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What Moves Us? Affective micro-politics in art and activism

(“Cleaning up after capitalism,” The Vacuum Cleaner, 2003.)


I’ve just co-edited a special issue of the journal Parallax with Anja Kanngieser, titled “What Moves Us?”

We aimed to focus on the invisible minor, micropolitical aspects of the often very visible, flamboyant ‘creative’ activist projects which have become increasingly visible across social movements, the academy and galleres. The idea was to find some frames of analyses that could explore how the affects of these practices, how they feel for everyone involved, are tied to their effects upon the world.

Because practice is key to this perspective (and to the forms of creative activism we’re looking at here), we tied to bring together papers informed primarily by various types of participatory action and militant research. That is, research upon creative modes of dissent which the authors themselves worked with, drawing on primary texts, interviews, participatory action research and critical self-reflection. From this grounded perspective, we also looked for contributions able to emphasise not just successes but moments of conflict, tension and failure within such projects, moments when creative dissent prompts more disjunction than commonality, resentment or antagonism than interaction.

I’ll put the whole issue up as a free PDF online asap.

Some of the ideas around this issue were explored while at the Truth is Concrete festival in Graz, Austria. Anja and I collaborated on a radio project with the same title, interviewing participants and contributors to the festival as a kind of inquiry, beginning with the festivals’ framing as a ‘marathon camp.’ Aired on Truth is Concrete Radio, Austria, 2012.