With great pleasure, Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory and Open! Platform for Art, Culture and the Public Domain invite our colleagues and publics to participate in an open forum with Stefano Harney, co-author with Fred Moten of The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study (2013). We will focus on some key concepts from the book—commons, undercommons, general antagonism, study, and black aesthetics—and how they offer us ways to act together both within and beyond the institutional frameworks of art and academia.
This forum is organized in light of both the ongoing “Commonist Aesthetics” series published on Open! as a joint effort with Casco and series co-editor Sven Lütticken, and its offshoot “Common Knowledge”, a “virtual round table” on the state of academic institutions in the Netherlands and further afield in the wake of massive protests and occupations.
Politics propose to make us better, but we were good already in the mutual debt than can never be made good. We owe it to each other to falsify the institution, to make politics incorrect, to give the lie to our own determination.
—The Undercommons, p. 20
Breaking with the fantasy that the “true” university can be protected against professionalization and managerialism, Harney and Moten draw on a black radical tradition to propose an underground within the university. This “undercommons” rife with “possibilities of criminality and fugitivity” precipitates a mode of acting—or being and learning together—that extends outside the university to any institution, inclusive of those that are self-governed or beholden to a regulatory or corrective apparatus. Cautious of the possible oppression of even the commons and any politics, the undercommons proposes an alternative to existing notions of critique and resistance, pushing for radical forms of sociality and collectivity as both the end and means of life.
Please join us to “come to terms together” with the undercommons, and even to practice or organize the undercommons!
Reservations are required as seats are limited. Please e-mail Ying Que, firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study (Minor Compositions, 2013)
—“The Alternative is at Hand,” interview with Stefano Harney and Fred Moten by Stacy Hardy (Chronic, 2015)
—“Revolution at Point Zero: Discussing the Commons,” discussion with Silvia Federici and Tine De Moor (Open!, 2014)
The “Commonist Aesthetics” series debates the potentials and pitfalls of commoning, and different conceptions of the commons, in the framework of contemporary aesthetic practice. Contributions so far include a discussion with Silvia Federici and Tine De Moor, a project by Andreas Siekmann, and essays by Christoph Brunner and Gerald Raunig, Marina Vishmidt, Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen, and Sven Lütticken and Isabell Lorey. Among upcoming contributions are new essays by Matteo Pasquinelli and Metahaven. The series is available here.
Stefano Harney is Professor of Strategic Management Education at Singapore Management University. In addition to co-authoring the abovementioned work, he is the author of State Work: Public Administration and Mass Intellectuality (2002) and The Ends of Management (forthcoming).
Workshop with Stefano Harney on study
In the context of A Studio in Hand-Reading: Charlotte Wolff, a project by Valentina Desideri at Kunstverein (Gerard Doustraat 132, 1073 VX, Amsterdam)
Friday 19 June, 18:00–20:00 hrs