blog,personal commentary,reflections on the human condition,ephemera,notes from the underbelly
http://web.ncf.ca/ek867/wood_s_lot.html - Oct 22, 2014 1:14:24 PM - Nov 28, 2004 7:34:47 AM
October 21, 2014
The Gay Science1965R. B. Kitaj d. October 21, 2007
category mistakes Richard Marshall interviews Ofra MagidorOfra Magidor knows her days are not numbered but ochre underneath and that she’s the philosopher working out whether that is really true or not. She’s always thinking about category mistakes and about their two camps, about their relevance for linguistics and computer science, about what makes them odd, about why the idea that they’re syntactically ill-formed is wrong but more promising than some might think, about why they’re not meaningless, about why Wittgenstein is wrong on this, about the role of presuppositions, about pragmatism and semantics, about dynamic semantic theories, about truth-value gaps, about exciting projects in analytic philosophy and why women and non-whites are unrepresented in philosophy. Go sleep that pipe…
CaféRené Burri1961Wisdom has it that we should try to live in the present. But what happens when the present is all we have, with no right to forget the past or to seek a better future? Such is the predicament of a modern world overwhelmed by choice and distraction, where living with real presence is hard work. Literary theorist Hans Gumbrecht explains the wrench of an ever-expanding present.
The Quiddities "Take this from this, if this be otherwise": an essay on literary minutiae. Joe MilutisTriple CanopyHow is it that a word so attuned to our presence in a single moment has led us to such a comedy of absence? Is there a way to return to the shock of our thisness in the world, after we’ve moved through the humbling uncertainties of these notable thises? After all, each this—digitized, arrayed, and quantified, as if in a gallery of pronominal butterflies—tells us very little about its life, even though it’s animated every time we eye it.
This dwells in the ephemeral; it passes. When not pinned down, it announces freedom from meaning and interpretation; it “designates, but keeps silent,” as Roland Barthes has written. So try as we might to classify that freedom, we are left without words. But is the presentist philosophy announced by every this ill equipped to fathom the very world that allows one to access and organize these instances? When we make this speak, from the depths of its massive archive, what is the terrible sound? Is it everything that literature seeks to avoid, or everything it seeks to say?
Mystery of the Street1928Otto Umbehr(1902-1980)
The Alchemy of the World: Rimbaud and Revolutionary ArtificeBrian Kim StefansJournal of Poetics Research
While Rexroth’s misgivings — written in the heat of the Beat moment in 1957 — offer a valuable demystification of the life and work of the poet, Brecht’s earlier assessment provides rich ground for a consideration of Rimbaud’s work in relation to political thought. This essay compares Rimbaud’s conception of the ‘alchemy of the word’ with Veronica Forrest-Thomson’s idea of the ‘image-complex’ as she describes it in her 1978 study Poetic Artifice. Forrest-Thomson’s book provides a critical language for much of what is only implied in Rimbaud’s poem, in that it describes in semi-technical language the space of ‘non-meaning’ in a poem in which the worlds inside and outside a poem meet, while at the same time maintaining these dichotomies of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ — here and there — necessary for a theory of literary ‘alchemy.’ The work of American ‘language’ poets Charles Bernstein and Bruce Andrews is central to this argument, since their work is most singularly and directly concerned with the role the poet plays as arbiter of cultural values — whether as creator, destroyer, animator or aggravator.
OWS People's Library and Jorge Luis Borges Radical Politics, Heterotopic Spaces, and the Practice of Hope Sherrin Francesctheory
The permanency that participants seemed to be working toward that fall signaled an optimism that understandably shifted after the November raid. Jaime Taylor and Zachary Loeb, two original OWS librarians, write that while the library had a steady stream of foot traffic and contributions before and after the raid, after November 15 visitors typically "came with lamentations over the loss of the library proper rather than with book donations." Stephen Boyer, another OWS librarian and the OWS Poetry Anthology editor, later said, "we were all heartbroken mid-November, when the NYPD came and squashed the park." The fast rise and fall of the original People's Library installation was disheartening and signaled in many ways a loss of hope--not only for those directly involved, but also for like-minded and sympathetic readers across the U.S. Despite this abrupt and negative end, the emergence of the People's Library is much too meaningful to file away as a short-lived footnote within the OWS narrative. It is a complex, uncanny space, and a turn toward the similarly uncanny fiction of Jorge Luis Borges may help us to better understand its significance. Borges's work can be read as a metaphorical precursor to the People's Library. Metaphor, as Borges tells us, is the tool with which writers have traditionally "disordered the rigid universe," a disordering that the People's Library also seems to work toward. Borges's stories and the People's Library both embody a particular convergence of variables, and the spaces that emerge force important questions about distributions of power and coping mechanisms in the face of external, uncontrollable, political currents. A deeper understanding of the connection between Borges and the People's Library may even affect the structure of hope with which we face politics in the 21st century.
Frost at Midnight Samuel Taylor Coleridge b. Oct. 21, 1772 (....) ... Sea, hill, and wood, With all the numberless goings-on of life, Inaudible as dreams! the thin blue flame Lies on my low-burnt fire, and quivers not; Only that film, which fluttered on the grate, Still flutters there, the sole unquiet thing. Methinks its motion in this hush of nature Gives it dim sympathies with me who live, Making it a companionable form, Whose puny flaps and freaks the idling Spirit By its own moods interprets, every where Echo or mirror seeking of itself, And makes a toy of Thought.(....)
October 20, 2014
Old timber yard
1878 - 1953
Robert Walser: The Walk
from On Walking On
Forr Walser, a walk usually began by putting on a hat. Among a room of ghosts.
To the quiet end, if one could walk a lost. For Walser, to walk was to unfold
an origami bird as a door unfolds a world. If there was a child there, the sun spun,
and off he walked on that.
He knew that a planet, too, wanders, open, in a field of asters. And watched
the terror vanish, falling with the trees into darkness. You walk the dark to recall
a specific point in an argument in which you saw something delicate
fall apart. In fact, to pieces. Walser leaned down to pick something up from the
dusty road, and the dust, one by one, Walser thought the form of a road beautiful
in itself, citing that its joy exists outside of time, or rather beside it, so Walser
walked along the side of the road singing under his breath to the grass.
He thought a walk could be a masterpiece, which is a matter
of arrangement—the elements carefully chosen, a small hand,
another stand of trees, out of the corner of his eye, he saw
someone smiling. A walk brings things out, wraps them up
in glorious scents, holds them out at arms’ length and keeps
them there, just out of reach, perfecting the scene.
The shadowed hills: the Flinders Ranges
Variations on the Right to Remain Silent
A Public SpaceSilence is as important as words in the practice and study of translation. This may sound like a cliché. (I think it is a cliché. Perhaps we can come back to cliché.) There are two kinds of silence that trouble a translator: physical silence and metaphysical silence. Physical silence happens when you are looking at, say, a poem of Sappho’s inscribed on a papyrus from two thousand years ago that has been torn in half. Half the poem is empty space. A translator can signify or even rectify this lack of text in various ways—with blankness or brackets or textual conjecture—and she is justified in doing so because Sappho did not intend that part of the poem to fall silent. Metaphysical silence happens inside words themselves. And its intentions are harder to define. Every translator knows the point where one language cannot be translated into another. Take the word cliché. Cliché is a French borrowing, past participle of the verb clicher, a term from printing meaning “to make a stereotype from a relief printing surface.” It has been assumed into English unchanged, partly because using French words makes English-speakers feel more intelligent and partly because the word has imitative origins (it is supposed to mimic the sound of the printer’s die striking the metal) that make it untranslatable. English has different sounds. English falls silent. This kind of linguistic decision is simply a measure of foreignness, an acknowledgment of the fact that languages are not sciences of one another, you cannot match them item for item. But now what if, within this silence, you discover a deeper one—a word that does not intend to be translatable. ...(more)via the page
October 17, 2014
Seascape Yellow Sky Brittany Roderic O'Conorb. October 17, 1860The Meaning Of The Sea Alexander Vvedensky1904 - 1941 translated from the Russian by Alex Cigalemayday to understand it once and for all one must live life as in reverse and to take walks in the forest while tearing out your hair whole and when you get to know the fire of the light bulb or of the oven say to it why are you shining you the fire are candle’s master what’s your meaning is it nothing where’s the kettle where the cabinet the demons whirl around like flies circling above a piece of pie and these spirits flash their eyes hands and legs and horns and smiles around the trees juicy beasts howl the light bulbs twisting in their sleep the silent children blow their horns old women cry atop the evergreens and the universal deity stands in the celestial cemetery and the ideal horse saunters until finally the forest enters...(more)
Yellow Landscape 1892 Roderic O'Conor
Translation's homeopathic gesture Erin MoureThe body responds, but cannot ever forget or avoid its cellular infarction, movement or life below conscious choice. Its response is different to different texts, and to the same text at different intervals. The text always demands something of the body seated in front of it; it urges something from that body. As translator, I respond to the urge of the text, its urgency. This involves my mind, which, like any mind, is acculturated, constructed by the culture in which it lives. Tripwire. In the words of Giorgio Agamben, the process is one of subjectivization and of desubjectivization at the same time. It is a process that cannot be fully controlled by society, however, because it passes through a human body. The homeopathic gesture that propels translation comes from the interior heat of a set of cells. Outside of any theory of translation, these cells function. They renew the fibres of their DNA. Proteins. In the moment of translation, there is no theory possible. Only this relation of light and cell which has a homeopathic influence on the language that results.
Roderic O'ConorI do not care for walks either, and have been a reluctant walker all my life. I have always disliked walking, but I am prepared to go for walks with friends, and this makes them think I am a keen walker, for there is an amazing theatricality about the way I walk. I am certainly not a keen walker, nor am I a nature lover or a nature expert. But when I am with friends I walk in such a way as to convince them I am a keen walker, a nature lover, and a nature expert. I know nothing about nature. I hate nature, because it is killing me. I live in the country only because the doctors have told me that I must live in the country if I want to survive—for no other reason. In fact I love everything except nature, which I find sinister; I have become familiar with the malignity and implacability of nature through the way it has dealt with my own body and soul, and being unable to contemplate the beauties of nature without at the same time contemplating its malignity and implacability, I fear it and avoid it whenever I can. The truth is that I am a city dweller who can at best tolerate nature. It is only with reluctance that I live in the country, which on the whole I find hostile.
Brooke Ellsworth’s Thrown: A TranslationJustin Sherwood entropyTranslation isn’t only the process of converting words or text from one language to another. Translation is transformation. In Thrown: A Translation, poet Brooke Ellsworth explores the myriad ways we convey both classic myths and ourselves. Drawing on the Roman poet Ovid’s tale of Echo and Narcissus, Ellsworth begins to delineate her multivarious take on translation in the first poem of the collection, “In Nova,” the reader’s guide to her chapbook. “Nova,” the feminine of “novus,” is Latin for “new star,” an extant star that shines brightly to declare its apparent newness only to fade out and return to its original form.Asymptote - October 2014from The Circle's Spell Marcelo Morales Cintero translated from the Spanish by Kristin Dykstra
Writing things is the way to release oppression from the idea of death, of anonymity. I write because I'm going to die. Sometimes in life I'm inside scenes, I move through dirty hallways, make my way through puddles in streets. Eyes reviewing reality, I don't know how long I'll look at these surfaces. It's too strange for existence. Photography tenses light. This is the poem too. The great moments are impressions, like Hume's flame. We recall intensity. That's it in the end: life. Moments of tension. The rest a great calm equal to a great nothingness. To a death you forget. I came to a realization today when I walked into the kitchen. Things acquired the status of symbols, which happens in my life when things enter a poetic state. In those moments I'm a stranger. For me poetry is only possible as fragment, as tension. Like the flash from a camera, like the photo resolving out of light printed on darkness. I think about the unbelievable web of presences that precede my own. The infinite connectivity of events and lives making it possible for me to take forward steps. To see a building's dirty walls, an ugly park between two houses. Life has the aura of a miracle. I don't know, won't ever know if it's accidental or not. There's no way to find out. In these cases a yes is worth the same as a no.
_______________________ _______________________ _______________________
October 15, 2014
tidelands ca.1940sAlbert Renger-Patzsch
I Read Because it is Absurd Birger VanwesenbeeckRewiring the RealIn Conversation with William Gaddis, Richard Powers, Mark Danielewski, and Don DeLilloMark C. Taylorgoogle booksVanwesenbeeck situates Mark Taylor’s recent Rewiring the Real, within a growing body of critical literature (which also includes John McClure’s Partial Faiths and Amy Hungerford’s Postmodern Belief) that regards religion as key to a robust account of postmodern culture—and for Taylor, in particular, as key to appreciating the novels of William Gaddis, Richard Powers, Mark Danielewski, and Don DeLillo
Although some literary critics will cringe at the inflation of superlatives in Rewiring the Real or at the at times tiresome regurgitation of critical commonplaces (signifier-signified; uncanny) there is much here that warrants reading and re-reading. The inclusion of The Recognitions —so glaringly absent from McClure’s and Hungerford’s analyses—is a welcome addition to the debate on postmodern religiosity. So is the seemingly counterintuitive theological discourse through which Taylor has opted to approach these works. According to Taylor, what characterizes these novels is the pressing sense that reality is elsewhere, that the machines and technologies that we produce and peruse leave in their wake a form of transcendent longing that can never be fulfilled. The dream of virtual reality in Plowing the Dark; the inability to distinguish copies from originals in The Recognitions; the haunted house that is larger on the inside than it is on the outside in House of Leaves; all of these are examples of how “the real, however it is figured, is always slipping away”.
Buchenwald in Novemberc. 1954Albert Renger-Patzsch(1897-1966)
The Intrinsic Madness of Consciousness? By Michael-Synthetic_zero
We create synthetic caricatures of experienced realities using symbolic tokens and language to manifest images and narratives about the Real. Thus, we enact a massive, near universally delusion epistemic cognitive detachment from the world with various and mixed results for survival and adaptation. Sometimes we use this detachment to contemplate and imagine and innovate, in other cases we project our fears and nightmares via a multitude of violent acts and collective insanities. At times symbolically achieved sapience has served individuals and collectives well, at other times it drives us off the brink of sustainability and appropriateness.
Untitled (School in Aachen) ca. 1928Albert Renger-Patzsch
Ontological Catastrophe: Žižek and the Paradoxical Metaphysics of German Idealism Joseph Carewfull textOpen Humanities PressThis book is an investigation into Slavoj Žižek's return to German Idealism in the wake of Lacanian psychoanalysis. Its thematic crux is Žižek's attempt to develop, by reading the traditions against one another by means of their mutually compatible notions of Todestrieb, a highly original theory of subjectivity able to explain the subject's simultaneous freedom from and dependence upon its material ground. But it does not stop there: rather than just limiting itself to a recapitulation of Žižek's account of the eruptive, ontologically devastating birth of subjectivity out of nature, it also seeks to systematize the stark metaphysical consequences of this account. The fundamental thesis of this book is that, if the emergence of the Symbolic out of the Real—the passage from nature to culture enacted by the founding gesture of subjectivity—is the advent of a completely self-enclosed, self-sustaining structural system, then not only must its founding gesture withdraw from the scene in the very act of instituting the Symbolic, but further, even to explain this act we must posit the absolute as a fragile not-all wrought by negativity and antagonism. Or, to put it in terms of Žižek's Less Than Nothing (his latest magnum opus, or “big fat Hegel book,” as he says), as a series of less than nothings whose essence constitutes an ontologically incomplete field.
Hamburg, Port c. 1929Albert Renger-Patzsch
October 14, 2014
Avenue du Commandeur
(de la rue d'Alésia)
(1813 – 1879)
about aboutnessStephen Yablo is the Magilla Gorilla philosophikilla who thinks all the time about ontologies and metaphysics and ontologeses and metametaphysics too, about essentialism, about whether intrinsic is intrinsic to essentialism, about fictionalism and evolving to presuppositionalism, about why conceivability is a guide to possibility, why zembos are harder to get rid of than zombies, about aboutness, about subtraction and about a Wittgenstein thing and other cool stuff. This one is the Ali shuffle thought of via its opposite, only in a mouth
Richard Marshall interviews Stephen Yablo
3:am... one kind of philosopher is curious about what exists and seeks a way of finding out. Another kind, the quizzicalist, thinks that at least some existence-questions are objectively moot. difficult. Moritz Schlick and Susan Stebbing in the 1930s gave “is blue more identical than music?’’ as an example.
Linguists interested in the autonomy of syntax used to dig around for grammatical statements that were nevertheless not interpretable. Chomsky’s “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously” never impressed me that much. I prefer an example that came up a few years ago on the blog Language Log: “More people have been to Germany than I have.” This sounds fine until we try to evaluate it, and realize that a comparison is called for between the number of people who have been to Germany and….what? Amie Thomasson, who is no quizzicalist, suggests “Do Dell computers help you get more out of now?” Quizzicalism is apt to seem unmotivated. Many people would say that they agree either with Carnap that of course there are numbers, since there are primes over ten, or with Quine that it’s a empirical question whose answer depends on whether numbers find a permanent place in the range of our quantifiers.
The funny thing is that Carnap is speaking about a rational reconstruction of English with “framework rules” taking the place of what is actually done by habit. And Quine is talking about a first order regimentation of English. They insist on the reconstruction/regimentation because they themselves can’t make sense of “are there numbers?” as it arises in ordinary English. (Compare also Sider on Ontologese.) Quine and Carnap are really themselves quizzicalists, then, arguably, just like me.
Of course we might differ on whether regimentation allows for a useful successor question to “are there numbers?” And on how curious we propose to be about the answer to that. But that is not the question of quizzicalism as I understand it. One could also rationally reconstruct talk of heaps so that it takes exactly 4 grains of sand to make a heap, or maybe 11. But we don’t believe in a shining, resplendent question of true heapiness waiting that will reveal itself when we clean up our act. That’s how I feel about (some) existence questions.
The knowledge we gathered is no longer useful.
The system you understand shifts and makes no sense.
And this is the body you spent years getting used to.
Tomorrow, the light will not recognize it.
Light has no language for it.
Light has no language for what is smaller than a hairpin turn of a chromatin.
Light must be choked in order to name the smaller things.
My name could change.
We shall say what we shall say and call it knowledge
with this our native speech.
I learned this language to subsist and to compass between myself
and the unknown.
I should not have learned it.
I should have been a fish in a world of rising water, boring
in with immense color until it seems that it was never knowledge
that was gained from the set of things as they are, having been now
turned from by the world
and yet still a knowledge,
a trust that can’t be turned from,
trust in the thing that is an inhabitance of it
of the only thing I am standing on and not
just the dirt slitted with plant roots and leaf stains made up of mashed
chlorophyll pigments, drying up now, pregnant still with incidental light
and nothing to pass it on to
here in the stomach of the beast
punched open to the ceiling lights.
These aren’t our salad days.
(The thing that is understood becoming the thing that is loved.)
(The objective lens made from glass.)
(And the glass melting in due time.)
On Ambivalence: A Manifestish
entropyTwo-headed feelings each have their own brains, which is the characteristic that differentiates them from two-faced feelings. The condition of two-headedness in feelings is most often caused by a developmental trauma to the nervous system. One feeling is the weaker one, due to malformation or poor development. Neither physicians nor philosophers have discerned if this sensation is one feeling with two heads or two separate feelings sharing one body. The stronger head of the two-headed feeling will eventually attack and attempt to swallow the weaker one. Sometimes fear is the stronger feeling, sometimes desire. The dictionary describes shock as “an encounter between two hostile forces.”
My etymology book explains “terror is stranger than horror but it lasts for a shorter time.” What makes terror stranger than horror? The following symptoms: paralysis, shortness of breath, a panicked racing in the brain. Horror, in contrast, slows time down, washes over you, which is why it lasts longer. Terror is an ice bath, horror is a blood bath.
The word success originally meant result, either good or bad.
Essay is from the French, meaning an attempt; to try.
I am terrified of writing; I am horrified by not writing. Here comes the axe toward the camera, pan out to the blonde in the bathtub.
People don’t experience music totally online. It happens in people’s homes, in exchanges at record stores and shows, and in people’s brains. Our brains are not on the internet – maybe one day they will be, I don’t know — but our lives, our souls, and the music that we experience, the music that people have valuable experiences …the owners of Google might have us believe that everything is on the internet, but it’s amazing how shortsighted and amazingly false that is, especially for a company that claims to have its users welfare at the beginning and end of all its decisions. [Laughs]
There was an owl in my yard, and I have this little dog that’s like seven pounds, and then there’s this huge owl out there I’ve never seen before [with my dog]. The next morning I woke up and was reading an article that had that phrase in it – “Everything is on the internet” – and I thought, “You know, that owl isn’t on the internet.” We’re taught to believe that they are putting more and more things in our cars, in our phones, our computers, and that they are doing us the favor of separating the wheat from the chaff, but really the chaff is online, and the real shit is out here for us to partake in without anybody fucking with us. words.
October 13, 2014
photo - mw
Happy Thanksgiving Day
Deep descent (PoemTalk #81)
Fanny Howe, 'The Descent' & 'The Source'
I thought was Arctic
the good Platonic
Up the pole
was soaked film
an electric elevation
onto a fishy platform
and waves on two sides greenly welcoming
The sunwater poured on holy atheism
It was light that powered out
my ego or my heart
before ending with a letter
Fanny Howe at PennSound
photo - mw
I wonder, will our imagination
remain a temple burning with candles
against all odds?
Behind a nipple and a bone?
The simplest of glands laid in a circle
around skin and liquid
that stirs up imagery
winged and prismed, as if blood
were a wine inducing visions
* * *
History is more than just another surmising
grandmother at a window
or a reminiscence twisted in the scrim of translation.
Some long-ago light is pulsating in a trout’s heart
on a laboratory dish.
That light has entered all the holes,
no matter how small, because it is the light that wants to live.
* * *
photo - mw
I want to hold out for the possibility of the ecologization of philosophy, rather than suggesting that the present crisis signals the death of philosophy, or its culmination in technoscientific materialism. Many pre-eminent thinkers have argued that philosophy has failed and needs to be replaced with something else (Nietzsche’s transvaluation of all values, the Heideggerian task of thinking Being’s openness, Deleuze’s plane of immanence, Laruelle’s non-philosophy, …). I’d argue otherwise, not so much against the clear genius of these conceptual personae, but against the idea that somehow what they accomplished wasn’t just a renewal of philosophy. Philosophy should be defined by its ability to live the question rather than to solve it, to participate in truth as a quest undertaken in love). Philosophy doesn’t need to be brought to an end by ecology. It can be saved by it, resuscitated, if only it is willing to swallow the speculative pill curing it of the correlationist anthropocentrisms weighing down ancient and modern philosophy alike. If there is to be a future ecozoic civilization, it will require an ecological philosophy.
October 09, 2014 Marina Tsvetaeva, 2 Untitled PoemsTranslated from the Russian by Ekaterina RogalskyMarina Tsvetaeva: The Dark Princess With White Fingers Vera GraziadeiI do not think, or argue, or complain. Or sleep. I long for neither sun, nor moon, nor sea. Nor ship. I do not feel the heat amidst these walls, Nor garden’s green, Nor do I long for your desired gift, Foreseen. Neither the morning gladdens nor the trolley’s Ring-singing run. I live, forgetting date and age And daylight sun. I am – a dancer on a tightrope slashed And hewn. I am – a shadow’s shadow: lunatic Of two dark moons.
Confirmed: The Oldest Known Art in the World Is Proto-GraffitiMegan Garber World's oldest art found in Indonesian cave Analysis of images discovered in 1950s counters Eurocentric view of creativity's origins. David CyranoskiNature
`Their Importance Is from the Past' Patrick KurpAnecdotal EvidenceAs a newspaper reporter, my most happily anticipated interviews were with bartenders, dairy farmers, coin collectors, piano tuners, store-front preachers, nurses and short-order cooks – that is, non-aligned human beings, susceptible to the same vanities as the rest of us but less likely to speak ex cathedra for some authority, real or imagined. I shunned big shots freighted with prestige and anyone else who deemed himself newsworthy. Better reporters than I could deal with the mayor and captains of industry. Give me the people with nothing to sell except, occasionally, themselves. In “Recollections of the South Sea House,” the first of his Essays of Elia, written when he was forty-five, Charles Lamb betrays a comparable taste for the obscure, unrecognized and forgotten.
Dust and Exhaustion The Labor of Media Materialism Jussi ParikkactheoryThis is a text about dust as well as exhaustion: about non-human particles as well as labor. It takes small things like dust as one vector for its argument, and as a vehicle in the manner of which we sometimes think through objects. Dust is, however, not quite an object, not in the intuitive sense that objects are supposed to be easily graspable. It does not fit the hand, even if it covers vast terrains. It is more environmental and better characterized as a milieu. Well, almost a milieu: we rarely count it among things that matter, but what if we did? What if we followed dust as a trajectory for theory -- theory that is concerned with materiality and media? What if dust is one way to do "dirt research": a mode of inquiry that crosses institutions and disciplines, and forces us to think of questions of design as enveloped in a complex ecology of economy, environment, work, and skill. Dirt brings noise, as Ned Rossiter reminds us, and dirt research can be understood "as a transversal mode of knowledge production [that] necessarily encounters conflict of various kinds: geocultural, social, political and epistemological." This essay tracks this multiplicity of dust -- multiplicity not only in the sense that there is a lot of it, but in that it forces us to rethink such binaries as One/Many. Dust takes us -- and our thinking -- to different places and opens up multiple agendas. In this case, I use dust to talk of global labor, media materialism of digital culture, and how to approach this topic through such non-human nanoparticles. My argument routes itself through video games to factories, where gadgets are produced, to theoretical excavations in new materialism and speculative philosophy, to science fiction and the engineering of everyday realities. ... This is not a text of theory so much as a text about non-humans that persistently concern the human. The non-human refuses to leave the human. This text subscribes to recent arguments that we need to rethink our theoretical perspectives from the point of view of things -- and, I would add, not only things, but also relations and almost-things, stuff that lacks the solidity to merit it being called just a thing.
from “The Desk”Marina Tsvetaevab. October 8, 1892 New Versions from the Russian by Ilya Kaminsky and Jean Valentine Fair enough: you people have eaten me, I—wrote you down. They’ll lay you out on a dinner table, me—on this desk. I’ve been happy with little. There are dishes I’ve never tried. But you, you people eat slowly, and often; You eat and eat. Everything was decided for us back in the ocean: Our places of action, our places of gratitude. You—with belches, I—with books, with truffles, you. With pencil, I, you and your olives, me and my rhyme, with pickles, you. I, with poems. At your head—funeral candles like thick-legged asparagus: your road out of this world a dessert table’s striped cloth. They will smoke Havana cigars on your left side and your right; your body will be dressed in the best Dutch linen. And—not to waste such expensive cloth, they will shake you out, along with the crumbs and bits of food, into the hole, the grave. You—stuffed capon, I—pigeon. Gunpowder, your soul, at the autopsy. And I will be laid out bare with only two wings to cover me. Late July 1933
The Best of Marina Tsvetayeva translated by Ilya Shambat
Twenty-Four PoemsMarina Tsvetaeva Translated by A. S. Kline
October 08, 2014 photo - mw _______________________
Minimal Ethics for the Anthropocene Joanna ZylinskaOpen Humanities Press An(....)via
This unique situation, or rather geo-historical period, in which humans are said to have become the biggest threat to life on earth, has recently gained the moniker “Anthropocene”. Emmott’s practical solution to this situation is rather blunt: given that any possible technological or behavioral solutions to the current state of events, even if theoretically possible, are unlikely to work, the advice he would give his son would be to “buy a gun”. This is of course a powerful story, the goal of which is to shock and awe us into action. Without shooting our gun-wielding messenger, it is worth pointing out that there seems to be something both defeatist and narcissistic about jeremiads of this kind and those that tell them. Also, we humans have actually produced narratives about different forms of apocalypse ever since we developed the ability to tell stories and record them.
Rather than add to this catalogue, my aim in this book is to tell a different story about the world and our human positioning in and with it, while taking seriously what science has to say about life and death. I am mindful of philosopher John Gray’s admonition in his review of Emmott’s book that “The planet does not care about the stories that humans tell themselves; it responds to what humans do, and is changing irreversibly as a result”. Gray is no doubt correct in his skepticism. Yet it should be noted that we humans do care about the stories we tell ourselves. More importantly, stories have a performative nature: they can enact and not just describe things—even if there are of course limits to what they are capable of enacting. This book is one such story about life and death at both macro and micro scales, shaped into a set of philosophical propositions for non-philosophers. More specifically, its aim is to outline a viable position on ethics as a way of living a good life when life itself is declared to be under a unique threat. In other words, it is a story about how we can live a good life at this precarious geo-historical moment—and about what constitutes such goodness.
... speculative naturalism and bleak theology (how I describe my own current philosophical projects) draws from the American philosophical tradition as much as it does the Continental philosophical tradition. The key ideas for both traditions, I think, when it comes to developing an environmental philosophy that is inspired by recent positions of speculative philosophy in realist and materialist orientation, is that these metaphysical positions are developed so that they are thoroughly ecological. Thus, "speculative naturalism" is an ecological metaphysics as much as it is a realist and materialist metaphysics.
this is your brain on paper
Images from the history of an organ:
medieval diagrams, Japanese woodcuts, digital scans.
_______________________AbstractSpecial issue — Napster, 15 years on: Rethinking digital music distributionFirst Monday
The participatory, collaborative and open character of networked digital media is thought to disrupt and challenge romantic assumptions and ideals about authorship, authenticity and creative expression, concepts that underpin most copyright regimes. In this article I consider MP3 blogs in the mid-2000s, drawing on an earlier study of MP3 bloggers in the U.S. and U.K. (Borschke 2012a, 2012b). MP3 blogs, like Napster and other forms of unauthorized reproduction, are better understood as cultural practices and artifacts when considered alongside piracy’s long history. The aesthetic consequences and possibilities of forms of expression that are also methods of distribution, are clarified by identifying and examining a tension that connects MP3 blogging to other practices of unauthorized use: that is, the persistence of romantic ideals of creativity, authenticity and authorship even while seeming to deny and disregard them. By acknowledging the poetics of piracy practices (including the aesthetic character of distribution and replication) we can begin to understand how new authenticities build up around networked expression and how the meaning of networked forms of expression, formats, practices and artifacts can change over time.
photo - mw
Paean to PlaceLorine Niedecker (....) I grew in green slide and slant of shore and shade Child-time—wade thru weeds Maples to swing from Pewee-glissando sublime slime- song Grew riding the river Books at home-pier Shelley could steer as he read I was the solitary plover a pencil for a wing-bone From the secret notes I must tilt upon the pressure execute and adjust In us sea-air rhythm “We live by the urgent wave of the verse” ...(more)
October 07, 2014
d. October 7, 1927
Harvard Review Online
What does Coetzee say? In a time out of time,
at either side of the divide you’ve got children
of paradise, fresh off swimming lesson, riding, ballet,
soft as putti, shining with angelic light, fenced in.
Their innocence, the innocence of grubs,
bliss-filled, soul-stunned, abstracted, plump.
Like the lumpish, spoilt bullies in the last row,
they’ll be promoted and rule the land.
Legitimacy they no longer trouble to claim, he says.
And then, their cousins on whom the first shade
of the prison house is already beginning to close,
rapacious, cruel, afraid of nothing, children of iron
of the times, snarled in the knags of violence.
The Manor Gates
Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson
d. October 7, 1946
Candide’s Garden: A Parable
dissentCandide, after many vicissitudes, retreats to a primitive cabin in the woods; he will cultivate his garden. He drinks, smokes too much. He goes to AA, an avowedly apolitical social machine for sobriety. At each meeting one volunteer reads the Twelve Traditions, a second the Twelve Steps, each member speaks briefly in turn (cross-talk forbidden), the serenity prayer is recited in unison. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.Dissent: Fall 2014
The Twelve Traditions forbid political or commercial affiliation, alteration to the Traditions, Steps, much more apparently written in stone. The beginner is told to attend 90 meetings in 90 days. Surely unemployment is highly correlated with alcoholism? Might political action not be a remedy? Can solidarity not sometimes bring about change unachievable by individuals? How can changing the very mechanisms for change be off-limits?
After a meeting Candide meets 5 former smokers, each of whom says: Well, one day I just realized it was stupid and stopped. Candide wants to apostrophize the world. Alcoholics who did the same thing don’t turn up for 90 meetings in 90 days; those who do turn up don’t hear from those who don’t; how can members know what they can change when they are forced to cherrypick evidence? Il meurt de ses ennuis.
But there’s always his garden. ...(more)
b. October 7, 1923
the colour of our shameChris Lebron is a philosopher who asks deep questions about theories of justice appropriate for race. He thinks about bridging the gap between abstraction and lived experiences, about American democracy and racial inequality, marginalisation and oppression, about the idea of character and how it helps explain racial inequality, about the problem of social value, about why Rawls isn't enough, about 'white power', about despair and blame, about perfectionism and egalitarianism, about soulcraft politics, about three principles of racial justice and about the lamentable number of black philosophers currently working in the Academy. Give this one the time of day to sink in, then reboot …
Chris Lebron interviewed by Richard Marshall.(....)
America is a liberal democracy that, despite that description and despite the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, continues to be a functioning and quite vibrant site not only of common indicators of racial inequality (income, wealth, resources, employment) but of racial marginalization (segregation, the reproduction of disparaging racial stereotypes in our popular media) as well as racial oppression (disproportionate jailing and the devaluation of black life by the institutions of criminal justice whether it be by disproportionate application of the death penalty or unpunished acts of violence against blacks by police). So we have to ask ourselves: just what kind of ‘liberal democracy’ is marked by a strain of deep and disrespectful injustice that is contrary to the very idea of liberal democracy? My answer is: One that doesn’t merely marginalize but one that explicitly and implicitly rejects the humanity of black Americans. So it is more than not being part of American society. It is deeper. It is not being seen fully as the kind of thing that can vie for membership in American society – a human being. So here, the question of loneliness is not itself as central as the diminished value of black humanity.
I noted the slippage between the standards and principles entailed by the form of governance we describe as liberal democracy on the one hand, while on the other, the consistent demeaning and unjust treatment of black Americans. The very notion of slippage between the principles to which we subscribe and the reasoning, attitudes, and actions we take up provides the grounds for shame. That we might or ought to feel shame in any instance is not in itself in the ordinary course of things always a reason to raise questions of justice. When as a parent we affirm the virtue of generosity towards our children but act meanly on an occasion, this seems appropriately remedied by a genuine apology and show of affection. So the question here is, what, for me, raises the question of justice in the case under consideration – racial inequality? This is the role I set for character.
#Accelerate in reverse
Public Seminar CommonsThere is a general tendency to take the current moment of more-or-less openly acknowledged slow-motion crisis as an excuse to double-down on very old fashioned modes of thinking.
The most common form of this reactionary response is religious fundamentalism, with its denial of science and insistence on scripture. A rather more high-minded version of exactly the same thing is philosophical fundamentalism, with its rather comic attempt to think the world through the repetition of the reading of its own canon of scriptures.
Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson
New Writing from Syria
The Liberated Voice: Three Writers from Syria
words without bordersClearly the most important duty for the outsider looking to read new Syrian literature at the moment is not to expect a consistent voice or search for a monolithic take on the current period of Syrian history—or on anything else, for that matter. As a translator of Arabic literature and a sometime resident of Damascus with many Syrian friends, perhaps the most depressing question one gets asked is “What do Syrians / Syrian women / Arabs / young Arabs / ordinary Arabs think about X?” So far there’s no tattoo on my forehead of the phrase “'They' Are as Diverse as ‘We’ Are,” but it could yet come to that.
One way for us translators to keep our faces uninked is to keep translating as broad an array of Syrian voices as possible and getting people to read them: hence the little selection of contemporary Syrian work I’ve chosen here. These writers are all asking and answering different questions, in different ways, as individuals, like any other artist working anywhere; their work is moving and important and challenging for a whole range of reasons and in a whole range of ways, without representing anyone else or any particular demographic.
Having said that, of course their work—and their commentary on it—is deeply entangled with the extreme politics of the context in which they’ve grown up and lived, and as such has much to teach us about the specific horrors and joys of that reality. Just don’t expect the nature of that teaching to be neat, categorized, obvious, or even necessarily noticeable to you as the reader. This little snippet of three Syrian voices should be read as the tattoo about individuality, not as any sort of cross-section or comprehensive guide to the (dreaded) “authentic Syrian voice.”
than sea or cloud or sand could by itself,