9 May 2012
Venue: Room 901, Level 9, Human Sciences Building
Host: Dr Colin Cremin, Department of Sociology, University of Auckland
The commodity has vacuumed sensuous life from the fabric of being, leaving behind only a kernel of what Marx called our species being - the vital powers, dispositions, capacities and drives that distinguish humans from animals. It is this kernel of humanity that the paper searches for among the excesses of western consumption. As well as questioning those excesses, the paper identifies in them the condition and possibility for utopia as an alternative to a system that destroys life in its multiple forms and expressions. Drawing on Marxist psychoanalytic theory, the paper describes the now ubiquitous lower case i commonly associated with Apple products as a signifier of the vital excesses of human life captured into but always exceeding the commodity form. What the iPhone is to an ordinary phone, iCommunism is to ordinary communism, a sensual flourish on a machine that can potentially fulfil a universal and practical need. The challenge, the paper argues, is to create a global material foundation for the liberation of the senses; the alternative is endless austerity.
iCommunism is published shortly with Zer0 Books.
[There will be cake]