Micropolitical machines are social technologies engineered by distributed agents to produce experiences of dissonance, complexifying encounters, qualitative difference, multiplicity, disrecognition and invisibility. Artists and researchers discussed include Yoko Ono, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Cesare Pietroiusti, The Institute for Applied Autonomy, Lucy Orta, Stefanie Trojan, and my own work with iKatun and with The Institute for Infinitely Small Things.
The Control Society – our current sociopolitical configuration under global capitalism – deploys quantitative, over-determining technologies to produce complex circuits of consumer desire. Though decentralized and rhizomatic in structure, the Control Society constitutes a new kind of overcoding machine concerned at all times with social production to accelerate economic exchange.
Micropolitical machines are engineered not as mechanisms of resistance or revolution in response to the Control Society, but as the effectuation of molecular lines of flight from it – the deployment of tiny, sociopolitical beginnings. The performance-frameworks and social systems discussed in this paper reengineer circuits of consumer desire, stage encounters with qualitative multiplicity, and, most importantly, operate in the Virtual as opposed to the Real. These micropolitical machines utilize existing capitalist infrastructure in order to deploy a beginning (or the beginning of a beginning) of another society, another politics, another world. This is the territory of the micro-: instead of relying on representation, symbolism or didactics, these artists traffic in affect to effect social transformation.
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