blog,personal commentary,reflections on the human condition,ephemera,notes from the underbelly
http://web.ncf.ca/ek867/wood_s_lot.html - Mar 10, 2014 9:24:54 AM - Nov 28, 2004 7:34:47 AM
March 10, 2014
Snow Melt in the OdenwaldAnselm Kiefer b. March 8, 1945
How Do You Translate Philosophy?Justin E. H. Smith
One way to approach the seemingly irresolvable question as to the nature of philosophy is to ask: is philosophy as a human activity more like ballet, or is it more like dance? That is, is it a particular cultural tradition, or is it a universal human activity with many distinct cultural inflections?
I have suggested that there is something human beings do, qua human beings, that we should be looking for if we want to understand what philosophy is, rather than looking to one, or two, particular civilizational traditions that involve, as is the case in Europe and in India, a highly developed social practice of writing and institutionalized exchange. But what is this something? The full answer lies not so much in etymology or the comparison of names, but in what might be thought of as the anthropology of philosophy: the study of what human capacities are being activated when human beings reflect, infer, compare, classify, coin concepts, distinguish, and deny. My hypothesis is that, if we do this properly, we see that it is not a matter of translation at all. That is to say that there is such an activity, and that human beings engage in it qua human beings, rather than simply in virtue of contact with a particular tradition that extends back to Greece (or perhaps India). ‘Philosophy’ is not a proper noun.
Siegfried's Difficult Way to BrünnhildeAnselm Kiefer
Idealism & exodus in the thought of Max Stirner Arran Jamesattempts at living... I have to admit, Saint Max, as Marx called him, still floats around as part of the obsessional abyss around which my thought, such as it is, circles and re-circles. Stirner: egoist, proto-existentialist, anarchist, fascist, individualist, idealist, atheist, and, above all, unrelenting nihilist. If there was one thinker that I would have described as an intellectual hero, who I would have demanded everyone read, it would have been Stirner. Today, I rarely mention him- and certainly cringe at being introduced at an academic workshop once as “a Stirnerite”. So it seems like an engagement with this egoist is timely right now; besides which, it’s probably well past time I had some kind of reckoning with a figure that always looms somewhere in my own attempts to grapple with our nihilist age..Man, your head is haunted; you have wheels in your head! You imagine great things, and depict to yourself a whole world of gods that has an existence for you, a spirit-realm to which you suppose yourself to be called, an ideal that beckons to you. You have a fixed idea! Do not think that I am jesting or speaking figuratively when I regard those persons who cling to the Higher, and (because the vast majority belongs under this head) almost the whole world of men, as veritable fools, fools in a madhouse. What is it, then, that is called a “fixed idea”? An idea that has subjected the man to itself.So proclaims Stirner in the mode of iconoclast against idealism. This is hardly tolerant language. The vast majority of humanity, or at least the intellectual classes that Stirner is addressing, and really this audience is comprised of his fellow radicals, stand accused of a kind of madness. This madness consists of being obsessed by a “spirit-realm” of ideas. The implication is clear: Western philosophy, at this time dominated by the Hegelian system of absolute idealism, is little more than a religion followed by fools. In our contemporary language I can’t help but feel that a more faithful translation to Stirner’s vitriolic barbs, if not to the original German, would be closer to “psychotics”. So Stirner looks to philosophy and finds only idealism and in idealism he sees little but a secularised version of religion, and those who commit to an ontology of Gods and spirits can only be the delusional and hallucinatory victims of insanity. Much later in history a professional at diagnosing and theorising phantasms would declare that all metaphysics are hysteria, but Stirner goes further: all metaphysics are psychotic. The irony here is that another of Stirner’s critics would claim that The ego… itself was the ‘conceptual expression of the paranoid schizophrenic’
Avenue du Maine, Paris1932Ilse Bing d. March 10, 1998
The fact that a certain person writes at a distance from contemporary literature and increases this distance through solitude... is already a reason for not knowing how to begin to do him justice. Where does he belong, what does he want, where are his points of reference (to what end?), in which conversation, hence in which non-conversation, does this monologue of his participate, what does he have to say and to whom? And what about his society, his readers, his audience, his frontlines, his demands, his value? If questions about where in the world his modernity, his newness, is to be found lapse into silence, this is doubtless because this newness is not legible from the outside, is not some alphabetic experiment, some calligraphic test of courage, but a radicalness that has its foundation in thought and [carries] it to its utmost extremity. The extent to which these books reflect their time even if they do not intend to will be discovered by a later age, just as only a later age has come to understand Kafka. In these books everything is precise, of the worst sort of precision, but we are as yet ignorant of the thing that is described here so precisely, and therefore of ourselves as well.
An excursion via Thomas Bernhard's My Prizes Steve MitchelmoreThis Space
After reading Bernhard, one is left with the impossibility of doing justice to the silence behind the game. Clearly this is due to the moderating activity of the critical act and its tendency to orchestrate traditions rather than self-blinding before singularities, but this is also present in the malady of existence, as brought forth by Thomas Bernhard so clearly in his narratives. So, yes, My Prizes is a minor work, a collection dredged from the publisher's bottom drawer and dilute compared to the novels, and, yes, while the anecdotes expose the grotesque vanity and philistine violence of municipal art culture so brilliantly that it is probably enough only to celebrate the comedy, the anger and the excess of My Prizes, none of this would express anything new or worth saying. Every week someone announces to a startled world how funny and dark Bernhard is or how unfunny and dark Bernhard is, and everything they say is true or not true and not worth saying again
This is the key to Bernhard's radicalism and why he is more than a scourge of bourgeoise pretensions, or whatever else the critics say, and why it's impossible to pin him down. His prose soars, exploding like fireworks illuminating the landscape for a moment before plummeting to earth in darkness. If he knew where he belonged, what he wanted, what he had to say and to what end, in what conversation or non-conversation he might participate, his work would be very different; das gewöhnliche Zeug, to borrow Kafka's uncle's phrase: the usual stuff.
Three men on stepsParis, 1931Ilse Bing - Queen of the Leica WeimarA Poem of Unrest John Ashbery Men duly understand the river of life, misconstruing it, as it widens and its cities grow dark and denser, always farther away.*** And of course that remote denseness suits us, as lambs and clover might have if things had been built to order differently.*** But since I don’t understand myself, only segments of myself that misunderstand each other, there’s no reason for you to want to, no way you could*** even if we both wanted it. Do those towers even exist? We must look at it that way, along those lines so the thought can erect itself, like plywood battlements.
Ygdrasil, Autumn in AuvergneAnselm Kiefer
March 07, 2014
The Bridge1995Gordon Parksd. March 7, 2006Spring and All William Carlos Williamscompletex The universality of things draws me toward the candy wilh melon flowers that open about the edge of refuse proclaiming without accent the quality of the farmer's shoulders and his daughter's accidental skin, so sweet with clover and the small yellow cinquefoil in the parched places. It is this that engages the favorable distortion of eyeglasses that see everything and remain related to mathematics - in the most practical frame of brown celluloid made to represent tortoiseshell - A letter from the man who wants to start a new magazine made of linen and he owns a typewriter - July 1, 1922 All this is for eyeglasses to discover. But they lie there with the gold earpieces folded down tranquilly Titicaca ·-
Bonfires in the garden Lars Huldén Translated by David Hackstonbooks from Finland
Write about what really happens. Write if you dare. About things that simply happen, things that happen all the time. If you dare. But to what end? Poetry, by definition, has fled, fled from things that happen all the time.* If all goes well, if I don’t slip in the street, if I don’t trip on the carpet or on my own socks, don’t contract a rapidly degenerative disease, can I once again encounter the spring, see the anemones raise their eyes, see the hills, golden with cowslips casting their bonnets to the wind to greet the summer and the future. But if things don’t go well, I simply want to amble invisible along the hillside.
Harlem NeighborhoodGordon Parks 1952
The trouble with "us" The blurring of social roles and the consensus illusionKathrin PassigTranslation by Samuel Willcocks
The consensus illusion is everywhere, affecting our perceptions about the frequency of certain personal characteristics, or of mental problems, eye colours, tastes in food or films, religious attendance or participation in sporting events. The effect occurs most often when those affected find one another attractive and can reasonably assume that they will stay in touch in future. The effect is even present when respondents know for sure that the majority does not share their opinion; they consistently overestimate the size of the minority to which they belong. False consensus is more prevalent within a group than it is between group members and the outside world. Shared tastes in consumer culture – or the lack thereof – among groups of friends has become the subject of study in the last fifteen years, as a side-effect of work on marketing algorithms. Nothing in the research findings indicated any significant correlation between certain circles of friends and shared tastes in books, films or music. Nevertheless many people will insist, privately and in public, that they share their friends' tastes in most matters or, at the very least, that they would be able to recommend media to suit their tastes. As soon as one examines it more closely, consensus among friends proves to be an illusion in other questions of opinion too.
The Swarmachine: A Historical Puzzle (Part 1) Deterritorial Investigations UnitDeterritorial Investigations Unit Exploring Neoliberal CartographiesSynthetic_zero
If the ‘becoming-revolutionary’ of civil society is marked by emergence, it is the distributed network that forms the aesthetic representation and functional model of this form. Civil society cannot be measured spatially, nor can it be broken down into structural analyses of the institutions that shape social composition. Civil society transcends space, and moves through these institutions; before, but especially after, the rise of information technology we find that civil society is generated through communication: the exchange of words, information, images, signs of all shapes and sizes, allow for a cohesiveness that is both forceful and amorphous. The distributed network eliminates both centralization (where there is a large, fixed center to the network) and decentralization (where there are multiple, smaller network centers) in lieu of a fluid environment where any point is capable – and is compelled – to connect with any other point. There are innumerable examples of the distributed network in action. Alexander Galloway and Eugene Thacker, for instance, have maintained “that in recent decades the processes of globalization have mutated from a system of control housed in a relatively small number of power hubs to a system of control infused into the material fabric of distributed networks.”vi On the flip side, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri have rendered the distributed network as their model of the “multitude,” the transnational civil society produced by the forces of globalization. In their understanding, the distributed network, particularly in the context of internet-driven information communication technologies, allows for a certain tactical advantage over both the outmoded, decentralized organizations of power leftover from the previous world order, and the new, flexible arrangement of postmodern power. They write:When a distributed network attacks, it swarms its enemy: innumerable independent forces seem to strike from all directions at a particular point and disappear back into the environment. From an external perspective, the network attack is described as a swarm because it appears formless. Since the network has no center that dictates order, those who can think in terms of traditional models may assume it has no organization whatsoever- they see mere spontaneity and anarchy. The network attack appears as something like a swarm of birds or insects in a horror film, a multitude of mindless assailants, unknown, unseen, and unexpected. If one looks inside a network, however, one can see that it is indeed organized, rational, and creative. It has swarm intelligence.
There’s a reason Ukraine is at the heart of the most significant geopolitical crisis yet to appear in the post-Soviet space. There is no post-Soviet state like it. Unlike the Baltic states, it does not have a recent (interwar) memory of statehood. Nor, unlike almost every other post-Soviet state aside from Belarus, does the majority population have a radically different language and culture to distinguish itself from the Russians. In many cases, for these countries, the traditional language suggests a natural political ally—Finland for the Estonians, Turkey for the Azeris, Romania for the Moldovans. These linguistic and cultural affinities are not without their difficulties, but they do give a long-term geopolitical orientation to these countries. Ukraine has this to some extent in its western part, formerly known as Galicia, which has strong cultural and to an extent linguistic affinities with Poland. But the country’s capital, Kyiv, has much stronger ties to Russia: Russians consider Kievan Rus, which lasted from the 9th to the 13th century (when it was sacked and burned by the Mongols), to be the first Russian civilization. Russian Orthodoxy was first proclaimed there. Most people in Kyiv speak Russian, rather than Ukrainian, and in any cases the languages are quite close (about as close as Spanish and Portuguese). On television, it is typical for any live broadcast—whether it’s news, sports, or a reality-TV show—to go back and forth seamlessly between Russian and Ukrainian, with the understanding that most people know both. Russians too often assume that these cultural affinities mean that there is no such thing as a separate Ukrainian people. There is. But the closeness of the two peoples makes forging an independent path for Ukraine extraordinarily difficult.
photo - mw
March 06, 2014
photo - mw
From Mandelstam VariationsFour Poems...(more)
Ian Dreiblattjewelédfor Robert Kelly“oxen wild like bellowed land”after most things have happened, Chaon appears.
he’s filth, a mishmash theophage guzzling chaos
out of the city, draining it to linearity. doors become
invisible, alphabets realign their orders under the
meshes of our speech. I will mutely scowl says the sun.
I will turn the Chrysler Building inside out.
he drank so much chaos they called him Chaon,
of course. he took all but two of every household
(as though walls even existed, or remembered light)
and lived in the sky with them. open air pivoting,
invisible embouchure into a body of contradictions.
or into nobody if that’s who we are. I was righteous
out of my age, says Chaon. I soldered together
the seams of the sky, I blew breath into the city’s
gridded syntax. weeks without rain. flesh in no
number. recombinant grammars flash in the
skyline. the doorway. a language all breath
conspires in. bandwidths enlacing to form noise.
some things that are like real things it would be good to say or bad not to say
from Mandelstam Variations
Harp & Altar
It was a stunning moment—not only in terms of its immediate implications for the heroic women in the defendants' box and their place within Russia's anti-Putin movement, but also for the aesthetic and intellectual lineage that it unearthed and celebrated. The lineage was particularly surprising considering Tolokonnikova's youth and the fact that Vvedensky, who perished in state custody during what Russians call the Great Patriotic War, was not published in his native country until he'd been dead more than fifty years. And even then, he was published only spottily. Tolokonnikova's statement establishes those years of hibernation as a raising of the stakes of Vvedensky's work, a period when his invisibility marked not irrelevance but an increasing and ramifying urgency.
Against this backdrop, there is cause for celebration in NYRB/POETS' recent publication of An Invitation for Me to Think, a collection of most of Vvedensky's surviving writing, edited by the poet and scholar Eugene Ostashevsky. In this volume, Ostashevsky has translated much of Vvedensky's work anew and has also included some of Matvei Yankelevich's previous translations, previously available only in tiny, though gorgeous, editions. Comprising mostly poetry (much of it in the form of several-voice verse plays) and some prose, the book is a beautiful compliment to the public resuscitation Tolokonnikova initiated, a splendid opportunity for English-language readers to become familiar with Vvedensky's vital weirdness and weird vitality, with the English word "weird" applying in its Vvedenskian double meaning of both "strange" and "bound up with fate."
Russian soliders crossing the Bug River
A Look Inside Crimea, Crossroads of Empires
The Daily Beast
Advertisements for Death
If the Spanish Civil War was the first conflict to be photographed, by Robert Capa and others, in a modern way — that is, up close on the battlefield and among civilians — the Syrian civil war may be the first truly postmodern conflict, at least when it comes to its images. Both sides are engaged in a perverse competition to show the world, and each other, how ruthlessly barbaric they can be. Aided by new technologies — the cellphone camera, YouTube, Instagram, social-media sites — these images of cruelty ricochet around the globe. The traditional role of war photojournalism has been turned on its head: Rather than expose atrocities, photographs now advertise them.
But in other ways the Syrian images are hardly unique. They are the culmination of a long and ignoble lineage of perpetrator photographs: pitiless pictures taken by tormentors of the violence and sadism they inflict on helpless victims. ...(more)
Maskers en Cobra-kunstenaars
The Poetic Politics Of Spacejust because you live in a place doesn’t mean you really know where you are
Rebecca Solnit(....)via (Notes on) Politics, Theory & Photography
Something that has been important to me since is seeing how the bohemia of the 1950s and ’60s was underwritten by incredibly cheap housing and the ability of many middle-class white people to live off the fat of the land without working very hard—people in the ’60s felt like they could hardly fuck up. I know two people who in the 1970s were wanted fugitives and are now retired professors with pensions, which you couldn’t get now no matter what, let alone as a wanted fugitive with your face on FBI posters. I feel like I also learned, particularly from Wallace Berman, that before you make art you have to have a culture in which to make art—which he understood very deeply. He is recognized for the art he made but he is not so recognized for the culture he made: publishing Semina magazine, participating in the Ferus Gallery and then the little gallery in the Larkspur mudflats, introducing and encouraging people. He wasn’t exactly a mentor, (which sounds avuncular), wasn’t exactly a muse (which always seems like a beautiful young lady, possibly without clothes), but he was a catalyst for people to make culture. Everyone was also making culture by being good audiences for each other and good friends and good community members.
Rail: It’s very clear that with Savage Dreams you first achieved the hybrid voice you are known for. Were you maintaining writing practices—journalism, criticism, memoir—that were being kept separate before that time?
Solnit: Yes, that is exactly where it happened. I was trained as a journalist so I developed a tough journalistic voice, and I was separately trained as a critic. It’s interesting that postmodernism wanted to undermine, dismantle, and substitute something better than the singular authoritative voice, but that it mostly gave us was manifestos followed quickly by reversions to exactly that voice of objective authority. I thought that speaking personally was one way of addressing that: that there is no such thing as speaking from neutrality in journalism, that the most honest and accountable thing you can do is to establish exactly who is speaking and from what experience. I have a historical mind and have always thought that you understand things by understanding what brought them into being. All of these things came together rather magically after a few years of going to the Nevada nuclear test site, which was this place where tremendous forces converged: the history of the making of the atom bomb, the Cold War, nuclear physics, Western Shoshone activism, white attitudes toward the desert, civil disobedience with anti-war and anti-nuclear movements. It was so complex you couldn’t have told it in a linear, objective way, so I had to find a way to let the threads tangle and weave, that also left room for reverie and digression—which is why I always say the Nevada Test Site taught me how to write. So in Savage Dreams I found a way to bring together my journalistic, critical, and finally lyrical voices (as a way of making wilder leaps of connection) that suddenly all appeared to be the one voice able to describe this complex situation.
b. March 6, 1910
_______________________(....)Reflections on the “Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics”
I have gone back and forth between reserving the phrase “late liberalism” for the liberal governance of difference that began to emerge in the late 1960s and early 1970s as liberal governments responded to a series of legitimacy crises coming from anticolonial, anti-imperial, and new social movements, and using the same phrase to refer to the internal and external conditions and dynamics of contemporary European and Anglo-American governance as two of its key pillars, neoliberalism and multiculturalism, emerged in the 1970s and are now undergoing significant stress. My vacillation is symptomatic of the absolute need to distinguish these two modes of governance, to never let either out of the sight of the other. From a political point of view of collective and legitimate action, the neoliberal governance of economies and the multicultural governance of difference were always about the conservation of a specific form of social organization and distribution of life and goods. How can this be when these two forms were new twists in liberal capitalism? How could they be conserving older forms of social organization and be a new form of social organization at the same time?
What interests me is the conservation of differential powers as capitalism was understood as liberation from the market and liberal values were liberated from liberalism. How are these changes conditioned by events inside and outside Europe and the Anglo-American region? How are the consequences of these changes reflected in the forms and affects of liberal governance? What forms of liberal economic and social governance are emerging as the center of economic vitality shifts from the US and Europe to Asia and South America? What is liberalism becoming as nondemocratic forms of capitalism are a central engine of the global economy; nonelected “technocratic” governments are proliferating in Europe; social protest and massive youth unemployment are ubiquitous; secular and religious imaginaries compete on the street; and slums proliferate as the major form of social dwelling in the south and suburbs become ghettos in the north?
Translated by Matteo PasquinelliThe “Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics” (MAP) opens with a broad acknowledgment of the dramatic scenario of the current crisis: Cataclysm. The denial of the future. An imminent apocalypse. But don’t be afraid! There is nothing politico-theological here. Anyone attracted by that should not read this manifesto. There are also none of the shibboleths of contemporary discourse, or rather, only one: the collapse of the planet’s climate system. But while this is important, here it is completely subordinated to industrial policies, and approachable only on the basis of a criticism of those. What is at the center of the Manifesto is “the increasing automation in production processes,” including the automation of “intellectual labor,” which would explain the secular crisis of capitalism. Catastrophism? A misinterpretation of Marx’s notion of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall? I wouldn’t say that.#accelerate Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics
Here, the reality of the crisis is identified as neoliberalism’s aggression against the structure of class relations that was organized in the welfare state of the eighteenth and twentieth centuries; and the cause of the crisis lies in the obstruction of productive capacities by the new forms capitalist command had to assume against the new figures of living labor. In other words, capitalism had to react to and block the political potentiality of post-Fordist labor.
This is followed by a harsh criticism of both right-wing governmental forces, and of a good part of what remains of a Left—the latter often deceived (at best) by the new and impossible hypothesis of a Keynesian resistance, unable to imagine a radical alternative. Under these conditions, the future appears to have been cancelled by the imposition of a complete paralysis of the political imaginary. We cannot come out of this condition spontaneously. Only a systematic class-based approach to the construction of a new economy, along with a new political organization of workers, will make possible the reconstruction of hegemony and will put proletarian hands on a possible future.
There is still space for subversive knowledge!...(more)
Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek
photo - mw
March 04, 2014 _______________________
Six Likht Variations, with Snakes & Stones (a poem in progress)
atop a mountain
are hammered down
stone after stone
ignites the air
atop a mountain
in a show
stones touching stones
& casting shadows
stones in heaps
the luck of brothers
fire in the sky
a heap of stones
& how a hammer
The Year Megaplatforms Ruled The Internet
On the web we lost, the web we deserve, and the web we want.
2013 was a year in which tech’s largest, most visible companies became incumbents — it was the year that the new guard became slightly old. It was not, despite a thousand press releases to the contrary, a year for “disruption” — it was the year that the biggest companies on the internet became bigger, went public, and digested smaller competitors. It was the year that the internet’s mega-platforms became both its center and its central authority. It was a year for “building,” sure, but only on borrowed property. (....)
It was the year that Facebook turned into Twitter, Twitter turned into Instagram, Instagram turned into Snapchat. It was the year you could rearrange the pairs in the last sentence at random without making it false. It was the year we found out that nearly every major internet service had been compromised in some way by the NSA, and that some were complicit; it was the year these same services refined and fulfilled their financial promises in the form of advertising strategies. It was the year we decided to use these services anyway. (....)
It’s tempting to predict that 2014 will be the year the megaplatforms begin to falter. It’s extremely tempting to predict that the internet will be remade by teens — those inscrutable, ingenious, or just demographically desirable teens — in their image. Perhaps we widen our view and suggest that 2014 will be the year that casts doubt on America’s continued ability to set international internet trends. Maybe it’s the year a Japanese service takes the international internet by storm, or the habits of Indian users dramatically reshape the web, helping an already huge messaging app from a Chinese company become the most popular service in the world.
Here’s a more realistic prediction: All of these things will happen to some extent, but none will be definitive. 2014 will be the year that the megaplatforms reckon with their age, and that we reconsider our own relationships with them. Their obsessions with one another combined with their users’ creeping unease may create openings for insurgent services and apps, but the megaplatforms’ momentum is strong. New services will catch our attention, but countless old ones will go public, grow, and remain important.
2013 was the year that a major, decade-long internet cycle neared its completion. 2014, at best, will be the very beginning of the next one.
How the Internet Is Narrowing Our Minds
As our options have grown, so has the overwhelming dominance of a generic set of crowd-pleasing blockbusters. Mainstream culture, aided and abetted (or thwarted and warped) by the frenetic pace of the Internet, has fallen into a punishing pattern: a few books—the ones that win prizes, are heavily promoted, or feature at least one vampire—rake in all the media attention and readers. All others are flops. In the book economy, the middle class is dying. The idea of an eHarmony for books is similarly a way of narrowing choices in the face of an overwhelming field of options. Paradoxically, because personalization relies on shared categories, its results can flatten the real differences between individuals.
Why should plenty lead to homogeneity? ...(more)
The Mindfulness Racket
The evangelists of unplugging might just have another agenda
The New Republic(....)
In our maddeningly complex world, where everything is in flux and defies comprehension, the only reasonable attitude is to renounce any efforts at control and adopt a Zen-like attitude of non-domination. Accept the world as it is-and simply try to find a few moments of peace in it. The reactionary tendency of such an outlook is easy to grasp. As the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek once quipped, "If Max Weber were alive today, he would definitely write a second, supplementary, volume to his Protestant Ethic, entitled The Taoist Ethic and the Spirit of Global Capitalism." And what a wonderful Kindle Single that would make!
why we disconnect matters: We can continue in today’s mode of treating disconnection as a way to recharge and regain productivity, or we can view it as a way to sabotage the addiction tactics of the acceleration-distraction complex that is Silicon Valley. The former approach is reactionary but the latter can lead to emancipation, especially if such acts of refusal give rise to genuine social movements that will make problems of time and attention part of their political agendas—and not just the subject of hand-wringing by the Davos-based spirituality brigades. Hopefully, these movements will then articulate alternative practices, institutions, and designs. If it takes an act of unplugging to figure out how to do it, let’s disconnect indeed. But let us not do it for the sake of reconnecting on the very same terms as before. We must be mindful of all this mindfulness.
Mineful Response, or The Rise of Corporatist Spirituality
from reversesvia The Page
Víctor Rodríguez Núñez
translated from the Spanish by Katherine M. Hedeen
[outsides or the groundhog gorges on twilight]
the mountain against an assonant sky
at the point of quartering in its blue fixedness
air crystalizes black coal cedars
and horses scare off the cold
instead of flies
advance like syllables
at the edge of the sonnet figurative lake
and break formation
when crossing the snowdrop
of an enjambment blind ditch
everything still to be done
the sign leaking through three branches
essentialized by wind and corrected by snow
they tempt the frogs the only string
stuffed with yellow flowers the groundhog
has once more become drive
yesterday weary sycamores fell
and starlings in flight
stir up the shadow charring
the fear that's come back frightened from outside?
March 03, 2014
Vanquished 1930Emily Carrd. March 2, 1945Words without Borders March 2014:Writing from VenezuelaStanding StonesMaría Auxiliadora Álvarez Translated from Spanish by Catherine Hammond everything I want to tell you son Is that you should go through suffering If you come to its shore if its shore comes to you Enter its night and let yourself sink its gulp may drink you down its foam overwhelm you Let go let yourself go Everything I want to tell you son On the other side of suffering Another shore lies there you will find great stone slabs One of these bears your carved form etched with your ancient mark Where you in your fullness will fit exactly these are not tombs son They are standing stones with their small engraved suns and their crevices and cracks
Vortice1914Giacomo Ballad. March 1, 1958
Currently at the electronic book review[a] series of short interventions were made at the “Futures of Electronic Literature” discussion at the bi-annual Electronic Literature Organization conference in 2012. Titled “Electrifying Literature: Affordances and Constraints,” the conference took place at West Virginia Universityamong the offerings -The Ode to Translation or the Outcry Over the Untranslatable Natalia FedorovaELO: Theory, Practice, and Activism Claire Donato dELO: Affordances and Constraints Samantha GormanA Tag, Not a Folder Ian HatcherLiterature in a State of Emergency Davin HeckmanAgainst Desire: Excess, Disgust and the Sign in Electronic Literature Brian Kim Stefans
The Occupied Times 24 [pdf]
In mainstream political discourse, words like “insane”, “loony” and “crazy” are frequently used by politicians and media in an effective process of political othering. Those (other than the state) who commit “violence” or anyone from perceived ‘extreme’ poles of left or right can be safely discounted from the ‘grown-up’ arena of the possible, occupied by all who uphold a politics of common sense in which the future is impossible. Who could deny the immanent sanity of liberal democracy? Mental health charities and media campaigners bolster this process of discursive containment with a language of ‘inclusivity’ and empty PR. In doing so, they make the ‘vulnerable’ and ‘marginalised’ into pleading victims, sanitising an anger that should instead be weaponised. The conditions of late capitalism, left unmentioned and unanalysed throughout mainstream discourse surrounding “the modern epidemic of mental illness”, are practically tailor-made for the mass production of stressed, insecure, isolated and alienated subjects. Whether it’s the systemic centrality of personal debt, the casualisation and precarisation of the labour market or the concerted attacks on those claiming social security, neoliberalism is a factory for the production of misery.
There is little that connects our lives more than a shared sense of alienation. An alienation of the body and the mind that stems from how we are forced to relate: to work, to space, to nature, to the state and to each other. Popular imagery has the alienated figure of ‘The Madman’ wearing a sandwich board, walking around Oxford Street or Times Square, proclaiming loudly “THE END IS NIGH!”. But given factors such as the round-the-clock climate extremes experienced globally, does this not now seem perfectly rational? Within this situation it is impossible to sustain the pretense that states of mind conform to the grammar of brain chemistry; that any resistance to the order of things is not the sign of competing ideology, but of a pathology. What is an ordered mind? Perhaps the question is upside down. What would madness be in a world with uprooted power structures, reimagined language and transformed social relations?
The love of stuffThe problem with our society is not that it values material things too much but that it doesn’t value them enough Nick ThorpeaeonIf Western consumer culture sometimes resembles a bulimic binge in which we taste and then spew back things that never quite nourish us, the ascetic, anorexic alternative of rejecting materialism altogether will leave us equally starved. Who, then, can teach me how to celebrate my possessions with the mindful, celebratory spirit of a gourmet?
'Mimicry synoptic' or 'Spring'Giacomo Balla 1915Marcella DurandIn This World Previous to Ours Marcella Durandconjunctions Divided as half of me is small and distant. The other tongue talks of exterior objects, while this one speaks of water and limitation. Neither understands the other and while looking for a translator the street ends the clock changes. Drummers gather, crowd like a meteor, a crush. Tongue only delivers, does not listen, stone deaf. All talking makes a crowd plural agitation. Stand here and see the river an entirely different way: Under water is air and through air, passage. Color is another wave that takes sand, rocks, bridge. Water will reflect everything but what is inside it. It is like that, trying to describe it. Like that, I scramble along a shore catching up to the crowds, people standing there, each one a stranger, what do I have to say to them? I want to tell them, but language has divided; we stand divided, each another point, a line.Three poems in Jacket Five Poems at readme Four Poems at How2 Four Poems at Lemon HoundMarcella Durand at PennSound
Jacques Roubaud interviewed by Marcella Durandbomb
R I write every night. I never correct, I never go back—I just go on and on. Everything I speak about is, in a way, linked to the old abandoned project. I want to say something about it, but I digress as soon as I start saying something, because I remember something else that I then begin to explain, and so on. So the structure is a bit meandering. I begin The Loop with a very old childhood image of snow in Carcassonne, where snow is very rare. I’m in my room and it’s very cold outside. At night there’s frost on the windowpane—I write and make pictures on it. So that’s the image: there’s an outer and an inner space, memory and the present. That’s the first image of the book, which at the end, returns to it. MD I also thought of this book as extending the invitation in The Great Fire of London that the reader trust that events are true as they unfold in your writing. JR And if they’re not true (I make mistakes), at least the events are told truthfully, as I remember them. MD There you talk about renku, an endless sequence of haikus—a perpetual form. JR The difference between The Loop and the haiku and the renku forms in the The Great Fire of London is that there the writing goes on and on, but it never goes back. In The Loop, my memory changes all the time, but from time to time it also goes back. But when I return to a memory, I do not come back to the same point—the memory has changed.
Basil Bunting b. March 1, 1900Chorus Of FuriesBasil BuntingGuarda mi disse, le feroce ErineLet us come upon him first as if in a dream, anonymous triple presence, memory made substance and tally of heart’s rot: then in the waking Now be demonstrable, seem sole aspect of being’s essence, coffin to the living touch, self’s Iscariot. Then he will loath the year’s recurrent long caress without hope of divorce, envying idiocy’s apathy or the stress of definite remorse. He will lapse into a halflife lest the taut force of the mind’s eagerness recall those fiends or new apparitions endorse his excessive distress. He will shrink, his manhood leave him, slough selfaware the last skin of the flayed: despair. He will nurse his terror carefully, uncertain even of death’s solace, impotent to outpace dispersion of the soul, disruption of the brain.
Basil Bunting at PennSoundBriggflatts - Part IBasil Bunting
Every birth a crime, every sentence life. Wiped of mould and mites would the ball run true? No hope of going back. Hounds falter and stray, shame deflects the pen. Love murdered neither bleeds nor stifles but jogs the draftsman’s elbow. What can he, changed, tell her, changed, perhaps dead? Delight dwindles. Blame stays the same. Brief words are hard to find, shapes to carve and discard: Bloodaxe, king of York, king of Dublin, king of Orkney. Take no notice of tears; letter the stone to stand over love laid aside lest insufferable happiness impede flight to Stainmore, to trace lark, mallet, becks, flocks and axe knocks. Dung will not soil the slowworm’s mosaic. Breathless lark drops to nest in sodden trash; Rawthey truculent, dingy. Drudge at the mallet, the may is down, fog on fells. Guilty of spring and spring’s ending amputated years ache after the bull is beef, love a convenience. It is easier to die than to remember. Name and date split in soft slate a few months obliterate.
February 28, 2014
You are an old man plodding along a narrow country road. You have been out since break of day and now it is evening. Sole sound in the silence your footfalls. Rather sole sounds for they vary from one to the next. You listen to each one and add it in your mind to the growing sum of those that went before. You halt with bowed head on the verge of the ditch and convert into yards. On the basis now of two steps per yard. So many since dawn to add to yesterday's. To yesteryear's. To yesteryears'. Days other than today and so akin. The giant tot in miles. In leagues. How often round the earth already. Halted too at your elbow these computations your father's shade. In his old tramping rags. Finally on side by side from nought anew.
- Samuel Beckett, Company
Culture Machine Vol 14 (2013)
edited by Joss Hands, Greg Elmer and Ganaele Langlois
Introduction: Politics, Power and ‘platformativity
’Joss HandsThe Internet is vanishing: as its ubiquity increases, it has also become less and less visible in the production and experiences of network culture. Indeed, many of the operations that used to typify the Internet are now funnelled through so-called ‘platforms’. We do not have a single Internet anymore, but rather a multiplicity of distinct platforms, which in this issue are broadly defined as online ‘cloud’-based software modules that act as portals to diverse kinds of information, with nested applications that aggregate content, often generated by ‘users’ themselves. These are characteristics often associated with ‘Web 2.0’ in marketing and popular discourses; discourses that are wholly inadequate for a serious critical engagement with the politics of platforms. ‘Platform’ is a useful term because it is a broad enough category to capture a number of distinct phenomena, such as social networking, the shift from desktop to tablet computing, smart phone and ‘app’-based interfaces as well as the increasing dominance of centralised cloud-based computing. The term is also specific enough to indicate the capturing of digital life in an enclosed, commercialized and managed realm. As Eugenia Siapera points out in her article included in this issue, the roots of ‘platform studies’ in gaming and operating systems need to be extended to include digital platforms of all kinds. Therefore, while the presence of the Internet must not be forgotten, theories of network culture need to be supplemented with new frameworks and paradigms.
b. 28 February 1946
Media Tropes Vol 4, No 1 (2013):
Deleuze / Foucault: A Neoliberal DiagramTweets Speak: Indefinite Discipline in the Age of TwitterEditorial Introduction: Neoliberal Diagrammatics and Digital Control
Matthew Tiessen, Greg Elmer
The objective of this special issue of MediaTropes - guest edited by Matthew Tiessen and Greg Elmer of the Infoscape Research Lab at Ryerson University - is to probe the edges and depths of what we call the “neoliberal diagram.” We define the neoliberal diagram as that panoply of factors that today constitute the relations of forces that pre-condition the range of potentials available to life in all its forms. This diagram is constituted by actors that include global governance institutions; national governments; international financial conglomerates (to whom, it is becoming clearer, governments are frequently obligated); globally surveilled Internet infrastructures; and corporations of worldwide reach, scope, and power. Through policy, projected military power, financial sleight-of-hand, and generalized public consent, power is consolidated in ways that are increasingly unavoidable and irrepressible
Steven James MayAbstractIPO 2.0: The Panopticon Goes Public
This article explains how three North American police services have extended technologies of discipline via the monitoring and use of Twitter during and between mega-events such as the 2010 Toronto G20 Summit. Taking as case studies the 2009 Pittsburgh G20 Summit, Toronto's G20 Summit in 2010, and the 2011 Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City, the Twitter-related arrests of activists at these mega-events reveal the ongoing work of maintaining indefinite discipline in North America. Furthermore, this articles shows that any citizen's decision to share, or not to share, information on Twitter (information otherwise often publicly available) at any time also falls within the scope of ongoing surveillance of Twitter, where users of the platform find themselves increasingly complicit in the work of their own discipline.
Greg ElmerAbstractMonetary Mediations and the Overcoding of Potential: Nietzsche, Deleuze & Guattari and How the Affective Diagrammatics of Debt Have Gone Global
To suggest that privacy is dead is not to revel in or encourage its demise, nor even to claim that it is not a desirable outcome, right, or valued policy. Rather, what this paper suggests is that in certain circumstances (increasingly on social media platforms) the privacy of users now stands in direct opposition to the stated goals and logic of the technology in question. One need not give up certain goals of privacy to recognize that business models of online companies like Facebook and Google are now entirely predicated upon the act of going public--there would be no Google search engine or Facebook social networking platform without the content, information, and demographic profiles uploaded, revised, updated, and shared by billions of users worldwide. This paper then offers some initial thoughts on a theory of publicity, of going public in the social media age. If social media platforms are governed by ubiquitous surveillance and continuous uploading and sharing of personal information, opinions, habits, and routines, then privacy would seem only to be a hindrance to these processes. To ignore such clear mission statements, coupled with repetitive attempts to undermine, display, and obfuscate so-called privacy settings, would seem disingenuous at best, and willfully blind at worst. These online platforms profit from publicity and suffer from stringent privacy protocols--their whole raison d’être is to learn as much as possible about users in order to aggregate and then sell such profiled and clustered information to advertisers and marketers. Can we really conclude that such businesses violate users’ privacy when their platforms are in the first and last instance wired for ubiquitous publicity? Or more to the point, do privacy-based perspectives provide an adequate framework for understanding users’ relationships with social media platforms and their parent companies?
In this paper I focus on the affective dimension of debt and its primary mode of dissemination--privately and digitally created credit money. To do so, I examine the age-old--though increasingly visible--relationship between debtor and creditor, a relationship that today is (re)defining social, cultural, and political relations by (re)distributing power along a financially inflected debtor/creditor continuum. My aim is to focus not merely on the affectively charged nature of the creditor/debtor relationship, but to consider more closely the nonhuman agency or desire of credit-money itself. My suggestion is that contemporary credit-money can compellingly be understood as a sophisticated technology of dispossession and that today’s money-machine, which necessitates and gives rise to the infrastructure that supports it, affects the social landscape by pre-conditioning it, by opaquely overcoding the relationship between debtor and creditor on a grand scale (but also imperceptibly), until finally debt saturation, through the extension of credit, precipitates a credit crisis at which time all is revealed: that the creditor holds all the cards, that the debtor holds none, and no matter how much desire the debtor has to repay the exponentially compounding debts, the debtor’s future is, and will be forever, foreclosed by the promise to repay.
William Degouve de Nuncques
Philosophy and Desert Islands:“Geographers say thereare two kinds of islands. This is valuable information for theimagination because it confirms what the imagination already knew.”
The Great Escape: What We're Really Thinking About When Travel to a Desert Island
“To dream of islands, whether with joy or in fear, is to dream of pulling away, of being already separate, far from any continent, of being lost and alone, or to dream of starting from scratch, recreating, beginning anew”, Deleuze continues.
To be in a desert island is to live in the idea of desertedness, to prolong its life of it being desert, empty. This doesn’t mean you have to bealone in it, though the shipwrecked always are (in literature, only uponlanding until the natives appear from the bushes), but perhaps you haveto understand the idea that maintains its image as being deserted. If you remember film The Beach , this is certainly the case. The presenceof a seemingly invisible, utopic community living on a desert islandtrying to create an alternate mode of living. As much as the boundariesof the island are absolute, so is the form of “government” that becomesnestled there. Can we go to a desert island and allow it to remaindeserted? Or is our sheer presence already a civilizing act? Can we go tothe island and resist making it our home?
William Degouve de Nuncques
b. February 28, 1867
Richard Hoffman at the Poetry FoundationStultifera Navis (Ship of Fools)
In the broken city of bread under guard,
our motives remaining subject to revision,
we were modified and sentenced. Period.
We had the right to remain silenced.
We had the right to consider the lilies
in the florist’s window. Missionaries
and recruiters taught us history, left us
freedom to choose a god to petition
from the pull-down menu. We went right in,
sat down before a screen. In no time
we were finished and felt relieved.
We liked what we believed we saw.
Licking our sordid fortunes we were sent.
Portions of the future have been pre-recorded.
We ferried our sullen sirens to the rocks and
handed them the music we composed so long ago
(of crooners’ modulated vowels sustained vibrato
and jingles for soap and beer that came to occupy
our parents’ minds) we had, already, forgotten.
We set the time when they would shed their ever
filthier silence, wired, a lyric bomb, and sing.
It wasn’t magic. Even our amnesia was strategic.
O land I love! I was born to your bright promise
and the hard terms of your peace. What I want’s
to be your one and only, take me in your arms
and gimme, baby. Gimme weregild of the slain
enslaved, the backpay of the disappeared, gemstones
someone’s bound to wear, it may as well be me.
February 27, 2014
The Street Enters the House1911Umberto Boccioni 1882 - 1916Is cultural imperialism the wrong phrase to describe Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp? On the surface, it certainly sounds absurd. WhatsApp was, after all, yet another Silicon Valley company that was simply swallowed up by the Valley company par excellence. Typical Palo Alto incest, sure, but imperialism? Yet, it was the term that leapt to mind as soon as I heard the news. Like millions of people, my family, a diaspora scattered across the globe, uses WhatsApp to stay in touch despite the immense geographic distances that separate us. Now that a company like Facebook owns it, it feels a bit like your favourite band selling out. Even if, in truth, there never really was any pure state to begin with, it still feels odd that a thing that was an intimate part of your life has now been sucked up into the contemporary emblem of the evil empire. But if we felt a similar kind of “death of indie” with the purchases of Flickr, Instagram, and others, WhatsApp is unique in that its explosive growth has come in large part because of people, like my family, who are from what we tend to refer to as “emerging markets.” If WhatsApp is ostensibly just one more American company buying another, the optics are different because the user base is full of non-Western, non-white people. Just because it isn’t imperialism per se, it doesn’t mean it can’t give off uncomfortable echoes of it.
The north-southGino Severini d. February 26, 1966From "Mozart's Third Brain"Göran Sonnevi Translated by Rika LesserLXXX Dance is born out of the deepest interior of our bodies As if the light there were streaming out, out of each body part's smallest movement We hear gasping breaths We behold mouths open in trance Out of them light also issues, in the whirling darkness The stone falls through millennia The clear water's darkness deeper and deeper But the vanishing is only apparent The construction of enormity grows and grows In its transparency Pain's nadir, deeper and deeper At its zenith Identification with pain, annihilation of pain, is impossible And yet it's there Like the entrance into darkness May I touch your darkness? I would so like to Forms of power move in the invisible Even the anti-empire has power, I understand Together we have the power to sublate power, I im- agined once Even if only within ourselves But there is no way to place oneself outside Night has no limit It is toward infinity I want to go Unimaginably What takes place in this thinking substance? The play of the mind's faculties, the dance, across the inner, shimmering surfaces For me there was no limit For me there is no limit, except at the instant of snapping, even were it endlessly stretched We will meet in the silence, after the dance What does the voice communicate? As if I never knew in advance It comes with all its potentials Invisible Out of its fold, foldings, a face peers as if it were Harlequin-Mozart The great darkness of the eyes! Also their smile Quick, friendly We can be like that too My vision is now given to the Eye-Brain Yours, you who look at me, out of your femininity, half turned away, almost with your back to me So that we will not burn up? I hear your voice It exists in the vast play of the voices, their light What kind of movement up from death? Is such a thing possible at all? A flame rises from the ashes, dances, offers itself, its body in its moments of stillness, a prayer Coiling into itself Unwinding again Returning to the ruins of silence
TwilightUmberto Boccioni 1909
What comes after real subsumption?Jodi Dean
It seems to me like we actually get something like "after real subsumption" when we see capital flight and abandonment, environmental desolation, even capital's investment in class maintenance rather than production (stock buybacks, executive compensation, speculative finance, charitable foundations). There are moments of localized capitalist breakdown which the system routes around, often doubling in on itself in the process. Over the last several hundred years, capital has been able to destroy much of what it has accumulated and begin again. These cycles have a limit point, a point where what's been destroyed creates such waste that it's no longer worth trying to do anything with it. Capital would just rather leave -- abandoned buildings, towns, cities, regions, continents.
For now, I'll call this phase after real subsumption "absolute subsumption." Capital goes through itself and turns into an execrable remainder, the non-capitalizable, that which is completely without use or value. It can't be exchanged. In fact, it stains, corrupts, or damages whatever it touches -- like nuclear waste. It is utterly bereft of potentiality. Rather than being completely after real subsumption, absolute subsumption emerges within it over time.
In this inversion of capital into its opposite, the opposite of capital isn't labor, it's the non-capitalizable remainder that lacks potential. Does this lack imply that absolute subsumption is without people or that it's a condition in which people find themselves? It could be that proletariat is an appropriate name for the people of absolute subsumption.Silent Salute of Poetry Ryoichi Wago Translated by Koichiro Yamauchi and Steve Redfordthe floor
Running like the wind across the springtime countryside and mountain fields. Because the plants, the flowers are sprouting, budding, the thin tips of twigs are inviting the season. Feeling the breathing of storm, light, and clouds. Beethoven’s 9th Symphony is resounding. I’m a speeding conductor. What’s a silent salute? What’s a silent salute of poetry? Whizzing over the mountain fields, over the countryside, across the bottom of the blue sky, my mind turns furiously. What’s the meaning of a silent salute? What does it mean for poetry to salute silently? The storm, the light and the clouds. A break in the clouds. A deer’s cry. What does the bridge try to connect from this shore to that shore? What does the bridge try to convey from this shore to that shore? What does the bridge try to bring from that shore to this shore? Crossing a bridge, crossing a bridge… Chasing the light. Chasing the wolf-shaped light. Chasing the wind-shaped light. Chasing the road-shaped light. Chasing the light shaped like you. The light shaped like the heart is dazzling. Chasing the light shaped like paddies and fields. Chasing the world-shaped light. Embracing (in my arms) the prayer-shaped light. The spring blue sky.
February 26, 2014
Off Pier Head
b. February 26, 1836
Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking
Out of the cradle endlessly rocking,
Out of the mocking-bird's throat, the musical shuttle,
Out of the Ninth-month midnight,
Over the sterile sands and the fields beyond, where the child leaving his bed wander'd alone, bareheaded, barefoot,
Down from the shower'd halo,
Up from the mystic play of shadows twining and twisting as if they were alive,
Out from the patches of briers and blackberries,
From the memories of the bird that chanted to me,
From your memories sad brother, from the fitful risings and fallings I heard,
From under that yellow half-moon late-risen and swollen as if with tears,
From those beginning notes of yearning and love there in the mist,
From the thousand responses of my heart never to cease,
From the myriad thence-arous'd words,
From the word stronger and more delicious than any,
From such as now they start the scene revisiting,
As a flock, twittering, rising, or overhead passing,
Borne hither, ere all eludes me, hurriedly,
A man, yet by these tears a little boy again,
Throwing myself on the sand, confronting the waves,
I, chanter of pains and joys, uniter of here and hereafter,
Taking all hints to use them, but swiftly leaping beyond them,
A reminiscence sing.
Word up (PoemTalk #74)
Whitman's 'Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking' as performed by Basil BuntingAmy King, Julia Bloch, and Tom Pickard — before a live audience — joined Al Filreis to discuss Basil Bunting’s 1977 performance of Walt Whitman’s “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking.”
b. February 23, 1879
Agonism, Pluralism, and Contemporary Capitalism
An Interview with William E. Connolly
with Mark Wenman
presented at synthetic_zero... the other side of the theory is that many of the same forces that create opportunities to extend and heighten pluralism today also intensify the anxieties of those who resent the presence of living counter-examples to their own identities, faiths and household practices. Today pressures to pluralize and to fundamentalize the present encounter each other. This is a struggle that goes on within as well as between us.
If you treat a theory as a ‘problematic’, consisting of multiple, connected elements with loose ends, remainders and paradoxes, to that extent you see how the master tool of critique advanced by rationalists and dialecticians easily devolves into a mode of self-conceit. To change a theory involves many things, including work on the visceral register of prejudgment that becomes sedimented into as us as we breathe the air, absorb the culture, encounter new events, and experience bouts of suffering, rebuke, praise, and exaltation.
While I have paid more attention to Deleuze recently, my debt to all three (Foucault, Nietzsche, and Deleuze) is fundamental. Together they advance what I call a philosophy of immanent naturalism, placing it in contention with other philosophies of the day on the ontological, ethical, religious, and political registers. They help to set an ethic of cultivation into competition with the morality of duty; and they provide cues to follow as we enter into the live experiments upon the visceral register such an orientation suggests, both with ourselves through techniques of the self and with and others and ourselves together through micropolitics. Each plays up the visceral register of relational life while refusing to link it authoritatively to a divine injunction.
Critical responsiveness is the twin of agonistic respect. If agonistic respect speaks to relations between already established constituencies, critical responsiveness is a civic virtue to practice when a movement seeks to move an incipient identity, faith, right, or sense of the good from below the threshold of articulation, legitimacy, and justice onto those registers. ‘Incipient’ here means a pluripotential movement underway, rather than something that is implicit. Critical responsiveness speaks to the politics of becoming or pluralization, during those protean moments when it is in the middle of self-exploration and consolidation. When you are on the initiating side of becoming, your own feeling-imbued ideas and judgments often change as the movement unfolds. When you are on the receiving end you may find some sedimented judgments about nature, biology, morality, the good, rights, or the cultural limits of diversity jostled or disturbed by the new movement. By internalizing a portion of that disturbance you allow the injuries that occasioned the movement, your own assumptions about universality in one or two of the above domains, your presumptive care for the diversity of being, and your concern to redress suffering to reverberate back and forth for a time. On some occasions you may find your thinking about rights or identity loosening up in this way or that, allowing you to admit a new candidate onto the register of legitimacy, even if you yourself do not seek to exercise, say, the new right you embrace. Millions of people go through this ringer from time to time.
Bureau and Room
The Village: The Seasons
L. E. Sissman
I. January 22, 1932
Could a four-year-old look out of a square sedan
(A Studebaker Six in currency green
With wooden artillery wheels) and see a scene
Of snow, light lavender, landing on deepening blue
Buildings built out of red-violet bricks, and black
Passersby passing by over the widening white
Streets darkening blue, under a thickening white
Sky suddenly undergoing sheer twilight,
And the yellow but whitening streetlights coming on,
And remember it now, though the likelihood is gone
That it ever happened at all, and the Village is gone
That it ever could happen in? Memory, guttering out,
Apparently, finally flares up and banishes doubt.
IV. July 14, 1951
To sleep, perchance to dream of winter in
The Village, fat with its full complement
Of refugees returned to their own turf—
Unspringy as it is—in a strong surf
Of retrogressing lemmings, faces fixed
On the unlovely birthplace of their mixed
Emotions, marriages, media, and met-
Aphors. Lord God of hosts, be with them yet.
The Ever-Open Door
Illustration from Vedder's book
Doubt and other things
Alejandra Pizarnik: from Uncollected Poems (1962-1972)
Translation from Spanish & commentary by Cole Heinowitz
presented by Jerome RothenbergOn Silence I.
This little blue doll is my envoy in the world.
An orphan in the garden rain where a lilac-colored bird gobbles lilacs and a rose-colored bird gobbles roses.
I’m frightened of the grey wolf lurking in the rain.
Whatever you see, whatever can be taken away, is unspeakable.
Words bolt all doors.
I remember rambling through the sycamores …
But I can’t stop the drama—gas fills the chambers of my little doll’s heart.
I lived the impossible, destroyed by the impossible.
Oh, the banality of my evil passions,
enslaved by ancient tenderness.
...(more)Night, The Poem...(more)
If you find your true voice, bring it to the land of the dead. There is kindness in the ashes. And terror in non-identity. A little girl lost in a ruined house, this fortress of my poems.
I write with the blind malice of children pelting a madwoman, like a crow, with stones. No—I don’t write: I open a breach in the dusk so the dead can send messages through.
What is this job of writing? To steer by mirror-light in darkness. To imagine a place known only to me. To sing of distances, to hear the living notes of painted birds on Christmas trees.
My nakedness bathed you in light. You pressed against my body to drive away the great black frost of night.
My words demand the silence of a wasteland.
Some of them have hands that grip my heart the moment they’re written. Some words are doomed like lilacs in a storm. And some are like the precious dead—even if I still prefer to all of them the words for the doll of a sad little girl.
Doubt and other things
available in many formats at the internet archive
February 25, 2014
What Do We Actually Want Social Media to Do? Navneet AlangHazlittWhat do we actually want social media to do? It’s a testament to how deeply Facebook et al. have penetrated our lives that the question itself sounds strange. To ask “What’s the hot new thing in social media?” sounds reasonable. But less than a decade into its existence, “What do we want social media to do?” already sounds like a question asked by an alien. It sounds odd, in part, because it presumes we have (or ever even had) a choice. But I ask now because the tea leaves of the Internet seem to be at least temporarily resolving into something clear: we’re about to embark on the next phase of social media. Facebook, Twitter, and others are not only becoming more like each other, but also more similar to the media they sought to replace. Dedicated apps are about to be the new normal, as the many functions of social networks splinter off into smaller chunks. New forms are emerging, from ephemeral messaging to apps just for two . But hovering above it all, another question: what does a world in which social relations are structured by the vision of Silicon Valley actually look like?
Edward Gorey b. February 22, 1925
Power, Privacy, and the Internet October 30–31, 2013Simon Head, director of programs for The New York Review of Books Foundation, addressed the theme of the conference:The Internet is a transformative technology of our times and it is changing our lives as perhaps nothing else has done since the coming of the telephone, the telegraph, and the mass production automobile a century and more ago. Where the Internet surpasses these earlier technologies is in the speed with which its reach is expanding—in our contacts with one another through Twitter and Facebook, in what we read, hear, and buy; in our dealings with business, government, colleges and schools, and they in their dealings with us. Whether we like it or not we are caught up in these flows of technology and as we are carried along by the flows, some barely visible to us, it becomes increasingly difficult to stand back and distinguish between what is good about these innovations and what is not.We are pleased to present the following recordings from the event.
Durham Cathedral circa 1865-1895A. D. White Architectural Photographs
via (OvO)which has been featuring bridges for the past week or so.
Accelerationist Aesthetics: Necessary Inefficiency in Times of Real Subsumption Steven Shaviroe-fluxI cite
Analytic philosophers of mind (...) have spent decades trying to argue that aesthetic experience—or what they more often call “inner sensation,” or the experience of “qualia,” or “consciousness” tout court—doesn’t really exist. As Wittgenstein famously phrased it: “A wheel that can be turned though nothing else moves with it, is not part of the mechanism.” Later thinkers have transformed Wittgenstein’s puzzlement about inner experience into dogmatic denial that it can be anything other than an illusion. But the basic point still stands. Aesthetics marks the strange persistence of what (to quote Wittgenstein again) “is not a Something, but not a Nothing either!”3 Aesthetic experience is not part of any cognitive mechanism—even though it is never encountered apart from such a mechanism. What is the role of aesthetics, then, today? I said that beauty cannot be subsumed; yet we live in a time when financial mechanisms subsume everything there is. Capitalism has moved from “formal subsumption” to “real subsumption.” These terms, originally coined in passing by Marx, have been taken up and elaborated by thinkers in the Italian Autonomist tradition, most notably Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. For Marx, it is labor that is “subsumed” under capital. In formal subsumption, capital appropriates, and extracts a surplus from, labor processes that precede capitalism, or that at the very least are not organized by capitalism. In real subsumption, there is no longer any such autonomy; labor itself is directly organized in capitalist terms (think of the factory and the assembly line).
We have moved from a situation of extrinsic exploitation, in which capital subordinated labor and subjectivity to its purposes, to a situation of intrinsic exploitation, in which capital directly incorporates labor and subjectivity within its own processes. This means that labor, subjectivity, and social life are no longer “outside” capital and antagonistic to it. Rather, they are immediately produced as parts of it. They cannot resist the depredations of capital, because they are themselves already functions of capital. This is what leads us to speak of such things as “social capital,” “cultural capital,” and “human capital”: as if our knowledge, our abilities, our beliefs, and our desires had only instrumental value, and needed to be invested. Everything we live and do, everything we experience, is quickly reduced to the status of “dead labour, that, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks.” Under a regime of real subsumption, every living person is transformed into a capital stock that must not lie fallow, but has to be profitably invested. The individual is assumed—and indeed compelled—to be, as Foucault puts it, “an entrepreneur, an entrepreneur of himself … being for himself his own capital, being for himself his own producer, being for himself the source of [his] earnings.”
The Exhausted Gilles Deleuze translated by Anthony UhlmanPDF available at -synthetic_zero
Exhaustion is altogether different: you combine the set of variables of a situation, provided you renounce all order of preference and all organization of goal, all signification. It is no longer so as to go out or stay in, and you no longer make use of days and nights. You no longer realize, even though you accomplish. In shoes you stay in, in slippers you go out. That does not mean that you fall into indifferentiation, or into the celebrated identified contraries, and you are not passive: you press on, but toward nothing. You were tired by something, but exhausted by nothing. The disjunctions subsist, and the distinction of terms may even be more and more crude, but the disconnected terms assert themselves through their nondecomposable distance, since all they are good for is permutation.Of an event, in general terms, it's enough to say that it is possible, since it does not happen without intermingling with nothing and abolishing the real to which it lays claim. There is only possible existence. It is night, it is not night, it is raining, it is not raining. "Yes, I was my father and I was my son." The disjunction has become inclusive, everything divides, but within itself, and God, who is the ensemble of the possible, intermingles with Nothing, of which each thing is a modification. "[S]imple games that time plays with space, now with these toys, and now with those" (Watt, 71). Beckett's protagonists play with the possible without realizing it; they are too involved with a possibility that is more and more restricted in kind to care about what is still happening. The permutation of "sucking stones" in Molloy is one of the better known texts. Even as early as Murphy the hero gives himself over to the combinatorial [la combinatoire] of five small biscuits, but on condition of having vanquished all preferential order and of having conquered in this way the 120 modes of the total permutability:Overcome by these perspectives Murphy fell forward on his face in the grass, beside those biscuits of which it could be said as truly as of the stars, that one differed from another, but of which he could not partake in their fullness until he had learnt not to prefer any one to any other. (Murphy, 57)I would prefer not to [English in original], in the Beckettian formula of Bartleby. All of Beckett's work is pervaded by exhaustive [exhaustives] series, that is to say exhausting [epuisantes], notably Watt, with its series of footwear (sock-stocking, boot-shoe-slipper), or of furniture (tallboy- dressing-table-night-table-washstand, on its feet-on its head-on its face-on its back-on its side, bed-door-window-fire: fifteen thousand arrangements) (Watt, 200-202, 204-206).9 Watt is the great serial novel, where Mr. Knott, with no other need than to be without need, does not reserve any combination for a singular use that would exclude others- whose circumstances are yet to come.
Holy Well Bridge Miltown Malbay, Co. Clareca. 1865-1914Robert French 1841-1917The Lawrence Collection 40,000 glass plate negatives from 1870-1914
The lodestone of my internal compass instantaneously demagnetized. The fear that I might not be making sense, and that even if I was, my words could summarily be declared gibberish at any time without examination, at the whim of any jerk with an engorged but brittle ego and a sadistic streak, stoked my already considerable anxiety regarding my basic linguistic and cognitive competency, and profoundly destabilized my sense of self to the degree that I was stupefied. When I left his office, I hardly knew which direction to take and my otoliths were so rattled that I couldn’t make my way down the street in a straight line or walk without stumbling. It’s a wonder I found my way home without being hit by a car. This was much more than an attack on my psyche and a semi-public humiliation: he was fucking with some critical areas of my brain, and it was a calculated attack. I couldn’t have been made to feel more stupid and worthless, and he knew it. He set me up and sucker-punched me, and I walked out of his office disoriented and reeling just as sure as if he’d actually slammed me in the solar plexus with his fist. The fact is that I sometimes have experienced what to me are alarming cognitive and linguistic fluctuations, even disintegration and destruction, to a greater or lesser degree, with consequent destabilization and destruction of my identity; most frequently triggered or exacerbated by external factors on the order of what I describe here. Though my powers of thought and expression are always in need of correction, development and strengthening, and circumscribed by my inherent cognitive and linguistic deficits – if I actually don’t make sense, that’s one thing; but whether by force or by subtler forms of coercion, it’s quite another for someone in the throes of his or her own cognitive-linguistic anxiety and lust to dominate, to act as high priest or priestess of a jealous language g-d of the gap and turn me into my own g*d ambulatory Tower of Babel,4 or strike me mute.
February 24, 2014
(Der irrende Ritter)
d. February 22, 1980
On The Bank
translated from the Russian by Robert Chandler
......But in all truth
the water’s language was a wonder,
a story of some kind about some thing,
some unchanging thing that seemed
like starlight, like the swift flash of mica,
like a divination of disaster.
And in it was something from childhood,
from not being used to counting life in years,
from what is nameless
and comes at night before you dream,
from the terrible, vegetable
sense of self
of your first season.
That’s how the water was that day,
and its speech was without rhyme or reason.
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
F. W. Murnau
fromvia The Page
I will look at . . .
Translated from French by John Ashbery
From the forthcoming Collected French Translations: Poetry by John Ashbery
I will look at
the windows of my house
I will foresee
the return of the sun
I will see
on evenings when the moon is full
in my bedroom
in broad daylight
I can’t sleep
would be happy
1940 - 2007
Extreme Poverty Has Been Used to Divide and Terrify Working People for Centuries
Frances Fox Piven
excerpted from Imagine Living in a Socialist USA, a new book from HarperCollins edited by Frances Goldin, Debby Smith and Michael Steven Smith(....)
It seems high time to think about alternatives to the capitalist behemoth. I don’t know whether we will ultimately call the new ways of organizing our society "socialist," but the values that have inspired movements for socialism in the past should inform our search. Those values include a society with sharply reduced inequalities in both material circumstances and social status. Socialist movements also aspire to lessen the grinding toil now imposed on those who work for wages. They dream of an inclusive culture. They fight for democratic practices and policies in which influence is widely shared. And they believe in eliminating the pervasive terror in everyday life that is produced by the exigencies of capitalist markets and the arbitrary power of the state regimes that support those markets.
Extreme poverty and its institutionalized insults have been used to divide and terrify working people for centuries. Now, with shrinking wages, work becoming more insecure and irregular, and the escalation of the war against unions, extreme poverty has again increased. So have its uses to intimidate the workers who are still managing to stay afloat. This strategy has been boldest in the United States. ...(more)
1963-2013: A Civil Rights Retrospective
About Place Journal
a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society.From the assassination of Medgar Evers and the Birmingham Church bombing that killed four children in 1963 to the re-election of the first Black president, this issue contains challenging, provocative, compelling, and prophetic contributions in essays, poetry, lyrics, song, short fiction, photography, art, and video that reflect on a particular or general aspect of the ongoing struggle for civil rights. How far have we come as a country, and how have we regressed?via Richard Hoffman (Mnemosyne's Memes)
Alice in Wonderland