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

figli-di-annibale-meridionali cut2

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

Oedipus is So Bourgeois: Zizek and the Mediating Subject


Originally published in the Oxford Left Review, vol. 14 on February 12, 2015.

Book Review
R.C. Smith
The Ticklish Subject?
A Critique of Žižek’s Lacanian Theory of Subjectivity, with Emphasis on an Alternative

152 pp. – £14.99
ISBN: 978-0-9570961-3-4
Heathwood Press, December 2013

No slave is more deluded than one who turns dependence from a master into condescendence or, worse, appreciation for ‘the way things are’. This, in a nutshell, is the dilemmatic condition of the neoliberal subject, Read more