[Autonogram] October 2009 Autonogram

Stevphen Shukaitis stevphen at autonomedia.org
Tue Oct 27 05:13:28 EDT 2009

Greetings Autonogram-subscribers,

Hot on the heels of a series of occupations (California! Vienna!), and  
just in time for celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Great Stock  
Market Crash of October 29th, 1929, we have several new books and a  
number of events and things to announce. Capitalism: did it jump or  
was it pushed? You decide. But now, for the announcements:

1. Toward A Global Autonomous University: Cognitive Labor, The  
Production of Knowledge and Exodus From The Education Factory, edited  
by the Edu-factory Collective, released

2. Imaginal Machines: Autonomy & Self-Organization in the Revolutions  
of Everyday Life by Stevphen Shukaitis released

3. Ideology of Design Reader, and Exhibition, Novi Sad, October 23rd  
– November 23rd

4. Upcoming bookfairs and events


1. Toward A Global Autonomous University: Cognitive Labor, The  
Production of Knowledge and Exodus From The Education Factory
Edited by the Edu-factory Collective

What was once the factory is now the university. We started off with  
this apparently straightforward affirmation, not in order to assume it  
but to question it; to open it, radically rethinking it, towards  
theoretical and political research. The Edu-factory project took off  
from here… Edu-factory is, above all, a partisan standpoint on the  
crisis of the university… The state university is in ruins, the mass  
university is in ruins, and the university as a privileged place of  
national culture – just like the concept of national culture itself  
– is in ruins. We’re not suffering from nostalgia. Quite the  
contrary, we vindicate the university’s destruction. In fact, the  
crisis of the university was determined by social movements in the  
first place.

This is what makes us not merely immune to tears for the past but  
enemies of such a nostalgic disposition. University corporatization  
and the rise of a global university… are not unilateral impositions  
or developments completely contained by capitalist rationality. Rather  
they are the result – absolutely temporary and thus reversible – of  
a formidable cycle of struggles. The problem is to transform the field  
of tension delineated by the processes analyzed in this book into  
specific forms of resistance and the organization of escape routes.  
This is Edu-factory’s starting point and objective, its style and its  

Contributors include Toni Negri and Judith Revel, Andrew Ross, Stefano  
Harney and Fred Moten, George Caffentzis and Silvia Federici, Naoki  
Sakai and Jon Solomon, Eileen Schell, Amit Basole, Carlo Vercellone,  
the Counter Cartographies Collective, Jason Read, Randy Martin, Xiang  
Biao, James Arvanitakis, Marc Bosquet, Vidya Ashram, Aihwa Ong, and  
many more.



2. Imaginal Machines: Autonomy & Self-Organization in the Revolutions  
of Everyday Life
Stevphen Shukaitis

All power to the imagination? Over the past forty years to invoke the  
imagination as a basis for radical politics has become a cliché: a  
rhetorical utilization of ideas already in circulation, invoking the  
mythic unfolding of this self-institutionalizing process. But what  
exactly is radical imagination? Drawing from autonomist politics,  
class composition analysis, and avant-garde arts, Imaginal Machines  
explores the emergence, functioning, and constant breakdown of the  
embodied forms of radical imagination.

What does it mean to invoke the power of the imagination when it seems  
that the imagination has already seized power through the power of the  
spectacle? Does any subversive potentiality remain? Perhaps it is only  
honest to think in terms of a temporally-bounded subversive power. It  
might be that imaginal machines only work by breaking down. That is,  
their functioning is only possible, paradoxically, by their  
malfunctioning. By reopening the question of recuperation, the  
inevitable drive to integrate the power of social insurgency back into  
the working of capital and the state, we create possibilities for a  
politics continually reconstituted against and through the dynamics of  
recuperation: to keep open an antagonism without closure.

“Imaginal Machines explores with humor and wit the condition of art  
and politics in contemporary capitalism. It reviews the potentials and  
limits of liberatory art (from surrealism to Tom Waits) while charting  
the always-resurgent creations of the collective imagination.  
Shukaitis exhibits a remarkable theoretical breadth, bringing together  
the work of Castoriadis, the Situationists, and autonomous Marxism to  
define a new task for militant research: constructing imaginal  
machines that escape capitalism. Imaginal Machines is truly a book  
that makes a path by walking.” – Silvia Federici, author of Caliban  
and the Witch: Women the Body and Primitive Accumulation

“If you have ever had someone say to you, ‘okay it’s fine to  
criticize but what would you do?’ this is the book for you. Shukaitis  
takes us on a raucous ride through actually existing alternative  
organizations that are anarchic, loving, fun, and best of all they  
work.  We meet people and organizations who imagine a completely  
different way of being together in the world.  And we are never far  
from a sophisticated theoretical travelogue as we walk these roads  
with the author.  What would you do?  Try this, and this, and this!”  
– Stefano Harney, Chair in Strategy, Culture, and Organization,  
University of London

Stevphen Shukaitis is an editor at Autonomedia and lecturer at the  
University of Essex. He is the editor (with Erika Biddle and David  
Graeber) of Constituent Imagination: Militant Investigations //  
Collective Theorization (AK Press, 2007). His research focuses on the  
emergence of collective imagination in social movements and the  
changing compositions of cultural and artistic labor.


A series of events are planned for release of Imaginal Machines  
including in Edinburgh (November 1st), Vienna (November 26th) and  
other to be announced shortly. For more information check at http://www.minorcompositions.info 


3. ID: Ideology of Design October 23rd – November 23rd, 2009
Kuda, Novi Sad & Autonomedia, New York Announce “ID: Ideology of  

by New Media Center_kuda.org
October  23rd –November 23rd, 2009
Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina
Dunavska St. 37, Novi Sad
Opening of the exhibition: Friday, October 23rd

In what way are design practices perceived and understood today and in  
what way can one follow their crucial development during the last  
decades of the 20th century and their connections with artistic  
practices and critical discourses?

Planning for mass production, graphic design, industrial design,  
design of environment, advertising, interior design, fashion design  
etc. are but some of the determinants of this complex discipline of  

Whether we examine its development in socialism or capitalism, design  
is always in close and dynamic connection with the economic and  
productive bases of society, building different and/or specific  
relationships of man with material culture. The object of researching  
and Ideology of Design exhibition are theories and practices (of  
industrial and graphic) design that were taking place during almost  
half a century of the socialist Yugoslavia, and their wider social and  
ideological context.

Design is a pregnant and highly interdisciplinary field which includes  
achievements from culture, science, architecture, technology and  
artistic practice, and thus represents a fertile soil for sociological  
and philosophical discussions on technology and market, about the  
social and political-economical dynamics and the labor process. A  
special aspect of the project was set on discussions and practices led  
at the time of socialist Yugoslavia which tried to define the role of  
design in a (non-)market socialist economy, its functionalism and its  
being conditioned by the market, or its social engagement, and the  
role of design in forming a new relationship of man with material  
objects, a new way of life towards establishing a classless human  

Developing progressive, critical and contradictory positions, design  
was simultaneously presented a symbol of a post-war reconstruction of  
a country under the wing of industrialization and liberation of man  
from material privation, but as decades went by it played more and  
more one of the main roles in building a socialist market society.

Research work, exhibition and publications of the Ideology of Design  
deal with contextualization of contradictory processes refracted  
through theory and practices of design and, parallel to this, the way  
by which different ideologies of design and visual identities were  
created in the first post-war period of forming Yugoslavia, then  
during the tempestuous 1960s and 1970s until the very end when this  
community ceased to exist. Also, this project re-examines the chance  
to create a relationship between critical and historical practices of  
design and contemporary design, which is more and more seen as  
something belonging to the exclusively commercial aspect of creative  
industries, which, refracted through an ideological prism of  
neoliberal capitalism preserve the exploiting relationship regarding  
creativity and the creative person. In this sense, a question arises:  
Is it possible today to observe and practice design outside of the  
dominant functionalist principles and the market-dictated production  
and consumption, and to develop their engaged dimension in creating  
more humane social relations, i.e., is it possible to conduct  
politicization of design practices during “transition” times?

Ideology of Design is comprised of a couple of entireties, and of  
those didactic exhibition stands out, with the represented:

– Video recordings – interviews – with some of the most important  
protagonists of the Yugoslav theory and practice of design and history  
and art criticism, and among them are Jerko Denegri and Branko  
Vučičević from Belgrade, Matko Meštrović and Fedor Kritovac from  
Zagreb, Stane Bernik from Ljubljana and Branislav Dobanovački from  
Novi Sad. The series of interviews realised for the Ideology of Design  
project will be joined with an interview with Ivan Picelj, a graphic  
designer from Zagreb, on the occasion of the anniversary of Helvetica  
type, which was realised by Dragan Mileusnić and Željko Serdarević,  
a designer couple from Zagreb.

– In a joint production, Zagreb designer Dejan Kršić and  
Center_kuda.org within the exhibition present a subjective timeline to  
the practices of industrial and graphic design, and institutional and  
alternative frameworks of design practices related to the paradigmatic  
social political and economical events in the socialist Yugoslavia.

– Spatial intervention of two art and designers’ collectives,  
Metahaven from Holland and Société Réaliste from France.

– “Total design” of the exhibition is completed by the mobile and  
modular furniture “Z” blocks made after the design of NAO –  
Normal Architecture Office and Srđan Jovanović Weiss from  
Philadelphia, USA.

– Workshops and educational-collaborative programmes will be  
organised and realised by two Novi Sad initiatives of young generation  
designers - Open Design Studio and A3.Format project.

– Public discussions and presentations will be organized during the  
one month of the exhibition, with some of the protagonists from  
contemporary scene of design theory and practice, such is design  
theorist Feđa Vukić from Zagreb, designer and writer Dejan Kršić  
from Zagreb and Borut Vild – designer from Belgrade. Precise program  
of the public discussions will be announced in the following days.

– Reader –
Apart from the spoken program that takes place during the exhibition,  
the discursive platform of the project is completed by the bilingual  
reader containing 13 collected essays that provide a theoretical  
insight into the project theme published by Autonomedia from New York.  
Among the authors of the essays you will find the works of: Jean  
Baudrillard, Igor Chubarov, an interview with Jerko Denegri, Branislav  
Dimitrijević, Hal Foster, Dejan Kršić, Nenad Malešević, Metahaven,  
Borislav Mikulić, Barbara Predan, Jacques Rancière, Feđa Vukić and  
WHW collective, editor: Branka Ćurčić, ISBN 978-1-57027-209-7,  
design of the reader: Peter Gregson Studio, Novi Sad

ID: Ideology of Design is an integral part of a long-term research  
project called Art Always Has Its Consequences, and four organizations  
are cooperating in this project: WHW from Croatia, tranzit.hu from  
Hungary, Museum Sztuki from Poland and Centar_kuda.org from Serbia in  
the period between 2008 and 2010. The project is dedicated to creating  
and distributing new discoveries and knowledge about paradigmatic  
socially engaged practices in art and design in the region and in the  
Eastern Europe, including their relationship with the wider European  
context in the past and now. Also, the exhibition is a part of the  
Individual Utopias Now and Before project which is realized in  
cooperation with SCCA/pro.ba from Bosnia and Herzegovina and T.I.C.A.  
from Albania.



4. Upcoming Bookfairs & Events
Autonomedia will be tabling at a number of events and bookfairs in the  
coming months. Here are some of the upcoming events:

– Edinburgh Independent Radical Book Fair 2009 (UK), October 28th –  
November 1st (http://www.word-power.co.uk)
– The Internet as Playground and Factory, November 12th – 14th, New  
School, NYC (http://digitallabor.org)
– Deleuze & Activism conference (UK), November 12th – 13th (http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/encap/newsandevents/events/conferences/deleuze/index. 
– Historical Materialism (UK), November 27th – 28th (http://mercury.soas.ac.uk/hm/conference2009 

That is all for now, me thinks. More to follow shortly. Wishing you  
all a lovely Halloween and a delightful day of the dead.

Cheers + solidarity,

:: Autonomedia:: Seditious & Delicious ::

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