Entangled Territories | Writing

by Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry

Entangled Territories is an event organized by Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry (in this case, Adrian Blackwell, Greig de Peuter, Christine Shaw, and Marcelo Vieta) as Act 16 of the Public Acts project, was held within Adrian Blackwell’s installation “carpool” on Sunday, August 6th, 2006. In an effort to shift the place of dialogue outside Toronto’s downtown, the event unfolded in North Toronto near Downsview Park, in the parking lot of Idomo Furniture. At the end of a subway line, yet in the middle of the city; amidst the inner suburbs; lodged between an army base, big box stores, and warehouses; and at the confluence of a highway, a subway line, and an airport strip—this site is entangled. It became a temporary commons, animated by bodies in conversation, disagreement, and creative acts in and against the neo-liberal urban agenda….

As we talked, issues, urgencies, tactics, and tensions emerged. We documented them on the paper tablecloths that we gathered around. For us, these conversations confirmed the need to map Toronto’s existing commons, an initiative that would help us to both continue the discussion and further the practice of commoning.

We ate, talked, and listened to the sounds of the political punk project Republic of Safety, who rocked carpool with portable amps. We then left our appropriated site, and dispersed, moving again….

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

A Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry event
With/in Adrian Blackwell’s carpool + Republic of Safety
Sunday, August 6, 2006

download poster

Idomo east parking lot
1100 Sheppard Ave. W.
Near the Downsview Subway station

The gentrification of Toronto’s downtown has displaced low-income residents. New immigrants, often precariously employed, are warehoused in high-density structures within low-density suburbs. City land is rezoned for optimum profit extraction rather than for livability. The costs of using public transit are rising as new programs of surveillance carefully monitor the smog-saturated city.

This neoliberal agenda remains contested by urban social movements committed to the building of a new commons: street protests, squats, community gardens, housing co-ops, public-space interventions, regularization campaigns.

Toronto’s territory is entangled in divergent forces of neoliberal enclosure and public commons. Animating this play of forces is a triad of actors: capitalists, governments, and multitudes. At stake in their balance of power is access to affordable places to live, sources of healthy food, a secure income, mobility, pleasurable forms of life.

+ How is capital capturing urban territories? Which spaces are currently under threat of enclosure?
+ What possibilities exist for the state to protect existing public spaces or initiate new ones, when its role has increasingly become the policing of space?
+ What capacities do we have for escaping existing enclosures, in the name of constructing new urban commons?

Join us for a conversation in and about the city’s entangled territories. We’ll move ourselves through a series of small-group discussions, and then end off the event with a collective conversation.

The event will be held in a parking lot near Downsview Park. This space is entangled, at the end of a subway line, yet in the middle of the city: in the inner suburbs, next to an army base, big boxes, and warehouses, at the confluence of highways, subways, and an airport. Our site is an abstract space of pause within this non-place of circulation.

Yvonne Bambrick (Streets are for People) + Sue Bunce (Planning Action) + Rob Gill (York) + Heather Haynes (Toronto Free Gallery) + Joe Hermer (UT) + Luis Jacob (artist) + Peter Nyers (McMaster) + Darren O’Donnell (artist) + Jay Pitter (artist) + SYN- (artists) + Leah Sandals (Spacing) + Jeff Shantz + Kika Thorne (artist) + Rinaldo Walcott (OISE) + others TBC

About carpool
carpool (apparatus of capture) is a tent that connects four cars to form a larger composition. The cars are caught in fabric, creating a structure as they move apart from one another, temporarily immobilizing them while opening their private interiors to public use.

About Entangled Territories
Entangled Territories is Act 16 of Public Acts 1-29, a network of lines of flight for the experiences and experiments of 29 artists, activists and researchers situated along the Trans-Canada Highway.

Manifestations of Soft Revolution | Writing, Listening

by Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry

  • “Manifestations of Soft Revolution,” C Magazine, Issue 90, Summer 2006

vacant-lot-record-789034The energy of the manifesto is drawn from expressions in the here and now of alternate possibilities for life. Music is just one territory of cultural production in which such expressions of the possible manifest, in all their messy contradictions: “Our music foretells our future. Let us lend it an ear.”

This text flows from our listening to – or (shall we admit it?), our fictionalizing of – a strain of contemporary Canadian indie music. We, like many others, have been moved first by the sounds and, soon after, by the concept of a “Soft Revolution” as annunciated by Stars. No single group could, however, stake a proprietary claim on any soft revolution worthy of the name.

Read and listen to the entire manifesto.

Recovery! Recreation! | ¡Recuperación! ¡Recreación!

Recovery! Recreation!
A Conversation about Argentina’s Worker-Recovered Enterprises Movement with Eduardo Murúa

Saturday, June 3, 2006
4pm – 7pm
Ideal Coffee
Ossignton Ave., 2 blocks south of Dundas St.

recovery-event-776869Much of today’s global Left sees in Latin America inspiring instances of creative resistance to the neoliberal emergency. “Recovery! Recreation!” is a public conversation about a living experiment in Laboratory Latin America: Argentina’s movement of worker-recuperated enterprises, or ERTs (empresas recuperadas por sus trabajadores).

Since 1998, in response to economic and political crisis in Argentina, the ERT movement has been reclaiming spaces of production in a struggle against social precarity and humiliating experiences of work. Not limited to the recovery of jobs, recuperated enterprises are reconfiguring workplaces along more participatory lines, are developing into a horizontal network, and are often doubling as alternative schools, art galleries, community centres, or free medical clinics.

Join us for a conversation with Eduardo Murúa, president of Argentina’s Movimiento Nacional de Empresas Recuperadas (MNER, National Movement of Recovered Enterprises), facilitated by local labour activist Jorge Garcia-Orgales. With Eduardo and Jorge, we ask: What is being recovered? What is being created? What challenges does the ERT movement face? What lessons might the movement yield for struggles to democratize workplaces and communities locally? What lines of affinity exist, or might yet be invented, between Canadian labour groups and Argentina’s newest workers’ movements?

Eduardo Murúa, President, Movimiento Nacional de Empresas Recuperadas de Argentina
Jorge Garcia-Orgales, Researcher, United Steelworkers of America, Toronto

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.

Transformative Tactics

Celebrating the launch of Richard Day’s book, Gramsci is Dead: Anarchist Currents in the Newest Social Movements (Pluto Press/Between the Lines)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Toronto Free Gallery, 660 Queen Street East (w. of Broadview)

gramsci_is_deadWhat strategies and tactics are today’s activists using to achieve social transformation? Are taking over the state or trying to reform its structures the only way to achieve meaningful social change? Or are direct-action tactics, for example, potentially more effective?

Join us for a participant-led conversation and celebration around these questions. Some of our guests include Adrian Blackwell, AnarchistU, Todd Irvine, David McNally, Stuart Vickars, Cynthia Wright, and others to be confirmed. The evening will begin with short video screenings by John Greyson, Rick Palidwor, and Pedestrian Mob. After the forum, everyone is invited to continue the conversation at a party in Toronto Free Gallery!

Supported by Between the Lines.

Here be Dragons: Cartography of Globalization

An exhibition initiated by Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry
12 Nov. – 17 Dec. 2005
Opening reception: Sat. 12 Nov., 8-10pm
Toronto Free Gallery

Centuries ago, map-makers wrote the phrase ‘here be dragons’ on areas that were outside of their known world. Where should this phrase be written on contemporary maps of political and economic territory?

Recently, activists, artists, and researchers have used the form of the map to visually represent the distribution of power, the circulation of information, and the organization of control in the age of capitalist globalization. These critical cartographers make visible the vast networks of national governments, transnational corporations, and international institutions which channel massive flows of people, labour, interests, dollars, and meaning. Making the complexities of our present more graspable, counter-cartography furnishes us with pedagogical tools for cognitively navigating the class-divided, politically administered, and digitally mediated world we live in.

But the point of these maps isn’t to say: ‘Look how trapped we are.’ These networks are contested, and vulnerable. And there exist counter-networks, on whose nodes a multithere_be_dragons1ude of protagonists are searching for and inventing emergency exits. Maps of these powers ‘from below’ give expression to creative resistances and workable alternatives. These are a different type of dragon.

Believing that counter-cartography is a political provocation, the Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry is initiating a series of participatory events during the mapping show as forums for the discussion of questions raised by these critical cartographers. Where are the dragons today? How might we navigate a course within, against, and beyond the enclosures of the known world?

The exhibition features maps, texts, audio, and video by: