Franco “Bifo” Berardi’s newest book analyzes the contemporary changes taking place in our aesthetic and emotional sensibility—changes the author claims are the result of semio-capitalism’s capturing of the inner resources of the subjective process: our experience of time, our sensibility, the way we relate to each other, and our ability to imagine a future. Precarization and fractalization of labor have provoked a deep mutation in the psychosphere, and this can be seen in the rise of psychopathologies such as post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, panic, and attention deficit disorder. Sketching out an aesthetic genealogy of capitalist globalization, Berardi shows how we have arrived at a point of such complexity in the semiotic flows of capital that we can no longer process its excessive currents of information. A swarm effect now rules: it has become impossible to say “no.” Social behavior is trapped in inescapable patterns of interaction coded by techno-linguistic machines, smartphones, screens of every size, and all of these sensory and emotional devices end up destroying our organism’s sensibility by submitting it to the stress of competition and acceleration.
Arguing for disentanglement rather than resistance, Berardi concludes by evoking the myth of La Malinche, the daughter of a noble Aztec family. It is a tale of a translator and traitor who betrayed her own people, yet what the myth portends is the rebirth of the world from the collapse of the old.
About the Author
Franco Berardi, aka “Bifo,” founder of the famous “Radio Alice” in Bologna and an important figure of the Italian Autonomia Movement, is a writer, media theorist, and media activist. He currently teaches Social History of the Media at the Accademia di Brera, Milan.