Franco BIFO Berardi ‘Ode to Capitalism’

    16 – 18.3.2018

    Franco Bifo Beradi ‘Ode to Capitalism’ as the Oracle of Delphi

    As part of the Dirty Art Departments project ‘The Wandering School Part 2: Revolution or Bust!’ co produced with MACAO milano, the legendary Franco Bifo Beradi will give his last public speech – ever – ‘Ode to Capitalism’. Memebers and friends of the Dirty Art Department will subsequently transport his message by foot through the wilderness to Athens whilst the formulate their approach. What will happen, will happen.

    Franco “Bifo” Berardi (born 2 November 1948 in Bologna, Italy) is an Italian Marxist theorist and activist in the autonomist tradition, whose work mainly focuses on the role of the media and information technology within post-industrial capitalism. Berardi has written over two dozen published books, as well as a more extensive number of essays and speeches.

    In 1962, at the age of 13, Berardi became a member of the Italian Communist Youth Federation, but was expelled due to “factionalism.” He participated in the events of May ’68 at the University of Bologna, where he graduated with a degree in Aesthetics. During this time he joined the extra-parliamentary Worker’s Power group and met Antonio Negri. Berardi founded the magazine A/traverso in 1975 and worked with the magazine until 1981, when it reached its high point of publishing. He was also part of the staff of Radio Alice, the first free pirate radio station in Italy, from 1976 to 1978. Like others involved in the political movement of Autonomia in Italy during the 1970s, Berardi fled to Paris, where he worked with Félix Guattari in the field of schizoanalysis. During the 1980s, Berardi contributed to the magazines Semiotexte (New York), Chimerees (Paris), Metropoli (Rome) and Musica 80 (Milan). During the 1990s, he published Mutazione e Ciberpunk (Genoa, 1993), Cibernauti (Rome, 1994), and Félix (Rome, 2001). He has also collaborated with artists such as Warren Neidich and publications such as e-flux in the contemporary arts field. Currently he is working with the magazine Derive Approdi as well as teaching social history of communication at the Accademia di belle Arti in Milan. He is the co-founder of the e-zine and of the telestreet movement, founding the channel Orfeo TV.

    Unlike orthodox Marxists, Berardi’s autonomist theories draw on psychoanalysis, schizoanalysis and communication theory to show how subjectivity and desire are bound up with the functioning of the capitalism system, rather than portraying events such as the financial crisis of 2008 merely as an example of the inherently contradictory logic of capitalist accumulation.[2] Thus, he argues against privileging labour in critique and says that “the solution to the economic difficulty of the situation cannot be solved with economic means: the solution is not economic.”[3] Human emotions and embodied communication becomes increasingly central to the production and consumption patterns that sustain capital flows in post-industrial society, and as such Berardi uses the concepts of “cognitariat” and “info labour” to analyze this psycho-social process.[4][5] Among Berardi’s other concerns are cultural representations and expectations about the future — from proto-Fascist Futurism[6] to post-modern cyberpunk (1993). This represents a greater concern with ideas and cultural expectations than the determinist-materialist expression of a Marxism which is often confined to purely economic or systemic analysis.