October 2008

Nexx, not next, note

– Isabel Samaras, painting detail

Nexx will be New Zealand’s online marketplace for social lending. We’ll let people borrow and lend money directly with each other, without greedy banks and unpredictable finance companies in the middle.

Is there a similar programme to assist non-profit organisations and non-commercial enterprises – such as those found here – to find backers, sponsors, patrons?

San Fran has one:

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JK INTERVIEW: kschanj t’a prospruss konomy f’ homo naaz an’ f’th kundry an’ otha sploshuns of sbilance: phonetic transcription not yet available and lo, those Labour policies vilified by National [“communism by stealth,” for example] will be celebrated once they are National’s

– listen to Kathryn Ryan interviewing John Key by tapping the hand that takes, Nationalyour freedom

Ozchralians shouldun be bailed ou’ by Nyu Zillindaz – however we can allegedly afford to carry on with gross liability to the bankers of oz, liability on such a scale – a potential indebtedness exceeding three times the value of the NZ economy – that at worst is a threat to our sovereignty and that at best compromises it.

We’re nod sellin’ enny asseds akshurely… [Key titters]

Oy godda look Nyu Zillannaz in th’ oyOy godda sleep in the bed, oy godda look in tha mirror… – a good working relationship with the Maori Party. (Albeit that they set their bottom line and then two days later they change it, says Key: a partnership based on mutual respect?)

Oy’ve god ass strong s[e]nse of bellince

Are you a manager? asks Kathryn. …

That’s a bank, not a country, says Kathryn.

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other lovers other love projects: Annie, Elizabeth & Marcel

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so you’ve got a box and it’s big enough to fit the whole world…

I was talking to Mike today and he was talking about the charge made against the interweb that whereas film – as a distinct medium – was scaring the shit out of people by making them think the train was going to come out of the screen and run them down, here we have vidlets of kittens falling down stairs on YouTube (see for example, Pingu: “I am a five week old kitten and I am very cute”). The web has produced nothing worthy of note.

I said part of the problem was that our ability to use what we see represented is disabled, that there are cultural-historical reasons for this. Harold Bloom counted the 20th C. as belonging to Romanticism because the notion of belatedness yet prevails, the idea that it’s too late, we’re too late, it’s all done. We wallow, I said, wallow in the profundity of our belatedness.

The other part of the problem is that we see the interweb in an ‘archive fever’ as a place where you can watch Carmelo Bene, although he’s dead, or Artaud, dead culture, or colonial culture, or despotic totalising culture, dead also, or kittens falling down stairs, as a museum-mausoleum.

We talked about the contrast with the music of Caetano Veloso and Tom Ze and Carlinhos Brown, and Toumani Diabate and Ali Farka Toure, to name some non-tropicalismo musos, and there are the latter discussing 400 year-old tunes, and playing them, respectfully but using what they have. Getting the old bones out and shaking them around.

We agreed that they have a different attitude. Brazilian audiences go to music shows with instruments, guitars, to heavy metal bands with electric guitars, to jam along with their favourite artists. There’s more to this than interaction or participation: the music is alive.

It’s not a dead thing in a dead frame on a dead stage on a dead TV. There’s life in front of you and you pick it up and use it. And imitation remains the sincerest form of flattery.

In other words, our – the immediate our, the our we saw around us – our reverence towards what happens on stage on TV on film in music on the wall in a painting and so on differs from our reverence for the dead only in its externals. Inside we may be as pleased to put somebody in a box as to see them on the box.

Imagine a big box and this box is big enough to fit everything. You can put everything in it. And you’re running all over the place grabbing stuff and putting it in the box. And you’re buying crap to chuck in. And every holiday and friendship goes in the box. Every thought and poem and just everything.

House on Fire with Smoke, 2007, image courtesy Blane de St. Croix

And the house is on fire.

And in the same sense you’re preserving the body through the rituals of health. You’re making it into its own big box. You’re preserving its death inside it.

I noted that the problem of things on the net or web is not that they’re not real, it’s that they are.

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a sign, not yet a symbol: Hermes

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an irrational swing

National advocates less big government yet have already outpledged Labour in government spending:

As a National voter you are less likely to have chosen rationally than a Labour voter. In other words, the present basal temperature of NZ is Blue; Red or Green requires an expenditure of energy, as does Brown or Black. It is this to which media pundits are responding.

To find out if this is true, try the Glassbooth New Zealand Election 2008 survey provided by Pundit.

The great irony is that as the world swings to the left, away from Milton Friedman and monetarism, New Zealand, the pioneer of deregulation and everything-must-go state asset sales, could veer to the right. And who would be grabbing the wheel to lead to this historical accident? Certainly not JK himself.

A majority may aver that they do not trust him in the driver’s seat. But that does not mean they will not elect him. In fact, that they don’t trust him is an argument in his favour. It flatters the general populace with the notion that they are nobody’s fool.

As with George Bush II, that evidence was available of his lack of suitability for high office and of his ineptitude and that he was a puppet of the neo-cons, that this was all, as they say, transparent, made him a solidly see-through contender: the conspiracy is that there is no conspiracy.

The voting public was let in on the joke. That the joke was dangerous and would not act in the interests of the people was not so compelling as the fact that we were instrumental in making the wheels spin. They’re not going to spin our way? They were never going to anyway.

Perhaps what motivates a John Key or a Dubbya is what makes them both men of the people: they recognise their ineffectuality. They too like us are strapped on the Ixxion wheel. Their putative humanity resides in the extraordinary narrowness of the horizons they set for themselves. Like us, their choices are irrational. But they are choices that have to be made.

[Bryan Gould addresses himself to the historic turn to government intervention in the market precipitated by crunchy credit crises here.]

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Bruce Petty said it, something like: the political (& political-artistic) situations we would satirise now so closely resemble the satire that we are, as effectively as in any totalitarian regime, silenced. Stupid, stupid silence.

… the above-named today turned down my application for a a grant to write Love Project 9.

I am a victim of hope: a year’s worth of planning and preparation … not the entirety pinned on this one funding round but … enough riding on it as a source of legitimation, for the work done and that projected, to lead me to wonder and to be amazed and to ask those charges that the roots of failure lie in my suppression of good will, my critical disavowal, my judgemental and cynical negativity be dropped once and for all … since this has been the year to change my heart: I have examined it for duplicitous emotion; I have chased out the traitors and with the thieves I’ve wished for only good … The bars of the cage that held me back from achieving success weren’t real but they may as well have been.

To those who wrote in support or agreed to be named in the application to Creative New Zealand for funding, sorry. And thank you. But, sorry.

O my poor heart … will lead you to the body of the project application. I look forward to your suggestion,should you find here something worth resurrecting.

Cath Cardiff, Manager, Arts Development writes:

Your application to the July-October 2008 funding round has been considered by the Arts Board of Creative New Zealand. We [sic] regret to inform you that this proposal has been declined for funding.

The Arts Board made funding decisions based on artistic merit and strategic priorities informed by recommendations from independent assessment committees in literature, visual arts, craft/object art, music, dance, theatre and festivals. [really] A list of the committees …

As usual the funds in this round were highly contested by a large quantity and diverse range of proposals. For project funding this round the Arts Board received 422 applications seeking $9.8 million. [sic] A total of $3,796, 196 was offered to 151 projects. The Theatre Committee assessed 61 applications, requesting $2,218,999. $860,260 was offered [really] to support 22 projects. A full list of the … approvals … our website

Information about common issues [!] with project funding applications is available on our website http://www.creativenz.govt.nz/files/common-issues [sic – because address inoperative] …

Yours sincerely

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ciphers, phallacies, calumnies: another many-headed beast, the etymology of key and the genealogy of john


Herakles battles the Hydra, a snakelike beast with between seven and nine heads, identified with the earth goddess, Hera.

Hera is Zeus’s jealous wife. Herakles is not Hera’s son.

Kles in Old Attic Greek comes from the verb kleio. It means ‘to shut up, close or block.’ Might it not also be the root of key? as in German, Das Klee?

Hera it is alleged removes Herakles from her immortal breast before he can attain immortality. He is barred from the breast of which the milk would grant him immortality. Locked out.

Herakles spends his life set on by Hera’s jealousy. The madness she sends him leads him to kill his family. His famous tasks are undertaken to restore as much as claim the immortality he might have had at Hera’s breast if it not been placed under lock and key.

Upon the completion of his tasks and his apotheosis at Olympus the breast is restored to Herakles and he becomes Hera’s glory, Hera-kleos. Kleos means heroic fame and glory.

– here’s Hera giving suck to Herakles on the back of an Etruscan mirror (‘look but in‘…)

Hera is the original of the punishing phallic mother, a monster mama. John Key has identified her with a ‘left-wing five-headed monster.’ He encourages us to take his side in the battle so that he may claim the fame and glory he might have had at her breast if she, in her jealousy, had not denied it him.

– John is milk fed

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notes on form, risk and towards founding a practice on theatricality

I shan’t yet attribute the question, but here acknowledge the questioner(s) with notes towards an answer:

You speak here often of the specters of risk and of danger, of the apparently motivating effect of such for this present work. Tell us more about the significance for the project’s form of the risks which it embodies.

“Form will never inspire anything but conformities”

Risk lies therein that thought should “seek its models among stranger and more compromising adventures.”

– Gilles Deleuze, from Difference and Repetition (cited in Levy Bryant, Difference and Givenness, Northwestern Uni. Press, Illinois, 2008)

Seeking its models among “stranger and more compromising adventures,” it, thought, thinking, risks being lost or found; found in the sense of established; lost in the sense of folly and even la folie. Deleuze addresses the natural stupidity of thought. Its tendency to avoid risk. So that it remains eternally possible but never arrives at itself, the thought of thought itself.

Thought doesn’t happen without a qualitative change, without introducing a difference, which it also undergoes: that is, without this constitutive risk.

It is not that Deleuze denies […] forms of recognition defining empirical experience. Recognition is all too real as a cognitive phenomenon. Instead, what he rejects is their illicit universalization. Formalism always sanctions the universalization of that which is historically produced in such a way that the production of the produced, the fact that it was produced, becomes invisible. Formalism sanctions the decontextualization of the produced. It is only in terms of a transcendental philosophy that would determine the conditions of real experience that such illicit universalizations could be avoided.

– Levy Bryant, op. cit., pp. 85-6

According to Levy Bryant, Deleuze’s method of intuition leads to a search for that which differs in kind. Internal differences are qualitative differences. Whereas, those which differ in degree constitute purely external and therefore contingent differences.

The difference of difference, internal or qualitative, gives rise to external differences. It is genetic. It creates. It is is the ontological antecedent of external differences and therefore primordial, and before either general or particular differences.

Being is on the side of creation, as in that which produces differences. This is why, for Deleuze, the infinitive expresses so well the event, by catching it in the middle, as it becomes.

To form, thus, is the making that is by this logic prior or superior to form, as in the self-identical shape, mould or look of a thing. The form possesses only external difference. It is itself formed by that which differs in itself.

What forms it merits analysis, forming it in its various modalities or modes of form and content. Since form and content differ only temporally. They offer up only a difference of degree. Analysis, in theory or theatre, is to show how it works.

In addition, Bryant draws attention to the topological. In Deleuze’s thinking it becomes essential as the field in which singularities or monads relate without communicating, a relational matrix. How we draw or cut out the matrix entails a risk, that of ending up not with concepts but with clichés.

What we want to do after all is end up in a place which we do not recognise. The method we use cannot be one of recognition.

We are however already ahead of ourselves, seeing as what inspires us to think the thought itself and to engage in the encounter endures in the thinking, inheres in and informs it. Once this breath of love or trauma leaves, we are either going to exclude it or be excluded by it. Such an exclusion is the compromise Deleuze wrote of as an adventure.

We can’t have chosen this but must be equal to it. How? It is in Deleuze the thing or flow that escapes which shows us a way (or a weapon). It can be capital or the simulacrum. To follow capital without taking a moral stand on it or to retrace the steps by which the fake, the lie, the simulacrum, all are sidelined by the model, the copy, the form and content, by representations, we deterritorialize absolutely.

The risk is leaving behind common and good sense and the subject’s superiority, of will or morality, to risk madness, destruction and death in the encounter, to cut across a ‘blasted heath, in other words, and face permanent exile from our right senses, from our sovereignty (even if it be one of role), in the family as in the state.

This is neither an ascesis nor undertaken in a spirit of self-sacrifice. As noted above, we have already entered the desert when the thought occurs to us: it is why the thought occurs to us. To be true to the initial encounter we engage in risk.

The encounter is for Deleuze what moves thought away from habit and leads the thinker to present the drama of his exile in thought and constrains him to an escape which can only be realised in the medium in which it is caught up. Thought and thinker are taken by force. And put at risk. Hence, for Deleuze, philosophy can be seen as a whodunnit?

I am suggesting that theatricality can act as a deterritorializing flow, turning over representation upon representation, amortized plane after amortized plane, showing the hollowness at the heart of existence and doing something else: running off in another direction entirely from what is expected.

Rolande Barthes wrote of death and theatre being close. He cited the white pancake and theatre’s roots in ritual. But is it a death which is speaking of representation? Or a mere representation of death?

My impulse is to say it is the former, death and representation possessing only difference of degree. This impulse says more about the encounter than the risk. In thinking through theatre, a philosophy of theatre – a necessary theatrum philosophicum – the stakes have to be high to measure up to the encounter.

My project might be called an attempt to found theatre … ontologically … in theatricality … while in the same theatre, the death of man is playing tonight.

It will be back tomorrow, out of habit as much as by popular demand.

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key (his) issues: The Labourwocky, def. “a left-wing five-headed monster” overexposed on national media here inverted

Labour? the wabe ate her

– this is the Jabberwocky – note the one head and the large mouth of the monologist

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