[-empyre-] Fwd: Minor Simulations, Major Disturbances

Cicero Inacio da Silva ciceroinaciodasilva at gmail.com
Sat Apr 17 13:46:12 EST 2010

Hi, following the discussions and having a strange feeling of what is
happening I decided to look at my old notes about university and found this,
again, from Derrida, when I attended one of his last seminars...it was
released as a book, but it seems clear that he was predicting the end of the
university as we know or maybe providing us with tools to fight hard against
the destruction started by people that is still trying to deny something
historical called enlightenment...is it still possible to think about
"sovereignty" or "unconditionality"? Are we giving up in terms of our
academic life?

"On must insist on this again: if this unconditionality, in principle and *de
jure*, constitutes the invincible forces of the university, it has never
been in effect. By reason of this abstract and hyperbolic invincibility, by
reason of its very impossibility, this unconditionality exposes as well
the weakness or the vulnerability of the university. It exhibits its
impotence, the fragility of its defenses against all the powers that command
it, besiege it, and attempt to appropriate it. Because it is a stranger to
power, because it is heterogeneous to the principle of power, the university
is also without any power of its own. That is why we are speaking here of
the university without condition. I say "the university" because I
am distinguishing here, stricto sensu, the university from all
research institutions that are in the service of economic goals and
interests of all sorts, without being granted in principle the independence
of the university; I also say "without condition" to let one hear
the connotation "without power" and "without defense". Because it is
absolutely independent, the university is also an exposed, tendered citadel,
to be taken, often destined to capitulate without condition, to
surrender unconditionally. Yes, it gives itself up, it sometimes put itself
for sale, it risks being simply something to occupy, take over, buy; it
risks becoming a branch office of conglomerates and corporations. This is
today, in the United States and throughout the world, a major political
stake: to what extend does the organization of research and teaching have to
be supported, that is, directly or indirectly controlled, let us
euphemistically say "sponsored," by commercial and industrial interests? By
this logic, as we know, the Humanities are often held hostage to departments
of pure or applied science in which are concentrated the supposedly
profitable investments of capital foreign to the academic world. A question
is then posed and it is not merely economic, juridical, ethic, or political:
Can the University (and if so, how?) affirm an unconditional independence,
can it claim a sort of sovereignty without ever risking the worst, namely,
 by reason of the impossible abstraction of this sovereign independence,
being force to give up and capitulate without condition, to let itself be
taken over and bought at any price?
What is needed then, is not only a principle of resistance, but a force of
resistance - and of dissidence" (Jacques Derrida, The University without
condition, 2001).

It is clear that Ricardo's work is a necessary resistance.
Best and let's keep the dissidence to protect academic freedom, if we can
still talk about this these days...Cicero

On Thu, Apr 15, 2010 at 2:14 PM, Beatriz da Costa <
beatrizdacosta at earthlink.net> wrote:

> Dear Jo, Rita et al,
> Thank you all for your thoughtful postings, I am glad I finally joined
> -empyre- and am getting the opportunity to follow such a lively discussion.
> Amidst all the events down at UCSD and the responses and comments on this
> list, my initial thoughts seem to be most closely aligned with Jo's
> statement below and Rita's dire summation of the university as an
> "institution of control" that clearly has the ability to distinguish between
> scholarship about activism and activism itself (and yes, writing is of
> course a form of "making," but one that fits in much more neatly with the
> rubrics of academia). Sadly, I am not surprised at all about UCSD's behavior
> towards Ricardo and EDT's work. California is broke, the UC system is in
> deep trouble (to say the least), and overall the senate faculty has been
> playing along with this situation just fine. Some letters, some really smart
> ones indeed :), some protests, some attempts at organizing, but most of us
> are still going in to teach our classes and attend meetings in the same way
> we always did. Some of us have used the funding crises and increased push
> towards privatization of the UC as an educational backdrop to sharpen the
> political literacy of our students, and in many ways the publicity around
> the bang.lab events appears to have a similar effect. However, what this
> situation really seems to indicate is a somewhat broken approach to the
> negotiation between Tactical Media and academia. We can't simultaneously
> ride a career as "interventionist artists," claim a political edge and
> demand funding, space and support from an institution like Calit2. It simply
> won't work, at least not in the long run. Eventually, the support will
> either stop, or the political "edge" won't be quite as edgy anymore. Its a
> wonderful thing while it lasts, and kudos to everyone who tried. For a
> while, we really seemed to have quite a few Tactical Media enclaves
> splattered between different universities in various parts of the country.
> But there is a time stamp on these moments of convergence and activity, and
> we shouldn't really be surprised by that. Operating in plain daylight is one
> strategy, and apparently the one the bang.lab has chosen up to date. But it
> seems that Tactical Media has equipped us with a few other tools that might
> be worth revisiting in this context. de Certeau's describes his rendering of
> the french "wig" concept to us in the following way: "La perruque is the
> worker's own work disguised as work for his employer. It differs from
> pilfering in that nothing of material value is stolen. It differs from
> absenteeism in that the worker is officially on the job. La perruque may be
> as simple a matter as a secretary's writing a love letter on "company time"
> or as complex as a cabinetmaker's "borrowing" a lathe to make a piece of
> furniture for his living room ... ."
> If the window for passing politicized tactical media tool development as
> legitimate research activity is closing, maybe its time to change wigs? Or
> is it just a matter of never using our tools in any way that could be traced
> back to the university? I don't know. I tried the latter a few years ago,
> and it horribly failed.
> On a much more mundane note: could anyone provide an update about what is
> actually happening now at UCSD? I checked the bang.lab website, and the last
> posting appears to be from last week. What happened since?
> In solidarity,
> Beatriz da Costa
> excerpt Jo-Anne Green post:
> You can't accept grants, teach at a university, and desire tenure
> without these negotiations and compromises. The best one can do is
> enter these negotiations armed with knowledge, awareness, and a well
> thought out strategy for the best possible outcomes for your project.
> *Beatriz da Costa*
> *
> *
> www.beatrizdacosta.net
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

c at cicero.st
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