Gerald Raunig

Instituent Practices, No. 2

Institutional Critique, Constituent Power, and the Persistence of Instituting

Translated by Aileen Derieg

Gerald Raunig

“[…] insurrection leads us no longer to let ourselves be arranged, but to arrange ourselves, and sets no glittering hopes on ‘institutions’. It is not a fight against the established, since, if it prospers, the established collapses of itself; it is only a working forth of me out of the established. If I leave the established, it is dead and passes into decay.“[1] (Max Stirner)


I. Institution and Critique

An attempt to deconstruct, problematize and reformulate institutional critique, such as the one undertaken from several different perspectives in the transversal issue “do you remember institutional critique”[2], published in early 2006, cannot avoid questioning the understanding of both institution and critique in the first two phases of artistic institutional critique, as well as the analogue figures in the history of leftist movements. Here one problematic pole of the critique of the institution could be regarded as the fundamentally critical approach of constructing an absolute outside of the institution, whether as a distorted image of the pathos of the artistic avant-garde (still in the 1970s) or as a phantasm of radical anarchisms: this approach ignores the techniques of self-government and the modes of subjectivation, which contribute, beyond pure forms of rigid institutional subjection, to producing machinic forms of enslavement[3] – and with them the imagination of spaces free of power and institution.

The other pole – frequently found in institutional critique art practices since the 1990s – would be the self-obsessed self-critique that substantializes one’s own involvement in the institution and crowds out the horizon of change from perception. This also includes the intentional misunderstanding of theoretical approaches from Foucault (the interpretation of his theory of power as a dead end of a comprehensive dispositive of power allowing neither escape nor resistance) and Bourdieu (the hermetic interpretation of his field theory), which reinforces what exists, what is established, arranged, striated and gridded as the seemingly sole and immutable possible.

Avoiding both polarizations suggests a movement of exodus, of defection, of flight, but looking for a weapon while fleeing . There is a red thread that runs from Max Stirner’s remark about “leaving what is established”, which turns into decay in the act of leaving, to Gilles Deleuze’s concept of the lines of flight, to Paolo Virno and Antonio Negri’s more recent conceptualization of exodus: the differentiated construction of a non-dialectical way out of purely negating and affirming the institution. Seeking out these kinds of exits from the dead ends of the critique of the institution also means, not least of all – and this is the basis of this essay – a conceptual movement of flight, a defection from the treacherous concept of institutional critique, a dissolving of its conceptual components and their recomposition in a different conceptual genealogy.

Against Closure of (in) the Institution

Against the background of an updated concept of critique[4] it is possible to take a closer look at the question of the institution. What is at stake here is specifically not the institution as an unchanging structure and state apparatus, as a mere element of a dominant repressive system. In its processual form the problem goes beyond the terrain of the critique of the state and capitalism: also and especially social movements and revolutionary machines cannot dispense with institutions, and they are just as little immune to the occurrence of structuralization, rigidification and institutionalization.

Max Stirner, individual anarchist opponent of the early Marx[5], wrote in1844 inhis post-Hegelian and proto-structuralist publication Der Einzige und sein Eigentum [The Ego and Its Own], in which we encounter a molar concept of revolution and which especially takes into account the structuralization and terror of the French Revolution, which Stirner counters with the concept of “insurrection”: “The revolution commands one to make arrangements, the insurrection [Empörung] demands that he rise or exalt himself [empor-, aufrichten].”[6] This kind of rising up, this kind of insurrection, which Stirner had to linguistically argue in this manner in order to avoid criminal prosecution[7], does not want to arrange itself, does not want to accept the institutions, even those of the revolution, as such, if they close themselves off again. Insurrection sets “no glittering hopes” on institutions; a new state, a new people, a new party, a new society are not options for Stirner. The mode of subjectivation of the closure of (in) the institution simultaneously means arranging oneself in the institution and adapting the self like all those arranged.

In his works on institutional analysis Félix Guattari demonstrated the tendency to “structuralization”, as he called the process of the closure of (in) the institution. He developed his specific approach from what he experienced in diverse contexts: from the experience of the fight against the Stalinist and Euro-Communist variants of the state left and against the phenomena of the rigidifying of the New Social Movements after 1968, but also and especially from his experience in the micropolitical field of the (psychiatric) clinic. In all of these contexts Guattari was interested in institutional translations of revolution in its non-molar form: “The revolutionary project as a machine activity of an institutional subversion would have to uncover these kinds of possibilities and ensure them in every phase of the struggle against structuralization ahead of time.”[8] As Guattari stresses, it is not enough to think of theoretical models of this institutional subversion, but rather it is specifically a matter of the practical testing and stuttering invention of machines that tend to elude structuralization. “The problem of the revolutionary organization is basically that of setting up an institutional machine that is distinguished by a special axiomatic and a special praxis; what this means is the guarantee that it does not close itself off in various social structures, especially not in the state structure.”[9]

Precisely this kind of elementary treatment of forms of organization, the permanent opening of social structures and assurance against their closure were and are the aim of offensive practices of insurrection and molecular revolution that generate something other than copies and variations of what already exists. Everywhere, where state apparatuses tend towards the orgic and revolutionary machines simultaneously test new forms of organizing[10], insurrection takes place as a fight against structuralization: in the Paris Commune, with the soviets and all the subsequent soviet-like modes of organization, in the Spanish Revolution and in May1968, inthe Zapatist revolts and the anti-globalization movement. Fleeing from what exists, however, by no means dispenses with the question of the institution. Focusing on institutions’ tendencies to closure and structuralization is one side; fleeing from structuralization, on the other hand, corresponds to the complementary aspect of inventing other forms of institution and instituting.

Constituent Power and Instituting

Even without a prefix, the Latin verb statuo means roughly to establish, set (up), decide. On the one hand this means a process of setting up objects, the erection of buildings and the placing of objects or people in a certain arrangement, but on the other also such performative speech and positioning acts as to give a ruling or even the founding of empires. As static as the noun status is literally as standing, position, state, the concomitant verb statuo is just as dynamic.

The prefix con- changes primarily the relationship between the subject and object of the im-position/in-stitution, now the com-position/con-stitution: an aspect of the collective, the common is added. In setting up bodies of troops, this may mean simply a multiplication of the placed objects, a col-location of multiple components. With the performative aspect of deciding, determining, founding, the compositum constituo takes on the meaning of collective subjectivation and common positioning. Common agreement and decision-making, “con-stituting” in other words, found a common “con-stitution”. As with especially the word constituo, it seems that a dynamic aspect of establishing, setting up, founding correlates with a closing aspect of defining, determining, deciding.

These two strands of constitution  are differentiated  in the concepts of constituent and constituted power. The pair of concepts emerges in the history of the constitutional process in the French Revolution. In his text “What is the Third Estate” Emmanuel Joseph Sieyes, protagonist of the constitution of 1791, already distinguishes in 1789 between the pouvoir constitué and the pouvoir constituant. For Sieyes, constituted power corresponds to the written constitution as fundamental law, constituent power corresponds to the constitutional assembly, the Constituante.

The generally problematic aspect of constituent power as constituting assembly lies in the crucial question of how this assembly comes together, in the circumstances of legitimizing this assembly. In On Revolution Hannah Arendt stresses this “problem of the legitimacy of the new power, the pouvoir constitué, whose authority could not be guaranteed by the Constitutional Assembly, the pouvoir constituant, because the power of the Assembly itself was not constitutional and could never be constitutional since it was prior to the constitution itself.”[11] In other words, this was a constitution before the constitution, which it might be better to call an institution, and which implies in different contexts different ways of in-stituting, but also different formats of participation.

In this context Arendt particularly stresses the difference between the French and the (US) American Revolution. InFranceit was the National Assembly that developed the first constitution for the nation through its self-given pouvoir constituant according to a certain principle of representation in a “division of labor”. Unlike inFrance, in theUSAthe constitution was thoroughly discussed in 1787, paragraph for paragraph down to the last detail, in town hall meetings and state parliaments and supplemented with amendments. In other words, it emerged from countless constituted bodies in a multi-stage process.

What is especially important to Arendt is the aspect of participation in the federative system of theUSA, which she sees as leading to completely different relationships between the Constitution and the people in theUSAand inEurope. At a closer look, however, the difference between the constitutional processes inFranceand in theUSis not so fundamental as to explain Arendt’s strong emphasis on the legalistic procedure of the (US) American Revolution. Aside from the multiple exclusions of all women, indigenous people and slaves, the constitutional process in theUSAwas one that was borne by constituted assemblies and dominated by the principle of representation.

Naturally, similar problems are also involved in contemporary examples of the relationship between constituent assemblies and constitution. Even in the case of the Bolivarian Constitution it was President Chavez who invoked the constituent assembly following his election in 1999, and due to the relatively brief period of time between the election of the assembly (June 2000) and the referendum (December 2000), the issue of participation still remained limited despite all endeavors. The top-down procedure of the European Constitution, in which self-organized debates did not spread throughout Europe at all, proved to be even less participative; and regardless of one’s position on the issue of the rejection of the European Constitution in the referenda in France and the Netherlands in 2005, the hollow form of “direct democracy” does not even begin to substitute for  a deliberative process involving the whole population.[12] Thus the “no” should be interpreted as a break turning against the form of the referendum in the question of the European Constitution, or more generally against the caricaturing limitation of constituent power to a dualistic yes/no mechanism of installing or not installing a new constituted power.

“What constitution was to be chosen, this question busied the revolutionary heads, and the whole political period foams with constitutional fights and constitutional questions, as the social talents too were uncommonly inventive in societary arrangements (phalansteries and the like). The insurgent strives to become constitutionless.”[13] Stirner’s anarchistic point goes far beyond the remainders of constituent power in liberal representative democracy, yet it does not assert the possibility of a state of total constitutionlessness: it describes the desire of the insurrectionist to resist the endless striation of desire production through imposing constitutions. In a similar way, in his book about constituent power[14] Antonio Negri attempts to shift the discourse from the abstract general of the constitution and the concomitant constitutional processes, to the concrete general of an “absolute process”. For “[…] once the constituent moment is passed, constitutional fixity becomes a reactionary fact in a society that is founded on the development of freedoms and the development of the economy.”[15] Negri thus no longer explains the differentiation of constituting into constituent power and constituted power in relation to the constitutional process, but rather on the distinction, which goes back to Spinoza, between potentia and potestas.

When Negri further develops the concept of constituent power as an absolute process of social organization, he also starts from the discourse on constitution, specifically from Jean Antoine Condorcet’s statement, “to each generation its constitution”. Even before the relevant principle was specified in the revolutionary French Constitution of 1793, Condorcet asserted that one generation may not subject future generations to its laws. Negri takes this demand literally and thus goes far beyond the former meaning of the pouvoir constituant. He presupposes that constituent power can not only not arise from constituted power, but that constituent power does not even institute constituted power.[16] Initially this means that even if there were a permanent process of constituting the constitution in Condorcet’s sense, in other words a continuous adaptation of the constitution as abstract general to the concrete general, there would still be the fundamental problem of representation, of the division of labor between those representing and those represented, the separation between constituted and constituent power.

Negri logically pursues the question of how a constituent power is to be imagined, which does not engender constitutions separated from itself, but rather constitutes itself: con-stituent power as a com-position, which constitutes itself in a collective process. Stirner’s individual anarchism summarizes the concatenation of singularities on a few pages with the peculiar terms of the “union” [Verein] and (social) “intercourse” [Verkehr][17], whereas Negri seeks to place the common, the collectivity, finally a new concept of communism at the center of his immanent-transgressive ideas of constitution with a collectively envisioned self-constitution. Here constituent power constitutes itself, yet no longer as a unity in diversity like the French constituante, as a unity that represents diversity. Instead of the self-constitution of a nation as one body that drafts its constitution itself, it is the constituent power of a diversity without unity, without uniformization. This brings both Stirner and Negri to a way of thinking that consistently goes beyond the constitution: just as Stirner’s insurgent strives for constitutionlessness, Negri’s repubblica costituente is a “republic that originates before the state that emerges outside the state. It is the paradox of the constituent republic that the process of constitution is never closed and that the revolution never ends.”[18]

Stirner’s statement about “becoming constitutionless” is to be understood in exactly this sense: as an unfinished process and non-molar revolution/insurrection.[19] It indicates the possibility of an arrangement of singularities without constitution, yet not without constituent power and the instituting event. This instituting event should not establish a constituted power, but rather aims at instituting oneself, arranging oneself: Stirner says, “insurrection leads us no longer to let ourselves be arranged, but to arrange ourselves”[20]. If constituent power is investigated in its relationship to the event and the process of instituting, then it is primarily the mode of instituting that comes into focus, in other words the question of how exactly the instituting event relates to the process of constituent power, which relationship of composition, which form the common, the con- of constituent power assumes in the process of instituting. The mode of instituting is not only symbolically effective, its tendency either toward authoritarian positioning or toward a com-position of the singular is decisive.

The Persistence of Instituent Practice

Particularly the genealogy of constituent power shows that the question of instituting is resolved in very different ways: the modes of instituting the constitutional process inFranceand theUSAat the end of the 18th century were just as different as those of the present day, and the instituting event often decides the future of models of political organizing. I would like to discuss this question in more detail on the basis of artistic political practices of the 1930s, the 1950s and the 1990s, which developed various forms of instituting and thus also various qualities of participation. This leap from constitutional theory to specific micro-politics seems suitable to me for tracing the unfolding of both constituent power and instituent practice – not at all as a counter-image to the macro level of major transformations, but rather as transversal processes thwarting the dualism of macro/micro in their concatenations.

A decade after the Soviet Proletkult had begun to open the theater to everyone, Bertolt Brecht responded to the question of participation and activation with a gesture of radical closure by developing the strict form of the Lehrstück (“learning play”) from the various experiments with epic theater in the 1920s. Here the precisely specified audiences become “active participants”: “The learning play teaches by being played, not by being seen.”[21] By giving up the theater as a site of presentation, the audience as a receptive figure, the text as a finished form, Brecht conceived of a theater that is intended only for those conducting it, as communication exclusively among the active participants. The Lehrstück consists of playing (out) all the possible positions and roles in a constant change of perspective. For this reason Brecht repeatedly refused performances of The Measure before an audience, calling it a “means of pedagogical work with students of Marxist schools and proletarian collectives”[22], with workers choirs, amateur theater groups, school choirs and orchestras. There is no question, however, that the Brechtian act of establishing this activated public only lasted a brief period of time, and its preconditions were still found in solitary text production.

The Situationist International, on the other hand, began as a collective that deployed the text more as a discursive and politicizing medium in manifestos and magazines, but not as a precondition for the practice of creating situations. From the beginnings in the 1950s, the point was neither an authoritarian and solitary act of instituting nor a passive drifting in quasi natural situations. The question that arose for the S.I. was: “What admixture, what interactions ought to occur between the flux (and resurgence) of the ‘natural moment,’ in Henri Lefebvre’s sense, and certain artificially constructed elements, introduced into this flux, perturbing it, quantitatively and, above all, qualitatively?”[23] That a conscious and direct intervention is required beyond “natural moments” to construct a situation is already evident in the terms créer and construire, which are used in conjunction with the Situationist situation. The Situationist definition accordingly conveys the constructed situation as “a moment of life concretely and deliberately constructed by the collective organization of a unitary ambiance and a game of events” [24]. Entirely in keeping with the Brechtian tradition, an important aspect of creating situations consisted, not least of all, in thwarting the fixation of the relationships between stage and audience space, between actors and observers. The role of the audience was to constantly decrease, whereas the proportion of those, who were now no longer acteurs but rather viveurs was to increase, at least ideally.

In terms of the concrete Situationist practice, however, the S.I. already limited the collectivity of the viveurs to a three-phase hierarchy in1958. Inthis hierarchy a certain predominance is attributed to the director as leading coordinator, who is also permitted to intervene in events, whereas at the second level those consciously experiencing the situation directly participate, and finally at the third level a passive audience drawn into the situation by chance should be forced into action.[25]. Despite the collective form of instituting, the problem of participation was obviously not resolved at all, especially at the third level of the passive audience. It was not until just before and around May1968 inParisthat the S.I. achieved an opening into the complex and unpredictable space of the revolutionary machine as a discursive arrangement, only to disband shortly thereafter.[26]

Numerous artistic-political practices arose in the 1990s, which developed in transversal concatenation with local and global social movements. In this way, the somewhat rigidified and hierarchized relationship between art and politics was loosened at certain hot spots. In the early 1990s in Hamburg an initiative of urban planning from below arose from the social contexts of the autonomous squatter movement in the Hafenstrasse, the alternative population of the red light district of St. Pauli and its social initiatives, and the collective art practices of the politicized visual art and the leftist pop scene affiliated with the Golden Pudel Club. In the beginning (around 1994), it was simply a matter of preventing the planned “development”/blocking of the banks of theElbewith the fake idea of a park. However, this soon turned into the fiction of a park of a different kind: Park Fiction. The self-organized arrangement of a hot spot of gentrification was not only intended to attack the state apparatus of traditional urban planning policies, but also the limited citizen’s involvement that operates as controlled forms of activation in between participation and mediation as governmental pacification. The aim of Park Fiction was not so much an orderly process of alternative urban planning, but rather the opening of a wild process of desire production.

This idea of a proliferation of collective desire production was the foundation for a series of various events (Park Fiction 0-5) in 1995 and 1996. “Initially, we were less interested in analyzing desires. Or in other words, we saw it as part of our work to convey how to start desiring.”[27] Lectures on the theme of park and politics, exhibitions, raves, video evenings on unusual forms of parks impelled desire and knowledge production on the question of all that a park could be. These manifold impulses for desiring were intended to make the desires start to become grander.

In October 1997 the planning container was realized as a central element: for six months the planning office in a container installed on site was open at least two days a week. The strange tools for instituting desires included a kneading office, a desire archive, a garden library, utensils for crafts, painting and drawing, information material and conventional planning material. With over 200 visits to households and businesses, people who did not yet have access to the project were offered possibilities for involvement with a portable action kit (a miniature version of the planning container). An extensive presentation and discussion of the results took place at a city district conference in April 1998.[28]

The “Park Fiction Film” by Margit Czenki, which was completed in 1999, went far beyond classical documentary aspects as a constitutive part of the collective desire production for a park that still did not exist: “Desires will leave the house and take to the streets” was the suggestive subtitle that conjoined the constituent power of desires with the promise of becoming public. And gradually the desires did actually escape the striated space that separates the private from the political. They ranged from bird voices on tape and a boxwood hedge trimmed in the shape of a poodle, a tree house in the shape of a ripe strawberry, mailboxes for young people whose mail is monitored by their parents at home, an open air cinema, an exercise hall with a green roof and wooden palms on rails, a women pirates fountain, platforms on rails for sunbathing and barbecuing, rolling sections of lawn, a boulevard of possibilities for which there is no room in the street, tea garden and fruit tree meadow, benches, flowers and a fire-breathing Inca goddess as a cooking sculpture, a dog racing track, a water slide into the (then clean) Elbe, all the way to a trash park made of the garbage of prosperity that is not further destructible, which would mirror the conditions in this part of the city.

As art in public space, not only this desire phase was to be made possible through art support from the city, but also the processual realization of the park. In the midst of this phase of the realization of construction, during which there were increasing conflicts with bureaucratic obstruction, Park Fiction was invited to take part in documenta 11. Instead of a spectacular site-specific intervention inKassel[29], this provided an impulse to focus on documentation and archiving, once again with highly unconventional means. Finally in 2003, just in time for the congress “Unlikely Encounters in Urban Space” organized by Park Fiction, in which activists from different corners of the world took part, the park of many islands was partially opened: the Flying Carpet and the Palm Island, a small amphitheater behind the Golden Pudel Club, the neighborhood gardens around the St. Pauli church and the boule grounds “breakfast outdoors”. Three open air solariums were added in 2005, the tulip-patterned Tartan Field, the dog garden with poodle gates and a boxwood hedge in the shape of a poodle, the footbridge system Schauermanns Park, two herb gardens in front of the parish, and the bamboo garden of the modest politician.[30] The women pirates fountain and the strawberry-shaped tree house are still waiting to be realized. Most of all, however, the untamed instituent practice of Park Fiction is still waiting for an appropriate contextualization of its fixed “objects”: the process, through which the park emerged – and this is a more general problem of art in public space, which is otherwise hardly taken into consideration – is not recognizable in the “objects”; the explosiveness of their creation, the linking of the singular and the collective in desire production remains hidden. Since more complex models of a walk-in archive have been made impossible by the authorities, Park Fiction finally developed plans for an “exploding archive” with a sculpture boulevard of the non-realized desires and electronic access to the archive.

In a further development of Negri’s conceptualization of constituent power, Park Fiction uses the term “constituent practice” as a self-designation. From the description of the ongoing impulses for collective desire production, however, it is particularly the quality as an instituent practice that should be clear here. In terms of the two interlinking main components of instituent practice, a stronger participation in instituting can be recognized in the pluralization of the instituting event: especially the concatenation of so many ongoing and diversely composed instituting events hinders an authoritarian mode of instituting and simultaneously counters the closure of (in) theinstitutionParkFiction. The various arrangements of self-organization promote broad participation in instituting, because they newly compose themselves as a constituent power again and again, always tying into new local and global struggles. In the autonomous genealogy and presence of the Hafenstrasse in Hamburg, in the mixed context of the Golden Pudel Club and its small debative counterpart, the Butt Club, and the fraying social fabric of the neighborhood, Park Fiction is most of all a continuously insistent practice of instituting: countless smaller and larger impulses for collective insurrection and for the emergence of constituent power, a series of events, in which desiring is learned, a permanent new beginning, an instituent practice that animates an astonishing amount and is incredibly persistent at the same time.

Thanks to Isabell Lorey, Stefan Nowotny and Alice Pechriggl for advice and critique.

[1] Max Stirner, Der Einzige und sein Eigentum, Leipzig: Zenith 1927, p. 287; English translation:

[2] Cf. in particular my introductory text on the theme (“Instituent Practices. Fleeing, Instituting, Transforming”,, the theses of which are summarized and continued here.

[3]Gilles Deleuze / Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, Minneapolis/London: University of Minnesota Press 1987, p. 456-457; Maurizio Lazzarato, “The Machine”,

[4]A fuller concept of critique is to be conceptualized as a movement between institutional critique and self-criticism concatenated with social criticism. In this sense, I have attempted in several articles to continue Foucault’s discussion of the antique concept of parrhesia, developed primarily in hisBerkeleylectures from 1983. Cf. Gerald Raunig, “The Double Criticism of parrhesia. Answering the Question ‘What is a Progressive (Art) Institution?’”,; ibid., “Instituent Practices. Fleeing, Instituting, Transforming”,; for further considerations of the concept of critique, see the essays from the transversal issue “Critique”,

[5]Cf. the intersections between Stirner’s main work The Ego and Its Own and Marx/Engels’ The Holy Family or Critique of Critical Criticism and the criticism of Stirner as “St. Max” in German Ideology.

[6]Stirner, Der Einzige und sein Eigentum, p. 287: “Einrichtungen zu machen gebietet die Revolution, sich auf- oder emporzurichten heischt die Empörung.” English translation:

[7] Cf. ibid., p. 288, footnote: “To ensure myself against a criminal charge, I superfluously remark explicitly that I choose the word ‘insurrection’ because of its etymological sense, not in the limited sense proscribed by the penal code.”

[8]Félix Guattari, “Machine et structure”, in: ibid., Psychanalyse et transversalité. Essais d’analyse institutionelle,Paris: La Découverte 2003, p. 247.

[9]Ibid., p. 137.

[10]Cf. Gerald Raunig, Kunst und Revolution. Künstlerischer Aktivismus im langen 20. Jahrhundert, Vienna: Turia + Kant 2005, p. 76–92. / Art and Revolution, transl. Aileen Derieg, Semiotext(e):Los Angeles/New York 2007, publication pending.

[11] Hannah Arendt, On Revolution,London: Penguin Books, 1990, p. 163

[12]Cf. Raunig, “Ein Bolivarianischer Prozess für Europa!”,

[13]Stirner, Der Einzige und sein Eigentum, p.287 f. English translation:

[14]Antonio Negri, Insurgencies. Constituent Power and theModernState, Minneapolis/London:UniversityofMinnesota1999. Inthe original Italian version published in 1992, the book is entitled Il potere costituente: saggio sulle alternativedelmoderno and deals with the concept of constituent power based on Niccolò Macchiavelli, James Harrington, the (US) American, the French and the Russian Revolution.

[15]Antonio Negri, “ConstituentRepublic”, in: Werner Bonefeld (Ed.), Revolutionary Writing. Common Sense Essays in Post-Political Politics,New York: Autonomedia 2003, pp. 243-253, here p. 245.

[16]Cf. Negri, Insurgencies, p.20 f.

[17]Stirner, Der Einzige und sein Eigentum, p. 192 & 197; English translation:

[18]Negri, “Repubblica Costituente”, 80

[19]With the Deleuzian turn of “becoming constitutionless” I would like to propose an interpretation of Stirner’s “insurrection” that emphasizes the molecularity and processualness, thus also drawing a precarious boundary that separates this interpretation from Stirner being taken over by right-wing ideologies.

[20]Stirner, Der Einzige und sein Eigentum, p. 287; English translation:

[21]Brecht, Die Maßnahme. Kritische Ausgabe, p. 251

[22]Ibid., p. 248

[23]S.I., “The Theory of Moments and the Construction of Situations” []

[24]S.I., “Definitions” []


[26]Cf. Raunig, Kunst und Revolution, p. 160–168.

[27]Christoph Schäfer and Cathy Skene in an interview with Hans-Christian Dany, “Was Park alles sein könnte. Ein Gespräch mit Christoph Schäfer und Cathy Skene”, in: Kritik 2/96, p. 56.

[28]Cf. Christoph Schäfer, “Der Garten des bescheidenen Politikers”, in: Kulturrisse 02/01, p. 28 – 30.

[29]such as the one carried out by Thomas Hirschhorn in conjunction with the same documenta.

[30]Additional background material and texts can be found at

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Archive Public
A research art project.

Within the flexible limits of archival art today, Archive Public practices archival art as intervention in public space, questioning the dominant hegemony and allowing for possibilities of solidarity actions. It aspires to the creation of a broader productive collaboration network triggered by two theoretical research assumptions and an open body of works which tries out archival interventions in conflicting urban situations, in Patras and other european cities.

The first phase of the work developed theoretical propositions and art projects in Patras, Greece. It was realized with the support of the C. Carathéodory research program at the University of Patras. An edited volume, Archive Public. Performing Archives in Public Art. Τοpical Interpositions, documents this first phase of the project, and is available from Cube Art Editions.

The book includes theoretical hypotheses on archival practice in contemporary art, art works that were specifically created for the project, as well as an anthology of essays by contemporary thinkers who elaborate on particular issues of the archive in relation to the public sphere and theories of democracy, the notions of institution and instituting practice, interventions in the shifting urban condition, the philosophy and archaeology of media as well as the global flows of migration and media. Interventions focus on the urban and social condition of Patras, as it is influenced by a translocal dynamics which produces interrelations with other localities.

Participating artists: Yota Ioannidou, Maria Konti, Gregorios Pharmakis, Lina Theodorou, Stefanos Tsivopoulos, Vangelis Vlahos and Nayia Yiakoumaki.
Texts by Arjun Appadurai, Ioannis Chorianopoulos, Wolfgang Ernst, Boris Groys, Elpida Karaba, Panos Kouros, Oliver Marchart, Gerald Raunig and Saskia Sassen.

This multiuser weblog has been set as a working, exhibition and archival platform for the participants, to actuate different forms of collaboration. We plan to bring together theoreticians and practitioners from different cities and localities who are working on similar issues of archiving and intervention in the public sphere. We are seeking projects and theoretical works relevant to the Archive Public topics, as well as feedback texts responding to the art projects as they develop.

To submit a text or a project, please write at archivepublic{at}upatras{dot}gr

Panos Kouros-Elpida Karaba

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