On the notion of the political in postmarxist theory.


Samuel Beckett's "Quad II" and "The Ghost Trio"
Repeating, exhausting

Remembering Kronstadt
Maggots and Men

Politics, poetics and popular education in Brazilian cinema
'Stronger are the powers of the people' III

Politics, poetics and popular education in Brazilian cinema
'Stronger are the powers of the people' II

Fassbinder's own private Nietzsche
Satan's brew

A comme animal

Portray of a precarious survival
Screening Dardenne's Rosetta

Screening of a film by Claire Denis
The Intruder

The cool despair of young creatives. Discussion with the filmmaker S. Geene
After effect

Screening + Discussion with the filmmaker Angela Melitopoulos
The cell - Toni Negri and the prison

Happiness (1934) by Aleksandr Medvedkin + Cine-Train excerpts (Medvedkin and others)
The body of the worker as paradoxical machine and teaching aid

Workers' autonomy in the Veneto in the 1960s and 70s
Porto Marghera: the last firebrands

Politics of montage
Kuhle Wampe

Video seminar with S. Dillemuth
A visual genealogy of bohemia

Remembering Fassbinder
Politics of Bohemia

Adam Curtis' documentary on consumerist subjectivity
The century of the self

A selection of movies presented by Tsila Hassine
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict

A movie by Peter Watkins
La Commune. Paris 1871 Part II

A movie by Peter Watkins
La Commune. Paris 1871 Part I

Winterbottom and Whitecross's image of exception
Road to Guantanamo

Remembering Fassbinder
Politics of Bohemia

Bohemia, not the bohème dorée, which cultivated a well-financed beautiful and style-obsessed idleness, but a bohemia distinguished by a particular affective combination, by aesthetic refinement, and a hatred for the status quo, is the secret subject of our discussion and screening today and tomorrow. Like every radicalised subject-group, bohemia cannot be automatically ascribed to leftwing politics, not only because of the remarkable pop-cultural conservatism of our times, but in the broader historical tradition of the reactionary bohemia, the circle of cosmics around Ludwig Klages and Adolf Schuler in turn-of-the-century Munich, or later the circle around Stefan George which both stood in contact with leftist writers and salon communists of their time. Bohemia is a topos, a field, for the dynamics of aesthetics and politics; it opens up the possibility of not opposing the aesthetic to the political as an autonomous figure, but of having its own politics. This politics of the aesthetic aims to grant a life the possibility of perceiving and expressing the sensual; it fights against the division and separation of what Benjamin called the fine and spiritual things, which presented for him that to what a happy life should have access.

Yesterday night in his film "The century of the Self" Adam Curtis critisises capitalism of supplying things nobody needs, against this prostestant anticapitalism one would have to insist that consuming and becoming a thing that nobody needs is one of the luxurious promises of a politics of bohemia.

The bohemian gesture of distinguished self-expression and cool openness to the beauty of commodity things is a special case if not a paradigm of micropolitics. This gesture has been born in the 19th century as an attitude against the coming world of salaried employees and the discipline of work. The bohemian testifies to the fact that deviance is that what governmentality attempts to anticipate and to regulate. A liberal regime of capitalist accumulation is characterized by being coextensive to the emergence of a possessive individualism, turning deviant technologies of the self to consumerist self-expression. At the same time, the bohemian gesture testifies to the very fact that the political could not be reduced to the effectivity of the rupture but is has to be accompanied by an intensification of affectivity , a golden moment of anti-normativity which vanishes in the moment of being acted out. 

At the beginning of the 90s, when in different cities the dissident music and art scene began to collaborate with radical leftwing activists against a strengthening neo-conservatism and racism, the notion of bohemia emerged in organisations such as the German welfare committee. Linked to this activating of a 19th century figure was a distancing of the political – initially an interesting act, since the political should rest at a distance to itself, on inner contradictions and differences. Unfortunately, this distancing resulted in a non-political gesture, since it accepted the conservative effects of its terminological distribution with approval or even pleasure. This distribution between pop and politics, bohemia and militancy, is based on a dualism of aesthetic composure and political discipline, which stabilises and sets up a series of reductive projections between aesthetics and politics: the double figure of sad militant versus cheerful hedonist. Both are inscribed with a myth of immediacy and authenticity: with the militant, the primacy of organisation and content; with hedonism, the primacy of style and expenditure. Instead of saturating their dualism, both figures should politicise the symptom of their radicalism, thus the fictions and affects that allow us to be calm, distinguished and open for the impressions of things, or serious, militant and organized against the effects of capitalist accumulation.

Suspicion, treachery, despair, that is Fassbinder's answer to the question how to become political. He is filming the failure of emancipation and how the people are attached to their subjugation, how they enjoy to fuck themselves and others, to stay instead to leave, to mix love with education and dependency; in short, Fassbinder is producing images of social SM. His fascination with being fucked up is fed by his romantic anticapitalism and his magic belief that we have lost something. Before night was falling there was the light of love. It is easy like that. Therefore one has to tell simple stories, therefore one has to reinvent the melodrama in political terms. Fassbinder's negative fascination with social and psychic destruction resulted from a tenderness for violence. There, in the very situation of destruction, the potentiality of sudden and total change resides.

"Satan's brew" is a Fassbinderian rarity; it's a comedy. Kurt Raab plays the role of a writer in his creative crises hallucinating himself as Stefan George, a film about the reactionary implications of bohemian gestures, self inflation, lust for transgression.

At the end of the movie Raab came off with "Fascism will win, or: No celebration for the dead dog of the Fuehrer".

Dillemuth/Norman: Iamshortyourhouse 25 min UK 2007
Tödliche Doris: The Life of Sid Vicious 12 min D 1981
Rainer Werner Fassbinder: Satan's brew 112 min D 1976