[iDC] Greetings from Fiume (Introduction)

janek sowa jan.sowa at ha.art.pl
Wed Jul 27 11:20:54 UTC 2011

Dear iDC Friends,

I wish I could have introduced myself earlier, but I’ve taken some time 
off to travel in Southern Europe and it has kept me far from e-mail for 
some time now. I’m currently in Rijeka, Croatia – a city some of you may 
remember from Hakim Bay’s “Temporary Autonomous Zone” where it appears 
as Fiume (its Italian name). It was here that general Gabriele 
D'Annunzio established an independent enclave after the first world war 
and made music its first and main organizational principle 
(http://hermetic.com/bey/taz3.html#labelMusic). It’s just an ordinary 
city nowadays, though quite nice.

A few words about myself: I was born in 1976 and I studied literature, 
psychology and philosophy at the Jagiellonian University Kraków, Poland 
and University Paris 8 in Saint-Denis. I did my MSc in cognitive 
psycholinguistics in 2001 and PhD in sociology in 2006. I am assistant 
professor at the Faculty of Social Communication of the Jagiellonian 
University, where I teach Marxism and critical theory as a part of 
cultural studies curriculum. Before becoming academic I worked as 
journalist in Polish Public Radio and curator in CCA “Bunkier Sztuki” in 
Kraków. I published almost 100 texts both in Poland and abroad. My most 
recent publication abroad was an article I co-authored “/L’événementdans 
la chambre froide: le carnival de Solidarność”/ that appeared in 
“/L’idée du Communisme, II” /edited by Alain Badiou and Slavoj Žižek 
(Nouvelles Éditions Lignes, Paris 2011; the book was a follow-up to the 
conference “/The Idea of Communism. Philosophy and Art”/ that took place 
in Berlin in June last year).

Apart from teaching and doing academic research I’ve been engaged in 
several other projects in the last few years, the most important one 
being establishment and development of Free/Slow University Warsaw 
(Wolny Uniwersytet Warszawy) and this is the reason I was invited to 
take part in Mobility Shifts this fall. FSUW is a nomadic 
quasi-institution based on a (post)operaist notion of co-research 
(/conricerca/) and DIY learning. It was inspired by the ideas of Ivan 
Illich (we published a new Polish translation of his “/Deschooling 
Society”/ and took part in a conference under the same name in London 
last year: 
Jacques Rancière, Joseph Beuys and Italian (post)operaismo as well as 
the tradition of clandestine, self-organised teaching/learning practiced 
by generations of Polish political activists and freedom fighters in 
19th and 20th century. I’ll talk more about it in October; in the 
meantime I encourage you to take a look at FSUW website 
(http://www.wuw2010.pl/index.php?lang=eng; you’ll find there a text I 
wrote for the Polish edition of EIPCP “European Cultural Politics 2015” 
that sums up my experience with organisational activity on the verge of 
art and social activism: http://www.wuw2010.pl/raport.php?lang=eng#JanS).

I hope to be back home in mid-August and I’ll get back to you on iDC 
list to tell you more about a research project we are currently 
developing as a part of FSUW. It focuses on mechanisms of evaluation and 
value creation in the sphere of immaterial production (we are exploring 
in parallel the domains of artistic creation and knowledge production as 
these are the fields most of us are professionally linked to; we also 
believe it’s important – both theoretically and politically – to develop 
a conceptual approach that could encompass these two domains crucial to 
functioning of cognitive capitalism).


-janek sowa

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