“Why Savage Philosophy Now?” is a talk by Christopher Bracken in discussion with two members of New Red Order (NRO), Adam Khalil and Jackson Polys. More than a decade ago, in Bracken’s book, Magical Criticism, he echoed Heidegger in posing the scandalous question, “What are savages for?” His answer at the time was: “Savage philosophers are the outgrowths of discourse, and they dare us to think more by daring to enrich signs with a principle of change.” In this talk, inspired by the appropriation of Bracken’s work by the New Red Order, he will revisit the theory of savage philosophy and ask what are the stakes, as I put it then, of affirming “the being of non-being”?

“Why Savage Philosophy Now?” a part of the Biennial’s weekly Performance and Reading Program: Isonomia in Toronto, a series which takes place within Adrian Blackwell’s two interrelated structures at 259 Lake Shore Blvd E and the Small Arms Inspection Building. Invited guests include poet CAConrad, artists Camilo Godoy and Lawrence Abu Hamdan, RISE Edutainment, Sister Co-Resister, and percussionist Marshall Trammell.

Image: The New Red Order, Crimes Against Reality, 2019. Courtesy the artist.

Performance Program: Isonomia in Toronto

Small Arms Inspection Building (2019)
1352 Lakeshore Road East
Mississauga ON
L5E 1E9

November 2


Christopher Bracken is Associate Professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta, where he teaches courses on Indigenous Literature, Settler Colonialism, and Literary Theory. He is the author of The Potlatch Papers (Chicago 1997) and Magical Criticism (Chicago 2007). He has more recently published “Reconciliation Romance: A Study in Juridical Theology” in Qui Parle (2015) and “The Deaths of Moses: The Death Penalty and the Division of Sovereignty” in Critical Research in Religion (2018).

New Red Order (NRO) is a public secret society whose members, Adam Khalil (Ojibway, born in 1988, Nyack, USA; lives in New York, USA), Zack Khalil (Ojibway, born in 1991, Newton, USA; lives in New York, USA) and Jackson Polys (Tlingit, born in 1976, Ketchikan, USA; lives in New York City, USA), collaborate with self-described informants to create videos and performances that function as a radical “calling out [and] calling in.” Recent presentations include Feel at Home Here at Artists Space, New York, in 2021.