In this text, the French philosopher Bruno Latour posed a couple of important questions. We asked two thinkers to answer them.

Transforming what is security by Ahmed Naji

I love it when someone asks me questions, especially postulated questions. It always feels like an open invitation to steer a tiny boat in the ocean of the imagination. My answers could be seen as hypothetical/ revolutionary/ sarcastic/ a diatribe. Depends on the lens you see through.

What are some suspended activities that you would like to see not coming back ? 

I am wondering now what all these armies and weapons around the world are doing. They taught us in school that an army’s job is to protect our countries and to save us when we need to be saved. We’ve reached a point where we have all these countries that spend immense amounts of money on their armies. Still, these massive armies and their expensive machines aren’t really meant to go to war with each other. Wars are fought against the poor and ill-equipped; after all, the spectre of nuclear war roves above us closer than ever.

And now, in the face of catastrophe, the armies and their weapon are useless. They just take control over the streets and applaud the medical staff who now calls them the “White army”.  

We need to suspend spending money on armies that are not ready to fight such an enemy. We need to suspend spending money on troops that can’t even fulfill their sacred duty of protecting our borders, and who let our enemy infiltrate our homeland and prey on our scarce resources!

Describe why this activity seems to you to be noxious/ superfluous/ dangerous/ incoherent and how its disappearance/ putting on hold/ substitution might render other activities that you prefer easier/ more coherent. (Write a separate paragraph for each of the activities listed under 1). 

They tell us the enemy will come on tanks, so you ought to have the fastest air force. But here comes the enemy, and all our weapons are useless.

By rethinking and cutting the money we spend on building tanks and rockets, we liberate our budgets and minds to think in a more advanced way. 9/11 was a moment when we stopped believing in the danger of war between two armies and modified our military and security forces to be able to face terrorism. Covid-19 could be a moment for the military to take their responsibility towards the ecosystem.

What kinds of measures do you advocate so that workers/ employees/ agents/ entrepreneurs, who can no longer continue in the activities that you have eliminated, are able to facilitate the transition to other activities? 

The upside here is that the troops are trained to suffer. Some of them are even prepared to cross the desert without drinking water for five days or eating for weeks. So, it's okay if they suffer a little. In the end, they are ready to give their lives for their countries, so I’m sure they won’t mind a cut in their salaries, or a lay-off. And because we have good hearts, we will not forget them. By reducing military budgets, we will be able to have universal income for everyone, including those ex-militants (soldiers?); we will put them in a psychological support programme.

In the end, they will be in a better situation than their current one. Today, for example, the US armed forces — the most powerful military force in the world — let their veterans loiter around McDonald’s, begging bosses for their leftover. In our plan, we offer them a universal basic income and free healthcare. 

What are the activities, now suspended, that you hope might develop/begin again, or even be created from scratch ? Describe how this activity appears to be positive to you, and how it makes other activities easier/ more harmonious/ coherent that you prefer and can fight against those that you judge to be inappropriate. (Write a separate paragraph for each of the activities listed under 4). What kinds of measures do you advocate to help workers/ employees/ agents/ entrepreneurs to acquire capacities/ means/ finances/ instruments allowing for restarting/ development/ creation of this activity ? (Now find a way to compare your description with that of other participants. By tabling and then superimposing the answers, you should start to build up a picture composed of conflicting lines, alliances, controversies and oppositions).

Fellow writers and the western intelligentsia like to talk more about CAPITALISM and a GREEN DEAL. In every crisis, they prefer to speak about invisible enemies like THE SYSTEM. This is not the time to repeat the same old speeches.

Plague times are the perfect environment for right wings/Fascists/authoritarian clowns to control and rule people by fear. We have to be aware of them and move faster. We should unleash our imagination from the limited battles that they want to drag us to and run from a defensive position to a forward-thinking one.

In the last 200 years, we have moved from royal states to nation-states that have been built on a modern concept, where people are ready to die for a flag and a map. To do this, job armies (professional armies?) become the leading car to develop societies. From rubber, cans of food, airplanes, and even the Internet, everything has first been designed to serve them. But now they aren't the leading car anymore. They have left us in the hands of crazy billionaires who are draining the planet's resources to produce a new mobile phone every 2 months and come up with ludicrous ideas like colonizing Mars (colonising). So we end up not finding face masks during a pandemic. All of this in the name of the free market. 

We can't win any battles against lunatic billionaires without having the power in our hands. And people's strength is in the army. Take it over, and lunatics will be down on their knees. Let's take control over the military and change their responsibilities. Healthcare is a security matter, dignity for all people is a security matter, public health is a security matter. We used to send our soldiers to places because we were afraid that a crazed dictator may kill his people with“chemical weapons”. In the future, we should send them to places where people will be dying because of mosquito bites. Not to invade but to heal.

Starting by changing the purpose of the army, we will be able to change the concept of nation-states, because the idea of borders as protective boundaries will become irrelevant: your border is the whole planet, and your enemy could be in a girl coughing at the local market in a village in the global south, with a name you can’t even pronounce (the girl or the village).

Learning how to recognise one's own privilege by Bojana Kunst

What are some suspended activities that you would like to see not coming back? 

I would like to see projects and all the activities related to projects not coming back as the main mode of production in the arts. I would like to see the suspension of the time and lives spent on applications, self-evaluation, self-presentation, self-management, management of the future, and competition in the field. I would like to see not coming back the same system of evaluation in the arts, which depends on the utterly precarious management of projections and collaborations, on the power relations between economies and systems of support, capable managers and more successfully accelerated agents.

Describe why this activity seems to you to be noxious/ superfluous/ dangerous/ incoherent and how its disappearance/ putting on hold/ substitution might render other activities that you prefer easier/ more coherent. (Write a separate paragraph for each of the activities listed under 1). 

The projective mode is taking away the political capacity of working in the present time, and erasing the possibility to establish a different environment for the art and ethics of collaboration. It is a form of affective and embodied submission, destroying the relations of care not only between human subjects, but also between human and more than human beings. The project is not situated; it is an operation of detachment, and delineation from the plurality of voices. Projects hate empty time and embodied and spatial dependence; they are uncomfortable with experimentation and the unknown, and they are also full of the illusion of “always being able to”.  

What kinds of measures do you advocate so that workers/ employees/ agents/ entrepreneurs, who can no longer continue in the activities that you have eliminated, are able to facilitate the transition to other activities? 

What we first need is a radical rethinking of the values and infrastructures of support, which would be more in tune with the different environments of creation. We need a basic income for artists, more infrastructures accessible to all, less dependence on the expensive, ecologically and geopolitically problematic and static spaces for art. The situation in which are now, can show us the importance of another form of visibility that is very much related to the micropolitical environment in which artists are working and thinking, practicing and living. Yet, such structures of support and reevaluation of art’s role in society must be approached seriously and the argument that art benefits the economy must be erased. 

What are the activities, now suspended, that you hope might develop/ begin again, or even be created from scratch? 

Collaborations and working together gently and closely with each other, with a lot of time on our hands and experiencing different ways in which time can pass. Solidarity, touch, conviviality, paying attention to the weather and to the atmosphere when inviting people to the artistic work, as well as paying attention to different abilities and also considering how to deal with “not being able to”. The awareness of the pain and different embodied experiences, the attention to inequalities and different contexts of work. 

Describe how this activity appears to be positive to you, and how it makes other activities easier/ more harmonious/ coherent that you prefer and can fight against those that you judge to be inappropriate. (Write a separate paragraph for each of the activities listed under 4). 

It can change our perspective on time and on what it means to live (and make and attend art). Art should be about supporting the poetic and embodied wellbeing of our common being in the world, and adding to the forms of conviviality and community, helping the body and levelling economic and social differences, tackling the structures of power and exclusion. This could open the art field to the interrelations of care, supporting it as a mesh of practices and experiments, as a mesh of poetics, inventions and expressions, helping the growth of environments of respect, mutuality and difference, caring for the multiplicity of human and more than human beings. 

What kinds of measures do you advocate to help workers/ employees/ agents/ entrepreneurs to acquire capacities/ means/ finances/ instruments allowing for restarting/ development/ creation of this activity ? (Now find a way to compare your description with that of other participants. By tabling and then superimposing the answers, you should start to build up a picture composed of conflicting lines, alliances, controversies and oppositions).

Basic income for artists (but also for society in general).

A total reevaluation of the project mode of working, a shift in the temporal perspective towards durational, collaborative, interrelated, entangled and sustainable modes of working. 

Open access, against privatisation, copyrights.  

Caring for different forms of life processes and conviviality. 

Learning how to bare the embodied experience of pain, of others, of yourself, of us, of them. 

Learning how to recognise one’s own privilege and dealing with the consequences of this recognition, which can also change the ways in which we work.