We must learn to keep ourselves out of sight, to pass unnoticed into the gray band of each apparatus, to camouflage ourselves behind its major premise. Even if our first instinct is to oppose a proclivity for the abnormal with the desire for conformity we have to develop the art of becoming perfectly anonymous, of offering the appearance of pure conformity. We have to develop the pure art of the surface in order to conduct our operations.

This means, for example, that we must drop the pseudo-transgression of no less pseudo-social conventions, stop opting for revolutionary “sincerity”, “truth,” and “scandal,” for the sake of a tyrannical politeness through which to keep the apparatus and its possessed at bay. Calling for transgression, monstrosity, abnormality is the most insidious trap that apparatuses set. Wanting to be – that is, wanting to be unique – within an apparatus is our principle weakness. Because of it we remain held, entangled, by the apparatus.

Conversely, the desire to be controlled, so frequent among our contemporaries, primarily represents the latter’s desire to be. For us, this same desire would instead be the desire to be mad, or monstrous, or criminal. But this is the very desire through which THEY control and neutralize us. Devereux has shown that every culture holds a model negation, a marked-out exist, for those who want to escape, an outlet that allows the culture to harness the driving force behind every transgression into a higher-order stabilization. Among the Malay, this is called amok, in the West, schizophrenia.


RULE NO. 1 Every apparatus produces singularity in the form of monstrosity. This is how the apparatus reinforces itself.

RULE NO. 2 One never breaks free of an apparatus by engaging with its minor premise.

RULE NO. 3 When THEY predicate you, subjectivate you, summon you, never react and above all never deny anything. For the counter-subjectification THEY would then force from you forms the prison from which you will always have the hardest time escaping.

RULE NO. 4 Greater freedom does not lie in the absence of a predicate, in anonymity by default. Greater freedom results instead from the saturation of predicates, from their anarchical accumulation. Overpredication automatically cancels itself out in permanent unpredictability. “When we no longer have any secrets, we no longer have anything to hide. It is we who have become a secret, it is we who are hidden” (Deleuze-Parnet, Dialogues).

RULE NO. 5 Counter-attack is never a response, but the establishment of a new order.

Thus, normcore.

from This Is Not a Program by Tiqqun, trans. Joshua David Jordan. Semiotext(e), 2011. First appeared in Tiqqun 2 (in French) in 2001.

12 years before K-HOLE. Art is made from knowing what to steal, right?


To help make that make sense to anyone who’s not read Tiqqun before, a quick gloss to the best of my limited abilities:

Apparatus – from Foucault, also ‘dispositif’ in French: “the various institutional, physical and administrative mechanisms and knowledge structures, which enhance and maintain the exercise of power within the social body”

THEY – pretty much the “them” you would expect a bunch of Situationist anarchist types to be positioning themselves against. As far as I can see it’s essentially a personification of “Empire”, from Hardt & Negri – which is itself “a new world order in which sovereignty has shifted from the nation-state to an increasingly diffuse and decentralized global network of power”

predicate – a simple gloss would be to say “identity categories”. Tiqqun really do not like these – they prefer a Deleuzian focus on “becoming” (and maybe lived, direct experience). From ‘How Is It To Be Done’ (in Tiqqun’s Introduction to Civil War, 2010):

“By constantly reminding me of what I am, of my qualities, THEY would like to abstract me from each situation. In every circumstance, THEY wouldlike to extort from me a fidelity to myself which is a fidelity to my predicates. THEY expect that I should act as a man, as an employee, as an unemployed person, as a mother, as an activist, or as a philosopher. THEY want to contain within the bounds of an identity the unpredictable flow of my becomings.”

(via hautepop)


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