Continental integration refers to the constitution of enormous
production blocs – and particularly, to NAFTA and the EU
(while awaiting the emergence of a full-fledged Asian bloc around
Japan and China).
But continental drift means you find Morocco in Finland, Caracas
in Washington, "the West" in "the East" –
and so on in every direction. That's the metamorphic paradox of
The continental blocs are functioning governmental units one scale
up from the nation-state. They represent specific attempts to
articulate and manage the vast constructive and destructive energies
that have been unleashed by the last four decades of technological
development, from the introduction of the worldwide container
transport system in the sixties, all the way to the emergence
of widespread satellite transmission in the eighties and the Internet
in our time. Military strategies, the competitive rush for markets,
but also the uncertainty and turbulence of the neoliberal globalization
process itself has led capitalistic elites to seek forms of territorial
stabilization – however violent this "stabilization"
may be. This means re-organizing, not just spaces and flows, but
also hearts and minds, whether in the centers of accumulation
or on the peripheries. We are all affected, wherever we are living.
The main hypothesis I want to put out here is that the two really-existing
blocs – NAFTA and the EU – are both developing not
only a functioning set of institutions, but also a dominant form
of subjectivity, adapted to the new scale. This form of subjectivity
is offered to or imposed upon all those who still live only at
the national level, or on the multiple edges or internal peripheries
of the bloc, so as to integrate them. At the same time it serves
to rationalize – or to mask – the concomitant processes
of exploitation, alienation, exclusion and ecological devastation.
In what different ways does this integration of individual and
cultural desire take place? How is it resisted or opposed? How
to imagine an excess over the normative figures of continentalization?
Where are the escape hatches, the lines of flight, the alternatives
to bloc subjectivity? And what types of effects could these exert
on the constituted systems?
To answer such questions in any meaningful way requires several
different levels of investigation. First, the driving forces of
the globalization process – including neoliberal doctrine,
the globalized financial system, the transnational institutions
and Imperial infrastructures such as the Internet or the GPS satellite
mapping system – have to be identified and observed in operation.
Second, the evolving forms of territorial governance and the constantly
shifting territorial limits of the major continental blocs have
to be described and differentiated from each other. Third, the
dominant forms of subjectivity in each bloc - the models of success
and jouisssance - have to be characterized, using the tools of
social psychology. But the most interesting and probably the most
urgent thing is to conduct singular and transversal investigations
on the margins of these majority formations, to see how people
are reacting, innovating, resisting and fleeing.
The goal, then, is to map out the majority models of self and
group within each of the emerging continental systems, to see
how they function within the megamachines of production and conquest
– and at the same time, to cross the normative borders they
put into effect, in order to trace microcartographies of difference,
dissent, deviance and refusal. For that, it's necessary to travel
and to collaborate, to invent concepts and also set-ups, ways
of working. One tactic is to juxtapose sociological arguments
with activist inventions and artistic experiments. Another is
to crisscross the languages, and even better, the families of
languages, and to reside in the gaps between their truth claims
and sensoriums. But still another is just to drift and see what
happens. The ideas of Felix Guattari, particularly in Chaosmosis
and the untranslated study, Cartographies schizoanalytiques, can
provide a kind of crazy compass for these attempts to articulate
something subjectively and collectively, outside the existing
Obviously, this kind of project is scientifically "impossible."
No conceivable group of researchers, and certainly not an ad-hoc
operation, could possibly synthesize the varieties of knowledge
needed at these scales. This is where a de facto censorship begins
to operate, with all kinds of consequences. To accept the impossibility
is to condemn oneself to ignorance, not only of the contemporary
macrocosm (the world-space), but also of the dynamics of your
own microcosm (what happens in your head, what pulses in your
veins). So we're gonna try the project nonetheless.
Modularity and experimentalism will be the strategies for eluding
any tacit censorship of this irrational desire to know. Modularity,
because it refuses the totalizing construction and always leaves
room for an extra module to be inserted in a line of questioning,
completing it, problematizing it, or opening up a new bifurcation.
Experimentalism, because the existing rationalities and protocols
of truth are simply not enough to make a world, and only the undiscovered
form or order holds a chance of breaking the deadlocks that confront
everyone, at the micro and macro scales of disaster in the twenty-first
This project stems from the geophilosophical desire of an individual,
but demands only to multiply. The research will be done through
the opportunities of various collaborative projects, on location
and over the net. The seminars in which the major hypotheses will
be formulated and explored, and certain case studies presented,
will be carried out with a series of mostly non-institutional
partners, beginning with the 16 Beaver group in New York, for
a seminar extending from September 12 to 18. Certain research
modules will be published with cooperating institutions, and/or
presented at conferences. Results of the research and contributions
by participants will be posted on here on www.u-tangente.org,
and perhaps on a specific project website.