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Via The Fortunes of the Dialectic , images above come from the blog wrd.wthn.wrd.wthn.wrd. It is worth a look, and I will be spending some time in the near future exploring it and its sidebar further. The kinds of projects presented on the blog are making me nostalgic for some of my early excursions into poetics, like the image below, which is an old Speak&Spell that was circuit-bent by a friend of mine and then handed my way to be re-cased. It still works, I believe - though I haven't tried it in years. It has a few loop settings, pitch-shift, reverse, etc., and makes for a nice instrument if you like that glitchy brand of minimalist electronica...
Sunday, November 30, 2008 | Filed Under | 0 Comments
Excerpts from The Idlers Glossary
dizzy: It is every evolved person’s duty to cultivate the voluptuous panic of vertigo, by staring into that void in which all the forms and norms of our daily lives are revealed as artificial constructs. As if that weren’t difficult enough, you’ve got to revalue your values in light of this terrifying insight, and advance boldly into a new style of life. The problem with dizziness, as Sartre noted, is not how to keep from falling over the precipice, but how to keep from throwing ourselves over it. See: avoidance, distracted, flighty, giddy.
do-nothing: In politics, a do-nothing is an anti-progressive reactionary; elsewhere, though, he may be a saint. Oscar Wilde described his life’s work as the “art of doing nothing,” and insisted that for the person living in a society that worships action, “to do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world.” See: good-for-nothing, idler.
dodger: A dodger shirks his duties and evades his responsibilities neither for purposes of graft, nor out of fear, but simply out of an overwhelming distaste for labor. Think of Henry Miller ditching his career and family because he believed that “work . . . is an activity reserved for the dullard.” Dodging can be an artful form of idling, and dodgers can be an inspiration to us all. However, the dodger who never quits the job or situation that she detests is, finally, not an idler but a slacker. See: bartleby, kill time, skiver, slacker.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008 | Filed Under | 0 Comments
In the end, a generic procedure of fidelity is like some kind of inordinately fussy but endless shopping list in which the products to be bought have not even been made yet.
- Oliver Feltham, Alain Badiou: Live Theory
Thursday, November 20, 2008 | Filed Under | 0 Comments
Here is a short text by Art & Language, UK that I take from my oft perused Conceptual Art: A Critical Anthology
The Timeless Lumpenness of Radical Cultural Life
...The timeless lumpenness of a radical cultural life; the gangrenous excrescence, stylishly exposed in the quiet salons. The market for the dry delicacies of pretentious gentility, the overfed opinion, the corpulent choice, the leisured appropriation, "society" and society in harmony are an objective condition of the class struggle. The privileged low-life of high culture is the massification of the people, is the enemy of inquiry, is an insult to, and sometimes an egregious product of, the achievement and goals of working-class movements, a denial of the real objectives of the working-class movement. It is not, however, the life of the unwitting fool. It has its own agencies.
The conditions of the production of high culture an not somehow apart from these machinations in brutality...and the artists are not exempt from the charge of connivance at the proliferation of force, violence: the barbarism of imperialism. Their "status" as an economic ,hors concours, serves the aim of the ruling classes in their continuing domination. It avails no one of a glimpse of "freedom." It is a status which allows a parvenu sincerity, the treachery of the successful product, to be deified in a fideism of "culture," a fideism in the interests of the ruling class.
Don't think that artists are somehow the victims of an underdetermined predestination: their attempts to fix forever their relations with "the rest of the world," irrespective of social change, are the last defensive gasps of an entirely static instrument of capitalism: empty-headed, it parasitized the ectoderm of social change in the effort to be the better fed by its masters.
And radical artist produce articles and exhibitions about photos, capitalism, corruption, war, pestilence, trench-foot and issues, possessed by that venal shade of empiricism which guards their proprietorial interests. Most people laugh easily at old fools' hack aestheticism; the by now undifferentiated mass of presence and piety. It is similarly easy to avoid debate with the serious anorexic autohagiographers who've shoved (?) and wheedled their way into the (what?) praxis of a ludicrous and equivalent "specialism." The air (and the ether) is toxic with the confident exhalations of their apprehension. Club-foot-Ph.D.-standards-as-style is nothing new in the global sales-pitch. American football helmets and meaningless photos are serious objects of contemplation (and...) if you happen to be obsessed by your career as the nexus of historiography. Heaven knows, anything must go; and it even goes against the sanction imposed by the appropriate Lebensphilosophie: the manieres of "semiotique: and the manieres of "social purpose' even sell that short. The artist, the bourgeois ideologist without "virtue," is just like anyone else without "virtue:" his "terror" is gratuitous and ultimately suicidal.
Friday, November 14, 2008 | Filed Under | 0 Comments
in the events of the late evening of November 4th: as I walked to the subway at about 10 p.m. a vast United States flag was being unfurled in Union Square; there were spontaneous parties in the streets of my part of Brooklyn, and many others can testify to much more exotic, collective experiences. This was a moment when people, no longer cowed by the power of the state and held in check by the police, suddenly become aware of their power and the power of their activity, which is nothing less than the activity of liberty. At such a moment, no force can stop them and a demonstration or street party erupts into being. This is collective joy. There is the potential for a political moment here, but it is a potential whose actualization is denied by the very representative process which is being celebrated. At the moment when people become aware of their power through the activity of the vote, they are simultaneously rendered powerless by the representative process. Liberty slips from the hands of those who have suddenly become aware of its power. In the face of such human fireworks, it is not surprising that Obama cancelled the firework display planned to accompany his victory speech. The message is clear: ‘The victory is yours. But when you’ve finished celebrating, dancing and crying, return to your homes and be quiet. Thanks to you, the business of government is ours and we will take it from here. We’ll let you know how it goes. P.S. Please don’t take popular sovereignty too literally’.
Thursday, November 13, 2008 | Filed Under | 0 Comments
If change means that nothing changes and all we have is imperialism with a human face, then those who have put Obama in the White House might decide after a few years have passed that a progressive party in the United States has become a necessity.
It seems many people, myself included, are still soaking all of this in. My neck of the woods on election night reminded me a bit of WTO - except that people were smiling, and there were no rubber bullets or tear gas:
Monday, November 10, 2008 | Filed Under | 0 Comments
Tomorrow might be a good time to drink some of this in what would no doubt be a horrid cocktail (though as it reads on the label, a taste worth standing in line for). Time to get hammer and sickled!
And if anyone needed further evidence that Obama is in fact a capitalist and not a socialist, watch the Oct. 28th episode of The Colbert Report. Aside from the brilliant exchange between Colbert and Sherman Alexie, it features a brief 'interview' with Brian Moore, the official presidential nominee of the Socialist Party USA.
Among the many things currently on my mind are this post from Shaviro (whom I hope is proven wrong regarding the outcome of this election), and an older piece of Badiou's from which I draw the following:
The reason for the paradoxes of the vote are well known: its technical rationality means the result is gotten from a pure count, which authorises the infinite attentions of sociologists and political scientists -- as concerned with numerical details and variations as the specialists of climactic history -- and works to cover over massive irrationality. For why would number have political virtue? Why would the majority, modifiable at will thanks to the ruse of infinite modes of balloting, be endowed with the attributes of a norm? Such approximations are simply not tolerated in other domains where human thought is at stake. Great scientific creators and innovative artists have been right contrary to dominant opinion. Even violent amorous passions affirm themselves against mediocre social judgement. Is politics, and it alone, to be condemned to the conservatism of numerical means? Everything indicates that this is not the case. Since each time a capital political decision is to be taken, by everyone in their own name, the partisans of the just and the true are initially entirely in the minority, indeed, electorally insignificant. The résistants of the 1940's, those of the 1950's opposed to the sordid colonial wars, the "leftists" of the 60's and 70's: all of them were absolutely in the minority just as are those who today see imperialistic ambitions and the spirit of servitude hide beneath the mask of "humanitarian interventions", or the "war against terrorism". And, basically, everyone knows that number, the majority, won as it is from blind lists upon leaving the ballot box, has no real meaning.
Monday, November 03, 2008 | Filed Under | 0 Comments
"All our writing - for everyone and if it were ever writing of everyone - would be this: the anxious search for what was never written in the present, but in a past to come." - Maurice Blanchot