Organised by: Institut für Theorie and BA in Media & Art / Vertiefung Theorie at the Zürich University of the Arts, in cooperation with Shedhalle Zürich. 

Coordinated by: Isabell Lorey, Roberto Nigro and Gerald Raunig.


‘L'essentiel d'une inven­tion est de faire s'utiliser réciproquement des moyens d'action qui aupa­ra­vant paraissaient étrangers ou opposés; elle est une association de forces substituée à une opposition ou à une stérile juxtaposition de forces’. 

(Gabriel Tarde, L’opposition universelle).

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The most influential theoretical current of the late 20th century is no longer as young as it once was. Emerging within the social and political context of the 1960s and the 1970s, ‘post-structuralism’ was not a school of thought as such, and its protagonists did not necessarily harbour the same theoretical concerns. It was a period of intellectual intensity that brought about deep-reaching transformations in life styles and forms of knowledge, leading to new discursive orders and new social practices. 

Today, many of its main protagonists – among them the theory-stars Foucault, Deleuze and Derrida – are no longer alive. Now it seems increasingly easy for the cooptation, decontextualisation and depoliticisation of such theoretical endeavours to occur. On different levels and in a variety of social contexts, ‘post-structuralism’ reappears watered down, isolated and reduced to mere slogans within an academic mainstream.  

In a series of double lectures, the aim of Inventions is to present contemporary positions of ‘post-structuralism’ and recompose, transversalise and queer its currents. A reinvention of the political and theories thereof may emerge from those very same marginal fields that have  for decades been the source of nourishment: (Queer-) feminist praxis, critical production of art and knowledge, critical migration studies, social movements and extra-academic philosophy.

Maybe the term ‘post-structuralism’ – never much more than an auxiliary construction to sum up very different theoretical currents – will finally become obsolete. Maybe it will be replaced by a new conceptual arrangement. Inventions aims to provide the necessary impulses that can make possible this new arrangement of concepts and its association with social machines.