Remaking Social Practices

A Guattari & Bifo Reading Group

Facilitated by Alessandra Renzi & Christine Shaw

A Joint Initiative by Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry and the Hart House Art Committee Education Sub-Committee

Thursday 26 March, 6:00pm
Committees Room | Hart House 2nd Floor | 7 Hart House Circle | University of Toronto

The problem of art for [Félix] was completely located in the possibility of putting in motion assemblages of enunciation, housing, urbanism and technologies. (Bifo, 34)

In his extraordinary final statement “Remaking Social Practices,” Guattari suggests how marginal groups acting on their subjective territories can put together experimental formations at the cutting edges of art, science, and technology. Bifo’s “Postmediatic Affect” looks specifically to Guattari’s support of the Radio Alice project that unfolded in Bologna during the Italian social upheavals of 1977. Bifo charts Guattari’s cartographic vision of the future, a future of “communication flows, of economic exploitation, of psychic suffering, and affective solicitation” that we are now living. These two chapters combined open onto a field of questions to be taken up during the reading group session: What are the affective, ecological and political consequences of what Guattari called the ‘post-mediatic era’? How might experiments in social creativity deterritorialize the dynamics of ‘new economy’ capitalism? What is the potential of ‘techno-nomadic thought’? Can the networked diffusion of communication become a privileged plane of social self-organization, rather than merely increase the output of commodified messages and information?

The reading group is a follow-up to Franco (Bifo) Berardi’s talk “The Visionary Cartography of Félix Guattari” on Wednesday 25 March at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, Rm 066.

The reading group is open to a maximum of 20 participants. Please RSVP to Maiko Tanaka at or 416-978-8463 by Tuesday March 24, 5pm. Hart House is wheelchair accessible.


  • Félix Guattari, “Remaking Social Practices,” in The Guattari Reader, ed. Gary Genosko (Blackwell, 1996)
  • Franco Berardi (Bifo), “Postmediatic Affect,” in Félix Guattari: Thought, Friendship, and Visionary Cartography (Palgrave, 2008)

Alessandra Renzi studied and worked with migrant communities in Berlin and is now completing her PhD on Telestreet at the University of Toronto. She has been involved in various Toronto-based media, immigrant and labour rights projects like CAMERA (The Committee on Alternative Media Experimentation, Research and Analysis) and Precarity Toronto. As a member of Telestreet’s TV channel InsuTv in Naples she is currently collaborating on a feature-length documentary project investigating Naples’ garbage crisis and its connections with organized crime and political corruption.

Christine Shaw holds a PhD in Social and Political Thought from York University. Her dissertation Connect, Conjugate, Continue included a translocal curatorial project called Public Acts 1-29 that unfolded along the Trans-Canada Highway. Currently, she co-organizes events with Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry and is developing a series of curatorial projects on affective participation including The Work of Wind, Stubborn Matter and Emergency Rooms (with Steven Eastwood).

Collaborating with a network of activists, artists, and theorists, Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry (TSCI) initiates events that inquire into the new enclosures and creative pathways beyond them.

With the Reading Group Series, the student-run Hart House Art Committee’s Education Sub-Committee aims to facilitate self-reflexive critical dialogue focusing on the potential of radicalized learning in galleries, museums, and art institutions. The series takes the form of a casual Reading Group inviting guest readers to recommend texts and facilitate structures for discussion. The group is open to and encourages experimentation with discursive forms of learning. The Reading Group Series is a supplement to the Education Sub-Committee’s regular programming of art workshops and seminars targeted at the student body of the University of Toronto.

Commons | Reading Group

Call for Participation
Part of A Potential Toronto

Mondays, 8-10pm, Oct. 1 to Dec. 3, 2007
Location TBC

Copies of readings provided.

Facilitated by Shiri Pasternak

What are the commons and why has the idea emerged again, everywhere, in popular culture and political theory? What kinds of questions does the concept of commons seem to answer amidst the clamour of social and environmental crisis today? This reading group will approach the commons by asking questions about the nature and histories of enclosure. We will be asking: How do property regimes affect social order; how do they foreclose or fuel commons and common space? What is the relationship between sovereignty, property, and the commons? We will also look at the way the concept of the commons is being co-opted by neo-liberalism and competing hegemonic regimes and explore the relationships between information commons and place-based commons.

Week 1
Cole Harris. “How Did Colonialism Dispossess? Comments from an Edge of Empire” (2004), Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 94:1, 165-182.

Nicholas Blomley. “Law, Property, and the Spaces of Violence: The Frontier, the Survey, and the Grid” (2003), Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 93:1, March 2003, 121-141.

Week 2
Farshad Araghi. “The Great Global Enclosure of Our Times: Peasants and the Agrarian Question at the End of the Twentieth Century,” Chapter 8 in Hungry for Profit: The Agribusiness Threat to Farmers, Food, and the Environment, eds. Fred Magdoff, John Bellamy Foster and Frederick H. Buttel. Monthly Review Press Books, 2000.

Week 3
Peter Drahos and John Braithwaite. Information Feudalism. “Introduction.” Earthscan Publications Ltd., 2002.

Watch, if you can: Sonic Outlaws – documentary film by Craig Baldwin

Week 4
John Willinsky. “The unacknowledged convergence of open source, open access, and open science,” First Monday, volume 10, number 8 (August 2005).

Week 5
Margaret E.I. Kipp. “Software and seeds: Open source methods,” First Monday, 10:9, (September 2005).

Week 6
Anthony McCann. “Enclosure Without and Within the ‘Information Commons.'” Information and Communications Technology Law 14(3):217-240 (October 2005).

Week 7
Constantine Caffentzis. “A Tale of Two Conferences: Globalization, the Crisis of Neoliberalism and Question of the Commons.” Borderlands, 11:2 (2012).

Michael Goldman. Privatizing Nature: Political struggles for the global commons. Chapter 1. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1998.

Week 8
Veronika Bennholdt-Thomsen and Maria Mies. The Subsistence Perspective. Chapter 6, “Defending, Reclaiming, and Reinventing the Commons.” Zed Books, 1999.

James McCarthy. “Commons as Counter-Hegemonic Project.” Capitalism Nature Socialism, 16:1 (March 2005).

Week 9
J.K. Gibson-Graham. A Postcapitalist Politics. Chapter 5, “The Community Economy.” University of Minnesota Press, 2006.

Post-Fordism | Reading Group

Mondays, 7:30-9:30pm
22 January – 26 March 2007

What forces brought an alleged ‘post-Fordist’ regime into being? What is its composition? What are the possibilities and limits of this concept? How is it manifesting in labour, the city, cultural production…? How, and with what effects, are flexibilization and decentralization operating as new forms of control? How do these forms of control coexist with centralized command? How does it relate to neoliberalism? What radical proposals and potentialities are emerging under conditions of advanced post-Fordism?

Reading List

  • Bob Jessop. “The Regulation Approach.”
  • David Harvey. “Fordism” and “From Fordism to Flexible Accumulation.”
  • Michel Aglietta. “The Transformation of the Wage-Earners’ Conditions of Life.”
  • Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello. “The Formation of the Projective City” and “1968: Crisis and Revival of Capitalism.”
  • John Holloway. “The Great Bear: Post-Fordism and Class Struggle.”
  • Bob Jessop. “Post-Fordism and the State.”
  • Antonio Negri. “Archaeology and Project: The Mass Worker and the Social Worker.”
  • Thomas Atzert. “About Immaterial Labor and Biopower.”
  • Gilles Deleuze. “Postscript on the Control Societies.”
  • Brian Holmes. “The Flexible Personality.”
  • J-K Gibson-Graham. “Post-Fordism as Politics.”
  • Linda McDowell. “Father and Ford Revisited: Gender, Class, and Employment Change in the New Millennium.”
  • Kathi Weeks. “The Refusal of Work as Demand and Perspective.”
  • Andrea Fumagilli. “Ten Propositions on Basic Income: Basic Income in a Flexible Accumulation System.”
  • David Harvey. “Neoliberalism and the Restoration of Class Power.”

Entangled Territories 2 | Reading Group


Tuesdays, 9:00 – 11:00pm
10 October – 5 December 2006

This 9-week reading group will continue our inquiries across a radical terrain of thought (philosophical, activist, aesthetic) through which social organization is constituted by the collective practices and desires of the multitude. Our point of departure will be a return to Lazzarato’s biopower/biopolitics, via Foucault. We will then extend our encounter with biopolitics with a series of related conceptual/pragmatic tools like state of exception, bare life, sphere of gesture, affect, desire, force, exodus, creative acts, networked resistance, flexible personality…. In combination with a set of theoretical inquiries we will explore contemporary political events, lived relations of power, media activism, squatting, creative actions, the potential of bodies, and joyful life as instances of the multitude innovating alternatives.

Our conversations will inform the design of an event/workshop TSCI is planning with Brian Massumi and Erin Manning for November 2006.

While we have begun to develop a shared lexicon to explore this terrain together, we will continue to create a space of mutual respect and learning, learning that unfolds through grace and joy.

Reading List:

  • Lazzarato. “From Biopower to Biopolitics”
  • Foucault. “17 March 1976,” in Society Must be Defended
  • Agamben. Selections from Homo Sacer and Means Without Ends
  • Massumi. “Fear (the Spectrum Said),” in Multitudes
  • Virno. “General Intellect, Exodus, Multitude: An Interview with Paolo Virno”
  • Simondon. “The Genesis of the Individual,” In Incorporations
  • Malgré Tout Collective. “Manifesto”
  • Negri. Selections from The Savage Anomaly
  • Colectivo Situaciones. “Something More on Research Militancy: Footnotes on Procedures and (In)Decision,” in Ephemera
  • Manning. “Sensing Beyond Security,” in The Politics of Touch
  • Radio Ligna. Radio Ballet
  • Deleuze. “Desire and Pleasure,” in Two Regimes of Madness
  • Deleuze. “What is the Creative Act?” in Two Regimes of Madness
  • Meinhof. “Armed Anti-Imperialist Struggle,” in Hatred of Capitalism
  • Cordingley. “Can Masdeu: Rise of the Rurbano Revolution,” in Making Their Own Plans
  • Goddard. “Felix and Alice in Wonderland: The Encounter Between Guattarri and Berardi and the Post-Media Era,” in Generation Online
  • Holmes. “The Revenge of the Concept: Artistic Exchanges and Networked Resistance,” in Interactivist Info Exchange

Entangled Territories | Reading Group


Mondays, 8:30-10:30pm
6 March – 24 April 2006

This 8-week reading group is a component of an (indeterminate) event TSCI is planning for summer 2006, called “Entangled Territories.” Our conversations will inform the design of Entangled Territories, though we by no means wish to confine our conversations to that purpose.

The proposed reading list is a brief survey of the thought of a handful of poststructuralist philosophers and autonomist theorists. TSCI proposes to approach these readings with a sort of conceptual pragmatism. After opening our conversations by exploring the question, ‘what is a concept?’, we will encounter, map, and question a number of conceptual tools, like joyful passions, constituent power, becoming, autonomy, exodus, biopolitics, biopower, event…

Participants probably have varying levels of familiarity with the texts we’ll be reading. We strive to facilitate a space of mutual respect and reciprocal learning, bearing in mind the (thankfully) different backgrounds that we will each bring to this experiment in collective reading.

Reading List

  • Bifo. “What is the Meaning of Autonomy Today?” In Republicart.
  • Deleuze and Guattari. “Introduction: The Question Then…” and “What is a Concept?” In What is Philosophy?
  • Deleuze. “Letter to a Harsh Critic,” “On Philosophy,” “Control and Becoming.” In Negotiations.
  • Foucault. “So is it Important to Think?” In Essential Works of Michel Foucault: Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth.
  • Hardt. “Spinozan Practice: Affirmation and Joy (Speculation, Ontological Expression, Power, Practice)” In Deleuze:An Apprenticeship in Philosophy.
  • Lazzarato. “From Biopower to Biopolitics.” In Pli.
  • Lazzarato. “Struggle, Event, Media.”
  • Negri and Guattari. “The Revolution Began in ’68.” Communists Like Us.
  • Thoburn. “Introduction: The Grandeur of Marx.” In Deleuze, Marx, and Politics.
  • Virno. “Ten Theses on the Multitude and Post-Fordist Capitalism.” In Grammar of the Multitude.