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Semiotext(e)

A Concise Philosophy of the Machine as Social Movement

In this “concise philosophy of the machine,” Gerald Raunig provides a historical and critical backdrop to a concept proposed forty years ago by the French philosophers Félix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze: the machine, not as a technical device and apparatus, but as a social composition and concatenation. This conception of the machine as an arrangement of technical, bodily, intellectual, and social components subverts the opposition between man and machine, organism and mechanism, individual and community.

Alone in his forest dwelling, an ogre had spent years building machines to force his visitors to make love to one another: machines with pulleys, chains, clocks, collars, leather leggings, metal breastplates, oscillatory, pendular, or rotating dildos. One day, some adolescents who had lost their way, seven or eight brothers, entered the ogre’s house...—From The Screwball Asses

Our asshole is revolutionary.—Guy Hocquenghem

Workers of the world, masturbate!—Front Homosexuel d'Action Revolutionnaire slogan

Performances, Essays, Interviews

A reform-school runaway at thirteen, a performer in the legendary New York City Playhouse of the Ridiculous at seventeen, and an escapee from Andy Warhol’s Factory scene at nineteen, Penny Arcade (born Susanna Ventura) emerged in the 1980s as a primal force on the New York art scene and an originator of what came to be called performance art. Arcade’s brand of high camp and street-smart, punk-rock cabaret showmanship has been winning over international audiences ever since.

Days and Nights of an Anarchist Whore
From Alienation to Autonomy

We can reach every point in the world but, more importantly, we can be reached from any point in the world. Privacy and its possibilities are abolished. Attention is under siege everywhere. Not silence but uninterrupted noise, not the red desert, but a cognitive space overcharged with nervous incentives to act: this is the alienation of our times...
—from The Soul at Work

The German Issue (1982) was originally conceived as a follow-up to Semiotext(e)’s Autonomia/Italy issue, published two years earlier. Although ideological terrorism was still a major issue in Germany, what ultimately emerged from these pages was an investigation of two outlaw cities, Berlin and New York, which embodied all the tensions and contradictions of the world at the time. The German Issue is the Tale of Two Cities, then, with each city separated from its own country by an invisible wall of suspicion or even hatred.

I gazed out my window on the sea of dark clouds as my shaking seat jiggled the image into double vision; and I pictured the flat, geometrically divided western landscapes below, wondering why anyone still bothered to travel in this cookie-cutter country. What was the use of visiting identical reproductions of the same Wal-Mart or adding new encounters of equally streamlined mentality to the roster? As far as I was concerned, everything had been shorn from the same cloth, woven for years in the drab bungalows of suburban North America.

Thirty years of “crisis,” mass unemployment, and flagging growth, and they still want us to believe in the economy. . . . We have to see that the economy is itself the crisis. It’s not that there’s not enough work, it’s that there is too much of it.--from The Coming InsurrectionThe Coming Insurrection is an eloquent call to arms arising from the recent waves of social contestation in France and Europe.

Travel Essays in Art

Poet and post-punk heroine Eileen Myles has always operated in the art, writing, and queer performance scenes as a kind of observant flaneur. Like Baudelaire’s gentleman stroller, Myles travels the city--wandering on garbage-strewn New York streets in the heat of summer, drifting though the antiseptic malls of La Jolla, and riding in the van with Sister Spit--seeing it with a poet’s eye for detail and with the consciousness that writing about art and culture has always been a social gesture.

Texts and Interviews 1977–1985

This new edition of Soft Subversions expands, reorganizes, and develops the original 1996 publication, offering a carefully organized arrangement of essays, interviews, and short texts that present a fuller scope to Guattari’s thinking from 1977 to 1985.

Virilio himself referred to his 1980 work The Aesthetics of Disappearance as a "juncture" in his thinking, one at which he brought his focus onto the logistics of perception—a logistics he would soon come to refer to as the "vision machine." If Speed and Politics established Virilio as the inaugural—and still consummate—theorist of "dromology" (the theory of speed and the society it defines), The Aesthetics of Disappearance introduced his understanding of "picnolepsy"—the epileptic state of consciousness produced by speed, or rather, the consciousness invented by the subject through its ver

According to Peter Sloterdijk, the twentieth century started on a specific day and place: April 22, 1915, at Ypres in West Flanders. That day, the German army used a chlorine gas meant to exterminate indiscriminately. Until then, war, as described by Clausewitz and practiced by Napoleon, involved attacking the adversary’s vital function first. Using poison gas signaled the passage from classical war to terrorism. This terror from the air inaugurated an era in which the main idea was no longer to target the enemy’s body, but their environment.

An autobiographical novel by turn naïve and cunning, funny and moving, this most recent work by Moroccan expatriate Abdellah Taïa is a major addition to the new French literature emerging from the North African Arabic diaspora.

Published by Semiotext(e) in 2005, Mark von Schlegell’s debut novel Venusia was hailed in the sci-fi and literary worlds as a “breathtaking excursion” and “heady kaleidoscopic trip,” establishing him as an important practitioner of vanguard science fiction. Mercury Station, the second book in Von Schlegell’s System Series, continues the journey into a dystopian literary future. It is 2150. Eddard J. Ryan was born in a laboratory off Luna City, an orphan raised by the Black Rose Army, a radical post-Earth Irish revolutionary movement.

The Foundation of the Situationist International (June 1957–August 1960)

Yesterday, the police interrogated me at length about the journal and other Situationist organizations. It was only a beginning. This is, I think, one of the principal threats that came up quickly during the discussion: the police want to consider the S.I. as an association to bring about the destruction of France.--from CorrespondenceThis volume traces the dynamic first years of the Situationist International movement--a cultural avant-garde that continues to inspire new generations of artists, theorists, and writers more than half a century later.

Texts and Interviews 1972–1977

Chaosophy is an introduction to Félix Guattari’s groundbreaking theories of “schizo-analysis”: a process meant to replace Freudian interpretation with a more pragmatic, experimental, and collective approach rooted in reality. Unlike Freud, who utilized neuroses as his working model, Guattari adopted the model of schizophrenia--which he believed to be an extreme mental state induced by the capitalist system itself, and one that enforces neurosis as a way of maintaining normality.

“What do you do, exactly? I have no idea.”“I reify,” he answered.“It’s a serious job,” I added.“Yes, it is,” he said.“I see,” Carol observed with admiration. “Serious work, with big books and a big table cluttered with papers.”“No,” said Gilles. “I walk. Mostly I walk.”--from All the King’s HorsesMichèle Bernstein’s novel, All the King’s Horses (1960), is one of the odder and more elusive, entertaining, and revealing documents of the Situationist International.

From the New Economy to the War Economy

The Swiss-Italian economist Christian Marazzi is one of the core theorists of the Italian postfordist movement, along with Antonio Negri, Paolo Virno, and Bifo (Franco Berardi). But although his work is often cited by scholars (particularly by those in the field of “Cognitive Capitalism”), his writing has never appeared in English. This translation of his most recent work, Capital and Language (published in Italian in 2002), finally makes Marazzi’s work available to an English-speaking audience.

Introduction to Kant’s Anthropology From a Pragmatic Point of View Michel Foucaulttranslated and with an introduction by Arianna BoveThis introduction and commentary to Kant’s least discussed work, Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View, is the dissertation that Michel Foucault presented in 1961 as his doctoral thesis. It has remained unpublished, in any language, until now. In his exegesis and critical interpretation of Kant’s Anthropology, Foucault raises the question of the relation between psychology and anthropology, and how they are affected by time.

As celebrated as it is reviled, internationally acclaimed filmmaker Catherine Breillat’s novel Pornocracy viscerally enacts the dramatic confluence of mystery, desire, and shame that lies at the heart of sexuality. In Pornocracy, a beautiful woman wanders through a gay disco and engages a man, confident that he will follow her. Perversely and dispassionately, she offers her body as the ground of a ritualistic game in which, over the course of three evenings, the two will explore the numbing mechanics of sexual brutality.

Multitude between Innovation and NegationPaolo Virnotranslated by James CascaitoThe publication of Paolo Virno’s first book in English, Grammar of the Multitude, by Semiotext(e) in 2004 was an event within the field of radical political thought and introduced post-’68 currents in Italy to American readers.

For a New Grammar of Politics

In 2004 and 2005, Antonio Negri held ten workshops at the Collège International de Philosophie in Paris to formulate a new political grammar of the postmodern. Biopolitics, biopowers, control, the multitude, people, war, borders, dependency and interdependency, state, nation, the common, difference, resistance, subjective rights, revolution, freedom, democracy: these are just a few of the themes Negri addressed in these experimental laboratories.

In June 2007, Paul Virilio and Sylvère Lotringer met in La Rochelle, France to reconsider the premises they developed twenty-five years before in their frighteningly prescient classic, Pure War. Pure War described the invisible war waged by technology against humanity, and the lack of any real distinction since World War II between war and peace.

Alterity is in danger. It is a masterpiece in peril, an object lost or missing from our system, from the system of artificial intelligence and the system of communication in general.--from Radical AlterityWhere is the Other today? Can Otherness challenge our arrogant, insular cultural narcissism? From artificial intelligence to the streets of Venice, from early explorers to contemporary photographers, Jean Baudrillard and Marc Guillaume discuss the traces of radical alterity in our world.

When Fatal Strategies was first published in French in 1983, it represented a turning point for Jean Baudrillard: an utterly original, and for many readers, utterly bizarre book that offered a theory as proliferative, ecstatic, and hallucinatory as the postmodern world it endeavored to describe. Arguing against the predetermined outcomes of dialectical thought with his renowned, wry, ambivalent passion, with this volume Jean Baudrillard mounted an attack against the “false problems” posed by Western philosophy.

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