September 2008

noting also that Deleuze’s ethics and his politics follow from his ontology – as they should do – and not the other way around

if Deleuze is able to depart from the philosophy of representation characterized by the primacy of the concept, then this is because he discovers intelligibility in the aesthetic itself, in the very fabric of the given, in the form of the differentials of perception.

– Levi R. Bryant, Difference and Givenness: Deleuze’s Transcendental Empiricism and the Ontology of Immanence, Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Illinois, 2008, pp. ix-x

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House, Te Atatu

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How to take terminology seriously: Representation & Possibility + notes affirming our opposition

The possible is a false notion, the source of false problems. The real is supposed to resemble it. That is to say, we give ourselves a real that is ready-made, preformed, pre-existent to itself, and that will pass into existence according to an order of successive limitations. Everything is already completely given: all of the real in the pseudo-actuality of the possible. Then the sleight of hand becomes obvious: If the real is said to resemble the possible, is this not in fact because th real was expected to come about by its own means, to “project backward” a fictitious image of it, and to claim that it was possible at any time, before it happened? In fact, it is not the real that resembles the possible, it is the possible that resembles the real, because it has been abstracted from the real once made, arbitrarily extracted from the real like a sterile double.

– Gilles Deleuze, Bergsonism, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam, Zone Books, New York, 2006, p. 98

It’s all been done.

Life is possible, e.g. on other planets.

No other life is possible, e.g. on this one.

I can’t.

We are stuck here.

This could happen.

Stories deal with possibility.

Scientific facts deal with reality.

That could not happen.

We are doomed to repeat ourselves if we don’t know how we got here.

The future is full of possibility.

The past has already happened.

We are at the present time in history.

Nietzsche dooms us to repeat ourselves by pretending there is a will to power when there is no will.

– Friedrich Nietzsche

Assess the possibilities.

Attempt the impossible.

A very will to impossibility!

To making a representation that is then thrown back onto the past and for which the past is somehow held responsible – as if it had a will!

A will to limitation.
A will to self-sterilisation.
A will to limit the play of difference.
A will to co-opt oneself as the puppet of the power,
as the sterile double,
as the subject of the will,
as the representation,
as the bad actor,
the excluded,
banal and monstrous,
the other,
the special, the chosen one:
For me all things are possible,
for I am no other.

To find the element to which I am opposed is an affirmative act. And a creative act, since as it resists or opposes me so I accept it.

Isn’t this the way a hunter works?

To go looking for that which opposes, which one opposes, and accept it, in the great denial?

– Aldo Busi, photograph by Salvino Campos, Napoli 2001

This would be a portrait of the writer Aldo Busi: to affirm in opposition as if that No! could precede both what is and what is not, both what I am and what is not me. Since the writer, for Busi, must give himself over to the great and all encompassing No! And attending to all that is in reality, to all of it, in all its different aspects, deny it.

To say to both the possible and the impossible, ‘No!’

But this doesn’t mean the writer is on the side of the possible or is allowing himself to say ‘I can’t go on,’ and, ‘This is impossible.’ He is not a science fiction writer. And to be on the side of the impossible would be to find a starting-point on a new plane. Like the writer who complained that he couldn’t write, to whom Henry Miller’s advice was start from there: ‘I can’t write.’ No.

To accept it. And to destroy it. As William Burroughs wrote: Destroy all rational thought!

– William S. Burroughs

Or David Byrne: Stop making sense!

– David Byrne, photograph by Karen Kuehn

Do you have to change something before you can do this? No. To do is change, will change – without the will, to which you’ve said, ‘No!’

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Scratch Coke, Balmoral

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THE RETURN OF PAYMEX – spoiler warning: not it seems an international zombie corp. production but NZ-owned undead


now owns

Hi simon,

Don’t panic! Paymex is coming back!

Paymex is now under new ownership of Enform, and will be back up and running next week.

We look forward to providing this excellent service to you.

Regards,

The Team at Enform.

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Electric Hat, Te Atatu

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solvent rescue! F.A.B.

Chris Bathurst is one of those magicians who can make crude oil from algae.

Imagine waste processing plants able to make crude oil and having no other waste products than pure water and phosphate fertilizers.

The model is of a continuous and mixed feed, low energy input, commercially and ecologically viable process.

Solvent Rescue are onto the third generation of their oil-producing machines. Each has been larger than the one before and each has marked an advance in the cost-effectiveness of the process.

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city without a pulse

Auckland has a pulse. I used to be aware of it working at Brazil. Fashion Week had an impact. Not a statistical impact. There was a new tone. Groups of models were seen crossing Pitt St. and K’. Stakes were raised in the ordinary gossip of who was fucking whom: one or more of either the fuckees or the fuckers might be involved in some way with Fashion Week.

What else? The stats, of course – statutory holidays. Our opportunity to say: No Respect! (Stolen from Andrew Ross’s excellent book of the same name.)

Above all, the summer exodus. Now it’s twenty to thirty thousand students who leave.

Everything looks unused. It’s still dirty and smelly and lacking in a working infrastructure but it’s a summertime-post-H-bomb charm the city has empty. Good light, you see.

And lately, the AK’s. Which will soon add a Fringe to the franchise. Run by the very same people! Sponsored by the same!

Independent? I don’t think so.

But at least blood in the veins. Civitas.

And the cultural events: chiefly, literally, Pacifika and Chinese Lantern. And Boobs on Bikes. And time was the erotic minorities were represented in Hero.

It’s these annual events which give the city its life.

It’s not that they’re no longer. Nor is it that I am no longer quite so aware of them. I am at least attentive. It’s rather that that is all there is.

The logo talks about this unraveling of the city, of the sense of city. It was a movement started in the Little Big City drive days.

Larval. Now laval.

Imagine an annual eruption. We might knit together as the new Pompeians.

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Behind the CURTAIN OF BLOOD – [Arundhati Roy’s phrase] – Bruce Petty’s Global Haywire

Cartoonist and satirist, Bruce Petty wrote, directed and animated Global Haywire (2007). What he wrote is a cartoon story. It is an allegory about the rationale of the West, personified in the figure of Vince, Leonardo da Vinci.

Vince receives the wisdom of the East, which at the time, contemporaneous with the historic da Vinci, is more highly developed in every respect. The East is civilized. It is above all, in contrast to the West of the middle ages, a tolerant and heterogeneous society.

Vince, a simple draughtsman, designs a freedom machine, a machine to reach freedom. The machine is elaborated as an analogue for Western civilization. It has an A deck and a B deck. Vince, the rationalism born in the cities of the Renaissance and developed over the Enlightenment, steers the freedom machine. Assisting in this system of guidance, more often to the mission’s detriment than to its advantage, are leaders both sacred and secular.

Bruce Petty wrote the allegory for a purpose: to explain global haywire, that the world’s gone haywire, by offering an adequate image of it. This retro-fitting of the allegory is all too obvious in the first half of the film, until we more or less catch up with ourselves, because the primary division is between East and West, therefore European and Arab, therefore Muslim and Christian.

Mona, Vince’s love interest throughout the cartoon story, serves as analogue for this other. She also personifies the imprint of Eastern culture and civilization on the West at a crucial time in its development.

Chinese, Indian and other Asian cultures do not feature so much except in colonial interludes, like the ‘narco-trafficking’ the British engaged in in order to manage the submission of both Indian and Chinese cultures and civilizations.

Africa, like these others, is not so much sidelined as enrolled as sidekick. On the one hand we have the old Arabism and on the other the new Europeanism, including its predilection for colonising and incorporating vast swathes of the human world. The British, we are told, made warfare a science in its wars of conquest.

The virtue of Bruce Petty’s writerly schema lies in its ability to handle and not reject the implants of Bruce Petty, the director: the voices alongside of Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali, Gore Vidal, Arundhati Roy, a handful of students, inter alia. These voices give the film legs.

– Bruce Petty. Vince is the guy on the left.

Bruce Petty, the animator, is somewhere near Quentin Blake, Ronald Searle, and his countryman, Michael Leunig, and countrywoman, Mary Leunig, Michael’s sister. The weakest conceit is that of having a panel of experts in some kind of Monty Python annex made up of cartoon caricatures, which, we are told, are so necessarily, and filmed actors.

The film is divided into chapters as reports are delivered to the panel and findings are made by them. They are our chorus and spectate for us on a world gone haywire.

The film works but not as satire and is less humorous than heuristic: muscle is given by this simple division of A and B decks, by the notion of the West embarking together on Vince’s great freedom vehicle and assigning the East to the lower decks.

The upper decks found easy advocacy in Darwin’s survival of the fittest. The lower decks had Marx as their only advocate.

We reach a point of revelation. Haywire, the phenomenon, is going to be explained. The agents who preach biblical fundamentalism to B deck are the same ones who have installed a neo-conservative guidance system or autopilot. For the first time Vince’s freedom machine can fly blind. And blindly.

How, the panel asks, did this happen? Vince, they discover, is a traitor. He disguised himself as a market force. The Enlightenment project is betrayed. Rationalism disguised itself as a market force, successfully locking out democratic processes, the power of an informed populace, by rationalising, risk-managing, debt recovering, tax evading, etc. The masses abrogate their powers for the sake of a rationalism which was intended to liberate them and ends up enslaving them.

George Monbiot is called on to sum up. What is wrong with the world:

Those who run the world claim to do it in the name of democracy but actually theirs is a dictatorship of vested interests. It’s a dictatorship in which the poorer nations of the world have no say whatsoever.

Take the International Monetary Fund, the IMF, it runs on that time-honoured democratic principle of one dollar, one vote; the bigger your financial contribution, the bigger your votes.

The rich countries make all the decisions. The poor countries are completely frozen out of that decision-making process.

Noam Chomsky chips in, is cut in with this obvious, brilliant, critique, axiomatic of a corrupted capitalism, just as George Monbiot’s statements refer to a corrupted democracy:

Business would never permit the economy to be run on capitalist principles. That’s inconceivable. It’s too harmful to their interests. The IMF’s a good example.

So, for example, on capitalist principles, let’s say if I lend you money and I know that it’s risky so I therefore insist on a higher interest rate, and I make a lot of profit from lending you money, and then at some point you can’t pay the debt, on capitalist principles, that’s my problem. But the IMF wants to make sure it’s your problem.

In another context these statements might not lead to the simple and necessary principle of global economic domination that if you owe me money and can’t pay and I can hold you accountable – and that holding to account can be legally upheld – then I can cross the issue over: I will take your voting rights, your right to participate in global decisions; and only as part payment for what you owe me. Hence, economic ‘rationalism’ translates to the concentration of political power in fewer and fewer hands.

What is to be done?

George Monbiot’s four proposals (verbatim quotes in inverted commas):

1. Democracy must be the system under which the world is run. “At the moment the world is about as far from democratic as it could possibly be.” A democratic system needs a directly elected representative assembly – a parliament;

2. A radically reformed and democratic United Nations;

3. Shut down the IMF and the World Bank and replace them with the economically democratic International Clearing Union as proposed by John Maynard Keynes in 1943;

4. Create a Fair Trade Organisation to reverse effectively the mandate of the current World Trade Organisation, ensuring trade is used as a means of “economic redistribution rather than as a means of economic concentration.

I recommend you see Global Haywire. The DVD has extras, like a brief and excellent explanation of why satire is not available at this time, and the short animated film, Australian History, quoted in a post past.

I think each of us should make this movie. And make it again and again. As long as it takes.

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art in Australia, Bruce Petty and the object of satire

Art was attempted, but to no avail.

Australian History, dir. Bruce Petty, 1971

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