Anti-Oedipus, Pro-Antigone:
XG at Unsound 2022

The theme for Unsound Kraków 2022 is BUBBLES. On the one hand, the word evokes the idea of celebration – as this year the festival is celebrating its 20th edition, between 9th-16th October. BUBBLES might evoke a glass of champagne, a cluster of colourful balloons floating up into the sky. BUBBLES also refers to the way that different communities are isolated from one another and connected, whether through social media, geography or politics.

But the theme also has roots in the theories of economist Hyman P. Minsky, who developed five stages in the concept of a speculative bubble: Displacement, Boom, Euphoria, Profit Taking and Panic. Although the world is rife with financial speculation – from property to stock markets to crypto – we intend to largely riff on these words as sub-themes, tapping into broader ideas they might evoke in relation to music, culture and society, in ways both light and dark.

I’m very excited to be traveling to Kraków in two weeks’ time to run a reading group at this year’s edition of Unsound.

The session will take place at 13.00 on October 13th in the Pałac Potockich. I’ll be reflecting on some new research of mine, with attendees invited to read two short texts — one by Deleuze and Guattari, another by Judith Butler — before we explore themes of family, kinship, escape and displacement in the context of the festival itself and the present in general.

For more information, visit the Unsound website here. To register, please fill out this form.

Below is a short abstract for the session:

Drawing on two short excerpts from Deleuze and Guattari’s 1972 work Anti-Oedipus and Judith Butler’s 2000 work Antigone’s Claim, this reading group will offer a space to consider modes of kinship through experiences of displacement.

In their critical reading of Freud, Deleuze and Guattari argue that Oedipus – the mommy-daddy-me triumvirate structure of the nuclear family – is an enclosure where desire goes to die. But contra Freud, the tragedy of Oedipus, as told by Sophocles – his alienation from the family and his re-engineering of his fated enclosure despite himself – is replicated at every level of capitalism itself. Theirs is a story of how our desires are captured and resubordinated by that which we continuously push against.

Judith Butler moves from Oedipus to his daughter, Antigone, who is sentenced to death for betraying her king and burying her treacherous brother on the battlefield. She finds herself caught between the family and the state and moves diagonally, acting otherwise, both with and against her kin. Antigone, for Butler, is representative of our contemporary displacement, who becomes an icon of refusal against a multiplicity of fates.

In taking these two short texts together, we will discuss how displacement – whether we find ourselves alienated from families, homes or broader social structures – helps us also act otherwise, against our capture by the frenzied stasis of late-capitalism – its production (and reproduction) of society and its cultures – in order to produce a truly post-capitalist avant-garde.

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