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e-flux conversations

Welcome to Supercommunity & Superconversations, Day 1

In Chomsky’s piece by the same name (“Intellectuals and Power”) he essentially asserts that the more you know the more responsibility you have - to speak truth to power. Something like a reverse riff on Milton’s “they who have put out the people’s eyes, reproach them of their blindness”. It is because we are always-already complicit as intellectuals and artists that there is any such question of responsibility, for Chomsky, while those who are ostensibly less complicit (for having had their eyes put out, as Milton has it), do not carry this burden. To my mind then, I’d say it is a shirking of responsibility to remain primarily in the worlds of public space and print media when such mediums are capable of reaching only a tiny sliver of humanity comparatively and at a much slower pace, to boot. Yes we are complicit, but the medium that is chosen and the manner in which it is enacted plays a major role in all of this parsing, I would say.

Yes absolutely, as well as the virtual desires that constitute their allure, which are not always the same as actual desires.

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Good call, and I agree, we need to intersect in all worlds that we can.

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My biggest concern is that in the often exacerbated and superheated quest to develop emancipatory tools that we too readily concede all to neoliberalism. That’s my main idea.


Yes totally, which I think is why they emphasized “some” countries, etc. - rather than claiming to be fully global ahead of time.

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It’s not about the tools it’s about the tool-being! :smile:


The supercommunity is a crack in the wall where the brick don’t quite fit, and under economic capitalism that crack “appears” as a commodity amongst an “immense collection.” In the beginning, it is quantifiable into a cash value. But, that quantification is dependent upon it having a qualitative value that meets human needs. This supercommunity functions (qualitatively) to open up a platform for dialogue not purposed by the superstructure that moves beyond the superstructure within the supersturcture. It aims to creates a platform to work out the technical aspects for a move beyond economic capitalism within it. Whether or not this happens, at the minnimum (as Carlos wrote) “it should be a damn good conversation.”


Absolutely, and some of the upcoming articles we’re discussing are going to be amazing, without a doubt. Can’t wait.

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The question of complicity can be construed as a contribution , a donation, of tactical (differentiated) identity positioning that gets subsumed within the automated vectoralization of subjectivity. A “super-subjective” may be used as a super-positioning , or in a Laruellian notion , a clone of that process of subsumption thereby objectifying the process as a syntactical structure . Paying attention to the recurrence of points of syntactical anomaly as well as syntactical resemblance in a super-community can possibly shape an analog experiment (a transcendental empiricism ) alongside the relentless subsumption of aesthetic and political agency within this digital context.

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“Body is invalid, try to be a little more descriptive”


I logged in to respond to this provocation and as I enter the WYSWYG I am prompted to ask myself

  • Does my reply improve the conversation in some way?
  • Am I interacting with my fellow [super]community members in a manner that promotes harmonious [super]community-being?
  • Am I building something with the substance of the communications from my fellow [super]community members?

These are precisely in the spirit of what I came to discuss, we “join because [we] are not free-floating individuals, but rather singularities that emerge from conditions of collectivity. Supercommunity begins from this assumption.”

We become particular these particular supercommunity members by performing our understandings of the conventions that have generated causa sui. That is, we have these social conventions, but we’ve never convened. A final clause I did not include above:

  • I am warned that this panel, containing this proviso will only appear before me for the first two posts I create.

This is a message only for the test driver. After I have submitted my posts, I am in the digital wilderness, self-proctoring the test.

To play the ol’ etymology angle: we become our own procurators (proctor being the contraction of the term), gathering lulz or likes, or whathaveyou in this specific space because they cannot be procured in any other medium. The supercommunity is our curacy: the social medium in which we demonstrate our contemporary self-care regime. We are our own curators, charged with accurate (ad+cura) social-reproduction.

From my understanding of the Confucian perspective, I recognize that social-reproduction isn’t the repetition of the same regime, the same boundaries indissoluble. Rather, as the old poem states, “When making an axe handle, the model is never far,” and elsewhere, “chopping wood, suo, suo (伐木所所).” Suo 所 here is the sound of the wood being hewn, like “thock, thock.” But suo also can communicate place-ness, here-ness.

Where will our community gather, where will we build our gathering place (our superþing)? Build it here (suo, suo). We will need the axes that create the timber, suo, suo, the model is not far. Our curacy is finding what is best in what has come before us, adapting it to our current needs, and behaving in a manner that can be trusted by those generations still to come.


Precisely–we’re all talking, but who’s listening? And maybe even more important, WHO is talking because let’s face it: we’re all homogenized behind the keyboard.

I’m wondering if there will be a return to this opening conversation thread in the future–I anticipate that we will continue to return to the original call demand (desire?). I know I have in my thoughts over the last 24+ hours.


I would like to suggest that the missing word in this conversation is “institution.” Andrea Fraser’s “From the Critique of Institutions to an Institution of Critique” is cited frequently and a typical component in the college contemporary art syllabus (it was in mine), but I don’t think people take that incisive article and it’s slogan to heart. (Digression: if we had understood earlier that IC was the aesthetic model of corporate consulting—and stands in similar relation to the power brokers of the art world as consultants stand to CEOs—we would be better equipped today to avoid critical down-spirals and gestures towards the social.)

An institution is not merely a formal organization. An institution as an (observable) pattern of collective action, justified by a corresponding social norm. Such social norms (which are expressed in embodied patterns) are sometimes formalized in juridical ways, like bylaws and statutes, but not always: take Painting with a capital P, for example, which was absolutely an institution in the mid-century USA. Instituting is a constant performative practice, which proposes ideas and enforces coherences in order to orient subjects towards the world and turn intents into impacts.

One problem with institutions is that they are not often externally accountable in the same way that entities on the market are. We will see how cliquish the New Centre becomes, now that it’s direct market pressure has been relieved by the grant of a monopoly over the Venice superconversations. E-flux has always been generous and open, and yet the soft censorship exercised by habits of taste, language and has made it embarrassingly cliquish, unaccountable in important ways (of course, it is accountable to certain groups: but not to ones that matter; anyone care to expand?). I write from the heart and am grateful for Conversations.

The reason that the New Centre is not precarious, in a state of risk, is because it is committed to being a robust institution. That’s because institutionalism actually minimizes the risks that come from market processes. This is what "anti-markets’ in the work of some historians or philosophers refers to.

Carlos mentions “multitudes in the singular” and “singular collectivities,” but nowhere mentions institutions. I worry that this is a mark of a reflexive anti-institutionalism that seems the single most debilitating habit of the Left. I am specifically mentioning Carlos’ writing because he is earnest in his discussion. In contrast, I think that e-flux’s proclamation of the supercommunity, combining theory and fiction in the first-person together with a neologism, is too slippery to be held accountable—that’s a bad thing.

I think that an adequate understanding of what that might look like requires an understanding of the primary social fields in which processes of individuation took place in the postwar: labor organizing, family economics, military discipline and corporate management. I am glad to see that the first piece posted, Rosler’s discussion between Childs and Claiborne, deals with home economics (a redundant phrase to begin with, “eco” meaning home).


@tommcglynn Can you please elaborate or point me to places where I could find ways to understand what you’re writing? I think I follow in the beginning: complicity isn’t necessarily a tragedy as it’s often interpreted. It can also usefully be thought of as situatedness. But I don’t know what you mean by super-subjective, and I’m not sure where to turn to try and understand it.

And then when you mention an analog experiment in a digital context, I follow your parenthetical “transcendental empiricism” to assume you mean analog in the sense of continuous vs digital as discrete and divided. Is that right, that you’re suggesting complicity is just another name for one’s being situated in a continuous surface, and that this is a source of agency.

Also, couldn’t we call syntactical anomalies that recur syntactical resemblances?


Yes and yes to your last two sentences. I have recently been investigating the agency inherent in a generic approach which I define as being situated in a continuous surface and the potential agency of an awareness that it implies. Laruelle’s notion of the generic is relevant here. Syntactical anomalies that recur can be seen as representations or they can be seen as a dynamic process of being- becoming that is a continuous one.

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@dxb supersubjective is a self aware sbjectivity which is aware of its subjective limits. This form of subjectivity is much closer to objectivity than its regular sibling.

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The homogeneity that we can subsumed into can be overcome by becoming better listeners.

You’re right that it’s not enough to simply type our words and demand we be heard.

We ourselves must be better communicators and that includes active listening, and being transformed by what we encounter.

We also belong to a similiar project known as Thee Network. We have a presence on Facebook, but many of us stay on the offline side. Here is our fb url: