The Future of Arts Development in Aotearoa New Zealand AKA The Future FOR Arts Development in Aotearoa New Zealand … AKA ‘Future Island’ charting a course for it, illustrated with stills from Clutch Cargo

here’s the pdf: https://creativenz.govt.nz/-/media/Project/Creative-NZ/CreativeNZ/PageDocuments/Future-of-arts-development/20230508_Future_For_Arts_Development_Report.pdf

says CNZ: “We agree with many artists and arts organisations that where we are now doesn’t serve our communities and will not improve without an intentional and significant shift.”

says CNZ: “It’s important to us to co-design the ‘future island’ with those who will be living on it.”

this may raise some eyebrows, says CNZ, while acknowledging that since Covid-19 Creative New Zealand hasn’t always delivered for all artists and arts organisations in the way they’ve needed. It says eyebrows about sharing some of the quotes it heard from people on their experiences and beliefs of how the arts is funded in New Zealand …

before the eyebrow-raising quotes, the organisation cites 5 challenges it needs to address:

  1. CONNECT TO ARTISTS AND ARTS ORGANISATIONS (note, not institutions) based on trust, respect and longevity (yep, that’s what it says) (note, this is challenge No. 1)
  2. FACILITATE ACCESS to work with the organisation in both “process and interactions” (whatever that means)
  3. GIVE COMMUNITIES A GREATER SAY IN WHO GETS $$$ AND IN [something called] ARTS DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES, “so that specific and nuanced arts development needs are met more effectively” (if you say so) (although meeting arts development needs more effectively sounds more than ever like meeting the development needs of children more effectively) (and this is not to speak of an implied similarity)
  4. MEET A STATED REQUEST TO USE THE ORGANISATION’S STATUS AS A CROWN ENTITY “to broker relationships between artists, arts organisations, territorial authorities, local governments and businesses to build better communities” (now to whomever made this request, be careful what you wish for) (and–the status of CNZ under statute is that of a crown entity thanks to the patronage of His Majesty King Charles III of Great Britain: decolonise that!)
  5. this challenge is headed as ADVOCACY. Good. However the description goes like this, “a challenge to use our existing government relationships more effectively so the lives of artists and the value of the arts are better respected and understood.” hmmm… Is that advocacy?

Co-design – is a buzz word that gets a lot of airtime in this document. A way forward is being co-designed. Co-design goes further than in consultation with … I’ve seen co-design in action. It’s not pretty. No… It is pretty. Like post-it notes in different colours are pretty.

The only technical word in co-design is the word design. What it is is a participatory design process. It’s pretty, like sunlight, says the commercial site for the Sunlight Foundation. This organisation presumably has co-designed global access to sunlight for all the nations of the world.

This May, in its last week, the organisation previously known as the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council (and never to be known as the King Charles III Arts Council) will take the next step to “co-design a way forward, with small groups of big picture thinkers from both the arts space and Creative New Zealand working on the high-level architecture” … &blahblah. One of its longterm goals is for communities to be the “accountable decision makers for their arts development needs.” (As above, read special needs.) It always intrigues me how it is that while painting the picture the organisation is not seen to be, and is not in the picture. Here it’s addressing its delegation of the work it does to those it is supposed to serve. I suppose this is really like a commissioned artist and the communities are like those commissioning the portrait that will paint them and their special arts development needs.

Note that this longterm goal of shifting decision making, no. That’s not right. Shifting accountability for decision making, decision making that the organisation is still being paid to do, a number of fulltime arts-organisational fulltime wages’ worth of being paid. This longterm goal is complex. It will take more time than co-designing whatever that first bit was.

By the end of 2023 expect to see some changes, warns the organisation. The cap on the number of applications for the April 2023 funding round lifts from 250 to 450. For the August and October rounds there is no cap on the number. The organisation is going to be speaking clearly and plainly and will clearly and specifically name people within it to have a conversation. That’s nice.

I’ve just gone through and to facilitate legibility have increased the size of the font in this post. This is probably the sort of thing you can expect from the organisation. Also know that you can always talk to me. Please use the contact form.

The organisation is embarking on this change journey for you and with you. However, it already concedes here, before the journey has begun, that leadership and advocacy changes (see 4. & 5. above) involve areas in which it has less direct control. That’s OK though. It’s going to get back to you before the end of the year with a plan, a seachart.




just sneaked a peak at the quotes.

not really, is all a bit lilylivered and yallerygreeenery and not enough uzis

on (dis)connection: “CNZ needs to be humanised. It is operating like a huge corporation and is totally out of touch with the art world in NZ.”

short-term thinking:

“Project focus is admin heavy and doesn’t allow for creative and long-term thinking.”

“We need art funding that isn’t project based–research fellowships, residencies, development time without outcomes.”

“You say you want to support us having ‘sustainable careers’? Let us think beyond projects so we can actually have career sustainability.”

“Please, I beg you: GRANT GENERAL OPERATING FUNDS!!! It is simply poor funding practice not to support general operating funds. All CNZ grants that organisations are eligible to apply for should be able to fund general operations. Not allowing that forces organisations into oppressive and reactive ways of working.”

interesting: this concern, which seems to have elicited the strongest response, has not really been taken up by the organisation

“Aotearoa New Zealand’s performing arts sector is served by enterprising organisations that may be regarded as ‘essential services’ within the overall infrastructure. Unless they meet rigorous criteria that may allow them to apply for multiyear funding, they are obliged to apply for shortterm Project Grants, competing with one-off creative projects, when they are neither one-off nor creative. What would it take for on-going funding to be available to such enterprises on the basis that the services they offer are seen as essential, valued, and well delivered?”

I like this one too:

“We need to be allowed to fail, if only to glimpse what possibilities lie in the experimentation without needing the weight of garnering critical acclaim.”

of course critical acclaim means numbers not the work of critics

And this:

“CNZ actively distrusts artists. Failure should be possible.”


“Projects that can generate bums on seats aren’t necessarily innovative–judge work on its artistic merits, not popularity then help those artists learn how to build an audience.”


“We are artists, not grant writers.”

“We need a sense of community not a sense of competition.”

“CNZ’s competitive tendering model is far from best practise; and is inherently, manifestly and demonstrably unfair. It’s prejudicial. It’s also open to inconsistent, incompetent and sometimes corrupt implementation via the assessments system.”

in fact the organisation’s five challenges oddly misrepresent the concerns in the quotes. Have a look. See what you think.

National Scandal

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three “wave films” – first film genre

These three reference films were found while researching the seventh in a series of film lectures I gave in 2022 at AUT. Transcripts are here. It’s Jordan Schonig’s contention that the “wave films” constituted the first genre in cinema. [source]


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a squib of a thing: Port Maggie Smith launches You Could Make This Place Beautiful: A Memoir

— source: https://bookmarks.reviews/reviews/you-could-make-this-place-beautiful-a-memoir/


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Dubravka Ugrešić R.I.P. literature? 27 March 1949 – 17 March 2023

Who knows, maybe one day there will no longer be Literature. Instead there will be literary web sites. Like those stars, still shining but long dead, the web sites will testify to the existence of past writers. There will be quotes, fragments of texts, which prove that there used to be complete texts once. Instead of readers there will be cyber space travelers who will stumble upon the websites by chance and stop for a moment to gaze at them. How will they read them? Like hieroglyphs? As we read the instructions for a dishwasher today? Or like remnants of a strange communication that meant something in the past, and was called Literature?

— Dubravka Ugrešić, from her website, https://www.dubravkaugresic.com/

I loved Europe in Sepia and regularly dip into her other writing. If you haven’t read her books, they remain and, despite what she says above, that literature does not mean forever, they are forever literature.

(And that of course means that literature and she herself are only, as my friend P. says, dead at the moment.)

In another of Dubravka Ugrešić’s books, The Age of Skin, LARB notes that she is documenting

…“the last battle […] being waged between banning the red star and fully destigmatizing the swastika. The swastika is winning the fight […] black and swarming like cockroaches.”

luz es tiempo
National Scandal
network critical

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T H E___D E E P

The present passes over like clouds
casting shadows on a
deep and undecidable sea




3 March 2023
– Hiroshi Sugimoto

luz es tiempo
point to point

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juan gelman 2 poems \\// a small piece of Animal Joy by Nuar Alsadir

Hay que hundir las palabras en la realidad

hasta hacerlas delirar como ella.

You have to bury the words in reality,

make them hallucinate the way reality does.

- José Galván

epigraph to Relations, poems 1971-1973, Buenos Aires, by Juan Gelman, translated by Joan Lindgren


he sits down at the table and writes
"with this poem you won't take power" he says
"with these verses you won't make the Revolution" he says
"nor with thousands of verses will you make the Revolution" he says

what's more: those verses won't make
peons teachers woodcutters live better
eat better or him himself eat live better
nor will they make a girl fall in love with him

they won't earn him money
they won't get him into the movies free
he can't buy clothes with them
or trade them for wine or tobacco

no scarves no parrots no boats
no bull no umbrellas can he get for them
they will not keep him dry in the rain
nor get him grace or forgiveness

"with this poem you won't take power" he says
"with these verses you won't make the Revolution" he says
"nor with thousands of verses will you make the Revolution" he says
he sits down at the table and writes

- Juan Gelman

– Valerio Bispuri, from Encarrados

“confidences” and the next poem, from Selected Poems, Juan Gelman, edited and translated by Joan Lindgren, University of California, Los Angeles, 1997


beloved friends / friends dead
in combat or by betrayal or torture /
I do not forget you though I love a woman /
I do not forget you because I love / as

you yourselves once loved / remember? /
how you walked in beauty through the air / how you fought? /
and the warmth of a woman loomed up in your face /
remember? I remember

having seen in you a woman shining
in the midst of painful combat /
then you shone immortal
against pain / against death /

now sleeping ones some
sweet shadow silently touches you
preparing your stand
against the dogs of oblivion

here’s my idea of character in short: “The essence of pleasure,” writes Søren Kierkegaard, “does not lie in the thing enjoyed, but in the accompanying consciousness.”

Nuar Alsadir, where this is found, continues: Think of a madeleine… When I do, I think of the accompanying consciousness for which the madeleine is no more than the schematic.

Intuition, the most familiar kind of embodied knowledge, often has the adjective feminine preceding it. Hysteria, marked by the conversion of feelings and thoughts into bodily symptoms, is generally seen as a feminine disorder (its etymological root is hystericus, meaning “from the womb”) and carries a negative connotation associated with an emotional excess that obstructs reason–being too much. Even my beloved Joyce reportedly said, in response to being asked what he thought of writer Gertrude Stein, “I hate intellectual women.” What is so threatening about this way of knowing?

“We have been raised,” according to the writer Audre Lorde, “to fear the yes within ourselves, our deepest cravings” because it threatens any system that calls upon us to prioritize external logic over internal knowledge. “The True Self comes from the aliveness of the body tissues and the working of body-functions,” explains writer Winnicott of his version of the yes within ourselves, “including the heart’s action and breathing.” Trained to suppress the True Self and what Lorde calls the erotic power of “nonrational knowledge,” we settle for lesser understanding, permitting essential meaning and emotion to be lost.

— Nuar Alsadir, Animal Joy, (London, UK: Fizcarraldo, 2022), 69-70

… the yes within ourselves … aliveness of the body tissues and working of body-functions including the heart’s action and breathing equate with Deleuze’s affirmative power (of the false and) of philosophy, positive difference; and equates with duration, for Bergson. Life animated by duration, in the living tissue and rhythms of breath and heart: it is a wealth, energy source and source of creative energy.

– Joan Miró, Metamorphosis, 1936


— Alsadir, op. cit., 297

luz es tiempo

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“Everything that matters is outside.”

title is from the final page of Clayton Crockett’s Energy and Change: A New Materialist Cosmotheology, published by Columbia University Press, 2022.

I don’t really intend a review. I wrote to the author to say I enjoyed his book, that I was led to read it by my appreciation of an earlier book of his, Deleuze Beyond Badiou, that I regretted how badly subbed Energy and Change was, filled with egregious errors, including misattributing through a whole section Malabou’s work, and spelling mistakes, missing words, wrong words. I wrote to say that I really got into it in the third chapter, “Political Economy and Political Ecology.” Chapter four was OK, “Of Amerindian, Vodou, and Chinese Traditions.” And there are, particularly in Crockett’s taking up of the “tehomic theology” of Catherine Keller, some mindbendingly good moments in the last chapter, “Radical Theology and the Nature of God,” mindbending I say because of this deep, tehom, תְּהוֹם, coming right after I’d been dealing with something called a deep personal conviction, that I imagined coming from just such a deepness. Deep personal conviction is one of two conditions for the political act, I’d written, and I attached the article saying so in my letter to Crockett, the other condition being that the political act come out of time or out of the blue. There are similarities with the form of theatre practiced as Minus Theatre here. The article where I write about the political act is here.

For the first three chapters of Energy and Change, I was asking myself, and I asked Crockett the same thing, why is Bergson, as preeminently a philosopher of change, not here? I wondered if it were not the curse of Russell, who seems to call Bergson downright effeminate and say, with Morrissey, Do as I do and scrap your fey ways, Grow up, be a man, and close your mealy-mouthdial-a-cliché.

– Ivana Bašić, belay my light, the ground is gone, 2018

here’s some bits of the book I enjoyed:

…neoclassical economics takes shape around the nineteenth century concept of energy as understood in physics.

The counterpoint to the concept of energy in neoclassical economics is utility. Utility is a measure of satisfaction or value, one that measures the usefulness of economic goods similarly to the way that energy measures the work that can be accomplished in any system. If utility is analogous to energy, then the phrase that indicates entropy would be marginal utility. That is, as consumption of goods increases, there occurs a decrease of utility. This is the law of diminishing returns, which was formulated in terms of the conservation laws of physics. Overall utility is conserved, whereas there is a necessary diminishment in marginal utility.

The transition to neoclassical economics is often described as a marginal revolution. Mirowski asserts that the fundamental break in economic theory in the 1870s and 1880s is not simply a new conception of utility, understood in terms of marginal utility, but is the result of “the successful penetration of mathematical discourse into economic theory.” These mathematical theories are drawn from physics, although Mirowski points out that most economists did not accurately understand the physics and mathematics that they drew upon. Economists base their discipline on physical understandings of energy, but these are being mathematically treated in such a way as to dissipate energy as a real thing.

The difference between twentieth-century physics and twentieth-century economics, Mirowski claims, is that physicists understood that energy was becoming an abstraction with the adoption of formalized mathematical models, even as they were clinging to the idea of an integrable system. Economists, on the other hand, still maintained that they were modeling and measuring something real. One way to describe both physics and economics during the twentieth century is to say that they were caught up in symbolic mathematical representations …

— Op.cit., p. 149

During the [post-war] Great Acceleration, the world saw unprecedented levels of increasing production, based on the widespread utilization of an almost unbelievable source of energy in the form of hydrocarbon petroleum. The so-called Green Revolution in the 1960s was actually the application of petroleum products and methods to agriculture, which produced unsurpassed yields. But beginning in the early 1970s, real productive growth began to slow in per capita terms, and the dreams of utopia in First World nations as well as the hopes for development in Third World countries–not to mention the drive for communist revolution in the Second–all ground slowly to a halt.

The early 1970s constitutes a key time period in the transition to disaster capitalism or neoliberalism. According to David Harvey, “the liberation of money creation from its money-commodity restraints in the early 1970s happened at a time when profitability prospects in productive activities were particularly low and when capital began to experience the impact of an inflexion point in the trajectory of exponential growth.” This inflexion point in the trajectory of exponential growth is the first impact of a physical limit on post-World War II capitalism. As profitability begins to decline, surplus money was lent out to developing countries in the form of government debt, generating a Third World debt crisis that rages through the 1980s. Another response to this inflexion point was the development of new asset markets, including speculation on the financial system itself in the form of derivatives–futures, swaps, and collateralized debt obligations.

— Ibid., p. 144

It is in the early 1970s that, for the first time in global terms, human societies start to come up against physical ecological limits as a planet. In 1970, domestic oil production peaked in the lower forty-eight United States, not counting Alaska. In 1971, President Nixon was forced to abandon the Bretton Woods accord that established the post-World War II economic framework with a dollar that was pegged to $35 for an ounce of gold. After this gold standard disappeared, the U.S. currency became a fiat currency. Soon afterward, the OPEC oil embargo, which was a response to the U.S. support of Israel in the Yom Kippur War of 1973, shocked the American economy. As a result, the United States reaffirmed its special alliance with Saudi Arabia, and the Saudis pledged to ramp up supply to fuel the U.S. economy and to sell oil in dollars. In the early 1970s, the financial economy essentially delinked from the real economy, which is why the stock market continued to grow tremendously over the next four decades while inflation increased dramatically and real wages stagnated. The early 1970s also saw the emergence of a global ecological movement, including the famous Club of Rome’s book The Limits to Growth, published in 1972.

This shift toward a new form of capitalism called neoliberalism coincides with the abandonment of Lyndon Johnson’s ambitious War on Poverty as well as the intensification of U.S. military engagement in Vietnam, the murders of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, the 1968 insurrections in France and Mexico, the betrayal of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and the rise of what Naomi Klein calls “disaster capitalism.” Capitalism is based on indefinite growth, but surging population levels, industrialization of remaining rural areas across the globe, and overutilization of finite resources have combined to make it impossible to grow anymore in overall terms. We are running up against real limits. If corporate capitalism cannot grow in absolute terms, then the only way that it can grow is in relative terms. That is why the rich are getting richer, and the poor poorer. This is happening both within the United States and other countries and between rich and poor countries. It’s a physical process, and we need to come to terms with it if we want our thinking and our actions to be efficacious. [emphases added]

— Ibid., p. 145 [the Great Redistribution follows the Great Acceleration]

… how we think, act, and live occurs along an open line of existence, even if this line is not linear.

— Ibid., p. 39

Leibniz is an important precursor to thermodynamics because he coins the term dynamics, although he uses the word, dunamis, that for Aristotle means potential energy. Leibniz understands dynamics to refer to what we call actual or kinetic energy. For Leibniz, actual energy is vis viva, which is a living force that animates nature. On the other hand, his idea of a dead force, vis mortua, is closer to what we call potential energy. Dead force is the propensity to motion, which can become actual force or vis viva.

— Ibid., pp. 39-40

Science is fundamentally about developing and testing ideas as empirically as possible, often in mathematical terms. Philosophical thinking is not derivative of scientific explanation; both are a distinct kind of change that “repeats” the change nature performs.

— Ibid., p. 25

Metabolism only works by means of rifts, even if the rift that is created by capitalism between humanity and the earth is one of the largest rifts in planetary history. There is no metabolic process without rift, without chance or change.

— Ibid., p. 9

… change is always exchange, because it exists in complex relationship with everything else, including itself.

— Ibid., p. 8

luz es tiempo

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in between time

Bastarda takes us on another musical journey, this time delving into Hasidic Nigunim. These mystical Jewish songs, almost always sung without lyrics, originated in the Hasidic revival movement of the 18th century and often drew from local music patterns and traditions. Ecstatic dancing and singing of nigunim was a way for the Hasidim to enter “the chamber of God”. Drawing mainly from the legacy of the Modzitz dynasty, as well as from the collection of Hasidic songs discovered by the musicologist Moshe Bieregowski, Bastarda brings out the beauty of Jewish melodies, filtering them through its unique and mature artistic language. The non-verbal nature of the Hasidic songs allows for free improvisation and a more personal form of expression, while their internal narrative force is just as inspiring. Without the use of words, they tell stories of joy and sorrow, of life lived in its full sensual spectrum, therefore embodying the essence of Hasidism, which always fluctuated between waiting for the end of the world and a joyful, almost ecstatic affirmation of life.

The mystical Hasidic compositions create a space in which the musicians move with ease, elegance, understanding and tenderness, creating cutting-edge, outstanding work of great power and beauty. [emphasis added to see below]

I was on z/s/f uckerbook the other day, using someone else to explain something to myself.

The post was about Martin Hägglund, presumably in relation to his book,

This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom, which I hadn’t read, in relation to time. It was like, I think Hägglund is right, time is all we’ve got and it’s how we use time that gives value to our lives…

and I was like, but it’s the inbetween time that matters, time out of time.

I was thinking about the stammer in time, the processing pause, of for example being about to fall down a flight of steps and seeing one’s life flash before one’s eyes… when time speeds up or stops altogether, when we are not acting but subject to time… and I was thinking about cinematic time. So I said something about that and had in mind also what I’d written another time about how cinematic metaphors predominate in descriptions of time since the rollout of the technical means to replay the unrepeatable, to record and repeat chunks of time, recognisable as those chunks and no others for the repetition (the mystery of the shot) of chaotic and natural movement in them. The passage of a cloud in the background is just that cloud on just that day at just that time that the foreground action was being registered technically. It’s just that we’re used to this now so we don’t spend our time marvelling at the art of time but look to where the action is at…

and this Hägglund thing seemed to be talking about where the action is at and not the art of time at all.

I had a look at the book online and I thought, Hägglund’s time is cinematic time.

Hägglund is like a movie director directing a movie towards his authentic vision.

…in explanation, I should add that the use of time seen to have value was that where the time is truly one’s own, and genuine, authentic.

I’d also commented maybe there maybe somewhere else, in view of a time of one’s own, that it wasn’t Bergson or Heidegger worrying at me, but Lou Reed, You made me forget myself … Perfect Day.

and just checking on the lyric just now I’m reminded of those lyrics that get me every time I hear that song and that follow,

I thought I was someone else

Someone good


which is not so unlike Hägglund’s finding of moral betterment and authenticity in a better use of time, although, I was like, doesn’t this mean time off, or in between times, not clock time is genuine, alive & free? Free time that is not useful time, can it be ‘used’ or used up? and,

Hägglund’s time is cinematic time.

Hägglund is like a movie director directing a movie towards his authentic vision.

time that is truly one’s own and authentic, well, when is time truly one’s own? and isn’t that other sort of time when we really get it, get time? when the ego is free? and when the time is free of the ego? and when the time is free?

anyway, what I wanted to say is that the quote above gets the kind of time I’m talking about that is not cinematic time, not Hägglund’s time that is there to use, to make one’s own, to be authentic in, or to project oneself into…

the context of the above quote is everything. It’s about music.

Now, when does music occur?

in particular, the music of Bastarda? The name comes from viola bastarda. It means highly virtuosic and extemporaneous musical composition.

virtuosic has links to virtual, meaning, as I understand it, dipping or diving into the time that is not expressible in cinematic metaphors but may actually be the time of cinema because cinema is an art of time

the quote in question goes, …”embodying the essence of Hasidism, which always fluctuated between waiting for the end of the world and a joyful, almost ecstatic affirmation of life.”

always fluctuating between waiting for the end of the world and a joyful, almost ecstatic affirmation of life seems to me the best description of a time that cannot be used up, that is useless and excessive, subject to



where ecstatic is like what Lou Reed sings

luz es tiempo

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“Do you know what it is to feel marginalized, forbidden, buried alive at the age of thirty, thirty-five, when you can really begin to be a serious writer, and thinking that the marginalization is forever, to the end of time, or at least until the end of your fucking life?” – Leonardo Padura’s The Man Who Loved Dogs short excerpts, illustrated

… Asturias, where things were steaming following the drastic abolition of currency and private property and the creation of a proletarian army.

— Leonardo Padura, The Man Who Loved Dogs, translated by Anna Kushner, p.80

With arguments that were perhaps more passionate than rational, Lev Davidovich [Trotsky] tried to convince the Frenchman [André Breton] that a dog feels love for its owner. Hadn’t many stories about that love and friendship been told? If Breton had met Maya [a borzoi] and seen her relationship with him, perhaps he would have a different opinion. The poet said that he understood it and clarified that he also loved dogs, but the feeling came from him, the human. A dog, at best, could show that it made a distinction based on how humans treated it: by being afraid of the human being who could cause him pain, for example. But if they accepted that the dog was devoted to someone, they had also to admit that the mosquito was consciously cruel when it bit someone, or that the crabwalk was deliberately retrograde… Although he didn’t convince him, Lev Davidovich liked the surrealist image of the purposefully retrograde crab.

… Lev Davidovich was the one to blame for Breton’s physical and intellectual freeze: the secretary called it “Trotsky’s breath on your neck,” which, he said, was capable of paralyzing anyone who had a relationship with him since, according to van Heijenoort, exposure to his way of living and thinking unleashed a moral tension that was almost unbearable. Lev Davidovich didn’t realize this, because he had been demanding that of himself for many years, but not everyone could live day and night facing all the powers in the world: fascism, capitalism, Stalinism, reformism, imperialism, all religions, and even rationalism and pragmatism. If a man like Breton confessed to him that he was out of reach and ended up paralyzed, Lev Davidovich had to understnad that Breton was not to blame; rather, Comrade Trotsky, who had withstood everything he had to withstand all those years, was an animal of another species. (“I should hope I’m not a cruel mosquito or a reactionary crab,” Lev Davidovich commented to the secretary.)

— Ibid., pp. 350-351

– Diego Rivera, Lev Davidovich Bronstein (Leon Trotsky) & André Breton

“How is it possible for a writer to stop feeling like a writer? Worse still, how can he stop thinking like a writer? How is it that in all this time you didn’t dare to write anything? …”

“It didn’t occur to me because it couldn’t occur to me, because I didn’t want it to occur to me, and I searched for every excuse to forget it every time it tried to occur to me. Or do you not know what country we live in right now? Do you have any idea how many writers stopped writing and turned into nothing or, worse still, into anti-writers and were never again able to take flight? Who could bet on things ever changing? Do you know what it is to feel marginalized, forbidden, buried alive at the age of thirty, thirty-five, when you can really begin to be a serious writer, and thinking that the marginalization is forever, to the end of time, or at least until the end of your fucking life?”

“But what could they do to you?” she insisted. “Did they kill you?”

“No, they didn’t kill me.”

“So … so … what terrible thing could they do to you? Censor your book? What else?”


“What do you mean, nothing?” She jumped, offended, I think.

“They make you nothing. Do you know what it is to turn into nothing? Because I do know, because I myself turned into nothing … And I also know what it is to feel fear.”

So I told her about all of those forgotten writers who not even they themselves remembered, those who wrote the empty and obliging literature of the seventies and eighties, practically the only kind of literature that one could imagine and compose under the ubiquitous layer of suspicion, intolerance, and national uniformity. And I told her about those who, like myself, innocent and credulous, earned ourselves a “corrective” for having barely dipped our toes, and about those who, after a stay in the inferno of nothing, tried to return and did so with lamentable books, also empty and obliging, with which they achieved an always-conditional pardon and the mutilated feeling that they were writers again because they once more saw their names in print.

— Ibid., pp. 398-399

for an Independent Revolutionary Art

Signed: André Breton and Diego Rivera

link here

National Scandal
Trans-European Express

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a note on T H E__A C T__O F__P O I N T I N G__OUT illustrations by Travis Bedel

Theatre is the act of pointing out. Performance is dissimulation. Theatre is simulation.

Where everything has been pointed out, even more, where chaos can be pointed out, there is no room for time. Performance cannot simulate chaos; it can but only as dissimulation. Theatre spatialises time.

Cinema, the moving image, is also an act of pointing out. It is said it is the act that points out time. It is, however, cinema, the moving image, the act of pointing out its pointing out of time. That is to say, it dissimulates, is a performance of, time.

Cinema, the moving image, in whatever way it is produced, is able to reproduce chaos. Cinema can isolate and point to chaos. In this respect, it is a theatrical event.

The fact of its spatialising time is not as important for understanding the theatricality of cinema and the moving image in general as its ability to represent chaos. Neither is it really important if this representation is actual. To best understand the theatricality of cinema is to understand it firstly to point out chaos. This is an aspect of cinema, in the history of the moving image, that its history elides.

– Travis Bedel

Along with this lovely description of what we do when we try and reconstruct a philosopher’s philosophy from influences and so on, in this case Bishop Berkeley’s:

Let us then take these slices of ancient and modern philosophy, put them in the same bowl, add by way of vinegar and oil a certain aggressive impatience with regard to mathematical dogmatism and the desire, natural in a philosopher bishop, to reconcile reason with faith, mix well and turn it over and over conscientiously, and sprinkle over the whole, like so many savoury herbs, a certain number of aphorisms culled from among the NeoPlatonists: we shall have–if I may be pardoned the expression–a salad which, at a distance, will have certain resemblance to what Berkeley accomplished.

Alongside this, from his lecture, “Philosophical Intuition,” given at the Philosophical Congress In Bologna, 10 April 1911 (yes, 111 years ago) [here], Bergson, still with Berkeley, talks about the natural order, the order of the universe. It is in one of his typical cascades of conditional propositions, If a body is made of “ideas”…If it [a body] is entirely passive and determinate… If we are mistaken when under the name of general ideas… that, from if so, never seem to come to a then conclusion, or the conclusion is given in part halfway through, as here, completely throwing you off the trail of the conditionality that is its predicate:

…if it [a body] is entirely passive and determinate, having neither power nor virtuality, it cannot act on other bodies; and consequently the movements of bodies must be the effect of an active power, which has produced these bodies themselves and which, because of the order which the universe reveals, can only be an intelligent cause.

You will recognise this as Berkeley’s going to God; and in fact Bergson’s pulling apart of reading-learning philosophy–from the outside of historical influences, all the way to the inside of the intuition animating it but that it never seems to be able clearly to state, leading to the philosopher having to revisit and revisit the initial insight of her (his, in this case) intuition in work after work, never satisfied she has finally provided it with its definitive formulation–his pulling apart of how philosophy works is outstanding, but difficult.

Reading Bergson is like slipping into another timeframe. I think there is a reason for this feeling, that it has to do with the displacement of a time-of-chaos by a time-of-repetition, the advent of cinematic time, screentime; and that this, screentime, has replaced the inner experience of time. A theatrical and therefore subjective event.

What however drew my attention was the phrase because of the order which the universe reveals, because, what is the order which the universe reveals?

It is definitely not that of chaos or, in Deleuze and Guattari’s formulation, that of chaosmosis. Neither is it of a time that unreels, one thing after another, or that neuroscientists have lifted this metaphor from to explain how the brain processes ‘real time’ in consciousness.

If the universe reveals an order, what is it?

We might want to account for it through recourse to Newtonian physics or Euclidean geometry, or even to the classical physical order of Einsteinian relativity, where No one is playing dice with the universe.

Does the universe on the 29 October 2022 reveal an order?

Ask yourself, does it?

What has changed to make us think that it does not?

(Unless it does, for you; unless the universe does reveal an order: but in order to do so, I would guess it would have to go by way of something or somebody transcendent, like Berkeley’s God. I would guess that if the universe does reveal an order to you that it would have to be a transcendent order; and I would be surprised if it was not.)

Although… Smart Design… aren’t scientific explanations, like evolution, of an order?

Doesn’t the explanatory model of science produce an order of events? in order that they may be explained?

Isn’t Climate Change of this order? (Isn’t this the reason we ought to trust the climate scientists? because their models extrapolate from historical tendencies foreseeable results?

((there is more to making Climate Change the order of business of time, there’s the virtualhere’s a bit more from 11 years ago.)

(Yes, there may be debates between models: but when the disparities come down to details is when we really ought to be afraid.)

The universal order of the arrow-of-time is thermodynamic: it goes towards entropy. Although the flow is orderly, entropy is not but is its cancelling out. Ultimately the universal order ends in heat death.

Flows cease.

– Travis Bedel

quasiunique beat signatures (QUBS): the original article, “Quantum watch and its intrinsic proof of accuracy,” distinguishes QUBS from DS–conventional delay-stage derived values of the time, saying that, although QUBS itself derive from DS, as a ‘measurement’ of the delay between wave packets being sent out, QUBS beat-signatures more accurately indicate the time. Where there exists a discrepancy, the fault lies with DS.

QUBS is the unique signature of that instant in time, a time that can no longer be considered a continuum or to belong to continua. The quantum watch time of QUBS is its fingerprint. The measurement between or relative or relative to zero of a time-setting does not apply here.

The quantum fingerprint points out an instant of time, rather than in time. Or: it’s already in time and requires no other points of reference outside it.

This use of quantum effects can be compared to the quantum accelerometer enabling navigation without ‘outside’ reference points. (here) This is said to be the way migratory birds navigate. (here)

– Travis Bedel

Does the universe on 2 November 2022 reveal an order? Not like in the old days.

In the old days order was manifest. We didn’t need quantum effects to reveal it. Then, neither did we need classical physics. And it was still a negotiable order: the sun would rise in the East; the seasons would cycle through; and to every life there would be a cycle of birth and death. The negotiable bit was its measure of freedom. That is, fiction.

The sun rose in the West. Summer came one day and was chased away the next. It was winter for the following hundred years.

Before my death I was regenerated and lived in immaculate suspension. After it, I was born and yet I was not. It was not until I ceased to be that I became who I was.

The universal order does not need, did not need to reveal itself, in the old days. Today the Nobel is awarded for proving that the universal order as it had been revealed does not exist. It is a fiction. (here)

– Travis Bedel

The order goes to utility. That’s how it’s played. That’s how inaction in the face of imminent global catastrophe is castigated.

Yet, where do we get this idea of time unrolling? As it unrolls towards, well, it could be chaos, entropy, catastrophe or a positive outcome through technoscientific mitigation of the mortal risks, that is progress: where do we get this idea either of progress? or of an orderly progress towards inevitable and universal disorder?

From the utility of time conceived like this, says Bergson. And in a way and unholy alliance or abberant nuptial, so does Bataille.

Bataille speaks of expenditure without expectation of return: that’s life. That’s the life of the sun. It’s what it does. Its inaction is composed of thermonuclear expenditure in radiation without expectation of return.

Lingis’s reading of the ‘accursed share’ (Bataille) refers to the ‘organs of display’ that tropical fish have and the organs of profligate floral display in the vegetal world.

Flowers are self-conscious enough to want to look their best. Their best goes far further than is necessary for the useful purpose of attracting germinatative species. Bees might care whether they’re blue or yellow, red, orange, white, attractive on ultraviolet spectra, but that is about the limit of their concern. They don’t go in for frills, flutes, formal arabesques, barocco volutes, tendrils, patterns and extra elaborations: these are extraneous. They comprise a share that is accursed for being inutile, useless; and when we think of human display, sexual, predatory, aggressive, territorial, erotic, individual, social and the fashion, the curse is there too.

This uselessness may be borne out in the current climate by practices of extraction and exploitation that go far beyond need, as far beyond as floral or piscine and avian peacockery does in nature. We are cursed by the curse of extra, an unfair share.

Who gets it is not the point. Saying it’s in our nature, as animals, possessing organs of display, is not the point either. The point is, whether it’s to the end or the beginning of the end, the progress fallacy.

Progress passes. It is always on the way. So it is never inevitable but ever in/de/terminate.

And in/de/terminable.

Another way of saying this is that progress, to adapt Malabou, resists its occurrence to the very extent that it forms it.

(Malabou’s statement is on identity: identity (here the identity of progress) resists its occurrence to the extent that it forms it.)

Where is the generosity in the view that the future approaches head-on like a truck? (The phrase is John Ash’s.) And there’s no getting away from it, like the dream where you’re paralysed; and, there’s no getting away with it, like the dream where you’re guilty.

Where is the generosity in a future foreclosed to possibility? foreclosed to the virtuality of the present that leans over it? This second foreclosure points out a secondary impoverishment.

A future foreclosed to the virtuality of the present impoverishes the present of potential, of power. It saps the political will: there is really nothing to be done. Without delay.

Delay, farting around, as Vonnegut put it somewhere, is where time is not a dead thing but living and lived. This is as true for the protein swapping that creates it for cells as for the hesitation presupposed by the profligate elaborateness of the human nervous system, comprising locally networked nerve-centres and the costliest organ in the body, where all display is focused, the brain (costly in the sense of accommodating surplus expenditure, expenditure without expectation of return: fireworks). Brain screen, Deleuze puts it.

The brain is a display screen. The expense of it is not calculated for any sort of return, just more expense. This ‘compensatory’ expense ratchets up nervous tension around other sorts of accumulation, wealth, status, elevation, speed, erecting skyscrapers, superyachts and supercars and spaceships; and sublimates it in (the compensations of) art (cinema and so on), porn, eroticism and fetishes.

The brain is for display only. Thinking goes on in the delay, during the hesitation. The delay is thinking.

The stammer is consciousness.

Identity, I wrote on a wall recently, is an accursed share?

– Travis Bedel

At 3:20pm 4 November 2022 is there a universal order?

Will the sun set, daylight saving, around 5 to 8? and rise again tomorrow over the eastern hill-line?

Will the suburbs still be here? Will business go on … as usual?

The business of human societies follows the order set down in nature, more or less, and the order of business in nature follows that in the cosmos, in the great and greatest harmony. The ‘more or less’ comes from generating and interposing circuits of delay into the general order of the universal economy, and paying for them, because they’re worth it, whatever the cost. In fact, the higher the better, to suck up the surplus.

Lighting rooms, prolonging life, sheltering and feeding ourselves, providing entertainment and decoration, fashion and frivolity, these are all about extending delay. They go entirely against the idea we have of time unreeling, since they wind it up, switch it back, hold it in systems of relays and pass it through obstacle courses and traps we set for it, so that time eddies and spirals, stretches and recoils, and so on. Time thickens, Bergson says.

If the delay is thinking, the systems we have for trapping time are called knowledge.

Doesn’t it happen that we have thickened time to the point of entropy and disorder?

Hasn’t there been a change in phase-state?

Time has ceased to be the order of time, is rather orders of time. Byung Chul-Han (The Scent of Time, 2017), goes as far as to say that from time being date-stamped, to order, it has become dyschronous. Chaos besets time itself. There is no longer any duration to time. It is unthickenable.

To-order time he associates with the vita activa of the perpetually entrepreneurial self. Time chaosifies from its maximum use, where there is no time to spare and, as a result, no content to time.

He wants to promote the vita contemplativa as a means of reclaiming time. That is useless time.

I think he confuses content with form. But so to do can only be accomplished by first spatialising time, as an empty form to be filled. Once filled, time is of no duration and cannot hold content. Too thin, it is Unzeit.

Another way to say this is that once the repetition of chaos is possible in time, the confusion of time and chaos also becomes possible. In fact, the representation of chaos in time makes the confusion of time, its representation as chaos, possible. Dyschronicity is presupposed by the possibility of the moving image to repeat the unrepeatable, chaos.

The order of the day, 4:16pm 10 November 2022, does not follow the order of Bergson’s, 111 years ago. It is not universal. This year’s Nobel Prize winners for physics declare it not to be, prove it not even to be, locally real. Then isn’t the question of non-time, empty, Hunger-Artist thin time, anorexic time, Unzeit, its irreality?

It unreels. Nothing much more can be said of it. Stiegler contends that it cannot be wound up, that this is the problem technics have bequeathed us with to be knowledge; and that as a result there is the crisis in knowledge of its technicity, a technicity that can only be retrospective; and yet it entails a loss of memory.

However irreal time does not spool out in a straight line. It is not that labyrinth. It runs out like a natural occurrence, like leaves moving randomly on trees, or waves, each wave unique, and repeatable as its cinematic image, as its moving image points out. It winds up, impending over the future, like a storm.

– Travis Bedel

luz es tiempo

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