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Over-identification and/or Bust?

Public discussion with Stevphen Shukaitis on issues raised by the publication:

Cultural Activism Today - The Art of Over-Identification

1-3pm, Sunday 18th May -- all welcome

Uisge Beatha
232 Woodlands Road
Glasgow G3 6ND

U - Kelvin Bridge

If, as claimed within the autonomist tradition, capitalism derives its lifeblood from attempts to negate it, where does this leave the position of the subversive artist? Of the aesthetics of resistance? At a point where the distance between the legacy of the modernist avant-garde and the advertising industry grow ever slimmer, or disappear completely, how is it possible to assert an aesthetic or cultural practice that is not immediately utilized against itself by capitalism and the state?

overident image

Over the past several decades there have been attempts found upon drawing out the submerged ideological and political content within artistic and cultural works as they act against their stated goals. This 'strategy of overidentification' has been developed, starting within the realm of psychoanalytic theory, and then forged into tools for political intervention by collectives such as Neue Sloweinsche Kunst and the Yes Men, both to counter the concentrated spectacle of state capitalism as well as the diffuse horror of neoliberal governance.

In other words, rather than attempting to create critical, distanced, interventions, to affirm the closure and horror of the current situation of power and exploitation by pushing it to its most extreme position, and to unmask the ways in which such ideologies operate upon and through disguised levels of pleasure. Instead of succumbing to society’s demand for small creative acts, artists should over-identify with the ruling, post-historical order and take the latter’s immanent laws to their most extreme, dystopian consequences...

Join us for a meander through the  'Creative' think-wonkery of structural maladjustment, from the urban deployment of the Rebel Clown Army to the perverse counter-play of The Yes Men, and beyond...

'Cultural Activism Today - The Art of Over-Identification'
BAVO / Gideon Boie, Matthias Pauwels [eds]
ISBN 978-90-5973-061-8

Stevphen Shukaitis is an activist and research fellow / PhD student at the University of London, Queen Mary. He is the co-author/editor of ‘Constituent Imagination: Militant Investigations, Collective Theorization’ (2007) AKPress. He is a member of the Ephemera: Theory & Politics in Organization editorial board, the Autonomedia Editorial Collective, and the Planetary Alternatives Network. He seeks to develop non-vanguardist forms of social research as part of the global conspiracy against capitalism.


Download a PDF of the flier here.

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