stevphen shukaitis on Tue, 15 Jul 2008 15:55:50 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> CFP The State of Things: Towards a Political Economy of Artifice and Artefacts

:: Call for Papers, Presentations, and Interventions ::

The State of Things: Towards a Political Economy of Artifice and  
April 29th to May 1st, 2009
Centre for Philosophy and Political Economy, University of Leicester

Keynote speakers:
Tiziana Terranova, University of Naples L?orientale
Natalie Jeremijenko, New York University
Nick Dyer-Witheford, University of Western Ontario

In a more wistful moment, Marx asked what commodities would say if  
they could speak. Surely, if he listened long enough, they would have  
announced the various traumas of their exploitatative and violent  
birthing to him. Eventually, one imagines, they would have described  
the nature of the various forms of labour necessary for their  
production as the apparitionally elementary components of the  
capitalist mode of production.

So would the commodity?s autobiography be the same now, one wonders.

Today we live in a much different state of things: the artifice of  
artefacts is evident all around us. A parliament of communication  
technologies, from RFIDS to bluetooth devices, constantly exchange  
information and network all around and through us. Wireless networks  
of communication, control, and cooperation proliferate in mysterious  
ways, all speaking an infra-language of organization, inscribing new  
techniques of governance. But these networks have become all the more  
indiscernible by the open secret of their appearance.

Developments in Actor Network Theory and autonomist technoscience  
studies have made a turn towards the economic. What does this bode  
for the field of organization studies? Will these two movements join  
in an encompassing view of posthuman economic institutions? Will ANT  
provide the definitive answer to the interrelation of economics,  
politics and objects? These two yet separated strands of economy and  
politics might provide a good opportunity to revisit the problematics  
of objects and their commodification, combining them with more  
traditional approaches.

This conference therefore proposes a return to the study of objects  
and artifacts and the various logics and dispositifs that underlie  
the formation of their fields of power, while combining them with  
modern and more classical forms of political economy. Themes could  
include, but are not limited to:

- Protocols and networked governance
- Diagrams and control
- The return of resistentialism and insubordinate objects
- Army ANTs and the bones left behind
- ANT and the networks of economies
- Imaginary futures and technological dis/utopian visions
- The affective states of machinic interaction
- Anachronous inquiries and steampunk dreams
- P2P commons, conflict, and governance
- Interpretative labor and semantic webs
- Extended minds and their cognitive scaffolding
- Posthuman artificing
- Artefacts, black boxes and governance
- The art of commodifying the artificed Network
- Immaterial politics of networking
- The estrangement of networks
- Marx?s Laboratory Life vs. Engel?s Scallops

Please send proposals to Jenni Hern ( of 500 words or  
less by November 28th, 2008. Notification of acceptance will be  
provided by February 4th.

For more information go to or  
e-mail Simon Lilley (

Stevphen Shukaitis
Autonomedia Editorial Collective

"Autonomy is not a fixed, essential state. Like gender, autonomy is  
created through its performance, by doing/becoming; it is a political  
practice. To become autonomous is to refuse authoritarian and  
compulsory cultures of separation and hierarchy through embodied  
practices of welcoming difference... Becoming autonomous is a  
political position for it thwarts the exclusions of proprietary  
knowledge and jealous hoarding of resources, and replaces the social  
and economic hierarchies on which these depend with a politics of  
skill exchange, welcome, and collaboration. Freely sharing these with  
others creates a common wealth of knowledge and power that subverts  
the domination and hegemony of the master?s rule." - subRosa Collective

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