“Out, and under, and out, and out.” Self-(Dis-)Organisation and the Stories of Libertatia

Georg Doecker


Recent socio-political developments in the experimental performing arts scenes from Europe have seen a strong commitment to the practices of self-organisation and their liberating impetus. Responding to the experimental nature of many such activities with a likewise experimental theoretical enquiry, this paper invests in an interpretation of self-organising principles from anarchism, cybernetics, and vitalist materialism through the fictional narrative of the pirate utopia Libertatia. The argument thus developed is that the liberating potentials of self-organisation can be located precisely in its inherent tendency toward self-dis-organisation.


self-organisation; auto-poiesis; anarchism; cybernetics; vitalist materialism; Libertatia.

Full Text:



Argyropoulou, Gigi. 2018. “Theatre in Crisis and the Political turn: Thoughts on Instituting Otherwise.” Unpublished paper presented at the conference Systemic Crisis in European Theatre, Goethe-Institut London, 27 April 2018.

Argyropoulou, Gigi. 2017. “Collective Horizons. Rethinking the Performative and the Political. (Im)Possibilities of Being Together.” In Performing Antagonism. Theatre Performance, and Radical Democracy. Edited by Tony Fisher and Eve Katsouraki, 171–185. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Ashby, William Ross. 1954. Design for a Brain. New York: John Wiley & Sons. https://doi.org/10.5962/bhl.title.6969

Bakunin, Mikhail. (1873) 2005. Statism and Anarchy. Edited and translated by Marshall Shatz. 4th edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bakunin, Mikhail. (1882) 1970. God and the State. No translator listed. New York: Dover Publications.

Berardi, Franco “Bifo”. 2017. Futurability. London and New York: Verso.

Bey, Hakim. 1991. TAZ: The Temporary Autonomous Zone. Brooklyn: Autonomedia.

Bidston Observatory. 2018. “Annual General Exchange 2018.” Accessed 19 December 2018. http://www.bidstonobservatory.org/age_1.

Braidotti, Rosi. 2013. The Posthuman. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Burroughs, William S. 1991. Ghost of Chance. New York: Grenfell Press/Library Fellows of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Burroughs, William S. 1987. “The Ghost Lemurs of Madagascar.” Omni Science Fiction 103: 48–54, and 118.

Burroughs, William S. 1981. Cities of the Red Night. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Chomsky, Noam. 1970. Introduction to Anarchism, by David Guérin, vii–xx. New York: Monthly Review Press.

Cohn, Jesse. 2002. “What is Postanarchism 'Post'?” Postmodern Culture 13 (1). http://pmc.iath.virginia.edu/issue.902/13.1cohn.html

Cohn, Jesse, and Shawn Wilbur. 2003. “What’s Wrong With Postanarchism?” The Anarchist Library. Accessed 17 February 2018. https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/jesse-cohn-and-shawn-wilbur-what-s-wrong-with-postanarchism.

Cybernetic Culture Research Unit. 2017. “Lemurian Time War.” CCRU. Writings 1997–2003, 33–52. Falmouth: Urbanomic.

Dany, Hans-Christian. 2013. Morgen werde ich Idiot. Hamburg: Nautilus.

Derrida, Jacques. (1978) 2001. “La Parole Soufflée.” In Writing and Difference, 213–245. London and New York: Routledge.

Duda, John. 2013. “Cybernetics, Anarchism and Self-Organisation.” Anarchist Studies 21 (1): 52–72.

Evren, Süreyyya, and Duane Rousselle, eds. 2011. Post-Anarchism. A Reader. London: Pluto Press.

Foerster, Heinz von. (1959) 1981. “On Self-Organizing Systems and Their Environments.” In Observing Systems, 2–22. Seaside, CA: Intersystem Publications.

Foucault, Michel. 1977. Discipline and Punish. The Birth of the Prison. Translated by Alan Sheridan. New York: Pantheon Books.

Goldman, Emma. (1910) 1969. “Anarchism. What it really stands for.” In Anarchism and Other Essays, 47–67. New York: Dover Publications.

Graeber, David. 2002. “The New Anarchists.” New Left Review 13: 61–73.

Guattari, Félix. 1995. Chaosmosis. Translated by Paul Bains and Julian Pefanis. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Haraway, Donna J. 2016. Staying with the trouble. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822373780

Invisible Committee. 2015. To our Friends. Translated by Robert Hurley. Los Angeles: Semiotext(e).

Invisible Committee. 2009. The Coming Insurrection. No translator listed. Los Angeles: Semiotext(e).

Johnson, Charles. 1728. The History of the Pyrates. Volume II. London: T. Woodward.

Little, Benerson. 2016. The Golden Age of Piracy. La Vergne: Skyhorse Publishing.

Lorey, Isabell. 2015. State of Insecurity. London and New York: Verso.

McEwan, John. 1963. “Anarchism and the Cybernetics of Self-Organizing Systems.” Anarchy 31: 270–83.

Mersch, Dieter. 2013. Ordo ad chao – Order from Noise. Berlin/Zurich: Diaphanes.

Moten, Fred, and Stefano Harney. 2013. The Undercommons. Wicenhoe: Minor Compositions.

Newman, Saul. 2016. Postanarchism. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Nobody's Business. n.d. “Mission Statement.” Last accessed 19 December 2018. https://nobodysbusiness.wordpress.com/project-description/.

Pickering, Andrew. 2005. “A Gallery of Monsters. Cybernetics and Self-Organization, 1940–1970.” In Mechanical Bodies, Computational Minds. Edited by Stefano Franchi and Güven Güzeldere, 229–245. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Ritsema, Jan. 2017. “On the PerformingArtsForum (PAF), an alternative artists, scientists and media-activists residency.” Lecture presentation in the frame of the conference The Fantastic Insitution ad BUDA, Kortrijk, Belgium, 17 February. Last accessed on 20 February 2018. https://vimeo.com/206172780.

Ritsema, Jan, and Valentina Desideri. 2016. “PAF. Movement Research Definitive.” In Turn, Turtle! Reenacting the Institute, edited by Elke van Campenhout and Lilia Mestre, 184–191. Berlin: Alexander Verlag.

Schaupp, Simon. 2017. “Vergessene Horizonte. Der kybernetische Kapitalismus und seine Alternativen.” In Kybernetik, Kapitalismus, Revolutionen. Edited by idem et al., 51–73. Münster: Unrast.

Seitz, Don Carlos. (1925) 2012]. Under the Black Flag. New York: Dover Publications.

Stirner, Max. (1844) 1995. The Ego and Its Own. Edited by David Leopold. N. transl. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP.

Tiqqun. 2001. “L'hypothèse cybernétique.” Tiqqun 2, 40–83. Paris: n.publ.

Vogl, Joseph. 2004. “Regierung und Regelkreis. Historisches Vorspiel.” In Cybernetics. The Macy-Conferences 1946–1953. Volume 2. Edited by Claus Pias, 67–79. Berlin/Zurich: Diaphanes.

Wiener, Norbert. (1948) 2013. Cybernetics or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. Reprint of 2nd ed. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Wiener, Norbert. (1950) 1988. The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics and Society. New York: Da Capo Press.

Wiener, Norbert, Arturo Rosenblueth, and Julian Bigelow. 1943. “Behavior, Purpose and Telelogy.” Philosophy of Science 10 (1): 18–24.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21476/PP.2019.42241

Copyright (c) 2019 Georg Doecker

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.