July 2012

“Our film tells the legendary myth that thinking machines in the future will make about their creator’s life; an emotional story about how one of Britain’s greatest scientists ended up in a very dark place, because the country which he helped save from fascism, chemically castrated him because he was gay. “

article HERE

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skin tight to love and to serve series

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remembering Margaret Mahy, 21 March 1936 – 23 July 2012, taught us how to fly

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what oppression?

– Julian Dibbell, from “A Rape In Cyberspace,” 1993 [here] but quoted by Alan Jacobs in an article titled:

The Artist’s Lens

to draw attention to it for the reason that it has this upsetting subtitle: “What It Means to See the World With an Eye Toward a Facebook Update” (is the capitalisation ironically intended?) [here]

a conflation of the two titles might read: Facebook Rapes Artist’s Lens

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Qu’est-ce qu’un acte de création? – Gilles Deleuze, 1987

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source of clichéed philosophical disdain for dirty history in the academicist mode, Kant to Hegel

“It would appear no law-governed history of mankind is possible …
We can scarcely help feeling a certain distaste on observing their activities as enacted in the great
world-drama … everything as a whole is made up of folly and childish vanity, and often of
childish malice and destructiveness…. The only way out for the philosopher … is for him to
attempt to discover a purpose in nature behind this senseless course of human events.”

– Kant quoted disapprovingly, at least as antagonistic to Foucault’s view of intelligible orders being immanent in history, in John Protevi’s “What does Foucault think is new about neoliberalism?” 2009

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“among those who care about such matters”

Matthew Stewart’s Leibniz epitomises the reactive attitude towards our modernity, a modernity represented by Spinoza, in his compelling narrative. Something has been subtracted from Leibniz’s philosophy launching it as an untotalizable multiplicity. In this regard, he resembles Badiou reacting always to the immanence of Deleuze, even when Deleuze is not there.

I came away with these questions: What does this book do to the relationship of Deleuze to Leibniz – in his book, The Fold? Is Deleuze trying therein to rehabilitate Leibniz? Hallucinating his consistency with a philosophy of immanence? And then what does this problematisation make of Badiou’s essay on Deleuze’s The Fold? It is a piece both recriminatory for a failure not present in Deleuze’s work on Leibniz and self-incriminating in that regard as well as reactive to Deleuze’s rejection of Badiou because of his insistence on numerical multiplicity.

Is Object-Oriented Ontology a new monadology?

Is the view of science we’ve inherited from the Natural Philosopher’s a form of mysticism?

Is the Enlightenment, therefore, missing its radicals? Have they been suppressed in historical accounts?

Matthew Stewart:

In the histories of philosophy that dominate the trade, it was Immanuel Kant who sealed the fate of the two greatest philosophers of the seventeenth century. In his effort to tame philosophy into a discipline suitable for the modern academy, Kant trained his attention on the methods whereby philosophers purported to justify their claims to knowledge. He divided his immediate predecessors into two groups: the empiricists, who allegedly relied on sense experience to base their claims to knowledge, and the rationalists, who were said to derive their truths from pure reason. According to Kant’s peculiar scheme, Leibniz and Spinoza wound up playing on the same side of history. Together with Descartes – the man Leibniz loathed and Spinoza regarded as seriously confused – they became the three rationalists. Leading the empiricist opposition was John Locke – the same whom Leibniz regarded as a wobbly crypto-Spinozist. He was joined by the Irish philosopher George Berkeley, whose view that physical objects are only ideas in the head strikes most readers as distinctly unempirical, and David Hume, whose ideas about the mind and causality look remarkably like those of Spinoza.

Hegel, who very much liked to see history move along in groups of three, strongly championed Kant’s version of events; and the British, who were pleased to see a trio of their greatest philosophers of the period lined up against three continential musketeers, were more than happy to go along with the story, too. As a result, in philosophy classses to the present, where irony tends to be a scarce commodity in any case, Spinoza and the man who dedicated his life to expunging Spinoza’s name from the world’s memory are presented as happy partners on the same side of a debate about the epistemological foundations of academic philosophy.

– Matthew Stewart,The Courtier and the Heretic: Leibniz, Spinoza, and the Fate of God in the Modern World, W.W. Norton & Co., London, 2006, pp. 309-310

If Spinoza was the first great thinker of the modern era, then perhaps Leibniz should count as its first human being.

– Ibid., p. 312

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holey tactility

‘[T]ouch is the space of the gap, not the connection’

 – McLuhan, quoted in Charlie Gere, Community without Community in Digital Culture, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2012

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    a letter to empyre soft_skinned_space on the subject of screens added here for interest even if leaving much unsaid

    My father went to the cinema every Saturday where he saw the newsreels showing the liberation of the camps. The two things were always linked in his reminiscence:  the joy of the screen and its stars and ‘having to see’ what ‘had to be seen.’ ‘Had to be’ because the postlogue usually went, You didn’t, did you? to my mother, as if she’d been both deprived enjoyment and spared knowledge.

    No. She hadn’t seen – and therefore didn’t ‘know’ – since her parents wouldn’t let her go to the cinema. It wasn’t until she had boyfriends who would take her that she went to movies by which time the newsreels had given way to shorts, even cartoons, before the main feature.

    My father was prepared you might say by this double exposure to the screen for a life in the theatre. But his unpublished novels have a cinematic quality.

    The theatre seriously in the 1970s took up the problem or crisis of representation associated with Adorno’s name as with Celan’s. The fact theatre was not by then a popular medium but on its way to being museumised made it a place where it was sometimes possible to ask difficult questions. Sometimes, that is, when its practitioners were not already in complicity with the rising economic rationale.

    Cinema seems to have come late to such a tragic recognition of the limits of representation at which complicity becomes general, for example in Michael Haneke’s Caché. A different complicity than that by which artists would join forces with capitalism. But equal, in so far as there is a lessening of the power to choose. However, in the case of seeing newsreels of the liberation of Auschwitz it is involuntary, and not thereafter innocent, and in the case of accepting the inevitability of the economic rationalisation of every facet of life and society, it is voluntary, and therefore not innocent.

    Compulsory viewing was a moral category and the screen had the physical authority to insist that its viewers not turn their heads away. Its resources possibly exhausted, long since having reached peak Plato, still it is worthwhile in this regard recalling the cave. In its darkness men, women, children are captivated by the shadows projected on the cave wall of a procession of real objects and events. Held captive, they can neither turn away nor see over the barrier below which reality parades, firelight behind it casting its image as the only visible reality. Except for the philosopher who breaks out.

    First he sees the whole theatrical or cinematographic set-up, the cave, the bound men, women, children, the barrier, the firelight and the actual things and events in motion before it. But this epiphany is insufficient for him to free the others. So he exits the cave. And finds out where everything has come from, which so far only firelight has set flickering in shadows up the cave wall, which so far has appeared only in insubstantial series. This is not yet enough to make him a hero rescuer, a freedom fighter and go back; he returns but is somehow trapped in his knowledge and lessened by it.

    He chooses another medium, in other words, prepared by this double exposure to the screen. Nevertheless, his dialogues have this quality of theatrical or cinematic presentation.

    Compulsory viewing is now an aesthetic contribution. Seeing Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life is compulsory. Nobody wants to (be seen to) force anybody to see anything real even if (unseen) they try it on: the double articulation of sharism and advertising leads to a voluntary screenism. Which, being voluntary, is not innocent.

    A general break is advocated for sometimes militated for from being held captive to totalitarian modernity. The spectacle, that is, of politics.

    The multiplication of screens has passed a critical threshold but not one of ubiquity, rather a ubiquitous or immanent atomic threshold. Since this multiplication has proceeded in two directions: miniaturisation and universal mobility.

    Screens have sunk into the skin of our modernity. Our post-atomic modernity. And behind this skin, a light. Plath’s lampshade or a general state of illumination behind the realm of husks and shells, Qlipphoth. But also within the space of this skin – perforations.

    A general screenism perforates reality which porosity acts as a filter stretched across the world, described by Leibniz. And where these mediatic pores combine screens with cameras the sum effect of universal visibility is in fact invisibility. A general and generalisable status quo.

    It is no coincidence that schools do not bar pupils from watching they attempt to ban touching. [ref] Screens touch. They ‘bump.’ A euphemism for fucking.

    Screens are in the process of becoming skins. Whether by transplant, substitution or extension into new powers of affecting and being affected is a good question. 

    I look forward to the tactility of screens, the new haptic qualities, where research continues, beyond the general atomism of the screen and its presentation of modernity, post-screen… [link]

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    take affirmative action against identity politics

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