Location Livorno, IT
Juan Pablo Macías
June 20, 2020

an introduction. one year after “art magic and capitalism”

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon portrayed by Nadar, circa 1862.

In order to connect to last years’ art magic and capitalism, where we discussed about the relationship between creation and economicism, I would like to lay down some considerations on what I believe is our human essence, or a natural essence gone in oblivion.

This essence has to deal specifically with matter and the forms we relate to it. A relation which is aesthetic and poetic at once, a relation that implies desire and a vital loop that distinguishes no species but its interconnectedness, its mutualism, its mutual semiosis, its mutual breath.

It’s like if in this articulation between perception and poiesis—or creation— power would distribute itself by establishing a passive perception, an alienated labor and again, a passive consumption that conceives nothing but its capitalistic loop, its separation and alienation from the creative process, a striated wholeness gone in sclerosis.

To bring these valances that ramble through air into these pages, I would like to share with you my understanding of creation along with what triggered Pierre-Joseph Proudhon’s considerations on society.

I think that Proudhon’s writings were the result of an observation of the two main operations of our ontic relations:

  1. the creative act, creation, which is not human, and
  2. mutualism, a relation where each creature in it, obtains net benefits, and yet again, not human.

I believe that all of Proudhon’s ink and oral efforts, were conceiving of a society which was fundamentally aesthetic and poetic at once, as he was practically answering to himself, what is the creative act:

“to create is to do something out of nothing” he wrote

and this has the form of poiesis

every creature in this world replicates Creation in this manner

it’s not human

His second consideration, even if not phrased with these words, is that the social organization of collective power, should have to do with the just administration of the products of creation. An administration, that if done under the collective and decentralized practice of Justice, would need no government. Government is reduced to a mere federative administration of the products of creation. From here derives that the best government is that which governs the less.

I believe that these 150 years of antagonism has, in a way, abstracted itself putting matter into oblivion. Marxism and almost all theory, have created a system which obliterates any multiplicity, event and virtuality that lay beyond its own rhetoric system, just as capitalism does. It’s only able to see, or better, to read, it’s own inaction. But again, what is matter if not this continuum amorphous, this substance, this cosmos that we are taking part of? What does this separation of the human from the rest of species and of matter stand for? What holds us together as a whole?

I don’t believe in their gods. I do believe in the effort of conscience to dehumanize our notions of God, in perceiving substance —a notion that Baruch Spinoza would call God— as something entirely not human. From a human perspective, in defining God, or substance or universal energies, Spinoza wrote that it is infinite in attributes, and as humans, finite, we can only perceive two of them: the attribute of thought and the attribute of extension.

As humans, we participate in these two attributes, and these two alone. They define our essences and modalities. We participate in thought and extension. And by an error of perception, we’ve attributed them as our own property.

So when Proudhon says that to create is to do something out of nothing, he circumscribes aesthetic and poetic capacities into a human framework, of society’s functioning, but he is not saying that this nothingness is void, but a non-human creation that’s already there, that already sustains us, that provides us, and which cannot be appropriated.

I’ve seen in Mexico’s indigenous communities the firm belief or the moral imperative—which, by the way, does not compel—that matter, when transformed, involves sharing. They don’t lose sight of the origin of matter, of the realness of its circumstances, nor the just socialization of the transformed produce, who’s final owner is the community. A community which is the product of an inter-species mutualism, a combination of becomings, where all species obtain net benefits, and yet do not accumulate.

I think here we recognize Deleuze and Guattari’s processes of production, distribution and consumption as desire, as nature itself. Of man and nature in a vital chain of assemblages, of becoming.

And just to recall again:

“Europeanization does not constitute a becoming but merely the history of capitalism, which prevents the becoming of subjected peoples. Art and philosophy converge at this point: the constitution of an earth and a people that are lacking as the correlate of creation.” (Deleuze and Guattari)

So I believe this lack has the form of an interruption of the virtuality of creation by a capitalistic diversion. A separation realized by relegating and regulating creation through Art, isolating labor in itself, as labor for labor’s sake, and then believing in money, not only as a real thing and a relational means, but as the just measure of all things. We would need to abolish art and money to set free creation and collective force to reset mutualism, the sharing force that creates the multifariousness of nature —a living spontaneity, and again, not human.

We’ve mutilated and translated all in terms of economicism. We read the order-words, we count the numbers, we recognize their images, their dualities, but we can no longer listen nor perceive of Peirce’s multifariousness of nature, of Deleuze’s multiplicity, nor of Spinoza’s substance. In brief, of that, which cannot be appropriated.

And nonetheless, the history of capitalism has surrogated creation and has continued to appropriate, not only land, but air as well.

and AIR is the matter of this new encounter, of this conversation, of this publication….

We could infer by abduction, that thought and extension —which in Spinoza’s conceptions are divine attributes that are parallel and never touch— are in relation by a third element which is cosmic breath and the forces that conform it, in brief, by the semiotic airy qualities that bring together thought and extension, and which is gazing at us ever.

ON AIR is born out of a dialogue during the first session of art magic and capitalism in 2019, right before the 2020 lockdown.

At the table during lunch, talking about many subjects around creation, economy, sharing, communality, semiotics, plants, the sky, we arrived at AIR.