research and exhibition at MIT 2011
April 6th, 2012

Topology of Autonomy: a talk by Sylvère Lotringer

April 6 2012, 01:30p–03:00p
Sylvère Lotringer will address the notion of autonomy, its planting, plotting, and propagation as the means to imagine and propose alternative relations to land, history, politics, and art. Lotringer’s talk expands the discourse initiated through the international archive platform, the exhibition Disobedience: An Ongoing Video Archive.

Sylvère Lotringer is the general editor of the seminal book series Semiotext(e). As a literary and cultural theorist, his major contribution was introducing French theory to the United States. In 1979, Lotringer traveled to Italy to document the post-Marxist Autonomia movement, which resulted in the special publication Autonomia—Post-Political Politics. Lotringer is a Professor of Foreign Philosophy at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland and Professor Emeritus at Columbia University.

November 6th, 2011

About the archive

DISOBEDIENCE An on going video archive.


Disobedience is an on-going archive and a video station about the relationship between artistic practice and civil and social disobedience. Founded in 2005, the project is a guide to the geography of recent protest, from the social struggles in Italy in 1977 to the anti-globalisation actions before and after the Seattle protests in 1999. In particular Disobedience is an investigation into practices of art activism emerging after the fall of the Soviet bloc that are today developing on a global scale.


Contemporary dissent manifests itself less as theoretical criticism or protest than as defection, exodus and exit. Abandonment rather than confrontation: the search for the new participatory spaces, constituent practices, micro-actions on a global scale, and forms of self-organisation and empowerment are the main strategies of the new movements.  Disobedience is an atlas of the plurality of resistance tactics such as direct action, counter-information, reclamation projects, parallel planning processes, urban tactics, communication tools for creative resistance, self-managed architecture, biological resistance and media activism that have been developed by artists and filmmakers.


Many of these phenomena are associated with ‘tactical media’, which was born out of the DIY philosophy that spread with the ‘electronic revolution’. From low cost video recording tools to free web access, technological devices became accessible to groups or individuals (hackers, interventionists, culture jammers, etc.) that felt they’d been damaged by the mainstream culture. Using a diverse range of methodologies these groups and projects address some of the most fundamental and urgent challenges of contemporary urban life.


The goal of the archive is to create a common space for artistic output and for political action, understanding that society itself is changing and with it the language it produces as a political subject and as a media object. Disobedience is designed as a long-term work-in-progress and is presented as non-comprehensive and provisional, intended to expand over time.

by obeyanimals | Posted in About the archive, THE ARCHIVE | No Comments » |
November 5th, 2011

Reclaim the Street

This section comprises so-called Constituent Practices – practices that seek to create autonomous social spaces by developing experimental forms of education, community, urbanism and architecture. Public space is reclaimed and redefined, often beginning with squatting buildings and land. New forms of social reality are developed from the ground up, outside of official regulation. Social relationships are networked and heterogeneous. Often the impetus for these communities derives from a mixture of artists and social movements.

Works by: Park Fiction (initiated in 1994, Hamburg), Mariette Schiltz and Bert Theis (live and work in Milan and Luxembourg), Atelier d’Architecture Autogéré (founded in 2001, Paris), Hito Steyerl.


1) Margit Czencki/Park Fiction

…die W¸nsche warden die Wohnung verlassen und auf die Strasse gehen

(…desires will leave home and take to the streets), 1999

Colour, 61 minutes

texts: Christoph Schäfer

camera: Martin Gressmann, Margit Czenki

music/sound collage: Ted Gaier, Schorsch Kamerun

with: Park Fiction activists, the clever Hafenrand-Club.

One day wishes are going to leave home and hit the streets…

At the moment, though, they lead an unappreciated kind of life, in amongst  boxes filled with favourite things, in secret love-letters, in disgarded novel fragments, in sad stamp collections. They live vase-formed, as dog-eared posters, as thread-bare carpets, as Mickey Mouse telephones, in dust-covered travel souvenirs, they’re hibernating in your record collection. But they’re getting nervous. They’re sick and tired of living in the shadows. They want to get out there, into the city. They want to meet other wishes, they want to argue, be productive, they want to dance in the street, parade in feather boas, they want to drape a new plan over the city and pirouette on the roof-tops, link up and connect, build terrible machines, prowl the streets with their glitter gangs, rip documents and files from shelving units and feast on the spectacle of 400 office tables crashing through the glass facade of a skyscraper, rushing down like a waterfall. Wishes are going to leave home and bring an end to this reign of boredom, this administration of misery .


2) Hito Steyerl

Universal Embassy, 2004

Colour, 4 minutes

The former Somali Embassy in Brussels is being squatted by „Sans-papiers“, who proclaim a Universal Embassy on the premises.


Die Leere Mitte (The Empty Centre), 1998 

Colour, 62 minutes

Potsdamer Platz was once the political centre of Berlin. During the Cold War it became a deadly minefield between the borders. After German reunification, Potsdamer Platz was rebuilt. In this process, residents were removed to the outskirts of the city, marginalized by the recentering of Germany’s political and economic power. The Empty Centre closely follows the processes of urban restructuring that have taken place in the centre of Berlin – in 1990, squatters proclaimed a socialist republic on the death strip; eight years later, the new headquarters of Mercedes Benz arise in the same location. The film focusses on Potsdamer Platz to explore global power shifts, and the simultaneous dismantling and reconstruction of borders, using slow superimpositions to reveal architectonic and political changes. The Empty Centre also traces the history of ostracism and exclusion, especially against immigrants and minorities, which have served to define the notion of a powerful national center. “It is not so much crossing boundaries as frontiers as it is the partial disappearance, dissolution or repositioning of the boundaries themselves. It is the shifting of the boundaries as you try to cross them…  Now you begin to see that we are also talking about the fragmentation of boundaries; the partial breakdown, renegotiation, repositioning of boundaries, about the appearance of new boundaries which cut across the old ones.” (Stuart Hall)


3) Atelier d’Architecture Autogérée (AAA)

Au Rez-de-chaussÈe de la ville, (The City at Ground Level), 2005

DVD pal, Colour, 34 minutes

ECObox is an urban social experiment started in 2001 in the La Chapelle area, in the North of Paris. It aims to use temporarily available and underused spaces for collective activities. It brings together the specialised knowledge of architects, artists and researchers and the common knowledge and skills of local people. It is a worksite at the ‘ground level of the city’ that anyone can enter to propose a cultural, social or political project.


 4) Mariette Schiltz and Bert Theis

Isola Nostra, 2007

DVD 59’, Music by Steve Piccolo

Isola Nostra is not a documentary proper. It deals with the top down imposition of an urban renewal plan with little or no public consultation  in the historical working class neighborhood of Isola (“island”) in Milan and with attempts to oppose it “from below” such as Isola Art Center and OUT (Office for Urban transformation).  It is not shot coherently by one author and much of the visual material is part of the general and collective effort to document a practice in the process of becoming. The film is organized thematically in chapters, each section attempting an overview of the simultaneous trajectories of this conflict.

by obeyanimals | Posted in Reclaim the Street | No Comments » |
November 5th, 2011

Disobedience East

This section is focused on political and activist art in Central and Eastern Europe, arising out of a post-communist condition. As Dmitry Vorobjev says, “Compared to the Soviet period, nowadays there is more breathing room, but the air conditioners have been turned on, so to speak: the very possibility of thinking about acting collectively in public space is being confiscated. As part of our legacy from the Soviet era we’ve inherited not only the notion that “personal initiative is punishable by law”, but also an aversion to collective forms of action. (…) In our country there are lots of subcultures that are practically invisible in the public and political sphere; the most radical but also the least well represented of these is DIY culture. The very idea of reclaiming space that we’ve been talking about is now simply taboo. In the past, such practices were also few and far between, but each of them either formed or significantly fortified the subcultures (…) (Reclaim Your Space, or the New Dissidence, an interview with Dmitry Vilensky, published in #12: (Im)possible spaces, newspaper of the platform Chto Delat/What is to be done?, March 2006).

Works by: Dmitry Vilensky (born 1964, lives and works in St Petersburg and Berlin), Harun Farocki (born 1944, lives and works in Berlin, Germany) and Andrei Ujica (born 1951, lives and works in Berlin and Karlsruhe, Germany), Nomeda And Gediminas Urbonas (work together since 1993, live and work in Vilnius, Lithuania), Non Governmental Control Commission (A group of young Moscow leftist artists and intellectuals such as Anatoly Osmolovsky, Avdei Ter-Oganyan, Oleg Kireev,  active in 1998-99, Moscow), Joanne Richardson.


1) Dmitry Vilensky and Chto delat? /// What is to be done? 

platform for engaged culture

Protest Match Kirov Stadium, 2006

DVD, 28 minutes


2) Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas

Pro-test lab archive, 2005-2007


LIETUVA sold out (Color, 17’ 30’’, 2006)

SOLD OUT (Color, 08’40’’ 2005)

SOLD OUT 3 CROSSES (Color, 05’34’’, 2005)

VIP market (Color, 02’22’’, 2005)

Exploration of public space (Color, 05’02’’, 2007)

Human chain of swimming enthusiasts (Color, 02’20’’, 2005)

America will help us (Color, 02’09’’, 2005)

Dogs barking will not disturb the clouds (Color, 01’27’’, 2005)

TV bridge. Talk show between Oslo and Vilnius (Color, 16’20’’, 2005)

Pro-test lab (Color, 20’52’’, 2005)

The Pro-test Lab archive collects and disseminates material relating to the community campaign which the artists initiated in 2005 to save the largest movie-house in Vilnius, cinema “Lietuva” which has been privatized and is facing redevelopment. The archive, which includes video documentation of performances, a fashion collection, posters and props, addresses the challenges facing public spaces in the age of proactive capital.


3) Harun Farocki and Andrei Ujica

Videogramme einer Revolution (Videograms of a Revolution), 1992

video transferred to 16mm, b/w and colour, 107 minutes

Farocki and Ujica’s ‘Videograms’ document the Romanian revolution of December 1989 in Bucharest, presenting a new media-based form of historiography. Demonstrators occupy the television station in Bucharest and broadcast continuously for 120 hours, thereby establishing the television studio as a new historical site. Between December 21, 1989 – the day that Ceaucescu’s made his last speech – and December 26, 1989 – the first televised summary of his trial –  home video cameras recorded events at the most important locations in Bucharest. The determining medium of an era has always marked history. Only the videocamera, with its heightened possibilities in terms of recording time and mobility, can bring the process of filming history to completion.


4) Joanne Richardson


5) Non Governamental Control Commission – Public Actions

The Barricade, 1998

Digital video

On 23 May, 1998 the “Non –Governmental Control Commission” (a group of artists such as Anatoly Osmolovsky, Audei Ter-Oganyan, Radek Community) organized its first action, which it called  “Barricade on Bolshaya Nikitskaya Street”. The Barricade was conceived in remembrance of the May demonstrations that took place in Paris 30 years earlier and, additionally, as a hint at Russia’s political future. It also provided an unintended reminder of the Bulldozer Exhibition because the Barricade was built of pictures by popular Russian painters. The artists published the following press release: “the Barricade is an act of civil disobedience with the aim of testing new practices of political struggle and artistic gestures” (Osmolovsky). It would be an exaggeration to assert that the Barricade provoked any revolutionary action. Only when the artists moved their barricade to a bigger and busier street were they finally confronted by the police. (Sylvia Sasse)


6) Radek Community,

Manifestations,  2001

Color, 7 min

Moscow. The Barricadnaya metro station. The pedestrian crossing on Sadovoye Koltso street. Every five minutes the lights turns green – it interrupts the continuous stream of cars and it lets pedestrians cross the street. In the morning you can see masses of people here, who are waiting for green light to cross the street, to reach their offices. Crossing takes a maximum of thirty seconds. It is necessary to make several slogans on red cloth, and in the moment when green light flares unexpectedly, to unfurl them above the pedestrians’ heads, and reach the other side of the street with everybody. You have to do it several times.

Effect. All indications of a demonstration are manifested: masses of people, slogans, a central street, traffic is stopped. Marx’s thesis about the genesis of the self-awareness of the revolutionary class, in action.


The Mausoleum, 1999


Action within the governmental elections’ 99 in Russia. Traditionally the Lenin Mausoleum in the Red Square was a stage, where known politicians speak and from which the Soviet leadership once viewed parades. Now it is occupied by the group of young artists and anarchists, who proclaimed an “Against all” slogan.

by obeyanimals | Posted in Disobedience East | No Comments » |
November 5th, 2011

Argentina Fabrica Social

At a time of political crisis and spiraling inflation, “between the revolt of December 2001 and President Néstor Kirchner’s inauguration in mid-2003 Argentina experienced an atmosphere of unprecedented institutional instability and ceaseless agitation”. It was a time of intense activism. This section focuses on political artists who were at the forefront of popular protest in Argentina at this time, intervening in public space with performative, graphic and textual acts.

Works by: Grupo de Arte Callejero (founded in 1997, Buenos Aires), Etcetera Group (founded in 1997, Buenos Aires), Kanal B (online, founded in 2000,


1) Etcètera

EtcÈtera TV, 1998-2005

Colour, 24 min

In early November 2005, a security strategy for the IV Summit of the Americas, transformed a 250-block section of the central coast of Mar del Plata into a hermetic enclave. The local residents of the resort could only enter their homes after showing police issued ID cards. The decision makers had decided to isolate themselves, in order to make decisions in the name of those they represent. The main issue was business. Pressure from the Bush government to achieve a continental accord was overpowered by the opposition of the Mercosur countries and Venezuela.

On the morning of the day before the close of the Summit, a peaceful mass demonstration led in spirit by Hugo Chavez, crossed dozens of blocks of one of the unrestricted sectors of the city. That same afternoon, a more radicalized march was programmed to break through one of the few access routes to the military and police cordon that guarded the closed neighborhood where the heads of state were holding their discussions. The conclusion was swift: the police officers deployed a mysteriously moderate repression, some of the demonstrators destroyed stores, there was an arbitrary round-up, dozens of individuals ended up in police stations, and everything was edited and reproduced by the communications media in living color on the news.

During the week of the Summit, Mar del Plata had remained paralyzed. Not a soul was seen on the downtown streets or in the most remote neighborhoods. Local residents who, out of fear, had barricaded themselves for several days in their houses, or had evacuated to neighboring cities, came out into the streets for the first time to review – curiously, confusedly, confoundedly – the trail of destruction that the afternoon’s demonstration had left in its wake.

Mar del Plata, cordoned off under the pretext of a global terrorist threat, while being simultaneously shaken by the street mobilizations, gave birth to a new political movement: The International Errorist (IE).


2) Grupo de Arte Callejero (GAC)

Actions 2001–03

Plan Nacional de Desalojo (National Plan of Eviction), colour, 2’25 minutes


Shopping para Artistas, colour, 1’08 minutes


Desalojarte, colour, 1’32 minutes


Invasion, colour, 3’25 minutes


Lanus, colour, 3’20 minutes


Aqui Viven Genocidas, colour, 10’26 minutes

Since 1997, Grupo de Arte Callejero has been demonstrating in the public spaces of Buenos Aires. The group designs traffic signs and posters and alters logos that mark specific instances of repression. These ‘tools’ are part of a collective action, whose dynamics change according to the subject and context of the intervention.

“We’ve been working for about 8 years with the aim of creating an area in which art and politics form part of the same production mechanism. This is why when defining our work the established barriers between general ideas about militancy and those about art break down. Right from the start we decided to look for a space to communicate visually that was outside the traditional circuit of exhibitions, taking as a base the appropriation of public spaces.”


3) Kanal B


60 Minutes, 2004

This 60 min documentary is about how Argentina was systematically ruined by US imperialism and the international financial institutions IMF and the world bank under the label of neo-liberalism, as well as the help of a corrupt political class. The compact and unanimous resistance of the public since the 19th/20th December 2001 has started to stir things up, slowly but surely: people are getting together in neighbourhood meetings, the unemployed are blocking streets, factories are being occupied and run by the workers, the unpunished military men (there were 30,000 missing people during the military dictatorship) and politicians are attacked on the street and openly condemned. The poor – who have no house, no tarmac roads, no money to eat – got to speak out, as well as professors, activists, factory occupants; the people who got together at the meetings.

by obeyanimals | Posted in Argentina Fabrica Social | No Comments » |
November 5th, 2011

Bioresistance and Society of Control

With his conception of ‘biopower’ and ‘governmentality’, Foucault revealed the myriad ways the operations of power extended far beyond the institutions of state. Biopower encompasses the breadth of techniques and strategies deployed in the modern state to regulate life, on the level of individuals and whole populations. Increasingly, particularly in neo-liberal political economies, control is exercised by non-state agencies and by individuals on themselves. Neo-liberalism, being opposed to welfare, wants an entrepreneurial and seemingly autonomous subject, one whose techniques of self-governance and goals are an internalisation of, and are in alignment with, those of the political economic system. In the digital age, the technologies of control are increasingly adaptable, mobile, immaterial, soft and shifting, as Deleuze anticipated in his analysis of a postmodern society of control.

If all life is captured by capitalist production, a new understanding of work must be the starting point for cultural production that resists biopower. As Hobsbawm recently stated, “we are facing a world in which the economy is increasingly turning into a system of reciprocal control rather than one of reciprocal services”. This section is devoted to the various facets of this emerging society of control and various manifestations of ‘bioresistance’ artists and activists are developing to counter it: the enclosure and disclosure of the knowledge ‘commons’, grass roots campaigns against the expansion and privatisation of ‘prison-industrial-complex’, community upheaval in the face of institutional racism, the search for public access to the drafting of common policies, the industrial genetic manipulation of food sources, etc.

Works by: Critical Art Ensemble (founded in 1987, New York), Ashley Hunt (1970, lives and works in Los Angeles), Black Audio Film Collective (active 1982-1998, London), Eyal Sivan, Copenhagen Free University,

1) Critical Art Ensemble

Germs of Deception, 2005

DVD, 6 min 42 sec

Critical Art Ensemble has recently given its attention also to the devastating effects of bacteriological experiments carried out in war programs by Great Britain and the USA. In Germs of Deception (2005) CAE reproduces (in ways which are not harmful both for the environment and the audience) the conditions of a bacteriological experiment carried out by the USA in 1949 when a group of trained soldiers let in the air a bacterium Serratia marcescens to contaminate completely the surrounding environment. Same simulation for Marching plague, repeating the British experiments to test the plague as bacteriological weapon in the Isle of Lewis in 1952-1953.

Marching Plague



2) Ashley Hunt

Corrections, 2001

(from Corrections documentary project)

DVD, 58 min

CORRECTIONS is a story of profits and mass imprisonment: how the histories of racial and economic inequality in the U.S. are emerging today from the walls of its prisons and how this crisis has formed the incentive, profit and resource base for an entire industry. Where the “Tough-on-Crime” movement meets the ending of welfare, globalization, finance capital and neo-liberal policy, and today, the “war on terrorism.” CORRECTIONS explores how prisons have fast become the accepted solution to unemployment and housing crises, crumbled schools, livable wages without credit and the undoing of the Western Social Contract, set within the scene of collapsed rural economies and the “urban decay” of potentially expensive neighborhoods.

Featuring stories of the leading correctional corporations, testimony from the world’s leading experts and the lives of ordinary people, CORRECTIONS takes audiences behind the walls of the prison system that Wall Street has called a “growth industry.”

** CORRECTIONS was made before September 11th, 2001, to which the state’s response of increasing detentions has not changed but rather grown and exacerbated what this film describes. In fact, the Bush administration used September 11th to grow the industry in a number of ways. “LOCKDOWNS UP”, a footnote on Corrections deals with this specifically.


A Footnote on Corrections

Lockdowns up 9/11, 2002

(A part of Corrections documentary project)

DVD, 9 min

What is the relationship between the “War on Terror” and the interests behind the growing U.S. prison industry? What have the events of September 11th meant for the already booming prison system? In addition to “correctional” agencies and corporations, who else is profiting from massive increases in incarceration and what other forms could that take?

LOCKDOWNS UP is a nine-minute video essay based upon the optimistic stock projections announced to Wall Street stock analysts by a private prison company, when Cornell Company made public its hopes that private prison companies may get fat government contracts to build interment camps for Arab Americans.

Issues touched upon: the War on Terror, the Patriot Act, the criminalization of immigrants and the booming of border control bureaucracies and companies, the Feds’ “bailout” of the private prison industry, the U.S.’ Internment Camps from World War II.


3) Black Audio Film Collective

Handsworth Songs

B&W and color, 58 min

Director John Akomfrah, Smoking Dogs Film with Channel Four TV

In October 1985 Britain witnessed a spate of race related riots in the Birmingham district of Handsworth and in urban centres of London. These were violent, tragic events, marked by the death of an elderly black woman, Joy Gardner, and a white policeman, Keith Blakelock. The film that eventually became Handsworth Songs did not begin its life as a meditation on civil disturbance. An interest in  questions of the slippages between history and memory, in the diverse technologies of independent filmmaking traditions, in the possibilities of sound collage, and the limits of documentary truth prefigured the film, running parallel to the events of that tumultuous winter, and subsequently informing what gradually became Black Audio Film Collective’s first film. Handsworth Songs takes as its point of departure the civil disturbances in Britain in 1985 and the inability of the British media to go beyond its concern with demonising or rationalising the rioters and their motives, to break the anxiety driven loop of morbid responses to the presence of blacks in Britain. Handsworth Songs  explores the idea that the riots represented less a self contained drama of  rage with a single origin and trajectory than a multiplicity of issues, ambivalences, to do with race, longing and belonging – not all of which could be shored up by recourse to a rhetoric of civil disorder. The film’s sense of multiplicity extends  to a rethinking of black British presence, and a refuting of the idea of a homogenous black community with a single sense of presence characterised by uniformity of ambition and expression. Instead the film evokes a broad range of voices, tones, registers. And it is through this panoply of positions and presences   that Handsworth Songs approaches  the riots and expresses  its central idea  –  that it is not the riots in their dramatic unfolding, nor even in the wake of their violent eruption, which provide us with a route into the drama. The film figures civil disorder as an inflamed and unstable sign, an opening onto a secret history of  dissatisfaction. A documentary whose subject is a cemeterial Britain, populated by ‘the ghosts of other stories’.


4) Eyal Sivan

Itgaber, He Will Overcome, 1993

20 min

A filmed essay about an uncompromising man. Using vocabulary that can be understood by everyone, Yeshayahou Leibowitz, Latvian born Jewish philosopher and scientist, shares with us his analysis of what makes Man: will, freedom, man’s choices, what is imposed upon him and how, by “triumphing over his own self”, he can escape the heaviness of this world. One of the greatest theorists of civil disobedience and a spiritual leader of the Israeli soldiers who refuse to carry out their military national service in the Occupied Territories, Prof. Leibowitz, who has always been very attached to the idea of divine law, explains, in a very provocative way, his position with regards to the law and authority in general, and with regards to the Israeli State and government in particular. His uncompromising words force each individual to face up to their responsibilities, both as a human being and as a citizen.


5) Copenhagen Free University

Trauma 1 – 11: Stories about the Copenhagen Free University and the surrounding society in the last ten years

24 min



What is 16 beaver

12 min 30 sec



November 5th, 2011

Protesting Capitalist Globalization

This section is about the new social movements against capitalist globalization, from the demonstrations of Seattle in 1999 to the G8 protest in Heiligendamm in 2007. What we might call the ‘Anti-Summit’ has emerged as the most visible expression of the global Multitude. It has given rise to new mobile, temporary and heterogeneous international communities. Some of the videos in this section seek to counter the supposedly objective portrayal of these protest movements by the mainstream media, re-instating radical left-wing perspectives through various techniques of self-representation.

Works by: Oliver Ressler (born 1970, lives and works in Vienna) and Zanny Begg (born 1972, lives and works in Sidney), Marcelo Expósito (born 1966, lives and works in Barcelona), Beth Bird (lives and works in Los Angeles, USA), The Department of Space and Land Reclamation with StreetRec.,  The Institute for Applied Autonomy, Las Agencias and AffectTech/BikeWriters (active in 2002, Chicago).


1) Marcelo Exposito

First of May (the City-Factory)/Primero de Mayo (la ciudad-fábrica), 2004

B/W and color, Mini DV transferred to DVD, 61 min

In the video Primero de mayo (la ciudad-fábrica) – Mayday  (The city-factory) – 2004 the Spanish artist speaks with the Italian philosopher Paolo Virno about the metaphor of “virtuosity” as a precondition of current forms of labour and new political movements. The film traces the development from Fordism to post-Fordism as exemplified in the restructuring of the Lingotto/Fiat plant in Turin and then focuses closely on the work of the Italian chainworkers group and its activities during the Mayday festivities in Milan. Its hostile intervention in the “institution of the first of May”, i.e in the historical, political and symbolic space occupied by the conflicts associated with the concept of labour, is an indication of the existence of a new form of “precarious potential” in metropolitan social culture.


2) Bernardette Corporation

Get Rid of Yourself, 2003

DV, 61 min, featuring Chloe Sevigny and Werner von Delmont



3) Oliver Ressler with Zanny Begg

What Would It Mean to Win?, 2008

Colour, 40 minutes

What Would It Mean To Win? was filmed on the blockades at the G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany in June 2007. It discusses the current state of the anti-globalisation movement. The film, which combines documentary footage, interviews, and animation sequences, is structured around three questions: ‘Who are we?’ ‘What is our power?’ ‘What would it mean to win?’

Almost ten years after Seattle, the film explores its impact on contemporary politics. Seattle has been described as the birthplace of the “movement of movements” and is regarded as the moment when a new social subject – the multitude – entered the political landscape.


4) Beth Bird

Everyone Their Grain of Sand, 2004

Color, 87 minutes

“Everyone Their Grain of Sand”  examines the impact of global industrialization on land ownership in Tijuana. The film follows the struggle of the community of Maclovio Rojas, a highly-organized, low-income community on the outskirts of Tijuana which has been in a land struggle for over 15 years. The community is in conflict with the state government, which wants to evict them and use the land for corporate development. In December 2002 the state arrested one community leader and attempt to arrest two others who managed to escape and go into hiding, where they remain to this day. The film locates this struggle within the context of globalization, NAFTA, the maquiladora industry and socio-political landscape of the U.S./Mexican border.


5) The Department of Space and Land Reclamation (with StreetRec.,  The Institute for Applied Autonomy, Las Agencias and AffectTech/BikeWriters)

Retooling Dissent, 2004

Color, 20’ 12’’

The Department of Space and Land Reclamation developed from a weekend of cultural activity in public space that brought together a diverse group of artists, activists, and community organizers to learn from each other.

The video Retooling Dissent documents dissent and experimentation around the February 2nd, 2002, meeting of the World Economic Forum in Manhattan (NYC) at the Waldorf Astoria hotel. The annual conference of global executives and the corporate élite turned the streets of New York into a police state. Meanwhile artists and activists, tactical media practitioners, from around the world, sent out a clear message: The 9/11 attacks will not gag the critiques of globalization. This video explores the ideas of four collectives at the WEF protests.


by obeyanimals | Posted in Protesting Capitalist Globalization | No Comments » |
November 5th, 2011

1977 Italian Exit

This section focuses on revolutionary politics in Italy in the 1970s, especially 1977, the year the movement climaxed in large-scale violent confrontations with a reactionary and authoritarian state. The videos here were political tools in the students’ and workers’ struggles that define that crucial year. They include works by Italian underground cinema pioneer Alberto Grifi (1938-2007, Rome) and by the independent video collective Dodo Brothers (active in 1977, Bologna), among others. Key episodes in and around 1977 were featured in the videos: the Parco Lambro Festival in June 1976, the police raid on Alice Radio and the Congress against the repression in Bologna. The roots of the contemporary multitude can be traced back to the post-Workerist radical left in Italy in 1977, whose heterogeneous protagonists were no longer limited to factory workers. As Italian theoretician Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi writes: ‘the 1977 movement in its expressive forms and in its political intuitions seems to be current in the behavioural strategies of the movement after Seattle, and more generally, in the behaviours of political and existential independence in the living cultures (I can no longer use the word alternative) of our times. How come? From my perspective, the answer lies in the two-sided, ambivalent nature of the 1977 movement, which is partly influenced – especially in its awareness – by the history of the workers’ and communist revolution of the 20th century. On the other hand (and perhaps in the more vibrant, deeper and less superficially sensitive part), it is an anticipation of the social and anthropological crisis of the forms of modernity and perhaps of the forms of humanity.’ (Berardi, excerpted from Disobedience and Cognitariat, a conversation with Marco Scotini, 2005).


1) Alberto Grifi

Festival of the young Proletariat at Parco Lambro, Milan, 1976

Video, b/w and color, 30 minutes

In Parco Lambro Grifi transforms the shooting of a video into an active strategy aimed at real events.  The video is a record of the revolt that arose at the sixth Festival of the Young Proletariat held in Milan in 1976, but the function of the camera changes according to the unpredictable nature of events: filming becomes direct involvement, catalyzing participation. The influential philosopher Antonio Negri wrote about the events at Parco Lambro: “In fact, climbing over those barriers enclosing the park meant entering another world – but it is true to say that what poured out through that funnel had already fermented, a change had occurred in the people’s conscience, their power already vibrated, and a multitude issued from the park.”


2) Alberto Grifi

Dinni and the Normalina (La Videopolizia Psichiatrica Contro i Sedicenti Nuclei di Follia Militante)

Docu-fiction, color, 23 minutes


3) Dodo Brothers (Andrea Ruggeri and Giancarlo Vitali Ambrogio)

Ciao Mamma, Ciao Papà, 1977

Magnetic tape reel transferred to video, b/w, 15 minutes

In this film, the 1977 movement speaks to the world and represents itself. Friends are in prison, repression is intense and the Communist Party claims that the people of the movement are provocateurs: the Dodo Brothers make a video to speak for the movement. The Rai – Italian Public TV – agrees to show it in an early evening slot, complete and without censorship, an event which is inconceivable today. Ciao Mamma Ciao Papà marks a radical break with the militant-ideological documentary. It offers a new form of narration where irony is used to express serious matters.


Camera-car, 1977

Magnetic tape reel transferred to video, b/w, 11’20 minutes

The film is comprised of a single shot sequence of the city of Bologna filmed from the roof rack of a slow moving Renault. The intention is to look at the city from the point of view of the thousands of new visitors,  who have come for a three day National Conference Against Repression that have seen participation of numerous intellectuals including French philosophers such as Félix Guattari among others.


4) Laboratorio di Comunicazione Militante

L’ARMA DELL’IMMAGINE – manipolazioni – (Image as a weapon- manipulations-)

Video transferred on DVD, 15 min

Image as a weapon  is a video made together with youngsters during a workshop at the exhibition The Information Strategy (Milan,1976). It is not just a simple documentation but a result of a collective creation in which young interlocutors of Laboratorio di Comunicazione Militante (LCM) explore the diverse use of the tools for video recording that were still at the first phase of their development at the time and analyse the language and manipulations that lie behind the system of information.

This document from 1977 is a perfect example of the typical strategies used by LCM, that through direct and socially engaged experience were aimed to decode and reveal some logics used by the main power structures.


5) Gianfranco Baruchello (with Alberto Grifi) 

A Cause des Mouches (Because of the flies) taken from Doux comme saveur (Sweet as a taste), 1979

Magnetic tape transferred to video, b/w, 17 min

This work by Italian artist Gianfranco Baruchello and experimental cinema pioneer Grifi is their second collaboration which documents some of the “maître à penser” interviewed in Paris during ’78. Using as a starting point for the interviews a discussion on sweetness and then death, black and white camera portrays thinkers like Lyotard, Cooper, Guattari, Klossowsky and others while they express their thoughts.

by obeyanimals | Posted in 1977 Italian Exit | No Comments » |

Powered by Wordpress using the theme bbv1