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Breathing: Chaos and Poetry

by Franco "Bifo" Berardi Semiotext(e)
Pub Date:
Pbk 160 pages
AU$35.99 NZ$37.38
Product Status: In Stock Now
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An analysis of contemporary semio-capitalism's overloading of subjectivity, leading to a deep mutation in the psychosphere.

Franco "Bifo" Berardi's newest book is an analysis of changes our aesthetic and emotional sensibility has undergone recently'all the result of semio-capitalism's capturing of the inner resources of the subjective process: our experience of time, our sensibility, our means of relating to each other, and our ability to imagine a future. The precarization and fractalization of labor today has provoked a deep mutation in the psychosphere, and this is visible in the rise of such psychopathologies as post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, panic, and attention deficit disorder. Sketching out an aesthetic genealogy of capitalist globalization, Berardi shows how we have reached a point of such complexity in the semiotic flows of capital that we can no longer process its excessive currents of information. A swarm effect now rules: it has become impossible to say "no." Social behavior is trapped in inescapable patterns of interaction coded by techno-linguistic machines, smartphones, screens of all sizes, and all of these sensory and emotional devices destroy our organism's sensibility by submitting it to the stress of competition and acceleration.

Arguing for disentanglement rather than resistance, Berardi ends by evoking the myth of La Malinche, the daughter of a noble Aztec family, a translator and traitor who betrayed her own people. Yet what she portends is the rebirth of the world from the collapse of the old.

Franco Berardi, aka “Bifo,” founder of the famous “Radio Alice” in Bologna and an important figure of the Italian Autonomia Movement, is a writer, media theorist, and media activist. He currently teaches Social History of the Media at the Accademia di Brera, Milan.