warehouse warehouse

Malinowski’s Kiss: Notes towards a Critique of Digital Resistance

by Guilel Treiber
A warehouse just like ours?

Malinowski’s Kiss

The warehouse project opens its site with a citation from one of the fathers of ethnology, Bronislaw Malinowski,

“Today, Monday, 9.20.14, I had a strange dream; homo-sex., with my own double as partner. Strangely autoerotic feelings; the impression that I’d like to have a mouth just like mine to kiss, a neck that curves just like mine, a forehead just like mine (seen from the side).” 1

The project participants rightly highlight the value of the term homophily in order to analyze the radical love of the same in the face of segregation, a radical love that they highlight with the above quotation. However, one may wonder, already here, at the beginning of the project, about the value of homophily. Homophily may not be the reaction to segregation, as the project participants claim, but the reaction to the encounter of difference. Malinowski starts his journal with a revealing sensation that precedes his sense of segregation. He takes the boat from Brisbane to Cairns in Australia; he has not yet left to his new “adventure” of “exploring” the natives of Papua. Nonetheless, already here, he feels as though he “is taking leave of civilization.” 2 He has no other aim, here or in the books he later published in order to establish a wealthy (in the double sense) career in LSE and Yale, than to “explore” those who are yet to be explored. What does Malinowski mean by “explore” (an aim most of the early anthropologists of the early twentieth century shared)? He means incorporating into the structures of power/knowledge those who are yet to be incorporated, those who can still live a radically different life. What he wants is not to introduce civilization to the heart of Papua, in this he is different from the Spanish Conquistadors and their violent mission civilisatrice, but to explore. But how can he explore, simply “observe”, without precisely taking part in the structures of turning subjects into objects of knowledge to be explored, studied, catalogued and later on reproduced in writing in order to “increase” knowledge, by dissemination, distribution and consummation that will lead to university positions, fame and academic progeniture (indeed, more of the same). A similar question can be asked of the project participants, how can one collect, archive and distribute modes of digital resistance in order to overcome segregation? 3 Are the project participants capable of constituting a knowledge (for this is what they do) of resistance without precisely nipping it in the bud? Are not the project participants the Avant-guard, not of any revolution, but of the latest forms of immaterial production and post-fordist capitalism? [read on]


Fußnoten

  1. Bronislaw Malinowski, A Diary in the Strict Sense of the Word (London: The Athlone Press, 1967), pp. 12-13

  2. Ibid, p. 6

  3. See Warehouse, an Ethnographic Archive of Digital Friction (June-October). The participants write warehouse with a lower-case ‘w’ as though to imply that changing a letter is enough. Nonetheless, we must demand them, is that what they mean by ‘resistance’?

  4. Quote taken from the project’s site: http://warehouse.industries/en/

  5. Mostafa M. El-Bermawy, “Your Filter Bubble is Destroying Democracy” in Wired, November 11, 2016 https://www.wired.com/2016/11/filter-bubble-destroying-democracy/ (consulted on June 4, 2017)

  6. Though the archive is all that we have left from past lives, the project is in the present. It could aim at talking to people who engage in concrete political resistance. It could study the art that a political form of protest puts into being in the world. However, it chose to portray it through the mimetic gaze of art. Michel Foucault, “La vie des hommes infâmes” in Dits et écrits (Paris: Gallimard, 2001), vol. 2, pp. 237-253

  7. Edward Said, Orientalism (London: Penguin Classics, 2003), p. 13

  8. See Michel Foucault, Les mots et les choses (Paris: Gallimard, 1966) and the more political treatement these two received in Michel Foucault, Sécurité, Territoire, Population (Paris: Seuil/Gallimard, 2004)

  9. Michel Foucault, Surveiller et Punir (Paris : Gallimard, 1975), p. 228-264. Our surveillances societies are the wet dream of the prison guard. Nothing is invisible but that which happens out of the net, and out of view. Soon power will no longer be blind. However, Malinowski’s kiss teaches that blindness may be constituted by the tools of observation themselves. This is perhaps the only blindness in which the light of resistance and opposition may yet grow.

  10. Bronislaw Malinowski, Argonauts of the Western Pacific – An Account of Native Enterprise and Adventure in the Archipelagoes of Melanesian New Guinea (London: Routledge, 2002), p. 64 (I highlighted the words, italics are in the original)

  11. See footnote 3

  12. Michel Foucault, “Different Places” in Essential Works, 1954-1984: Aesthetics, Method, and Epistemology vol. 2 (New York: New Press, 1998), p. 167

  13. Ibid, p. 181

  14. Ibid, p. 183

  15. Carl von Clausewitz, On War, Michael Howard and Peter Paret (trans. and eds.) (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989), p. 120

  16. For example, Thoreau uses counter-friction in order to describe civil disobedience, but the aim is the same – to increase friction. See Henry David Thoreau, Walden; and, Civil disobedience. New York: Penguin Books, 1986, p. 234

Guilel Treiber is a french and israeli philosopher working at the Research Center for Political Philosophy Leuven (RIPPLE) at KU Leuven. Guilel specializes in French contemporary political thought. He is particularly interested in the notion of resistance and its relation to power. He is currently working on developing a notion of collective resistance from a Foucauldian perspective. He is also actively engaged in political activity aimed at promoting peace in the Middle East and fighting Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in Europe. With additional degrees in Politics and History of Islam and the Middle East from the Hebrew University Jerusalem, Guilel Treiber is one of the rising talents in Political philosophy.

Malinowski's house is empty. [wikimedia commons]

Of course, I must demand an answer to this question of myself, as much as of the project participants. For I have been invited to contribute a critique, and when one is invited to perform a critique, is not one’s critique reduced to simply a performance? Is not a critique of the invitation itself necessary as a first condition? Is not the act of freeing a space within one’s structure in order for critique to be pronounced precisely the end of critique? Moreover, in this specific sense, how can the critique pronounced in the next pages, can be anything but a conscious cooptation into a structure and a project one may want to criticize? There is nothing in reading papers, or performing lectures, that can be a transgressive resistance to the order of interpellation. By being here, writing this paper, with this body and for these people, I am constituting myself as a collaborator, as a colleague and as a participant in a dialogue. If critique was ever a resistance, it has been silenced before it was pronounced. Hence, even with the best intentions, Malinowksi participated in constituting the “savages” as precisely that, savages; transforming those whose difference is truly independent into those who are just different compared to himself and his same, European civilization. Malinowski’s kiss, his homo-sex, are not his love for the same, but his love for the cultural, social and economic structures of which he is but a fraction. His yearning, his desire, for his “civilization,” is not a reaction to segregation, as though he is the one who is excluded and left for his devices on the islands of Papua. His desire is the desire to leave no difference, to turn everything into the same, to be one world, speaking with one voice. Malinowski will pass the next four years in Papua, but we cannot but recall that these are the days where the fields of death are beginning to be plowed by the chariots of destruction that will encompass Europe and 15 years later the world as a whole. More of the same. Hence, Malinowski’s diary is indeed a space for ethnographic exploration but not a documentation of any “homophilic friction in its attempt to overcome segregation.” 4 If anything, Malinowski’s diary is but the honest expression of a desire to swallow the world in civilization, to erase all sign of difference and to give birth to the same. Malinowski’s sex dream is but a figure of his own desire to be completely subjugated into the form of the one.

The sub-title of the project, “an ethnographic archive of digital friction” is somewhat revealing. The projects participants do not aim to create or produce friction, but to observe it. However, they do intend to counter segregation originating in homophily. Hence their aim is double – to produce knowledge about resistance to a specific form of segregation and at the same time to encourage practices of resistance through the dissemination of their geometry and topography of the “new normal”. These initiators of the project believe that they can constitute a new critical theory. Critical in the knowledge it produces, in order for this theory to be put into practice. I will try to show in the following pages in what can be no more than a few notes of critique, achingly aware of my own cooptation, the futility of such a project,

The New Normal

There is an assumption at the heart of the project that has to be tackled, challenged, and deconstructed. It is a common assumption shared by political analysts, thinkers and other such well-meaning persons. It became over-bearing during the latest American elections; one could have even said that it was becoming a new truth in an age of post-truths. The message is quite simple, social media is omnipresent in our lives. It tends to reflect to individuals a world made of peers and colleagues, people that are all similar to ourselves, and hence locks one on an island of self-reflection and self-reaffirmation. The world is an “echo-chamber” where one hears only the conformable opinions one already approves of. 5 It is this at the heart of contemporary homophily that the participants of the Warehouse project identifies and aim to tackle. However, Malinowski’s kiss precedes this post-modern sense of homophily by more than a hundred years. Homophily as the love of the same is at the heart of Western civilization.

One did not need social media in order to be surrounded by similitude and identity. Race, class, and gender have all constituted extensive systems in which one could live an entire life oblivious to one’s blindness to others. The history of humanity and the history of the West in particular can be told moving from one system of blindness to another. The capacity to see what is different was always constituted through one’s own structures of knowledge and power; what was looked upon was always perceived through one’s eyes, and those were always conditioned by one’s society, culture, and most of all privileges. All those voices of difference that were silenced forever could have been truly heard only under the condition that they were not represented, not talked about, but talked with. 6 Is not classical ethnography a project of blindness under the guise of exploration and representation? 7

It was from the 18th century onward, that vision of the other has become entangled with some sort of voyeurism. To look at another person and precisely, those who are different, through the keyhole (a real or metaphorical keyhole) was understood as giving some kind of ultimate form of knowledge and pleasure. Observation was needed without the object being aware of it being observed. This indiscreet discreet observation treated people as discrete units, taking them out of their communities and constituting two main disciplines, that of psychology and that of demographics. One treats human beings as individual constituted in their individuality, the other treats human beings as units amalgamated into statistical models. 8 None of them took the human in her community and relationships with others as meaningful or as object of study. Was not the Panopticon the perfect metaphor of this all-seeing gaze, invisible to the thing it observe, manipulating, controlling, stopping in advance any possible resistance? 9

One needed to wait for Malinowski’s “participant observation” in order to treat human beings in their community. However, participant observation just means that one has integrated this gaze of the keyhole as one’s position. The ethnographer participates in the lives of the “savages” writing under the candle light late at night his small notebooks with an exhilaration similar to those who “discovered” the Americas. Just as the master’s child listening on to the servants, he must share what he heard. For the pleasure of the voyeur is not only that of the gaze, it is also that of telling to others what he saw, constructing a story filled with all the emotions he thought he felt – hushed voices, secret desires, pulsating bodies. Malinowski tells us, in one of the famous passages from his seminal Argonauts of the Western Pacific that the savages have no knowledge of their own society, in which they are but unconscious participants. Their intent must be explained by the ethnographer, by the voyeur we may add

“Not even the most intelligent native has any clear idea of the Kula as a big, organised social construction […]. If you were to ask him what the Kula is, he would answer by giving a few details, most likely by giving his personal experiences and subjective views […]. Not even a partial coherent account could be obtained. For the integral picture does not exist in his mind; he is in it and cannot see the whole from the outside. The integration of all the details observed, the achievement of a sociological synthesis of all the various, relevant symptoms, is the task of the Ethnographer. First of all, he has to find out that certain activities, which at first sight might appear incoherent […] have a meaning. […]. Again, the Ethnographer has to construct the picture of the big institution, very much as the physicist constructs his theory from the experimental data, which always have been within reach of everybody, but needed a consistent interpretation.” 10

Malinowski’s voyeurism is not unique to Malinowski. It is, as we have stated earlier, a constitutive aspect of Western civilization. We are all voyeurs and we enjoy it tremendously. The only issue is that in our cinematographic imagination it has always been the servants watching the masters through the keyholes; all the while, it was the master peeping in, looking through the locked door, on those who are not constrained by the same social conventions he or she were submitted to. The gaze of the keyhole gave the master the confirmation of his own status, the capacity to attach to the servants a story they were not able to tell by themselves, and most of all an intense physical pleasure. Constituting knowledge is clearly a form of masturbation.

What is social media society if not a society of voyeurs? They tell us millennials access news through social media, what they forget to tell is that what they mostly do is look at the life of others. Facebook is but the latest form of the roman à sensation. The issue with social media is not that of the echo chamber but the illusion of the sameness, which it seems to give with those we have nothing in common. If social media is doing anything, it is precisely maintaining the illusion that Western democracies have been trying to maintain for the last two decades. That under the guise of equality, of an absolute equality where me, Andy Warhol, Donald Trump and Taylor Swift, all share a Coke, Twitter or Facebook account, the propagation and exponential growth of exploitation has been steadily rising to levels we have never seen in the history of mankind. Even the distinction between the house slave and Alexander the Great is less evident than the one between Mark Zuckerberg and myself. If there is a threat to democracy, it is not the threat of the echo chamber but that of the blindness to the complete artificiality of the choices we are left with. There is no real choice between patrie and patron. We are living within a social media app where our emotional spectrum has been reduced to like, happy, sad, and angry. Where our political interventions are surveilled and censured and where we are all aware of that and yet let it happen. This is what destroys democracies, if they were not already problematic from day one, the blindness to radical inequality and to the complete willingness to give those in power full control of our lives and identities.

Surfaces and Spaces – The age of Digital Emplacement

What is a warehouse? According to the members of the project, a warehouse is a site or a project of “observation of techno-conditions and a simulation of a discrete archive.” Warehouse as a project “will attempt to offer a system of strategies countering homophily by inserting friction.” 11 Let us keep the issue of friction for later and question for the moment the careless use of the word warehouse. I would like to suggest that a warehouse is one important form of contemporary heterotopia. Foucault defines heterotopia as an actual place, which is designed into the very institution of a society in which all the other real emplacements that can be found within that society are, simultaneously, represented, contested, and reversed. A heterotopia is a place outside place, an ‘utterly different’ place. 12 The warehouse, much like its digital counterpart, the server, can never be anything but the founding site of our digital conditions. It is a place where many other sites are presented, where relations are being created and undone, a space of passage, of transition yet a place that has everything transition through it. By warehousing digital forms of resistance, I fear that the project participants have again undermined, unknowingly, the conditions of possibility of resistance.

The warehouse is a liminal site. It is, on the one hand, a capitalist utopia. Imagine Amazon as a model for future societies. A global company with no face but algorithms and drones. A company made only of warehouses where products arrive from their anonymous producers and sent to anonymous consumers. A cold, white, sterile world. Where products are slotted, reduced to a number, identifiable, manageable, fixed yet in constant movement, traceable, followed and most of all replaceable and disposable. The utopia of our neoliberal surveillance age. On the other hand, much like that place in the mirror, the placeless place, a warehouse is both utopia and heterotopia. It leads both to the future society, a place waiting to come into being, and to our current society, a place that is real yet seems unreal in the face of a placeless place waiting to be born.

As Foucault tells us, there are six principles that guide the analysis of heterotopias. The first principle is that every society constitute them. However, the warehouse, in this respect is one of the first truly globalized heterotopias. It is global in two major senses: It contains an entire world within its confines. It is the place where products from China or Taiwan, from Iran or Israel, may sit next to each other. A place where borders play no role. Only the size of the box, the weight, and the serial number. Moreover, it is everywhere. A country today may have warehouses before it will have schools, hospitals, or places of government. Products need to move, and they need to move everywhere. You may question me about the specific importance of the warehouse for our time, but Foucault’s second principle is precisely that a heterotopia may change importance and operation throughout time. Hence, warehouses have a long history, though they came to prominence with the rise of capitalist Fordist society in the 19th century, they may be identified prior to that. Nonetheless, they become heterotopias only with the move to complete automatization and digitalization. The more faceless they become, the more workers will be replaced by robots and thinking cranes, the more the warehouse will become one of the constituting limits of our contemporary global society.

The third principle is that a heterotopia has the ability to juxtapose within a real place several emplacements that are incompatible themselves. 13 The warehouse contains the potential of a thousand places within its limited confines. Products that can tell a thousand stories every night. Imagine Ikea, the store warehouse, where garden furniture is next to showers, beds next to kitchens. Picture again the sprawling Amazon warehouse, where books, computers, cosmetics, fashion products, DVDs and consumables are stocked and arranged next to each other. Different potential places all existing within one. It is, as the fourth principle tells us, a place of temporal discontinuity. The warehouse has no time, no hour. The digitized automatic warehouse works every day, all day. It has no holidays, no weekends. The white neon lights illuminate in their white eternal calming light, cold dead products. Time stops in the warehouse. However, the warehouse is also the timeliest of places. Everything tick, everything tock. Products need to leave on time; however, its clock is not like our clock. The hours have not the same meaning for a warehouse; it is time as a functional moment in time that counts. Whether it is midnight, two A.M. or three in the afternoon, the warehouse keeps working. Tick, tock, tick tock. The end of human time, the rise of machine time.

The fifth principle allows us to reject a further objection. You may want to claim that a warehouse like Amazon, where access is restricted is not the same as Ikea, where everybody can access the warehouse. You may want to suggest a distinction between a democratic warehouse and a restricted one. Allow me please to shatter your optimism. You may enter into an Ikea warehouse, but you will never understand. You come into an Ikea warehouse with your silly list of catalogue number, the corridor number, and the slot. However, try to find on your own a product of which you have no number. Though you can enter an Ikea warehouse, as every customer can, you may never find your way through it. For that you need to belong to those who can manage the warehouse, you need to understand the system behind it, you need to have access to the information. Ikea and Amazon, have no clear distinction between them. Hence, a warehouse responds to the fifth principle – a heterotopia presupposes a system of closures and openings that isolate it and make it penetrable at the same time. 14 The warehouse is more penetrable to products than to human beings. It is precisely a place defined by what can get in and what can get out. The sixth principle is crucial for it emphasizes the specific, almost unique character of a heterotopia as a place whose function is spread between two poles, that of an illusion which denounces all real space; and that of a meticulous, completely organized space to which our own real space is disorganized and chaotic. A warehouse is precisely a place, which is not a place, an illusion that makes our reality and its potentialities look and feel unreal, heavy, and stupid. It denounces at the same time that it present all that our space is not – ordered, organized, automatic, safe, clean, cold, and dead.

Hence, you may conclude, after this long analytic exposé that the project participants have chosen wisely their reference. There may be no better name for a project like this. The warehouse is the perfect place to store the ethnography of digital resistance. However, if you are convinced that the warehouse is the heterotopia of the age, we must retain the fact that as a place of complete difference it may not be the best of places to fight the post-modern love of the same. The warehouse is a place of difference in the sense that it stands both “outside” society and in its “middle.” It is a place of difference for it constitute the limits of our societal imagination. Hence, within this place, where all reality is reversed, and turned into products, in this place of local fixedness and complete global transition, in this place of power of immaterial production, there can be no imagination, there can be no art, let alone resistance.

In order to resist, one must resist warehouses, not build them. In order to refuse cooptation by the power structures in place, one cannot accept a name such as this without letting in, with it, the entire infrastructure of capitalist society. The warehouse is our collective unconscious, invoke it and be destroyed. The only way to resist is to burn warehouses and build in their wake schools, gardens, and hospitals. There can be no warehouse of resistance without it being turned into another heterotopia, that of the 19th century, a museum of resistance, of long dead forms of resistance. Hence, the project participants may have invoked a monster with which they cannot fight. They may have thought of performing a reversal, which may have been possible with a lesser space such as the office or the construction site, but not with a heterotopia of the magnitude of the warehouse. I fear that once again they have killed resistance before its gentle flower had the opportunity to bloom. [read on]

Resisting through Friction – Between a Rock and a Hard Place

The project I am writing is called by its participants “warehouse, an ethnographic archive of digital friction.” As I have dealt with ethnography and warehouse in the previous section, I will now try to offer a few hasty comments on the issue of digital friction. The project members tell us that our current condition is one of “Seamless surfaces [that] are stacked on top of each other, engaging us in the cosy architecture of gated communities.” If the surfaces are stacked upon each other, then increasing the state of friction within and between the different surfaces will increase the cracks and may yet let the light shine in. However, we stand clearly in front two problems – one, the use of the metaphor of friction; second, the lack of clear distinction between resistance and friction. The project members define digital resistance as “models of friction, local utopias, and distributive infiltrations.” Hence, friction seems to be a kind of resistance, a specific instance of it. I will try to show in the following paragraphs that friction is essentially different from resistance, and hence that the project members may be engaged in friction but not in resistance.

First of all the metaphor. Friction is a force related to movement. We have static friction and dynamic friction. Static friction is the friction that exists when one tries to walk, without static friction we would all be walking on ice, sliding, unstable. Dynamic friction is the friction that arises when one tries to move an object on a surface. It is then that friction becomes a negative force. In the same way that the object works on the surface, the surface pushes back the object. Hence, seamless surfaces can either offer friction between the surfaces or with the objects that are moved on their faces. The seamlessness of the surfaces seems to suggest that the main friction these surfaces cope with or generate is the one between the surfaces that are stacked upon each other. The surfaces may be smooth but the fact that they are stacked means that they are not completely smooth. A completely smooth surface would not hold on any other surface, even if they were glued to each other. It must be uneven in order to be stacked. Nonetheless, it seems that when the project thinks of friction, it thinks of the friction between members of a given surface, of a given segregated community. Friction is what can arise between the same and its similar, within one body or community, not between communities. We will try now to make a similar point through a comparison between resistance and friction.

The relation between resistance and friction: Clausewitz defines friction as that which exists within a given body and its relation to its surrounding elements. 15 A general must take into account both the friction between independent units within his army and the friction between the army and the area it moves through. Hence, Clausewitz brings in a third form of friction, liquid friction. The perfect liquid is that which has no friction between its components. A viscous liquid is one where friction makes it less liquid. Moreover, for Clausewitz, friction is not what happens when an army encounter an enemy. When an army encounter an enemy, we get resistance. Resistance is what exists in relation of enmity. The struggle is that process where two opponents engage in a combat to reduce each other capacity to resist. Hence, resistance for Clausewitz is about capacity, which includes the means to resist and the will to resist. The two, resistance and friction, are forces that reduces the will, they both complicate operation, they both creates cracks, gaps and seams. However, they are not the same. Friction seem to be what exists between one and its similar, while resistance is between one and its difference.

Does an increase in friction will lead to resistance? Not necessarily. An increase in friction, if that is the aim of the project participants, can cause a restructuring of the surface. Hence, if what worries us is the friction on surfaces, it does seem to lead quite intuitively to the conclusion that in order to reduce friction there will be a restructuring of the surface with what the surface has already at its disposal. It does not require anything new or different to come in. Friction may be what the same can oppose to what is similar in order to express its discontent. Resistance is about introducing something radically different. Resistance resembles friction; however, it consists in a struggle, a real one, between two opponents locked in a logic of enmity. However, resistance may be reduced only in two ways – or by destroying the other’s capacity to resist, or by introducing the other within your midst. Hence, by radically changing one’s surface.

What is the concrete implication of all this discussion about friction, resistance, and force? Within democratic regimes, as long as the illusion that these are regimes of sameness and equality persists, only friction is possible. Counter-intuitive as it may seem at a first glance, it is harder to resist in a democracy. However, friction and we may call it civil disobedience, refusal to pay taxes, occupying public spaces, protesting, striking, is what in the past has been able to render democracies more flexible, more compassionate and more inclusive. 16 Art, for example, can cause friction. It is no longer resistance, not within democracies at least. Resistance is what happens when that which we do not understand to be the same, that which we see as different, tries to occupy or disobey. We understand their action, rightly some may say, as a threat and we move to a destruction of that difference’s capacity to resist. We try to violently do so, at times even at the price of absolute violence, and at times, we try to swallow difference, as we have mentioned with Malinowski, by reducing absolute difference into a relative one. That which is different becomes different only in relation to us; its difference is no longer independent. Friction is something we should all engage in. For friction makes government think why is it doing what it does. However, for that we need a government that wants to hear what we may think or agree with. Hence, it seems that friction is something inherently democratic. Resistance is not. Resistance is a transgressive challenge where one is willing to risk one’s life in order to create a real change to the dominant truth or government. It may be violent, merciless and it does not necessarily lead to emancipation or liberation. Friction is within truth, resistance is between truths.

What about digital resistance? Well, according to these notes, digital resistance can only be a form of friction. Digital resistance, being in the digital, accepts certain rules of engagements, and specifically an entire infrastructure required in order to make it possible – computers, rapid connections, and immaterial labor. One cannot digitally resist in Irak or Syria. If one does something digital it is usually both limited in time and space, it accepts the other as a digital subject and hence as the same or at least as a similar. In that sense, there is no digital resistance but only digital friction. If we were to think of digital resistance it would be a resistance that undermine its own conditions of possibility. Hence, a resistance with the digital against the digital. A digital resistance worthy of its name will be a resistance that will attempt at eradicating the conditions of the digital – electricity, internet, and computers.

My aim in these notes is not to reduce the importance of the warehouse project. If they do have a general aim, it is one that aims at rendering complex and not evident the relation between intellectual production – be it philosophy or art – and political production. We believe that resistance does not need theory or art in order to exist. It is actually the other way around. When art and philosophy do not have resistance as its prior form, as what gives it inspiration and pushes it forward, to explore new limits and even transgress them, they become at best friction and at worst, a form of complacence and conservatism. Hence, if we feel some kind of dissatisfaction in the West with our current forms of art and philosophy, it is not because they do not generate resistance but because there is no resistance to generate them. However, due to the courage and the open-endedness of resistance we must ask ourselves a crucial question, an ethical question. Do we want to resist? Given that resistance can easily be reduced to relations of violence and conflict, do we want to see it back in our streets and cities? Should we not all prefer friction and encourage it, accepting that it may keep our societies dynamic but will not allow us to access the same mental resources that political resistance leads to through its capacity to transgress any social convention? If we agree that transgressive resistance is not to be desired, than the crucial importance of project such as this has to be emphasized. If projects such as this are producing the conditions necessary for us to remain different within the same, they already aim very high, they may indeed be crucial in order for us to keep some kind of real, concrete democracy alive. We may then reach the conclusion that we should leave the resistance, with the respect it deserve, to those who truly resist; while we engage, together with the project members in an effort of friction aimed at no less than the revitalizing our current digital democracies.