Berlin, 25 Jun. ‘Masochism of the Commodity Form” at Desiring Just Economies conference

June 25th, 2010

International conference, Berlin 24-26 June 2010
ICI Berlin, Christinenstr. 18-19, Haus 8, D-10119 Berlin

New title of my conference paper:

The Masochism of the Commodity Form: Queer Porn and the Fine Art of Paradox

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A common critique recognizes Deleuze and Guattari’s desiring philosophy as a specular incarnation of post-Fordism with no emancipatory potential: their ‘capitalism and schizophrenia’ project is dismissed as late capitalism is said to be already schizophrenic. According to Hardt and Negri only if their desiring production is framed within a biopolitical production, the crucial axis of contemporary economy and the exploitation ofaffective labour can be understood. This paper addresses critical theory for its inability to elaborate the productive role of the dark side, that is the apparently ‘contradicting’ assemblage of manifest and latent content within today’s hyper-sexualised mediascape.
——Case study is the role of internet pornography (or indie porn) among queer subcultures in the early 2000s. Some groups investigated how to reinvent pleasure practices and identities within a controversial field of expression. Conversely, others cultivated anonymity and the refusal of such a commodified sphere. In this debate ‘queer’ desire happened also to be neutralised of any obscenity potential.
——Between the conceptualisation of masochism of the early Deleuze (Présentation de Sacher-Masoch, 1967) and the late Foucault (L’usage des plaisirs, 1984), the paper concludes by showing how the mainstram economy is always driven by ambivalent and ‘bicephalous’ forms of desire. As J.G. Ballard advocated ‘just psychopathologies’ (The Atrocity Exhibition, 1970) to survive the contemporary mediascape, a minor just masochism is suggested to embrace and exceed the ‘schizophrenia’ of late capitalism.

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