20180923

I really believe this city is teaching me something. It works on me, my views on independence, freedom and collaboration are being altered by this place. In New York freedom is the right to express yourself and move without interference, in Helsinki freedom is having an access to forums were futures are being envisioned.

A Feminist Counterapocalypse (2018) Joanna Zylinska. The text frames Judith Butler as a posthumanist (We suspected this with Pietari)! It gives a great overview to Anna Tsing’s thinking and provides a framework for further developing the happy degrowth movement or a #deathhack cult. More Anna Tsing on Landscapes (2016) Anthropod podcast.

I want to outline an alternative microvision: the prospect of a feminist counterapocalypse that takes seriously the geopolitical unfoldings on our planet while also rethinking our relations to and with it precisely as relations.

Recognizing that we are of the world, it also presents instances of differentiation between subjects and objects as ethico-political tasks for the human. These tasks involve having to account for asymmetries of relations, making “agential cuts” to the arrangements of the world, and trying to establish better—that is, fairer and more just—relations

The denial of precarity leads to the drawing of various lines of differentiation such as gender, race, class, or bodily ability. Levinas’s ethics, and Butler’s reworking of it, is no doubt humanist in that it adopts the human figure and voice as articulators of an ethical demand. Yet it also lends itself to a posthumanist opening because it poses a radical challenge to the self-sufficient and self-centered subject of moral theory. In the ethics of responsibility toward the alterity of the Other, the moral subject is always already exposed, invaded, or, to use Tsing’s phrase, contaminated. “Self-contained individuals,” argues Tsing, are in turn “not transformed by encounter. Maximizing their interests, they use encounters—but remain unchanged in them.”

Learning the lesson of “collaborative survival” in precarious times from the matsutake mushroom, she argues that “staying alive—for every species—requires livable collaborations. Collaboration means working across difference, which leads to contamination. Without collaborations, we all die.”

The feminist counterapocalyptic framework creates a space for an ethical opening onto the precarious lives and bodies of human and nonhuman others—including the male bodies and minds that have been discarded in the downsizing process of disruptive semiocapitalism.

20180920

Tested the new WordPress Gutenberg editor. It didn’t work for me. I couldn’t add links as fluently as I like and the block-structure felt awkward considering backward compatibility. It’ll be a the default in the next major release. I fear that when it comes I’ll have to update my website in some major way.

An extract from “Lovecraft : A Study in the Fantastic. Detroit: Wayne State University” (1988) by Maurice Levy.

All my stories are based on the fundamental premise that common human laws and interests and emotions have no validity or significance in the vast cosmos-at-large. […] To achieve the essence of real externality, whether of time or space or dimension, one must forget that such things as good and evil, love and hate, and all such local attributes of a negligible and temporary race called mankind, have any existence at all. – H.C Lovecraft

A very cynical view (he called it “cosmic indifferentism”). I’m beginning to doubt Lovecraft as an informant in posthumanistic affairs (yet there is an appeal it this coarseness).

I’m struggling my way through The Mountain of Madness (1931). It starts almost as an action story. It’s about a group of geologists exploring the arctic and discovering strange creatures and later a city of “the old ones”. The story plays with the concept of post-truth… The beginning is narrated largely in the form of radio dispatches, that he exposition crew sends from the antarctic (there is even a reference to post-truths’ in the first chapter).

In the beginning there are also very beautiful descriptions of fossils. The structure of the book (every chapter starts by recapping the highlights of the previous) works great for contemporary readers (on a mobile phone, in between replying to emails). The structures and buildings the expedition discover in the antarctic make me think about New York City.

There were composite cones and pyramids either alone or surmounting cylinders or cubes or flatter truncated cones and pyramids, and occasional needle-like spires in curious clusters of five. All of these febrile structures seemed knit together by tubular bridges crossing from one to the other at various dizzy heights, and the implied scale of the whole was terrifying and oppressive in its sheer gigantism.

The way he writes about the culture of the “old ones” makes me wonder how he thought about the Indigenous peoples of the America. The story tells that long ago, someone else (the entities that have a right to the land) knew something we can’t grasp. I don’t know if he’s paying homage or what.. But he is truly scared. The artworks and architecture discovered in the city are described meticulously. Chapters 5&6 are borderline boring but it’s interesting to envision artworks through the descriptions. This could be a method to manufacture public art in the future.

20180918

A art-critical/pedagogical practice with teenagers: School of Performance (1995) Avdej Ter-Oganian.

Received my copy of Malfeasance – Appropriation Through Pollution? (2011) Michel Serres. I dislike his etymological, latently nostalgic word games. He adores a reality that remains inaccessible for non-germanic folk (this statement is best exemplified by a cry on pg. 55. “Old Europe, what ignorant ruling class is killing you?”). But I like the coarse tone of the book. He argues that human cruelty is derived from the cruelty of our neighbouring animals and that a process in religious practices, which developed the concepts of afterlife and holy-land (sites that are not tainted by bodily impurities), were needed to produce a tangible, object-like earth for us to habit and study. Science is possible only through religious traditions.

Serres argues that people who seek to live without producing waste are modernity-producing-myth-reenactors. He argues that the founding myth of modernity is a story of a man who left his grave without leaving any waste behind: “[L]eaving no trace whatsoever that would allow us to infer a history”. This myth enforces the de-territorialization of localized cultures: Colonization of any-and-all terrain is possible only because there is a holy-land which lies beyond reach. “[O]ur being is not there” or even here, someone else will judge us – We are tenants of our bodies.

Current economic schemes which focus on intangible services and brands echo the same shift. This has a convenient impact on consumer culture: When we were branded clothes we get excused from the pollution these objects develop into. The objects are just on loan – This means that hiding a logo is a process of claiming responsibility over it.

Human misery marks the limit of possible life. Those who have a place have. Those who have no place have nothing, strictly speaking. Do they exist? They have fallen below the level of animals. (pg.12)’

I don’t agree with his view that “our appliances rig out the organs of our bodies”. I believe the body has the potential to change and the potential to develop into something else then flesh-defined, which has other then personal desires. For me “exo-darwinism” in development can result to altruism. Serres points out that “since the emergence of blacksmiths” we have know that, the stuff we produce taints the world and destroys habitats. Our understanding of the anthropocene is not new. We know that we are wasteful and do it anyway. He argues that we cause pollution to keep the nature at bay, to kill tigers. I wrote something similar in 2016 “Zoos provide us an opportunity to approach animals rationally”.

[…] sewers, garbage barges, factories. and loudspeakers can be thought of as orifices, pores, mouths, anuses. […] Our species wins out and becomes the master and possessor of nature. (pg.40)

The text might offer me some tools to develop a “performance architectural” / postricturalistic analysis of build environments too. Serres talks about language as a maze, which locks subjects inside it using prepositions (in, for, to, from). These spaces (made of prepositions!) pit us against each other by creating categories of subject/object. Prepositions feel like a great route for developing and understanding of text as space / space as text!

[…] this is how the walls of a dwelling or the partitions of a room function. (pg. 44)

Serres claims that e-waist is send intentionally to “the mangroves of poor countries” to cause disarray and recolonize these sites and that we should see advertisement selling e-goods as exactly the same waste. He continues that mass-media (facebook etc.) makes it impossible to talk to out neighbours (by monopolizing communications): Streams of noisy information appropriate all possible relations, everywhere.

Spatial expansion is becoming total. (pg. 52)

Pollution should be addressed simultaneously as a hard substance and a soft coercive substance. The division between hard and soft pollution (ie. e-waste and e-good advertisement) is superficial: Both manifest the same desire. He does not want to separate nature from culture? Because of pollution “We can no longer enclose a piece of land”. Pollution makes it possible for us to envision collaborations without a need for nationstates!

Consequently pollution, both hard and soft, signs its will to power, its desire to expand spatially – yes, the war of all against all. (pg.68)

Serres believes that we have reached an impasse. Wars are over because there is no space to fight over, our war against the world is at its end. He believes that humans can and will destroy every other species. He does not believe that new species will emerge from pollution.

The war against the world replaces, integrates, summons, adds . . . and terminates all the wars among men. Peace with the world requires peace between men.

Idea: Make waffles out of plastic by melting milk jug can lids. #ॐ