Justin A. Langlois — Uselessness & Antagonism: Suggestions for a New Engagement

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There is no exchange value to something useless. It strives to impede, slow down, and malfunction. Uselessness is unabsorbable. It destabilizes the substrate into which it is brought and adds unnecessary complexity, weight, and time to a transaction. We have to wonder, when so many forms of resistance, aesthetics, logic, and affect have been co-opted by highly-distributed, violent, and autonomous expressions of power and infrastructures, what room is there left for action within legible forms of art, activism, and education? This lecture explores the possibilities for uselessness and antagonism to act as increasingly vital options for creative intervention in these spaces and in everyday life. Antagonistic social practices and useless engagements may most readily and effectively help us develop the spaces of exchange that can best cultivate the capacity for critical engagement with our cities, infrastructure, and communities.
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