November 21, 2014
Snowstorm at Brighton
d. November 21, 1989
Edward Bawden at Bibliodyssey
Paying Attention in an Age of Distraction: On Yves Citton's Pour Une Écologie de l'Attention
... we are living through a profound mutation in the nature of attention, never have we had so many distractions or devices soliciting our attention. What remains in question is first whether or not this transformation is best of all understood as a new economy of attention? Terms such as "paying," "cost," and "investment" regularly suggest themselves when it comes to discussing attention. Attention appears as a scarce resource and it is quite easy to speak of losses and gains when it comes to attention, as every moment spent reading tweets is not spent reading books. The more important question is whether or not attention can be understood as an economy of sorts, but whether we have entered a new phase of capitalism in which attention itself is productive of value. Metaphor meets mode of production.
Attention cannot made to function like labor, it cannot be the source of value. This is not to say that attention is without its economic effects. The standardization of attention, its abstraction and measure, on one hand, and the battle over what one pays attention to, on the other, are central struggles to extract wealth from the flows of attention. Two strategies of the "vectorial class"are to own the icons and images the attract attention as well as the platforms that measure and standardize it. With respect to the former, Disney's buying of Marvel and Star Wars is nothing other than a kind of primitive accumulation of attention, every superhero is a vast mine of nostalgia; while facebook and Google's attempt to insert themselves as the interface for everything from research an essay to sharing pictures of grandkids can be considered the real subsumption of attention. As with Marx's real subsumption of capital, such institutions do not just effect the form of attention, focusing as its medium, but transform its very relations. The "like" button compresses so many responses, love, friendship, support, into an easily quantifiable data point.
Citton's ecology of attention is constructed around a broader set of concerns regarding activity and passivity in attention. As Citton argues the question is how to make attention not how to pay it. How to construct the possible conditions that make our attention our activity rather than the passive construction of the effects of others? The question is ultimately more spinozist, it is a question of constructing common notions against the singular points of wonder and fascination. As Citton argues, work, entertainment, and social life converge in a state of constant semi-attentiveness. Updates and alerts define our work life, social life, and define what remains of politics. Transforming this constant distraction requires the cultivation of new habits and the transformative use of the existing technologies of attention.
The City Four Way Review Issue #3
translated by Monika Zobel
The city simplified to lines,
makeup removed from your face.
Houses, footsteps, and thoughts
are made of the same material,
graphite dust and diamonds.
Time stalls, lowers your lids,
to be now for once in the midst of
a sleeping world, clear-sighted
turned toward the groping questions
of the somnambulists.
Tree Encyclopedia by O. G ham
Oliver’s father, before he left, said the old books were scrawled in ink on birch from Kashmir long ago, crumpled to dust. When the frost coated the birch branches Oliver picked them up, coating his hands in a glassy silver crust. Birches dotted the coast and moorland, coddled in icy hungry lichens.
They were up from London to help with the shaving. On Sundays Oliver brought the soft brush—ivory, his brother Philip horror-whispered—and a bowl of foam. His mother gave his grandfather a beard and ran the blade swish about the planes of his face, scraping dark peat and smoothing the skin with a damp towel.
He was as tall as a blunt nub on the birch bark, a ripple made large. Oliver placed the razor at the end of a paper curling, and stripped paint curls to his feet till he laid bare muscled striations of wood and gasped. He pocketed the scraping and removed the flesh around the pencil so he could rasp the lead against the page of his notebook, which said: Oliver Graham, eight, Leith, Edinburgh, Lothian, Scotland, United Kingdom, Planet Earth, heaps of freckles.
At home he lined up the tip of his thumb with the base of the left doorway and flicked a red marble down the way to knock out the bit of wall that covered the mouse hole, which now cradled the bark, blade, and paper in a handkerchief.
Pierre Joris: from Justifying the Margins:
“Nimrod in Hell” with a note & reminiscence on Joris même
Poet, translator: même combat! We keep hunting among stones, Dante hunts down language in the De Vulgari Eloquentia where he tells us: “let us hunt after a more fitting language…so that our hunt may have a practicable path, let’s first cast the tangled bushes & brambles out of the wood.” (Ronald Duncan’s translation, modified). But the selva will always be oscura, mutters Rimbaud in the Ardennes, stumbling through Hubert’s hunting grounds, escaping mother and her tongue (is that why he gives up writing poetry?) and he stubs a toe, goes to Africa, travels the desert, the open space, no selva oscura, no guide needed, he has learned the languages, this nomad poet who knew that “living in the same place [he] would always find wretched,” to go on trafficking in the unknown, master of “la chasse spirituelle,” a hunt that will not let up.
parts, wholes, abstracts, tropes and ontology
The ontology reflected in the referential terms of natural language is a richer ontology than the ontology most philosophers and in fact 'ordinary people' are willing to accept.
Friederike Moltmann interview by Richard Marshall
Friederike Moltmann is the Aberlour of philosophical linguistic interface. Her thoughts continually burn bright as she contemplates whether language really does carve nature at the joints, broods on descriptive, revisionary, shallow and fundamental metaphysics, on mereology and why extensional mereology won’t do, on the role of integrated wholes, on what reference situations take care of, on why natural language doesn’t allow abstract objects in its core and thinking it does is a result of naïve analysis, on the surprising ontology of natural language, on trope ontologies and on why systematic application of linguistic methodology can have serious philosophical consequences. The wind howls and the rain batters against the windows but these thoughts pour out like a different kind of storm…
Five Poems by Helwig Brunner
I wantedno man's land # 8 Winter 2013
translation by Monika Zobel
I wanted to live among more eloquent tongues,
below skies that didn’t collapse mercilessly into emptiness.
One morning on the sidewalk a lens from a pair of glasses—
out of its frame—glared up at me, brought me into sharp
focus for the optic nerve of an absent person and passed
the image on towards the center of the earth. "But whosoever
shall zoom in into my interior shall fall through pixilated
clouds of an unredeemable I.” I continued on, entered
a house, remained here for a while, pressed my fingers
on square keys with strange symbols. Could be, I wrote,
we’ll meet in the wrong eon in the blue of a false planet,
could be that what we're looking for with our eyes closed
is not here. Later I googled the bony world of positivism
and assured myself of your unproven love.
translated by Monika Zobel
November 20, 2014
1859 - 1936
Skull of a Curlew
Skull of a curlew full of stars,
my mouth on fire with black, unspeakable bees.
Light on the lime boles, bleached and bare,
my gorge rising, crammed with blackfurred bees.
Clay of the orchard on my cheek,
cheeks puffed like wind on a map’s margin.
Dust in each lungful of cold air,
lips burned on the inside by black bees.
I wait for the moon to rise me
I pray to the midnight ant
I clutch at fistfuls of wet grass
I hammer the earth with bare heels.
Skull of a curlew full of stars,
night sky dredged with the eyes of bees.
Black fire around each star,
I swallow fear in mouthfuls of fur and wing.
Skull of a curlew full of stars,
the great hive of heaven heavy around me.
I spit out bees and black anger,
mouth of a curlew, fountain of quiet stars.
On the voyage of life, all that finally matters is ‘fellow-ship’
Nine Bright Shiners, Theo Dorgan
reviewed by Thomas McCarthy
There is a strong political sense in these poems that the poor shall inherit the Earth and that poets, somehow, will one day own all the means of production. Dorgan’s is a generation of intellectuals radicalised by Herbert Marcuse and Jean Paul Sartre, illuminated by Costa Gavras and bewitched by Pablo Neruda and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Newer generations of Irish writers, those reared in a private, ironic world (so private that they are outraged by the free gift of a U2 album) could never understand the massive optimism contained within Dorgan’s unbroken sense of community. Such a belief in political community is, in a very real sense, an affront to the modern.
Frankly, my modern dears, Dorgan does not give a damn:
‘I saw his last matches for the Glen, the young bucks already impatient to sweep him to the heavens where blood and raw knuckles, mud and defeat or victory would fade into remembered youth
The poem here is ‘Learning My Father’s Memories’ and the remembrance is of Christy Ring, the greatest hurler of them all, it could be said, who when he rose to catch a sliotar was pushed sky high by several adoring townlands, from Cloyne to Blackpool. It is that sense of community that Dorgan captures to describe and praise life.
A child myself, I sensed their insensate cruelty, the watchful precise impatience of the young.’
at Poetry International
A Fisherman’s Bedroom
1824 - 1907
Many anarchists have engaged with continental philosophy only begrudgingly or not at all. The epithets of idealism, self-importance, separation from everyday concerns, and theoretical self-indulgence, as well as a certain stale boredom, haven’t gone unanswered by certain circles of philosophers, anthropologists and sociologists.
The speculative turn towards materialism and realism offer an opportunity for anarchism to re-engage with a different kind of philosophy.
The term ‘speculative turn’ may be getting old fashioned already by this point, just as the names that preceded it (“speculative realism”, “object-oriented philosophy”, “the new materialisms”) have also begun to undergo mutations, modifications, disappearances. Some of these authors are now speaking of ‘machines’ instead of objects, of posthuman life, or may be more readily understood as weird nihilists or accelerationists.
I don’t pretend that I have a comprehensive understanding of the various strands of the new materialist and realist orientations, and I don’t want to act as guide or (even less) teacher.
That said I have decided to assemble a list of books that a speculative anarchism reading group could consider looking at.
Robert Genter and Splitting Modernism
Andrew Hartman reviewing Late Modernism: Art, Culture, and Politics in Cold War America
So what does it mean that we are all neo-pragmatists? How can we understand the strengths and weaknesses of our work when we’re all more or less working from the same epistemological vantage point? Alasdair MacIntyre insists that we must learn from pre-modern traditions that enable “us to overcome the constraints on self-knowledge that modernity… imposes.” Is this even possible? What other possibilities for self-knowledge are open to us? Or is it pragmatism all the way down?
Slavoj Zizek: Spirit as the Wound of Nature
S.C. Hickman quotes from Absolute Recoil: Towards A New Foundation Of Dialectical Materialism
Spirit is itself the wound it tries to heal, that is, the wound is self-inflicted. “Spirit” at its most elementary is the “wound” of nature. The subject is the immense— absolute— power of negativity, the power of introducing a gap or cut into the given – immediate substantial unity, the power of differentiating , of “abstracting,” of tearing apart and treating as self-standing what in reality is part of an organic unity. This is why the notion of the “self-alienation” of Spirit is more paradoxical than it may appear: it should be read together with Hegel’s assertion of the thoroughly non-substantial character of Spirit: there is no res cogitans, no thing which also thinks, Spirit is nothing but the process of overcoming natural immediacy, of the cultivation of this immediacy, of withdrawing -into-itself or “taking off” from it, of— why not?— alienating itself from it. The paradox is thus that there is no Self that precedes the Spirit’s “self-alienation”: the very process of alienation generates the “Self” from which Spirit is alienated and to which it then returns.
Special Feature on Kenneth Irby
This feature devoted to the work of Kenneth Irby collects a number of papers delivered at the 2011 colloquium devoted to Irby in Lawrence, Kansas, along with new essays by Robert Bertholf, Dale Smith, Matthew Hofer, and others; a chronology, a poem by Nathaniel Tarn, some uncollected Irby poems, a selection of letters between Irby and Ed Dorn, and a cluster of former student musings; and sound recordings from the Lawrence symposium, including readings by Irby.
November 18, 2014
Jean Paul Lemieux
b. November 18, 1904
Edited by Ken Irby
for Ed Dorn
The space out of the river lands I saw
spread, go on to you
still now, I left before
they had gone there, I turned at Burley
along the river’s meadows out of sight of
the starch plants, I knew you lived
And look to now. This sight
in sight out a window at a snow
lighting on the yard and truck yard next door
goes on to you. What is any friend-
Worth or not worth it, hope
gives on this snow
falls to you
warmly. Open o open
up our moments
The highways another summer go over
the inches unfrozen under the wet snowed ground
fallen on now —
Massachusetts slums muddy and snow on gone
to Kansas grasses
plait, winds home to
I know is there only
Lacking out of
land wrapped in this snow.
— 19 Feb [1963, Cambridge, MA]
Kenneth Irby at EPC
Jean Paul Lemieux
A Poetics of Radical Evil
So to be reiterative and reductive: the langpo-tinctured discursive venture is not a poetics of pure indeterminacy, but of pure contingency, and in this sense, of failure. Failure to communicate, which is the fundamental condition of language itself, and the place where the categorical imperative—act as if communication is possible, and communication is possible—serves as maxim for most standard poetics and traditional criticism.
... there must be an excavation, necessarily wrenching, in addition to a radical archiving, necessarily annoying. In other words, it is not enough to walk down the Department hall, or cross a theoretical divide that is not a divide, at least not in practice. There is no art without theory, no theory without art, there is the art of theory, and it is just as impure as any theory of art. It is time to rescind all licenses and make things truly free. Which, though it sounds like a sweet liberatory call, something that ought to be issued by one with some modicum of utopianism, or at least the itch for something better than this, is more a statement of fact, designed to prod us along into the future anterior, that conditional to-be. In other words, a violent and manacled responsibility, even duty. To what? To insist that poetry is what poetry isn’t.
An a-poetics is not concerned with the lack of aesthetic or ethical good, as in insufficient quality/quantity, for that is institutional critique of the dialogic variety, one that hopes that widening the terms of the dialogue will produce more poetic goods—the subjective and objective imperatives will happily coincide. An a-poetics rather insists that, to use another numerical referent, the trinity is the new binary, and there is no dialogue, no call and response because the poem is no longer treated as a text to be read, however many ways and loose, but is cut loose altogether. The poem is simply a site of potential engagement like other works of art are simply sites for potential engagement, and there may be no “reading” just as there may be no “writing,” but a tripartite encounter with a textual surface. An encounter effected by what I have called a “sobject,” an entity that is neither subject nor object but anthropomorphic soup, spatio-temporally seasoned.
d. November 18, 1976
Deconstruction and Non-Philosophy [pdf]
Translated by Nicholas Hauck
5.2 Non-philosophy does not emphasize otherness or differences; it does not compound them through différance, and does not content itself with establishing play while conserving the deconstructionist's ex machina authority (which amounts to the same thing as enclosure). It does not add to nor subract from the immanent deconstruction of the thing (of texts); rather, it substitures unilateralism for difference (différance), the structure of the immanent existing-Stranger for differing, and it breaksthe enclosure, at least for the Real. If in the best of philosophical cases there is pure difference - a signifier in contrast to nothing, not even another signifier nor one that is absolutely removed from the chain, a "Greco-Judaic" signifier we could say - then there is a pure otherness that delimits, not in opposition to immanence (which has no limit), but a One-limitation that is opposed to the system as its possibilizing impossibility.
La Maison des Chapdelaine
Jean Paul Lemieux
America's Dangerous Pipelines
With Senate Poised to Vote on Keystone XL, New Analysis Reveals Dangerous Toll of U.S. Pipelines
Center for Biological Diversity
WASHINGTON - With the U.S. Senate poised to vote on the Keystone XL pipeline on Tuesday, a new analysis of federal records reveals the dangerous toll of pipelines in the United States. In just the past year and four months, there have been 372 oil and gas pipeline leaks, spills and other incidents, leading to 20 deaths, 117 injuries and more than $256 million in damages.
The new data adds to a June 1, 2013 independent analysis of federal records revealing that since 1986, oil and gas pipeline incidents have resulted in 532 deaths, more than 2,400 injuries and more than $7.5 billion in damages.
Jean Paul Lemieux