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update:::> from work on Theory of Moving Image, contd.

Today I was working from Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of the ritornello as, in Brian Massumi’s translation, a territorial refrain. This is in what is in French plateau 11. 1837 – De la ritournelle. They give it three meanings, whistle a tune to yourself to keep chipper on a dark night (or day); travel with a tent, or a boombox on your shoulder, playing that tune that reminds you of you so you don’t lose track of you in the chaos of the alien city; keep that tune in mind as you open your door to whoever’s knocking and whatever they will bring. And I recalled a series of Leonora Carrington sculptures that Donna Maria Lawson posted on F___B___ that I said there I thought I liked more than the paintings, so I found this site https://www.leocarrington.com/sculptures-esculturas.html … And it had the following image:

I am writing about ritornellos for the continuation of a theory of moving image I started here: https://squarewhiteworld.com/2023/09/01/theory-of-the-moving-image-to-be-contd-pdf/ … It was interrupted by the computus that I get from Justin Ruiu-Smith’s “The Reckoning of Time.” I work the concept up further in this section, https://squarewhiteworld.com/2024/01/10/linking-the-computus-and-moving-image-a-more-direct-statement-pdf/

In practice I don’t think ritornellos are like Deleuze and Guattari say they are. It’s more like we are in the ritornello. We are like the child in the little boat. And we are sailing … from time … to time, de temps … en … temps.

The “sometimes” then, of from-time-to-time, is outside of linear time, either thought of from computus, as a reckoning and measuring and therefore of a measurable time, or from its progressive determination as it is rolled out, in Deleuze’s words in Difference and Repetition, as il s’est déroulé … This rolling-out is of course linked in with cinema, but, in an aspect I am breaking with; it is also linked in with process philosophy, or self-organising processes in the physical sciences and chaos theory: these I am breaking with too, using Bergson’s duration and bringing it back to thinking about cinema in a way, although it is thought to the contrary, I don’t think Deleuze ever did.

This is where I am going on my little boat with the paintings of Leonora Carrington. And the little boat should remind you of my son’s little car. On first setting eyes on the Chateau, Tongariro, he said: “I’ve been here before. In my little car.”

Yes, the car was real. It was plastic and he kept sticks and figurines he animated in the boot under the seat. He went everywhere in it, was seldom surprised by a new place, because he’d already been there.

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the yobbism of the given

The tenets of civilisation are now being written by the authors of the gravest barbarity. Times have changed since Walter Benjamin’s day.

I’m informed I’m up to 1,990 posts and 298 pages. My father before he died said, Life is too short to read square white world.

Space is a social construct within the many, many, many dimensions of time. The notion offers no consolation to people who cannot negotiate the space they’re in, like animals, in the words of the title of Gilles Châtelet’s book–To Live and Think Like Pigs: The Incitement of Envy and Boredom in Market Democracies.

Justin Clemens reviewing my doctoral thesis lauded the concept of minoritarian conventionalism. I had a very specific context when I came up with the idea, a group formed around my practice, Minus Theatre.

We can choose the conventions we follow so long as we limit the number of people included in the subject, we. If we do not we are bound to follow the conventions of the space and spaces we inhabit, the same for any other animal in its habitat.

The point is elective rather than selective. It’s out of habit that we say the sun will rise, and rise in the West; the beginning of science fiction: the sun rose in the East.

Deleuze follows the line of Spinoza, Hume and Nietzsche, on his own and then with Guattari. This line is not of good sense and public morality and not, according to the conventions, determined to be natural and belong to human nature, we have no choice but to accept, of common sense.

I have left Bergson out but he can be placed anywhere in relation to the other points on the line, which are, a body’s powers of action are in relation to its power to be affected (Spinoza), custom is to the social as habit is to the individual: both may be chosen (Hume), and the social is the sum result of the choice of those forces that would affirm it in its values and that only return through the individual’s re-affirmation of them, that is, as resentment (Nietzsche). All three concern the basis of freedom that Bergson leaves undefined because it is in indetermination.

Music, the answer is music. “He had the great courage to place his knowledge and energy at the service of a cause that could never be won in a single lifetime, at any price. Fighting doggedly in a western world traumatised by guilt at having allowed the genocide of the Jews to happen, while having redeemed itself on the cheap at the cost of denial and blindness in relation to the Palestinians, Said managed to maintain his positions without ever ceding an inch of his territory to the anti-Semitism he abhorred to the same degree.”

Dominique Eddé is writing about Edward Said. Said and Daniel Barenboim together founded the Divan Orchestra, now known as the West-Eastern, its website here.

Friends, Said and Barenboim, the website tells us, together “realised the urgent need for an alternative way to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

The most recent post on Divan’s website, an opinion piece by Barenboim, is dated 16 October 2023. Today’s date is 23 February 2024.

As at 21 February 2024, Al Jazeera reports a death toll of 29,708 Palestinians and 1,139 since 7 October 2023 in Israel. Of the first number, it reports 12,300 were children and 8,400 women.

Common sense and good sense are like night and day, which does not mean there is not a twilight, an horizon between them, a morning light and a growing gloom. On 31 October 2023 Le Monde featured an opinion piece by Dominique Eddé, author of Edward Said: His Thought as a Novel.

She writes there, “it is time for each and every one of us to make a huge effort if we do not want barbarism to triumph at our gates.” She echoes Walter Benjamin, who, according to his friend, Gershom Scholem, held that were three things Zionism must abandon, its racism and “racist ideology” and its “‘blood experience’ arguments.” (source)

… “a cause”, writes Benjamin, “becomes violent, in the precise sense of the word, when it enters into moral relations.” The source cited above links to that for this statement and also provides a gloss on Benjamin’s essay in which the statement occurs, “Zur Kritik der Gewalt.”

Benjamin’s word for violence, Gewalt, is defined as state-violence. State-violence when it enters into the moral relations of a cause becomes yobbism, we might say.

Is there any state and any state-violence that has not currently entered into the moral relations of a cause? How, when the given is yobbism, take up a cause against this cause?

Victor Double said to me, Thank you for your help, Mr Taylor. My help consisted of contacting AT (Auckland Transport) on his behalf, as an AT agent, about which I could say more, since I work at a public library, to ask that his AT Gold Card be credited with the price of his ferry ticket, approximately NZ$30 from downtown Auckland.

Since the Gold Card allows the holder free travel on public transport if used before 9am, he had he felt been wrongly charged. He’d caught the 9am ferry which boarded at five minutes to, he explained; he didn’t usually travel with his poodle; and there were a lot of people, tourists, to board.

He gave his name, asked to confirm his identity, and, asked for his date of birth, he hesitated before giving the year, 1939. He was, he said, afraid that made him 85.

Were they going to refund him? A query would be raised, for review and, pending that, no definite answer.

I was aware, I told him, that even catching the ferry five minutes before nine you could be zapped. Thank you for your help, Mr Taylor, once the transaction was complete, said Mr Double, and left with his straw hat and his poodle.

Why burn books when you can burn libraries? Burning Al-Kalima library in Gaza is not an isolated event. Since October 7 at least 14 other libraries have been either completely destroyed or badly damaged by the Israel Defense Forces, enough to confirm the burning of libraries as an objective.

The list given by Literary Hub includes,

Gaza University Library, on October 9

IBBY Children in Crisis Library (destroyed by air-strike once before in 2014)

Diana Tamari Sabbagh Library (also used as a shelter for people), on November 25

Al-Israa University Library

the National Museum (looted and then demolished), on January 18

the Central Archives of Gaza

the Great Omari Mosque and library (housing one of the most significant collections of rare books in Palestine)

An earlier article lists librarians and archivists killed. Justine Profane, a guest (her name recalling Walter Benjamin’s “Theologico-Political Fragment”), comments:

“Barbarous cancer is idiots like you. Change your avatar you specious racist as you seem to have a problem with Jewish lives and this is all you can muster. You accuse us of barbarism but yet here we are as you parade around sounding more and more like David Duke and sending money for the slaughter. The Leni Riefenstahl Arts Council applauds you. You also never answered my question earlier: How long have you hated women? Here’s another questions: You think a beta like you could handle a loud mouthed real woman, especially a Jewish woman like me?

“Sit down, you misogynistic troll.

“Your hatred is on your and your support for it is the ugly reflection in the mirror. Not mine and not on me.”

Edward Said Library (Beit Lahia) has also been destroyed. (source: Librarians and Archivists with Palestine) David Lloyd writes on the conference and workshop which took place in Ramallah, “Walter Benjamin in Palestine: On the Place and Non-Place of Radical Thought,” in December 2015:

“To emphasize the contradiction between intellectual study and a commitment to practice, or between the privilege of the foreign scholar and the burdens of the Palestinian living under occupation, seemed almost too easy, a form of hasty thinking, even. Those of us who had committed to engage in these workshops, unsure even whether we would be allowed by Israeli authorities to enter Palestine, despite the workshop’s focus on a major and self-consciously Jewish intellectual, had chosen to participate in study under a state of occupation. We came there from diverse and incommensurate histories and motivations. We were philosophers by training, artists, film-makers, historians and theorists, activists and translators, and sometimes several of those at once. … Above all, we had committed not to a mere intellectual exercise but to the furtherance of a principle, which is that the intellectual life of the occupied and oppressed is not a luxury, but a fundamental expression of the possibility of living in common.”

“The attempt to destroy Palestinian intellectual life is as unstinting as the uprooting and burning of the ancient olive trees of the Holy Land, some 800,000 of which have been destroyed in the course of Israel’s occupation.”

I am at the end of this post and I have not yet said what I came here to say (as usual). And as usual, I have let others speak. In the end it was easier to let them speak, like the crime novelist Oliver Bottini, who says of his character Louise Boní, “For years she’d been pleased she no longer belonged to a community of whatever sort…”

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the types of moving image, from surface detail – a quote, quoted for its eventual use in the series about cinematic time, that starts with “Enduring Dreams”

So, make your mind up. Real space view with potential scariness, or some screen; gentle feel-good, wistful comedy, razor-sharp witterage, outright slapstick hilarity, engrossing human drama, historical epic, educational documentary, ambient meanderance, pure art appreciation, porn, horror, sport or news?

[for what I am referring to in the title of this post, the most recent post on cinematic time includes links to the section which began the series, “Enduring Dreams.” Note also that the series is lacking an introduction, a compression tank to prepare the dear reader for the abruption and going-on-a-bit of the first section, the note on cinematic time. Best, Simon

[P.S. if you have any suggestions about the series or, about how it might begin, as to what the introduction might look like, I would be delighted to hear from you.]

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me too, a visionary activism restoring the political imagination

— Deborah Eden Tull, Luminous Darkness: An Engaged Buddhist Approach to Embracing the Unknown, 2022

see also here and here

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chain(links) & magic(realism): US prisons ban fantasy and scifi

the first link lays it out:

— Moira Marquis, “Censoring Imagination: Why Prisons Ban Fantasy and Science Fiction,” LITHUB, December 7, 2023

— Francesco Queirolo, Disinganno, 1753

disillusion.] The Neapolitian Raimondo’s dedication is truly beautiful: the life of his father is used as an immortal example of…

And looking for the text which brought me to Disinganno, not finding it, but going by way of Emmanuel Carrère, a writer who takes a bead on being free of illusion led me to another who does too:

The text however, tying up these loose ends, I really wanted to link to is “On the Radical Escapism of Magic Realism” by Eden Kupermintz. On the little bit of magic required for immunity from communal reality, and le sens commun,

“This is not to say that magical realism cannot deal with ‘grand’ events like the fall of regimes or life and death. But it is usually that those events transpire from the small, the every day, and the mundane, where that mundane is ‘fed’ a small degree of magic.”

— from the magical realism essay, here at (Seneca: Animum debes mutare, non caelum [you must change your spirit (or self or mind), not the sky {non caelum}]) notthesky.com. Note the title in the link, which would make “On the Radical Escapism of Magic Realism” the subtitle. It is…

— more from Eden whose take on war in Gaza (death toll surpassing 17,700 11.12.2023) is that of…

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L E C T U R E___A B O U T___Ø

All I know about method,’ Cage writes at the end of ‘Lecture on Nothing,’ ‘is that when I am not working I sometimes think I know something, but when I am working, it is quite clear that I know nothing.’ Others might call that enlightenment.

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… take the only tree that’s left/ stuff it up the hole in your culture … or, my robot left home to solve the world’s problems

… in January 2020 Greta Thunberg went as far as to specify just eight years [to avert a global castrophe].

Just a few months later, the president of the UN’s General Assembly gave us 11 years to avert a complete social collapse whereupon the planet will be simultaneously burning (unquenchable summer-long fires) and inundated with water (via a rapid sea-level rise). But, nihil novi sub sole: in 1989, another high UN official said that “governments have a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it goes beyond human control,” which means that by now we must be quite beyond the beyond …

Such predictably repetitive prophecies (however well-meant and however passionately presented) do not offer any practical advice about the deployment of the best possible technical solutions, about the most effective ways of legally binding global cooperation, or about tackling the difficult challenge of convincing populations of the need for significant expenditures [the] benefits [of which] will not be seen for decades to come. …

Why should we fear anything–be it environmental, social, or economic threats–when by 2045, or perhaps even by 2030, our understanding (or rather the intelligence unleashed by the machines we will have created) will know no bounds and hence any problem will become immeasurably less than trivial? Compared to this promise, any other recent specific and intemperate claim–from salvation through nanotechnology to fashioning new synthetic forms of life–appears trite. What will happen? An imminent near-infernal perdition, or speed-of-light godlike impotence?

Based on the revealed delusions of past prophecies, neither. We do not have a civilization envisioned in the early 1970–one of worsening planetary hunger or one energized by cost-free nuclear fission–and a generation from now we will not be either at the end of our evolutionary path or have a civilization transformed by Singularity.

–Vaclav Smil, How the World Really Works: A Scientist’s Guide to Our Past, Present and Future, 2022, pp. 212-213

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Баба-Яга … lives with her two sisters also called Baba Yaga in in a forest hut that spins continually on birds’ legs

… Baba Yaga is also the name used by an Ukrainian aerial reconnaissance unit under the command of Ruslan Mazovetsky, known as “Barmaley.”

At the end of Claire Dederer’s Monsters: A Fan’s Dilemma two things happen. Dederer admits to her own monstrosity. She’s a drunk. The other thing is less predictable, Mark Fisher. Fisher lets her off the hook because it’s the system to blame for making us think our ethical decisions–who is deserving of cultural approbation and who of opprobrium and cancellation–are important.

The system makes us individual consumers, us consumers individuals. We are individuated as nothing other. And so the system elevates our individual choices to the level of ethical decisions. It makes them mean something but all the system is really doing by making whether we can stand to watch a Polanski film knowing what he did seem important is reinforcing the only choices it allows us, to consume or not.

Whether yes or no, our vote is for the system. Saying we have ethical responsibility as consumers limits ethical responsibility to consumption. Nothing more.

Cancellation is another spin. It doesn’t remove Woody Allen from the mix. The only freedom is to consume

,

still, what does this say about the freedom we afford the art monsters with whom most of Dederer’s book is consumed?

What has this to do, rather than with its cancellation, with the creation of culture?

— Dora Maar, Portrait d’Ubu, 1936

“Allow me to mention here that a stupid girl, one who spends the whole day picking her nose and lazing on the stove, and eventually becomes a princess or a queen, is completely unthinkable in fairytales! The imagination of folktale-tellers created an equivalent of male heroism in the characters of Slavic Amazons (the Russian Sineglazka or the ‘Giant Girls’, Div-devojke, in Serbian folksongs), but grubby, idle, and stupid girls are usually punished with death. Wealth, a throne and love are only conceivable as rewards for grubby, idle, stupid guys!”
― Dubravka Ugrešić, Baba Yaga Laid an Egg, trans. MS Ellen Elias-Bursac, 2011

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this is …

I was so struck by this photo of Fritz Haber, I have done a … that thing where a lecturer or speaker shows a slide and then simply says, This is … in this case Fritz Haber. In the case I’m thinking of, it was Martin Heidegger which, in that case was a redundancy. The audience already knew it was … and met the announcement with gales of laughter. In the case of Fritz Haber I doubt that they would do the same or know him from his photo. This is Fritz Haber.

He is the first figure in Benjamín Labatut’s literary project exploring the crack in human experience, between science and literature, the void and singularity, the shifting imperceptible boundary between madness and creation, destruction and reason. Paul Barach (here, whence also the photo) describes Haber, after a note warning, graphic descriptions of war, on the German front in 1915, spring,

“Small, bald, and potbellied, … Wrapped in a fur coat against the chill of the late April evening, the German-Jewish chemist … In front of him were 6,000 metal tanks … At six in the evening, the wind was just right to put his plan into action. With his typical Virginian cigar hanging below his trimmed mustache, he gave the signal. …

“168 tons of chlorine gas was released into the world.”

The father of chemical warfare–without whom there would be no Zyklon-B–Faber won the Nobel Prize in 1918 for chemistry, the same year Max Planck won for physics. The prize was awarded for his discovery of a method of fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere, the single most important contributor to human population growth. Without the Faber-Bosch method, and the production of artificial fertilizer, only half the current world population is sustainable.

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— Benjamín Labatut, eating god

What I admire most about science is that it is completely unwilling to accept the many mysteries that surround us: it is stubborn, and wonderfully so. When it comes face to face with the unknown, it whips out a particle accelerator, a telescope, a microscope, and smashes reality to bits, because it wants–Because it needs!–to know. Literature is similar, in some respects: it is born from an impossible wish, the desire to bind this world with words. In that, it is as ambitious as science. Because for us human beings, it is never enough to know god: we have to eat him. That’s what literature is for me: putting the world in your mouth.

–from here

Really, if I’m honest, I … shattered into many pieces and became odd.

the following excerpts are from …

an interview with Frederico Perelmutter, here

My lack of roots has certainly affected my literature. Though I’m Chilean, and can’t deny it (well, I can, actually, and do so frequently, mostly to mess with my compatriots), I don’t feel identification with my country, or its literature, or nationality. But I don’t feel Dutch either. Argentine, even less so, though many people believe I am when they meet me for the first time, because I share their typical character flaws. I’d love to say (like Bolaño did) that I feel Latin American, but that too would be untrue.

I feel like Pinocchio. Not the dictator

—I feel like the wooden doll: someone unsure of who he is, but diametrically certain of what he wants to become.

–dir. Matteo Garrone, 2019

What do you want to become?

I won’t tell you. Not because I don’t know, but because I’m a superstitious man. People should not know who you are, at least not really. And more importantly, they should never know what you want. Life is at stake in desire.

I write in English and Spanish. It depends on the project. And my fancy. But if I had to choose between the two, I’d take English.

Betrayal is important for writing. For life too. One must always betray something. And since I’m unwilling to betray my parents, my friends, or my country, I prefer to betray my tongue.

I don’t think anyone, anywhere, writes like Sebald. I reread his books every year. His melancholy and humor, the density of information that they hold, the beauty of his prose—which has a deeply strange effect, somniferous and hallucinogenic, that prevents you from remembering everything you’ve read, no matter how much you try—make him a complete exception. His oeuvre is an unreachable monolith, a summit that exits our world.

Sebald’s books (about which I can say nothing negative) all have the same absolutely characteristic narrator, who is very present: though he’s talking about real events, his gaze, and a horrifyingly lucid and beautifully melancholy perspective, drenches everything he narrates. In my book, that’s almost entirely absent. I try to avoid appearing in what I write.

… with Calasso: his books are a path to enlightenment and an aesthetic pleasure all at once, but they can also be rather boring, overly cerebral, dry, and theoretical. Erudition is like that, because it doesn’t regard entertainment as the only measure of value.

I’m surprised how “entertaining” Borges is. Such a lucid, winged intelligence that extends toward transparency.

A similar thing happens with Bolaño: he never says anything clever, in the sense that he isn’t crafting a literature of ideas. And yet, one feels the talent and the genius behind every feint.

What I dislike about poetry is the author’s voice, which is usually far too present. That exhausts me. I’m attracted by the impersonal. I prefer the rare beauty one can find in a good Wikipedia entry to the cries and cackles of a poet who feels like they must always relay what lies deep in their heart.

Sebald, Borges, Chatwin, Bolaño, Burroughs: they’re all deeply Romantic writers. I dare say your work is, too…

I don’t feel like a Romantic. Nor have I ever thought about what Romanticism might represent for me. Those ideas and debates that look to categorize a writer or aesthetic movement don’t interest me in the slightest.

What I’m fascinated by is delirium, by reason’s mad dreams and the excesses of thought. I feel called toward the contradictions that at once torture and enlighten us. I’m interested in chaos, senselessness, irrationality, randomness, and infinity. If that makes me part of a 19th-century movement, well, there’s not much I can do about it. I’ll never willingly include myself into any group. Unless aliens arrive.

your literature in relation to “the contemporary” in some way, … ?

I’m interested in the past and the future. There’s almost nothing contemporary that fascinates me. The best literature anticipates what is coming or rescues some treasure from the hands of oblivion.

There are better idioms for the contemporary than the literary. Especially now, when we’re so immersed in and invaded by the present. We have to resist that. Think of other times, other ways of being human.

The past and the future are far wider than the present. Comparatively, the present moment is impoverished, practically doesn’t exist. But we’re ailing with the present, and with a present that is particularly miserable. That the contemporary doesn’t seduce me is not strange: this is my time, …

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