attempts at living

to make a system out of delusions

Tag: police


Choreography as a political concept.

If I can’t dance, it’s not my revolution!, anarchist and feminist Emma Goldman was reported to have proclaimed.

Bodies in space creating their relationship to space.

The sovereign/power/capital/whatever as the choreographer and the bodies in the administrative space as analogous to dancers.

Choreographic space is not overdetermined or overdetermining but is mutated by the movement of actual bodies in the production/mutation of an only-ever ideally administered space.

Between the choreographer, the body of the dancer, and the production of choreographic (administered) and danced (embodied, lived) spaces their are multiple moments of agental autonomy.

Dance, as a non-verbal, non-linguistic aesthetic does not privilege textural, discursive, or ideological models of critique (although it may include these features).

The figure of the choreographer translates a concept of transcendent cognitive authority back into an immanent, relational and always itself struggling object that orchestrates what is visible without itself necessarily being visible.

The dancer, as a body-without-image and a body-in-motion, is unidentifiable with any subject-position or frozen moment but only with and through their own trajectory.

The dancer necessarily mutates aesthetic regimes in her movement.

The dancer does not passively #Occupy! space but is involved in the continuous reproduction, renegotiation and creation of multiple spaces.

That dance is not simply movement but movements with rhythm implies that the body of the dancer does not simply generate space but also time. Dance denies the idea that spacetime exists as a container in which motion takes place, and as such bends and warps totality and location.

Typically we think in terms of the organism and its environment as if they were resolutely separable. Man and nature; planet and cosmos. If the book is an extension of the eye, and the electrical circuit an extension of the central nervous system, what is it that choreographed movement is an extension of? The dancer performs under this view as a medium. The body of the dancer enacts a carnal communiqué to other bodies about bodies, about ‘what it is a body can do’ (Spinoza).

The dancer as a medium is also an extension of the choreographic imagination, a good analogue for the citizen as the extension rather than the result of any administrative subjectivation. For both citizen and dancer there is always an openness to the ruin and innovation of the vision they are supposed to embody. Disobedience remains live in both performances.

Dance may be more or less abstract, more or less pure, more or less mathematical, more or less athletic, it may take singular or multiple forms, but it cannot forget the body, cannot erase the body. Even the solo is a question of the more than one, of a recombinatory logic that implies and extends out to other bodies.

Other bodies may be conceived in terms of those of the spectator, of other dancers, of the dancer’s own potential other bodies yet to be actualised through her virtuosity.

Contrary to what may seem obvious dance does not collude with ocularcentric regimes. Dance can never depart from kineaesthetic intelligence, embodied cognitive processing, and with the affectivity of the dancing body.

An anarchoreography is the autonomous choreographing of the dancer-without-choreographer, who is her own choreographer.


Allometric engineering of desire

You cannot train yourself to successfully and sustainedly unsee and unhear — you do them all the time, but they also fail, repeatedly, and you cheat, repeatedly, in all sorts of small ways. The book mentions that several times. It is absolutely about absolute fidelity to those particular urban protocols, exaggerations or extrapolations of the ones that I think are all around us all the time in the real world; but it’s also about cheating them, and failing them, and playing a little fast and loose, which I think is an inextricable part of such norms.

– China Mieville

The brand exclusion zone legitimises a certain morphology of desire whilst disavowing that which it considers illegitimate. Yet prostitution continues.

The BBC’s own Caesar Flickerman (the interviewer who extracts maximum sentimental affect from the Hunger Games contestants before they face their deaths in the arena) is the creepily tactile trackside interviewer Phil Jones. Jones’s “interviews” with exhausted athletes, are surely as ritualised as any Chinese state broadcast. Emote. Emote again. Emote differently. Praise the crowd.

-Mark Fisher, The London Hunger Games. Here.

the militant city and Ranciere

The militant city is an ongoing research into the politics of critical art in two Olympic cities: London and Barcelona. The project investigates the role of art in the configuration of an antagonistic space in relation to the Olympic event. This webpage maps the project’s progress through a series of case studies, and will also serve as an archive for the events we have been involved with. Because of its nature, the webpage will remain a work in progress for the duration of the project, due to finish in early 2013.

The Olympic Games provide the neo-liberal backdrop against which the relationship between cultural production and the political will be inquired. The Olympic mega-event is akin to Rancière’s ‘order of the police’: it regulates what is visible and invisible, sayable and unsayable, thinkable and unthinkable; it distributes individuals and groups in positions of ruler or ruled. We are interested in eruptions of dissensus against this consensual space: works that challenge that cartography of the sensible and the thinkable; practices that shake up the ordering of what can be seen, said, or thought.

The militant city is a Birkbeck, University of London, project, with funding from the Spanish Ministry of Education. The team is currently formed by Mari Paz Balibrea (principal investigator) and Isaac Marrero-Guillamón (researcher).

And here is a video of Todd May giving something of an introduction to the political thought of Ranciere

I remember seeing Todd May deliver a similar lecture to this at Middlesex University some years ago, and I remember Eric Alliez being particularly vicious. Perhaps what we are seeing during London 2012 is a kind of eclipsing of the Deleuzian politics, and the need to  return to a properly an-archic politics. The organisation of rage will always rest on dissensus within and against, making visible, the police

The essence of the police is neither repression nor even control over the living. Its essence is a certain manner of partitioning the sensible. We will call ‘partition of the sensible’ a general law that defines the forms of part-taking by first defining the modes of perception in which they are inscribed. The partition of the sensible is the cutting-up of the world and of ‘world;’ it is the nemeïn upon which the nomoi of the community are founded. This partition should be understood in the double sense of the word: on the one hand, that which separates and excludes; on the other, that which allows participation. [1]



Returning to the militant city, the sense in which the Olympics is the perfect exemplar of the distribution of the sensible becomes evident:


The Olympics can arguably be described as a laboratory for the neoliberal city utopia; after all, the Games represent the success of a brand and an event based on a combination of massive urban renewal, dodgy governance, hugely profitable advertising and broadcasting contracts, the corporatisation and militarisation of public space, and the criminalisation of dissent. The Olympics depend, to a large scale, on their ability to operate on a clean, consensual space: without history, without discontents, without opposition. [full post]



[1] Ranciere. Ten Thesis on Politics. Here.



Olympic Policing and counter-policing

More than 130 cyclists were arrested by police close to the Olympic Stadium on the opening night of the Games.





Legal observers from NetPol members Green and Black Cross and Legal Defence Monitoring Group will be monitoring the policing of demonstrations and protests that take place over the next six weeks. In east London, NetPol member Newham Monitoring Project (NMP) is organising a pool of over 100 trained ‘community legal observers’ who will patrol in Stratford, Canning Town and the surrounding areas that are predominently poor, working class and the home of black and Asian communities. NMP is aiming to gather evidence of the misuse of sweeping police stop & search and dispersal powers, especially those targeting young people




IF you ever had difficulty understanding Jacques Ranciere, the Olympic Games in London has brought out into the open his notion of ‘police order’ and the ‘distribution of the sensible’.


The Imaginary Party


The economy is fucked.  But it has always been fucked, that’s the point.

Our friends in Quebec get this.

They’ve been out on the streets every week for 9 months, firstly demanding free education, and now, it seems, everything.

The Quebec state passed a law banning public assembly – they know when they are threatened – and since then, each week, thousands have gone on to the streets to break that law and thousands have been arrested.  This party is to raise money to help those people in Quebec who get that they’ve been tricked and are being arrested by the State for getting it.

The rioters in England last August also seemed to get this.  Choosing not to wait for some distant, imaginary rewards gained through shit jobs, they instead took what they wanted.  This seems sensible to us.  What other options are on offer?

The crowning achievement of British capitalism just now seems to be putting London under military occupation for some running races in the East End.  We are asked to work more for less money.  And the promised land of British capitalism seems to be ‘a little bit less shit than now, a long time in the future’.

Fuck that future.

If that future is linked to the work of this society and to doing the work of this economy which, we have noticed, has a tendency not to work for most people then good, lets have no future. Thousands of pensioners a year were freezing to death in this great country because they were too poor to heat their homes long before the crisis.

No return to the good old days.  Working forever, for nothing, in debt, doing something you hate, just doesn’t appeal that much.

These observations are not new, just remembered and growing.

Our tendency is for Full Communism.  But for now expect resistance (and parties…)



Text from THE IMAGINARY PARTY tumblr blog.


The name The Imaginary Party is likely taken from a text titled ‘Theses on the Imaginary Party’ that appear in the ultra-left  journal Tiqqun #1, back in 1999. And what a sexy text it is too:


Because the Spectacle, in virtue of the congenital aberration in its vision of the world no less than in light of strategic considerations,cannot say, see, or understand a single thing about the Imaginary Party, whose substance is purely metaphysical, the particular form in which the latter erupts into visibility is the catastrophe-form. The catastrophe is what discloses but cannot be disclosed. Thus it must be understood that catastrophe only exists for the Spectacle; it ruins, in a single, irreversible blow, all the Spectacle’s patient labor to pass off as The World that which is merely its Weltanschauung — and this shows that, like everything finite, it is incapable of conceiving of its own annihilation. In each “catastrophe” it is the commodity mode of disclosure itself being disclosed/revealed and suspended. Its character as something obvious and taken for granted thus shatters. The totality of the categories it imposes for use in the apprehension of reality is destroyed. Interest, equivalence, calculation, utility, labor, value – all are derailed by the unattributability of negation. And so the Imaginary Party, within the Spectacle, is understood as the party of chaos, crisis, and disaster.


Philosophia had it’s politics. Perhaps Catastrophia does too. Catastrophic politics? Yes please…



This video and tumblr blog were found via Autodespair (who is also tracing the police order that is redistributing identified populations and commercial activities in a bid to present a gleaming happy city, necessary traces of urban psychopathology subtracted and undesirables cleared from view- this blog has steered clear of politics but I might write something on this phenomena soon).


Interview with Mark Fisher (aka K-Punk) at Occupy Times. The best bits:

I think those involved in the riots [in London back in the summer of 2011] were largely exactly the kind of people I was just talking about – those for whom ‘politics’ means absolutely nothing. I’m not saying that the riots weren’t ‘political’, that they were an inexplicable upsurge of criminality, as the right did. The riots were political, but in a negative sense – they were a massive symptom of a failure of politics, an expression of discontent which lacked political goals or strategy. These are the signs of a system verging on collapse; people took part because they felt radically excluded. The invisible wall that prevents people from acting like this had collapsed – there was so little on offer that there was almost no incentive not to riot. It’s to be hoped that the discontent that exploded so powerfully, and, in many cases so tragically, in the riots, can be harnessed…

…But we have to remember that the police aren’t the enemy, they are the servants of the enemy, and if all of our energy is taken up struggling against them, then they are doing their job for their masters very effectively. Ultimately, it must be far better if the servants are turned against their masters…

…his is the objective irony of capital: nothing sells better than anti-capitalism. Or, even more bleakly, late capitalism’s culture is anti-capitalist.

Full article here.

Yet for all this the organisation of rage isn’t taken seriously. People say that Occupy lacks demands, that it lacks any design or goal, even that it lacks ambition. It’s the temporary autonomous zone’s new clothes. We’re in the same island as before. Occupy is indeed anemic. It was the rioters who were full of vigor. We live in a time of collapse. The old is fragmenting, coming apart and being left behind. Historically, we are now in the interstice. New demands, goals, ambitions…these will be formulated only by the agents that accelerate the collapse of this moribund mode of civilization, agents who are it;s ultimate product. Around us the world is a catacomb of corpses…and one does not articulate demands to a corpse.

Why continue to care about politics at all in the wake of its failure and in the dawning of a consciousness that admits little in the way of existential optimism? Because we go on living and as long as that is the case we will find ourselves enmeshed in one politics or another. It is not a question of deciding, it is not undecidable…it’s already decided.