Heterarchies and Missed Encounters

Ángel Macía, Manuel. 2016. Heterarchies and Missed Encounters. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This project explores affects and effects of epistemic confusion through the figure of the missed encounter. In oblique dialogue with post-Althusserian studies, the project makes a new performative term available for debates on contemporary artistic practice and knowledge production. The missed encounter does not signal a lack of encounters, nor an encounter that should have taken place and/but/or did not for an (un)expected reason. The missed encounter is unstable, it can operate as: a missed prescription, the sad outcome of a failed meeting, a quarrel or a disagreement.

Drawing on diverse materials spanning conceptual art, science fiction, paraliterary production and European and Latin American philosophy the project performs and explores such missed encounters. Chapter One introduces Santiago-Castro Gómez’s figure of the heterarchy and sets a template where artistic practices that deal with discursive and linguistic material come across affects of not-knowing. Chapter Two explores the notion of epistemic breakdown and knowledge by-products; it does so by reading the Strugatsky Brothers’ Novella A Billion Years Before the End of the World (2014) and actualising Robert Smithson’s Tour of the Monuments of Passaic (1996) in relation to it. Chapter Three reads Ricardo Piglia’s Theory of Complot (2002, 2015) and its production of a com-plot: a machination of plots that activate suspicion and intrigue as conspiranoid drivers of epistemic production. Chapter Four follows Hugo Santiago’s film Invasión (1969), exploring paraliterary situations of immanence, recurrence and non-exit through the retro-futural story of an infinite siege.

The material brought into play in this project engages with the performative and self-actualising dimensions of textual production, tackling linguistic surpluses and the limits of knowledge products. Following this thrust, the project probes the productive ranges of a writing of the missed encounter.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):



antimonumentality, art practice, complot, disagreement, epistemic confusion, knowledge production, latin america, missed encounter, not-knowing, philosophy of the encounter

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



30 September 2016

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

27 Oct 2016 10:49

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 15:25



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