Thursday 26 November, Thursday 10 December 2020 & Thursday 14 January 2021
As part of our residency program for 2020-2021, we are hosting the philosopher Luce deLire. Due to the conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic, our residency is organised as a long-distance liability-residency.
Digital Enclosure and it's Revolutionary Other
During the European 14th through 16th century, the great enclosure consisted in the literal fencing in or off of previously commonly used land so as to ensure that it could only ever be used privately from then on. This led to the impoverishment of millions and drove people to move to the cities, where they would sell their labour power. A similar process has been happening in cyberspace for about two decades now: platforms are trying to keep you on their vicinity so as to mine your data and force you into subscriptions. In this way, the internet is becoming less and less a common space and more and more an enclosed space that looks like a corporate form of nation states. Digital Echo-Chambers, the radicalization of political conflict on the ground and its judicialization are effects of this overarching process. In a way, we are already living in a multipolar digital world, where Google-Android-land competes with Apple-land and certain other actors (Amazon, Spotify, Facebook) may or may not be more or less compatible with these general digital affiliations. The effect is that people are being deprived of their access to the commons (torrent network, streaming websites, pirate libraries), which are in fact increasingly being illegalized. The artificial scarcity generated by way of such illegalization and centralization necessitates people to flock around the main actors, which benefit greatly from this original accumulation. Thus Apple and the Google Play Stores keep control over which apps will be readily available to users and which are not. Naturally, they take percentages from developers and consumers for their ' services.' This is exactly how original accumulation works: produce scarcity through privatization and illegalization of collective usage of commonly accessible resources and harvest wealth from the desperation of those looking for alternatives.
In this workshop, we will first focus on classical original accumulation and its conjoined manifestations in Europe and its colonies. We will then look at its most current formation – the enclosure of the internet – and a possible queer enclosure, namely the industrialization of the libidinal economy in a pink totaliterian picture. However, although most of these texts are not immediately concerned with the digital enclosure, in our discussion, we will try and focus on the latter, so as to understand the past through the future, which is where it is anyway created.