Anna Watkins Fisher, "The Play in the System: The Art of Parasitical Resistance" (Duke UP, 2020)


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What does artistic resistance look like in the twenty-first century, when disruption and dissent have been co-opted and commodified in ways that reinforce dominant systems? In The Play in the System: The Art of Parasitical Resistance (Duke UP, 2020), Anna Watkins Fisher locates the possibility for resistance in artists who embrace parasitism, a tactic of complicity that effect subversion from within hegemonic structures.

Anna Watkins Fisher speaks to Pierre d'Alancaisez about the underhand tactics of the parasite - artists like the collective Ubermorgen, Núria Güell, the writer Chris Krauss, or Roisin Byrne - by which it appropriates the logic of their hosts - Amazon, the Spanish State, Dick, and in the case of Byrne, Watkins Fisher herself.

Anna Watkins Fisher is a cultural and media theorist whose research spans the fields of digital studies, performance studies, visual culture, environmental humanities, and critical theory. She is an associate professor in the Department of American Culture at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

The Play in the System is available as an open-source download.

Pierre d’Alancaisez is a contemporary art curator, cultural strategist, researcher. Sometime scientist, financial services professional.

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