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semiocap help!!

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so i'm thinking of getting into semiocap this year but i have no concrete idea about what it talks about. i have the pdf for precarious rhapsody but i want to know what i'm getting into before i get into it lol


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I'm personally of the opinion that semiocap isn't the best argument this year. This made some more sense in context to education and certainly China, but immigration reform is a bit trickier. Baudrillard already has a tenuous connection to the topic and I'm not sure Bifo has any. I'm also not sure in general that semiocap is the best argument to invest time getting to know everything about. The only team I've seen pull it off was SVDP for a couple years after Adam Martin, but I suspect that was just his individual skill. Bifo argues for this weird mix of Baudrillard, Guattari, and Heidegger that I'm not sure is the most theoretically defensible. It also rarely has a non-contrived link or impact, and there are usually better strategies.

The basic gist is that capital and technology have accelerated to the point where they overwhelm the human sensory apparatus, producing a deadened and hopeless affect that has gutted political potentiality (per Baudrillard). Bifo terms this semiocapitalism, because it operates through disembodied value and empty signifiers (semiotics). He thinks the solution is poetry, in this weird quasi-Heideggerian sense that overlaps with Guatarri's lines of flight, but which slows down to try and recover the human subject.

The issues: Guattari is probably most in line with Bifo's project, although much of his work with Deleuze is in tension with Bifo's defense of humanism. Neither Baudrillard nor Heidegger defend humanism either. Bifo borrows most of Baudrillard's description of contemporary society, but Baudrillard argues for virtually the opposite solution: the acceleration of meaninglessness to the point of where the whole system implodes and becomes untenable, not slowing it down, something he views as pointless and naive. Bifo doesn't grapple with this much. Heidegger's poetry is also a response to a different problem than what Bifo poses (modernity itself, not cell phones). There's also the kind of global issue endemic to Bifo's work that he's extremely vague. He rarely nails down why or how poetry can save subjectivity, or why it is desirable to do so. 

I'm inclined to think you'd get more out of researching any one of those constitutive parts, Baudrillard, Deleuze and Guattari, or Heidegger, since almost all of them are more generalized and make clearer arguments. They also lead into other arguments, like Bifo if you're really interested, but also preserve other options for specialization (cybernetics, homonationalism, Empire, fear of death, etc.). That's my take.

Edited by seanarchy
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