Image: J.W.M. Turner, The Slave Ship, pa
Image: J.W.M. Turner, The Slave Ship, painting, 1840. Design: Sean van den Steenhoven for Leftloft
13 May 2021
Fragments of Repair/Gathering III: Utopianism, Anti-Utopianism, and the Radical Politics of Chronotopian Ungovernability

A public program realized in the framework of the multi-part project Fragments of Repair

Broadcast live from BAK, Utrecht and Granville, Ohio

Taking place on 13 May 2021, the third gathering of Fragments of Repair/Gatherings: Utopianism, Anti-Utopianism, and the Radical Politics of Chronotopian Ungovernability*, consists of a talk by political and ethical theorist Omedi Ochieng (Granville, OH), followed by a conversation between Ochieng and BAK’s curator of public practice Rachael Rakes (Utrecht).

Resonant with the theories and practices of decolonial repair that the project Fragments of Repair invokes, the concept of “chronotopian ungovernability” constitutes a politics, an ethics, and an aesthetics of living in disrepair. It asks: What forms of life are possible in an earth wounded by capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy? Ochieng’s “chronotopian ungovernability” offers a reparative praxis of coming to terms with the actually existing constraints of history and structure, and from within this process of coming to terms, to cobble together experimental forms of life, struggle, and art.

In this talk, Ochieng introduces a practice of chronotopian ungovernability as a provisional, contingent, transitional, and radical response to planetary crisis. Ochieng identifies the current age as simultaneously anti-utopian and utopian. What joins these two seemingly opposed social currents is a fundamental opposition to a chronotopian radicalism. This anti-radical stance, Ochieng contends, is emergent from a very specific historical conjuncture: economically there is likely an irreversible decline in growth and profits under late capitalism; ecologically, planetary life will be increasingly nasty, brutish, and short as the consequences of the Capitalocene become even direr; politically, even the veneer of “democratic” politics that used to be the guiding ideology in the empires of the North Atlantic world are being brutally ripped off to reveal the ethno-nationalist and ethno-religious structures of these polities; and socially, the loci of socialization, relationships, and meaning are shattered. Ochieng proposes potential forms of engagement that grapple with these interlocking crises though ideas and practices of planetary ungovernability and co-temporal radicality.

Video registration of this program:

This is the third gathering of Fragments of Repair/Gatherings, a hybrid off- and online series of lectures, conversations, screenings, and assembly forums around the theory and practice of “repair”, streamed from BAK, Utrecht, La Colonie/La Dynamo de Banlieues Bleues, Pantin, Paris.

Thursday 13 May 2021,
18.30–20.00 hrs
(All times are Central European Summer Time/CEST)

18.30 hrs
Wietske Maas

18.45 hrs
Utopianism, Anti-Utopianism, and the Radical Politics of Chronotopian Ungovernability
Omedi Ochieng

19.15 hrs
Rachel Rakes and Omedi Ochieng

*Please note: the title of this program has been adjusted