Warming the Algorithm and Possibilities for the Future: An Interview with ‘Bifo’ Berardi

Franco “Bifo” Berardi – Interviewed by Dillon Douglas & Thomas Szwedska

Franco “Bifo” Berardi is a renowned Italian political theorist and leading figure of the Italian Autonomia Movement, an anti-authoritarian form of Marxism. Until recently, he was a professor at the Accademia di Brera, Milan where he taught the Social History of the Media. As an activist, he was involved with Radio Alice, a pirate radio station in Italy during the mid to late 1970’s that aligned itself with the autonomist movement before Berardi fled to Paris in the 1980’s. “Bifo” has been involved with many artistic collaborations and journals: he was a co-founder of the Italian e-zine rekombinat.org which focused on culture jamming, radical philosophy and media activism; and is also involved in telestreet movement, founding the channel Orfeo Tv. His theoretical work brings together conflicting and conjunctive voices, operating within a creative theoretical matrix that emphasizes French Post-Structuralism and Italian Autonomist Marxism. His oeuvre, which includes more than two dozen books and many more essays, has emphasized motifs such as exhaustion, depression, withdrawal, and cancelling the future. Recently, “Bifo” has incorporated a robust phenomenological dimension to his writings in order to address the relationship between technology and subjectivity in the current global horizon of capitalism. This entails a reinvigoration of the concepts of potency, possibility, and power as a means to reactivate a future for the social body. These issues are taken up in Berardi’s new book, Futurability: The Age of Impotence and the Horizon of Possibility (Verso, 2017).

This interview was conducted during Berardi’s visit to London, Ontario in March 2017 where he delivered a keynote lecture at “New Italian Thought,” a conference hosted by The Centre for Advanced Research in European Philosophy at King’s University College and The Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism at Western University, Canada. We wish to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to Dr. Antonio Calcagno, who made the interview a possibility, and of course to Professor Berardi for the generosity of his time, spirited engagement with us, and above all else his assistance in organizing this interview…

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