Lichtenberg Diary

Explorations and readings of social-ist amnesia
December 2019 & January 2020
as lecture notes via Lichtenberg studios Berlin

S-bahn 75. Act 1


I came to Lichtenberg to continue work on themes began at funkhaus, the monumental former GDR broadcasting building, a relic from the heroic socialist realism times now in private hands. In the so-called "peaceful revolution" of the German unification or die Wende, the transfer from system to system, whether of People's Palaces or vast housing complexes or even political parties, has selective processes of de- and re-memorialisation.

corpus nullius

How Europe Recast the Migrant Body

First published at Public Seminar.

A new arrival clears the ground to house his family. Lesbos 2019


After a record number of refugees arrived in Europe in 2015 following the Syrian collapse, Europe’s reaction provided the conditions for an even more fundamental change. As the fences went up at each boundary within a previously borderless Schengen Europe — almost as an act of self-reproach following Angela Merkel’s acceptance of one million refugees  — the outcome was a new European politics, in which the newly arrived migrant became the working site to re-define Europe’s own notions of its liberal values and of its protection.

Soft Power and Hotspot Life

The Lessons of Lesbos 2015 –18
First published at Critical Legal Thinking.

9 year old J outside his compound, Moria RIC, Lesbos


A hotspot, to explain, is the idea of detaining arriving migrants and refugees at one spot for processing, the hotspot RIC (Reception and Identification Centre). It is another instrument to add to a growing collection for a common European asylum policy.

Crossing the Trenches

The Jungle and its Contentions of the Image
Calais 2018

The dinner pack; verges of the Afghan Hospital jungle Calais April 2018


The image is the means by which we both avoid the Other and yet represent the Other. As the rights of movement in the global age demarcates who the Other is, a confrontation with the image becomes necessary to envisage a future based on an equal rights of movement. The Calais jungle over its two decades is a space that enables us to uncover the dimensions of that challenge and to cast another light on the entire edifice of our politics of representation.


Published at Critical Legal Thinking. Read There.

Trump tropes

Donald Trump in London, 6 versions, 13 July 2018


As a sort of finale to any interventionist or proxy war, there is the demand of the people to lay their hands on the body of the demagogue that intervention helped to free them from. The same logic seems to have subliminally sunk into the very centres of the powers of intervention. The lust for the body (of the Leader), at least symbolically, was more than apparent in the masses who greeted Donald Trump in London.

terra nullius Jules Ferry

Readings and Exhibits to mark the First Anniversary of the Destruction of the Jungle
Calais 2018

I. The Sudanese Quarters


terra nullius – Origin. Mid 19th century: Latin, literally “land belonging to no one,” from terra, earth, and nullius, genitive of nullus, no one.
There are spaces outside memory that belong to no-one or to nature, and there are places cast out of memory and returned to nature or to no-one. Across them there is an order, an order that brings together in time the ground, the territory, the space, the place, the land, the soil.


Published at Public Seminar. Read there.

The Workerant

First published at Critical Legal Thinking

In the unfolding drama of work in the digital age, new circumstance demands new language. Gig economy, on-demand work, sharing economy, precarious work, automation, zero-hour contracts, outsourcing, workfare. Whilst the entire stage set changes, the central character of the drama remains. The worker. If this indicates both a resilience yet a revisionism of the worker today, there is the need to probe the worker subject of the new economies through new ones. Thus here is the Workerant.

Recovering Community (2)

Remembering the Jungle at Jules Ferry Calais 2017

In its time at Jules Ferry, the Jungle crossed a threshold in the nature of its transgression as a political subject. This transgression was its establishment of community. What the Jungle came to embody in political form was a common project; common, that is, in two senses of the word. As a common space for the intersection of multiple social agencies and as the ground for community as being-in-common.

Published at Public Seminar Read there

Recovering Community (1)

Remembering the Jungle at Jules Ferry Calais 2017

We know the scene; there is a gathering, and someone is telling a story. We do not yet know whether these people gathered together form an assembly, if they are a horde or a tribe. But we call them brothers and sisters because they are gathered together and because they are listening to the same story.
– Jean-Luc Nancy


The gathering is that of the undocumented; a mass gathering of ten thousand at the Calais Jungle – the migrant camp at Jules Ferry, itself a long abandoned children’s holiday camp just outside Calais, France. The story common to each of the ten thousand is the struggle for rights in displacement.

Published at Public Seminar Read there

The Republics of the Jungle

First published at Critical Legal Thinking.

The Jungle is not just a camp for the undocumented, it is also a social body and above all a political subject. The way it has evolved gives us insights into how the political problems that produced it can be resolved through the relationship between the Jungle and the Republic as subjects.

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