Notebook 089 is a result of the immense changes that have taken place in the world since 1989. With the end of the Cold War, the utopian neoliberal fantasy of a global capitalist expansion, unfettered by the limits of any borders (psychic, physical, ethical, national, or ecological) and governed through an extension of credit/debt coupled with correlated “structural adjustments,” assumed a new function for nation-states around the world, as a privatizer of gains, and a socializer of costs. In a span of twenty years the insolvency of this paradigm has become evident; not only has an entire world been gripped by conflict, depression, extreme inequalities, and irreversible ecological damage, but, in addition, the economic basis underwriting all of this is unable to continue without the very state intervention that had supposedly been rendered unnecessary. These notes do not recount this story, but rather take place in its wake, while also marking out the process of thinking through this critical epoch, in the midst of collective meetings and discussions leading up to and through what would be called Occupy. Rather than fixing these movements, this notebook collects a series of positions, ideas, and conversations, which trace individual articulations and provide multiple cartographies of events in which people said “no” to regimes of concentrated wealth/power from Cochabamba to Tunis, from Cairo to Fukushima, from Madrid to Athens, from New York to Carbondale, and beyond. Here, one will find a continuation of those struggles for autonomy and the affirmation of different forms of life in note form.
Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri are artists and Agents for dOCUMENTA (13).