires

Ever since the popular revolt of December 2001, Argentinian political life changed radically, with the force of a ‘destituting power’ which runs through all daily demonstrations in the streets of Buenos Aires. The occupations of the city exhibit new political subjectivities organized in the form of assemblies, which are characterized by the capacity of mobilization and the public expression of social demands, outside of the traditional mediation of institutions.


Rodrigo Guéron

Puissances de la samba, clichés de la samba : lignes de fuite et captures dans la ville de Rio

Samba is Rio de Janeiro’s most powerful form of artistic expression, but also one of the city’s main clichés. It is a cliché of “national identity”, cliché for the people and for the Nation State. However, more fundamental than its capture in these clichés, making it powerless, samba is a line of flight or – even better than that – it is a series of lines of flight, according to the different modes by which it has been reinvented throughout the 20th century. Samba draws Rio’s map, with its sections and territorial occupations: shaping territories and being shaped by them, inventing bodies according to their performances. The performances go against asepsis, physical disciplines, and the separation that one tries to inflict on the city’s territories. In short: samba is a permanent interplay between biopolitical resistance and the action of biopower.


Fabiana Borges & Marc Etlin

Immersions, recyclage et singularités

Immersion is an availability, a submersion, a diving and, in case of distraction/inattention, a downright drowning. It is about perceiving a certain fortuitous or yielded space-time, an either individual or collective tendency in order to create situations of resistance to environmental , political and social contemporaries paradigms . The creation of new network combinations in space-time immersing are devices that spark new forms of politics making as well as new ways to be in the world. The events « interference STD/AIDS », « Multimédia Free », « Folie.com » and « Eroticomia » have put together a network of immersing in a Brazil about which we try here to analyze certain common aspects.


Éric Alliez et Jean-Claude Bonne

Lévia… Tot(h) (À propos de Leviathan Toth d’Ernesto Neto)

Leviathan-Toth, Ernesto Neto’s anti/counter-installation which could be seen hanging from the vaults of the Panthéon in autumn 2006 does not seek to exploit this national memorial as a space in which to stand as an exhibition (environmental art). It responds to all of its surrounding factors – physical, aesthetic, political, and metaphysical, to attack the representative art whose constitutive-constitutional role in the republic, according to Hobbes, can be seen in Leviathan’s frontispiece. Setting up a sort of Critique et Clinique of Representation in all senses of the term beginning with the short-circuit (which is also the shortest circuit) between politics and aesthetics, Neto’s operation sets its sights on the expansive dis-organisation of the multitude living under the « democratic » regime of contractual representation of which the Panthéon is the temple. It provides a body for the rhizomatic-bioenergetic perversion of the Image of the State-Machine, of the Form-State, by projecting a new infra and supra-organic type of reality which draws its « energy » from the forces of the multitudo dissoluta (Hobbes) whose radical and vital recomposition it advocates. This work or non-work, derived from a Brazilian political-aesthetic constructivism which is undergoing redefinition, can now only take place in the context of a practice of displacement which incorporates and is constituted of the spectator-participant.