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Franco "Bifo" Berardi, "Insolvency," New York City, December 17, 2011

"Insolvency"
Franco “Bifo” Berardi

A Talk at MoMA PS1
Saturday December 17, 4 pm, free
22-25 Jackson Avenue at 46th Avenue
Long Island City, NY

The concept of insolvency as it has been applied in the US and
especially in the EU has to do with economic debt, but also with the
symbolic debt implied in the capitalist process of exploitation. In
the EU, this symbolic debt is bound to tensions that haunted European
modernity—between Calvinist and Catholic, Baroque and Gothic, good
German laborers and bad lazy Mediterraneans. It is a subject often
avoided for being politically incorrect, because no one wants to see
the religious, anthropological, and aesthetic implications of the
crisis. But the concept of symbolic debt may also provide a way out:
What if debt as semiotization and insolvency could actually provide
autonomy from capitalist semiotization—a direct move from insolvency
to emancipation? What is the meaning of the word “revolution” anyhow?
Let us consider how the concept of emancipation will replace of the
concept of revolution.

This is the second in a season of talks and discussions presented by
e-flux book co-op at MoMA PS1. Hito Steyerl was the first to present
in the series, which will continue throughout the season with
presentations by artists, writers, and theorists such as AA Bronson,
Paul Chan, Sven Lütticken, Elizabeth Povinelli, and others considering
the recent intensification of political life.