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lucky you! Indulge all your worst tendencies and most sadistic desires

— why is it people like bad music?

— it’s not that they like bad music, it’s that they prefer it.

— Shannon Cartier Lucy, If My Hand Offends, 2019

… almost all of those who are born unlucky have been brutally prevented from developing more than a fraction of their own abilities, and this is perhaps the most shocking fact about our human world.

Undoubtedly less shocking, but possibly more weird, is the incredible fact that in the contemporary world many even of those who are born lucky are voluntarily forgoing the opportunity to develop their inner resources. Gorgeous and delicious fruits, grown by seductive geniuses, sit on the plates of these lucky people but remain uneaten. A process of decay has infected the lucky in various parts of the world, and very notably in the United States, leading many even of the luckiest to turn vehemently against complex thought in general and the cultivation of the intellect in particular–and even to turn against complex pleasures. And in certain circles, crude thought and ignorance are openly respected and praised, while the concept of basing one’s conclusions on evidence (or on replicable experiments)–and even the principle of rationality itself–are ignored or even mocked. Traveling in precisely the opposite of the direction that would help the world to dig itself out of its crisis, many lucky people have come to believe that our spiritual and mental lives should have only two elements: first, everyone should learn whatever technical skills are necessary in order for them to be able to work and make money (skills learned by the unlucky would bring them a small amount of money, skills learned by the lucky would bring them a large amount of money) and second, for relaxation, people should consume very simple pleasures such as very simple stories, very simple music, very simple eroticism, and various sadistic forms of amusement such as television programs that show people insulting or tormenting each other or killing each other. Omitted from this short list of recommended intellectual activities–and from the type of education that can be derived from it–is anything conducive to the development of the wide-awake, thoughtful, curious, sharply logical, and deeply emotional human beings who could save the world, on the one hand, or, if a better world were to be created, could actually enjoy it.

— Wallace Shawn, Night Thoughts, 2017, pp. 69-71.

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the book from the TV: DIEM25 TV

Everything Must Change! The World After Covid-19 is the book from conversations from the online television series from the Democracy In Europe Movement 2025. (ed.s Renata Ávila and Srećko Horvat, OR Books, 2020.)

DIEM TV diem25

it’s probably more important to know that it happened, that it’s happening, than to read the book or watch the TV… I didn’t know before how much of a stranglehold is exercised by Wall Street on the global financial system, simply because of the high percentage of transactions globally that are conducted in dollars. I didn’t know that Gaddafi was assassinated, dragged from a drainpipe and shot, before he was able to institute a pan-African currency called the Afrique. … And I didn’t know a lot more. But what I suspected and what has been confirmed by this book is that the Left is embarrassed.

Embarrassed by the redundancy of its moral indignation. Embarrassed by the winding-up of the ideas market. Embarrassed by the downturn of its own fortunes in that market, from stakeholder to small stall-holder, to panhandler. Embarrassed by a nostalgia for its own rich past, a nostalgia for Ideology; now a poverty of ideas. A riches to rags story. Embarrassing for all that it seems able to do is to critique. To slip around in the spilt blood of its historical and historicised present. … Panhandler? no, the pan has no handle.

Here’s a little of Brian Eno’s contribution to the conversation, a bit I liked, a kind of dandiacal tastegroup led political aesthetic, slowcooking populism to raise consciousness:

one thing I think might make a difference is a shift in societal attitudes toward wealth. I think that displays of wealth will soon seem very coarse, gross and crude, and that this shift will impact people’s actions. For example, when minimalism began as an art movement about fifty years ago, it seemed quite radical in its questioning of this idea of “more is better,” and that more detail and luxurious materials were better. Minimalism has now, however, translated into a broader cultural movement from its beginnings as a stylistic notion. While it takes a long time, these aesthetic shifts do eventually have societal effects.

Yes. There’s a call to arms!

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this poem departs (introduction to poems that don’t exist #3)

       This poem departs from the idea which is not my own that all that we think of as objective knowledge is subjective knowledge.

       I suppose I can call it a poem, I am introducing poems that don’t exist. It doesn’t exist, this poem.

       When we think of the object of knowledge we think of it as outside ourselves. Someone told us. Or we saw for ourselves. Most often it’s someone, teachers, friends, parents, parents rarely. They are hardly believable. It’s even difficult to think of their existence, of them being objectively real.

       Why would I not call it a poem should it not exist and not if it should? I think in my first introduction, if you go back there, this was the case.

       Most often, more often than not it’s a body, giving out what then becomes public knowledge. That is, publishing, but as such bodies are in the business, they sell it, are selling it. That is, publicity. So they are private bodies, businesses; and even if public institutions, like schools and libraries, and institutions of government, they think of themselves as businesses. They have adopted the business model; even organs of government, those organs telling us what’s going on in our own society, what new laws have been made, these are not, as is sometimes thought, political mouthpieces, organs of propaganda: they are private companies or separate departments engaged in public relations, that is, PR.

       I wouldn’t call my writing all through these years poetry, because it has never been published as poetry for a start. But it has been read as poetry... but not like, and this is where these introductions to poems that don’t exist come in, it has not been read like those people I hesitate to call poets because I all too readily recognise their voices. Yes, I all too readily hear in the voices of those who read their poetry who know it to be poetry, poems, they are reading, who are for the most part published poets, and those who aspire to be published, to have their poetry published, I all too readily hear in their voices other voices. Other voices which all come down to one voice. One voice that we know to be the voice of poetry, which, in other words, serves, pays exactly lip service, to our knowledge of what poetry already is.

       The change from public to private organs of knowledge we recognise as participating in the change from knowledge to information. But this part is exaggerated when we, as some do, maintain the change from knowledge to information to be to the former’s detriment. Or go as far as to say it marks the demise of knowledge. Or complete symbolic breakdown.

       When I read poetry I read it in my own voice. So I’ve never been concerned about what my voice is on the page. It shifts, drifts. I can’t go as far as to say I have multiple voices. I am not Fernando Pessoa.

       There are those informing us of what we take to be the case. With some practice we can separate out commentary from exact description. We can separate the facts from opinion, or from the taint of subjectivity. We suppose we can. I don’t intend in the poem that follows to be gainsaying this supposition. This is not the reason for my poem.

       Without too great an uncertainty, and despite the inroads made into the world of poetry, of poetry publishing, a large part of which relies on its own PR, its own good publicity, in allowing those inroads to be made, by black people, by coloured people, by people belonging to ethnic minorities and by women, queer, trans people, those who are in the middle of transitioning and those whose identities are fluid, among whom I do not count myself, we may call the voice of poetry despite this progress, despite the progress made by all these factors, we may call it his master’s voice.

       This poem then is not so concerned with the passage to privatisation of knowledge where knowledge equals power and the globalisation of that power. It’s not so concerned with the politics of knowledge. It’s not that idea, the idea of science and civilization going hand in hand and then knowledge being taken out of the hands of the civilizing process, siphoned off into privately owned silos, it’s not this idea that it departs from; and neither is it the idea of there being some good attached to the history of knowledge in its relation to power, nor is it the idea of some bad, of the process of civilization being one of conquest, of colonisation, of empire, of slavery or of emancipation.

       His master’s voice takes up poetry in a way that ruins it for me. And it does so for the slam-poetry poet-performer as well as for the academic poet-teacher: the little chat introducing the poem over, he, she, they, launch in, with a change in voice, a change in speech to what is in quotation marks. His master’s voice.

       The following poem, that, remember, does not exist... is not about freeing knowledge or of planting and harvesting it, of stockpiling or of weaponising it in some kind of economic arms race... It’s not about its advantage or disadvantage. It’s not above it. It departs from this... at that point when... all that we think of as being objectively known becomes subjective. That is, the point at which we, any one of us, either stupid or smart, poor or rich, powerful or powerless, grasp it, understand and know. What do we know?

       I’m not saying hear me, I am an authority on this, you can bet the academic poet-teacher of poetry does her best not to write, in fact and defensively tries to avoid writing, poetry suited to the seminar. And you can bet the slam-poetry performer does not try to avoid writing and presenting the stuff suited to the society of slam poets: he, she, they, want to belong. The poet-teacher disowns. She, he is, they are uncomfortable in their professional skins. That’s why we laud the laureate’s appointment who manifests to us the inroads poets have made into the poetry business who have different skins: we appreciate their struggle with having to wear them that can only mean progress for poetry, and be filtered back into the process of teaching it, the civilizing process.

       What I am saying, and it’s not an original thought, it’s not an original thought and it’s not because it’s not that this poem departs from it, is, what I am saying is that because all we think of as being objectively known is only ever subjective, is that the poem has to depart. Knowledge is always this departure. And a poem is too.

       I am not saying I have altogether avoided his master’s voice by calling it out. My failure to publish poetry is my failure. It’s not turn-around-able into a successful strategy to avoid his master’s voice that I don’t call my work, my pieces of work, writing, poems... except those, like the following, that doesn’t exist.

       What I am talking about in the poem that doesn’t exist is not freedom from slavery. What I am talking about in the poem is a new I. The new I that follows the departure that to know is and that a poem is.

       I am he who—

       I am she who—

       I am they who—

       Language is a found object.

       I hear its murmuring. A background to the world. And forming it into words...

       It’s said. Is not enough. As if the fault lay with language.

       The impossible to express.

       It does not. And changing it or knowing how to is simply irresponsible.

       The proper response is to let him go let her go let them go

       It’s called this poem departs

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introduction to a poem

This is an introduction to a poem called ‘All it Takes’ or ‘Clay Birds.’ Although I hesitate to call it a poem. But that’s my problem. Not yours. And I’ll be talking about that in another introduction.

I was listening to the editor of The Economist magazine. When was it? It doesn’t matter. The magazine’s been going for 36 years so they’re probably still doing it now. Every year they do a report on the year. And this one was for 2021.

Asked about what he felt was going to happen with the pandemic—the announcer covered himself and sort of undid the question by saying nobody can know—whether it was going to develop from pandemic to endemic, the Economist editor said Omicron looked like it might be the bridge from a pandemic situation to the situation of an endemic. Where we get vaccinated every year for Covid along with our other flu jabs. Then he went on.

He said that the first two decades of the millennium were very settled. Talk about rolling back neoliberalism, and so on. Local issues, but issues raised within a period of global stability, so it felt. Then 2020 hit.

People say they’ll hunker down, that they’ll wait for things to get back to normal. I don’t think they will, he said. I think the shape of 2022 is the shape of the coming decades, where we have more chaos.

We have it at all sorts of levels. From climate change to our fragile democracies. People living under autocracies, like China, although I think they prefer to call it socialist democracy, and in Eastern Europe are asking political leaders to do something. Rising prices for basic goods, housing. Distribution networks strained and disrupted and supply chains breaking down.

We are going to have to get used to chaos and this poem is about that. Called ‘All it Takes,’ because all it takes is a little chaos. At the social level and for nature. It’s natural to want to preserve the status quo.

We can see it in this country, how conservative forces can take advantage, because all it takes is a little chaos. These forces can mean well. They often do. Take the minor level of the national library. The so-called book cull. The chaos that’s been unleashed.

What has changed I think, which the poem addresses, is you can have your little chaos, you can indulge in it if you will. You can have your little coup. You little revolution. But conservative forces, and by that I mean forces of conservation also, whose good intentions are taken advantage of, because this is what has changed, conservative forces know it suits them. It suits the oligarchs. It suits the corporate hierarchy. It suits the rich and getting richer.

They know that all it takes is a little chaos to preserve the status quo. And the funny thing is that the left, perhaps the reason for the other title of the poem, are made of straw, easy to ignite. To sow more chaos, and, like clay birds, to take potshots at.

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a short series up to christmas

a small colourful bundle

	arrived yesterday

We must trade offline



first inclination

	to propose it, in this form

Must be kind



“the mystery you would be

	I would unfold, pausing at the mystery

Be careful



“of unfolding, trembling fingers

	following soft bifurcations...

We must move



moments laid bare, a trail

	"unwound wonder wounds"

To a new form of life



of fragmentary insights, like

	garments, or threads

We must change now



teasing or warning? to propose

	to time, unlike anything in

Now each of us recognises



the original bundle,

	here, its skin

In the other the same need



and every moment of its skin

	unwound, veins and neurons

In a nutshell, I want to say a skull,



minute, fractions of Horror

	and Love,

We are bound



a colourful bundle

	arrived yesterday

We must not break down.







21 . 12  . 2021

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sixty-seventh part, called “on movement LXVII,” of a series of ‘letters’ written to you, the reader, towards a book called, theatre | writing

on movement

The distinction we would make is not that between illusion and reality, or, as Deleuze does, between the virtual-intelligible and the actual-sensible which proceeds from it. And we are in no place to impugn artificiality, the artificiality of symbols, say, and praise the naturalness of stones. But here is the difference: the myth of the stones is charming and remarkable; the myth of symbols is always at our expense. So we would distinguish the artifice, art, illusion, the nothingness of thought and the public or private virtue, from that artifice, art, illusion, appearance of the sensible, and actual public, private and subjective powers which use the myth to maintain their power, their power and our subjection.

The power has to be doubted that needs to enlist myth in its support. And this is the strategic task we are engaged in here; not to distinguish good myth from bad: perhaps, more adequately, good theatre from bad, although the formula rests on a moral distinction. We should ask how symbolic myth makes us indebted, how it takes away from our enjoyment of life, social and individual, if this question were not already substantially answered by Marx: it does so through the medium of capital.

The change I think which has occurred from Marxist analysis is that the mobilisation of capital has led to the mobility of the medium itself. It has metastasised. From it come the metastases of the manmade, that is, the symbolic form as a subject of synthesis. This is what we have talked about in terms of synthesis contracting or synthesising symbolic entities, but we can perhaps see it more clearly in the metastases of for example plastics in the environment: the synthesis which is of plastic particles in living flesh.

Plastic—not a symbol, you will say: yes, but a commodity: the commodity form is the symbol-thing and, converting one into the other, makes them completely reversible. The non-fungible token is so through the fungibility of thing-person-signature-sign-and-symbol as an economic unit. We can’t attack mobility directly, however, and will have recourse to the symbolic reference, not in the thing, person, author, artist, meaningful sign referred to, but in the myth.

Movement changes the subject, moves it from where it has been fixed by an established power. Establishing power are what we had as three subjective powers. These have their use to power and are its founding principles, for as long as they are animated by another world, since they are at once mythic principles.

Symbols turn to face them, and we gain from these the sense of our own desire being animate, autonomous and automatic: our own desire is animated, given autonomy, becomes automatic by virtue of subjective powers made founding principles, establishing and emblazoning their power, maintaining subjection as that that we have chosen for, the three myths. They are, of a structural economy, identity, and just causation. The latter we had formerly identified, specifically because of its symbolic character, with a poor excuse.

How are these founding myths? To take the second, identity: it describes the personalisation of desire. If we consider ourselves compartmentalised, this part human, this other part too, that one sexual human, then over here, a human consciousness, a social unconscious that is human, then, in part deriding all the parts, and ruling over them regardless, no, not the limbic system, but desire, the system of desires distributing the parts, accounting for them: why am I like this? because of desire.

It was instilled in me. And, therefore, like a genetic inheritance, it is what I must choose. But is this the choice in which we found for a kind of freedom?

No. The movement here is all inside. A full inside. A bound inside, bound to oneself, and, in this way, what one is bound to do.

If Oedipus has any part in power, it is here. What we have in the myth of desire being a governing principle is not it was always like this but I am a fraud. And with all the more avidity, I will bind myself up in a destiny, not the brave destiny of Oedipus, but one of auto-oedipalisation. What else can I do?

I am bound to do nothing other than choose the soft-furnishings over the hard. And shift them around the deck, like private prostheses publicly displayed. Making myself comfortable, or, practicing austerity, faced with the inevitable.

The law of desire is binding inasmuch as it cleaves to the stage and is obedient to it. However, due to the mobility of the surface, auto-oedipalised immobility, in stasis, follows the mob—traversing desire at once in every direction. We should listen to that ‘at once’ because it is a clue to there being a static time, a time of war, of drama and movement. We don’t tend to hear it, or listen to it without hearing it. As if we don’t want to hear its judgement.

Instead the misapprehensions of the crowd, travelling in every direction, as we have said, at once, go to the individual. And the self is groundless. Or these are bits of the self demanding synthesis, demanding its contraction, of which it is no longer capable. They go to the self inside it. We have also claimed theatre to be a good way of addressing the inside.

The mobile swarm of public opinion, symbolically expressed, with the mobility of signs, across the void, out onto which, sooner and later, an individual steps, fill the space. We might consider space here to signify a time, and this temporality to occupy a pure spatium. But what do we do with all these signs, gestures, symbolic of the mythic constructions of others?

We attempt their synthesis. Hence the pulling apart of the self, its fragmentation occurs according to a time, on the timeline traced along the surface: to live each day. To endure the at times unendurable passage of the hours. Cleaving to the stage, its surface escaping us, leaving signs the only mark of passage. Down to minutes, seconds, microseconds, nanoseconds, a metastatic time: this time corresponds to the mobility of the surface, a temporality where the movement of subjects in which every bit of time is synthesised is indiscernible and there is only speed: a temporality of the metastases of synthesis. And no longer audible is the clicking of tongues, but a human hum.

note: source references available on request–these will be part of the book, if it should come to pass.

If you would like to help it come to pass, and show your support for what I’m up to, please sponsor it: become a patron, here.

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sixty-sixth part, called “on movement LXVI,” of a series of ‘letters’ written to you, the reader, towards a book called, theatre | writing

on movement

Clarification might be needed. Clarification is always needed, not necessarily to avoid confusion. And not necessarily to avoid the confusion of what we have called misapprehensions around symbolic connectivity. Clarification is not needed in the way of a clearing made and for there to be communication. Clarification is always needed to let in a little air. …Although, the question of air is immediately perilous: how polluted is it?

First, it seems, we must clear the air. We must clear the air of what we have done to it. But look at us.

We have this pretense we speak the same language. We come to the same point on the page, presupposing we’re on the same page. A sentence runs out of breath.

And, with an intake of air, we start again. At least, we try to. What for?

What for, if not to be understood, to have clearly before us… and to ask for clarification… of the subject…? Or should it be, simply to connect? Yes, to connect fills me with apprehension. Does it you?

I mean, as if clarification were necessary, I am filled with apprehension about the task at hand, or would be, were it, if it is, for the sake of connection. Those office minds who say, You can’t write a book that noone will read! It’s like they’re infected with business.

You can’t eschew connection. Unless you at once admit—and commit to it—that you have a pathology; that you have concurrently undergone. We all feel a little that way sometimes.

How much?! How much is it just about breathing? And here clarification would mean a little life. Not such a big demand. Life seeking to expend its energies… as Nietzsche writes.

Alphonso Lingis, Al. Are you there? In a beautiful passage you are standing at a supermarket checkout counter. You are in a country where you don’t understand the language—just like us?—and you have gone there in the vacation, in a break from academic life.

You have bought the plane ticket you could afford. Your criteria were preferably a country where I neither speak, nor understand the language, and price. You don’t mind spending your whole pay, to be somewhere where you have never been before. Perhaps it’s Mongolia.

In front of you in the checkout queue is a woman. I think she has a coat on, and right now you wished you’d worn something warmer. She doesn’t look to see what’s in your basket. She doesn’t look you up and down, assessing what you’re wearing, or say You’re not from around here are you. She looks you in the face and in her eyes you see a spark of recognition. Before saying a word, that anyway you wouldn’t understand, not giving you a chance to shrug apologetically in incomprehension, you both break out laughing.

What sort of connection is that? It is one of mutual recognition but recognition of a minimal intent: you and she both intend to go on breathing, are both in this climate, which isn’t exactly hot. You’ll each need to eat at some point, and take a drink. Isn’t that why you came to the supermarket? And now you’re both standing in this checkout queue, seeing each other for the first time and recognising in each other the minimal elements, the minimal requirements of life.

It’s not a need or a desire you recognise. It’s an imperative you each see in the other, and recognise. Like a spark that each in the other you would shelter with your hands. And so you burst out laughing.

If I should seek to clarify this, it’s in that spirit: what is it at stake in the symbolic? And why ‘symbolic’? Wouldn’t a better word be semiotic? seeing as how Guattari writes about the present phase of capitalism being a semiotisation, and this semiotisation permeating social life, suffocating it?

What I have in mind is that the signs semiotics studies have a gestural part, a working part, which Guattari also calls asignifying. He is theorising a semiotics of the asignifying that for us is caught up in, is the gesture. You recall it: that gesture of which the smallest is a world.

Having a gestural part the signs, produced, reproduced through, as Guattari writes, semiotisation as the current form of capital, can be taken to be symbolic gestures, gestures with a symbolic, mythic quality, invested gestures. What Guattari calls the asignifying part, the gesture, puts the sign to work in a way that is symbolic, mythic. Causing it, the gesture-sign-symbol, to be invested, is what is at stake in the symbolic. That is, desire.

The question of the symbolic is: what then are the myths animating desire, in the current era of its semiotisation? It is in service of these myths that there is and will be symbolic production and reproduction. We know the prompting, eliciting of desire to serve production, through something which is called consumption, but that through its semiotisation has become significant, has become sign and is sign-production, or straightforward production. The asignifying and the signifying work together, in the symbol.

Yet there has to be a will to desire. For it is required a myth of the personal. For it the myth is the personal, where we can ask such questions as, Should we abandon desire? As if it is ours to be taken on its word or to be given away.

note: source references available on request–these will be part of the book, if it should come to pass.

If you would like to help it come to pass, and show your support for what I’m up to, please sponsor it: become a patron, here.

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sixty-first part, called “on movement LXI,” of a series of ‘letters’ written to you, the reader, towards a book called, theatre | writing

on movement

Our irony is not reserved to that which dismisses the body, to the pretension to spirituality, spirit, spiritualism or art, but to an automatism that is that of the general economy and of the cognitive-behaviourist brain. Boys, don’t they? tend to add to their toys an active component. Girls, I’ve seen, tend to add to them a social component.

Imagine the appeal of the toy that had both! The social economy is such a readymade—the readymade of social stereotypes and of their mobilisation in institutional codes. (And, of course, the readymade of gender stereotypes, social performativity, and the fluidity of roles: that whole theatre, where transitions of scenes are transitions of subjects, meaning, their production.)

The problem with a generally mobilised social economy is not that it exists. It’s not even that it’s a product such as engenders the commodification of social identities, stereotyping from the given material by a supplemental material, which, if we are sticking with the theatre metaphor, we can call symbolic. (Or phallic.) Its problem is that of already having been activated and socialised. That is, what’s a boy to do? What’s a girl to? Here is the repertoire—again, the theatrical metaphor—you are the supplement. Yet: you do not get to add the active component; and you do not get to add the social component. In other words, You’re it.

I seem to be speaking indirectly about social media. Not entirely the case: by general or a generally mobilised social economy I am referring to the mobilisation in the social of the economy, the socialising of economic drivers, capital as data, and, data as capital, to the rendering of the economy as social. It goes both ways.

Yes, we can see the boys excited on the floors of the stock exchange. And the girls rising through the managerial ranks by virtue of their social intelligence. (Or emotional intelligence.) But they are such for having been reciprocally produced by the economic supplanting the social and the social supplanting general political economy.

When we ask what is to be done we can see we are doing everything we can: flowing in all directions. This is what the code allows, which Deleuze and Guattari in Anti-Oedipus call the axiom of capital: a double parasitism or double ventriloquism. Am I speaking for myself here?

Do I really believe it? Well, yes, of course: what other cause could there be for giving rise to so many misunderstandings? All I want to be is clear about this: and immediately disown every word I have written.

How to eke out our little bit of world? our little patch of earth, as Deleuze and Guattari also write, when across its surface there is this general semiotic dispersal? We should note in this word, semiotic, both seeds and atoms; and note a change in register, or atmosphere. If there are still enough of the primary elements, if there are still enough atoms making them up, still enough air to breathe, the right amount of warmth, enough water, and sufficient soil, the seeds are subjects: that is, they contract these elements. Their coming-to-life is not so important as this.

Some time ago, we stated that there seem to be two principles. We were not concerned with their mediation but by the contracting power of what contracts them, which we have identified to be a subjective power. A subjective power is at work contracting elements of social economy, just as a subjective power is at work in the misunderstanding synthesising the meaning of these words. Such is the bad habit of being human: to focus on the mediation as the moving part.

note: source references available on request–these will be part of the book, if it should come to pass.

If you would like to help it come to pass, and show your support for what I’m up to, please sponsor it: become a patron, here.

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fifty-ninth part, called “on movement LIX,” of a series of ‘letters’ written to you, the reader, towards a book called, theatre | writing

on movement

The static: civil war: it elicits a … breach, that runs through society. It breaches, then runs in all directions at once. But this is to say that it surfaces. It surfaces as the mobile displacement of every certainty. It has that other meaning of static, white noise, and causes a superfluidity of motion, like the sea. Passes like a wave over the world, without resolving, so, also cloud-like. Vaporous. And intoxicating.

Static, it is the music that doesn’t allow you to hear. Only in the last instance will it resolve into melody, in Bergson’s terms, time. Yet at that instant, along comes a tragic figure, limping. And we should note that for Bergson there are no instants: we are always in the cloud, caught in the wave of time as duration, for as long as we can. So he supports this confusion: is it like the thought severed from itself? or severed from potency? No, Oedipus chooses for just this type of displacement, just this type of mobility.

We must ask how things differ for us when everything is in this shifting cloud of abstraction which is more like a screaming hurricane or jet engine. The difference is that we are immobilised. In those beautiful lines from La mort en direct, Eveything is of interest. Yet nothing matters. Enormous effort is expended on trying to make it matter again. This is unlike any will to power we have ever seen before. It is, as Houellebecq writes in the novel of the same name, atomised.

Each harbouring her little cut. Yes, I recognise it as a sexual image. And each his.

It will be a great relief to be able to use words again as they were intended: to enable movement. A similar relief was found, you recall, when we were talking of theatre people, about how, after the show, after the evisceration of it, happy or unhappy, about how great it was to have imposed on one the most ferocious violence of language, about how being called a cunt and a cock doubled for those organs one, happily or unhappily, had left or spilt on the stage. And this is in fact the way we have been using the language of theatre, without malevolence. To speak for movement, not on behalf of bodies, but to offer them some relief.

Another film: My Dinner with Andre. Wallace Shawn is speaking with Andre Gregory. He asks why the other gave up theatre. Gregory answers, Everybody got so good at acting in their everyday lives. Gregory, a theatre director, having given up theatre had initiated a new project he called a hive. Really just a dinnerparty where everybody turns up and we just see what happens.

With everybody so good at acting all the time, performing, as well as being their own (atomic) impressarios, entrepreneurs of the self, we experience humanity as an endless mobility. But not an open-ended one. Since each one is the end point. A stop.

And this is the word one cannot say. At least, it brings no relief to say it. Saying it is like plunging into the punctuation point at the end of a sentence.

Mobilities are of those old things, gender, race and class: the working class is on the move like never before and so has been the main victim of the various state-imposed lockdowns. Gender fluidity has been called by some performance, while those little words, the linguistic shifters, have become intransigent like never before, and we are asked to have our pronouns permanently assigned. Like smiles. Race and gender have most exercised the middleclasses even in the middle, exactly in the middle, of their crisis in values. When, perhaps, it gives relief from being squeezed. And when that class is empty, will the mobilities remain?

Yes, we are in the cloud of our own carbon emissions. Stumbling around and trying not to acknowledge how we falter. Seeking therapy not to make that acknowledgement. Or plastering over the cuts. When along comes Oedipus, not that old one we can thank for doing so much harm in the century before the last one. And not that Anti-One Deleuze and Guattari take out for a schizo stroll. This one solves the Sphinx’s riddle. By choosing to walk with a faltering step, he (or she, or both, let’s see) is two-legged, three-legged, and four-legged.

note: source references available on request–these will be part of the book, if it should come to pass.

If you would like to help it come to pass, and show your support for what I’m up to, please sponsor it: become a patron, here.

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fifty-fifth part, called “subject matter LV,” of a series of ‘letters’ written to you, the reader, towards a book called, theatre | writing

subject matter

It appears that two principles are necessary: comedy and tragedy. Mobility and transcendence. Two types of drives: one conservative, the other expensive, or expansive. Two states of matter, or material subject: one bearing value; one exercising value; one bouncing off the other’s steady offer. Yet we have seen this not to be the case since each is at war with itself, the comedian with her tragic nature and the tragedian who removes his mask at the end of that scene where he says, This is going to hurt you more than it hurts me.

We create from the war we wage with ourselves, don’t we? It is a creative tension, and one we carry from birth, since it produced us and we are its issue. And, possibly, we will reproduce it in others, or in works. Pieces of work, in which others find resolved tension from the forces set in motion or from which they take relief.

The comedian refuses analysis because she doesn’t want to look into her desperation, to find its source is only that, as we said earlier: it is the engine of the little peace of mind she gains upon a successful performance … of pain. Without it, she’s just not that funny. Then, like Hannah Gadsby, she finds a way to bring her pain into the performance and dares the audience to laugh. And notes their discomfort, and, with that recognition, they do.

All things head to entropy, heat loss. Entropy seems to have been a lot on people’s minds recently, since physicists seem to have found its opposite principle, in the time crystal. It is a system of, for, perpetual motion, and loses none of the energy it expends. The quantum parts of the time crystal simply bounce, in a state of movement which is also static, a stasis built on the quantum law of complementarity, of there being no love lost between us.

What time then does it occupy? since it would seem that a time crystal takes up no time. Or, rather, we have to do away with the spatial metaphors, and ask, Of what time is it the creation? The simple answer would be that it is the creation of a time of entropy, of heat loss.

Then is it no more complex than a reflection? than an image? since it allows us to see another universe, one to which we are opposed. A world of possibility: imagine this perpetual motion machine being the engine of a quantum computer. Its endless thought internal to its endless love of calculation. At no point does it say, I don’t have the energy to fight anymore. I’m tired.

Isn’t entropy exactly its infinite exhaustion? coupled with limitless creativity? On display: the most wonderful waste of time. No, stasis is not as we have thought, the lowest point of depression. A state approaching death. And it’s not as if one type of drive has won, over another. Neither is it the bearer of value winning out over the exerciser, in symbolic exchange, say; nor is it the complementarity of legal principles. It is, as Agamben writes, civil war.

note: source references available on request–these will be part of the book, if it should come to pass.

If you would like to help it come to pass, and show your support for what I’m up to, please sponsor it: become a patron, here.

If you would like to receive these posts, as they are written, as letters addressed to you, please send me your email address.

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Ἀκαδήμεια
CAPITAL CAPITAL CAPITAL
hommangerie
imarginaleiro
immedia
infemmarie
τραῦμα
luz es tiempo
point to point
textasies
textatics
theatricality
theatrum philosophicum
thigein & conatus

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