As the serial disasters of capitalism’s current crisis—economic, political, environmental—continue to batter the world, Black Box: A Record of the Catastrophe is a device for recording, analyzing, and transmitting events as they happen. But it offers neither dire predictions nor false hopes. Instead, it embraces the mystery of what might transpire. The word “catastrophe” has not always signified “disaster”; during the sixteenth century, especially in theater, it came to mean “a reversal of what is expected.” Black Box is ultimately a documentary project, a record of the catastrophe, but it’s an open question where the inquiry will take us. It may be a record of the disastrous end. Or it may be a record of the turning.
The first volume contains an eclectic but accessible collection of reportage, interviews, letters, fragments, and theoretical responses from some of the brightest minds in critical theory. Its authors have sent dispatches from American prison yards, the shipping graveyards of India, fatal overseas drone strikes, roads crisscrossing the Mississippi Delta, childhoods in revolutionary Zimbabwe, and kitchens where undocumented workers wash dishes. By taking a broad geographical and aesthetic stance, Black Box will be a constellation of ideas and information that points toward the future—whatever it may hold.
Contributors to Black Box include scholars (Nina Power, Silvia Federici, Sami Khatib, Chris O’Kane, Tanya Erzen), cultural critics (Richard Dyer, Charles Mudede), authors (Ursula K. Le Guin, Miranda Mellis), poets (Emily Abendroth, Cathy Wagner, Alli Warren), and many others.
- “Black Box subverts the implicit agenda of most media outlets to deny the truth or to distract us from it. The journal investigates what is a necessary step towards understanding what needs to be.” —Gabor Maté, MD, author of In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction
- “What happens if you walk away? What happens if you don’t? Black Box is both a philosophy of the street and a poetics of revolutionary encounter. Every page is voltage, orientation, verge.” —Bhanu Kapil, author of Ban en Banlieue
- “To think against and beyond the human catastrophe that is capitalism, we need to break down walls, open doors, cross thresholds, communize wherever we can—a black box not as containment but as focal point of the movement of undefined, undefinable rupture.” —John Holloway, author of Change the World Without Taking Power: The Meaning of Revolution Today
- “Black Box is either our collectively written obituary or a time capsule of capitalism in its death throes. Let’s make it the latter.” —Will Potter, author of Green Is the New Red: An Insider’s Account of a Social Movement Under Siege
About the Editors:
The Black Box Collective emerged after several years of symposia, reading groups, philosophy camps, and wood splitting. The poets, journalists, academics, metaphysicians, artists, and strategists of the collective gather regularly at a retired dairy farm in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains north of Seattle to explore themes of consciousness, community, and circulation of the communizing current—and to discover and assemble a critique that will wake us from the dream world that is seamlessly reproduced by capitalist culture. The first volume of Black Box: A Record of the Catastrophe was assembled by Nadya Zimmerman, Eirik Steinhoff, Stuart Smithers, Brendan Kiley, and Bethany Jean Clement, with assistance from many others.
Editors: The Black Box Collective
Publisher: PM Press
Page count: 256
See and hear editor’s interviews, book reviews, and other news on The Black Box Collective’s page HERE.