The Institute of Radical Imagination inaugurates the SCHOOL OF MUTATION with a public presentation online on June 25th 18:00 CET
please register here to join us online!
As pioneered by Deleuze and Guattari, “mutation” has been increasingly used in the social sciences since the 90s to give an account of the complex transformations of global capitalist societies, which defy the epistemological capacities of humanistic disciplines and the axioms of traditional political thought.
Its contemporary success reflects the fact that “hard sciences”, such as molecular biology, quantum physics and mathematical analysis had taken the leash in dealing with the “mutant nature” of both natural and social phenomena, being in charge of defining, predicting, taming, or even artificially provoking mutations. But the contemporary currency of the term coincides as well with the search for a radical redefinition of notions of agency and new forms of political subjectivation, opening to ecologists and post-anthropocentric ways of thinking.
Applied to the current situation, triggered by the essentially mutant nature of a virus, the use of this concept raises a whole set of new questions which our SCHOOL OF MUTATIONS should address politically:
What’s the nature of the mutations to come? Who is defining them? Which languages are used? Does it also involve a mutation in language? What’s our role in this process? Are we part of the specimen, the scientist which observes or/and catalyzes the mutation in his laboratory or both? Are we a mutant virus or rather an antibody? Should we altogether resist this model of thought?
About THE SCHOOL OF MUTATION
since the beginning of april, due to our desperate experience of quarantine, we have been discussing the idea to set up an online school and we are now launching this platform not just out of the impossibility of off-line meetings, but also out of necessity to share new knowledge and experiences from different locations – such as istanbul, venice, milan, naples, istanbul, madrid, athens, saint petersburg, london and other places where many members of iri – artists, theorists, activists are based.
together we want to explore and develop new practices and knowledge that contribute to the formation of new forms of life and its meanings as the practices of struggle for the commons. the common meant as decommodified social relations of making, caring and learning.
this pandemic has accelerated the ‘externalities’ of late capitalism, as deaths and dispossession disproportionally fall upon, the most precarious and vulnerable population, the necropolitics of capitalist enclosures rehearse its new powers in nursing homes, immigration camps, prisons and patriarchal households; and new technologies of immunization, isolation and extermination prefigure a biopolitical and anthropological regime-shift, unimaginable and unpredictable and yet terrifying. and yes despite these, the sudden degrowth, demonetization and socialization of life opens up new possibilities for re-learning, regathering and redoing from below.
our program of re-learning is based on new forms of research which analyse and mutate covid-related forms of human and non-human interventions into some process which could benefit the movements of commons, care and asceticism in culture, and radical imagination across art and society. as paul preciado has suggested “we must operate a critical reappropriation of biopolitical techniques“.
the program is based on the idea of building an immediate community of researchers who share similar concerns and looking for ways out of our “old and new normality” – known as quarantine, distancing, control, sickness and death. we are looking for other mutations, from individualization to commonality, from profit driven innovations to radical care and life in community.
nothing starts from the scratch and we need to use this dramatic moment of frustration, confusion and deep economic crisis to resist the possible transformation of education into a new form of alienated profit driven business. we do not want to participate in the process of instrumentalization of health control for benefiting nationalistic consensus of purity. instead, we want to start a process of commoning with all “dirty” groups – a new international of vulnerable and precarious beings.
we invite you to join our open structure, which combines research-seminars facilitated by iri members with your own ideas about transformation of art and culture during the pandemic and the ensuing regime of health control. the themes of these seminars are composed of four iterations: archives & militant cinema; the future of art institutions; radical care and art for ubi, which will be developed organically by all school participants.