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Deleuze|Guattari studies conference Tokyo 2019

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from David Berman to Wallfacers

In a very abstract frame today, I tried continuing with my writing and realised I would rather be talking to you. Whoever you are … wherever you are …

I have a lot of tabs (1, 2, 3 …) open I’ve been meaning to close once I wrote something about David Berman, David Cloud Berman I read in one of them. It was to be an RIP piece. Beside me I have the notes from when I heard he had suicided. They go like this:

this is coming

I’ll explain how

we’re all going to get through it

and “rebuild” society

Video after the jump

The last is from one of the links.

Then there is the line with the typo: The meaning of the world lies outside thw world. It’s from a Silver Jews album, the song ‘People.’

“Video after the jump” links to Berman’s blog, mentholmountains: arc of a boulder, which doesn’t link anywhere, but has links to writers, Thomas Bernhard, for example, and Robert Walser, and pictures and videos. It is not too dissimilar from squarewhiteworld.

An arrow directs on the kokuyo paper from the line “Video after the jump” to a reference to Cixin Liu’s Three-Body Problem. It reads:

Become a Wallfacer.

Humanity faces extermination, the extermination of a species of bug, coming from the stars, from the planet Trisolaris. It will take four light years to arrive. Meanwhile every human effort is directed towards defending itself, not the earth, but doing whatever it takes to defend itself.

400 years would seem to be sufficient time to prepare, however, the Trisolarans have sent an expeditionary force ahead to spy on human efforts and to limit them to what can be achieved from a current understanding of the fundamental laws of physics. The technology of Trisolaris far exceeds this limit, since the expeditionary force itself comprises AI supercomputers shrunk down to the size of subatomic particles, protons, quantumcomputers called Sophons. (The word for proton 质子 (zhì zǐ) is the same as the word for Sophon .) The lockdown on scientific research imposed by the Sophons is something that I was writing about in view of the comparable lockdown or limitation on paradigm shift, on fundamental advance, in the sciences–and more generally, in political economy–that is self-imposed in neoliberal institutional systems of governance where the pursuit of science is becoming the performance of science through representative means. (This source, considering the science of Three-Body misses the potential for critical diagnosis Liu’s fiction contains: note it contains info you might want to avoid if you intend to read the novels: it has the strangely phenomenological name, Exposing the structure of how we got our answers: Poetry in Physics.) (The diagnostic criticism implicit in Liu of the Sophonic lockdown as science fiction is explained by Philip Mirowski as the neoliberal fact of Open Science, ironically, at 56’57” in Hell is Truth Seen Too Late.) (I recommend reading Three-Body for its clinical diagnostic potential–and equally I recommend watching Mirowski, even if just for the part about Open Science.)

The Wallfacer project is undertaken by a humanity under threat of annihilation because of the lockdown on science imposed by the Sophons–which is described as being their ability to falsify experimental results from research in fundamental physics (note the Popperian line on falsification). The Trisolarans have a vulnerability: they communicate with each other through thought-reading, thought-hearing, thought-speaking. But they can’t read the thoughts of humans. Neither Sophons nor Trisolarans can see what is going on inside human minds. The notion of lying, of misrepresenting one’s true thoughts, of misrepresentation through speech and language is alien to these aliens–as is the notion therefore of representation. The Wallfacer project is to take advantage of this vulnerability. Wallfacers are selected to help save humanity through indirection and misdirection–through not representing their intentions. Besides the mental freedom to dream up plans and projects the use of which they need neither justify nor defend–in fact the Wallfacer project depends on their doing neither–they have all the world’s resources at their disposal to carry out their plans and projects.

They would be artists, poets, revolutionaries, for not having to answer to anyone for their freedoms, but for the fact that they are so and unquestioningly so resourced. Perhaps this is the link I wanted to make to David Berman: Become a Wallfacer.

The diagnostic import of the Wallfacer project can be seen when placed in relation to the lockdown on science. If, as I tend to think, neoliberal systems of institutional governance entail of the sciences a comparable lockdown–and we can see evidence of this in the shutting down of labs in the ‘hard’ sciences (those without direct application in technology and commercialisable IP) and see it also in the decrease in institutional support for intellectual labour, whether in fundamental theory in the sciences or in philosophy–then the Wallfacer project serves as critique of the view that it is to science, to scientists and to scientific research we must turn to find solutions to the problems facing life, to overcome the threat from earth.

Earth has this vulnerability: it doesn’t know we make it in our own image.

To overcome the threat from the earth, first undo the image we have made of it. The meaning of the world lies outside the world

[R.I.P. David C. Berman, 4 January 1967 – 7 August 2019]

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the unassuming brilliance of novelist Enrique Vila-Matas. But this is not it, neither, that is, evidence, nor representation. On the contrary. It is exactly the non-assumption, or, the other’s assumption.

…as Nathalie Sarraute once said–writing really is an attempt to find out what we would write if we wrote.

— Enrique Vila-Matas, Mac’s Problem, Trans. Margaret Jull Costa & Sophie Hughes, (New York, NY: New Directions, 2019), 4.

It was a time when children seemed very old, and the old seemed virtually dead. My clearest memory of that preschool year…

…this Hasidic saying: “The man who thinks he can live without others is mistaken; the one who thinks others can’t live without him is even more deluded.”

— Ibid., 14.

…Macedonio, the Duchamp of literature.

For the essayist Dora Rester, writing a novel means writing the fragments of an attempt at a novel, not the whole obelisk: “The art lies in the attempt, and understanding what’s outside us by using only what we have inside us is one of the hardest emotional and intellectual tasks anyone can undertake.”

— Ibid., 40.

[OSCOPE 22]

It appears we’re only just discovering that the gentle, compassionate approach to leadership makes better business sense than that of “command and control.” Studies in brain function (carried out by such methods as functional MRI) have detected that being treated disrespectfully raises one’s blood pressure and generates stress. “It’s the sure path to depression, the second-fastest-growing condition in developing countries, according to the World Health Organization. Bosses are by definition disrespectful, even if their lack of respect doesn’t always manifest itself in barked-out orders. Leaders, on the other hand, do their best to draw out people’s talent, and for that there needs to be respect, trust and motivation,” explained the Co-Director of the Executive Education program at Deusto Business School. But I find this hard to believe. The means and methods may have changed, but actually things are even more terrifying than before, perhaps precisely because you trust those around you more and believe that things really are better, and you don’t expect to discover, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, just when you least expect it, the real truth: they don’t love you because they’ve never loved you and they’re firing you because you’re past it and because you’re always causing scenes and because you drink too much and because one day you quoted a few lines from Wallace Stevens when tension was at its highest in that emergency meeting.

— Ibid., 110-111.

But then, this is brilliant: “The means and methods may have changed, but actually things are even more terrifying than before, perhaps precisely because you trust those around you more and believe that things really are better, and you don’t expect to discover, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, just when you least expect it, the real truth: they don’t love you because they’ve never loved you and they’re [not hiring you] you because you’re past it,” &so on. (Ibid., p. 111.)

And, as if of course, so is this:

Life, seen through the lens of the most cumbersome administrative procedures, will be–as, indeed, it already is–brutally depressing, a hostile labyrinth of interminable galleries and pavilions, red-taped up to the eyeballs; endless rows of offices and millions of corridors linking together seemingly countless galleries, each with its own sinister distinguishing feature, except perhaps the remote “Chamber of Writing for the Unemployed,” where a group of clerks, in their most elegant hand, will copy out addresses and redirect undelivered mail. Duplicating texts, transcribing texts … these men and women will appear to belong to another time and will prevent that knot of galleries and pavilions from being even more depressing.

But few people, despite their constant toing and froing along those cold corridors, will know how to find that final bastion of life as it once was, that bastion that gathers together all the lost and forgotten things, all those things that are still apt–precariously so, but nonetheless apt–to remind us that there was once a time, a bygone age, in which writing moved with parameters quite different from those in which it moves today.

As I tell myself all this, I think I glimpse one of the clerks–tucked away in the most hidden corner of the remotest gallery and having finished his work–write down some words on one of the pages of a stack of one hundred and three loose sheets, which, it seems, no one has been able to bind together due to a lack of resources:

“No, I can’t. I’m done with that.”

— Ibid., 183-184. [These are Hemingway’s words, it should be noted.

[And doesn’t this scene recall the history of science, even to resembling the history of scientific advancement and progress, in the chapter of a book I was reading today–the last book, in fact, written by Oliver Sacks, collated, on his instruction, from a stack of posthumous papers? This is the chapter, of The River of Consciousness, on the scotoma, to which histories relegate those findings, discoveries, phenomenological descriptions they subsequently deem to be premature, or prescient, but that are at the time they appear, and for years, often decades after, inconsequential exceptions and untimely anomalies. Or they are uncomfortable truths, annoying particles, gritting up the smooth running of given narratives, excluded and occluded. The scotoma in Oliver Sacks’s reading is the dark recess in which is written some words on a stack of one hundred and three loose sheets … no one has been able to bind together due to a lack of resources. (Ibid., 184.)]

…for the first time, I wasn’t writing in order to rewrite, but I was going a stage further. Well, I thought, still astonished at my own prowess, you have to start somewhere. But the real surprise came when I realized that actually writing something meant finding out what it felt like to write a fictional fragment rather than a diary fragment. And it almost makes me laugh to say this, but I am, of course, going to say it anyway: it feels exactly the same in both cases. Really? Yes, the same. This only confirms that, as Nathalie Sarraute said, writing is trying to find out what we would write if we wrote. Because writing, real writing, is something we will never do.

— Ibid., 185 [Note here the echo of Blanchot, under, what I am inclined to call, the sign of the impossible, issuing out from the dark recess, the scotoma of the false histories of all progress and advancement, scientific and otherwise.

[And this, on the side of a tissue box: the brain remains a symbol so long as so-called higher level function remains a matter of representation.]

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Shoshana Zuboff defines:

Sur-veil-lance Cap-i-tal-ism, n.

  1. A new economic order that claims human experience as free raw material for hidden commercial practices of extraction, prediction, and sales; 2. A parasitic economic logic in which the production of goods and services is subordinated to a new global architecture of behavioral modification; 3. A rogue mutation of capitalism marked by concentrations of wealth, knowledge, and power unprecedented in human history; 4. The foundational framework of a surveillance economy; 5. As significant a threat to human nature in the twenty-first century as industrial capitalism was to the natural world in the nineteenth and twentieth; 6. The origin of a new instrumentarian power that asserts dominance over society and presents startling challenges to market democracy; 7. A movement that aims to impose a new collective order based on total certainty; 8. An expropriation of critical human rights that is best understood as a coup from above: an overthrow of the people’s sovereignty.

see also: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jan/20/shoshana-zuboff-age-of-surveillance-capitalism-google-facebook

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m listingen to audiobooks that much is true


this video also is not quite uncomfort
able enough


I like this video but it should fail better

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brand “curatorial journalism”: this year more than ever before we are fighting the power (of speech)

Seth Abramson writes in the Guardian:

“In 2018, there are actually more reliable news reports than ever before, as there are now more responsible media outlets online and in print than there ever have been – a fact that often gets lost in debates over “fake news”. The digital age has also internationalized hard news reportage, meaning that readers have access to high-quality reports from around the world with an ease that was impossible before the advent of the internet.

“But this sudden expansion in focused, reliable news coverage has coincided with some of the largest and most prestigious media outlets cutting resources for investigative reporting. The upshot of all this is that reporters have less time or ability than ever before to review the growing archive of prior reporting before they publish what they’ve uncovered.”

He goes on to advocate (advertise) curatorial journalism. It’s like journalism but smarter. It’s all about context–that other dream of the net: hyperlinks as hypereferences and the interweb interweaving texts and documents and statements, online discourse in short, in multidimensional networks so that any one thread, quote, citation, reference might be followed back to its earliest online expression; or connected horizontally, and so on. But this is not the system we have.

We are therefore once again living in that exceptional present which would have been the future if it hadn’t already arrived, that exception that is always made for this year having more reliable news reports than ever before as well as more unreliable news sources than ever before as well as more words expended on, well, just about anything–taking into consideration the rise of text over speech in daily communication–than ever before.

The answer might have been, had Seth Abramson been so inclined, journalism with a scalpel. And we might well have been saying about our exceptional present moment, as well we might, that the time for journalistic balance has passed. The idea of a report being neutral, and of it presenting both sides of an issue, or curating the multiple facets of a complex ‘story’, belongs to the past. We might so have been saying. But what is of our devising, as the present is supposed to be, in the Anthropocene, is smarter than us–is supposed to be: so we are in the predicament of making sense, sense for an audience in the case of journalism, of a situation, a situatedness, of a realtime-base for issues, we have carelessly, hopelessly and unconscionably complexificated.

Journalism with a scalpel would offer a different diagnosis: maybe cut first ask questions later–maybe, but with the surgeon-reporter being held accountable. And perhaps more than events and issues becoming more complex, more deeply intricated and extensively imbricated, than ever before, issues and events have become more integrated, more deeply intimated and extensively implicated–in the social, for sure, but, as surely, in the personal.

Having an opinion is a public liability. Have a stupid opinion! Say “to be honest” a lot, honestly. Or imho, modestly. Have a stupid, make a stupid tweet, and the world is cheeping with you.

Imagine the informed writing to the level of the educated. Imagine no more–because in fact more informed journalists are writing to a better educated public than ever before this year. Of course this year stupidity has been normalised as populism too.

I find myself–more honestly, I lose myself–walking in a library modestly wondering what it is for, since it doesn’t itself seem to know. And the ones who work here give the others who don’t, who used to be members and who now are customers, or patrons, the resentful eye, while adverting to the latest electronic offering, whether it is wifi, or the latest pulp fiction or pulp nonfiction (pulp fact? fat nonfict?) available via the app. Like Seth Abramson, in the Guardian, I have been an advocate (advertiser? advertisement?) for curation: librarianship, isn’t it a matter of leading the social animal to the cultural water? Making better animals to make a better social? (Dot says, But you can’t make it think.)

These GOSPIS (Grand Old Signs one Participates In Society), like the Grand Old Deity itself, in whom, and in which, more people put their faith and believe, with honesty and modesty, than ever before–even to being pridefully jealous of the competition (this year more nationalistic than ever before)–have lost their tongues. Journalism must–you can’t fight it!–progress by borrowing ways of talking about itself and its essential tasks from, where? the operating theatre? or the art gallery?

Then the idea of information has lost its teeth. Open mouth, ah. Closed mouth, mm. We know there is more information than ever before, this year, and that’s why it’s called Big D. Journalists are among the data miners. But there isn’t the time and there isn’t the return, and this is the latter. Who wants to live forever? No, that’s not the question: Who wants to pay for information?

And libraries, going forward–resistance is futile!–, borrow ways of talking about themselves and their essential tasks from? They don’t borrow. They’re told how to speak for themselves by those who, usually those which, since they tend to be annexed to institutions, of which they once were the jewels in the crown, fund them. They are told how to speak for themselves so as not to try the patience of the daleks. Who or which will cease to fund them if they were suddenly to speak for themselves, since they would be asking for it, for extermination.

Yes, good journalism once it too was something to show off, now it’s tackling the big issues, scoring the big anchors, more than ever before this year. Just like a university was the institutional encrustation of a library. It was the paste and setting for the cultural riches collected over time, protected over the bad times, saved to adorn the good, through careful, assiduous, committed and (need it be said?) professional librarianship. But middle management detests decoration, for which there will be more martyrs than ever before, this year, mouthing silently the words written on the wallpaper, God Save Us & Oscar Wilde… and for the journalists we will add, George Orwell…

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neosurvivalist / naivalist / postoccupy / inhabit?

The End
of The World

It’s over.
Bow your head
and
phone scroll
through
the apocalypse.

from here

and or

Learn to hunt, to code, to heal. .

from there

despite the brilliant and funny analysis given inhabit.global’s website by Ted Byfield [assuming he’s this one] on nettime listserv, I wonder about both Ted’s intention to be funny and inhabit’s intention to be serious, one to be taken one way, the other to be taken one way as well.

a left-leaning bunch of techfriendlies reacts to a naive bunch of reactionary post-politicos–the common ground, to hunt, to code, to heal, would appear to repose in the middle term.

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what began as neoliberalism ends in fascism {or: FAKE NEWS=TWO TRUTHS}

once there are two truths, established by Friedrich Hayek in 1954, then the way is clear: all the ingroup has to do is maintain control over economic policy–and the outgroup, even to the whole of Brazil, can be told this is freedom, Bolsonaro’s fascism is fake news.

see here

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you want to be liked I like you & your dissertation linked below

 

Figure 8.6 Sondra Perry, It’s in the Game (2017), screenshot of video demo

 

from Megan Philipa Driscoll’s Art on the Internet and the Digital Public Sphere, 1994 – 2003

© Copyright by
Megan Philipa Driscoll
2018

(shared on Nettime by Cornelia Sollfrank 25.06.2018)

 

abstract

This dissertation narrates the development of internet art, a diverse set of practices united
by their interrogation of the technological, social, and/or political bases of computer networks.
Covering the period from 1994, when “internet art” began to coalesce around the rise of the
World Wide Web, to 2003, when both internet art and internet culture writ large began to
respond to the rise of social media and “web 2.0” technologies, the dissertation homes in on a
select number of net art projects that variously engaged or challenged this period’s most
persistent claim: that the internet is a new, digital public sphere. By studying how these artworks
critiqued this claim, the dissertation uncovers three major models through which net art has
asserted the publicness of computer networks—as an interpersonal network that connects or
unites strangers into groups; as a virtual space akin to physical spaces of public gathering,
discourse, and visibility; and as a unique platform for public speech, a new mass media
potentially accessible to all.

Claims for the public status of computer networks rest on their ability to circulate
information and facilitate discussion and debate. This definition of publicness is rooted in the
concept of the classical public sphere as theorized by Jürgen Habermas. The dissertation will
thus review Habermas’s model of the classical public sphere as well as its most significant
critiques in order to interrogate the terms of a digital public sphere. The dissertation will also
engage Michael Warner’s work on the formation of publics, counterpublics, and the mass-
cultural public sphere; Oskar Negt and Alexander Kluge’s analysis of shared experience as the
foundation of the formation of public spheres and the role of mass media in this process; Henri
Lefebvre’s articulation of the social production of space; and Gilles Deleuze and Alexander
Galloway’s respective analyses of the role of network logics in contemporary systems of control.

The dissertation begins with a chapter overview of the emergence of computer
networking during the second half of the twentieth century and the different ways in which
artists experimented with it to explore new modes of communication, collaboration, and
exchange. With the appearance of the web in the mid-1990s, and with growing art institutional
interest in its novelty, these experiments crystallized into what we now know as internet art,
bringing with it challenging questions regarding the viability of the internet as an unprecedented
digital public sphere.

The second chapter turns to this emergent field of net art and how some artists tried to
define the terms of a new public sphere as an interpersonal network that allows people who are
not in physical or temporal proximity with each other to form publics. The chapter explores
Douglas Davis’s The World’s First Collaborative Sentence (1994) and Heath Bunting’s Project
X (1996), two works that use the strategy of accumulation to make visible the collective presence
of internet users, either as a reading public formed through the circulation of discourse or as a
public united by the articulation of its members’ shared experience. The third chapter introduces
practices that challenge the presumed universality of the digital public sphere by foregrounding
gender and race issues, which are often obscured in dominant discourses regarding computer
networks. The chapter focuses on Cornelia Sollfrank’s Female Extension (1997) and Mendi +
Keith Obadike’s Black.Net.Art Actions (2001 – 2003), demonstrating how these works help to
define the counterpublics of the digital public sphere by circulating marginalized discourses on
the web in opposition to the mainstream.

The fourth chapter examines the spatialization of computer networks and how the
internet’s communication platforms have become conceptually analogous to ancient forums or
seventeenth-century coffee shops. Through analyses of Ben Rubin and Mark Hansen’s Listening
Post (2001) and Natalie Bookchin and Jacqueline Stevens’s agoraXchange (2003), the chapter
attends to both utopian and skeptical views regarding the viability of the internet as a (virtual)
space of public gathering and discourse. Chapter five further interrogates the idea that the
internet is a theater of visibility, where actions are public because they cannot be private. The
first artwork in this chapter, RSG’s Carnivore (2001), critically addresses computer networks as
a surveillance technology and part of a system of social control. The second work, Eva and
Franco Mattes’s Life Sharing (2000 – 2003), explores what happens when internet users embrace
this condition of (hyper)visibility, freely sharing not only their personal information but also
their intellectual property, thereby eliding spatial and juridical notions of public domain.

The sixth chapter addresses the notion of computer networks as a new mass medium of
public speech, a platform for publicity that is also a site of struggle to exert influence on the
public sphere. Homing in on the work of net art collective ®TMark, the chapter follows how the
collective uses parody to challenge institutions that seem complicit in the commercialization of
ivthe network and the suppression of individuals’ access to the network’s platforms for public
speech. In the seventh chapter, the dissertation turns to artists’ responses to a legal challenge that
threatened their speech rights on the network, a set of actions known today as Toywar (1999 –
2000). The chapter also contends with how etoy, a collective of artists involved in the litigation,
took up corporate branding as artistic practice to reframe internet communication platforms as
tools of mass publicity in a mass-cultural public sphere.

The final chapter concludes with a reflection on the changes in the forms of net art and its
place in the field of contemporary art that followed the first phase of net art, the central focus of
the dissertation. While acknowledging the transformation of the online environment brought on
by social media and other “web 2.0” technologies, the chapter argues that the question of
whether computer networks can function as a digital public sphere remains an open and
contested one. The dissertation as a whole thus provides an historical account and critical
analysis of internet art that encompasses not only its technological evolution but also its
confrontation with the claims of publicness upon which our understanding of computer
networks, and the art made on and about them, are founded.

 

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A passage from Secret Passages in a Hillside Town by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen introducing some of the key concepts of the cinematic life

“A person’s life doesn’t consist of just one story but of many, some of them consecutive and others overlapping. While one story is a comedy, another may be a melodrama, or a thriller. It’s important to recognize every incipient story’s genre and let the deep cinematic life develop the right state of mind to supersede the slow continuum.

“The holy cinematic trinity is beauty, hope and pain. A beautiful story has a beautiful beginning and a beautiful ending. The illusion of happiness makes the beginning beautiful, but the ending draws its beauty from pain.

“In order to live with cinematic depth, you must surrender completely to the story that has become true at a given moment, even if it demands morally dubious behaviour or, as some would call it, sinfulness. Morality is one of the lower orders of aesthetics, and is ultimately subordinate to beauty. Morality changes–today’s sin is tomorrow’s beautiful dream–but the aesthetic is eternal. Even cruelty, betrayal and ruthlessness can, in some situations, be aesthetically justified and even unavoidable choices, and categorically avoiding them can lead to slow continuum attachment and the death of life feeling.”

Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen’s Secret Passages in a Hillside Town, a book unlike any I have read, including even Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen’s The Rabbit Back Literature Society (the former translated by Lola Rogers, and the passage cited from p. 211 (Pushkin Press: 2017)

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