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Since remarkably little has changed in the intervening 17 years in respect of arts and cultural policy in NZ, I have forwarded the letter linked to below to our current Prime Minister & Minister for the Arts, Rt. Hon. Jacinda Ardern

Letter to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

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for Artists Re:thinking the Blockchain edited by Marc Garrett, Ruth Catlow and Sam Skinner

A new proto-blockchain artwork by Prof Chris Speed and the Design Informatics Department at Edinburgh University will be embedded throughout the book (using machine/app readable matrix barcode for print version) enabling readers to ‘like’ different parts of the book, sub-linked to a financial trading algorithm, and build their own financial portfolio, creating a playfully interactive and direct experience of blockchain technology

— from PR blurb at Oxford University Press

The project has also benefitted from a grant for the The Cultural Capital Exchange (HEFCE and ACE) programme to develop the project and content, and an additional grant from Arts Council England, which will support launch events at FACT, Furtherfield and LSE, London

— from PR blurb at Oxford University Press >> see also the article citing the HEFCE “From social rights to the market: neoliberalism and the knowledge economy” by John Holmwood here

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what is the blockchain? (or the death of the other, any other; and the death of ethics)

With the advent of the blockchain, we will not need to trust each other in the traditional sense, because trust is built into the system itself. … and the system is bigger than both of us.

enter the new episteme

(on loading this image, I saved it inadvertently to the Deligny file … the grapher of autistic networks)

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Mirowski & Neoliberal thought collective & faith

Let’s move the conversation beyond power. This is what Foucault was doing in his final seminars (see particularly 13/13 The Courage of Truth, 1983-84). As described by economic historian Philip Mirowski, the neoliberal thought collective, that is the Mont Pèlerin Society, is not about securing or maintaining élites in power, either in political power or in economic power, or in view of the field now addressed in terms of a political economy.

As Mirowski, following Foucault, makes clear, the agenda is truth. The conversation we might be having is not about power and its exercise within the political economy post-truth, given the bruited collapse of veridification, which has been for some time now the demesne of media–both sounding off on the collapse of knowledge and information, of knowledge into information and data, and therefore the levelling of information with disinformation (with which goes the task of the expert, the knowledge worker and scientist as a data gatherer, noncommentator, nonsyncretiser, empirically distanced and politically-economically disinterested), both this and under media control within the production of media as the producers in the knowledge market, of political economy. The conversation might now move to a post-power conception of truth, where knowledge is power.

Power-knowledge performs as its own supplement. It supplements itself. This is its production as fetish, a question both of currency and value. It is also the reason for the investment of the richest and most powerful corporations in what is called Big Data, since it is called Big Data to hide the fact that it is nonsummative: enumerable data, innumerable data, but not one big datum rather the prospect of infinite growth in the production of data. Knowledge in a post-power dispensation is an economic unit. So that thing called immaterial labour by Hardt and Negri is always for the sake of an idea, the truth not of capital itself–the labour theory of value is hardly sufficient here–but the capital of truth itself.

The truth and the lie of the immaterial labourer are equally available to media to be promulgated, published, fetishised, as they are, since it is the market that will make the ultimate selection for the sake of the idea of truth. The knowledge worker, the scientist, the expert researcher, all are freer than ever before. They are like artists and just as powerless, just as powerless as the powerful.

Who rises to challenge the market as the arbiter of truth post-power? …and it could be said it is in this sense that we are now postmodern: gone is the tortured, fractured and fragmented art of power; welcome the unified, global and free art of truth, a truth beyond the grasp of any individual, ineffable, belonging to the political economy, a belief secured and maintained on its idea.

 

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neoliberal thought collective is “primarily held together by philosophical commitments”

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destroyed wisdom

dear diary, today I like this phrase “romantic materialism.” today I ordered Elizabeth Grosz’s The Incorporeal and John M. Harrison’s Viriconium. …today I am nervous. today I am suspended between two ideas: one is, against immaterial labour and semiocapitalism, the idea of the place of care, care of the body, its pleasures and needs; it is an idea of the palliative industry, in which all media participate; capital care functions to feed on an industrial scale those who can afford to live inside it; it functions to distract from the suffering and from the desire and from the passions of the body, with easy listening, predigested package language-worlds, of viewing, touching, tasting, light-comedic mediatised commodities, popularised pulp & pap, lubricated & comfort sex; it is the service culture of safety & health; its wealth is the investment in an aging population even as it is being born, being born into an aging population, a universal retirement village and hospice is where you will live, dance occasionally, nod off, eat, shit & fuck, if you are born as one of the lucky ones. The other idea is postmodernism. It comes after modernism because it defrags it into the universal agreement to believe in price without cost, in the nonsymbolic exchange of money as the value of all values. Where modernism left you looking at yourself looking, postmodernism recognises that look–priceless… so destroyed wisdom today is my subjectline, the umbilicus of deconstruction from which I hang

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Heiner Müller’s instagram courtesy of n.1edicoes

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The Moral Left

The political (read: economic) bankruptcy (read: extra-economic) of the Left has made a necessity of virtuousness (read: morality). What used to be the Moral Right (and under Reagan the Moral Majority) has been displaced by the Moral Left: this is everything from LBGT to the Green rights of environmentalists and… exactly where its hem begins to fray is the bruited-about Crisis of Value, in other words Crisis of Middle-Class Values. The rights of the family are of course complicated by families of nonhetero albeit heterogeneous makeup. The rights to property are complicated by rights of access, for example, of copyright to knowledge: all coming under the swelling sphere of the commons.

The point here is: the Left used to be about policy, now it is about a moral stance; while the Right has policy like an iron bar that it cannot pass.

What is hateful in this and disastrous for an oppositional, not to say critical politic, is the caving of the notion of value itself, which is now tethered to the somewhat redundant operation of capital, where so many other options of funding are now so much more readily available and applicable, new venture capitalism and entrepeneurship having become a game for the very wealthy and the very stupid. The question as to whether these are mutually irreducible categories is overtaken by the political bankruptcy and unwillingness of the Left to enter discussions at an intellectual advantage–in case it is accused of Rightwing privilege.

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Douglas Lain of Zero Books interviews Slavoj Žižek

Marx’s labour theory of value: there’s something strange about what Žižek calls Lain’s metaphor of the “good Christian boy” who wants to believe.

And there’s something strange about the circularity of Žižek’s argument, as a populist philosopher, about the horror of the Left’s reactiveness to the Right’s activation of erstwhile Leftist policy platforms for, exactly, their populism: Marine Le Pen’s stand on easier access to healthcare and greater support for pregnant mothers, for example. (But then these can be seen as what Michel Houellebecq calls “nativist” concerns (in Submission): encouraging the put-upon ‘ethnic French’ populace to up birthrates, live longer, than immigrant sectors.) Žižek is saying something when he reports the comment of a friend: now the Left moralise, where they used to politicise; and the Right politicise, where they used to moralise: immigration is a moral and humanitarian issue for the Left; it is a political opportunity that the Right exploits. … Žižek’s call for the self-criticism of ‘us’ “progressives”, what does it mean?

We should spend less time judging statements like his, that if he could have he would have voted for Trump? And more time doing what?

It might get close to Nietzsche’s critique of reactive politics and affirmation of active policy … but is stymied by Hegelian dialectic and Lacanian (inbuilt) negative disavowal, the double-negative logic of not not affirming.

What the Left could use is some Nietzsche. I used to think not, but Nietzsche’s excoriation of those who set their values on a continuum orientated towards the best cover up value judgements that are from the start moral interpretations, moralisations.

The Left’s looking for a better way than the Right is only to perform the Hegelian dialectic dance of if you go that way, than I’ll go this way.

Here’s the link to the interview. See what you think. LINK.

…as for the labour theory of value and Žižek’s call to “de-substantialise” it, isn’t this precisely what is assayed in Anti-Oedipus (along with a critique of Lacan) and A Thousand Plateaus by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari?

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“it’s a time of opportunity because it’s a crisis”: RIP Mark Fisher 11 July 1968 – 13 January 2017

listen to Mark Fisher here

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