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Hans Ulrich Obrist: The last time we met was with Rem Koolhaas in 2001, and we spoke about what could be called your “city projects.” What are you working on related to this subject at the moment?

Antonio Negri: I can start by saying that while discussing the concept of the multitude, Michael Hardt and I found ourselves facing the question of the city, which we brought up as part of the question of the territorialization of the multitude, the space in which the multitude deploys itself. To be honest, I think that while a number of problems started to clear up after we wrote Multitude, others remained in the shadow, like this fundamental question of space.

Antonio Negri:   (…) But today the city, and the metropolis in particular, have become directly productive. And what exactly does this production consist of? I would say that it consists of the movement of people—it is in the construction of urban cooperation, in the liberty and the imagination of people who define and provoke it. Look at Brazil. They say “But there is so much misery…” And of course, it’s true! But I would respond, “Then go look what is in that misery.” Because there is an incredible capacity for creation in that misery, in those favelas. Music, human connections, and, of course, at times, deadly connections as well. But there is an enormous creativity that produces new things, and that creativity does not come without negative aspects.

HUO: (…) It’s a question that art students ask themselves a lot, and it bothers young artists too: one asks oneself whether there is still a space for resistance.

AN: Today the elements around which we can create points of reference—even points of resistance to the market—are the ones built on the land of the common. Because the common basically signifies that which costs nothing, that which is necessary, that which is participatory, that which is productive, and that which is free! And I believe that there are new use values already present in our common, and that these values can be easily spotted. Just think of the metropolis, where ninety percent of what we do are common things that cost us nothing—or at least could cost nothing if we made the effort to make them so…

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