'Filosofía pirata, edición libre', discussion with Perro Tuerto y Pucho (El Rancho Electrónico) y Gabriela Méndez Cota (Universidad Iberoamericana) for the Mexico city radio station Ibero, September 12, 2019.

Open Humanities Press – The Inhumanist Manifesto

Pirate Philosophy, This Is Not A Pipe Podcast

HyperCritical Theory

Übercapitalism and What Can Be Done About It

Recent publications

Masked Media (limited edition paper-only publication for The House That Heals The Soul exhibition, Tetley, Leeds, 2018) 

 The Inhumanist Manifesto: Extended Play (Techne Lab, 2017)

Open Access

Most of Gary's work is freely available to read and download either here in Media Gifts or in Coventry University's online repositories PURE here, and CURVE here 

Radical Open Access

« New Book: Pirate Philosophy | Main | Really, We're Helping To Build This Fucking Business: The Files »

The Missing Community

(What follows is the sixth part of an interview, 'Just Because You Write about Posthumanism Doesn’t Mean You Aren’t a Liberal Humanist: An Interview with Gary Hall' by Francien Broekhuizen, Simon Dawes, Danai Mikelli and Poppy Wilde. It is published in the MeCCSA-PGN Conference 2015 issue of Networking Knowledge, Vol 9, No 1 (2016). The first part of the interview, 'Neoliberal Subjectivation', is available here; the second part, 'Liberalism as a "Way of Doing Things"', here; the third part, 'From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg', here; the fourth part, 'Thinking With Media Technologies', here; the fifth part, 'On Open Humanities Press And Other Projects', here.) 


THE EDITORS: Where do you feel your responsibility lies in terms of nudging people towards open access? 

GARY HALL: I realise this is probably going to sound odd, but I don’t feel I have that kind of responsibility. I know you’d like me to speak about open access, and I understand why that is, given how much work I’ve done in the area, and that I’ve published a book about it and so forth. The fact is, though, while I really want to be helpful, I’m not sure how interested I am in open access – except to the extent it enables us to address, critically and creatively, the sort of issues we’ve been talking about. It’s certainly not my intention to position myself as some kind of representative or spokesperson for open access by assuming responsibility for nudging people towards it, be it at a governmental policy maker, funding council, scholarly society, institutional, departmental or professional level. 

If what I’m interested in is placing a question mark against both our neoliberal and our liberal humanist models of subjectivity, then it’d be naïve of me to expect that there’s going to be a large, pre-existing audience out there I can appeal to; an audience that’s ready and waiting for me to simply prod them into taking on board these ideas and their implications for our current ways of doing things, which as we have seen are largely (neo)liberal humanist in practice. You could even go so far as to say that, in denaturalising and destablising notions of individual rights, property, copyright and so on that we otherwise take for granted, my work is designed precisely to challenge a lot of the norms, values and practices around which any such wider audience might gather. (There are no legal anti-humanist or non-humanist alternatives to publishing on a copyright all rights reserved basis that are professionally recognised, for instance.) Consequently, we might think of such an audience, not so much in terms of Giorgio Agamben’s ‘coming community’ or what, following Jacques Derrida, we could call a community to come, but as a missing community. This is another reason I’m interested in experimenting with ways of working and thinking as a media theorist that are not only engaged in representing or providing an account of the world, but performatively acting in or intra-acting with it too. Rather than endeavouring to speak to or on behalf of such a missing community, it seems to me we have to performatively invent the context in which such a community could emerge.  

Creating such a missing community is what I’d suggest we’re attempting to do with many of the projects I’m connected to, which include not just Culture Machine and Open Humanities Press, but also the Centre for Disruptive Media here at Coventry and its affirmative disruption of both neoliberal and liberal ideas of the humanities, the library, the archive and even the university.  Will we succeed? I’m not sure. It’s reinflecting a phrase of Stuart Hall’s, I know, but for me we have to work ‘without guarantees’, without any assurances that such a community will appear at some point in the future. Still, that’s the kind of difficulty, contradiction, paradox even, I’m interested in living with and exploring. And this includes the paradox that’s associated with my own inability to simply transcend the individualistic authorial ‘I’: both in this interview, and in my forthcoming publication of a traditional print book with only my name on it about the problems involved in authors producing books with only their individual names on them, even though I know this book, like this interview, is written by what for shorthand can be called the Others in me.  It’s something I’m not entirely at ease with – and not just for the reasons we’ve discussed. (It’s also partly why I began by referring to Foucault’s ‘Masked Philosopher’ interview, which he published anonymously.) Nevertheless, I still take the decision to write such books and to participate in such interviews on occaision. For me, doing so can be another means of experimenting in a quasi-transcendental fashion with some of the multiple differential modalities of ‘I’ that are possible in our current context; and thus of again giving new, non-dialectical inflections to certain tendencies associated with both our neoliberal and liberal ways of doing things. 

Hopefully, all this explains why I continue to work in a university, despite all the stress, anxiety and exhaustion associated with it at the moment. I do so because the university is one space – it’s not the only space, art is perhaps another, but the university is one space – where we have a chance to do things differently. Where we can raise these kinds of questions. Where we can explore and experiment with new ways of doing.

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