TODAY! Online. Wednesday, October 13, 3-4:30 PM EST.
A Conversation with
Inciter Interlocutors: Ken Scriboni, Cleo Kearns, Joshua Ramey, and Leigh Fanady.
“You have a great future behind you.” These were spoken to Federico Campagna by his father one day in his youth as he was draped over a sofa contemplating his failures as a modern subject. These words proved to be oracular. For Campagna, these words describe our contemporary situation. The futures promised by the civilization of Westernized Modernity are foreclosed. They are behind us and we cannot recover those dreams in any form. The apocalypse has arrived.
The apocalypse is Campagna’s premise. He starts with the end with all its hopelessness and impotency and moves towards the adjacent possible, what can happen next, what can we do after the world has ended? In this time of great disintegration we cannot resist the entropic flow and reinitiate the process of worldling, for we could only do so as subjects of the civilization in ruin. The future adolescents to come, however, living in the afterlife of our civilization and playing in its ruins, can build something new with our remains. Our cultural production can be the fertile and humiliated humus for these future gardens of anOther world.
Campagna invites us to invest our creative energy and cultural production into the ruins and remains. However, this is not a project of faithfulness, of staying true to our intentions and hoping to transmit them to the future. This is not only arrogant, but an impossible megalomania that future generations will never respect. Campagna draws inspiration from the anarchic and faithless way in which past adolescents living in the after-life of dead civilizations have played with ruins far beyond their intended uses. He wants us to leave behind ruins that amplify this expansive and ludic approach to worlding; ruins with the courage to lie; what he calls prophetic culture: “a prophetic approach to culture sees the possibility for a subject, through their activity of worlding, to escape from their captivity in pre-established frames of sense.” This “insurrectionary” approach to culture fights the dual adversaries of orthodoxy and the meaningless abyss. “[P]rophecy wishes to lay down an imaginal bridge that might allow a subject, stuck in a state of anguished powerlessness, to approach again the product of worlding with enough confidence to be able to create a new landscape of sense where they can live—collectively, or individually as ‘one sole multitide.’”
Through a tetrapharmakon of metaphysics, shamanism, mysticism, and prophecy, Campagna’s work comes to us as a potent framework for the recovery of our capacity to make the world: “a postcard” that we can send to adolescents of futures yet to be.
We invite you to join several veteran Inciters in a conversation with Campagna about his work—work we feel a great affinity to and solidarity with. This is not a seminar in the classic Incite Seminars sense. The format for this event will be new for us: what is know as a Fish Bowl or Socratic Circles. Several Inciters who have been engaging with Campagna’s work heavily will participate in a conversation with him around its themes. Others are invited to listen in and bear witness to that small group of interlocutors. After about an hour or so of dialogue, we will open the floor to those previously outside the circle for questions and comments for our guest, Federico Campagna.
Speaker: Federico Campagna is a philosopher and writer. He spent over twenty years in Milan, where he was active in the anarchist/autonomist networks and co-founded the street-poetry collective Eveline. In 2007 he moved to London, where he lives. In 2009 he started a long-term collaboration with the Italian Autonomia philosopher Franco Berardi ‘Bifo’. In that same year, he co-founded the (now defunct) multilingual platform for critical theory Through Europe. Federico’s latest books are Prophetic Culture: recreation for adolescents (Bloomsbury: 2021), Technic and Magic: the reconstruction of reality (Bloomsbury, 2018), and The Last Night (Zero Books, 2013). Federico has a PhD from the Royal College of Art, London, with a thesis on Metaphysics and Metaethics in the Design of Strategy Video Games (available here); he has an MSc and a BSc in Economics and Management of the Arts from Bocconi University, Milan, and an MA in Cultural Studies from Goldsmiths University, London. He works as lecturer and tutor in the MA NonLinear Narrative at KABK (Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten), Den Haag, the Netherlands, and as the director of the rights department at Verso Books.
Works by Federico Campagna:
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