Riots: Slow Cancellation of the Future
On Riots and Resistance
"The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot."
– Audre Lorde
The riot is an extra-ordinary setting that has played a pivotal role in the permanent confrontation between dissent and power over centuries. The deeper crises of capitalism, racial violence, and communal tensions have convulsed us into "an age of riots" . As master fictions of the sovereign nation-state implode and hegemonic silencing of the dispossessed only serves to reveal the cracks in governability, the exhibition "Riots: Slow Cancellation of the Future" brings together artistic works and research positions from across the world in an endeavour to "sense" and chronicle recent riots and uprisings – evoking a phenomenology of the multitude.
In 1960 Elias Canetti wrote, "One of the most striking traits of the inner life of a crowd is the feeling of being persecuted."  However, what happens when state forces instigate persecution from within the crowd? The riot is a transformative ground that often becomes a decisive sequence within prolonged conflict – in the shape of mass rebellions, anti-colonial struggle, civil war, and genocide. And yet the riot has tended to remain that unresolved chapter, strategically buried in the subconscious of divided cities.
1 Joshua Clover, Riot. Strike. Riot: The New Era of Uprisings (London and New York: Verso, 2016).
2 Dilip Gaonkar, "After the Fictions: Notes Towards a Phenomenology of the Multitude", e-flux Journal, 58 (October 2014).
3 Elias Canetti, Crowds and Power (London: Phoenix, 2000), pp. 20–21.