«Future participle»: when anthropology contemplates the halo of the future

Book Review
Massimo Angelini
Participio futuro: Dalla terra alla bellezza, per tornare al simbolo
[Future Participle: From Land to Beauty, Returning to the Symbol]

236 pp. – €12.00
ISBN: 978-88-98187-28-7
Pentàgora, 2015

While the book has only been published in Italian, a selection of its chapters
is available in English on the author’s website.


Participio futuro (future participle) is a verb tense or – to take some poetic licence – a verbal «tension», towards that which is not yet, but the shape of which can already be sensed in incipient form. While future participle no longer exists in contemporary English, there are certain words that bear its Latin traces. Think of «venture», meaning «that which is to come»; «future», as «that which is to be» or again «nature», as «that which is to be born» (which we could perhaps reword as: the inception of life, disposition to aliveness, coming-into-being). Future participle, in other words, denotes that which is not yet, but the presence of which is already felt – so much so as to find discernible linguistic shape in a verb tense. In Angelini’s poetic wording:

Future participle refers not to that which will [at some point] be, but to that which is coming into being [as we speak], which is imminent, which isn’t yet but already participates in being: the word gestures to that which is proximate and of which one can already discern the sketch, the trace or the outline. «Nascituro» [the future participle of the Latin verb nasci, to be born] is not one who will be born, but one who is poised for birth and whose birth is therefore already inscribed in the present: it is he who is already present with us today. The tree that hasn’t sprung up yet is the future participle of the sprouted seed, out of which it is about to draw its life and form. The home prefigured in the [architectural] project is the future participle of the foundations just laid. Anything of which we incipiently discern the accomplishment is the future participle of that which announces it today and already prepares the ground for it (p. 67).

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That’s why they call me Mr. Farenheit: On the accelerations of Yanis Varoufakis, from the journal of a colleague (for a day)

Glowing like neon, with Yanis Varoufakis at the Officine Corsare on March 17, 2016.

Officine Corsare, Turin, 11pm. I am sitting next to Yanis Varoufakis, whispering in his ear as I translate the speeches being made in a debate on democracy in Europe. He listens intently, and occasionally leans against the chair to reveal, from the leg of his trousers, a dark leather boot. Shortly before, as we were walking to the debate, it was the length – down to the calves – of his elegant coat that caught my eye. That too, black. ‘He’s like Neo’ – I think to myself, as I conjure in my mind that famous scene from The Matrix. Where the protagonist intuits the malleable matrix of reality, after he surprises himself dodging the bullets fired at him by agent Smith – the trajectory of which he is unexpectedly capable of following in slow motion.

But Varoufakis has more in common with Neo than his punk-themed elegance. The Greek economist – who was in Turin on March 17, 2016 to receive a honorary professorial appointment at the International University College of Turin [where I was lecturing at the time] – has a certain promethean aura about himself, not unlike the hero of The Matrix. It’s a boldness that comes with facing an obscure and oppressing computational order, and coming out at the other end with a burning truth to share with humanity:  that of mankind’s enduring collective power to bring into being alternative visions of the possible. Read more

Sergente Romano: on reclaiming the South (not as History of a Fatherland, but as song of belonging to the Motherland)

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Originally published in Italian on Crapula and part of the thematic stream Figli di Annibale.

Sergente Romano is the title of Marco Cardetta’s literary debut (in Italian). More than just a story, this work affords a mystical and moving journey: one that would benefit both anyone who is curious about the possibilities of the Southern Italian ‘meridionalista‘ movement, as well as readers who are in search of an original meditation on history – as collective and polysemic experience, prior to the fixation of an accepted storyline as History. Read more

«The City as a Commons» conference in Bologna. Or: phenomenological flânerie as urban commoning pedagogy? (part two)

Originally published on the Schumacher College Blog on January 15, 2016.

The first day in Bologna ended with a conversation between David Bollier (an independent scholar, and co-editor, with Silke Helfrich, of «The Wealth of the Commons» and «Patterns of Commoning») and Michel Bauwens of the P2P Foundation, which bore a distinctively «strategic» flavour. Specifically, they grappled with the tension between the commons as infrastructures that ensure open cooperation – i.e. productive coordination between an open set of contributors/users, as opposed to a fixed constituency – and the need to ensure that the value generated through such a process of mutuality does not end up being harvested by capitalist firms, Read more

Hungry Capital reviewed in the Marx & Philosophy Review of Books


Book review by Nicola Livingstone, originally appeared on the Marx & Philosophy Review of Books on December 9, 2015.

In ‘Hungry Capital’, Luigi Russi considers the relationship between food production, consumption and finance in a short but interesting, revelatory but not revolutionary, and original but somewhat disconnected book. The metaphor of Hobbes’s leviathan is adopted to set the scene, situating capitalism as the monster being precariously held together by the fragile and contradictory relations it creates. Read more

Treading «softly, silently, attentively» … to get lost in the South

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This article belongs to the Figli di Annibale stream.

If a piece of writing could ever hold the echo of song – its rhythm and expressive depth, its evocative imagery – then surely Franco La Cecla’s musings on «getting lost» (perdersi in Italian: the title of the book I discuss here) reverberate of the delicate atmosphere and lyrical details conjured in Gianmaria Testa’s song «I seminatori di grano» (the seed casters): an ever poetic meditation on the erratic, vulnerable search for a place of dwelling. Read more

Innovating in the South: new forms of co-operation as practices of active citizenship (Part One)

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This article belongs to the Figli di Annibale stream.

Employment, volunteer work and gift have been the theme of a two-day «Forum on the gift» (Forum del dono, in the original Italian); organised by an interdisciplinary society – the research group «A piene mani: dono e beni comuni» (literally With Hands Full: Gift and the Commons) – of the «Federico II» University of Naples. Read more