Bruno Latour: An attempt at a “Compositionist Manifesto”

Why do I wish to reuse the oversized genre of the manifesto to explore this shift from future to prospect? Because in spite of the abyss of time, there is a tenuous relation between the Communist and the Compositionist Manifesto. At first sight, they seem utterly opposed. A belief in critique, in radical critique, a commitment to a fully idealized material world, a total confidence in the science of economics —economics, of all sciences!—, a delight in the transformative power of negation, a trust in dialectics, a complete disregard for precaution, an abandon of liberty in politics behind a critique of liberalism, and above all an absolute trust in the inevitable thrust of progress. And yet, the two manifestos have something in common, namely the search for the Common. The thirst for the Common World is what there is of communism in compositionism, with this small but crucial difference that it has to be slowly composed instead of being taken for granted and imposed on all. Everything happens as if the human race were on the move again, expelled from one utopia, that of economics, and in search of another, that of ecology. Two different interpretations of one precious little root, eikos, the first being a dystopia and the second a promise that as yet no one knows how to fulfill. How can a livable and breathable “home” be built for those errant masses? That is the only question worth raising in this Compositionist Manifesto.




This entry was posted on Friday, October 8th, 2010 at 1:12 pm
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