COGNITIVE ACTIVISM understands, first and foremost, that the doctrines, apparatuses, and means for achieving political resistance, including street demonstrations and sit-ins, were invented in the late 19th century and early 20th century. They were based on responses to labor practices and conditions associated with industrial capitalism or Fordism such as repetition, boredom, low pay, and poor working conditions. Post-industrial capitalism creates a very different series of stresses within labor. This now takes place on computer terminals and includes: precarity, real subsumption, software substitution for lower-end and less-skilled jobs, work replacement technology, fragmented worker scripts, exacerbated income inequality, and code-generated surplus value. Recently, there has emerged a materialist component to cognitive capitalism in which what is at stake is the premeditated institutional sculpting of the brain’s neural plasticity.
Cognitive activism is a call for the creation of new set of strategies, in addition to those already in use by the proletariat, with which to combat the dispositifs of control and normalization faced by the cognitariat in our accelerated age of the anthropocene. It is at this intersection between the Information and Knowledge economy, the entertainment industry, and cognitive neuroscience that this book The Search Drive: A Hackography begins. Warren Neidich uses real and fictive software programs to search himself on the web and by doing so creates what he calls a hackography or new form of autobiography. Each generation tooled with new technologies of the self creates its own stories and narrations. This book is a series of screen shots made during the projection of this video work. It includes essays by Franco Berardi, Jonathan Lahey Dronsfield, Bik Van der Pol, Andrew Berardini and Charles T. Wolfe.
Warren Neidich is an internationally recognized artist and theorist. He studied photography, video, cognitive neuroscience, medicine and architecture. He has received various awards including The Fulbright Scholarship, 2011 and 2013, The Vilem Flusser Theory Award, Transmediale, Berlin, 2010, and the AHRB/ACE Arts and Research Fellowship, UK, 2004. He has taught at such institutions as Brown University, Harvard GSD, Princeton University, Columbia University, University of California, San Diego, California Institute of the Arts, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford and Goldsmiths College.
Forthcoming books include The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism Part 3, Archive Books, Resistance is Fertile ( in German), Merve Verlag and The Search Drive, A Hackography, Zero-desk publications.
Marie-Luise Angerer is professor of Media Studies at the Department for Art and Media, University of Potsdam. Before that she was professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne. Visiting fellow and guest professor in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. Member of the European Network How Matter comes to Matter (2014-2018), and of the Research Network Affective and Psychotechnology Studies(DFG 2015-2017) The focus of her research is on media technology, affect and neuroscientific reformulations of desire, sexuality, and the body. Her most recent publications include Desire After Affect (2014), Timing of Affect (with Bernd Bösel and Michaela Ott, 2014), Choreography, Media, Gender (with Yvonne Hardt and Anna-Carolin Weber, 2013), numerous articles in books and journals on the topic of affect, art, and media theory.
The Search Drive: A Hackography
Zero-Desk Books 2016