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.
Yuk Hui is currently research associate of the DFG Project Technoecology of Participation at the Leuphana University Lüneburg; previous to that, he was postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Research and Innovation of the Centre Pompidou in Paris. He published on philosophy of technology and media in periodicals such as Metaphilosophy, Parrhesia, Cahiers Simondon, Jahrbuch Technikphilosophie, Intellectica, New Formations, Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft, etc. He is co-editor of the anthology 30 Years after Les Immatériaux: Art, Science and Theory (2015), and author ofOn the Existence of Digital Objects (prefaced by Bernard Stiegler, University of Minnesota Press, 2016). He is also the series editor of “Media Philosophy” with the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences Press, and series editor of “After Simondon” with Meson Press.
The Search Drive: A Hackography
Zero-Desk Books 2016