Why is this Dictionary about "war"?
There are many and mostly obvious reasons but one of the most important one may be: possibly by creating concepts we may be able to find ways how to struggle what is nowadays called a state of exception that becomes a rule.
Nowadays, war seems to be subject to a deregulation process that radically challenges old certainties. DICTIONARY OF WAR sets out to oppose war and, at the same time, calls for "desertion" from a war of words in which facts are created with such force in their communication and propaganda that they can no longer be challenged.
War is a “constitutive form of a new order” that no longer knows an inside or outside, that not only destroys but also produces life. In this new world order there is no difference between war and non-war: war is perpetual and everywhere.
What is the goal of the project?
When we invite you to "create a concept" for the DICTIONARY OF WAR we are rather driven by the desire of conceiving and composing something very heterogenous and pluralistic in a collective or collaborative fashion rather than producing ever more exceptions and exemptions. We are perfectly aware of the fact that there is no way back to the idea of a universalized knowledge, so the underlying tone of the project should be based on the assumption of refusing both, unifying and simplifying notions as well as particularism and exceptionalism.
The aim of DICTIONARY OF WAR is to make the creation or revaluation of concepts transparent into more or less open processes in which one is able and one needs to intervene; at the same time, the aim is to develop models that redefine the creation of concepts on the basis not of interdisciplinary but rather undisciplined, not co-operative but rather collaborative processes.
What characterizes a "concept"?
As a "concept" we understand a term or terminology that produces new possibilities of conceiving relevant aspects of situations we are encountering today.
There are no restrictions with regard to format. Each edition of the DICTIONARY OF WAR is composed by a wide range and variety of formats: lectures, choreographies, films, slide shows, readings or whatever format the authors, actors, organisers or "concept person" may choose.
How are these "concepts" presented?
Every concept is presented in a twenty to thirty minutes time-frame. The concept person may use this period as they wish. Each edition of the DICTIONARY OF WAR consists of twenty-five concepts presented in alphabetical order and without break, over two days.
The formulation and selection of the respective concept title, the determination of its content, and the decision with regard to the format and mode of the lecture is incumbent on the concept person invited.
How is the project documented?
All created concepts are video-recorded by three cameras, live mixed, encoded in real-time and uploaded on the Internet. Concept persons are asked to provide their manuscript as well as additional material that may exceed the thirty-minute time-frame. The video recordings of the presentations are published under a creative commons licence. They will thus be available as material for ongoing editing, comment and discussion, although, of course, always referring back to the original contribution and its concept person.
A few weeks ago a selection of concepts from the first four editions has been published as a book in German translation by Merve Verlag, Berlin. English editions will follow soon.