Contains notes on Achille Mbembe - Decolonizing Knowledge and the Question of the Archive, and the scribbles from Doreen Mende's talk.
1) 1955 moment has happened, is happening and is going to happen: walking backwards means turning towards the past, which in this case is important in order to make a link with the present and the future.
2) We spend your life walking backwards because you can see the past but not the future—that’s why we trip: Walking backwards is a good way to concentrate on the walking as a process, on the physicality of it.
3) Be kind rewind: each step of Bandung walk is meant to symbolize the change that the conference would bring about - by performing the walk backwards we create the cavity in deep time, and the possibility/necessity for the walk to 'happen' again, to fill in the gap, thus provoking the deep time to bounce back.
Notes for theory seminar with Bassam El Baroni on 19 November 2015 in Jakarta - contains scans of my notes and sketches.
Notes on Baudrillard, Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared
Foreword by Francois L’Yvonnet:
Why is there nothing rather than something? - Leibniz (reversed).
Exploration of the Nothing by Macedonia Fernandez (Argentina): “On the Nothing, there is more: some of its interstices, which are numerous.”
Jean Baudrillard - saturation of the interstices.
Good - product of eliminating the evil, Eternal = product of eliminating the Temporal, All = product of eliminating the Nothing.
We have rid ourselves of the ambiguity of the world.
A truly negationist system (Baudrillard) - denial of the nothing, of the illusion (not nihilism, because nihilism is forgetting of the nothing).
This isn't a contrary metaphysics, but the contrary of a metaphysics.
P.9 - Question of disappearance of humans from the world (not exhaustion, extinction or extermination, because these are natural phenomena). Human-invented disappearance.
1) disappearance of the real (media, virtual reality, networks)
Hannah Arendt: modern world begins with the invention of Archimedean point outside the world . Paradox: real world begins to disappear at the same time as it begins to exist.
P. 11 - 'to analyse' means literally 'to dissolve’.
We detach things from the world by naming them. For example, the class struggle exists from the moment Marx names it (and it declines after being named).
The moment a thing is named, the moment representation and concepts take hold of it, is the moment when it begins to lose its energy-with the risk that it will become a truth or impose itself as ideology.
The real vanishes into the concept - and vice versa (dreams vanish into their fulfilment).
Human technology -> world without humans, disappearance of humans.
P. 15- Marx: the idealist stage of interpretation, and the irresistible transformation that leads to a world without us.)
That world is perfectly objective because there’s no one left to see it.
P. 16 - Mode of disappearance of the human - is the product of an internal logic,… of the human race's fulfllment of its most grandiose project, the Promethean project of mastering the universe, of acquiring exhaustive knowledge.
Surprisingly, extreme endeavour on the part of life also amount to disappearance of human: (we’re pre-programmed to die - apoptosis).
Canetti: vanishing point, end of evolution.
P. 20 - human = infantile malady of the machine
P. 21 - Disappearance may be conceived differently:
1) desire no longer to be there (not negative at all);
2) desire to see what the world looks like in our absence (photography);
3) to see, beyond the end/subject, if there still is an occurrence of the world,
Art of disappearance - a possibility of a game.
P.22 - Art in the modern period exists only on the basis of its disappearance: 1) art of making the real disappear; 2) art of abolishing itself in the course of its practice (Hegel).
Art today has disappeared, but without knowing it (continues on its trajectory in a vegetative state).
P. 25 - Everything that disappears there remain traces. (Cheshire cat’s grin; God disappears, but he leaves behind his judgement - which is terrifying).
p.26 - Disappearance of the subject, which is, more or less, the mirror image of the disappearance of the real.
The subject disappears, gives way to a diffuse, floating, insubstantial subjectivity: disembodied, empty consciousness.
P.28 - Great disappearance = division of subject to infinity; a serial pulverization of consciousness into all the interstices of reality.
Cardinal Ratzinger - analysis of religion. A religion which accommodates to the world… becomes superfluous. The same can be said about art (art, ceasing to be different from life, has become superfluous).
P. 31 - We must give disappearance back its prestige or, quite sim- ply, its power, its impact (it is neither for good or for evil). Things exist on the basis of their disappearance, and in order to interpret them in their entirelucidity, one must do so as a function of their disappearance.
P. 32 - Is it, in fact, the real we worship, or its disappearance?
(telematics, IT, digitization, etc.)
P.33 - Example: disappearance of the image in the inexorable move from the analogical to the digital.
Image is now a tiny detail of the anthropological revolution, where an objective truth is mirrored to us by technology.
ON THE HEGEMONIC AND THE DIGITAL …
Digital photography marks the end of a singular presence of an object, since now it may be digitally constructed.
Gary Hall, 2014, Open Education: A Study in Disruption
Heather Davis, Community practice
Book as exhibition series (interpolations - points that carry the plot from one point to another).
Tomas Saraceno, Working with Spiders (also: the spiders of Amazon that fly great distances together on their nets)
Shiv Visvanathan, “Between Cosmology and System: The Heuristics of Dissenting Imagination,” in Another Knowledge is Possible: Beyond Northern Epistemologies, ed. Boaventura de Sousa Santos (London and New York: Verso, 2008).
Numeracy is putting numbers in series (Logic of series).
A Vast Machine (climate study).
There's no infrastructure of emancipation which is not an infrastructure of colonisation.
Alfred Wallace's Interrogation of Nature (his collecting of species in Indonesia) which comes as a basis for his and Darwin's theory of evolution. Tries to find out: can you still find evolution in nature?
Hallucination in reverse (colonial notion of not seeing what's in front of you. There is a difference between letters scientists wrote back home to their wives and mistresses and papers being published). Wallace's description of bird of paradise. Science is full of doubt and ambiguity.
Desire is the machine. Professionalism and machining desire keep us on hallucinating in reverse.
Ignorance is colonisation, solidarity is knowledge.
What is the mode of thought in colonisation? Possible action: you cannot confront the consequences if your thought is colonized.
Multistable image (democracy needs parameters in order to function). Data polity (?) How does life get parameterized? Who sets those parameters?
John Pretevi(?), deleuzian thoerist. Bestiary - Theater - Guillotine.
Clifford Geertz, Notes on the Balinese Cockfight;
Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection
- Ironic political myth
- Cyborg as a metaphor - negative connotation (in an ironical way - because she’s actually promoting the cyborg)
- Cyborg = other; Hybrid : organism+machine
- Third party, like medicine at war - machine bridges the gaps, it is keeping people alive. War = cyborg orgy.
- World without gender (Haraway doesn’t like the idea of male vs. female;
- Cyborg doesn’t have genesis, doesn’t remember cosmos.
- Promoting cyborg.
- Haraway breaks down the boundaries:
~ Animal/human (from beginning of XX century);
~ Organism/machine (she’s writing it in 1985);
~ Physical/non-physical (example of light as both physical and non=physical (TV) - you can see it, but cannot touch);
~ Dualisms (cyborg ignores the dualism; one is too few, but two is too many);
- Haraway is a non-specific determinist.
Determinism (wikipedia) - philosophical position stating that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given those conditions, nothing else could happen.
- Fractured identities (we all have multiple identities).
- Marshall McLuhan: “The medium is the message"
- Cyborg has to have a great deal of power (political identity in writing);
- We are cyborgs (it’s our ontology). It means that we’re building and destroying machines, identities, categories, relationships.
~ Women are not superior to men (they have just as many flaws as tractions);
~ Haraway: I’d rather be a cyborg than a goddess.
[Idiotes] deliberately withdrew from the status of metropolitan citizen to become cosmopolitan-figures without familiar topological or spatiotemporal grounds, or at least figures t~at presented the illusion of and allusion to such groundlessness.
P. 207 - It is important to note that all idiotae, self-declared or not, are apolitical figures without agency to engage in politics, without a polis, and specifically without a civic connection.
Three concepts of rhetoric: "logos" = rational appeal, "pathos" = emotional appeal, and "ethos" = ethical appeal
Townley Vase, 1773 - the idiotes is a heroic fool representing chaotic, irrational, random action intended to break the conventions of the polis.
p.210 - Most significantly of all, the idiotes is the archetypal puer aeternus, the eternal child. So the idiotes is half-devil/half-savior, the threat of destruction and the promise of creation held synthesised within it. The idiotes is fundamentally immature, incompatible with the public sphere as it can never be pubes, adult.
P. 211 - Such a state [of an eternal child] characterizes contemporary art today, which is distinguished by the paradigm of paradigm-less-ness, or a paradigm that permits the endless proliferation of disconnected paradigms.
p.212 - In order to challenge this apolitical hegemony, a non-idealist materialist critique of the quasi-syntagmatic ethico-economic conditions of art needs to supersede the self-limiting and confining illusions/allusions of freedom that are both the principal currency and the constraining embodied web like structures of art today.
Theriomorphous - Thought of as having the form of a beast. Used of a deity.
p3 - …on the last day, the relations between animals and men will take on a new form, and that man himself will be reconciled with his animal nature.
Alexandre Kojève -> <- Georges Bataille (student)
p.4 - In Gnostic mythology, the archons are the demonic entities who create and govern the material world, in which the bright and spiritual elements are
found mixed and imprisoned in those dark and bodily.
p.6 - Kojève : The disappearance of Man at the end of History is not a cosmic catastrophe: the natural World remains what it has been from all
Hegel: action=negativity -> “nothing more to do” = “negativity with no use”
p.8 No animal can be a snob. (Kojève)
p.10 After the battle of Jena, the
vanguard of humanity virtually reached the end of man’s historical
evolution. Everything that followed—including two world
wars, Nazism, and the sovietization of Russia—represented nothing
but a process of accelerated alignment of the rest of the world
with the position of the most advanced European countries.
p.10 - the US reached the final stage of Marxist communism
Japan - post-history, snobbery, totally formalised value. Every japanese is ready to commit suicide. Japanisation of the westerners, incl. Russians.
p.12 - Soloviev
in Kojève’s reading of Hegel, man is not a biologically defined species, nor is he a substance given once and for all; he is, rather, a field of dialectical tensions always already cut by internal caesurae that every time separate— at least virtually—“anthropophorous” animality and the humanity which takes bodily form in it.
p.12 - Man is the fatal disease of the animal. Foucault - biopower.
N4 Mysterium disiunctionis
Life cannot be defined.
Plants. Nutritive power. Aristotle - nutrition, sensation, thought.
The isolation of nutritive life (which the ancient commentators will already call vegetative) constitutes in every sense a fundamental event for Western science.
Bichat: animal life -> <- external world; man = two animals internal+external
Vegetal vs. relational life - > what is human?
Man - divine element; we should replace that notion with:
man - as what results from the incongruity of these two elements, and investigate not the metaphysical mystery of conjunction, but rather the practical and political mystery of separation.
It is more urgent to ask where - in man - man and non-man is separated, animal from human, rather than take positions on great issues like human rights or values, etc.
N5 Physiology of the Blessed
p. 17 medieval treatises on the integrity and quality of the body of the
What about secretions after resurrection?
Augustine: Adam’s sexuality before the Fall did not resemble ours, since his sexual parts could be moved voluntarily just like hands or feet, so that sexual union could occur without the need of any concupiscent stimulus.
p. 18 - The two principal functions of animal life—nutrition and generation—are directed to the preservation of the individual and of the species. Useless in the immortal life. Defecation!
Sex and food.
p. 19 - The resurrection, he teaches, is directed not to the perfection of man’s natural life, but only to that final perfection which is contemplative life.
Blessed life is not animal/plant life.
N6 Cognitio experimentalis
Determining the border between human and animal.
p.21 If animal life and human life could be superimposed perfectly, then neither man nor animal—and, perhaps, not even the divine—would any longer be thinkable.
Paradise calls Eden back into question.
p.22 - In the state of innocence [he writes] men did not have any bodily need of animals. Neither for clothing, since they were naked and not ashamed, there being no motions of inordinate concupiscence; nor for food, since they fed on the trees of Paradise; nor for means of transport, their bodies being strong enough for that purpose.
they needed them for cognitive experiment - de homnis nature.
Concentration and extermination camps.
P.23 - Surely Descartes never saw an ape. - Linnaeus (Sweden - Amsterdam)
Linnaeus, the founder of modern scientific taxonomy, had a weakness for apes.
He explains how difficult it is to identify the specific difference between the anthropoid apes and man from the point of view of natural science.
P.24 - The peremptory gesture with which, in the Systema naturae, he assigns Homo to the order of the Anthropomorpha (which, from the tenth edition of 1758, will be called Primates ) alongside Simia, Lemur, and Vespertilio (the bat) cannot, therefore, be a surprise.
Language would become man’s identifying characteristic par excellence.
p.25 - Edward Tyson’s treatise Orang-Outang, sive Homo Sylvestris: or, the Anatomy of a Pygmie.
Ape - man - angel.
Essay title: Orang-Outang, sive Homo Sylvestris: or, the Anatomy of a Pygmie Compared with that of a Monkey, an Ape, and a Man. To which is added, a Philological Essay Concerning the Pygmies, the Cynocephali, the Satyrs, and Sphinges of the Ancients. Wherein it Will Appear that They are all Either Apes or Monkeys, and not Men, as Formerly Pretended.
p.26 - Linnaeus attributed to his maxim: man has no specific identity other than the ability to recognize himself.
We are born nudus in nuda terra.
Johann Georg Gmelin. Theodor Klein.
Homo sapiens, then, is neither a clearly defined species nor a substance; it is, rather, a machine or device for producing the recognition of the human.
P.27 - Homo is a constitutively “anthropomorphous” animal (that is, “resembling man,” according to the term that Linnaeus constantly uses until the tenth edition of the Systema), who must recognize himself in a non-man in order to be human.
Pascal: “he who acts the man, acts the ape”.
N8. Without Rank
Celestial <- human -> terrestrial
Dignitas = rank.
P. 29 As the free and extraordinary maker and molder of yourself, you may shape yourself into whatever form you prefer. You can degenerate into the lower things, which are brutes; you can regenerate, in accordance with your soul’s decision, into the higher things, which are divine.
P.30 Linnaeus to classify man among the Anthropomorpha, the “manlike” animals.
Homo ferus, a variant that seems to belie the characteristics of the most noble of the primates point for point: it is tetrapus (walks on all fours), mutus (without language), and hirsutus (covered with hair).
Lord Monboddo, Histoire d’une jeune fille sauvage, trouvée dans les bois à l’âge de dix ans.
N9 Anthropological Machine
Ernst Haeckel, 1899. - gospel of scientific progressivism.
Application of darwinian evolution.
P. 34 - his specific contribution— of which he was rightly proud—is to have hypothesized
as a form of passage from the anthropoid apes (or man-apes) to man a peculiar being that he called “ape-man” (Affenmensch) or, since it was without language, Pithecanthropus alalus.
Eugen Dubois, discovered on the island of Java a piece of skull and a femur similar to those of present-day man.
Language: In identifying himself with language, the speaking man places his
own muteness outside of himself, as already and not yet human.
linguist, Heymann Steinthal:
“We have thereby been able to show why language originated from the human
soul and its perceptions, and not from that of the animal…. language is so necessary and natural for the human being, that without it man can neither truly exist nor be thought of as existing. Either man has language, or he simply is not.”
p. 36 - If this element [language] is taken away, the difference between man and animal vanishes…
Contradiction: “I contradicted my presupposition: that is, that the origin of language and the origin of man were one and the same; I set man up first and then had him produce language.”
… precisely because the human is already presupposed every time, the machine actually produces a kind of state of exception, a zone of indeterminacy in which the outside is nothing but the exclusion of an inside and the inside is in turn only the inclusion of an outside.
The machine of earlier times works in an exactly symmetrical way. If, in the machine of the moderns, the outside is produced through the exclusion of an inside and the inhuman produced by animalizing the human, here the inside is obtained through the inclusion of an outside, and the non-man is produced by the humanization of an animal.
No animal can enter into relation with an object as such. —Jakob von Uexküll
UEXKull - > Heidegger, Deleuze
P. 40 - Uexküll instead supposes an infinite variety of perceptual worlds that, though they are uncommunicating and reciprocally exclusive, are all equally perfect and linked together as if in a gigantic musical score.
Unitary world does not exist - many different worlds. Umgebung - objective space. “carriers of significance” (Bedeutungsträger) or of “marks” (Merkmalträger), which are the only things that interest the animal.
Every environment is a closed unity in itself, which results from the selective sampling of a series of elements or “marks” in the Umgebung. Worlds of the spider and the fly.
P.42 - Paul Vidal. Ratzel’s theses: Ratzel’s theses, according to which all peoples are
intimately linked to their vital space as their essential dimension, had a notable influence on Nazi geopolitics.
The animal has memory, but no memories. —Heymann Steinthal
Tick doesn’t lie the taste of blood; perceives no environment. it looks for
1) door of mammals;
2) the temperature of 37 degrees;
3) typology of skin characteristic of mammals
P.47 without a living subject, time cannot exist.
N12 Poverty in World
The behavior of the animal is never an apprehending of something as something. —Martin Heidegger. Course title 1929-30: The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude.
P.50 - Life is a particular kind of being; but essentially it is accessible only in
Dasein (existence). Life is not a mere being-present-at-hand, nor is it Dasein. In turn, Dasein is never to be defined ontologically by regarding it as (ontologically indefinite) life plus something else.
p. 51 - humanitas also appears as something ungraspable and absent, suspended as it is between
a “not-being-able-to-remain” and a “not-being-able-to-leave-itsplace.”
Uexküll’s studies explicitly described as “the most fruitful thing that philosophy can adopt from the biology dominant today,”
P.52 - The animal can only behave insofar as it is captivated in its essence. . . . Captivation is the
condition of possibility for the fact that, in accordance with its essence, the animal behaves within an environment but never within a world (a bee sucking on the honey even though the belly is removed).
P.53 - What does the animal meet when it enters into relation with its disinhibitor?
Heidegger: we do not have an apprehending (vernehmen), but only an instinctive behaving (benehmen), insofar as the “very possibility of apprehending something as something is withheld [genommen] from the animal, and it is withheld from it not merely here and now, but withheld in the sense that it is ‘not given at all.’”6 If the animal is captivated, it is because this possibility has been radically taken away from it.
P.54 - Beings are not revealed [offenbar] to the behavior of the animal in its captivation, they are not disclosed and for that very reason are not closed off from it either. Captivation stands outside this possibility.
“the animal fundamentally lacks the possibility of entering into relation either with the being that it itself is or with beings other than itself. Because of this being ceaselessly driven the animal finds itself suspended, as it were, between itself and its environment, even though neither the one nor the other is experienced as a being.”
p.55 - If behavior is not a relation to beings, does this mean that it is a relation to the nothing? No!
The ontological status of the animal environment: it is offen (open) but not offenbar (disconcealed;
distinction between animal and stone: being open - having-to-do-with. Being open in captivation is an essential possession of the animal. On the basis of this possession it can do without [entbehren], be poor, be determined in its being by poverty.
N13. The Open
p.57 - “the open, in which every being is freed . . . is being itself’
Reversal of the hierarchical relationship between man and animal questioned by Heidegger: While man always has the world before him—always only stands “facing opposite” (gegenüber) and never enters the “pure space” of the outside—the animal instead moves in the open, in a “nowhere without the no.”
ale¯theia (unconcealedness-concealedness of being) = open?
p 58 - “”For the animal is in relation to his circle of food, prey, and other animals of its own kind, and it is so in a way essentially different from the way the stone is related to the earth upon which it lies.”
p. 59 - The animal is at once open and not open—or, better, it is neither one nor the other: it is open in a nondisconcealment that, on the one hand, captivates and dislocates it in its disinhibitor with unmatched vehemence, and, on the other, does not in any way disconceal as a being that thing that holds it so taken and absorbed.
Captivation: 1) spellbinding and intense openness; 2) closed in a total opacity, not capable of disconcealing its own disinhibitor.
P.60 - The animal cannot comport itself toward the not open; it remains excluded precisely from the essential domain of the conflict between disconcealment and concealment.
“the essence of life is accessible only through a destructive observation…life is a domain which
possesses a wealth of being-open, of which the human world may know nothing at all”
p.61 - “profound boredom” + animal captivation = enchantment-enchainment
P. 62 - Perhaps it is not the case that being and the human world have been presupposed in order then to reach the animal by means of subtraction—that is, by a “destructive observation”; perhaps the contrary is also, and even more, true, that is, that the openness of the human world (insofar as it is also and primarily an openness to the essential conflict between disconcealment and concealment) can be achieved only by means of an operation enacted upon the not-open of the animal world.
N14 Profound Boredom
Boredom is the desire for happiness left in its pure state. —Giacomo Leopardi
Attunement— that is, the fundamental manner in which Dasein is always already predisposed.
3 types of boredom:
1) being left-empty;
2) being-held-in-suspense, abandoned in emptiness - when we’re bound to something boring; beings in their totality are indifferent;
3) Profound boredom
Boredom = close proximity to animal captivation.
P.66 - brachliegen - “to lie inactive”, the field that is left unworked in order to be planted the following year
p. 67 - potentiality, possibilities and Dasein.
p.68 - In captivation the animal was in an immediate relation with its disinhibitor, exposed to and stunned by it, yet in such a way that the disinhibitor could never be revealed as such. What the animal is precisely unable to do is suspend and deactivate its relationship with the ring of its specific disinhibitors.
the Lichtung (clearing, animal captivation) truly is a lucus a non lucendo: the openness at stake in it is essentially the openness to a closedness, and whoever looks in the open sees only a closing,
only a not-seeing.
P. 69 - Concealedness: who does the concealing and how it takes place, when and where and for whom concealment exists, all that remains undetermined.
undisconcealedness = the not-open of the animal.
unconcealedness / concealedness, disconcealment / concealment
P. 70 - From the beginning, being is traversed by the nothing; the Lichtung is also originarily Nichtung, because the world has become open for man only through the interruption and nihilation
of the living being’s relationship with its disinhibitor.
Dasein is simply an animal that has learned to become bored; it has awakened from its own captivation to its own captivation. This awakening of the living being to its own being-captivated, this anxious and resolute opening to a notopen, is the human.
Under particular circumstances, like those which man creates in laboratories, the animal can effectively suspend its immediate relationship with its environment, without, however, either ceasing to be an animal or becoming human. Perhaps the tick in the Rostock laboratory guards a mystery of the “simply living being,” which neither Uexküll nor Heidegger was prepared to confront.
N15 World and Earth.
The relation between man and animal, between world and environment - issue of the work of art (Heidegger). Dialectic between openness and closeness.
The stone is wordless.
P. 72 - The reciprocal opposition of world and earth is strife.
Strife - the opponents raise each other into the self-assertion [Selbstbehauptung] of their essence. The self-assertion of essence, however, is never a rigid insistence upon some contingent state, but surrender to the concealed originality of the provenance of one’s own being.
For Heidegger a political paradigm (indeed the political paradigm par excellence) is at stake in the
dialectic between concealedness and unconcealedness.
P. 73 - The ontological paradigm of truth as the conflict between concealedness and unconcealedness is, in Heidegger, immediately and originarily a political paradigm.
Heidegger’s reproach of metaphysics.
If humanity has been obtained only through a suspension of animality, and must thus keep itself open to the closedness of animality, in what sense does Heidegger’s attempt to grasp the “existing
essence of man” escape the metaphysical primacy of animalitas?
Men are animals, some of whom raise their own kind. —Peter Sloterdijk
Heidegger was the last to believe that the anthropological machine could still produce history and destiny for a people (it was his error).
Now it’s evident there are no historical tasks in men.
P. 76 - Hegelo-Kojevian idea of the end of history: man has now reached his historical telos and, for a humanity that has become animal again, there is nothing left but the depoliticization of human societies by means of the unconditioned unfolding of the oikonomia, or the taking on of biological life itself as the supreme political (or rather impolitical) task.
Natural life and well-being as task.
P. 77 - The only task that still seems to retain some seriousness is the assumption of the burden—and the “total management”— of biological life, that is, of the very animality of man.
Are we still human?
The total humanization of the animal coincides with a total animalization of man.
1. Anthropogenesis is what results from the caesura and articulation between human and animal.
2. Ontology (first philosophy) - the fundamental operation in which anthropogenesis, the becoming human of the living being, is realized.
3. Being, world, and the open: interruption and capture of the living being’s relationship with its disinhibitor. The open is nothing but a grasping of the animal not-open. Man suspends his animality, creates a free zone where life is captured.
4. Being is always already traversed by the nothing.
5. Decisive political conflict is between the animality and the humanity of man. That is to say, in its origin Western politics is also biopolitics.
6. Today the machine is idling (end of philosophy, the completion of the epochal destinations of being).
Two scenarios based on Heidegger’s perspective:
(a) posthistorical man no longer preserves his own animality as undisclosable, but rather seeks to take it on and govern it by means of technology;
(b) man, the shepherd of being, appropriates his own concealedness, his own animality, which neither remains hidden nor is made an object of mastery, but is thought as such, as pure abandonment.
All the enigmas of the world seem slight to us compared to the tiny secret of sex. —Michel Foucault
W.Benjamin - man, nature and history. The “saved night”.
P. 81 - The separation between nature and redemption is an ancient Gnostic motif.
P. 82 - Imperialists: the mastery of nature is the sense of all technology.
Technology is rather the mastery not of nature but mastery of the relation between nature and humanity. It is true that men as a species completed their evolution thousands of years ago; but humanity as a species is just beginning its.
What does “mastery of the relation between nature and humanity” mean?
Benjamin: “dialectic at a standstill”, the machine stopped.
Sexual fulfillment delivers the man from his mystery - the man is free to die because
his life has lost its mystery. He is reborn, the woman frees him from the ties to Mother Earth.
P. 87 - in this mutual disenchantment from their secret, they enter, just as in Benjamin’s aphorism, a new and more blessed life, one that is neither animal nor human.
Titian has created “a realm in which to reflect on the relationship between body and spirit” (Dundas)
N20 Outside of Being
Esotericism means: the articulation of modalities of non-knowledge. —Furio Jesi
2 century AD: Gnostic Basilides, exegesis of the Gospels.
God will bring on the whole world the great ignorance, so that every creature may remain in its natural condition [kata physin] and none desire anything contrary to its nature.
P.90 - darkness and light, matter and spirit, animal life and logos (the articulation of which in the anthropological machine produced the human) are separated forever. But not in order to close themselves in a more impenetrable mystery; rather, to liberate their own truer nature.
It surely “does not see the open,” in the sense that it does not appropriate it as an instrument of mastery and knowledge; but neither does it remain simply closed in its own captivation.
in-gnosco = “to forgive”
P.91 - Heidegger’s ontology: letting be. In what way can man let the animal, upon whose suspension the world is held open, be? - To let the animal be would mean: to let it be outside of being.
P. 92 - Once again, the solution of the mysterium coniunctionis by which the human has been produced passes through an unprecedented inquiry into the practico-political mystery of separation.
p.3 - address the geological reformation of the human species
What does it mean for art to encounter the Anthropocene?
If art is now a practice condemned to a homolithic earth—that is, to a world “going to pieces” as the literal sediment of human activity—how can aesthetic practices address the social and political spheres that are being set in stone?
Addressing the geological reformation of the human species.
It is not from some desire to add another conjunctive term to the growing literature on the Anthropocene that we turn to art; rather, art, as the vehicle of aesthesis, is central to thinking with and feeling through the Anthropocene. Inherent relation between the two.
1) Anthropocene is primarily a sensorial phenomenon: the experience of living in an increasingly diminished and toxic world;
2) Anthropocene has frequently been framed through modes of the visual;
3) Art provides a polyarchic site of experimentation for “living in a damaged world”.
Anna Tsing: non-moral form of address that offers a range of discursive, visual, and sensual strategies that are not confined by the regimes of scientific objectivity, political moralism, or psychological depression.
2002 - term of anthropocene coined by Paul J. Crutzen.
2007 - Jan Zalasiewicz proposes a review of the term.
1) the rise of agriculture and attendant deforestation;
2) the extraction of coal, oil, and gas, and their atmospheric consequences;
3) the combustion of carbon-based fuels and emissions;
4) coral reef loss; ocean acidification;
5) soil degradation;
6) a rate of life-form extinction occurring at thousands of times higher than throughout most of the last half-billion years;
7) a rate of human propagation
p.4 From geologist point of view, Anthropocene is still in the making.
Three dominant positions now shape the geological debate:
1) William Ruddiman: since the most recent ice age
2) Crutzen: 1789, steam engine, Kant’s “Copernican Revolution”
3) 1945, atomic bombing of Japan (“Great Acceleration”)
Catastrophy = general equivalents of exchange.
Considerations of arrival and departure.
p. 6- Four especially intense trajectories of the Anthropocene:
1) “Extrapolations Beyond Geology” (concerns other intellectual orbits well beyond stratigraphy and geology)
2) “Spatial Politics to Contested Territories” (narrate some of the critical transformations within the field of aesthetics)
3) “Numeracy and the Survival of Worlds”
4) what imaginaries might be possible under the sign of the Anthropocene? -> propositional itinerary, accompanied by some preliminary heuristics, for encountering art in the Anthropocene.
1) “Extrapolations Beyond Geology”
Anthropocene : a call to re-imagine the human through biology and geology.
A. beckons environmental justice thinking.
A need to think through the interconnections and interactions of [climate change and the so-called Sixth Extinction] in conjunction with political economic logics and their attendant debts to the future.
p.7 These effects derive from a particular nexus of epistemic, technological, social, and political economic coalescences figured in the contemporary reality of petrocapitalism.
Capitalocene - (Donna Haraway) voracious political economic system that knows no bounds, one where human lives, the lives of other creatures, and the beauty and wealth of the earth itself are figured as mere resources and externalities. “Profit above all else” - the most destructive force the world has ever seen.
The asymmetrical power relations have resulted in the massive transformation of the Earth through industrialized agriculture, resource extraction, energy production, and petrochemicals.
P. 8 - “Technosphere” (Jean-Luc Nancy and Peter Sloterdijk). “Eurocene.” (colonial implications - Plantationocene).
1610 (the “Orbis Spike”) - Columbus discovery of America, largest population replacement.
The Anthropocene, by this dating, is thus the era of colonial genocide.
Sara Ahmed : “white men as buildings”.
Argument: Anthropocene - teleological fact implicating all humans as equally culpable for the current socio-economic, ecological, and political state of the world VS“ecological imagination”.
P.9 - Chthulucene (Haraway).
Anthropocene is not merely descriptive; it is a social imaginary that has exceeded its intended categorization and whose parameters delimit ways of thinking about the world well beyond the confines of geo-scientific debate.
Bruno Latour: “Let’s limit the numbers of things that you can attribute to capitalism and let’s distribute them and see what’s actually happening”.
Environmental crisis: Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The “environment” can never be assumed as a universal sign: multitude of agendas of petrocapitalism.
Amy Balkin: aesthetic of smog
Pinar Yoldas: bio-futures
P.10 - “Earth System governance”
Maurizio Lazzarato: “The state is no longer able to represent the general interest; on the contrary, it is radically subordinated to financial logic, functioning as a component part of its mechanisms.”
Coordinated extermination of difference in the name of the “general equivalence” of profit that retains the name “civilization”.
Baudrillard: human species are capable of enduring the aggregated outcomes of human activity.
P.11 - The Anthropocene can be framed as the global condition of being born into a world that no longer exists - We are all “being overtaken by processes that are unmaking the world that any of us ever knew”.
Edward Burtynksy and Vincent Laforet: industrial photographs.
The Anthropocene is so built in to our senses that it determines our perceptions, hence it is aesthetic.
Susan Sontag presciently warned: “Shock can become familiar. Shock can wear off.”
P. 12 -
The Anthropocene has altered the terms and parameters of perception itself.
It is not just the number of species that are being reduced, but entire ways of feeling, thinking, acting, and being.
Ursula Biemann examines the “specific material-mental configuration” of metachemistry along the Nile that opens up new connections, times, and perceptions within the mediatized spaces of the Anthropocene.
Time is central to the conceptualization of the Anthropocene, for it forces evolutionary and geological considerations into Western thought.
Smailbegović: “many of the temporalities that are relevant for developing a politics of time in the Anthropocene may not be directly available to the human sensorium”.
Time is written into our bodies, composing the relations we have to all the other things around us.
Umwelt, a concept proposed by Jakob von Uexküll, affords us the possibility of opening up and onto the life worlds of other species. Meta-species thinking—exposing the interconnections, while allowing other animals to come to the fore.
Umwelt ("self-centered world”) - biological foundations that lie at the very epicenter of the study of both communication and signification in the human [and non-human] animal. Uexküll theorised that organisms can have different umwelten, even though they share the same environment.
Terike Haapoja and Laura Gustafsson’s “A History According to Cattle” and Ho Tzu Nyen’s “We’re Tigers”.
From Spatial Politics to Contested Territories
p.13 - Gallery -> everyday life
Rosalyn Deutsche: Urban space is the product of conflict.
Lucy Lippard: 60-70’s “number shows” - interactivity between human settlements, resource areas, conceptual frames, and feminist practices.
Center for Land Use Interpretation,
Mary Mattingly: studio -> landfill
Vincent Normand’s essay “In the Planetarium”: the museum as “an imminent entity in the anthropological matrix of modernity, inseparable from its dynamic lines of transfer between subjects and objects, purification and hybridization.”
Ida Soulard and Fabien Giraud: new modes of navigation and new vehicles for inquiry.
P. 15 - Surveillance and control: In the twenty-first century, the spatial enframing of the Earth as “resource” is also complicated by the proliferation and ubiquity of communication technologies.
Trevor Paglen’s landscape photography of military black sites
Cartographic work of Paglen’s predecessor Mark Lombardi.
Art in the Anthropocene is a definitive recognition that what we are here calling “art” is produced according to an “internal” logic of lineages and referents, but also by way of innumerable external social pressures, technical innovations, and geopolitical transformations that also shape the spatial tactics and operative strategies of contemporary art practice.
“Art” -> outside (printed matter).
60-70’s. Zone Books.
Art at the end of the twentieth century moved increasingly away from deconstruction and psychoanalysis toward an open field of naturecultures, infrastructure assemblages, and other newly contested territories.
Zone 1|2: The Contemporary City, Zone 6: Incorporations.
Eyal Weizman: pushing questions of spatial politics conceptual terrain of evidence production, forensic aesthetics, and remote-sensing and satellite imagery within the context of various modes of violence.
Sensible Politics: The Visual Culture of Nongovernmental Activism: brought together questions of visual culture in the context of activist practice and political struggle.
Further break apart categories and disciplines, looking more attentively for what works than for what it means.
Paul Edwards: transfer of technologies from the military to the world of civilian and commercial operations.
Joshua Clover and Juliana Spahr: #misanthropocene
Numeracy and the Survival of Worlds
Within the global political economy, numeracy has become an increasingly valuable form of knowledge.
The present/future is increasingly represented as a long string of numbers.
To Our Friends, The Invisible Committee: “At the apex of his insanity, Man has even proclaimed himself a “geological force”.
P.17 - Can we be so sure that the scientific study of climate change is a mode of excluding the “sensible experiences” of the birds, insects, and plants that confirm, at least to these authors, that changes are really happening?
Science = formalization of communities of sense experience. “synthetic situation”
On the other hand, scientific objectivity is patterned and animated by subjective, affective structures of perception.
P.18 - Peter Galison: technologies of the self - > subjectivity.
Shiv Visvanathan: numeracy is a critical element of contemporary social emancipation.
Numeracy is the ability to see discrete entities in a connected whole or continuum.
Deficiencies that can create survival problems:
1) inability to see discreteness in continuity;
2) to see only discreteness and not to perceive the continuum at all
‘Time is an essential constituent of numeracy, in fact time is the prime numeraire.’
Understanding numbers in this view has a close affinity with struggle and a sensitivity to suffering.
Boaventura de Sousa Santos, João Arriscado Nunes, and Maria Paula Meneses:
The ecology of knowledges - an invitation to the promotion of non-relativistic dialogues among knowledges.
P.19 - pragmatism: The very action of knowing, as pragmatist philosophers have repeatedly reminded us, is an intervention in the world, which places us within it as active contributors to its making.
A revolutionary perspective no longer focuses on an institutional reorganization of society, but on the technical configurations of worlds.
Numeracy’s possible trajectory - recognition of the limitations of continuity.
Open revolt as a scientific model.
Naomi Klein: resistance — movements of ‘people or groups of people’ who ‘adopt a certain set of dynamics that [do] not fit within the capitalist culture.’
Reimagining revolutionary subjectivization in the context of our geological reformation.
Futures Worth Imagining
William S. Burroughs: “A government is never more dangerous than when embarking on a self-defeating or downright suicidal course.”
P.20 - Illana Halperin makes this clear: we’ve been full of geology all along and we couldn’t have it any other way, even if we wanted to.
McKenzie Wark - Anthopocene = geology.
Deleuze: There is no more a method for learning than there is a method for finding treasures, but a violent training, a paideia, which affects the entire individual.
The Anthropocene does not mean we are merely “all in it together”; we are in it inasmuch as it is in us, this geological reformation, through our shared separation. Art is not a palliative mode of reconciliation. We are not free, as we like to think, but lost.
We like to think that Anthropos is merely a place-holder, whose substantive articulation is held in abeyance and articulated by the work of the work of art.
Kairos - the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment). Kairos -> <- chronos.
John Paul Ricco, The Decision Between Us: Sharing in separation is the praxis of coexistence—of being-together.
P. 22 - Raqs Media Collective: Without a recalibration of the senses, we cannot conceive of another mode of production, another set of social relations, another ethic of husbandry between ourselves and the earth.
The world is all, that is the case.
p.268 - Polymath scientist Dr Daniel Barker, ejected from NASA under dubious circumstances,
is called out of retirement to assemble a crack team of specialists
(mathematician, cryptographer, cartographer, psychoanalyst, environmental
chemist) after an apparently commonplace homicide investigation opens
up wider and deeper complicities—firstly with the financial meshwork that,
beneath the everyday surface of capitalism, grotesquely binds together coltan
mines, art auctions, pork futures, and arms deals; and subsequently with the
history of modernity and its petroleum-lubricated time-travelling relationship
to the physical history of the planet, the sun, and the universe beyond. These
genre devices give the work a performative relation to the complex concept of
‘plot’—as a narrative thread and as a tract of space separated for a specific
work, but which retains unknown complicities with its original matrix.
The investigators’ forensic analyses take them back and forth across the
surface of the earth, to interrogate protagonists and suspects not limited to
human beings but also including built structures and synthetic objects which
must be coaxed into ‘speaking’.
Still keep on finding the sketches I made last year during our trip to Urbino! Here's a new batch.