Armen Avanessian & Enemies #38 & Sein und Streit
Three conversations with Peter Sloterdijk: 1. Liberty

In German

Armen Avanessian & Enemies is realized in cooperation with Nemetschek Foundation.


With: Simone Miller, Armen Avanessian


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Past Activities

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #49: Anja Cronberg - Theatrum Mundi, or How We Appear in the World

We are all actors, audience, observers and co-participants: selves upon selves upon selves. But is there such a thing as a ‘real me’ or a ‘genuine self’? How does one live an authentic life? These are some of the questions addressed in this performance, where a model, an actor, a drag king and a banker speak candidly about self-presentation and persona, and about how they each consume, shop and get dressed in order to construct or enact identity.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #48: All is fair in dreams and finance - A night of financial terror with Goldman $nax

Goldman $nax offers the best product more often than any competitor – and as such is the market leader in trading tactics and decentralised funding. Goldman $nax codifies an unconditional mutation of the undead corpse called 21st century late capitalism. Our tool CUMmons™ is your first-choice funding alternative to the conventional attention economy in the art world. CUMmons™ broadcasts absolute affirmation, opaque transparency and disruptive processing. Combining rhizomatic dreamscapes and lucid game play, CUMmons™ brokers the imaginarium of art and finance. It will set you free from the bonds of financial infestation. This is a total t€rror production. Please do not hesitate to contact us (in a language of your choice)!

With: Goldman $nax + special guests

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #47: Dirk Baecker – Society 4.0

Dirk Baecker's new book 4.0 oder Die Lücke die der Rechner lässt (4.0 or the Gaps that the Computer Creates) tackles the fourth media epoch in human history – the epoch of electronic and digital media. Three earlier epochs preceded it: oral 1.0, written 2.0, and printed 3.0. Before human society experienced digitalisation, it went through the adventures of developing oral communication, written language and wide-spread printed materials, none of which were any less overwhelming. Nothing less than a fundamental change in the structure and culture of society, four times in a row, was necessary to cope with these challenges.

The project of the modern age – the inclusion of the entire population in political, legal, economic, educational and cultural processes – has been followed by the project of digitalisation: the transformation of analogue processes into processes that can be counted discretely, analysed statistically, calculated by machine and coded into binary. Some hope that digitalisation will create the prerequisites necessary for continuing the project of the modern by preparing tools that enable access to all areas of society. Others fear that it's ending the project of the modern in a perverse way, as universal participation in society is no longer a question of individual decisions, but rather of collective data collection.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #46: Youth and politics
Armen Avanessian & Enemies #45: Armen Falb und Daniel Avanessian Metaphysik (Doppel-Buchpräsentation)

For the presentation of their books Metaphysik zur Zeit (Metaphysics at the Moment, 2018) and Geospekulationen. Metaphysik für die Erde im Anthropozän (Geo-speculations. Metaphysics for the Earth in the Anthropocene, 2019) in the Roter Salon, Armen Avanessian and Daniel Falb will become Armen Falb and Daniel Avanessian, explaining their texts – or what is fundamentally wrong about them – in reversed roles, and showing in passing: the present is a heyday of metaphysics. In an unprecedented fashion, the world-view of modern science is the product of a metaphysical practice. Today, in the early Anthropocene, new models of international and ecological governance must also pass through the metaphysics of trans-generational terrestrial space-time. And fundamental philosophical concepts such as substance/accident, form/material, life/death etc. are forcefully melted down and re-coded by algorithmic insecurity, nanotechnology and mind uploading. The trauma of our present – its destructive ecstasy and Great Acceleration – is the transformation of its metaphysics.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #44: Wasting Time – A wasted night with Leif Randt and Juan S. Guse

Unnecessary dating rituals, holidays at non-places, hour-long youtubing, standing in lines, meaningless office tasks. Our lives are a constant waste of time – out of love, for amusement, for work. But is that really a problem? When do we suffer from it and when are we pumped up by it? Why don't we exercise all day long? Philosopher Armen Avanessian and two writers, Juan S. Guse and Leif Randt as well as Milosz Paul Rosinski embark on a journey in search of lost time. An evening with texts, videos, guests and evidence.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies 43: Ray Brassier & Iain Grant Myth or History, Nature or Reason? Schelling and Hegel as Forms Occurring in Contemporary Philosophy

Unfortunately the event on the 16.12. with Ray Brassier and Iain Grant has to be postponed to the 13.04.19. A replacement event will take place on the 16.12. with the title Armen Avanessian & Enemies #43: What do the yellow vests mean?
Ticket holders can either exchange their ticket for
the replacement event on the 16.12, or for the new date on the 13.04. within 14 days. Alternatively please contact our ticket office for a full refund.

Caricatures of Schelling and Hegel abound: the Romantic nature-philosopher versus the bureaucratic rationalist; the potency of myth versus the negativity of history. These familiar caricatures prevent us from noticing the surprising actuality of their concerns, their shared project of renewing philosophy, and, in consequence of this, the forms they introduce to those then occurring amongst its contemporaneous expressions. What forms, therefore, might they introduce into those occurring in our own age? To grasp what really divides these two thinkers is not just a question of rectifying the historical record; it can shed new light on contemporary debates about nature, history, reason, politics, and the fate of the human. To grasp what unites them is to reengage the project of philosophical reinvention without abandoning truth, reality, or reason. These are the topics that this conversation proposes to explore.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #42: Metahaven – Poetic Inquiries

The multifaceted practices of Metahaven (Vinca Kruk and Daniel van der Velden) include films, writing, installations, garments, theory, music videos, and design. On the occasion of their visit at Volksbühne’s Roter Salon, they will show clips from several of their films, and discuss their work from beyond the distinction of theory versus practice. Metahaven meets their inquiries—from digital superstructures to propaganda to daily life—with what could be called a poetical methodology, which seems necessary in times of epistemic uncertainty: counter-imaginations, multiplication of narratives, and an attempt to inhabit (instead of represent) the investigated phenomena.

The work of Metahaven consists of filmmaking, writing, design, and installations, and is united conceptually by interests in poetry, storytelling, digital superstructures, and propaganda. Films by Metahaven include The Sprawl (Propaganda about Propaganda) (2015), Information Skies (2016), Possessed (2018, with Rob Schröder), Hometown (2018) and Eurasia (Questions on Happiness) (2018). Publications include Digital Tarkovsky (2018), PSYOP (2018), Black Transparency (2015) and Uncorporate Identity (2010). Their work is screened, published, and exhibited worldwide.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #41: The Agency – Gather up, Man up

MOM, Movement Of contemporary Manliness, is meeting for a “Gather Up” in the Roter Salon. In this second offline meeting, they’ll investigate the rhetoric and practices of new masculinity: the tears of the Sad Boys, the MGTOW's ghost status, the radical potential of herbivore men. MOM asks: What must be given up, what reclaimed? How can understandings of masculinities beyond biological identity and heteronormativity be established? How can masculinity become a tool for change? How can we become MOM?

In MOM, THE AGENCY – together with Nile Koetting (musician, performer), Taro Inamura (dramaturg, Japan research) and Kanako Azuma (video artist) – challenge themselves to conceive of a new men's movement that acts beyond the identity-political allocations of our contemporary climate and offers a positive potential for identification.

With: Nile Koetting (performer, musician), Fabian Stumm (performer), Dorian Fabini (performer) and THE AGENCY (Magdalena Emmerig, Belle Santos, Yana Thönnes, Rahel Spöhrer)

More information:


Armen Avanessian & Enemies #40 & Sein und Streit Three conversations with Peter Sloterdijk: 3. Fraternity?
Armen Avanessian & Enemies #39 & Sein und Streit Three conversations with Peter Sloterdijk: 2. Equality
Armen Avanessian & Enemies #36 Isolde Charim: Ich und die Anderen

Diversity changes all of us, in one way or another. Armen Avanessian and the philosopher Isolde Charim discuss what it means to live in a ‘pluralised society’.

We live in a pluralised society. Each culture exists alongside another, there is no obvious sense of belonging. But what does that even mean – a pluralised society? And what is it to be an individual living in one? Today, another perspective, or the possibility for things to be different, to believe something else or live distinctly, is now part of every culture. And this change affects everyone. It changes one’s relationship to the community, to one’s own identity. The philosopher Isolde Charim applies her thesis to several topics, from politics to integration, to the definition of home, to the debate surrounding religious symbols.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #35 NO MORE DICK SOUP

With: Heba Y. Amin, Grada Kilomba, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Iris Rajanayagam, Candice Breitz

For decades, people of colour, womxn and other minority communities have drawn attention to the violent disparities that continue to persist in cultural institutions. How is it possible, then, that museums, galleries, symposia and other cultural initiatives continue to place such a disproportionate focus on the cultural practice and achievements of white men? The art community, in particular, likes to prides itself on protecting freedom of expression above all other principles. But whose freedom of expression does it celebrate and amplify, exactly? And at what cost to those whose voices are marginalised as a consequence? Can we really grasp and narrate the complex world in which we live, when voices of privilege continue to resonate so dominantly and so disproportionately, effectively sidelining the voices of so-called ‘others'? Are universalist defences of freedom of expression merely an alibi, serving to distract from the urgent and necessary work of transformation that lies ahead, if institutions wish to commit to dismantling existing infrastructural hierarchies and broadening their programming? The aim of this panel is to discuss various possibilities via which to move beyond commonly-used consciousness-raising strategies (as exemplified, for example, in the practice of the Guerrilla Girls, or in the use of tools such as the ‘open letter’), towards actual transformation within our cultural institutions. What role can rigorous intersectional feminism play in building meaningful alliances and addressing systemic disparities that have continued to fester for generations? Should we be pushing harder for a diversity quota? And why are quotas such a fearful prospect to so many on the cultural left in Europe? What other forms of collective practice could be effective in challenging cultural institutions to support the creative labour of a broader range of cultural producers? A strong hope is that this panel will open onto other forms of collective action in the future. We warmly invite those attending to share their ideas and thoughts.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #34 Book Launch: Georg Diez, Das andere Land

It was a moment of social change, a moving generational experience – and was ruthlessly drowned: the admission of hundreds of thousands of refugees in the summer of 2015 could have been a chance to re-establish Germany, to create a different, more open civil society. Why didn’t this happen? And what are the consequences of this failure? Armen Avanessian, Georg Diez, Sophie Passmann, Gilda Sahebi and Farhad Dilmaghani discuss.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #33 Corresponding with ghosts – A staged reading with music on the legacy of debt

Presented in partnership with The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London

Generational battlegrounds. Class war. From high ideals to dirty money, and never enough of it. From the birth of mechanical reproduction in 1457 to the death of the gold standard in 1973, Corresponding with Ghosts is an experiment in staging modernity. Karl Marx, Charles Baudelaire, Richard Wagner, Alfred Kerr, Catherine of Aragon, and Galileo’s daughter discuss their dealings with debt, ventriloquized by children attempting to come to terms with the world built by their parents, Debt and Loss. Together, they sketch the machine-consciousness of ledgered modernity as it crawls out of the swamps of feudalism to erect its cloud-castles on the logic of debt. As the machine turns, the screams of bodies crushed in its gears are expelled as witness statements.

Performed by Paula Kober and Anne Tismer with music by Sir Henry

Developed by Sam Williams with graduates of the MA in Theatre Criticism and Dramaturgy at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London

Based on materials compiled by Armen Avanessian

Sir Henry (John Henry Nijenhuis) was born in Montreal, Canada. He received his stage name, a homage to vinyl organ legend Sir Julian, in 1996, as performer/arranger for the Sonambiente Festival in Berlin. Shortly thereafter he became a member of the Volksbühne ensemble and worked as musical director and composer for Frank Castorf, Dimiter Gotscheff, David Marton, and others. For the past few years he has frequently collaborated with Alexander Kluge.

Paula Kober is a student of acting at Berlin’s Universität der Künste, where she is a recipient of the Deutschlandstipendium scholarship prize. She has performed in Volksverräter!! (2017) directed by Hermann Schmidt-Rahmer, based on Henrik Ibsen’s Enemy of the People, at Schauspielhaus Bochum, or Die Ermordung des Kaisers Elagabal at Berlin’s Deutsches Theater and Hans Otto Theater Potsdam, and for which she received the Schauspieltreffen 2018 Solo Prize. Most recently she has appeared in Madame Poverty. A set of emotion and Sensation (2018) at the Volksbühne.

Anne Tismer is an actress, performance artist, and co-founder of the free Experimentierbühne Ballhaus OST, Berlin and one of the most important stage artists of her generation. She uses her body as a medium to question the boundaries between acting and performance. Her work examines the role of theatre as a driving force and catalyst for the discussion of social issues. Her film and theatre credits are extensive. She has worked at the Schaubühne and Sophiensäle in Berlin, and in the United States, Belgium, Korea and Taiwan and Togo. She was named Germany’s actress of the year in 2003 and in 2009 received the Belgian Prix Spécial de la Critique Théâtre et Danse. As of 2018, she is a permanent member of the Volksbühne ensemble and advisory board.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #32 Deep State Germany?

Wir erleben einen Coup der weißen alten Männer, er ist still, er dauert schon länger, und möglicherweise ist er für die Demokratie noch gefährlicher als die Straßenschlachten der rassistischen Glatzen oder die Redeschlachten der xenophoben Tweedsakkos: Die Rede ist vom Deep State, in den USA längst Gegenstand widersprüchlicher Spekulationen, aber gibt es ihn überhaupt, und wenn ja, wie viele? Auch in Deutschland ist der Deep State in den vergangenen Wochen zu einem heißen Thema geworden durch das grenzwertige Verhalten von Verfassungsschutzpräsident Hans-Georg Maaßen und das dunkle Heimatverständnis seines Dienstherrn Horst Seehofers. Wie verhalten sich eigentlich latenter und manifester Rechtsextremismus zueinander? Und was bedeutet es für die Legitimität des demokratischen Systems, wenn sich die, die dieses System schützen sollen, zunehmend außerhalb von Sichtbarkeit und Rechenschaft bewegen? Was sind Gegenwart und Geschichte des Deep State bzw. seiner paranoiden Evokationen? Und welche Alternativen stehen uns zur Verfügung?

Zu Gast: Antonia von der Behrens (Anwältin im NSU-Prozess), Georg Diez (Der Spiegel), John Goetz (Investigativjournalist, Süddeutsche Zeitung), Maximilian Popp (Der Spiegel, Türkeikorrespondent), Martina Renner (Die LINKE)

FAM_ Eventbude sponsored by: Armen Avanessian __ armen avanessian & enemies #31 __

With: FAM_, One Mother, Camelt:O & Daycare aka Hitprovider

FAM_ throws a party to the big reopening of the Roter Salon on 14.09!
There is: opluent karaoke for deep emotion-diving & spoil_me pop.
with a subsequent concert by one mother and the finest anger management rap.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #30 ETHNOFUTURISMS Book presentation

◊ The notion of a black secret technology allows Afrofuturism to reach a point of speculative acceleration. ◊ Blaccelerationism proposes that accelerationism always already exists in the territory of blackness, whether it knows it or not. ◊ Sinofuturism is a darkside cartography of the turbulent rise of East Asia; It connects seemingly heterogeneous elements onto the topology of planetary capitalism. ◊ S hanghai futurism ultimately depends on breaking free from the now common assumption about the nature of time. ◊ T he unfolding story of Gulf Futurism is a strange mitosis happening out of the sight of the master planners and architects; it’s the splitting of worlds, of then and later, us and them, real and unreal. ◊ The Dubaification of the world is already a thing of the present and the recent past, and has completed its ideological mission at lightning speed.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #29: Evgeny Morozov – How can we overcome surveillance-capitalism?

Data is what we are. And for many, Facebook is only an example. We are all accomplices in this new, radical form of market economy, that is organised increasingly monopolistically. Surveillance is extensive. So what could resistance against this almighty regime look like? The famous technology philosopher Evgeny Morozov discusses with the Swedish journalist and author Karin Pettersson and the ,Spiegel’ columnist Georg Diez about democracy’s central question of survival. The event is the live-format of ,Start Worrying, Details to Follow’, the podcast for new ideas for democratic thought. The event is in English.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #28: Wolfram Eilenberger: Toni Kroos as will and as idea

We will discuss the text 'Unsterblich werden mit Toni Kroos' (Becoming immortal with Toni Kroos) The participants will receive his text at the beginning of the colloquium.

What form of inner life should we expect from a person who no longer makes any mistakes under extreme pressure and simply appears to exist effortlessly in the room. Is someone even 'still at home'? An active internal addressee? Is there still a continued process of personal perception and conscious decision making at work?

Relevant for the modules: Epistemology, Introduction to philosophy, Football, Theology, theory of consciousness

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #27: Leif Randt – Positive Vibes

The author of the novels “Schimmernder Dunst über CobyCounty” (Dazzling Dust over CobyCounty), and Planet Magnon as well as Co-Founder of the label Tegel Media (tegelmedia.net) gives insights into his work from 2018.

,I now write in my mum’s house again’ (Leif Randt, E-Mail to Armen Avanessian, 2 April 2018)

,So much text about so much free time. What happy human beings are we’ (Leif Randt, Telegram message to Jakob Nolte, 5. April 2018)

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #26: Epic Fail. An Anti Newsroom with Laurent de Sutter

The endless bavardage of columnists, experts and editors, in either journals, radios or television broadcasts, have rendered the contemporary impossible to understand. In order to reverse this trend, we need to rethink not only our predicament, but the very tools we use in order to try and understand it. We have been rendered stupid with principles, values, beliefs, things to be done and things certainly not to be done, prohibitions and permissions, scandals and judgments. It is this whole apparatus that it is time to get rid of. How to? For instance, by making the hypothesis that the present always allows for something different to be said – every event, case, dossier, debate, question, stake or problem is there waiting for someone to take them seriously, rather than applying to them some preconceived moral or political agenda. This is what is going to happen tonight. Randomly selected items out of the political, intellectual or aesthetical news, treated as they would deserve to be treated: experimentally, with no borders and no consideration for seriousness or gravity. To the epic fail of contemporary moral sociology, politology or journalism, we need to reply with the acceptance of the epic fail of thought to deal with anything – if one doesn’t accept one’s own, predictable, failure. Douchebags and stiffed necs not welcome.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #25: Steven Shaviro: Speculative Time – Science Fiction and Music Videos in the Neoliberal Era

Book launch

On the occasion of the launch of his book Die Pinocchio Theorie (Merve), Steven Shaviro presents a discussion on Speculative Time. It has often been said that we live in a historical moment in which “it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism” (Mark Fisher). We seem to be trapped in a heightened eternal present, characterized by media saturation, financial speculation, and relentless entrepreneurial innovation. Everything is continually changing – right here, right now – and yet nothing ever seems to be truly different. In a time of incessant novelty and intensified actuality, we find it ever more difficult to envision any future that is not just continuous with the present. In his talk, Steven Shaviro seeks to excavate a different sort of futurity: one that is “real but not actual” (a formulation that was proposed, independently of one another, by the philosophers Alfred North Whitehead and Gilles Deleuze). Against the background of the ways that our sense of time has been molded by financialization and by schedules of indebtedness, the talk will consider alternative futurities expressed in the fabulation of science fiction narrative, and in the forms of rhythm generated in contemporary popular music and music videos.

Steven Shaviro’s presentation will start at 20:00, screening of music videos from 19:00.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #24: School of Disobedience Nr 4: Rebellische Städte

Whilst politics is losing democratic legitimacy nationwide and Europe wide, and neoliberalism and right-wing populism are more and more rooted into the governments as competitors or partners, the potential for left-wing countermovement in cities is coming to light.

Be it in the “Solidarity City” network, which aims to give people without the same formal rights the same access to the housing and job market, in ‘Recht-auf-Stadt-Initiativen’ (rights for city initiatives), who have been fighting for a ‘city for all’ for years or in ‘hack the city’ projects, who digitalise cities from the bottom instead of accepting the neoliberal Smart City, in which profitoriented companies collect the data of individual inhabitants for so-called improvement of security.

In many southern European cities, left-wing grass-roots initiatives that have already gained power in the city halls, are trying to win over the existing institutions. And in a completely different context, the local self-organisation also appears to demonstrate a chance of a new beginning: in Aleppo, where the inhabitants find resistant ways of surviving and living through new social alliances and recreate the city and neighbourhoods. What chances lie in the reconstruction of cities?

What defines all of these initiatives and what perspectives for a progressive politics do they open up? Can local power stand up against neoliberalism, right-wing populism (and destruction)? How can institutions be taken over and social movements strengthend? Can a left-wing citywide network be formed in order to decentrally erode capitalism?

Concept and Moderation:
Nora al Badri & Carolin Wiedemann

Lisa Vollmer, interdisciplinary city- and movement researcher, Institute for European Urban Planning, Bauhaus-University Weimer
Nina Scholz, Journalist and activist at Kotti and Co, Berlin
Jennifer Schubert researches ‘Informal City Making – Tools for Civic Participation in Neighbourhoods’, Design Research Lab, Universität der Künste, Berlin
N.N., Activist from Solidarity City Berlin
Zoya Masoud, Architect and coordinator of „Crossroad Aleppo - Multaka Halab“, project at the Museum of Islamic Art, TU Berlin

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #23: Book presentation Robert Misik - Love under capitalism

Book presentation from Robert Misiks collection of essays “Love under capitalism”.

The book is a collection of essays, articles and lectures that were made especially for this collection or were written from scratch. A kind of diagnosis of our times, following several terms. Terms that have influenced our epoch: fear, exasperation, consumption, love, tinderisation, happiness, insecurity, freedom, patriotism, integration, identity, irony and much more. In total they make up a well-composed panorama of our times.

Reading by the author and discussion with Armen Avanessian.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #22: LOVECOIN

Many promises of love, for example that of the budding internet or that of the canonical ’68, go like this: One day our closeness will be free and very, very light and it will cost us nothing. But this optimism veils how much emotional and thus unpaid labour is needed to endure our differences.

And especially: how much tender administration is necessary to make these differences less heteronormative. Especially following supposed sexual revolutions and the cybersex-era. LOVECOIN therefore asks the question: how can we learn to manage our contemporary intimacies? What do infrastructures that offer different types of commitment to wedding rings and “it’s complicated” cost us? Perhaps less of a hope of what’s to come, and more queer bureaucracy of what could already be: precise and too much, collective and dynamically administered like a safe space or the blockchain. So minus the hype, minus the bro culture: a stock market-crush of closeness. Three short performative science fictions present themselves, and how our relationships will have been a little bit different.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #21: Culture in the Era of Global System Failure. A Boardgame with Paul Mason

What happens when the global systems that we once thought permanent break down? And what does it mean for cultural production in the 21st Century? Paul Mason, author of Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future (2015), presents a simulation of global system failure and invites participants to consider the consequences. To discuss what global system failure will mean for artists, theatremakers, and the art forms that are likely to emerge, Paul will be joined by Sam Williams and Armen Avanessian. The evening will conclude with an open platform for the free exchange of ideas.

In English

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #20: Britta Thie: A Scene of a Scene

On the stage of Roter Salon, at Volksbühne, a film shoot of a live-drama is performed, which the audience can attend alongside the camera team and direction.

A scene from a soap opera is staged in which the main protagonists perform a theatre piece as part of the plot.

The audience is invited to watch this chamber play, whose actors act about the act of acting.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #19: School of Disobedience Nr3: Epistemology of the fight: How do we lead and win sociopolitical fights in the age of digital capitalism?

Occupy, Momentum, Democracy in Bewegung (Democracy in Movement), Pulse of Europe, Fearless Democracy, ‘Zentrum für politische Schönheit’ (‘Centre for political beauty’). A large number of new movements are bringing a fresh breeze to the stale discourses of our post democracies. But do these actors really bring about change? With what kinds of strategies and instruments do they get involved in the political battle of opinions? And what understanding of politics hides behind it? Can the chosen strategies actually bring about real change? We need to talk.


Marc Saxer, Disrupt Democracy
Philipp Ruch, Zentrum für Politische Schönheit
Gerald Hensel, Fearless Democracy
Paula Peters, Change.org
Nora Al-Badri, artist
Alexis Passadakis, attac


„Trees have nothing to teach me”, insists Socrates (Phaedrus 230d), so dismissing, at one and the same time, the natural inquiries of his youth and the bifurcating iterations of a natural logic responsive to the paired terrestrial demands of gravitation (branches cannot be more massive than trunk without catastrophe) and light (energy, honey pump) while irreducible to either. Already therefore dendritic morphology teaches us a great deal about natural logics as situated in domains requiring additional logics to articulate them. If what is true of the first (dendrite plus conditions) remains true of the second (though <dendrite plus conditions>), it will be unconditionally true that there are no unconditioned logics. Such logics, evident in the morphogenetics of D’Arcy Thompson and Rene Thom, and practised in the cosmographies of Yves Klein and Anselm Kiefer, articulate innumerable natural logics. With their passing, as when a hyper-salinated river dries and drifts, natural logics are instances of the earth’s thoughts that must pass, according to their own imperatives, at least partly unremarked. Precisely, therefore, what grants logics expanded and natural fields simultaneously conditions them as immanently restricted.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #17: Recuperate This!

With Tom McCarthy, Clémentine Deliss and Sina Najafi

In the context of the reading of Tom McCarthy’s novel Satin Island in Roter Salon the previous day, curator and publisher Clémentine Deliss, Cabinet Magazine editor-in-chief Sina Najafi and Armen Avanessian join the author for a discussion.

Is the feedback loop running between radical culture and capitalism’s mechanisms of capture inescapable?

Are all avant-gardists ultimately conducting research and development for tomorrow’s branding and advertising agencies?

Or is art still able to ‘détourne’ power, to open up new modes and possibilities?

Tom McCarthy’s celebrated recent novel Satin Island raises all these questions, and more. Its protagonist U., a twenty-first-century Man Without Qualities, works as a corporate anthropologist for a cutting-edge consultancy, placing the insights of thinkers from Malinowski and Levi-Strauss to Deleuze and Badiou in the service of government think-tanks and multinational corporations. At the same time, he harbours fantasies of acting as a symbolic terrorist, destroying the entire system from within.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #16: Satin Island: Company Report

Presented by Tom McCarthy and Stop making sense, it's as good as it gets. (www.bnkr.space)

A full reading of Tom McCarthy’s novel ‘Satin Island’, staged (in keeping with the book’s corporate-anthropological milieu) as a company report, designed by Laura Hopkins. The actors Elena García Gerlach, Steffen Klewar and Jonas Zipf will be reading. On purchase of a unit of the event's stock, shareholders will have the right to audit the text’s full reading, alongside a power-point presentation. Coffee and biscuits will be free to all shareholders, and alcohol will be available for purchase.

‘Satin Island’ has been described as 'Kafka for the Google Age’. Its anti-hero, corporate anthropologist U., is a twenty-first century man-without-qualities, meandering his way from brainstorming session to government meeting to aimless speculation about cargo cults and dead parachutists, the meaning of buffering and the after-life of Ulrike Meinhof. Is there a logic governing our era? Could this be summed up, ‘named’? Or is it all just randomness, algorithm and glitch?

The reading is part of the program Stop making sense, it's as good as it gets., by Ludwig Engel and Joanna Kamm and a cooperation between Volksbühne Berlin and BNKR Munich.

One day after the reading of the novel, curator and publisher Clémentine Deliss, Cabinet Magazine editor-in-chief Sina Najafi and Armen Avanessian join the author Tom McCarthy for a discussion.
> Armen Avanessian & Enemies #17: Recuperate This!

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #15: Death Karaoke

With Monira Al Qadiri & Raed Yassin

Living in times of global uncertainty and shifting realities, the project aims to create an accompaniment to the age of shared melancholia. Sifting through the relationship of sadness and the city, destruction and nomadism, Monira Al Qadiri and Raed Yassin create a performance in which ancient lamentation hymns are transmitted through a Karaoke machine. Darkness, ominous voices, jolts of pain and screams, and a general sense of morose: it promises to be a cathartic evening.

For the gods have abandoned us
Like migrating birds they have gone

Ur is destroyed, bitter is its lament
The country's blood now fills its holes like hot bronze in a mould
Bodies dissolve like fat in the sun. Our temple is destroyed
Smoke lies on our city like a shroud.
Blood flows as the river does
The lamenting of men and women
Sadness abounds
Ur is no more

Lament for Ur, c. 2000 BC (Mesopotamia)

Monira Al Qadiri is a Kuwaiti visual artist born in Dakar, Senegal and educated in Japan. In 2010, she received a Ph.D. in inter-media art from Tokyo University of the Arts, where her research was focused on the aesthetics of sadness in the Middle-East stemming from poetry, music, art and religious practices. Her work explores unconventional gender identities, petro-cultures and their possible futures, as well as the legacies of corruption. She is also part of the artist collective GCC.

Raed Yassin (born 1979, Beirut) lives and works in Beirut. He graduated from the Theatre Department of the Institute of Fine Arts in Beirut in 2003, and in 2015 he was awarded a research fellowship at the Akademie der Künste der Welt in Cologne. An artist and musician, Yassin's work often originates from an examination of his personal narratives and their position within a collective history, through the lens of consumer culture and mass production. One of the organisers of Irtijal Festival - Beirut's experimental contemporary music festival - Yassin has released several music albums and founded the production company Annihaya in 2009. He is also a founding member of Atfal Ahdath, a Beirut-based art collective.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #14: The Holy Template

With Monira Al Qadiri & Raed Yassin

The Holy Template is a multi-media lecture performance by Monira Al Qadiri accompanied by a live intervention by Raed Yassin. The Roter Salon will be suddenly transformed into a digital cathedral, where religion via the web will be displayed and heard. The audience plays the role of the devotees, contemplating what it means to consume faith through the Internet.

The composition of religious dogma has changed dramatically since the advent of the Internet. Where once religious fervor was rooted in far-away sacred places, cryptic sacred books, magnanimous sacred personalities – ie. physical experiences tied to the metaphysical – the dispersal of spiritual doctrines online has demystified certain parts of religious discourse, but simultaneously augmented other more micro or fringe beliefs, and thrust those extremities to the central tenets of devotion. The fast paced ever-changing quotidian norms of virtual life displace and randomize the traditional hierarchy of faith, adding infinite layers of newly ‘imagined’ rules and phenomena. The esoteric has become exoteric: the mysteries of the Divine have now shifted to the everyday behavior of the devotees.

Islam is a case in point. The shift in popular culture has changed how we consume religion within the Islamic universe. In the days of television until the mid-90s, Islamic programs were focused on directing viewers to look at the world around them to find God, mainly through the miracles of nature. In the present day, this image has been all if not completely overturned. In the world of Islam.net, one sees the wide circulation of peculiar multi-colored jpeg templates that point to the microscopic ins and outs of the religious imagination.

Monira Al Qadiri is a Kuwaiti visual artist born in Dakar, Senegal and educated in Japan. In 2010, she received a Ph.D. in inter-media art from Tokyo University of the Arts, where her research was focused on the aesthetics of sadness in the Middle-East stemming from poetry, music, art and religious practices. Her work explores unconventional gender identities, petro-cultures and their possible futures, as well as the legacies of corruption. She is also part of the artist collective GCC.

Raed Yassin (born 1979, Beirut) lives and works in Beirut. He graduated from the Theatre Department of the Institute of Fine Arts in Beirut in 2003, and in 2015 he was awarded a research fellowship at the Akademie der Künste der Welt in Cologne. An artist and musician, Yassin's work often originates from an examination of his personal narratives and their position within a collective history, through the lens of consumer culture and mass production. One of the organisers of Irtijal Festival - Beirut's experimental contemporary music festival - Yassin has released several music albums and founded the production company Annihaya in 2009. He is also a founding member of Atfal Ahdath, a Beirut-based art collective.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #13: Britta Thie. The Netflix–ication of Life & Digital Puberty

With: Britta Thie + Guest: Dan Bodan

Watching all these American TV shows, I feel like, when I speak English, I’m just copy-pasting dialogue. It’s like the Mimikry of the latest HBO-slang, the lines of my favourite streaming-starlet become mine, the voice over of my life.

I call that the “Netflix-ication of Life” – or the Soap-ification of the Self.

#TBT: Back in the day in the German small town we were listening to Millencolin and had crushes on boys wearing brown Lagwagon shirts which they bought ONLINE for heavy Deutsch Mark.

The Euro came a few years later, the coins were crisp and the modems still loud.

The Misseducation of Lauren Hill pushed our self esteem.

ICQ, Miss Sixty, és skate shoes, Helly Hansen, VIVA 2, Lara Croft, Flat Eric.

’97: GMX –> ’02: Digital Puberty –> ’05: Myspace –> ’08: Gmail –> ’16: Coinbase

Conversation and performance with Britta Thie & Dan Bodan

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #12: Liberties Rewired: tech-info-bazaar with Tactical Technology Collective, CryptoParty, Syrian Archive, Daphne Dragona and Manu Luksch & Jack Wolf

Hyper-informed or algorithmically manipulated? How do we make decisions in the 'smart' age - while shopping, before elections, about life partners? In order to investigate the question of self-determination in our increasingly algorithmically managed society over a glass of chai, surprising and provocative reactions are brought together for this data bazaar.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #11: Dreams Rewired (Mobilisierung der Träume): Filmscreening und Gespräch with Manu Luksch

A film by Manu Luksch, Martin Reinhart & Thomas Tode
Narrated by Tilda Swinton

Narrated by hollywood star Tilda Swinton, and including cinematic gems and a prize-winning soundtrack, “Dreams Rewired” bridges the gap from silent film to the present, stunningly portraying the journey from the industrial to the digital revolution. It discusses the dreams and visions as well as the fear of its consequences.

-BR, FilmTonArt

“Dreams rewired” engages with the desires and concerns of today’s connected world, going back 100 years to the beginnings of the telephone, film and television. Equivalent to today’s social media, they too incited utopic expectations of limitless communication, democratisation of knowledge and even world peace through an improved sense of mutual understanding. Yet, similarly, this transcending of time and distance also created fears about privacy, security and morality.

Featuring an abundance of passionately researched unseen archive footage taken from around 200 films, this compilation shows a dazzling mosaic, navigating timeless hopes and anxieties. It also casually and rightfully shines a light on the role of women within the history of modern communication. This history of modern mass communication is a guide to better understanding our current, connected world.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #10: Disrupt Democracy: School of Disobedience Nr.2

After their successful launch at the beginning of the Roter Salon's event series, the hybrid word-and-deed-collective Disrupt Democracy's second political workshop addresses another current topic for discussion: How does resistance work in the early 21st century? What's legal? What's illegal? What parliamentary and extra-parliamentary alliances exist?

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #9: Der Zerfall der Demokratie: Buchpräsentation Yascha Mounk

Populism is threatening the rule of law, according to Harvard University political scientist Yasha Mounk's latest book, The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It (German edition title: Der Zerfall der Demokratie). In a conversation with Georg Diez, he explains why liberal democracies – ranging from Germany to the United States – find themselves in existential danger today, and points out what we can all do to curb this alarming development.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #8: Start Worrying, Details to Follow: Podcast-Gespräch mit Carlo Strenger (Special Guest: Igor Levit)

With Karin Pettersson and Georg Diez. Guest: Carlo Strenger; Special Guest: Igor Levit

What new ideas could shape democracy in the 21st century? What are the possibilities for freedom and solidarity in the time of digital capitalism? Who will tame the power of the internet giants? These are some of the questions that Karin Pettersson (Aftonbladet) and Georg Diez (Der Spiegel) are addressing in their Start Worrying, Details to Follow podcast. Recorded live in Berlin for the first time.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #7: THE AGENCY + Leif Randt Rendezvous

Love me, love me, say that you love me.

Fool me, fool me, go on and fool me.

Love me, love me, say that you love me.

Fool me, fool me, go on and fool me.

THE AGENCY invites you to a rendezvous in the Roter Salon: For this one evening only, there will be perfect romantic moments: meaningful glances, a casual touch from time to time, sizzling encounters at the bar or even dinner by candlelight ... Spectators can sign themselves up for scripts of romantic love, forget their traditional partnership profile, and just enjoy the fake.

THE AGENCY deals with the production of emotions with scripts, images and narratives - and now it's romance's turn. It's gonna be perversion.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #6: Institutional Recalibration: As above, So below

The future of cultural infrastructures is the critical site of intervention, shaping not only the future of culturalproduction but also the manner in which culture is to interweave with and affect other societal processes.

In English with Antonia Alampi, Victoria Ivanova, Harm van den Dorpel, Mathew Dryhurst, Emer Grant u.a.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #5: Erfahrungswissen

We're used to separating knowledge from experience. In the academic sphere in particular, there's a tendency to believe that knowledge is generated by deduction from (pre-existing) knowledge. But it's more complicated than that. An experience implies not only gaining but also losing knowledge. Only those who are willing to give up knowledge, in favour of gaining other bits of wisdom and forms of knowing, can truly have an experience in the emphatic sense. From this kind of experience, according to Michel Foucault, we emerge changed. In theatre, in art, but also in academia, there are opportunities to open up unknown forms of philosophical knowledge production. Philosophy is not limited to universities.

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #4: 1948, 1957, 1967, 1969, 1973, 1979, 1980 & 1981, 1989, 2007

What do we include (and what do we leave out) when we discuss the importance and historical significance of specific years and celebrate anniversaries? Which years have shaped our present day? An evening about 1948, 1957, 1967, 1969, 1973, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1989, 2007, among others, for all those who want to arm themselves – just in time – for the coming celebrations of the 50th anniversary of 1968. Spontaneous contributions from the audience are more than encouraged.

An evening with Armen Avanessian as well as Bernd Scherer, Anke Hennig, Ludwig Engel, Joanna Kamm, Georg Diez, Christopher Roth et al

Armen Avanessian & Enemies #3: Discussion with Quentin Meillassoux

Quentin Meillassoux and Armen Avanessian discuss ontology, metaphysics as well as speculative poetics and materialism.

School of Disobedience 1: New Energies - An Evening from and with Disrupt Democracy

100 companies are responsible for 71% of industrial greenhouse gas emissions. Can these companies be reformed? Or are other, harsher measures required? And what would they be?

These questions are at the heart of this political-participatory workshop: How can we execute, with these companies, the radical switch from labour productivity to resource efficiency across the entire economy? How can we change business models, redirect flows of goods and energy, and use them holistically? Or is there no time left for a reformist approach?

In this workshop, experts will pose the following questions and then discuss them in small groups: How can the largest greenhouse gas emitters be made legally responsible for their effects, how can financial pressure be exerted? How can pressure from consumers and shareholders be organised? But this is just the beginning. It's all about agency, about reclaiming the ability to act. During this evening and in general.

When we look into the future, a central question arises: How will we find new forms for intervention? We take a look at climate activists' radical and unconventional approaches, as well as NGOs' conventional and reformist approaches, which have sought an exit from fossil fuel economic cycles by collaborating with corporations. At the end of the evening, one document, a common plan, will be issued. Alternatives to the current energy regime must be found. And for each individual, the question still remains: reform or resist?

Disrupt Democracy is a 21st-century hybrid knowledge organisation, decentralised, digital, activist, academic, curious, open, political, participatory, a network of people searching after ideas for a good life, a just life, for all.

With (among others):

Roda Verheyen, lawyer, represented Peruvian farmer Saúl Luciano Lliuya against the German energy corporation RWE. For over 20 years she has worked on the question of how companies can be made legally responsible for their complicity in climate change.

Culture in the Era of Global System Failure: A Boardgame with Paul Mason

What happens when the global systems that we once thought permanent break down? And what does it mean for cultural production in the 21st Century? Paul Mason, author of Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future (2015), presents a simulation of global system failure and invites participants to consider the consequences. To discuss what global system failure will mean for artists, theatremakers, and the art forms that are likely to emerge, Paul will be joined by Sam Williams and Armen Avanessian. The evening will conclude with an open platform for the free exchange of ideas.

In English

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