After a short period of “unbearable lightness of being,” the social gravitation begins to be felt again. In his book Joshua Simon describes and analyzes the growing weight of the technical, economic, material basis of our society. The author’s sensibility for today’s Zeitgeist is at the same time entertaining and precise.
Since the so-called dematerialization of currencies and art practices in the late 1960s and early 1970, we have witnessed a move into what Joshua Simon calls an economy of neomaterialism. With this, several shifts have occurred: the focus of labor has moved from production to consumption, the commodity has become the historical subject, and symbols now behave like materials.
Neomaterialism explores the meaning of the world of commodities, and reintroduces various notions of dialectical materialism into the conversation on the subjectivity and vitalism of things. Here, Simon advocates for the unreadymade, sentimental value, and the promise of the dividual as a means for a vocabulary in this new economy of meaning.
Reflecting on general intellect as labor and the subjugation of an overqualified generation to the neofeudal order of debt finance—with a particular focus on dispossession and rent economy, post-appropriation display strategies and negation, the barricade and capital’s technocratic fascisms—Neomaterialism merges traditions of epic communism with the communism that is already here.
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