Don’t Network. The Avant Garde after Networks
Marc James Léger
Explores the nature of avant garde art within contemporary capitalism
There is something rotten about network society. Although the information economy promises to create new forms of wealth and social cooperation, the real subsumption of labour under post-Fordism has instead produced a social factory of precarious labour and cybernetic surveillance. In this context people have turned to networks as an ersatz solution to social problems. Networks become the agent of history, a technological determinism that in the best-case scenario leads to post-capitalism but at worst leads to new forms of exploitation and inequality. Don’t Network proposes a third option to technocratic biocapitalism and social movement horizontalism, an analysis of the ways in which vanguard politics and avant-garde aesthetics can today challenge the ideologies of the network society.
“The Hacienda has been built, but as an experience economy that turns everyone into cannibalistic creatives that devour themselves and the planet satisfying the insatiable demands of the market. Don’t Network offers a lucid analysis of the new class war going on in contemporary art and politics, uncovering the antagonistic forces that confront the contradictions of the network economy.” – Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen, author of After the Great Refusal
“In Don’t Network, Marc James Léger develops a compellingly detailed and layered argument that outlines, and undermines, the blanket hold of contemporary positivisms in politics, aesthetics and the social sciences. A book that pitches itself ‘against’ rather than ‘about’ ideologies of immanence on the biocapitalist left and right, it carefully develops Lacanian schemas of incompleteness and Marxist dialectics to advance negation, rather than connectivity, as the core of any potential cultural avant garde. This is part of a manifest vision for radical class struggle and institutions beyond diffuse and atomised moments of resistance.” – Marina Vishmidt, author of Speculation as a Mode of Production
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