The Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley is sponsoring the working session “Occupy as Form” on February 10, 2012. Participants have been invited to post some brief thoughts on the topic in advance of the event. This guest posting is by Byron Peters, graduate student at California College of the Arts.
Paul Virilio wrote “history progresses at the speed of its weapons systems” and The Invisible Committee has declared, “the world would not be moving so fast if it didn’t have to constantly outrun its own collapse.” The workings of a society ridden with the manifestations of capital are caught between seemingly opposing polarities of conception of time. On one hand, current systems of exchange require increasingly miniscule periods of time to have drastic structural implications; one the other, our era of advanced capitalism commonly offers to the reality principle an illusion of temporal endlessness. Our ‘weapons’, including the efficient real time benefits of social media, have completely revolutionized the means of initial congregation, of assembly. We are so often here, now, but in a society where capital has largely eclipsed the legitimacy of non-instrumentalized belief structures, how can we enter into dynamic long-term commitments which constitute the production of new subjectivities?
Hidden in the multiplicity of Occupy’s internal workings and in (primarily) its reception, it appears that so much of the movement is goal-oriented: we say, let’s remove the excessive privileges of a few, the one percent, as if the dissolution of the rich and largest financial institutions would in some way change the very logic of capital as counter to the collective potential of human beings. For me, a ‘success’ of Occupy would be a culturally recognized societal shift in the comprehension of time as paired with a perpetual resistance to the logics of capital. It is a question of operating towards a widespread collective commitment to actively holding space: the forming of an endlessly pro-active radical patience. In other words, how can we occupy time?