25-33: The Peoples’ Machinery
Fight or flee? Smash the machinery of the state, appropriate it, or exit it entirely? Work through it, around it, or despite of it? In the wake of Occupy Wall Street, the question of how, or if, to engage with the state has become increasingly vexed. The same technologies that have enabled ever-intensifying programs of surveillance and regulations also have the potential to facilitate new forms of participatory democracy and non-hierarchical organizing. Over the course of Speculations ("The future is ______"), multiple cases were made for either ameliorating the state, reinventing it altogether, or establishing autonomous entities beyond its purview. The state’s shortcomings and alternatives were addressed in relation to two distinct—yet, ironically, related—institutions: the school and the prison.
Rachel Kushner is author of the novels The Flamethrowers and Telex from Cuba (a finalist for the National Book Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize) and, most recently, a collection of stories called The Strange Case of Rachel K. She is a 2013 Guggenheim Fellow. She described a future in which the American prison system has been dissolved.
Monday, May 13, 20132 p.m. seminar (no audio recording available)4 p.m. lecture (audio recording below)
Naeem Mohaiemen is a writer and visual artist who works in Dhaka and New York and explores the history of the international left and utopia. He speculated on leftist alternatives to piety politics in Muslim-majority countries.
Thursday, June 6, 20132 p.m. seminar (no audio recording available)4 p.m. lecture (audio recording below)
Carne Ross is a former British diplomat and founder of the nonprofit advisory group Independent Diplomat. He is also the author of The Leaderless Revolution. He described a future in which political power is redistributed from governments to individuals.
Friday, June 21, 20132 p.m. seminar (no audio recording available)4 p.m. lecture (audio recording below)
Yates McKee is an art critic and organizer with various Occupy projects including Strike Debt. His work has appeared in venues including October, Grey Room, the Nation, and Waging Nonviolence. He is coeditor of the book Sensible Politics: The Visual Cultures of Nongovernmental Activism, as well as the magazine Tidal: Occupy Theory, Occupy Strategy. He gave a lecture, “Aliens from the Future,” in which he speculated about the future of radical education with reference to Occupy Wall Street, Free Cooper Union, the Far Rockaways, and the east side of Detroit.
Monday, June 17, 20132 p.m. seminar (no audio recording available)4 p.m. lecture (audio recording below)
Thomas Drake is a former senior executive of the National Security Agency (NSA) and whistleblower indicted under the Espionage Act. The charges were eventually dropped. Trevor Paglen is an artist and the author of books on experimental geography and state secrecy. Jesselyn Radack is national security and human rights director for the Government Accountability Project. She works primarily with national security and intelligence community whistleblowers, and represented Drake in the government’s unsuccessful prosecution. The three participants discussed government surveillance and how ordinary citizens can reclaim their anonymity.
Sunday, June 30, 20131 p.m. seminar (audio recording below)
Elizabeth Stark has taught at Stanford and Yale about the future of the Internet and has served as entrepreneur-in-residence at Stanford’s StartX. Astra Taylor is a documentarian, Strike Debt activist, and author of The People’s Platform: And Other Digital Delusions. They debated technological and anti-institutional approaches to the future of education.
Sunday, July 7, 20133 p.m. seminar (audio recording below)
Danny Marcus is a PhD candidate in art history at the University of California, Berkeley, whose writings on the Occupy movement have appeared in October and the n+1 Occupy! Gazette. He described what a communist future would look like, and how to get there.
Monday, July 15, 20132 p.m. seminar (no audio recording available)4 p.m. lecture (audio recording below)