Being Together Precedes Being

Conversation Mon 9 Dec 2019 6.30PM-8.30PM The New School, Theresa Lang Community and Student Center
55 West 13th Street, Room 202
Free with registration.
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Specters are haunting the globe—the specters of anticommunism. From the European Union and its erosion to the disastrous "war on terror" and the destruction of the welfare state; from Wahhabism to neoliberalism; from debt economy to privatization; from game theory and disruptive innovation to cybernetics, and the surveillance of entertainment devices - all these anticommunisms are fighting one another, and collectively haunt us. What began with the implosion of real existing socialism almost thirty years ago comes full circle with the current collapse of the neoliberal arrangements that were then constituted.

Join us for a discussion marking the publication of the book Being Together Precedes Being: A Textbook for The Kids Want Communism (Archive Books) with its editor Joshua Simon and invited artists and writers, including Irena Haiduk, McKenzie Wark, Ohad Meromi, and Tony Wood.

From Cold War to Global Warming, from the Soviet Block to Blockchain technology, from the Space Race to Space X, the word communism stands again as the radical opposition for exploitation and inequality. Being Together Precedes Being offers itself as a textbook for The Kids Want Communism project, which was initiated towards the 99th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917 as a series of exhibitions, symposiums and conferences, screening programs, publications and a summer camp around the world. In this textbook, communism does not merely describe an "us versus them" relation but also offers that we are becoming the future. This trajectory of communism runs parallel to us at every single moment and its guiding principle is that being together precedes being.

The discussion will consider communist legacies and knowledge inside and outside of real-existing socialism, to address some urgent questions facing us today: automation and reproductive labor, human capital and algorithmic management, environmental capitalist reform and planning for zero growth. The evening will include student films from the 1950s and 1960s, from FAMU, Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. The films were digitized for the project "Filmmakers of the World, Unite!," curated by Tereza Stejskalová, as part of The Kids Want Communism.

Irena Haiduk, artist and contributor to Being Together Precedes Being book
Ohad Meromi, artist and participant in The Kids Want Communism exhibition
Joshua Simon, writer and curator, 2011-13 VLC Fellow, Editor Being Together Precedes Being
McKenzie Wark, Professor of Media and Culture, Eugene Lang College
Tony Wood, writer and contributor to Being Together Precedes Being book