If we see accelerationism and degrowth from an anti-capitalist angle – shall we omit the economic aspect at all? Or shall we think about alternative economics? You mentioned commons. It is also a perfect example of what sounds good in (leftist) theory but what faces extraordinary difficulties in practice in a capitalist society.
I have the feeling that William's and Srnicek's critique of degrowth is rooted in the fact that this "folk politics in localism" is functioning very well and efficiently (of course, only on a small scale), whereas the accelerationist idea is prone to take a rapid turn into the neoliberal right. And here we are, of course, building up a local community which sustains itself by growing all the food it needs on its land doesn't solve the problem of exploitative labour conditions worldwide. Developing a horizontal digital network on the base of commons sold after many years of (self-exploitative) coding to Google or Meta doesn't either. Both find themselves in the trap of (subconscious?) capitalist thinking.
If we take your suggestion of thinking acceleration as intensification and slowing down as reconsiderations as points of departure, I can think of creating keywords in both realms that are linked (or glued) together to show that the one isn't possible without the other.
Also, here we may have to re-think my question about size. And also to maybe comprehend localism differently. Latour points out that the adjective 'local' is misleading because it continually defines sth as 'small' in comparison to a – quantitative larger – situation (actually, terms of mapping). But in territorial thinking, territory reaches as far as
the interaction with all the others on whom we depend – and not farther. 'Near' is not defined as the quantitative, measurable distance but as "what touches me immediately
(directly) or keeps me alive." It is a measure of engagement
(Latour). It's an obligation
(Stengers) towards the beings we depend on (the more we depend on, the more precisely we can describe them) and the ability to meet/ to encounter them, regardless of how far
(in kilometres) they are.
This doesn't contradict Leopold Kohr's concept of localism but updates it so that 'global' and 'local' – the traditionally antagonistic pair – can also be comprehended differently. Let's see them in terms of interwovenness and measure them in density, which would mean that global and local may coincide/ overlap sometimes. Not necessarily, but it can happen.
So accelerationism (attributed to the 'global') and degrowth (attributed to the 'local') may also overlap. One has to be attentive to find their contact zones.KY:
I am catching up on your proposal about key concepts. I like that intensity
starts to bridge already several essential aspects. It avoids producing the megalomaniac inflated but hollow ideas but doesn't limit itself to surrounding with immense potential to resonate on farther distances. Another significant common for both sides is care. For me, it is promising not from the point of view of gendered unpaid labour. It is generally about work devoted to sustenance, reproduction, relations and the creation of a proper umwelt for playfulness
. I want to imagine that playfulness is a state of mind at its peak of creativity. It doesn't suffer obligations, scarcity or fear. It is carefree. If only one can be simultaneously aware and carefree.
I mean, awareness that someone or something has created this carelessness that you could unleash yourself. This, for me, is a perfect condition of intensity. It is a promise of a breakthrough. And honestly, I like it more than a notion of conviviality dropped by Ivan Illich (in his book "Tools for Conviviality" from 1972, almost the same year when E.F. Schumacher published his "Small is Beautiful" about the appropriate technology). Playfulness contains action at its core, a clear drive, and strong potency. And, as you deliberately pointed out, this state can be secured by a particular economic condition. About that, funny enough, the adepts of degrowth and acceleration have a consensus: about commons, basic income and communal currencies that have their general idea that the distribution of an economy's wealth must begin by ensuring that everyone has 'enough' to live with dignity.
So to wrap up our long dialogue, or, on the contrary, to open it to the further inputs, I would like to formulate what kind of artistic and curatorial contributions we are looking for:
– which work with, use, and critically discuss technology
in an Anti-Promethean and anti-capitalist way, and in this sense, can bridge the gap between accelerationist and degrowth concepts.
– have the idea of intensity
at their core, in its meaning of work devoted to sustenance, reproduction, relations and the creation of a proper umwelt for playfulness.
– which are based on or integrating awareness
as a substantial part of artistic practice.
– which intensify
thinking and slow down
the speed and purpose of labour, production and consumption.
– which can disenchant economics and consider ecological, social, political, a.o. dimensions as a base of artistic practice.
– which can contribute to the sustainability of the residency by involving different levels of socio-technical innovation
Chantal Mouffe, Hegemony, Radical Democracy, and the Political, 2013.
#Accelerate, The Accelerationist Reader. Edited by Robin Mackay and Armen Avanessian, 2014.
Ivan Illich, Tools for Conviviality, 1973.
Degrowth. A vocabulary for a new era. Edited by Giacomo D’Alisa, Federico Demaria and Giorgos Kallis, 2015.
Isabelle Stengers, Cosmopolitics I (Posthumanities, Band 9), 2010.
David Graeber, Bullshit Jobs: A Theory, 2018.
Ernst Friedrich Schumacher, Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered, 1973.
Bruno Latour, After Lockdown: A Metamorphosis, 2021.
Paul Virilio, Speed and Politics, 1986.
Vilém Flusser, Something about roofless and wallless houses with different cable connections, 1989.
Aaron Vansintjan, Accelerationism… and degrowth? The Left's strange bedfellows, 2017:
Double Take : Robert Adrian im Gespräch mit Martin Breindl (German only), 2011. https://vimeo.com/159169349