Distribution Automatique

Saturday, October 25

"...Certainly, with respect to the sort of writing
that separates domains in the name of the division
of labor and reveals class affiliations, it would be
"fabulous" if, as in the stories of miracles, the
groups that formerly gave us our masters and
that are currently lodged in our corpus were to
rise up and themselves mark their comings and
goings in the texts that honor and bury them
at the same time. This hope has diappeared,
along with the beliefs which have long since
vanished from our cities.There are no longer any
ghosts who can remind the livng of reciprocity.
But in the order organized by the power of
knowledge (ours), as in the order of the
countryside,or the factories, a diversionary
practice remains possible.

Let us try to make a *perruque* in the economic
system whose rules and hierarchies are repeated,
as always, in scientific institutions. In the area of
scientific research (which defines the current order
if knowledge), working with its machines and making
use of its scraps, we can divert the time owed to the
institution; we can make textual objects that signify
in art and solidarities; we can play the game of free
exchange, even if it is penalized by bosses and
colleagues when they are not willing to "turn a blind
eye" on it; we can create networks of connivances and
sleights of hand; we can exchange gifts; and in these
ways we can subvert the law that, in the scientific
factory, puts work in the service of the machine and,
by a similar logic, progressively destroys the requirement
of creation and, by a similar logic, and the "obligation to give."
I know of investigators experienced in this art of diversion,
which is a return to the ethical, of pleasure and of invention
within the scientific institution. Realizing no profit, (profit
is produced by work done for the factory), and often at a
loss, they take something from the order of knowledge in
order to inscribe "artistic achivements" on it and to carve
on it the graffiti of the debts of honor. To deal with everyday
tactics in this way would be to practice an "ordinary" art,
to find oneself in the common situation, and to make a kind
of "perruque" of writing itself."

*The Practice of Everyday Life"
Michel de Certeau