March 06, 2014
From Mandelstam Variations
for Robert Kelly
“oxen wild like bellowed land”
after most things have happened, Chaon appears.
he’s filth, a mishmash theophage guzzling chaos
out of the city, draining it to linearity. doors become
invisible, alphabets realign their orders under the
meshes of our speech. I will mutely scowl says the sun.
I will turn the Chrysler Building inside out.
he drank so much chaos they called him Chaon,
of course. he took all but two of every household
(as though walls even existed, or remembered light)
and lived in the sky with them. open air pivoting,
invisible embouchure into a body of contradictions.
or into nobody if that’s who we are. I was righteous
out of my age, says Chaon. I soldered together
the seams of the sky, I blew breath into the city’s
gridded syntax. weeks without rain. flesh in no
number. recombinant grammars flash in the
skyline. the doorway. a language all breath
conspires in. bandwidths enlacing to form noise.
some things that are like real things it would be good to say or bad not to say
Ian Dreiblatt reviews Alexander Vvedensky's An Invitation for Me to Think
It was a stunning moment—not only in terms of its immediate implications for the heroic women in the defendants' box and their place within Russia's anti-Putin movement, but also for the aesthetic and intellectual lineage that it unearthed and celebrated. The lineage was particularly surprising considering Tolokonnikova's youth and the fact that Vvedensky, who perished in state custody during what Russians call the Great Patriotic War, was not published in his native country until he'd been dead more than fifty years. And even then, he was published only spottily. Tolokonnikova's statement establishes those years of hibernation as a raising of the stakes of Vvedensky's work, a period when his invisibility marked not irrelevance but an increasing and ramifying urgency.
Against this backdrop, there is cause for celebration in NYRB/POETS' recent publication of An Invitation for Me to Think, a collection of most of Vvedensky's surviving writing, edited by the poet and scholar Eugene Ostashevsky. In this volume, Ostashevsky has translated much of Vvedensky's work anew and has also included some of Matvei Yankelevich's previous translations, previously available only in tiny, though gorgeous, editions. Comprising mostly poetry (much of it in the form of several-voice verse plays) and some prose, the book is a beautiful compliment to the public resuscitation Tolokonnikova initiated, a splendid opportunity for English-language readers to become familiar with Vvedensky's vital weirdness and weird vitality, with the English word "weird" applying in its Vvedenskian double meaning of both "strange" and "bound up with fate."
Russian soliders crossing the Bug River
A Look Inside Crimea, Crossroads of Empires
The Daily Beast
Advertisements for Death
If the Spanish Civil War was the first conflict to be photographed, by Robert Capa and others, in a modern way — that is, up close on the battlefield and among civilians — the Syrian civil war may be the first truly postmodern conflict, at least when it comes to its images. Both sides are engaged in a perverse competition to show the world, and each other, how ruthlessly barbaric they can be. Aided by new technologies — the cellphone camera, YouTube, Instagram, social-media sites — these images of cruelty ricochet around the globe. The traditional role of war photojournalism has been turned on its head: Rather than expose atrocities, photographs now advertise them.
But in other ways the Syrian images are hardly unique. They are the culmination of a long and ignoble lineage of perpetrator photographs: pitiless pictures taken by tormentors of the violence and sadism they inflict on helpless victims.
Maskers en Cobra-kunstenaars
The Poetic Politics Of Space
just because you live in a place doesn’t mean you really know where you are
Something that has been important to me since is seeing how the bohemia of the 1950s and ’60s was underwritten by incredibly cheap housing and the ability of many middle-class white people to live off the fat of the land without working very hard—people in the ’60s felt like they could hardly fuck up. I know two people who in the 1970s were wanted fugitives and are now retired professors with pensions, which you couldn’t get now no matter what, let alone as a wanted fugitive with your face on FBI posters. I feel like I also learned, particularly from Wallace Berman, that before you make art you have to have a culture in which to make art—which he understood very deeply. He is recognized for the art he made but he is not so recognized for the culture he made: publishing Semina magazine, participating in the Ferus Gallery and then the little gallery in the Larkspur mudflats, introducing and encouraging people. He wasn’t exactly a mentor, (which sounds avuncular), wasn’t exactly a muse (which always seems like a beautiful young lady, possibly without clothes), but he was a catalyst for people to make culture. Everyone was also making culture by being good audiences for each other and good friends and good community members.
Rail: It’s very clear that with Savage Dreams you first achieved the hybrid voice you are known for. Were you maintaining writing practices—journalism, criticism, memoir—that were being kept separate before that time?
Solnit: Yes, that is exactly where it happened. I was trained as a journalist so I developed a tough journalistic voice, and I was separately trained as a critic. It’s interesting that postmodernism wanted to undermine, dismantle, and substitute something better than the singular authoritative voice, but that it mostly gave us was manifestos followed quickly by reversions to exactly that voice of objective authority. I thought that speaking personally was one way of addressing that: that there is no such thing as speaking from neutrality in journalism, that the most honest and accountable thing you can do is to establish exactly who is speaking and from what experience. I have a historical mind and have always thought that you understand things by understanding what brought them into being. All of these things came together rather magically after a few years of going to the Nevada nuclear test site, which was this place where tremendous forces converged: the history of the making of the atom bomb, the Cold War, nuclear physics, Western Shoshone activism, white attitudes toward the desert, civil disobedience with anti-war and anti-nuclear movements. It was so complex you couldn’t have told it in a linear, objective way, so I had to find a way to let the threads tangle and weave, that also left room for reverie and digression—which is why I always say the Nevada Test Site taught me how to write. So in Savage Dreams I found a way to bring together my journalistic, critical, and finally lyrical voices (as a way of making wilder leaps of connection) that suddenly all appeared to be the one voice able to describe this complex situation.
via (Notes on) Politics, Theory & Photography
b. March 6, 1910
e-flux journal issue 53
Shapes of Freedom: A Conversation with Elizabeth A. Povinelli
Reflections on the “Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics”
I have gone back and forth between reserving the phrase “late liberalism” for the liberal governance of difference that began to emerge in the late 1960s and early 1970s as liberal governments responded to a series of legitimacy crises coming from anticolonial, anti-imperial, and new social movements, and using the same phrase to refer to the internal and external conditions and dynamics of contemporary European and Anglo-American governance as two of its key pillars, neoliberalism and multiculturalism, emerged in the 1970s and are now undergoing significant stress. My vacillation is symptomatic of the absolute need to distinguish these two modes of governance, to never let either out of the sight of the other. From a political point of view of collective and legitimate action, the neoliberal governance of economies and the multicultural governance of difference were always about the conservation of a specific form of social organization and distribution of life and goods. How can this be when these two forms were new twists in liberal capitalism? How could they be conserving older forms of social organization and be a new form of social organization at the same time?
What interests me is the conservation of differential powers as capitalism was understood as liberation from the market and liberal values were liberated from liberalism. How are these changes conditioned by events inside and outside Europe and the Anglo-American region? How are the consequences of these changes reflected in the forms and affects of liberal governance? What forms of liberal economic and social governance are emerging as the center of economic vitality shifts from the US and Europe to Asia and South America? What is liberalism becoming as nondemocratic forms of capitalism are a central engine of the global economy; nonelected “technocratic” governments are proliferating in Europe; social protest and massive youth unemployment are ubiquitous; secular and religious imaginaries compete on the street; and slums proliferate as the major form of social dwelling in the south and suburbs become ghettos in the north?
Translated by Matteo Pasquinelli
The “Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics” (MAP) opens with a broad acknowledgment of the dramatic scenario of the current crisis: Cataclysm. The denial of the future. An imminent apocalypse. But don’t be afraid! There is nothing politico-theological here. Anyone attracted by that should not read this manifesto. There are also none of the shibboleths of contemporary discourse, or rather, only one: the collapse of the planet’s climate system. But while this is important, here it is completely subordinated to industrial policies, and approachable only on the basis of a criticism of those. What is at the center of the Manifesto is “the increasing automation in production processes,” including the automation of “intellectual labor,” which would explain the secular crisis of capitalism. Catastrophism? A misinterpretation of Marx’s notion of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall? I wouldn’t say that.
#accelerate Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics
Here, the reality of the crisis is identified as neoliberalism’s aggression against the structure of class relations that was organized in the welfare state of the eighteenth and twentieth centuries; and the cause of the crisis lies in the obstruction of productive capacities by the new forms capitalist command had to assume against the new figures of living labor. In other words, capitalism had to react to and block the political potentiality of post-Fordist labor.
This is followed by a harsh criticism of both right-wing governmental forces, and of a good part of what remains of a Left—the latter often deceived (at best) by the new and impossible hypothesis of a Keynesian resistance, unable to imagine a radical alternative. Under these conditions, the future appears to have been cancelled by the imposition of a complete paralysis of the political imaginary. We cannot come out of this condition spontaneously. Only a systematic class-based approach to the construction of a new economy, along with a new political organization of workers, will make possible the reconstruction of hegemony and will put proletarian hands on a possible future.
There is still space for subversive knowledge!
Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek _______________________
March 04, 2014
less than one
Six Likht Variations, with Snakes & Stones (a poem in progress)
atop a mountain
are hammered down
stone after stone
ignites the air
atop a mountain
in a show
stones touching stones
& casting shadows
stones in heaps
the luck of brothers
fire in the sky
a heap of stones
& how a hammer
The Year Megaplatforms Ruled The Internet
On the web we lost, the web we deserve, and the web we want.
2013 was a year in which tech’s largest, most visible companies became incumbents — it was the year that the new guard became slightly old. It was not, despite a thousand press releases to the contrary, a year for “disruption” — it was the year that the biggest companies on the internet became bigger, went public, and digested smaller competitors. It was the year that the internet’s mega-platforms became both its center and its central authority. It was a year for “building,” sure, but only on borrowed property.
It was the year that Facebook turned into Twitter, Twitter turned into Instagram, Instagram turned into Snapchat. It was the year you could rearrange the pairs in the last sentence at random without making it false. It was the year we found out that nearly every major internet service had been compromised in some way by the NSA, and that some were complicit; it was the year these same services refined and fulfilled their financial promises in the form of advertising strategies. It was the year we decided to use these services anyway.
It’s tempting to predict that 2014 will be the year the megaplatforms begin to falter. It’s extremely tempting to predict that the internet will be remade by teens — those inscrutable, ingenious, or just demographically desirable teens — in their image. Perhaps we widen our view and suggest that 2014 will be the year that casts doubt on America’s continued ability to set international internet trends. Maybe it’s the year a Japanese service takes the international internet by storm, or the habits of Indian users dramatically reshape the web, helping an already huge messaging app from a Chinese company become the most popular service in the world.
Here’s a more realistic prediction: All of these things will happen to some extent, but none will be definitive. 2014 will be the year that the megaplatforms reckon with their age, and that we reconsider our own relationships with them. Their obsessions with one another combined with their users’ creeping unease may create openings for insurgent services and apps, but the megaplatforms’ momentum is strong. New services will catch our attention, but countless old ones will go public, grow, and remain important.
2013 was the year that a major, decade-long internet cycle neared its completion. 2014, at best, will be the very beginning of the next one.
Student at Columbia University - 1948
photos by Stanley Kubrick
How the Internet Is Narrowing Our Minds
As our options have grown, so has the overwhelming dominance of a generic set of crowd-pleasing blockbusters. Mainstream culture, aided and abetted (or thwarted and warped) by the frenetic pace of the Internet, has fallen into a punishing pattern: a few books—the ones that win prizes, are heavily promoted, or feature at least one vampire—rake in all the media attention and readers. All others are flops. In the book economy, the middle class is dying. The idea of an eHarmony for books is similarly a way of narrowing choices in the face of an overwhelming field of options. Paradoxically, because personalization relies on shared categories, its results can flatten the real differences between individuals.
Why should plenty lead to homogeneity?
The Mindfulness Racket
The evangelists of unplugging might just have another agenda
In our maddeningly complex world, where everything is in flux and defies comprehension, the only reasonable attitude is to renounce any efforts at control and adopt a Zen-like attitude of non-domination. Accept the world as it is-and simply try to find a few moments of peace in it. The reactionary tendency of such an outlook is easy to grasp. As the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek once quipped, "If Max Weber were alive today, he would definitely write a second, supplementary, volume to his Protestant Ethic, entitled The Taoist Ethic and the Spirit of Global Capitalism." And what a wonderful Kindle Single that would make!
why we disconnect matters: We can continue in today’s mode of treating disconnection as a way to recharge and regain productivity, or we can view it as a way to sabotage the addiction tactics of the acceleration-distraction complex that is Silicon Valley. The former approach is reactionary but the latter can lead to emancipation, especially if such acts of refusal give rise to genuine social movements that will make problems of time and attention part of their political agendas—and not just the subject of hand-wringing by the Davos-based spirituality brigades. Hopefully, these movements will then articulate alternative practices, institutions, and designs. If it takes an act of unplugging to figure out how to do it, let’s disconnect indeed. But let us not do it for the sake of reconnecting on the very same terms as before. We must be mindful of all this mindfulness.
Mineful Response, or The Rise of Corporatist Spirituality
from reversesvia The Page
Víctor Rodríguez Núñez
translated from the Spanish by Katherine M. Hedeen
[outsides or the groundhog gorges on twilight]
the mountain against an assonant sky
at the point of quartering in its blue fixedness
air crystalizes black coal cedars
and horses scare off the cold
instead of flies
advance like syllables
at the edge of the sonnet figurative lake
and break formation
when crossing the snowdrop
of an enjambment blind ditch
everything still to be done
the sign leaking through three branches
essentialized by wind and corrected by snow
they tempt the frogs the only string
stuffed with yellow flowers the groundhog
has once more become drive
yesterday weary sycamores fell
and starlings in flight
stir up the shadow charring
the fear that's come back frightened from outside?
March 03, 2014
d. March 2, 1945
Words without Borders March 2014:
María Auxiliadora Álvarez
Translated from Spanish by Catherine Hammond
everything I want to tell you son Is that you should go through suffering
If you come to its shore if its shore comes to you Enter its night
and let yourself
its gulp may drink you down its foam overwhelm you Let go let yourself go
Everything I want to tell you son On the other side of suffering
Another shore lies
there you will find great stone slabs One of these bears your carved form
etched with your ancient mark Where you in your fullness will
these are not tombs son They are standing stones with their small
and their crevices and cracks
Writing from Venezuela
d. March 1, 1958
Currently at the electronic book review
[a] series of short interventions were made at the “Futures of Electronic Literature” discussion at the bi-annual Electronic Literature Organization conference in 2012. Titled “Electrifying Literature: Affordances and Constraints,” the conference took place at West Virginia University
among the offerings -
The Ode to Translation or the Outcry Over the Untranslatable_______________________
ELO: Theory, Practice, and Activism
dELO: Affordances and Constraints
A Tag, Not a Folder
Literature in a State of Emergency
Against Desire: Excess, Disgust and the Sign in Electronic Literature
Brian Kim Stefans
The Occupied Times 24 [pdf]
Editorial: March 2014
In mainstream political discourse, words like “insane”, “loony” and “crazy” are frequently used by politicians and media in an effective process of political othering. Those (other than the state) who commit “violence” or anyone from perceived ‘extreme’ poles of left or right can be safely discounted from the ‘grown-up’ arena of the possible, occupied by all who uphold a politics of common sense in which the future is impossible. Who could deny the immanent sanity of liberal democracy? Mental health charities and media campaigners bolster this process of discursive containment with a language of ‘inclusivity’ and empty PR. In doing so, they make the ‘vulnerable’ and ‘marginalised’ into pleading victims, sanitising an anger that should instead be weaponised.
The conditions of late capitalism, left unmentioned and unanalysed throughout mainstream discourse surrounding “the modern epidemic of mental illness”, are practically tailor-made for the mass production of stressed, insecure, isolated and alienated subjects. Whether it’s the systemic centrality of personal debt, the casualisation and precarisation of the labour market or the concerted attacks on those claiming social security, neoliberalism is a factory for the production of misery.
There is little that connects our lives more than a shared sense of alienation. An alienation of the body and the mind that stems from how we are forced to relate: to work, to space, to nature, to the state and to each other. Popular imagery has the alienated figure of ‘The Madman’ wearing a sandwich board, walking around Oxford Street or Times Square, proclaiming loudly “THE END IS NIGH!”. But given factors such as the round-the-clock climate extremes experienced globally, does this not now seem perfectly rational? Within this situation it is impossible to sustain the pretense that states of mind conform to the grammar of brain chemistry; that any resistance to the order of things is not the sign of competing ideology, but of a pathology.
What is an ordered mind? Perhaps the question is upside down. What would madness be in a world with uprooted power structures, reimagined language and transformed social relations?
The love of stuff
The problem with our society is not that it values material things too much but that it doesn’t value them enough
If Western consumer culture sometimes resembles a bulimic binge in which we taste and then spew back things that never quite nourish us, the ascetic, anorexic alternative of rejecting materialism altogether will leave us equally starved. Who, then, can teach me how to celebrate my possessions with the mindful, celebratory spirit of a gourmet?
'Mimicry synoptic' or 'Spring'
In This World Previous to Ours
Divided as half of me is small and distant.
The other tongue talks of exterior objects,
while this one speaks of water and limitation.
Neither understands the other and while looking
for a translator the street ends the clock changes.
Drummers gather, crowd like a meteor, a crush.
Tongue only delivers, does not listen, stone deaf.
All talking makes a crowd plural agitation.
Stand here and see the river an entirely
different way: Under water is air and through
air, passage. Color is another wave that takes
sand, rocks, bridge. Water will reflect everything but
what is inside it. It is like that, trying to
describe it. Like that, I scramble along a shore
catching up to the crowds, people standing there, each
one a stranger, what do I have to say to them?
I want to tell them, but language has divided;
we stand divided, each another point, a line.
Three poems in Jacket
Five Poems at readme
Four Poems at How2
Four Poems at Lemon Hound
Marcella Durand at PennSound
Jacques Roubaud interviewed by Marcella Durand
R I write every night. I never correct, I never go back—I just go on and on. Everything I speak about is, in a way, linked to the old abandoned project. I want to say something about it, but I digress as soon as I start saying something, because I remember something else that I then begin to explain, and so on. So the structure is a bit meandering. I begin The Loop with a very old childhood image of snow in Carcassonne, where snow is very rare. I’m in my room and it’s very cold outside. At night there’s frost on the windowpane—I write and make pictures on it. So that’s the image: there’s an outer and an inner space, memory and the present. That’s the first image of the book, which at the end, returns to it.
MD I also thought of this book as extending the invitation in The Great Fire of London that the reader trust that events are true as they unfold in your writing.
JR And if they’re not true (I make mistakes), at least the events are told truthfully, as I remember them.
MD There you talk about renku, an endless sequence of haikus—a perpetual form.
JR The difference between The Loop and the haiku and the renku forms in the The Great Fire of London is that there the writing goes on and on, but it never goes back. In The Loop, my memory changes all the time, but from time to time it also goes back. But when I return to a memory, I do not come back to the same point—the memory has changed.
b. March 1, 1900
Chorus Of Furies
Guarda mi disse, le feroce Erine
Let us come upon him first as if in a dream,
anonymous triple presence,
memory made substance and tally of heart’s rot:
then in the waking Now be demonstrable, seem
sole aspect of being’s essence,
coffin to the living touch, self’s Iscariot.
Then he will loath the year’s recurrent long caress
without hope of divorce,
envying idiocy’s apathy or the stress
of definite remorse.
He will lapse into a halflife lest the taut force
of the mind’s eagerness
recall those fiends or new apparitions endorse
his excessive distress.
He will shrink, his manhood leave him, slough selfaware
the last skin of the flayed: despair.
He will nurse his terror carefully, uncertain
even of death’s solace,
impotent to outpace
dispersion of the soul, disruption of the brain.
Briggflatts - Part I
Every birth a crime,
every sentence life.
Wiped of mould and mites
would the ball run true?
No hope of going back.
Hounds falter and stray,
shame deflects the pen.
Love murdered neither bleeds nor stifles
but jogs the draftsman’s elbow.
What can he, changed, tell
her, changed, perhaps dead?
Delight dwindles. Blame
stays the same.
Brief words are hard to find,
shapes to carve and discard:
Bloodaxe, king of York,
king of Dublin, king of Orkney.
Take no notice of tears;
letter the stone to stand
over love laid aside lest
insufferable happiness impede
flight to Stainmore,
and axe knocks.
Dung will not soil the slowworm’s
mosaic. Breathless lark
drops to nest in sodden trash;
Rawthey truculent, dingy.
Drudge at the mallet, the may is down,
fog on fells. Guilty of spring
and spring’s ending
amputated years ache after
the bull is beef, love a convenience.
It is easier to die than to remember.
Name and date
split in soft slate
a few months obliterate.
Basil Bunting at PennSound
February 28, 2014
You are an old man plodding along a narrow country road. You have been out since break of day and now it is evening. Sole sound in the silence your footfalls. Rather sole sounds for they vary from one to the next. You listen to each one and add it in your mind to the growing sum of those that went before. You halt with bowed head on the verge of the ditch and convert into yards. On the basis now of two steps per yard. So many since dawn to add to yesterday's. To yesteryear's. To yesteryears'. Days other than today and so akin. The giant tot in miles. In leagues. How often round the earth already. Halted too at your elbow these computations your father's shade. In his old tramping rags. Finally on side by side from nought anew.
Samuel Beckett, Company
Culture Machine Vol 14 (2013)
edited by Joss Hands, Greg Elmer and Ganaele Langlois
Introduction: Politics, Power and ‘platformativity
The Internet is vanishing: as its ubiquity increases, it has also become less and less visible in the production and experiences of network culture. Indeed, many of the operations that used to typify the Internet are now funnelled through so-called ‘platforms’. We do not have a single Internet anymore, but rather a multiplicity of distinct platforms, which in this issue are broadly defined as online ‘cloud’-based software modules that act as portals to diverse kinds of information, with nested applications that aggregate content, often generated by ‘users’ themselves. These are characteristics often associated with ‘Web 2.0’ in marketing and popular discourses; discourses that are wholly inadequate for a serious critical engagement with the politics of platforms. ‘Platform’ is a useful term because it is a broad enough category to capture a number of distinct phenomena, such as social networking, the shift from desktop to tablet computing, smart phone and ‘app’-based interfaces as well as the increasing dominance of centralised cloud-based computing. The term is also specific enough to indicate the capturing of digital life in an enclosed, commercialized and managed realm. As Eugenia Siapera points out in her article included in this issue, the roots of ‘platform studies’ in gaming and operating systems need to be extended to include digital platforms of all kinds. Therefore, while the presence of the Internet must not be forgotten, theories of network culture need to be supplemented with new frameworks and paradigms.
b. 28 February 1946
Media Tropes Vol 4, No 1 (2013):
Deleuze / Foucault: A Neoliberal Diagram
Tweets Speak: Indefinite Discipline in the Age of Twitter
Editorial Introduction: Neoliberal Diagrammatics and Digital Control
Matthew Tiessen, Greg Elmer
The objective of this special issue of MediaTropes - guest edited by Matthew Tiessen and Greg Elmer of the Infoscape Research Lab at Ryerson University - is to probe the edges and depths of what we call the “neoliberal diagram.” We define the neoliberal diagram as that panoply of factors that today constitute the relations of forces that pre-condition the range of potentials available to life in all its forms. This diagram is constituted by actors that include global governance institutions; national governments; international financial conglomerates (to whom, it is becoming clearer, governments are frequently obligated); globally surveilled Internet infrastructures; and corporations of worldwide reach, scope, and power. Through policy, projected military power, financial sleight-of-hand, and generalized public consent, power is consolidated in ways that are increasingly unavoidable and irrepressible
Steven James May
IPO 2.0: The Panopticon Goes Public
This article explains how three North American police services have extended technologies of discipline via the monitoring and use of Twitter during and between mega-events such as the 2010 Toronto G20 Summit. Taking as case studies the 2009 Pittsburgh G20 Summit, Toronto's G20 Summit in 2010, and the 2011 Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City, the Twitter-related arrests of activists at these mega-events reveal the ongoing work of maintaining indefinite discipline in North America. Furthermore, this articles shows that any citizen's decision to share, or not to share, information on Twitter (information otherwise often publicly available) at any time also falls within the scope of ongoing surveillance of Twitter, where users of the platform find themselves increasingly complicit in the work of their own discipline.
Monetary Mediations and the Overcoding of Potential: Nietzsche, Deleuze & Guattari and How the Affective Diagrammatics of Debt Have Gone Global
To suggest that privacy is dead is not to revel in or encourage its demise, nor even to claim that it is not a desirable outcome, right, or valued policy. Rather, what this paper suggests is that in certain circumstances (increasingly on social media platforms) the privacy of users now stands in direct opposition to the stated goals and logic of the technology in question. One need not give up certain goals of privacy to recognize that business models of online companies like Facebook and Google are now entirely predicated upon the act of going public--there would be no Google search engine or Facebook social networking platform without the content, information, and demographic profiles uploaded, revised, updated, and shared by billions of users worldwide.
This paper then offers some initial thoughts on a theory of publicity, of going public in the social media age. If social media platforms are governed by ubiquitous surveillance and continuous uploading and sharing of personal information, opinions, habits, and routines, then privacy would seem only to be a hindrance to these processes. To ignore such clear mission statements, coupled with repetitive attempts to undermine, display, and obfuscate so-called privacy settings, would seem disingenuous at best, and willfully blind at worst. These online platforms profit from publicity and suffer from stringent privacy protocols--their whole raison d’être is to learn as much as possible about users in order to aggregate and then sell such profiled and clustered information to advertisers and marketers. Can we really conclude that such businesses violate users’ privacy when their platforms are in the first and last instance wired for ubiquitous publicity? Or more to the point, do privacy-based perspectives provide an adequate framework for understanding users’ relationships with social media platforms and their parent companies?
In this paper I focus on the affective dimension of debt and its primary mode of dissemination--privately and digitally created credit money. To do so, I examine the age-old--though increasingly visible--relationship between debtor and creditor, a relationship that today is (re)defining social, cultural, and political relations by (re)distributing power along a financially inflected debtor/creditor continuum. My aim is to focus not merely on the affectively charged nature of the creditor/debtor relationship, but to consider more closely the nonhuman agency or desire of credit-money itself. My suggestion is that contemporary credit-money can compellingly be understood as a sophisticated technology of dispossession and that today’s money-machine, which necessitates and gives rise to the infrastructure that supports it, affects the social landscape by pre-conditioning it, by opaquely overcoding the relationship between debtor and creditor on a grand scale (but also imperceptibly), until finally debt saturation, through the extension of credit, precipitates a credit crisis at which time all is revealed: that the creditor holds all the cards, that the debtor holds none, and no matter how much desire the debtor has to repay the exponentially compounding debts, the debtor’s future is, and will be forever, foreclosed by the promise to repay.
William Degouve de Nuncques
Philosophy and Desert Islands:
“Geographers say thereare two kinds of islands. This is valuable information for theimagination because it confirms what the imagination already knew.”
The Great Escape: What We're Really Thinking About When Travel to a Desert Island
“To dream of islands, whether with joy or in fear, is to dream of pulling away, of being already separate, far from any continent, of being lost and alone, or to dream of starting from scratch, recreating, beginning anew”, Deleuze continues.
To be in a desert island is to live in the idea of desertedness, to prolong its life of it being desert, empty. This doesn’t mean you have to bealone in it, though the shipwrecked always are (in literature, only uponlanding until the natives appear from the bushes), but perhaps you haveto understand the idea that maintains its image as being deserted. If you remember film The Beach , this is certainly the case. The presenceof a seemingly invisible, utopic community living on a desert islandtrying to create an alternate mode of living. As much as the boundariesof the island are absolute, so is the form of “government” that becomesnestled there. Can we go to a desert island and allow it to remaindeserted? Or is our sheer presence already a civilizing act? Can we go tothe island and resist making it our home?
William Degouve de Nuncques_______________________
b. February 28, 1867
Stultifera Navis (Ship of Fools)
In the broken city of bread under guard,
our motives remaining subject to revision,
we were modified and sentenced. Period.
We had the right to remain silenced.
We had the right to consider the lilies
in the florist’s window. Missionaries
and recruiters taught us history, left us
freedom to choose a god to petition
from the pull-down menu. We went right in,
sat down before a screen. In no time
we were finished and felt relieved.
We liked what we believed we saw.
Licking our sordid fortunes we were sent.
Portions of the future have been pre-recorded.
We ferried our sullen sirens to the rocks and
handed them the music we composed so long ago
(of crooners’ modulated vowels sustained vibrato
and jingles for soap and beer that came to occupy
our parents’ minds) we had, already, forgotten.
We set the time when they would shed their ever
filthier silence, wired, a lyric bomb, and sing.
It wasn’t magic. Even our amnesia was strategic.
O land I love! I was born to your bright promise
and the hard terms of your peace. What I want’s
to be your one and only, take me in your arms
and gimme, baby. Gimme weregild of the slain
enslaved, the backpay of the disappeared, gemstones
someone’s bound to wear, it may as well be me.
at the Poetry Foundation