Participatory Critique as Transforming and Transversal "With"

Project: Research

Project participants


The art-theoretical and media-philosophical project centers the concept of participatory critique and investigates it along its sensuous, technological, and political conditions with the aim of rendering the modes of expression of such critique describable. The project’s focus resides equally in the material, relational, and constituent aspects of such critique. Practices of participatory critique will be examined as constituent conditions, priming, differentiating, and challenging the segmentations, boundaries and framings of systems – such as art, socioculture, or politics.Relaying the praxeological research on media participation in artistic and activist micro practices of the first funding period, this second phase shifts its until then anthropologically oriented perspective towards more-than-human modes of existence. The new research trajectory emphasizes the qualities and potentials of critique as participatory from the vantage point of a posthuman conception of artistic and activist practices of resistance in media environments. From a theoretical point of view Judith Butler’s notion of performativity defines a decisive instance. Butler deconstructs the “voluntaristic subject of humanism” and inquires about the posthuman. In such a posthuman condition, the power to act resides not in the sovereign subject but rather conceives of vulnerability as the ground for emergent ways of subjectivation with and through material, mental and media ecologies. The project conducts research on different dimensions of participatory critique in artistic knowledge practices as well as militant research (AB 2), on the Spanish municipalist movement and its technopolitics as well as the media studies genealogy of techno-collectives (AB 3). The aim is to weave ethico-aestehtic and aesthetico-political micro practices in art and activism into each other. Accordingly, participatory critique reveals its (non-)linguistic and more-than-human material and media forms of critique – putting them to the test – without reproducing acclaimed categories such as art vs. activism (AB 1). TP 5 focuses on the relationality of aesthetic-sensuous practices, affective dimensions, and material and infrastructural aspects of participatory critique through the analysis of case studies and its conceptual developments. Consequently, a theoretical re-positioning of the relation between art and activism and a differentiated analysis of techno-ecologically refined micro-practices and their modes of collectivity provide key elements of the project’s contributions to an overall theory of media participation.