The Nightmare of Participation (Crossbench Practice as a Mode of Criticality)


Markus Miessen


Sternberg Press



For all of us involved with collective practices in pedagogical and cultural settings, the critique of the use and abuse of the term ‘participation’ came as a much-needed caution at a moment of institutional community-philia and co-option fuelled by ‘turns’. Miessen undoes the uncritical mode of consensus and inclusivity underlying this candid and romantic form of participation that has been generalised in the larger cultural and public sphere. Instead, he argues for a responsibility-based conflictual participation of ‘crossbench practitioners’ who enter a field of practice uncalled and uninvited: as unruly vectors shaking the self-indulgence of many collaborative disciplines. JMA

"Sometimes, all-inclusive democracy has to be avoided at all costs."