A little exercise to make sure that, after the virus crisis, things don’t start again as they were before
by Bruno Latour
Let us take advantage of the forced suspension of most activities to take stock of those we would like to see discontinued and those, on the contrary, that we would like to see developed.
I suggest that readers try to answer this short questionnaire for themselves. It will be especially useful as it will be based on a personal experience that has been directly lived. This exercise is not a question of expressing an opinion but of describing your situation and may be investigating. It is only later, if one were to give oneself the means of compiling the answers of many respondents and then composing the landscape created by their intersections, that one could find a form of political expression - but this time embodied and situated in a concrete world.
Answer the following questions first individually and then if possible with others:
Question 1: What are the activities now suspended that you would like to see not resumed?
Question 2: Describe why you think this activity is harmful/ superfluous/ dangerous/inconsistent and how its disappearance/suspension/substitution would make the activities you favor easier/ more consistent. (Make a separate paragraph for each of the activities listed in question 1).
Question 3: What measures do you recommend to ensure that the workers/employees/agents/entrepreneurs who will no longer be able to continue in the activities you are removing are helped in their transition toward other activities.
Question 4: Which of the now suspended activities would you like to develop/resume or even create from scratch?
Question 5: Describe why this activity seems positive to you and how it makes it easier/ more harmonious/ consistent with other activities that you favor and helps to combat those that you consider unfavorable. (Make a separate paragraph for each of the activities listed in question 4).
Question 6: What measures do you recommend to help workers/ employees/ agents/ entrepreneurs acquire the capacities/ means/ income/ instruments to take over/ develop/ create this favored activity.
Now, find a way to compare your descriptions with those of other participants. Compiling and then superimposing the answers should gradually produce a landscape made of lines of conflict, alliances, controversy and opposition. This terrain may provide a concrete opportunity for creating the forms of political expression these activities require.
This is an exercise extracted from a paper in French (translated in English by Stephen Muecke) in AOC-Media. If you wish to share your auto description: here is a platform. Proposed by @BrunoLatourAIME following arguments proposed in Down to Earth Politics in the New Climatic Regime (Polity, 2018).
via ANNE DRESSEN @annikla2005 (Curator, Musée d’Art moderne de Paris)