Tate Modern Talk

Technic and Magic: Federico Campagna in conversation

Join Federico Campagna and Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi in conversation about Campagna’s latest book

Technic and Magic: The Reconstruction of Reality is an original philosophical work, and a timely cultural intervention.

We take for granted that only certain kind of things exist – electrons but not angels, passports but not nymphs. This is what we understand as 'reality'. But in fact, 'reality' varies with each era of the world, in turn shaping the field of what is possible to do, think and imagine. Our contemporary age has embraced a troubling and painful form of reality: Technic.

Under Technic, the foundations of reality begin to crumble, shrinking the field of the possible and freezing our lives in an anguished state of paralysis. Technic and Magic shows that the way out of the present deadlock lies much deeper than debates on politics or economics. By drawing from an array of Northern and Southern sources – spanning from Heidegger, Junger and Stirner's philosophies, through Pessoa's poetry, to Advaita Vedanta, Bhartrhari, Ibn Arabi, Suhrawardi and Mulla Sadra's theosophies – Magic is presented as an alternative system of reality to Technic. While Technic attempts to capture the world through an 'absolute language', Magic centres its reconstruction of the world around the notion of the 'ineffable' that lies at the heart of existence.

Technic and Magic disturbs our understanding of the structure of reality, while restoring it in a new form. This is possibly the most radical act: if we wish to change our world, first we have to change the idea of 'reality' that defines it.


Federico Campagna is a philosopher and writer. His latest books are Technic and Magic: The Reconstruction of Reality (Bloomsbury, 2018), and The Last Night (Zero Books, 2013). He is the editor of Franco Berardi’s philosophical anthology Quarant’anni Contro il Lavoro (Derive Approdi, 2017). He has presented his work in institutions including the 57th Venice Biennale (Venice), Documenta 13 (Kassel), the Serpentine Gallery (London), Winzavod Center for Contemporary Art (Moscow), MACBA (Barcelona). Federico is currently a PhD candidate in the School of Communication at the Royal College of Art, London.

Franco 'Bifo' Berardi is a writer and theorist based in Bologna. His work revolves mainly around the aesthetics of the contemporary psychosphere. His latest books include Futurability, Phenomenology of the End, and The Soul at Work. In the 1970s he was one of the founders of the pirate radio station Radio Alice, the magazine A/traverso and of the political movement Autonomia.

Bookjacket Image of Technic and Magic

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31 May 2018 at 19.00–20.30