J.H. van den Berg
New & Selected Work
1977 - 2007
The Age of Briggs & Stratton
[from `Matter and Memory']
b. July 31, 1901
Liberation Technology: Marcuse's Communist Individualism [pdf]
This article lies at the intersection of two research projects that hitherto I had regarded as fundamentally distinct. The first is an inquiry into the ontological, epistemological and methodological problem of individuation, with specific attention to the relatively neglected contribution of the French thinker Gilbert Simondon—whose work was crucial to the elaboration of Gilles Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition and who has recently been the object of discussions about social theory and cognitive capitalism in broadly post-workerist journals such as Multitudes, DeriveApprodi and Forme di vita. I sought to investigate the more speculative aspect of the theory of individuation in my 2006 book The Theatre of Production. The second is an investigation into the mutations undergone by the idea of communism in post-war European thought. The occasion for the convergence of these two projects was indeed fortuitous: my surprise at encountering significant references to Simondon’s work in Marcuse’s One- Dimensional Man, which in turn led me back to the problematically Marxian bases of Marcuse’s identification of the technological rationality at the heart of advanced industrial societies, and ultimately to the recognition of the persistence of certain Marcusean themes in contemporary debates—themes I will for the time being gather under the heading of “communist individualism.” I will begin with a brief characterization of this term—which to my knowledge was used only by André Gide, who was duly excoriated for it by Bukharin in a speech delivered at the All-Union Congress of Writers in August 1934—and then try to assess how it might allow us to rethink the relationship between labor, alienation and technology. I will conclude by addressing the possible limitations of such a communist individualism in what concerns a thinking of political organization. More precisely, I will try to suggest what might be the limits of emancipation tout court. So, the object of the exercise is not merely to excavate some tenuous threads linking otherwise disparate intellectual traditions, but to identify a matrix of political-philosophical thought that remains more or less efficacious.Situations
project of the radical imagination
Vol 3, No 1 (2009)
via infinite thØught
the art of memory
via Rick Visser
100 Best Scholarly Art Blogs
The Wild Body
How does the “brute being” of which Merleau-Ponty speaks come into an affective encounter? The problem is really that for Merleau-Ponty we are forever embodied, whereas if we are to link the classical sublime with the idea of a wild being, where “wild being” refers to a pre-reflective world, then the body – the cultural and cognitive body – must be carried along with us. All of this is a rather convoluted way of dealing with the body as a self-conscious thing. How to travel from the body as a cultural thing, affected with anxieties and passions, to the body as a region of the earth, in which all accounts of personal identity and the personal body are replaced by the anonymity of the wilderness?
b. 31 July 1881
al Husayn ibn Ahmad ibn Khalawayh
Names of the Lion
David Larsen (tr.)
from an excerpt provided by John Latta
To a people far gone in their remoteness: who will bring word
of a heart crazed with longing for my people?
The remains of their encampment proclaim their distance from me. Even so
my love and warcraft are pledged to them, when their enemies show themselves.
With the edge of a polished spear, at the head of a company
—no fadelings bent with age, they—
And I, a brother of the company, quick to sense danger
and scorn its consequences, no matter how mighty the oppressor,
Bearing often the burdens of those I love,
I give my utmost effort, and lay at their disposal all I know.
Meanwhile, those whose breasts I freighted with resentment
have had a full trough of me.
They thought they had me in their grasp
and then, discovering my escape, fell into despair.
What they set in motion turned out contrary to their expectations,
and their allies fled in all directions and could not be gathered.
b. July 31, 1883
Arch AdvertFive Prose Pieces
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issue fourteen - southern winter, 2009
Let's put an end to Sarah Palin-style capitalism
I usually talk about the bailout in speeches these days. We all need to understand it because it is a robbery in progress, the greatest heist in monetary history. But today I'd like to take a different approach: What if the bailout actually works, what if the financial sector is saved and the economy returns to the course it was on before the crisis struck? Is that what we want? And what would that world look like?(....)_______________________
... in a way, Palin was the last clear expression of capitalism-as-usual before everything went south. That's quite helpful because she showed us -- in that plainspoken, down-homey way of hers -- the trajectory the U.S. economy was on before its current meltdown. By offering us this glimpse of a future, one narrowly avoided, Palin provides us with an opportunity to ask a core question: Do we want to go there? Do we want to save that pre-crisis system, get it back to where it was last September? Or do we want to use this crisis, and the electoral mandate for serious change delivered by the last election, to radically transform that system? We need to get clear on our answer now because we haven't had the potent combination of a serious crisis and a clear progressive democratic mandate for change since the 1930s. We use this opportunity, or we lose it.
Cures for the Common Cold War: Postwar Polish Poetry
Benjamin Paloff on Jaroslaw Anders's Between Fire and Sleep
If Anders's essays do not aspire to a complete play-by-play of Polish literature's last century, they at least offer the most focused and entertaining highlights reel I've seen. And because the essays were prompted by the appearance of new English translations, they trace the arc of American tastes for Polish literature during and immediately after the cold war and make a strong case for re-evaluating these authors on less ephemeral merits--on the basis of their stylistic and philosophical sophistication. One of the more refreshing qualities of Between Fire and Sleep, in fact, is Anders's astute diagnosis of the narrow-mindedness of the American (and, for that matter, Polish) vision of Polish literature as an affirmation of our most convenient, flattering verdicts on history. "Poetry as a 'witness of history,'" Anders writes, "was a constant motif of Milosz's essays as well as of many of his poems. In many cases, this view of literature as mentor and consoler was certainly true. But in time it inevitably led to a one-sided, reductive reading of some of Poland's most complex writers."
Fishing boats berthed
by the Mount Yu
via Jörg Colberg
Into the Fire
Again we found ourselves at the shoreline,
among shards of shell and plastic,
scrim of seaweed trapping my feet like a net.
Red freighters and the grey Onley mist of the islands.
The seashell gleam of sun on water, herringbone sky.
I was thinking of a movie where a man was drowning
in the middle of the ocean, huge swells soaring
all around him like dunes in a desert, and how I’d once said,
That’s what it feels like, grief—
years ago, before anyone had even died.
Who knew how wide the ocean would get,
how high those waves would climb.
Then I went into the water, into that marine world
of kelp and plankton. The green that bathed my legs
had travelled for miles to reach this bay.
A noose of cloud hung on the gold horizon.
Spores, sand in the gritty air. No one I loved was there.
Discovery Passage, BC
(1928 - 2004)
1 2 3 4 5 6
Walter Benjamin’s Grave: A Profane Illumination
...with Benjamin’s own death strong narratives assert themselves to wrest control of that death, narratives that have little to do with the ideas he laid down in his life’s work or that subtly contradict it. Didn’t Benjamin himself in his famous essay on the storyteller spend a good deal of time propounding the thesis that it is death that gives authority to the storyteller? In the shadow of 9/11 none of us need to be reminded on that score. Taken a step further we might even assert that this is what scares us about death yet tempts us as well, as if the story can be completed yet also amputated by the absence that is death, forever postponing the end to the story that was a life. We want that authority for our own story, nowhere more so than when interpreting a death and, of course, its body. A gravestone or a monument—especially the accusation of a fake one—is just such a story, just such an attempt.(...)
Some people think of Benjamin as a Marxist or as a Marxist with a surrealist spin. Other regard him as combining Marxism with the mysticism of the Kabbalah. There is truth to these interpretations, but I myself prefer to think of him as a Proustian Marxist, an eccentric overwhelmed by the avant-garde and the fast-moving political scene of the time. As indication of his eccentricity, take “One-Way Street” where he writes: “If the theory is correct that feeling is not located in the head, that we sentiently experience a window, a cloud, a tree not in our brains but, rather, in the place where we see it, then we are, in looking at our beloved, too, outside ourselves.”
That pretty well sums up what it felt like at that moment looking into the mountain opened out to the sea surging below.
Waterfall from the Pine Rocks
Yao Lu: New Landscapes
The Way We Have Become: a Surfeit of Seeming
The way we live: when I think of that in the cusp of some small frustration—say, holding the phone waiting for a warm-bodied techie—random themes begin to buzz in my brain, like restless bees in a hive. Themes like politics, marketing, celebrity, trust, art, the void. How can I quiet these themes, these concerns, long enough to make sense of the noise?_______________________
I do not mean to make an essay out of the tribulations of writing an essay—that’s tacky; I mean only to explain my title as a bewildered approach to the multitudinous present, the way we have become. It’s a large topic, relevant to what V. S. Naipaul called “our universal civilization,” relevant also to all those errant souls—immigrants, refugees, displaced persons, expatriates like myself—wandering the earth. It’s a large topic, but I have tried to hew to a particular line: the tyranny of appearances, a surfeit of seeming in America. Yes, now things must seem, not be.
Bees buzz and also sting. The line I have taken may not always please. But I suspect that even Candide knew in his heart of hearts that whatever is, is not always, well, cool. The difficulty is tact: how to give dissatisfaction its due without slighting the fecundity of the present. In the end, Emerson said, temperament is the “iron wire on which the beads are strung.” In this text, temperament and autobiography do serve as wire, but also something else. Something impersonal. (No, not postmodern theory.) Call it an aspiration to reality beyond the delirium of appearances. That is also to say, an invocation of truth, not absolute but fiduciary—a truth we can trust—as mind, in its give and take, reckons with the world.
But truth, trust, and mind can be weasel words. Some clarification of them, as they apply to this essay, is due before we start fingering the beads.
via Philosophy's Other
The Geometry of Sound
aleph / genome
scriptio infinitum beginning at the end you come to a place where sound travels through rock the aperture is porphyry plucked violins spur of the valley the epiphany of pythia an outcrop of ridges orpheus ascending still nothing is known of the occipital text which brought him here afire and aglow but to be born out of silence all the dimensions the square flat ones euclidean space is optional when climbing the sky look at the duration of two circles conjoined at the hip caduceus shedding its skin moments of involuntary bliss and what sense lay bare
Three-Way Piece No. 2
aka The Archer
installed in Nathan Phillips Square
b. 30 July 1898
91st Meridian, Summer 2009
via the Literary Saloon
Flying Lessons _______________________
Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison
from Elephant and Obelisk
New methods for anticipating the moment
I shake my head no for twenty years
the interior is announced
the ordering of words I am unable to bear
the poems cannot stand to be singular
soaked down to their very blood
in the guise of a drunken master
bright in the harness of angelhood
each of the five senses is a cloud
my mouth entered by song
a theory, a mashing of discourse
a sentence writing not only its words
the hands that torch them
are we among
a vision pierced as its own reward
Ask the photograph. It says science. It says spoon. It says you will not remember how black the sky was over the parking lot when you held her wrist as if it were sand. You can’t “capture” a moment. All that light. A cage.(....)_______________________
You believe in words. Their power. Weight. Like some kind of nerd. Words too, can get inside you. Unprotected. Circumcision of silence. So you forwarded me an email with your subscribed-to-word of the day: Deflagrate: 1. to burn; verb; 2. Chiefly Chem. to burst into flames and burn away rapidly. Like love, words are useless on their own. Build something. Jesus was a carpenter, this was the only thing the Bible got right. Love as a message is impossible. Love as a nail driven into heartwood pine is real. We live in the real. Words, loves.
When I say “you,” I don’t mean you. The poem has two hearts. Tony Hoagland can do nothing about it. Everybody knows there’s no such thing as the perfect poem. Music. I have burned you out of the poem to get it just right. Chemicals of the cursor. The perfect poem without you. The right lie. In the medical field, this is referred to as the position of the fetus. A nurse holding an ultrasound up to a wall of light. If an unborn child does not have the “right lie,” there can be complications. The human being is the only species that clambers to be lied to. The doctors perform a procedure to rotate the fetus. The earth turning. A record of this. Human music.
It almost always has to do with light. In photography, when light has the same properties as water, it’s known as the “right light.” Flowing, beneath the ground. Imperfect, real. A girl can be perfect. A poem, like “you,” doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell. The back of a calf, a “relatively average” girl’s calf. Walking away. I told myself, if I couldn’t have (hold: this has to do with ownership) her, I’d fuck her with (my: this is the poet’s “right lie”) words. (Less messy) or maybe more, which might be nice. The same hotel. People check in and out. A used key-card in the parking lot. The number 356.
Towing the Reed
Peter Henry Emerson
339 Selected Images
Naturalistic photography for students of the art
P. H. (Peter Henry) Emerson (1889)
Open-Access Text Archive
The Re-Wiring of History
The history of the human being is the history of technology—of the production of interfaces to interact and communicate with each other and the rest of the physical world. The concept of the cyborgian-us as prescribed by Donna Haraway in the eighties is now so entrenched in cultural studies, and art and media theory, that it has become a cliché. From the use of the first tool, the wearing of the first shred of clothing, we and our technologies became inseparable—indistinguishable. There is no point at which we end and our machines begin. We eat, sleep, and move with technology, and our thoughts are intertwined with its daily machinations. If there was any doubt as to our symbiotic relationship, the Internet and advances in genetics have annihilated it. As Hardt and Negri put it more recently: “Tools have always functioned as human prostheses, integrated into our bodies through our laboring practices as a kind of anthropological mutation both in individual terms and in terms of collective social life”. If there was any doubt as to our symbiotic relationship, the Internet and advances in genetics have annihilated it.
“The moment we invent a significant new device for communication—talking drums, papyrus scrolls, printed books, crystal sets, computers, pagers—we partially reconstruct the self and its world, creating new opportunities (and new traps) for thought, perception, and social experience”, says Eric Davis, in his book Techgnosis. Technology, however, is also the ultimate victim of the cult of the new. Old technology is meant to disappear—made redundant and invisible by whatever is new and shiny. There can be nothing that we can learn from it that hasn't already been incorporated in the latest thing. Thus when a new device emerges that has the same or similar function to an existing device, the history of the older piece of equipment is reworked, or rewired into the new. Like Russian dolls or onion skins, one subsumes the other. There can be nothing differentiating these devices, except that one has been consigned to the scrap heap. (Two exceptions exist: the fetishisation of technology, where certain traits of older technologies are given celebrity status, such as the modern phenomenon of using black and white in movies, or the resurgence of analogue, or analogue-sounding instruments; and the second, the sentimentalising of technology, where it is given a pat on the head, placed on a shelf and swooned over as a reminder of better (or at least more interesting) times gone by—thus accounting for the otherwise unfathomable popularity of television shows like Collectors and Antiques Roadshow.)'obsolete'
Vol. 12, No. 3 (2009)
Footbridge Near Tottenham
Peter Henry Emerson
The Art of the Photogravure
Dreaming As One
Poetry, Poets and Community in Bolinas, California
1967 - 1980)
Book-length study of community of poets just north of San Francisco
from the mid 60s to mid 80s, many of whom went on to play major roles
in the literary modes that followed throughout the century
by Kevin Opstedal
the American sister website to BookDepository.co.uk.
The Book Depository. Free shipping worldwide on all our books.
Who me? I'm in
the angel business
Naples Angel Foundry
I see you're in the same racket
Poems by Philip Whalen; Photographs by Aram Saroyan
Saroyan took photos of children more or less his own age while travelling
in Europe with his father. He sent them to Whalen who wrote poems based
The Religion Of Fear: Conservative
Evangelicals, Identity, And Antiliberal Pop [PDF]
Jason C. Bivins
The sensibility underlying these iterations of piety is ripe with references to hellfire and damnation, none of which will surprise even a casual observer of American religion: these festoon many a book cover, church sign (“Church on Fire!” or “Church Aflame!”), and newsletter; they embellish web pages and DVDs; they are both convention and curiosity. Each instantiation of this rhetoric or imagery draws from a common symbolic pool – one which partakes equally of the thunder of prophetic religion and of America’s love affair with spectacular violence – yet there exists no country road which links them all together. Further, there seems to be no overt politics in these flashes of evangelical resistance. Nonetheless, these general impulses and images can be manipulable for political purposes. The fearful and the demonic have surfaced regularly in American evangelicalism, each time in a “fear regime” that has its own politics. A “fear regime” refers to the intersection of these political engagements with emotional registers of interpretation and perception. It is due largely to the sense of urgency conveyed in the emotional registers of these narratives that their political dimensions can be so effectively transmitted and appropriated by audiences and consumers. A “fear regime” thus functions closely to the “episteme” in Michel Foucault’s The Order of Things, a culturally- or politically-produced conception of “truth” which ties together and grounds other social discourses. It also resembles William Reddy’s “emotional regime,” which he defines as a “set of normative emotions and the official rituals, practices, and emotives that express and inculcate them; a necessary underpinning of any stable political regime.” While the popular creations discussed below do not generate discourses which directly support a particular type of political administration or class of political elites, they do draw upon emotional discourses – those of evangelicalism and those of genre horror or the popular culture of fright – in order to commend a specific range of cultural, behavioral, and affective responses to the sociopolitical issues it identifies as most pressing. The cultural politics of recent decades have thus given birth to a particularly rich and powerful fear regime, which I call the Religion of Fear, situated at the intersection of popular entertainment, conservative politics, and evangelicalism’s complicated negotiation of its own identity.
Religion, Democracy, and the Politics of Fright
JCRT 8.2 Spring 2008
A Garden End
Peter Henry Emerson
The Glugs Of Gosh
C J Dennis, 1917
With Illustrations by Hal Gye
The Glugs abide in a far, far land
That is partly pebbles and stones and sand
But mainly earth of a chocolate hue,
When it isn't purple or slightly blue.
And the Glugs live there with their aunts and their wives,
In draught-proof tenements all their lives.
And they climb the trees when the weather is wet,
To see how high they can really get.
Pray, don't forget,
This is chiefly done when the weather is wet.
And every shadow that flits and hides,
And every stream that glistens and glides
And laughs its way from a highland height,
All know the Glugs quite well by sight.
And they say, "Our test is the best by far;
For a Glug is a Glug; so there you are!
And they climb the trees when it drizzles or hails
To get electricity into their nails;
And the Glug that fails
Is a luckless Glug, if it drizzles or hails."
Dr. Sperber sat in the corner, rhythmically clicking his gums. He did not set the rhythm of summer nor even join with it, though his clicks too were grounded in the metallic hum of insects, a sound deeper than silence. Dr. Sperber clicked independently of summer, in ignorance of it, as far as I can tell, and in ignorance of the soft buzz underlying it, in my opinion. He would have clicked whether they were there or not, I believe.
Translated from the Czech by Alex Zucker
He soon realized it was best to avoid the window, all windows. As long as he kept his gaze turned in toward the room, the crimson wouldn't flare up, he saw people, men, their shadows. And didn't look out the windows.(....)_______________________
Here he'd made a habit of staying away from the barred windows, even when the frost coated them in Arctic maps, hiding the sky, the vision was inside him still, and the jagged frost might've conjured up the image of a polar bear bleeding on fresh snow. Or something like that. Those kinds of fantasies he was happy to do without.
He wandered the corridors. Shuffled his feet. Got used to it. His first time here he'd been unstoppable, sleepless even after the nth Rohypnol. So they gave him some other chemical. He woke up screaming, woke the others, caused a disturbance. Finally, the shots hit the spot. And at last he sank into dreams. Awful ones. Colors and monsters tumbling over each other, and crimson always came out on top. The unmistakable crimson of bloody clouds from the planet Chaos.
A Suffolk Shrimper "Going Off"
Peter Henry Emerson
Moonlight on the Loire_______________________
(June 28, 1819 – August 28, 1916)
Orpheus liked the glad personal quality
Of the things beneath the sky. Of course, Eurydice was a part
Of this. Then one day, everything changed. He rends
Rocks into fissures with lament. Gullies, hummocks
Can't withstand it. The sky shudders from one horizon
To the other, almost ready to give up wholeness.
Then Apollo quietly told him: "Leave it all on earth.
Your lute, what point? Why pick at a dull pavan few care to
Follow, except a few birds of dusty feather,
Not vivid performances of the past." But why not?
All other things must change too.
The seasons are no longer what they once were,
But it is the nature of things to be seen only once,
As they happen along, bumping into other things, getting along
Somehow. That's where Orpheus made his mistake.
Of course Eurydice vanished into the shade;
She would have even if he hadn't turned around.
No use standing there like a gray stone toga as the whole wheel
Of recorded history flashes past, struck dumb, unable to
utter an intelligent
Comment on the most thought-provoking element in its train.
Only love stays on the brain, and something these people,
These other ones, call life. Singing accurately
So that the notes mount straight up out of the well of
Dim noon and rival the tiny, sparkling yellow flowers
Growing around the brink of the quarry, encapsulizes
The different weights of the things.
But it isn't enough
To just go on singing. ...
b. July 28, 1927
‘THE CHILD is father to the man.’
How can he be? The words are wild.
Suck any sense from that who can:
‘The child is father to the man.’
No; what the poet did write ran,
‘The man is father to the child.’
‘The child is father to the man!’
How can he be? The words are wild.
Gerard Manley Hopkins
July 28, 1844 – June 8, 1889
July 28, 1909 - June 26, 1957
Twenty-nine clouds. At twenty-nine a man was in his thirtieth year. And he was twenty-nine. And now at last, though the feeling had perhaps been growing on him all morning, he knew what it felt like, the intolerable impact of this knowledge that might have come at twenty-two, but had not, that ought at least to have come at twenty-five, but still somehow had not, this knowledge, hitherto associated only with people tottering on the brink of the grave and A. E. Housman, that one could not be young forever — that indeed, in the twinkling of an eye, one was not young any longer. For in less than four years, passing so swiftly to-day's cigarette seemed smoked yesterday, one would be thirty-three, in seven more, forty; in forty-seven, eighty. Sixty-seven years seemed a comfortingly long time but then he would be a hundred. I am not a prodigy any longer. I have no excuse any longer to behave in this irresponsible fashion. I am not such a dashing fellow after all. On the other hand: I am a prodigy. I am young. I am a dashing fellow. Am I not? You are a liar, said the trees tossing in the garden. You are a traitor, rattled the plantain leaves.
- Under the Volcano
Collapse IV: Concept Horror [pdf]
from the Editorial Introduction
As for philosophy, it has largley replaced wonder, awe, and the drive to certainty with dread, anxiety and finitude. ...There is no consolation in the claim that (for instance) I am the contingent product of evolution, or a chance formation of elementary particles, or that my "self" is nothing but the correlate of the activation of newurobiological phase-spaces. Yet mundande thought, whether through obstinacy or inertia, maintains its stubgborn course regardless, as if oblivious to their consequences, or at most allowing them to subsist at a safely delimited, solely theoretical level.Collapse
What if, prising the more disturbing elements of modern thought loose from their comfortable framing as part of an intellectual canon, we were to become fully attentive to their most harrowing consequences? What if, impatient with a consideration of their claims solely from the point of view of their explanatory power and formal consistency, we yielded to the (perhaps "unphilosophical") temptation to experiment with their potentially corrosive effects upon lived experience? If the overriding affect connected with what we "know" - but still do not really know - about the universe and our place in it, would be one of horror, then, inversely, how might the existing literature of horror inform a reading of these tendencies of contemporary thought?
These are some of the questions with which this volume of Collapse sets out to grapple, imagining for a moment a philosophy absolved of humanistic responsibilities, devoting itself to the experimental marshalling of all possible resources in the service of a transformation that would no longer be circumscribed within the bounds of the purely theoretical, and thus striking an alliance with those affects which, for the most part elided, nonetheless haunt philosophical thought like its very shadow. A philosophy, then, bound to experiment with the employment of horror, that its insights might begin slowly but effectively to erode antropic automatism.
the Journal of Philosophical Research and Development
via An und für sich
Worker before Machines
b. 28 July 1887
Burn your Baedeker!
Savonarola on Futurism
Readers of Benjamin’s endlessly quoted essay on technological reproducibility will doubtless be familiar with the place of the futurist poetry of aerial bombardment in the analysis of the aestheticization of politics as the mark of fascism, and its bamboozling of the masses, drawn into thuggish jouissance at the spectacle of their own appearance and of the total state’s reactionary violence. But what of the actual politics under-girding this aestheticization? A first glimpse can be caught in the lettering of the futurist’s red wedge plunging into the green front of Italy’s World War I nemeses. Beside the chromatic confusion (the diagram inverts the colours of the Italian flag, but also makes it seem as if Italy is attacking… itself), the verbosity of the futurist’s variant (logorrhoea already serving as a demarcation from the percussive mots d’ordre of Lissitzky) is an index already. In the piercing camp of freedom, futurism and Italy, we find the other 7 ‘poet-peoples’, against the forces of barbarism and passatismo (an obsessive presence in the futurist lexicon, which my dictionary amusingly renders as ‘fogydom’): Austria, Germany and Turkey. Serbian temerity, Belgian industriousness, Montenegrin independence, French explosiveness and elegance, Russian impregnability and power, and Japanese resoluteness are among the qualities which join Italy’s amorphous but supreme trait (‘all of the forces, all of the weaknesses of GENIUS’ – strange echoes of the tone of Berlusconi’s bedroom perorations). The enemies are instead united by a litany of pejoratives (from methodical plagiarism to professorial pedantry, with Turkey = 0).
Marinetti et al. only intensified this hatred for everything that stank of stagnant culture, memory and heritage. They called for ‘hygienic forgetting’. In their text ‘What is Futurism: Elementary Notions’, they proclaim that to be a futurist in art one must: ‘hate ruins, museums, cemeteries, libraries, culturalism, professorialism, academicism, the imitation of the past, purism, longueurs and meticulousness’. A futurist can’t stand the opera, but he (though there were futurist women, a sub-Nietzschean misogyny is pretty much invariant across the texts, though the futurist also called for universal suffrage before many more ‘liberal’ types…) loves ‘concert-cafés where the spectators smoke, laugh and collaborate with the actors without grave solemnity and monotony’. We already have here one of the points on which, until their melancholy abandonment of the political arena and consequent defanged continuation under Mussolini, political futurists could never truly reconcile themselves with the neo-classical monumentality ('monumentomania'), cult of Rome and idolatry of tradition that came to constitute much of the ambivalent aesthetics of fascism in power. For Marinetti instead, ‘the annoying memory of Roman greatness should be erased by an Italian greatness a hundred times larger in magnitude’, in the image of a ‘beautiful dreadnought’. As one slogan went: ‘Let us abolish history’. Another called for ‘death to the dead’. The legacy of Rome was to be paved over, with American asphalt. As Boccioni would write: ‘our extremely violent affirmations of faith in modernity’ express ‘the need to become brutal, rapid, precise; the need to Americanize ourselves, entering the overpowering vortex of modernity’. This Americanization also coloured the futurist’s somewhat Stirnerian libertarianism, their scorn for established authorities, the Church, standing armies, the police, and any arbiter of moral probity. This tendency too came up against the fascist’s programme which, in making pacts with capitalists and the clergy, both defended (as ever, in a quite contradictory manner) the authority of tradition and threw the squadristi (and, once it conquered power, the police) against workers unions.
via infinite thØught
28 July 1887 – 2 October 1968
“But isn’t the same at least the same?”:
Translatability in Wittgenstein, Duchamp, and Jacques Roubaud
The avant-garde artist who perhaps best understood this, even though he and Wittgenstein never met and, so far as we know, knew nothing of each other’s work (and wouldn’t have liked it if they had), was, interestingly enough, his exact contemporary, Marcel Duchamp (his dates are 1887–1968; Wittgenstein’s 1889–1951). Duchamp’s term for the all but imperceptible difference between two seemingly identical items was, the term infrathin, a term closely linked to what Duchamp also called deferral or delay ._______________________
No doubt, Wittgenstein who dismissed specialized vocabulary and metalanguage as unnecessary, insisting that, on the contrary, ‘Ordinary language is all right’, would have disliked the neologism infrathin, with its allusion to such scientific terms as infra-red . But the link between his own note scraps or Zettel and Duchamp’s collections of note cards is quite remarkable.(....)
If, as Ezra Pound put it, poetry is 'language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree,' if it is 'news that news,' then the enigmatic Zettel, both of Duchamp and of Wittgenstein, the note fragments that cannot be forced into a linear, much less a causal one, and which, when replicated, are never 'the same,' provide a paradigm for the 'literalist' poetry increasingly significant in our time.
The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even
a Thought from Adorno
This is a nice bit from Minima Moralia. It gets to the difference between our present feudalism, with the position of the wealthy supported by the fires of the incredibly rancid populism of a middle management class in the throes of its own obsolescence, and the feudalism of the past. Aspirational equality disguises the inequality of economic circumstances; while the politics within organizations is all about exhausting the energy for and interest in politics.
The clock master
Jem Southam's best shot
"under rare conditions, we can say again with Beckett: 'Stony ground but not entirely'"
Reviewed by Nina Power
To abandon both "historicism" and "finitude" is perhaps Badiou's most significant contribution to an intra-disciplinary debate about philosophy's own status and concern. Not only does Badiou shun any philosophical approach or method that takes "meaning" as one of its central concerns, but he also seeks to displace the central status of human beings understood as primarily mortal creatures. (Elsewhere, in his Ethics, for example, he has written critically about how contemporary debates concerning human rights take as their starting point an image of the human being as a victim, as inherently fragile.) Historicism, too, the idea that "philosophy today is paralyzed by its relation to its own history", means for Badiou that philosophy is in danger of becoming "a museum of itself", endlessly recounting its own last days. It is in these two critiques that Conditions starts to show its slightly dated nature: the philosophy of human rights and discourses surrounding the "death" of philosophy were important strands in late twentieth-century thought. However, and perhaps partly due to Badiou's own rising influence, these tendencies have been replaced by what is, in many ways, a much more militant conception of philosophy and politics (various geopolitical events playing a significantly more important role, of course). Nevertheless, Badiou's stark and crystalline expression of the break philosophy must make with its own self-mourning is a clear and still relevant definition of what it means to think in the twenty-first century.
Translated from the Dutch by Jeannette K. Ringold
Organizing is a characteristic of our brain, of us, one of our traits, a survival strategy, a sickness. This is our way of tuning the chaotic, muddy soup around us into a recognizable and reassuring setting. We no longer know that nothing makes sense at all, that we ourselves provide the distinctness and the trust. One should be able to research the connection between organizing patterns and character traits. Why does one person hear four-four time and another, six-eight?_______________________
Why did she have to think all this—it was neither here nor there.
It was about Time tugging at her neck like an impatient lover, forcing her systematically to walk backward so that her view of what was past became less and less distinct.
With a great leap back in time, thought the woman. Or furtively, in dark-gray disguise, crawl back to an afternoon filled with songs, filled with music, a child at my right and a child at my left. Seeing the scene as intensely as when it took place. Feeling, smelling, and hearing the same as then.
It doesn't work like that; you never feel the same. Of course you can look back ("look ahead"), but the time that has meanwhile elapsed, what has happened in that time span, colors the perception. A thing can never be the same during two moments in time; at any rate it can't be perceived as "the same" because the observer has changed.
Just look at the Goldberg Variations.
059The Beautiful Foolishness Of Things
and there were times too
when beauty was concealed
in the withered,
when the blossom
would shed its petals
to reveal the ineffable wonder
that is an empty heart.
images by Roxana Ghita
text by Michael Tweed
the floating bridge of dreams
I don't mean that Michael's poem is a waka illustrating the image, but rather that photograph and poem combine to form a peculiar kind of waka. In what follows, I will try to explain what I mean by this. If the Japanese poetry discussion is based on a series of essays I will indicate in the notes, the thoughts on photography are merely my naive... how to call them? musings which have no intention whatsoever to say something true or meaningful about photography in general: it is only my way of living photography as a path of spiritual experience, as a form of contemplation.
what the waka-poet aims at, struggling with this intrinsic limitation of language, is given freely and naturally in photography. If time is annihilated in waka, time is held still in a photograph, suspended, and the different parts of the image are perceived instantly, as a whole. In a way, the photograph could also be understood as a non-sequential 'field' whose unity is grasped instantly, beyond the linguistic activity of the subject. Usually, the photograph is analyzed in terms of the past, a dead and frozen time which captures, in a way mummifies reality: from Barthes's 'that-has-been', a footprint or a death mask, to Sontag's 'way of imprisoning reality, of making it stand still' or Hutcheon's 'all photographs are by definition representations of the past'. But if time is made to stand still, then subjectivity can thus break from the normal flow and find itself in an eternal 'now', experience the essence of time as time-being, or being-time ..., as Dogen describes it - simultanously flow and eternal moment (an analogy would be, perhaps, the Einsteinian wave/particle nature of light). The past hours are absorbed in the I, they may 'seem to be elsewhere but are actually in the absolute, eternal now'. Each particular moment of time embodies simultanously all the time-being of the world.
- Roxana Craiova
Santiago Zabala interview
Of all the available philosophies in the so called postmetaphysical market, hermeneutics is the only one that does not pretend to an accurate description of Being; that is, it never intends to completely interpret Being. This limit or weakness of hermeneutics is actually its strongest feature since it indicates how it has inherited all the consequences of the destruction of metaphysics. This inheritance, this awareness, is nothing else than “weak thought.” Hermeneutics is the philosophy of “weak thought,” and, following Heidegger in his volumes on Nietzsche, it indicates how “within metaphysics there is nothing to Being as such.” A weakened ontology requires an interpretative philosophy where truth is not the result of descriptions but only the outcome of productive interpretations that are always insufficient. Just as in today’s theological studies Jesus’ factual existence is less important than its historical effects, so in philosophy the remains of Being are much more significant than its objective presence or origin. This is why the motto of the book is: “what remains, not what is, is essential to philosophy.”
Photographs of Manhattan
America’s Exhausted Paradigm:
Macroeconomic Causes of the Financial Crisis and Great Recession
This report traces the roots of the current financial crisis to a faulty U.S. macroeconomic paradigm. One flaw in this paradigm was the neo-liberal growth model adopted after 1980 that relied on debt and asset price inflation to drive demand. A second flaw was the model of U.S. engagement with the global economy that created a triple economic hemorrhage of spending on imports, manufacturing job losses, and off-shoring of investment. Deregulation and financial excess are important parts of the story, but they are not the ultimate cause of the crisis. Instead, they facilitated the housing bubble and are actually part of the neo-liberal model, their function being to fuel demand growth based on debt and asset price inflation. The old post-World War II growth model based on rising middle-class incomes has been dismantled, while the new neo-liberal growth model has imploded. The United States needs a new economic paradigm and a new growth model, but as yet this challenge has received little attention from policymakers or economists.
Dave Jordano Photography
fromRecent Work by Rachel Blau DuPlessis
Draft 81: Gap
Rachel Blau DuPlessis
Blackbox Manifold No. 3 (July 2009)
The poisons level off; time erodes something
But not very much.
It seemed normal in an abnormal way.
But that’s only because it really happened.
Maybe “normalized” or “normative” is what I mean.
Meaning loses meaning,
But must still be kept in mind.
No one could invent this.
But someone had to, and others entered their premise.
The door was open, triumphant, trenchant,
With acts, specifications, and deeds,
With tortuous articulations of
intricate and particular events.
Stripped stuff in categories,
And a serious attempt to blow up the evidence.
It is a wall in consciousness of dead air and concrete
That reads out as fenced acreage.
Rye Harbour, River Rother
from the series Rivermouths
1 2 3
An Interview with Jem Southam
After the Narration of a Dream
Richard Oelze Paintings & Drawings from the 1950s & 1960s [pdf]
In Broken Images
24 July 1895 – 7 December 1985
He is quick, thinking in clear images;
I am slow, thinking in broken images.
He becomes dull, trusting to his clear images;
I become sharp, mistrusting my broken images.
Trusting his images, he assumes their relevance;
Mistrusting my images, I question their relevance.
Assuming their relevance, he assumes the fact;
Questioning their relevance, I question the fact.
When the fact fails him, he questions his senses;
When the fact fails me, I approve my senses.
He continues quick and dull in his clear images;
I continue slow and sharp in my broken images.
He in a new confusion of his understanding;
I in a new understanding of my confusion.
André Kertész - The Polaroids _______________________
How To Lose Your Voice Well
When the conversation gets rough . . .
The human impulse to talk is fundamental, whether in the form of conversation, discussion, debate, or argument. I am no exception, but whenever I participate I also find, sadly, that my attention wanders easily. I am often caught, or catch myself, hearing and not listening, as the voice/s with which I am an interlocutor (I have assumed this role and taken this responsibility) gradually lose their vocality. They become accents and inflections that give the illusion of holding my attention, but then disintegrate to a drone, to white noise, while my own internal voices race in any or every direction--haphazard, discontinuous, serrated lines, a messy and garbled dialogue. The moment I say something along the lines of "Could you just repeat that last bit?" I must accept my disgrace. I am a bad listener. I cannot follow the commands of your voice, although I try to obey its regulation of time and its imagined teleology.
The voice brings us together in this always slightly dysfunctional conversation. But the voice divides us again because, in our conversation, it is the most obvious reminder of our separation from each other--our individual voices, as they drift through endless talking. And as these individual voices mingle, closing distance, creating new gaps, they remind us that as inevitable as communication is, miscommunication is its inseparable twin. They are not even different sides of a coin, but the self-same thing. We give voice to our mis-/communication, to being mis-/understood. In recent times vocality, inasmuch as it may be related to a tradition of orality, has come under significant theoretical scrutiny. This essay, however, does not trace competing ontologies of the voice, nor does it trace its role within either the all-too-frequently invoked Derridean critique of logocentrism--reached, I think, via a progressive, if amnesic, history of vocality in the notion of phonocentrism--nor in a phenomenological taxonomy Steven Connor notes in oral language's uncontrollability, its aptness, in relation to writing's comparative ineptitude, "to suggest a world of power and powerful presences".
Instead, the aspect of the voice most relevant to the present concern emerges in Connor's theoretical construct, the /vocalic body/:
Voices are produced by bodies: but can also themselves produce bodies. The vocalic body is . . . a projection of a new way of having or being a body, formed and sustained out of the autonomous operations of the voice . . . . The leading characteristic of the voice-body is to be a body-in-invention, an impossible, imaginary body in the course of being found and formed . . . . the voice seems to precipitate itself as an object, upon which it can then itself give the illusion of acting.
1 2 3 4 6_______________________
6 7 8
Speak Out On Copyright
The 2009 Copyright consultation has already attracted considerable interest with hundreds of comments posted on official discussion forum, two roundtables, and several hundred followers of the official consultation Twitter feed. Yesterday I posted my short answer to the consultation and starting tomorrow I plan to begin a lengthy blog series that discusses key issues in greater detail.
To help facilitate greater participation throughout the consultation process, today I am launching SpeakOutOnCopyright.ca. The site features dozens of posts and videos on Canadian copyright law, the Twitter #copycon stream, information on Bill C-61, and a Take Action page that highlights the ways individual Canadians can speak out on copyright.
- Michael Geist
1900 - 1980
The 1930s: The Making of "The New Man"
The Cool Web
Children are dumb to say how hot the day is,
How hot the scent is of the summer rose,
How dreadful the black wastes of evening sky,
How dreadful the tall soliers drulling by,
But we have speech, to chill the angry day,
And speech, to dull the roses's cruel scent,
We spell away the overhanging night,
We spell away the soldiers and the fright.
There's a cool web of language winds us in,
Retreat from too much joy or too much fear:
We grow sea-green at last and coldly die
In brininess and volubility.
But if we let our tongues lose self-possession,
Throwing off language and its watery clasp
Before our death, instead of when death comes,
Facing the wide glare of the children's day,
Facing the rose, the dark sky and the drums,
We shall go mad, no doubt, and die that way.
Pont des Arts
André Kertész: On Reading_______________________
The Fine and Dying Art of Shaping Light into Words
How light in cool air bends inward smoother, focused
through a spotting scope; how the neighborhood below
lies enfolded in dusk, and light no longer roils
on convecting air. I zoom up the magnification
and sweep down through our neighborhood.
Lingering on my house, the porchlight. And down.
And down. Past the park, its swings and jogging path,
On the wetlands, in that dead willow, the redtail hawks settle,
their bodies a mere darkness on the willow's bleached bones.
I scan the park more carefully. Each walking shape
melting into gloom. And that unmoving shape—
what spectral remains of light say woman?
What essence shaped on dying light says beloved?
I aim a flashlight and tap out: C, like a cat,
stalking and pouncing, twice (dash-dot-dash-dot);
L; and so on: C-L-A-I-R-E, hello, shaping light.
Ionarts Turns 6: State of the Blog
Congratulations to Charles T. Downey et. al.
Messina. Sicily. Italy.
via Mrs. Deane
The Italian Difference: Between Nihilism and Biopolitics
Lorenzo Chiesa and Alberto Toscano (eds.)
Download book as PDF (Open Access)
Antonio Negri, 'The Italian Difference'
Pier Aldo Rovatti, 'Foucault Docet'
Gianni Vattimo, 'Nihilism as Emancipation'
Roberto Esposito, 'Community and Nihilism'
Matteo Mandarini, 'Beyond Nihilism: Notes Towards a Critique of Left-Heideggerianism in Italian Philosophy of the 1970s'
Luisa Muraro, 'The Symbolic Independence from Power'
Mario Tronti, 'Towards a Critique of Political Democracy'
Alberto Toscano, 'Chronicles of Insurrection: Tronti, Negri and the Subject of Antagonism'
Paolo Virno, 'Natural-Historical Diagrams: The ‘New Global’ Movement and the Biological Invariant'
Lorenzo Chiesa, 'Giorgio Agamben's Franciscan Ontology'
via infinite thØught
On a small table I saw:
a coloured tin with german honeybread,
a spectacle-case, a pair of scissors
and a tailor’s chalk, a thick ballpoint
with four refills, two boxes of matches,
the periodical “LITERATURE OF THE WORLD” no.7/1986,
three tablets against influenza from the company
H.Lundbeck, a letter from Poland from Marian
and an advert for a new monthly magazine “DO IT YOURSELF”.
I looked at this world’s riches for a whole week.
Afterwards they took me away.
The Poems of Grzegorz Wróblewski
Writing the Polish Diaspora
Grzegorz Wróblewski - Three poems
part of Jacket 29's The New Polish Poetry feature
Grzegorz Wróblewski: Two poems
The influence of oral and written narratives, my ongoing bent for storytelling, how language shapes image-making and extracting essential moments from an experience are what trigger an idea. Recent work charts the biographical lifting of memorable experiences between a blind and sighted pair of siblings. The stories told were simultaneously poignant, funny and sad. What part of his- story is fiction?
Gail Tarantino's work is featured in Cricket Online Review
Gail Tarantino: Learning to Use a Spoon by Reading Braille
Derrida’s theories on the violence of writing come to mind here, of writing regulating meaning, inscription as prohibition, law, circumscription. Before we deciphered the Braille, its meaning was opaque to us; it shunned our desire to understand it. Thus it might appear that Tarantino is turning the tables on the idea of violence inherent in writing, for the text (or the spoon) do their violence by remaining unintelligible, and the reader retaliates by learning and understanding. The violence of the reader is not the same as the violence of writing, for in Tarantino’s work, the reader’s violence is against illegibility. And meaning, interpretation, writing, and learning are not inherently acts of violence.
Camille Martin: Poetry and Collages
13 August 1913 - 11 July 2009
Patrick McArdle Photography
The works of Newcastle photographer Jimmy Forsyth
Scotswood Road, May 1957_______________________
Gibson's fruit and veg shop one Sunday,
waiting for the pub to open.
Jimmy Forsyth - Scotswood Road
Last night it struck me that my insomnia might work in similar fashion: a buzz of words coalesces into clumps that rattle and thump, insufferable and interminable — except perhaps by writing them out, the sheet of paper or backlit glass acting as demurely supportive bedmate._______________________
Half the web can't go to sleep until all's corrected; half the web can't return to sleep until error's committed. Thus we achieve discourse.
Looking up Penn Street, c. 1957
How serial war became the American way of life.
We have begun to talk casually about our wars; and this should be surprising for several reasons. To begin with, in the history of the United States war has never been considered the normal state of things. For two centuries, Americans were taught to think war itself an aberration, and "wars" in the plural could only have seemed doubly aberrant. Younger generations of Americans, however, are now being taught to expect no end of war -- and no end of wars.(....)_______________________
We are the ascendant democracy, the exceptional nation in the world of nations. To fight wars is our destiny and our duty. Thus the word "wars" -- increasingly in the plural -- is becoming the common way we identify not just the wars we are fighting now but all the wars we expect to fight.(....)
Have we now grown too used to the employment of our army, navy, and air force to be long at peace, or even to contemplate peace? To speak of a perpetual war against "threats" beyond the horizon, as the Bush Pentagon did, and now the Obama Pentagon does, is to evade the question whether any of the wars is, properly speaking, a war of self-defense.
At the bottom of that evasion lies the idea of the United States as a nation destined for serial wars. The very idea suggests that we now have a need for an enemy at all times that exceeds the citable evidence of danger at any given time. In The Sorrows of Empire, Chalmers Johnson gave a convincing account of the economic rationale of the American national security state, its industrial and military base, and its manufacturing outworks.
It is not only the vast extent and power of our standing army that stares down every motion toward reform. Nor is the cause entirely traceable to our pursuit of refined weapons and lethal technology, or the military bases with which the U.S. has encircled the globe, or the financial interests, the Halliburtons and Raytheons, the DynCorps and Blackwaters that combine against peace with demands in excess of the British East India Company at the height of its influence. There is a deeper puzzle in the relationship of the military itself to the rest of American society. For the American military now encompasses an officer class with the character and privileges of a native aristocracy, and a rank-and-file for whom the best possibilities of socialism have been realized. (....)
The future wars of choice for the Defense Department appear to be wars of heavy bombing and light-to-medium occupation. The weapons will be drones in the sky and the soldiers will be, as far as possible, special forces operatives charged with executing "black ops" from village to village and tribe to tribe. It seems improbable that such wars -- which will require free passage over sovereign states for the Army, Marines, and Air Force, and the suppression of native resistance to occupation -- can long be pursued without de facto reliance on regime change. Only a puppet government can be thoroughly trusted to act against its own people in support of a foreign power.
Such are the wars designed and fought today in the name of American safety and security. They embody a policy altogether opposed to an idealism of liberty that persisted from the founding of the U.S. far into the twentieth century. It is easy to dismiss the contrast that Washington, Paine, and others drew between the morals of a republic and the appetites of an empire. Yet the point of that contrast was simple, literal, and in no way elusive. It captured a permanent truth about citizenship in a democracy. You cannot, it said, continue a free people while accepting the fruits of conquest and domination. The passive beneficiaries of masters are also slaves.
Photography about Architecture
'I'm blessed with a certain amnesia'
Leonard Cohen interview
I always had a notion that I had a tiny garden to cultivate. I never thought I was really one of the big guys. And so the work that was in front of me was just to cultivate this tiny corner of the field that I thought I knew something about, which was something to do with self-investigation without self-indulgence. Just pure confession I never felt was really interesting. But confession filtered through a tradition of skill and hard work is interesting to me. So that was my tiny corner, and I just started writing about the things that I thought I knew about or wanted to find out about. That was how it began. I wanted the songs to sound like everybody else's songs.
The Structure of Possibility
As Marx famously said “we make our own history, but we don’t know it”. The aim of his analyses was both to discern what is historically possible as a result of these emergent social relations and to assist in rendering us active in taking up these potentialities and turning them into new actualities.
The paradox is thus that constraint is actually enabling. As Quine recognized, there is something paralyzing in the infinite realm of logical possibility. However, when we examine various grades of constrained possibility, suddenly all sorts of new opportunities become available. Far from being oppressive, the discipline of the Shau Lin monk is enabling, allowing the monk to discover unheard of possibilities of the physical body as well as the mind. My gripe with a lot of Neo-Marxist thought is that it lacks attentiveness to the analysis of constrained structure of possibility in the historical moment. Instead it dreams of an ex-ceptional subject that escapes all constraints of the situation (demiurge?), or an event that departs from all constraints of situations. If I have been led away from hermeneutic and semiotic based approaches to these social and political questions, then this is because I believe the solutions to our problems lie in becoming conscious of the enabling power of constraint. But this requires a form of analysis that refuses theoretical abstraction and is willing to look at the actual networks being formed, the impersonal life of technology (and I do not use this term pejoratively), the new forms of economy and social relation. We must resist the urge to be princes in castles in control of armies and look at all the engineering links that characterize a situation and define its field of possibility. Only in this way does it become possible to determine what acts have the potential to generate new attractor states and basins of attraction.
Rooms by the Sea
July 22, 1882 – May 15, 1967
Nobody reads poetry. One jumps into the ape-house, pounds a pneumatic rhythm out, scoots up the nearby “tree.” C’est comme ça, la poésie—bête et soupçonneuse. Insert symbol. Sense of hitting a wall: accrue’d antagonism with oneself resulting in both “obstinacy of aesthetic comportment” (Adorno) and plunging abject-status. I drool in a corner. I scratch my privates publicly. Loss of criteria and fear of the open door. Lessening of social commitment, ha ha ha, ha. Books? I put books against my face to block out the sun. Ah, ah, aberrancy, it disfigures the rollicking tongue.
So, grumpy with doubts, one reads of Olson’s stickler, warring against Eliot’s “pseudoparticularity” (that, a word of Ralph Maud’s, in What Does Not Change: The Significance of Charles Olson’s “The Kingfishers”): “Particularism has to fought for, anew.” Olson insisting (“Human Universe”) “that a thing, any thing, impinges on us by a more important fact, its self-existence—the very character of it which calls our attention to it, which wants us to know more about it, its particularity. This is what we are confronted by, not the thing’s ‘class.’” Olson’s worrying Eliot’s “The Dry Salvages”—the lines “Lady, whose shrine stands on the promontory, / Pray for all those who are in ships”—he sends “Pound a picture postcard of the statue of the Lady of Good Voyage on top of the Portuguese Church” in Gloucester, with the line: “Here is my Lady that Possum stole.” Writing = turf war. Three years later he’s niggling (to Creeley, a 1950 letter) the same: Eliot’s “use of my, my madonna, buono viaggi, Gloucester, and how he misuses it, is riding, is generalizer”—and proceeds with the Maximus Poems:
(o my lady of good voyage
So: blithering “generalizing humanism,” imprecise vaguenesses, the bull-dozed flat lack of the point’d particular. (An argument for the particularity not of things, but of words—arguably, a formally empty particularity buoy’d up only by sheer self-attending materiality (“Look at me!”)—occurs to me, is that where “we” be today, constructing with our doodads and wit the vessels of our distraction-unto-death inability to cotton to anything beyond the flibbertigibbets of the sign?)
in whose arms, whose left arm rests
no boy but a carefully carved wood, a painted face, a schooner!
Peter Singer’s Hegelianism:
The Social Context of Equality
Dr David Rose
This article aims to demonstrate that there exists a recognition in Singer’s thought of a second source of substantial obligations, that is the moral fabric of a particular society, and that his full ethical position draws upon a position similar to Hegelian absolute idealism. The main claims that will be made are that the procedural constraint of impartiality does not necessarily lead to, or even favours, a utilitarian ethics and that Singer is implicitly aware that social conditions determine the nature of our moral obligations, especially the substantial content of those that fulfil the requirement of equality. And, most importantly, if abstract values such as equality cannot regulate behaviour without substantial constraints and if these substantial constraints are not universal but rely on a social context, then this will make a significant and perhaps revolutionary difference to Singer’s own normative commitments.
Between the Species
An On-Line Journal for the Study of Philosophy and Animals
Radical Anthropology Journal
Issue 2 - The Scarcity Myth - Interview with Noam Chomsky - Lionel Sims Decodes Stonehenge [PDF]
via Philosophy's Other: Theory On The Web
Daily Glimpse 10
an ongoing series by butuki
Tangled ReliquaryAnn Lauterbach at PennSound and the Electronic Poetry Center
Tangled reliquary under all surfaces.
Nothing moonlike occurs there
Only partial coves
How cool it must have been
the vat of the previous
Before these habits ordained the real.
Some of us must have seen each other
Naked in opulent dawn, our nerves
Drawn up as from an ancient well
Mossy, slick, unstuck at every seam
So we enter the sleeve of history
Out of which the magician pulls
His lawn ornaments: Dancer, Prancer,
Our Lady of Provocations, flags, targets,
The bluebird's house.
On the adjacent field
A swarm of butterflies alights
On a bald tree. This is the Tree of Changes
Mentioned in the lost book of A.
Her auspice was a riddle,
Sphinx or no sphinx,
Whose meanings we can piece together
From her journals which were torn into bandages
To wrap the wounds of the dying.
Such wanton songs
Paginate empirical trust
And the ruse of the first place.
Not that story again, what we cannot say
To the sun as it dispenses its sheen
Out over the harbor, but only
How can you perform your agile sway
Without shelter and without us?
So the riddle of the disembodied name
Sets in motion its primal mischief
Sanctioned and forbidden in the vastly gone.
This would be a good day to go sailing
Or to wash the car, but I have
Neither boat nor car. There's a plotless web
In the air like a banner pulling us along
Into something to look back on.
To Be Thrown Upon The Wall
Mixing History and Desire: The Poetry of C.P. Cavafy
Cavafy did not publish a book in his lifetime; he preferred to distribute his poems to a few close friends in pamphlets printed at his own expense, partly in order to avoid the corruptions of the marketplace. But long before Forster "discovered" him, he was consciously writing in a cosmopolitan tradition. As well as Robert Browning, whose dramatic monologues inform Cavafy's own, Tennyson, Keats, Wilde, Emerson and Whitman all left traces in his work; Baudelaire and the French Parnassians were another important influence. After Cavafy's death in 1933, his sensibility began to color the work of other poets, among them Auden, Brecht, Brodsky, Milosz and Montale, as well as the Americans Robert Hass, Louise Glück, James Merrill, Rachel Hadas and Mark Doty. It was Auden who brought Cavafy's work to a broad American readership by introducing Rae Dalven's translation of the Complete Poems in 1961: "I can think of poems," he wrote, "which, if Cavafy were unknown to me, I should have written quite differently, or perhaps not written at all." The first edition of what became the canonical English Cavafy, a clean, transparent Collected Poems translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard, appeared in 1975. The past five years have produced a flurry of new versions, by Aliki Barnstone, Alan Boegehold, Stratis Haviaras, Evangelos Sachperoglou and Avi Sharon. Why, then, do we need another?
Port Franks, Ont.
... you want to do something good, you take pleasure in what you do, like a pianist, he has to start somewhere too, he tries three notes, then he masters twenty, and eventually he knows them all, and then he spends the rest of his life perfecting them. And that's his great pleasure, that's what he lives for. And what some do with notes, I do with words. Simple as that. I'm not really interested in anything else. Because getting to know the world happens anyway, by living in it, as soon as you walk out the door you're confronted with the world directly. With the whole world. With up and down, back and front, ugliness and beauty, perfectly normal. There's no need to want this. It happens of its own accord. And if you never leave the house, the process is the same.
What kind of intellectual aims do you...
These are all questions that can't be answered because no one asks themselves that sort of thing. People don't have aims. Young people, up to 23, they still fall for that. A person who has lived five decades has no aims, because there's no goal.
- Thomas Bernhard interview, 1986
Tuolumne River, Yosemite, Ca.
Spent Some Time with Lorca in New York_______________________
... Spent some Time with Lorca attending the Abstract Expressionism: A World Elsewhere exhibit, curated by my friend, compassionate genius, incomparable critic, David Anfam, who reiterates the importance of revolt, fresh perspective, genuine sincerity of artistic endeavor way too soon sucked up, formalized, & used by the power structure, so that when I stood at an angle, as oblique & marginal, as out of the way as I could, absorbing the lines & forms & colors, juxtapositions, flow, lacunae, majesty, & detail of one particular painting, Motherwell’s, Elegy to the Spanish Republic, indeed, another version of which I visited on a daily basis working for four years at the National Gallery, where upstairs in a plaster, windowless cave David slaved for ten years over the Rothko Catalogue Raisonné it paid to have spent some Time with Lorca in New York, because slowly from all the way across the room I suspected that Goya, Picasso, & Lorca lurked on the surface & at the depths of the massive rectangles & ovoids, linear pillars & ellipses, when all of a sudden the Elegy took voice in the form of visual chorus, sung, whispered, & screamed, Goya’s black-lace mantillas, Picasso’s Guernican heads, arms, & torsos asunder, Lorca’s plaintive song of struggle, pain, & blood soared across the gallery room, the cry, cry of injustice continuing unabated skyscraper top down to underground homeless since the Time Lorca spent in New York.
Evergreen Review No. 118 / June 2009
via Brian Campbell
Travels Inside the Archive
Robert's latest book
translated by Peter Dubé
these are the names of places, of cities, of climates that make characters. The clear mornings, a fine rain fallen for twenty-four hours, rare images originating in America and elsewhere, two natural disasters that oblige us to stick together in the midst of cadavers, these are the gestures quiet or purple, the shells, the icicles in the happy hour glasses, crockery noises or a light stuttering that torments an instant, a slap, a kiss these are the names of cities like Venice or Reading, Tongue and Pueblo, the names of characters Fabrice, Laure or Emma. The words sharpened over the years and the novels, words one spoke while breathing badly, while laughing, while spitting, while sucking an olive, the verbs we add to the lips' pleasure, to success, to a certain death. These are words like knee or cheek or still others stretching as far as the eye can see making us lean over the void, stretch like cats in the morning these are the words that make one stay awake till dawn or take a taxi on week nights when the city falls asleep before midnight and solitude sticks in our jaws like an abscess. These are words spoken from memory, from want or from pride, very often words pronounced with love while placing hands on nape of neck or filling a glass of port. These are words whose etymology must be sought, that must then be plastered to what's called a wall of sound, in a manner like those who cry out in pain and sigh with pleasure that wander in dreams and documents assault the heart's mysterious obscurity. These are words like bay, hill, wadi, via, street* stasse dispersed through the dictionary between flame-trees and neons, cemeteries, dismal and forests. These are words sound the body of meanings that are claws or soft* on our chests, cold, shivers, furrows and fear in the back without waiting while we try to split the sleek future tense with trenchant quotations. These are words swallowers of fire and life, one no longer knows whether they're Latin, French, Italian, Sanskrit, Mandarin, Andalusian, Arabic or English, whether they hide a number, an animal or old anguishes eager to gush before our eyes like cloned shadows filled with light and great myths.
Nicole Brossard at EPC
Nicole Brossard: Essays on Her Works_______________________
edited by Louise Forsyth
b. 21 July 1854
A Storm at Sea
In a celebrated passage, Lucretius writes: “What joy it is, when out at sea the stormwinds are lashing the waters, to gaze from the shore at the heavy stress some other man is enduring!” (p. 38). Perhaps something of a pessimist (“All life is a struggle in the dark”), the comment is less a matter of schadenfreude and more a gesture of self-affirmation. The man “gazes” toward the sea, but are his eyes passive contemplators of a scene of wilderness? The eyes straddling the sea, while the body remains in place: a prototypical Kantian stance. A “negative pleasure” involving attraction and repulsion.
Ideas of Space
I had lived always among the trees; and when, at last, I came out onto the Plain, my head reeled and I was sick. The uninterrupted light was, in its novelty, nearly fatal—a plague of nettles, a yellow noise, a magisterial voice deaf to all human entreaty. I mean to say that I had not, until that moment, seen the sun whole and undivided. Always, it had hidden behind a screen of foliage or, in winter, bones of twig and fescue. The light was thin and strained. A dusk even at midday. To see it, all at once and of a sudden, was a blow to the senses—not just to my eyes, though they stung and the light turned black within them, but to the other organs of sense through which the world invades and trammels up the mind. I was like one struck down by it, as Saul had been on his way to Damascus. I smelled light like a rust or mold, tasted its bitterness, and felt it against my skin—hot and barbed._______________________
Brought to my knees, I wished I had not left the thickset woods to savor distances. What did I know of distance, immensities of space, emptiness, or the vegetable and mineral composition of the world outside the forest? I had heard how, on the Plain, one’s eyes might rove with nothing to arrest them, that they might sweep in a circuit and encounter nothing but grass and, in the distance, a haze which might be clouds or mountains or—strangest of all—the sea.
By some witchcraft or other for I really cannot assign any reasonable why and wherefore I have been carried apart from the main current of life, and find it impossible to get back again. . . .Nathaniel Hawthorne
I have secluded myself from society; and yet I never meant any such thing, nor dreamed what sort of life I was going to lead. I have made a captive of myself and put me into a dungeon, and now I cannot find the key to let myself out, and if the door were open, I should be almost afraid to come out. . . . For the last ten years I have not lived, but only dreamed of living.
Nathaniel Hawthorne in a letter to Longfellow
The Liver is the Cock's Comb
d. July 21, 1948
Berlusconi in Tehran
Alain Badiou has proposed a distinction between two types (or rather levels) of corruption in democracy: the first, empirical corruption, is what we usually understand by the term, but the second pertains to the form of democracy per se, and the way it reduces politics to the negotiation of private interests. This distinction becomes visible in the (rare) case of an honest ‘democratic’ politician who, while fighting empirical corruption, nonetheless sustains the formal space of the other sort. (There is, of course, also the opposite case of the empirically corrupted politician who acts on behalf of the dictatorship of Virtue.)_______________________
‘If democracy means representation,’ Badiou writes in De quoi Sarkozy est-il le nom?, ‘it is first of all the representation of the general system that bears its forms. In other words: electoral democracy is only representative in so far as it is first of all the consensual representation of capitalism, or of what today has been renamed the “market economy”. This is its underlying corruption.’[*] At the empirical level multi-party liberal democracy ‘represents’ – mirrors, registers, measures – the quantitative dispersal of people’s opinions, what they think about the parties’ proposed programmes and about their candidates etc. However, in a more radical, ‘transcendental’ sense, multi-party liberal democracy ‘represents’ – instantiates – a certain vision of society, politics and the role of the individuals in it. Multi-party liberal democracy ‘represents’ a precise vision of social life in which politics is organised so that parties compete in elections to exert control over the state legislative and executive apparatus. This transcendental frame is never neutral – it privileges certain values and practices – and this becomes palpable in moments of crisis or indifference, when we experience the inability of the democratic system to register what people want or think. In the UK elections of 2005, for example, despite Tony Blair’s growing unpopularity, there was no way for this disaffection to find political expression. Something was obviously very wrong here: it wasn’t that people didn’t know what they wanted, but rather that cynicism, or resignation, prevented them from acting.
Castle Market, Sheffield
text by Owen Hatherley
photography by infinite thØught
In received opinion, modernist planning and architecture is a sterile, over-rationalised affair. Supposedly, it is blind to context, a purveyor of universal solutions and interchangeable types.
Maybe you could believe that looking at many of the post-war modernist shopping centres and estates of Britain, but a quick trip to Sheffield ought to change your opinion. Or rather, a visit to a handful of landmarks that have miraculously escaped a council decidedly handy with the dynamite – Park Hill, Gleadless Valley, and finally, Castle Market.(....)_______________________
The job architect here, Andrew Darbyshire, designed what could be described as a Megastructure before the fact, although never as domineering and 'iconic' as that would suggest. Rather than, as is customary, plonking down from on high a hangar or a slab, Darbyshire fitted a multitude of interconnected structures into a small, sloping site – an office block, with a distinctive angular profile; a raised walkway system with shops; and the markets themselves, three floors – all with access to the street on different levels of the hill – and a wildly curving entrance ramp at the back. Inside, there is a panoply of strange and fascinating things.
Like Park Hill, what is clever and unusual in Castle Market is that it's a modernist design that specifically tries to engineer bustle and individuality, so that you notice both the ingenious design of the labyrinthine structure, but also the competing design ambitions of the many stalls and built-in shops. Much of Castle Market, both the building itself and its individual units, retains original 1960s signage, making it a particular goldmine for classic caff enthusiasts.
"What Light Remains In The Absence"
text by Craig Foltz, Eoin P. Galvin, Joe Meno and Karen Russell
Blurb: Photography.Book.Now Submissions
What Light Remains In the Absence
by Eoin Galvin
It is not the sound of the lights turning off
but the full silence of you and I at home,
not the shape of you in my arms
but the weight of you asleep,
not the bright, terrifying joy,
the burn and breech of us,
but what light remains in the absence
who I have become of us.
Pedro Rosa Mendes
Translated from the Portuguese by Clifford E. Landers
"German Dolls" takes Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) to Berlin. It is a text about memories--false and inaccurate, as memories always are--and how they interfere with the places we inhabit, the places we best know by getting lost in them (in the sense of choosing to vanish into them). Pessoa grew up in Durban and wrote his first poems in English. Apart from two trips from Portugal to South Africa, he rarely traveled, and so far as I know was never in Berlin. But his invention of identities, like different layers of one's self--the heteronymus--has everything to do with a city, Berlin, that hides its true identity, and its memories, behind names that are recognizable only from the inside. To a stranger, they lead nowhere. I wanted to work on a metamorphosis of the Poet into a dog. Pessoa used more than seventy heteronyms, some of them discovered only recently by scholars studying his handwritten papers. It made sense to me to imagine Pessoa as a Stasi agent, playing a game with a city, and a society, where everyone could spy on everyone, living a double life and reporting to a "master"--a Poet, let's say, or a demiurge--who had the key to everyone's true identity. --Pedro Rosa Mendes(....)
There's an excess of time here, you understand? It's morbid, of course, such anxiety to embrace a time that's died-which is the only time that we can, in fact, look in the eyes. The temptation to manufacture the future is no less dangerous-or buy it ready-made-in order to hide the insecurity of having no plan for it. One needs to create a dike between space and time, so as to protect the peoples from the mirror of themselves-otherwise, they fall into disobedience or civil unawareness. That was the purpose of the Wall. That was what we were all working for, in the GDR Ministry of State Security-the Stasi. To maintain the world by maintaining fear.
(he watches me, his tongue hanging out)
The Stasi supplied a cosmogony. No one thanked us. Only fear gave meaning to a society-by keeping it divided in two.
(Composition with masks)
b. July 20, 1895
Speech is a mysterious thing that no one really understands. I’ve already mentioned the postmodern cliché about how only one of us can have a voice. So if you’re talking, that means you’re taking away my voice, silencing me. That’s a misunderstanding of the influences and mistakes and possessions that occur in conversation. (A beautiful and productive misunderstanding--practically all of Jabès comes out of it--but it’s wrong.) Actually, it happens all the time that many voices are speaking simultaneously. The forms of writing just haven’t gotten very good at representing simultaneous speech, or at representing the silences that frequently occur in speech.
- Ben Lerner interview in Jacket 37
Palm Springs, 1947
10 October 1910 - 15 July 2009
Julius Shulman, Modernity and Metropolis
The Thing That Eats The Heart
The thing that eats the heart comes wild with years.
It died last night, or was it wounds before,
But somehow crawls around, inflamed with need,
Jingling its medals at the fang-scratched door.
We were not unprepared: with lamp and book
We sought the wisdom of another age
Until we heard the action of the bolt.
A little wind investigates the page.
No use pretending to the pitch of sleep;
By turnings we are known, our times and dates
Examined in the courts of either/or
'While armless griefs moundt lewd and headless doubts.
It pounces in the dark, all pity-ripe,
An enemy as soft as tears or cancer,
I whose embrace we fall, as to a sickness
Whose toxins in our cells cry sin and danger.
Hero of crossroads, how shall we defend
This creature-lump whose charity is art
When its own self turns "Christian-cannibal?
The thing that eats the heart is mostly heart.
from "This Garland, Danger", in Selected Poems: 1928 - 1958
The Dunes at Noordwijk
b. July 20, 1847
Debating Freedom of Speech and Conscience
Thomas Paine, the new atheism movement, and the European skeptic tradition
I would like to offer some observations on the recent appeal of militant atheism in the United States, while linking it to the concurrent renewed interest in Thomas Paine in evidence over the last five or six years (no less than ten new books devoted to Paine have appeared since 2005). Indeed the "new atheism" derives from a long-established free-thinking tradition in which Thomas Paine has a key place. Paine was no atheist, but a plain-spoken anti-Christian deist, whose religious outlook is best summarized by his profession of faith as it appears in the first chapter of The Age of Reason, published in two parts, in 1794 and 1795, while Paine was in Paris (and partly in prison where he stayed from December 28, 1793, to November 4, 1794).
I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church. All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
Hence, while Paine believed that the universe and mankind had been created by an impersonal, remote, and uninvolved God, he also insisted that "the most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries that [had] afflicted the human [had] had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion," by which he meant Judaism, Christianity, and Mohammedanism (as Islam was called in the eighteenth century). Traces of Paine's reasoning and prose appear in the contemporary books listed above—especially in that of Hitchens. At the same time, the nature of the current debate over the upsurge of interest in militant atheism shares many similarities with the heated controversies that erupted in Britain and in the United States following the publication of The Age of Reason.
The Almighty Word
... we don't expect much from television. Call to mind the act of channel-surfing across a virtual sea of mediocrity--the officious network anchors, the blaring car commercials, the interminable daytime talk shows. It's no wonder HBO established its high-brow reputation by defining itself in opposition to its own medium.
But is the literary marketplace really all that different? Step into a Barnes & Noble, with its endless shelves of celebrity hagiographies, its window full of diet books by suspiciously photogenic doctors, its rack of movie novelizations, and ask yourself if publishing is a classy industry.
It may be that the reason we're so quick to defend the Written Word, to pedestalize its power and grandiosity to the detriment of all other media, is that it's been here the longest. We can chart its evolution from primitive iconography, to ideograms and glyphs, to alphabets and punctuation, up through epic poetry and drama and novels. It's earned its place as civilization's posterboy. Where were the Sopranos when Homer, Cicero and Shakespeare were shaping the Western Canon?
This is a prejudice, though. It's the default position of literary folk to stand by their heritage, even if The Da Vinci Code is its progeny. Like true believers, we'll come up with ingenious justifications for the innate merit of typographic symbology before accepting that text is just one more delivery system. Which, at the end of the day, it is.
The Man in the Mirror
In celebrity culture we destroy what we worship. The commercial exploitation of Michael Jackson's death was orchestrated by the corporate forces that rendered Jackson insane. Jackson, robbed of his childhood and surrounded by vultures that preyed on his fears and weaknesses, was so consumed by self-loathing he carved his African-American face into an ever-changing Caucasian death mask and hid his apparent pedophilia behind a Peter Pan illusion of eternal childhood. He could not disentangle his public and his private self. He became a commodity, a product, one to be sold, used and manipulated. He was infected by the moral nihilism and personal disintegration that are at the core of our corporate culture. And his fantasies of eternal youth, delusions of majesty, and desperate, disfiguring quests for physical transformation were expressions of our own yearning. He was a reflection of us in the extreme.(....)
The fame of celebrities masks the identities of those who possess true power-corporations and the oligarchic elite. And as we sink into an economic and political morass, as we barrel toward a crisis that will create more misery than the Great Depression, we are controlled, manipulated and distracted by the celluloid shadows on the wall of Plato's cave. The fantasy of celebrity culture is not designed simply to entertain. It is designed to drain us emotionally, confuse us about our identity, make us blame ourselves for our predicament, condition us to chase illusions of fame and happiness and keep us from fighting back. And in the end, that is all the Jackson coverage was really about, another tawdry and tasteless spectacle to divert a dying culture from the howling wolf at the gate.