b_books, March 2020
288 pages with 122 full-page color images
14 x 21 cm, Paperback, English
Highly complex, thoroughly networked societies are so susceptible in some ‘neuralgic spots’ that a single pinprick is enough to trigger a catastrophic chain reaction. In this insecure situation, threats are being amplified by neoliberal restructuring in the form of privatization and technological rationalization. Thus, rather than creating sustainable public structures that would make it easier to avert preventable harm, already precarious lifeworlds are made even more precarious. Aggravating these insecurities is neoliberal governmentality’s attempt to incorporate threats as capitalizable assets. Here, the idea of prevention is displaced by preemption—a strategy of making potential threats securable and hence available for political and economic speculation.
In Undeclared Movements Krystian Woznicki explores the high price for and the limits of preemption. Zooming in on preventable ‘disasters’ in the Schengen Area – as varied as the “refugee crisis” of 2015 and “civil war” during the G20 in 2017 – Woznicki shows that the limits of preemption are manifesting themselves as enormous dangers for society, but also as opportunities for new forms of politics to arise. Written before the COVID-19 crisis, this book anticipates some of the urgent questions to be asked in the face of unprecedented yet preventable devastations: What does it mean for democracy that the exploitation of insecurities is contributing to the rise of increasingly AI-driven security industries, and public safety is being replaced by ‘national security’? What does it mean for co-existence that all of us are affected by the threats of densely inter-connected (and ultimately contagious) societies—but some are less vulnerable than others?
Woznicki writes: “By studying struggles that do not yet have an official political lobby, or that have not yet been actualized on the street or at a square as a recognizable collective body, it becomes possible to grasp political forms before the actualization of their potentialities occurs—that is, when we are on the brink of developing a political consciousness for what it means to be in the given crisis together.”
Krystian Woznicki is a Berlin-based critic and photographer. Fugitive Belonging, his pevious book, blends writing and photography. He is also the author of A Field Guide to the Snowden Files (with Magdalena Taube), After the Planes (with Brian Massumi), and Wer hat Angst vor Gemeinschaft? (with Jean-Luc Nancy), all published by Diamondpaper. His first book, Abschalten. Paradiesproduktion, Massentourismus und Globalisierung, was published by Kadmos. He is also the co-founder of Berliner Gazette (berlinergazette.de).
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