January  29, 2015    Transmediale: Capture All

Would a collective “Glossary of Subsumption” be a meaningful way for registering enclosures and subsumptions in our hypermodern present?

The originally marxist term of (real) subsumption is currently circulating anew as it allows for descriptions of capitalist power and enclosure beyond simplistic ideas of coercion, corruption or exploitation. Its idea of capitalism capturing all that is outside existing capitalist valorization and of internalising it by different and historically specific means seems immensely helpful at a time where new post-digital and post-democratic grids of power enclose us anew – and sometimes in new ways. As a term also open to non-marxist semantics – see the notion of ‘subsumption architecture’ describing frameworks for distributed post-cybernetic control – it can prove to be especially helpful when collating different types, formats and layers of power, including current digital re-articulations thereof.

The project kicks off with a presentation under the heading Glossary of Subsumption: Enclosed Athens Disclosed. It will be given by a group of researchers, artists and architects, an open-ended working-group. The aim was to trace old and new subsumptions of urban space. The initial concept, goals and follow-up projects unfold while outlining the fate of an avatar named Andrea/s, a semi-fictitious figure whose lifetime is related to fundamental elements of our general metropolitan story of subsumption such as energy, time, sleep, sounds, landscapes, the extended mind, or the public/private bi-polar. Cluster these with other existing ideas and keywords and  to set up some fleeting ‘methodological devices’ set that will capture conceptual noise and enlist circulating issues and terms throughout the festival. Using analog and digital tools, the goal would ultimately be to collectively build a Glossary of Subsumption and reflect on the possibilities, stakes and potential (social) formats of such an endeavour related to social theory building and the ‘knowledge commons’ to mediate different experiences and concepts of enclosure.