Care, Caring and Repair in Cognitive Capitalism
SFSIA 2020 | online

SESSION ONE: July 13-23, 2020
Faculty include: Chloë Bass, Paz Guevara, Leon J. Hilton, Amelia Jones, Maurizio Lazzarato, Alex Taek-Gwang Lee, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Warren Neidich, Ahmet Ögüt, Rachel O’Reilly, Tobias Rees, Martha Schwendener, Vandana Shiva, Anuradha Vikram

SESSION TWO: August 3-13, 2020
Faculty include: Antonia Alampi, Suzanne Anker, T.J. Demos, Betti-Sue Hertz, Stefanie Hessler and Joan Jonas, Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky, Yann Moulier-Boutang, Warren Neidich, Clio Nicastro, Ana Teixeira Pinto, Jasbir K. Puar, Suely Rolnik, Daniel Ross, Barry Schwabsky

The original program for Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art 2020 in Berlin on Care, Caring and Repair in Cognitive Capitalism was cancelled due to COVID-19 and will now be presented online Monday–Thursday in two sessions.
6–10am PST (LA) / 3–7pm CET (Berlin) / 9pm–1am CST (Beijing)

Building upon our past five year engagement with topics concerning estrangement, individuation and collectivity in art and politics, Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art 2020 will address the present and future conditions of our new pandemic reality, as well as the new possibilities it may generate.

In the past twenty years, the techno-social-scientific revolution has joined forces with neoliberal reformers to produce a generalized crisis in empathy and thought. Through the coronavirus pandemic we have all, in one way or another, become cognitariats – isolated data workers laboring for free within the abstract conundrum of the infosphere. As Franco “Bifo” Berardi stated in Breathing: Chaos and Poetry, “Neoliberal reformers have put competition at the core of the daily business of life, and digital connectivity has replaced physical conjunction in the sphere of social communication: so the psycho-cultural conditions of empathy have been undermined.” Berardi’s comments offer an insight into the inadequate response to this pandemic as a disjunction of comradeship, a pervasive lack of social solidarity. These are symptoms of a disease in which our community is rotting from within.

As this already global condition has been further complicated by the coronavirus pandemic, Care, Caring and Repair in Cognitive Capitalism is the focus of this year’s Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art which will  be presented online. We ask: Is the rising global death toll still happening in many regions a result of the powerful effect of neoliberal capitalism upon empathy making the care it necessitates impossible? Will the effects of seclusion and the growing importance of virtual technology in our daily life (such as remote learning, shopping and communication) intensify the loss of comradeship and solidarity already in progress? Finally, if the pandemic is linked to a coming global catastrophe will the governments, corporations and other institutions which have proved so ineffectual in the current moment fail miserably again? In the hope of creating awareness and addressing the causes of the factors that are breaking our social webs apart, we will interweave four broad categories of care, caring and repair: (1) Cognitive Capitalism and Affective Labor (2) Theory of Mind, Empathy and its Psychopathologies (3) Class Consciousness and Solidarity (4) Climate Change and Global Warming. Through online discussions, deep readings and performative lectures, we aim to develop strategies of counterinsurgency.