Find here english versions of the texts of the Vocabulário político para processos estéticos | Political Vocabulary for Aesthetic Processes

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\ Assemblies / Popular assemblies in Rio de Janeiro’s Struggle for Freedom

Fernando Monteiro
During the year 2013, popular movements moved forward in the city of Rio de Janeiro. These struggles formed through the movement against rising bus fares, and generated a more ample debate about public transportation systems in the city and throughout Rio de Janeiro state. As multitudes took to the streets, a much greater variety of demands and concerns quickly took root, including the right to housing; questioning the representative structure of traditional popular movements (especially the ambiguous actions of SEPE, the teachers’ union, in the education workers’ movement); the invisibility of marginalized and peripheral layers of society; race- and gender-based oppression; and the high public costs of the FIFA World Cup, among others.  These mass mobilisations opened the Pandora’s box of Brazilian social ills. Rio de Janeiro’s natives looked in the mirror and didn’t like what they saw; many abandoned the streets under pretexts ranging from the supposed violence of “Black Blocs” to the risk of protests being co-opted by the right wing.  Some shouted out against the threat of a fascist coup d’état, while others became frightened and withdrew in the face of a fascist coup that already exists: namely, extreme police violence under the auspices of city and state governments. The justifications for emptying the streets were as heterogeneous as the multitude itself.  However, this emptying did not represent an end to the mobilisations. On the contrary, these mobilisations spread out through the geographical space of the city, and continued from June until December, before being renewed at the beginning of the following year.
The complexity of the conjuncture on the streets and of the diverse groups, collectives, and individuals that construct protests and create forms of resistance through discourses and actions surpasses any brief contextualisation. What we are presenting here is a flyover, examining the surface of what is constructed through the political organisms of deliberation.  At the first moment, the protests were made up mostly of students, and followed the traditional forms of deliberation that student organizations have historically used in Rio de Janeiro.  However, the centralisation of decisions that political parties and their student wings have traditionally utilised soon caused dissidence in popular forums.  Today, there is a profound desire for horizontality in deliberative structures, and in building popular struggles. Therefore, nothing could make greater sense than what took place in Rio:  a sequence between the emptying of centralised forums and the proliferation of horizontal assemblies.  This process began to attract attention in 2013 with the appearance of popular assemblies like the one on Largo do São Francisco in the city centre (an immediate response to disappointment with the forum against fare increases); the assembly at City Hall (which was initially linked to the occupation of City Hall, but which continued its activities even after the occupations at City Hall and the plaza in front of it were removed); and regional or neighbourhood assemblies, such as those in Meier, Tijuca, Fronteira, and Rio’s West Zone.

(this is an extract. for the whole text in portuguese click here)

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\ Capenga Forensics

Raphi Soifer

“thinking forensically – out loud, and with an accent – about what it means to be capenga: (a conversation between Raphi Soifer and Linguagem forense: a língua portuguesa aplicada à linguagem do foro (Forensic Language:  The Portuguese Language Applied to the Language of the Forum) by Edmundo Dantès Nascimento)

Language socializes and rationalizes thought

anything that is capenga is thought out and socially inserted, but it does not manage to rationalize itself.  what is capenga acts on thought in a slightly crooked way; it de-rationalizes and makes savage.

Literary language has four essential qualities:


anything that is capenga doesn’t know how to conduct itself precisely or purely, or how to seek out either clarity or concision; in fact, it doesn’t even know that it ought to be seeking them.  even so, it’s effective, and it winds up functioning (more or less).  but this something capenga doesn’t merely function; it exists, and enunciates itself through its very lack of these essential qualities, thereby showing itself to be possible.

anything that is capenga knows something else:  it knows that every quality that calls itself essential is capenga in and of itself; it hides something crooked in its base, in the core of its attempt to be definitive.  this crookedness is a kind of torture, because articulating a language that calls itself forensic requires excluding countless other languages that derive their effectiveness from affection.  it requires expelling so much beloved slang, so many poetic affirmations seen as wrong.  if forensic language rationalizes, capenga feels,  and touches, and reaches.

(this is an extract. for the complete text in portuguese click here)


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\ Complexity

Cristina Ribas
Paragraphs by Anamalia Ribas

The Clinic and Transdisciplinarity

One way to think about Eduardo Passos’s complexity* is by approaching the relationship between complexity, transdisciplinarity, and the production of subjectivity.  The production of subjectivity is a whole  set of concepts proposed through different fields of knowledge, from what is today thought of as the philosophy of difference, with roots in the mixture between forms of thinking that spill over into studies of psychiatry and psychology and contaminate themselves with biologisms and with molecular forms of affectations.  As a concept, it considers the subject as a constant (not cumulative) construction, not rigid, but as a body-in-the-world; a complex, constitutive network that always surpasses its individual unit.  Therefore, complexity is considered based on the notion of process, because it is forged by and active in the arrangement of forces ((and in their encounters and dis-encounters)).  The complexity of which Passos speaks is a contemporary contribution of science that is different from modern science’s reducibility, and therefore different from the comprehension of the subject itself.  “The natural history of nature designs complexities,” Passos writes.  Transdisciplinarity, for its part, is the proposal to consider the action of varied forms of knowledge, which forces us to cross through unknown plans.

In order to approach this complexity, Passos establishes a way of thinking that is produced by crossing through disciplines, rather than in the disciplines’ interior.  Working with the field of social psychology as a starting point, Passos proposes a “transdisciplinary clinic” that proposes discussions in opposition to the notion of a problem that suggests searching for solutions, taking the creation of problems as a clinical method.  By associating two cognitive modalities {science & intelligence} and {philosophy & intuition}, what may arise from this model-as-clinic that concerns itself with process is not so much the solution of problems, but rather their dismantling, as well as an invention of new problems.  The clinic is therefore linked to a capacity for creation, which does not refer to the systematisations produced by the psychoanalyst – even if these systematisations have no distance from the analyst’s studies – but rather, a capacity that seeks to invent new points of view (and new points of life).

((The idea of a clinic in or of the social; the clinic that runs through private spaces, that crosses through the subjective and transcends, within the individual; a clinic that translates the subjectivity of the culture within that individual; a clinic that understands a subject as inserted into a micro- and macro-political reality, and that activates this subject through the search for his/her becomings, for his/her processes as a desiring subject.  A clinic that provokes discomfort, deconstruction…for a reinvention.  In this sense, it is not only a clinic of answers, seeking to ease agonies or mismatches; instead, it provokes, so that these mismatches might bring the subject’s acts, as processes of subjectivation, to light; he or she is not a victim, but rather an actor or actress)).

This reminds me of a text by Félix Guattari in which the author narrates his relationship with a patient, suggesting that the patient leave his parents’ house in order to experiment with new social relations, liberating himself from the familial relationships in which he is imprisoned.  Guattari emphasizes that making this suggestion, and collecting money in order to finance a few months in this new house, went far beyond the ethical limits of a psychiatrist-patient relationship.  It is a singular episode…

In its own way, the transdisciplinary clinic provokes new complexifications, new paths for identities in their processes of differentiation and linking, or in terms of social composition.  It designs invisible maps, maps of invention.


I will return now to the question I raised earlier:  in what way is cartography a provocateur of processes of singularisation, at the same time as it provokes a critical analysis of an economic and political system that we must confront?  It seems to me that this question can be thought of through a fold, or through an encounter:  namely, in the relationship between singularity and the common, in which the former is the capacity for creating autonomous paths, and the latter is the capacity of these paths to serve as constructions for something common, something that passes through individuality and addresses itself toward a space of greater productivity and of common ethics.  Although this complexity may seem to be centred in processes that involve the singularity of the subject and of this subject’s subjectivities, movements, and points of view, we can think of the cartography of complexity as a social tool. It may also be a cartography that appropriates a certain materialist psychiatry:  a dimension of the analysis of desire and its movements, that considers these to be socially produced, and therefore not capable of being isolated from the subject (the subject or the guilty party…).  Rather, from this perspective, they are common and ordinary…

From one perspective, we can consider that the capacity to move oneself through the world comes through knowledge of the world; therefore, a person only moves through those territories that he or she already knows.  However, this person will only move in his or her capacity to belong to pre-existing meanings (such as a spoken language, for example).  This is all very well and good, but no one speaks a language without inventing it, at least a little bit.

From the perspective of singularities and their tension with the common, there is an intrinsic relation between those relating to cognition, and the collective processes of social struggles, groups, and movements; their vocabularies, language, and idiom.

Vocabularies, language, and idiom can serve as regulatory instruments in processes of signification, but in the cartography of complexities, we prove that they can also be frayed in the creative process and in politics.  Language and idiom are also constituted by extra-linguistic and extra-cognitive elements; in other words, they both interact with and exceed vocabularies.  From the perspective of singularity, therefore, operating the construction of a cartography of complexity can also mean inventing new paths for oneself, as I have argued throughout this text.

The (dis)measures of the world, between the finite and the infinite of the singular-common, seem to be expressions of the non-rigid borders between language and idiom.  We invent our expressions, change those that do not suit us, and recuperate terms from other spaces.  From the perspective of the singularity-common, it seems that we do not only move through territories that we know well, or even only through the territories that we can manage to represent.  I believe that we move through territories that, in point of fact, make us insecure,
((These are territories that are inserted into our beings, that exist in our tools of looking and seeing, but that are rarely utilized.  Yet when these tools are called into action, they begin to function.  They are territories that were part of our construction of self, but that have become default options because they were never “asked for”…territories of infinite knowledge)) given that we know that our traces will constitute unforeseen circumstances.  In this way, it is probable that we will produce unfinished pieces, prototypes, clues, scraps, and diagrams; what I will call here the exercises of singularisation within the world’s complexity.

From the perspective of the common, the cartography of complexity wishes to provoke bifurcations, in the sense of provoking encounters, provoking friction in and between representations of the world, and provoking other worlds.  From the perspective of the common, the production of a cartography of complexity is, in and of itself, the construction of worlds; we are not isolated and immersed in a (possibly immobilizing) chaos, but in which we “order” or take part in diverse complexities.  We move here and there, and farther still…this is a cartography produced through various different points of life.  The construction of the common, however, is not a homogeneous whole, but rather a diverse whole replete with singularities.  The common is itself the construction of alternatives, alternatives that develop together with life, with paths of life, with the ethics of struggles, the construction of territories, and of unfixed meanings; these alternatives multiply the lines of given cartographies at the same time as they erase other lines.

Obviously, something complex can be difficult.  Obviously…complexity is an expression that makes me think of the chemistry equations I could never solve.  Thus, thinking about the composition of the world within the plane of complexity makes me think – of course – that it is difficult to move through the world!  But it also makes me think that there is nothing more pleasurable than when we move ourselves together with someone…and, by inventing paths, invent indioms.

Reference .
Eduardo Passos, Complexidade, Transdisciplinaridade e Produção de Subjetividade. (2014).

(this is an extract. for the complete text in portuguese click here)

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\ Diagram

Tatiana Roque

The diagram is this creeping of virtual gestures: pointing, closing, prolonging, striating the continuum. A simple line, a piece of an arrow, and the diagram jumps over the figures and compels the creation of new individuals. The diagram loftily ignores all the old oppositions of abstract-concrete, local-global, real-possible. It guards fullness in its reserve, along with the secrets of the depths and of the horizons. – Gilles Châtelet, Figuring Space1

How can we invent autonomous politics, new forms of organization, and practices capable of maintaining an asymmetry as a condition for an anti-capitalist politics?

We need to invent an expressive machine, the creation of signs that resist the division between signifier and signified, between expression and content. A grammar that is also a corporal semantics of struggle.

Every enunciation relates to a specific micro-political situation, which we cannot know without immersing ourselves in the situation in which the enunciator is produced. The choice of words is not anodyne, nor is their meaning. Diagramming is a refusal to counter enunciations relating to the enunciators in a world thickly peopled with “words of order2”.

And to oppose the axiomatic nature of capital is to escape from its mechanisms of articulation, of mediation, of translating codes. Codes have always existed, but now, all codes must be equivalent.

Minorities are also codified, appropriated by fixed identities, and they may become hostages of the mechanisms of capture. For Deleuze, there are two ways in which capitalism codifies social formations, which in turn are interiorized by minorities: the national/extranational grouping, which transforms any collection of minorities into foreigners, even if these “foreigners” come from within; and the individual/collective grouping. Minorities are constituted by the impossibility of interiorizing this final division, given that everything that seems to emerge from the individual (be it familial, conjugal, or psychic) is connected to other issues that are anything but individual (issues of ethnicity, race, sex, and aesthetics), with a relevance that is immediately collective and social.

One of the ways in which capitalism codifies social formations, so as to integrate them in its own dynamic, is through communitarisation: in other words, through the isolation produced in the fixation of an identity. This causes some groups to see their claims as being part of an internal sphere, as problems that only concern their specific community; what we will call “national problems.” We can tolerate the collective and political dimension of issues that worry one minority group as long as they do not become connected to other minorities, or to international or transversal coordinates; in other words, to foreign struggles.

Therefore, we cannot combat capitalist cynicism by confining ourselves to a ghetto and speaking in a private language. On the other hand, we also cannot mobilize a subjective force by renouncing the singularity of every social group. Rather, we can utilize much of the ghetto – its unique sensibility and dialects – but in order to connect it, to “conjugate” it in relation to other struggles. In this way, we can invent an unpredictable, autonomous “becoming” that passes through transversal connections between different actors and transnational struggles. Perhaps we can speak of a new international.

The moments of greatest potency in social movements are those in which different struggles meet, producing unpredictable mobilisations.

We urgently need new parameters to evaluate the effectiveness of struggles and organizations from this point of view. These parameters must connect to the modes of existence that they propose, to their style, to the problems that they identify, the claims that they make, and their creative potential. The criteria for this evaluation is the capability we have to articulate ourselves to other struggles and connect our problems to others’ problems, even if these connections are quite distinct from the point of view of identities. We must speak another language, never our own exclusively.

That is the function of diagrammatic politics: to operate through transversal relations, between distinct problems, and in opposition to the automation of capitalist axioms.

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\ Learning  / Popular Education Group

André Basséres

The world, of course, has changed.  And we must recognize that, if this school of disciplines still exists, if it still persists in many of its elements (and its persistence is a fact), it is also being gradually criticised, deconstructed, and reformulated.  In point of fact, old-model capitalism – factory-based, monolithic, deconstructed, and vertical (like a mole’s holes) – has given way to much more subtle forms of domination.  It has given way to relationships that, up to a certain point, are flexible, sinuous (like the curving paths of a snake), to relations of power and discursive practices that transform entirely the old institutional fields that were formerly held to be uniquely spaces for training bodies, like the production of subjectivities that were passive and ready-made for mechanized and repetitive labour.

In this new world that translates a modified capitalism (and that, therefore, is full of new meanings and new demands), education is frequently presented as already being “free” of its old bonds, constrictions, and cages.  The intimate bloodline it shares with prisons is now a source of horror (the irony of history is that today’s good sentiments often do not recognise yesterday’s as such).  The great “reformers” of contemporary pedagogical discourse came to “liberate” us all from the prison-school.  Like the great heroes of psychiatric reform in Europe at the end of the eighteenth century, today’s pedagogues, neuroscientists, psychologists, “psycho-pedagogues,” and a whole array of new specialists (including, as picturesque as it may seem, economists and administrators; even the World Bank, you see, has become an authority on education!) have come to our aid.  Thanks to them, we have received good news:  “Don’t be afraid any longer, we have come to save students from a tyrannical and oppressive education.  We have also come to reformulate school administration, making it efficient, dynamic, and based on coefficients of productivity.  We have brought modernity with us, and we will impart it to your classrooms!”  At least in private schools, in these parts, they also bring their smartboards – interactive blackboards – and other gadgets in their baggage.  State-of-the art technology:  the great facilitator of the contemporary “learning-teaching” process.

In large part, this pedagogical “revolution” is based on two principles.  (I am referring, obviously, to the forms of “knowledge” that have been hegemonically appropriated in Brazilian education, especially in state schools, but also in private schools.  As I wish to show, this – as always – is a disputed field).  These principles are that the administration of a school should resemble, increasingly, a business model, and the most terrifying part of this is that this transformation should take place even in the school’s most strictly pedagogical aspects:  in the classroom itself, in the direct student-teacher relationship, liberating the student from the “oppression” of the factory- and prison-based model which, to a certain extent, teachers still represent.  (It is not by chance that “distance learning” is increasingly powerful:  in this model, the teacher is increasingly dispensable.

(this is an extract. for the complete text in portuguese click here)


\ Transduction. Or “A Guide for Orienting Yourself in the Multitude”

Pedro B. Mendes e Fernanda Kutwak

We have occupied ourselves with the question of what life can do, and with life itself.  It would be better if we concentrated on firing off happenings.  An encounter is a true social fact:  it is not an ontogenesis, a controlled production of life, but rather productivity itself, the intense, chaotic productivity of agency.

Every creation and any transformation derives from a technique.  Even something fortuitous only makes sense within the context of a social machine. Experimentation does not mean volunteerism.  We must construct apparatuses for political action and test them, improve on them, and put them to the test in order to allow them to continue functioning.

In the struggle, nothing belongs to us:  there is nothing that identifies us, imprisons us, or immobilises us.  Agony and solitude are sisters in departure. And we must always depart, abandoning our comfort zone in order to go out and to arrive anywhere. Disindividualisation, a necessarily social process, is a condition for new individualisations.

Behaviour is the best weapon against the drug of unanimity. Something is lived, certain things are created, and all of this makes spaces occupied and lived in, not the other way around.  This is the reality of the struggle – practices, perception, and daily life – that produces the space and time of difference, without which neither art nor politics exists.

(this is an extract. for the complete text in portuguese click here)

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\ Writing

Cristina Ribas

“Writing brings me joy” (Suely Rolnik)


“Writing frightens me. I would say that it also does that, just as Suely says it brings her joy. It also brings me joy, of course. But it frightens me. Writing complexifies, exposes, radicalises, and our lines of thinking nomadic. It is sensation and thought. Thought and impression.  Expression. Writing is frightening.

When I speak of writing, that which frightens, I speak of writing as a primary act, as a humano-technical translation with a capacity for cognition. It is like when I drew for forty seconds, without drawing, a still life (which is neither life, nor still) on white paper with a pencil.  Writing as a primary act means working on loyalty to lines of thought, to lines of flight, to naked thought, and to its diagrammatic nature.  This loyalty inserts itself, bit by bit, into the alphabet soup of transduction. Writing is an act that peels itself off of this body, that provokes a separation – or a translation – that for some may be closer (writing closer to the notion of self), but that for others is farther (writing as an arduous task, as something that cannot be consolidated as a practice of the self).

It is also beautiful when Suely Rolnik says that a cartography relate do writing exists: this is a cartography of thought, and thought is a sort of conceptual cartography whose prime material consists of marks (that which provokes changes in our comprehension of self, of our “I am this way,” affected by detouring marks of self that bring an “other in us”), and that functions as a universe of reference in modes of existence that we create, bringing figures of a becoming. She also says that it is in writing that thought yields the most it can, seeing that it calls upon the work of thought, and brings to it both greater acuity and consistency. Taking from her text Pensamento, corpo, devir (Thought, Body, Knowledge) – without knowing whether I am quoting her exactly – she says that writing has the power to amplify both hearing and its reverberations; writing is tracing a becoming, writing to show the mark of a state in proliferation. It as at this point that she says “writing brings me joy.”

This writing also provokes, albeit in a deviative way, a consignation, a conjugation of the world.


Writing, in another sense, is done in codes. In nesting algorithms*. In databases. There is a form of writing in each and each thing.  Writing as codification. As a secret. Writing constructed by systems, or constructing systems of writing. Behind every digit, there is a calculation based on nesting algorithms, on combinations, and on numbers. This writing, what you read here, is pure transcription.  Writing in code, so as to be allowed to write, exists. Likewise, and on the other hand, all writing is an eclipse. It hides and reveals, revealing like that which is transcribed on our eyes: a complexity.

Writing passes through what is legible, and therefore through what is illegible as well. Writing impregnates through the presence of the metaphorical power of the word in all of its forms. There is labour at the bottom of writing. (…)

This is why I am thinking now of writing-streaming, a writing of pure fluxes, of passage, of actualization. I am thinking of writings made by the several groups of media that appeared in the last year, the Sementeira, the Coletivo Mariachi, Rio na Rua, Mídia Ninja.  There are differences between these groups, and there are processes of appropriation that unfold through writing-streamings.  Streaming, for those who find odd its presence here at the entry point of writing, is the passage, in an open flow, of a video- or audio-information life through the plot of the web.  These are writing in the forms of nesting algorithms, pixelated or hissing, that recodify information and leak out to protests in Brasil | brasiu | Brazis, as has already happened in Tahrir Square in Egypt, in Gezi Park and Taksim Square in Istanbul, in the Plaza del Sol in Madrid.

Some writings get lost in the live flow that sustains them, while others are recaptured and construct protective tools, such as the multiple cameras at the same event that show plainly that, if a bomb flew out of a man’s hand, it was definitely not the man that the legal system or the police accused.  I also think about the writing of the #hashtag and the writing of the @twitter, in the SMS’s crisscrossing Spain and constructing 15M.  These agile and virtual writing-signs are very often de-subjectivised writings that travel and inform, that above all call upon (that is their truth).  They are political writings of an absurd and monstrous truth, shocking on a continental scale.  They speak meaning from the other side, and return to their source, and then are transmitted to others.  They are writings that provoke, writings that inform, writings that transport, and writings that lose themselves.

(((Sementeira in a shopping cart))) (((Rio na Rua and the narration of a strong voice)))
((describe this initiative)) (((Radio as writing))) (((Streaming-writing))) (((Mídia Ninja’s reappropriation of writing))) (((The archipelago of writings))) (((The property of writings)))


Writing, in a certain sense, is the b e l i e f in this vocabulary; writing that is made both from legible nesting algorithms and from images of nesting algorithms.  Writing is solicited in this project as an aesthetic process, a process in which we became involved after a week of conversations in an April in Rio de Janeiro ((in flames, and choked with tear gas))), opening the glossary as a relational space, a social space, a space to marvel at and to be estranged from (without any loyalty to that particular event).  Writing is like a prolongation and a complexification of those conversations, of everything that we elected as important to tell about here, in this publication of the transit through political processes for the aesthetic. I say “belief” as a bet, as a tool that places itself on the fold of the registered/legible lash, and that provokes functions of writing, aesthetic functions, and political functions.


Writing has a topology. It happens here, on this register, on the surface of this paper.  It folds itself, prolongs itself, as it has been said, without loyalty (this is not the truth); it folds itself as a prolongation of the actions and effects of political processes, and serves as a prototypical tool of political vocabularies.  Writing can be thought of as one of the topologies – in the sense of provoking place – of living vocabularies, of spoken and silenced vocabularies.  Writing can therefore reveal, as a form of privileged topography (because it remains – like the “archivist’s pen” ink that I found at Capacete), that which is not described or that passes unseen in any given place or situation.  Writing has this expressive potential, it works as  a machine for expression. (((A machine because it does not work alone; it works with other machines.))) There is a provocation of “collective agencies of enunciation”, making talk beyond the group and beyond individual isolation. As an assemblage, writing happens by sharing or by creating a strangeness (((a wiretap?  or violence?))), that solicits an act of conjugation with the world, with different worlds.  Therefore, Suely told us, writing acts as a provocative thing within these becomings.  These becomings are brought into collective agency, a writing beyond itself.  Finally, we must denaturalise and dispropriate ourselves from ways of writing, as well as from ways of reading.  And we definitely must write more, and must read more and more…read more and more… read more and more… read more and more… read more and more… read more and more…

*Nesting Algorithm: numerical combinations that inscribe functional operations by formatting and performing the ‘real’ developments of the human world.

((((reference))))  ((Suely Rolnik. “Pensamento, corpo, devir”, 1993))


(for the portuguese version click here)

 vocabpol em 16122015