Sheffield Fringe

Evan Calder Williams

Evan Calder Williams is a writer, theorist, and filmmaker. He is the author of Combined and Uneven Apocalypse; Roman Letters; Shard Cinema, and, forthcoming with Verso, Manual Override: A Theory of Sabotage. He is an editor of Viewpoint Magazine and a founding member of the film and research collective 13BC. He has presented films, performance, and audio works at the Berlinale International Film Festival, Mercer Union, La Biennale de Montréal, ISSUE Project Room, the Serpentine Gallery, Images Festival, the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, the Whitney Museum, the Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts, and a forthcoming solo exhibition with 13BC at 80WSE.  He is a professor at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.

A Theory of Sabotage

A Theory of Sabotage | USA 2019 | Reading | 15 min

“Sabotage contravenes some of the fundamental suppositions that underpin what has been meant by political, across a wide spectrum. In particular, it cuts against a base insistence on being present. According to those lines of thought, sabotage’s unrepresentable modes of shadowy, deferred, and distributed agency could only ever have been cheating, a petty turbulence with no strategic end. Yet even in its denunciation, sabotage constitutes a key lens onto the last two centuries, revealing the tight metapolitical strictures—i.e. what was allowed to even count as political in the first place—that underwrote even allegedly radical currents and their complicity with long waves of colonization, accumulation, and management. And it’s no accident that the term emerges onto record in late 19th century France, because sabotage doesn’t designate something that humans have done all along, even if forms of invisible resistance have. What sabotage names is specific and internal to capitalism as a lived historical form, able neither to be cheered nor expunged.” (exerpt from Manual Overide by Cader Williams, The New Inquiry, March 21 2016)

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