Since the early 1800s, the institution of the university has promoted creativity, critical thinking, and independent research. The more it has yielded to the pressures of the economy, however, the more it has betrayed its ideals. This, in short, is the common critique of the plight of the academy. But the inverse might be true: the depression, feelings of insufficiency, and permanent pressure to innovate experienced by academics might be symptoms of these original ideals, which, along with artistic production and the regime of aesthetics, has shaped the spirit of neoliberal capitalism.
Philosopher and political theorist Armen Avanessian argues that the ethical dimension of knowledge can produce a new reality. Can the speculative poetics of collaborative writing, he asks, free us from the dominant regime of the academy and, by extension, the art world? And how does this independence differ from the principle of self-fulfillment on which the ideal of the university and current conceptions of artistic research are based?
Overwrite: Ethics of Knowledge—Poetics of Existence is about the desire to write differently to situate oneself in the world differently. It is a book about the truth that is produced when a subject takes responsibility for its thinking, its experiences, its conflicts; when a subject rewrites and overwrites itself to become an other, and transforms the world in the process.
Armen Avanessian is an Austrian philosopher, literary theorist, and political theorist.
With Overwrite, Armen Avanessian has written a short but stout book that contains a dramatic, rousing critique of the university of the present as well as an elegant plea for timely self-confident philosophical thinking and venturesome writing.