June 20, 2016
Forms in Space
What We Remembered Before
presented by Jerome Rothenberg
As a memory
just as it was done before
clearings came. Another sensation that
comes in when otherness vacates. A descent
and catching the hands in an escape
pose, bringing brickarms
to spin into another form so
brilliant the eyes retract into
their holster. Rearranged
to form new compounds
built on the generations
of freedom we
the glass lip tasted
but prevented from
blistering under a
skin we've already
known. The next
year is always easier
than this one but I
realize I'm expected
to speak in projections
that never seem
to clear the teeth
House in Normandy
d. June 19, 1954
The Struggle Against Language
Respected, parodied, revered, despised, Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle has been with us for just four years. Few in the English-speaking world knew the Norwegian’s name in 2012, but in just four years he has come to seem so omnipresent that NYRB critic, author, and beloved contrarian Tim Parks recently chastised us against “the impression of [Knausgaard's] huge and inevitable success.”_______________________
There is some truth there. He has not sold in numbers that would put envy on J.K. Rowling’s face—there is a degree of hype—but with U.S. sales of the first four volumes of the series likely topping 200,000 copies, Knausgaard is certainly far more successful and better-known than all but a handful of authors of the last few years. And now that we have Book 5 the end is in sight; the method behind the entire cycle has at last come into view. It is time to take stock.
A major achievement of Book 5 is to make us feel the struggle against incessant failure that characterizes the life of all writers, a struggle that is most acute at the beginning of the writing life. This is where Knausgard’s capacity for humiliation, his inherent faculty with masochism, his very willful maximalism gives his account a texture that distinguishes it from other accounts of the young writer. The sheer weight of Karl Ove’s failures is monumental, but somehow it does not deaden the momentum of the narrative. Knausgaard transforms this incredible doubt into the site of his struggle to find a language; he wants to understand why he continues to write in spite of everything. At times the story takes us through relationships and occurrences that at first blush seem like sideshows to this tale. But they are not pointless digressions. Karl Ove is maturing, he is working through the issues that have held him back, even as he is seeding the preoccupations that will become the irresolvable dilemmas of his mature decades.
b. June 20, 1887
Ágnes Nemes Nagy
Translated from the Hungarian by Hugh Maxton
Between the day and the night.
Aches and stabbings,
visions, voiceless aqueducts,
of verticals between up and down.
Between. Stone. Tanktraces.
A strip of black reed rimming the plain
written in two lines, in the lake, the sky,
two black plaques of signsystem,
diacritic on the stars —
June 17, 2016
M. C. Escher
b. Jun 17, 1898
In Bill's Backyard, Bolinas
Now light streams through the trees of the dream.
Dead friends amble through the green bower
The windsilvered eucalyptus makes over our heads;
In Bill's backyard -- framed for this flashback
To the days before, or sometimes during, the flood --
Things are, as in a kind of moonlit masque magically
Lit from within, awhirl, the carousel scene
From Strangers on a Train, though here strangers
There are none, only friends; summer fog coming in
On a grand soft dragon boat, to drift
Over the strangely busy, populous village in the dream;
M. C. Escher
Asynchronous! On the Sublime Administration of the Everyday
... something funny happened on the way out of R&D. Asynchronous processing hasn’t simply left the lab and entered our devices and networks. Instead, the asynchronous principle—that complex systems should be designed to allow tasks to run independently as resources become dynamically available—has moved outwards from the chip to the server, from the server to the data center, from the data center to the workplace, and from the workplace to the city. Asynchronous processing has emerged as a new ideal, and it is increasingly being applied in fields as diverse as software design, biomedical engineering, and labor-force management.e-flux journal issue 74: “Art Ontologies of Silicon Valley”
No discussion of the contemporary can ignore the present drive to process more and more of society’s moving parts in the fashion of an asynchronous bucket brigade. If today’s lifeworld distinguishes itself by the ubiquity of computing in all its various forms, then the expansion of the asynchronous principle represents a fundamental shift. This expansion requires not just the datafication of everyday life, but a significant reformation of the social relations that grew around the modes of exchange proper to the pre-asynchronous era—what we might call linear information capitalism. With the introduction of asynchrony, these relations appear as so many bonds to be burst when the buckets begin arriving from everywhere, heralding the addition of a spatial dimension to what had, until now, been simply temporal sequences. As with all such arrivals, the asynchronous is initially apprehended in terms of the previous era, and so its borders remain frustratingly concealed behind inherited ideas about the individual’s relationship to their labor, the market, and the state. How can we begin to uncover the contours of the new asynchronous present?
We have dreamed about the revolutionary potential of self-organization for generations, but the apparent harmony between asynchrony and anarcho-syndicalism, libertarianism, or horizontalism obscures the extent to which an engineer’s fantasy has become management’s best friend. The decentralization achieved by asynchrony is different from the political ideal of decentralization. From the perspective of the individual worker, asynchrony doesn’t remove authority as much as displace it. A non-blocking schema allows orders to pour in from everywhere, but they’re still orders. The absence of a linear sequence means paying labor for only the time it works, and not a second longer; work need not be synchronized with the arbitrary designations of work days, licenses, or any other ordinal mechanism that produces artificial scarcity. You can work anytime you want, but there’s no wage if you’re at rest. And when you’re at rest, demand will still be processed, perhaps by another worker who is faster and less expensive. The result: lower labor costs and higher profit. Nor is asynchrony simply flat. It is very interested in hierarchy—let the fast move faster and the slow drag down only themselves.
The new asynchronous regime optimizes coordination at the expense of that which is coordinated. Any newfound autonomy applies only to the system itself. This is why, although asynchrony has established itself at the level of infrastructure, its most substantive expressions will be political. A critical history of the aspiration to asynchrony is necessary to separate utopian visions from a real politics that accounts for the new socio-technical capacities the asynchronous.
with Douglas Coupland, Ingrid Burrington, Andrew Norman Wilson, Mike Pepi, Lee MacKinnon, Elvia Wilk, Alexander Galloway, Zach Blas, and Marina Simakova
Technologies of Voluntary Servitude (TovS):
a post--Foucauldian Perspective on Social Media
Alberto Romele, Camilla Emmenegger, Francesco Gallino, and Daniele Gorgone
This paper aims to offer a new theoretical framework for thinking surveillance and submission in social media. Two attitudes have been dominant in this context until now. In the first wave of Internet studies, academicians used to consider virtual environments as “technologies of emancipation”. With the birth of the social web, scholars started to treat social media as “technologies of surveillance”. Surveillance and Panopticism found breeding ground in Internet and social media studies. Our hypothesis is that this perspective, although interesting and valuable, is today unsatisfactory, because it fails to give an account of what we consider as evidence: despite an increasing critical literature, and despite the fact that people are more and more aware of the surveillance exercised by social media, not much seems to be changing in prosumer’s (producers and consumers) practices. Our thesis is that this happens because individuals are not forced or cheated by the sociotechnical system, but rather they voluntarily submitted to it. In the first section, we are going to introduce La Boétie’s notion of “voluntary servitude”. According to a minimal definition, four aspects characterize voluntary servitude: (1) disadvantageousness – submission is a form of uncertainty because it depends upon power's arbitrariness; (2) abstainability – if the serfs choose submission, than freedom is just a matter of abstention; (3) (collective) subalternity – servitude presupposes a condition of submission to a form of power, a submission that singles out a collective dimension; (4) awareness – the submission cannot be reduced to a form of deceit of the power or to a miscalculation of the subjugated. In the second section, considering the paradigmatic case of Facebook, we are going to make the notion of voluntary servitude operative in the context of social media.
M. C. Escher
June 15, 2016
1880 – 1954
Loneliness In Linden Three Poems
—After Wallace Stevens
The fear and the hum are one.
Monuments of show gumming the works
Until the weather grows tired of the people
And the people grow tired of the dance.
Jamais, jamais, jamais, again.
The measure of the town against a dampening sky
Cobbling together six million tunes
Into more than the tones tattoo
Or their scrambled mosaic forecloses.
And if the fume and the hope
Are one? My monkey, from ’49
Steps as silent as those songs
Along the cratered dark
Where Jews do Jewish things
No one pretends to understand
Or are they pilgrims on this night
When the fear and the hum are one?
b. June 15, 1903
Adrienne Rich’s collected poems
Rich’s refusal to be an archetype of femininity made her an archetype of feminism, a courageous trade but one that confronted her with aesthetic challenges virtually unprecedented in American poetry. Perhaps no American poet who started in the mode of accommodation so abruptly broke ranks, inventing for herself a new kind of discipline whose ethical rigors demanded fresh forms. The challenge was to make poems that crystallized her political commitments—especially to women’s consciousness and power—but did not blunt their own artistic force. Many poets of the time, influenced by Rich, decided that the idea of art was a mere bourgeois confection. Rich never did. It was too late; she had learned its uses. There was always, inside her, the fifties formalist, brought up, as she put it, “within the circumference of white language and metaphor.” Her models were Anne Bradstreet and Emily Dickinson, brilliant women with domineering fathers, who wrote poems that acted necessarily as both expression and concealment, and whose achievement was timed to detonate in the future, when the world had prepared for them a fit audience.
Rich’s “Collected Poems: 1950-2012” (Norton) confronts us everywhere with what she called “the war / poetry wages against itself.” She grew as a poet by self-repudiation, redefining motherhood and disowning, with real pain, her delegated roles as wife, mother, straight woman, and privileged white American. Her stands against various forms of oppression were also stands against roles so deeply ingrained as to seem, to her, essential. She never affirmed anything without first condemning its opposite, and although she saw life in these polar terms, she located the antipodes within herself. “Between extremities / Man runs his course,” wrote Yeats, whose politically inclined lyricism substantially influenced Rich’s work. The key to Rich’s genius, in fact, is Yeats’s famous aphorism, maybe the best thing anybody ever said about the art: “We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.”
John Ashbery: “The Skaters”
[from Rivers and Mountains, 1966]
– a critical and genetic digital edition –
Subtracted from our collections, though, these go on a little while, collecting aimlessly. We still support them.
But so little energy they have! And up the swollen sands
Staggers the darkness fiend, with the storm fiend close behind him!
True, melodious tolling does go on in that awful pandemonium,
Certain resonances are not utterly displeasing to the terrified eardrum.
Some paroxysms are dinning of tambourine, others suggest piano room or organ loft
For the most dissonant night charms us, even after death. This, after all, may be happiness: tuba notes awash on the great flood, ruptures of xylophone, violins, limpets, grace-notes, the musical instrument called serpent, viola da gambas, aeolian harps, clavicles, pinball machines, electric drills, que sais-je encore!
The performance has rapidly reached your ear; silent and tear-stained, in the post-mortem shock, you stand listening, awash
With memories of hair in particular, part of the welling that is you,
The gurgling of harp, cymbal, glockenspiel, triangle, temple block, English horn and metronome! And still no presentiment, no feeling of pain before or after.
The passage sustains, does not give. And you have come far indeed.
Yet to go from “not interesting” to “old and uninteresting,”
To be surrounded by friends, though late in life,
To hear the wings of the spirit, though far. . . .
Why do I hurriedly undrown myself to cut you down?
“I am yesterday,” and my fault is eternal.
I do not expect constant attendance, knowing myself insufficient for your present demands
And I have a dim intuition that I am that other “I” with which we began.
My cheeks as blank walls to your tears and eagerness
Fondling that other, as though you had let him get away forever.
The evidence of the visual henceforth replaced
By the great shadow of trees falling over life.
A child’s devotion
To this normal, shapeless entity. . . .
— A Modern Poetry Library
Robin Seguy, editor
June 13, 2016
light in the forest
b, Jun 13, 1877
From Ferrements, “Tombeau de Paul Eluard”
Translation from French by A. James Arnold and Clayton Eshleman
presented by Jerome Rothenberg
Blazon of blows on the shattered body of dreams
first snowy morning
very amorphous when all lights out
the landscapes collapse
onto the most distant sandbanks
the sirens of lightships have been sounding two nights
Paul ELUARD has died
you who were the lay of innocence
who returned science to its origins
standard of the fragile seed stronger
than chance in the struggle of the wind
neither can you lie in
nor have access to earth purer
than these eyelids
than these simple people
than these tears
in which pushing aside the finest grass of the fog
you stroll quite clear
challenging the purple word of the shipwreckers of dawn
perched on the sun
Ernst Wilhelm Nay
b. Jun 11, 1902
In the Space between Words Begin
In the space between words begin
In the space
At dawn the newly risen dead uncomfortable
In their restored bodies
Situation: from ‘wandering’ to rest
Loneliness to solitude. Believing
Is seeing, experience
An accrual of images
The newly risen dead find their bodies
Uncooperative, awkward, ugly
as in any
I wandered lonely as a van full of hippies
In the space between words
“what shall I talk about”
Situation: a man at his desk pages through
Another’s writing closes his eyes seeks rhymes
For the following: daffodils, thought . . .
I fear I can no longer think
I fear I am no longer that which thinks
Or that a certain kind of thinking’s lost
Light, light, light, light. Let there be a place
From which a way seems clear or clearer
Out of the house into the golden
Laura Mullen -- Dark Archive
reposted from flowerville
Laura Mullen poems in Bomb 1 2 3
Laura Mullen at the Poetry Foundation
How Poems Think
The power of lyric poetry lies in negation, not self-assertion.
Ange Mlinko reviews Reginald Gibbons's How Poems Think
I look at what I see as the necessary and productive self-alienation of the poet, who must work in words so closely, and with such openness to language, that only by coming to see the words on the page, and to hear them in the ear, as belonging as much to themselves and to the language as to the poet who composes them, can the poet discover how to think with them and through them, beyond the artistic limits of the ingrained individual habits of language and poetic thinking, and beyond the limits imposed by the poet’s self-positioning within culture.
As Gibbons knows, and tries to say with nuance, this is a contrarian viewpoint in our present moment, when self-positioning—mainly through the finer cross-sections of identity politics—is the cicada’s pitch for advancement. What if the full power of lyric utterance lies in its apophatic tendencies: the discovery of what must be said through negation rather than self-assertion, through surprise rather than certainty?
The Self Seers
(Death And Man)
b. June 12, 1890
Blue Ruin: Totality and Acceleration
This is one sense in which one can think about art as "modern." Art was a space, not for retreat from abstraction but for playing out its possibilities in an experimental fashion. Whatever manifestos the artists signed, and no matter what readings we may put on – say – a Turner painting of a locomotive, the practice of making the art was caught up in experimenting with the technical possibilities of abstraction.
What I think changes is that we now know how all this ends. The capacities of abstraction seize hold of the materiality all around it, opening up its potentials. Modernity was a great liberation front. Only it wasn't about liberating a people, or a class, or a gender. What modernity liberated was carbon. Modernity liberated fossilized carbon in the form of oil and coal and natural gas. Modernity fired it great engines on these fossils. (Think of Marinetti crashing his Bugatti and writing the "Futurist Manifesto" about it.) Modernity released enough carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to change the climate of the whole planet, forever.
Climate change is the modern fully realized, the modern as tending towards undoing its own conditions of existence. Mitigating its effects is going to take all the ingenuity – technical, aesthetic, not to mention social and political – that we can muster. Mitigating climate change is not just a technical problem. Nor will the economy just "naturally" adjust. And there's no hiding from it in romantic "back to nature" fantasies. If we refuse to deal with abstraction, then like Martin Heidegger the best we can do is throw up our hands and say "only the Gods can save us."
There is a certain popular delight in imagining the modern world in ruins. It's a theme Walter Benjamin identified early in the 20th century. In the shadow of the bomb, the Beats and their contemporaries occasionally gave it an incendiary cast. But what if we push beyond the picture of atomized cities to imagine not what passes but what is created at the end of human time? Our permanent legacy will not be architectural, but chemical. After the last dam bursts, after the concrete monoliths crumble into the lone and level sands, modernity will leave behind a chemical signature, in everything from radioactive waste to atmospheric carbon. This work will be abstract, not figurative.
via Deterritorial Investigations Unit