23.02.2018 | 10:00 – 19:00 | GOETHE INSTITUT, AMSTERDAM
10:00 – 11:00 | Stefan Helmreich | Research presentation
11:00 – 12.00 | Participant discussion
12.00 – 13.00 | Lunch
13.00 – 14:30 | Logistical Violence, Logistical Vulnerabilities: On the possibilities of supply chain struggles | Charmaine Chua + Giorgio Grappi in conversation
There is growing recognition that as logistics becomes an increasingly invasive force in everyday life, so too does it offer potentially new opportunities for reshaping anti-capitalist struggle around the global supply chain. Crafting citizen-consumers, supply chain workers, and vulnerable communities into its extensive spatial architectures, logistical networks seem to snake everywhere, enfolding us into its just-in-time ecology of data points, tracking devices, and flexible production chains. One popular tendency has been to speak of logistics as the domination of ‘just in time’ methods over the whole supply chain, by which a popular imagination may understand that since logistics is sensitive to the precision of delivery, any stoppage or interruption to its flow could cripple capitalism. The story is, of course, more complicated (one good example of two contrasting views on logistical disruption is the exchange between Bernes and Toscano in the bibliography below). While much of the emerging literature on logistics emphasizes capital’s efforts to make its flows mobile, logistics is just as much about stoppage and control as it is about circulation: as a system of organization, it seeks to speed up, slow down, and stretch global supply chains, securitizing some spaces and not others, containing some flows while letting others move, so on and so forth. In order for us to think about the possibilities for and promises of logistical struggle, we need to understand how logistics operates dialectically, in both its vulnerability and its growing resilience to all sorts of disruptions and forms of sabotage. Counterlogistics is not simply a matter of blocking all flows, of stopping movement, of locking things in place where they are. It is also a matter of constituting the world through alternative imaginings of connection, movement, and solidarity.
14.30 – 15.30 | Participant discussion
15.30 – 16.00 | Break
16:00 – 17:00 | Moving Perishable Foods Across Borders in a Global Economy of Qualities | Heather Anne Paxson
Products — items that circulate as goods in capitalist markets — have been theorized as “goods with a career” (cf. Appadurai) that undergo “requalification” (Callon et al. 2002) as they move from designers to producers to consumers via any number of regulatory inspectors, distributors, wholesalers, retailers. Legal regulation of the import and export of particular foods facilitates the intended movement and transformation of products in ways that can also throw up obstacles that impede it. This paper looks at what it takes to import perishable products (foods such as cheeses and cured meats) from Europe into the United States. How do importers prequalify goods so as to ease their movement across national borders? What happens when a perishable product’s movement is nonetheless held up by regulatory agents? The “qualification trials” of market actors are shown to provide an opportunity to account for the fact that movement in time is not halted when a perishable good’s movement in space is suspended.
17.00 – 18.30 | PhD presentations + discussion
- The Smart City of Gaza | Francesco Sebgregondi
Drawing on my ongoing doctoral research, this presentation will provide a critical overview of the architecture of the Gaza blockade. It will reflect on the uncanny resemblance between the spatial and political technology used to obstruct circulations in and out of Gaza, and the one tasked with lubricating the flow of goods, capital, and labour around the globe. In this perspective, the blockaded Gaza Strip may appear as an inverted image of the logistical zone. Building upon an emerging body of research on the relation between contemporary urbanism and logistics, I turn to Gaza to investigate a darker image of the smart future anticipated by the rise of logistical power.
- Chains of Death, Thresholds of Livability: Ecocide in the Colombian Caribbean Coast | Hannah Martin + Oscar Pedraza
This presentation will examine the various modalities of death – both of humans and nonhumans – emanating from the coal mining industry on the Caribbean coast of northern Colombia. In doing so, we analyse coal’s interactions with multiple actors in all phases of its value chain and the ways in which these interactions create specific relations with death, dying and the possibilities of living. Beyond coal, the region has also experienced the destructive incursions of cattle ranching, banana and palm oil monoculture, and the myriad of infrastructures that connect them. The argument that we push is that the concentration of these interventions into the landscape should be viewed as ecocide.
20:00 – 21:20 | Sonic Acts Academy Opening | Keynote lecture by Nora Sternfeld
- Charmaine Chua. “Logistics, Capitalist Circulation, Chokepoints” in The Disorder of Things. 2014 https://thedisorderofthings.com/2014/09/09/logistics-capitalist-circulation-chokepoints/
- ————. “The Quiet Port is Logistics’ Nightmare” in The Disorder of Things. 2014 https://thedisorderofthings.com/2015/01/19/the-quiet-port-is-logistics-nightmare/
- Chua, Deborah Cowen, & Laleh Khalili. Podcast: The Dissonance of Things #6: Logistics – Violence, Empire, and Resistance: https://thedisorderofthings.com/2016/05/09/logistics-violence-empire-resistance/
- Joshua Clover, “Terminal Showdown,” Verso Books Blog. 2017. https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/3073-terminal-showdown
- Joshua Clover, Riot. Strike. Riot. Verso 2017.
- Kim Moody, On New Terrain: How Capital is Reshaping the Battleground of Class War. Haymarket Books 2017
- Alberto Toscano, “Logistics and Opposition,” Mute, August 9, 2011
- Jasper Bernes, “Logistics, Counterlogistics, and the Communist Prospect,” Endnotes 3 (2013)
- Alberto Toscano, “Lineaments of the Logistical State,” Viewpoint Magazine 4 (2014)
- Joshua Clover and Jasper Bernes, “The Ends of the State,” Viewpoint Magazine 4 (2014).
- Deborah Cowen, “Disrupting Distribution: Subversion, the Social Factory, and the ‘State’ of Supply Chains,” Viewpoint Magazine 4 (2014). https://www.viewpointmag.com/2014/10/29/disrupting-distribution-subversion-the-social-factory-and-the-state-of-supply-chains/
- Empire Logistics: http://www.empirelogistics.org/about
Organised in collaboration with the Sonic Acts Academy, Netherlands