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date: 23 August 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter draws on the analysis of musical improvisation, as practiced within “free jazz,” in order to shed light on a politics of the multitudes. It suggests that we should consider media-intensive Western “democracies” as “mediocracies,” within which political affects are carried through the communication of gestures. A Spinozist analysis of collective agency in societies of control leads to articulating nine steps toward a political sharpening of the reference to “improvisation.” For politics to benefit from the powers unleashed and theorized by improvisers, it needs to devise a new vocabulary and a new imaginary of human cooperation, which this chapter attempts to sketch in its broadest lines, inspired by authors and creators like Guerino Mazzola, Anthony Braxton, Derek Bailey, Lawrence “Butch” Morris, Michel Foucault, Bruno Latour, and Antonio Negri.

Keywords: improvisation, free jazz, Spinozism, politics of the multitudes, gestures, societies of control, media theory, mediocracy

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