Visited the Independent Art Book Fair and had a pleasant chat with Iina Esko at the Khaos publishing stand. Also visited the Printed Matter Fair from where I bought Communism for Kids (2017) by Bini Adamczak and What is Landscape (2015) by John R. Stilgoe (which I seriously regret). I preferred the Independent Art Book Fair, it was less crowded and I could actually engage with people. Printed Matter was jam-packed. They also presented a “Zine museum” which felt like a stab to the chest, when presented in the same setting as a Gagosian gallery pop-up book-space.
Mansplaining is a matter of aesthetics. #ॐ
Timo Bredenberg is organizing a solo-exhibition called “Notworking” in Tampere, which opens next month. The exhibition investigates the material and ideological basin of network society and studies the trajectory of techno-utopian development, through the lens of smart-devices that will be stuck on earth after humans and forced to find a new meaning for their existence.
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 about having access to forums were futures are being decided.
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.
A Brief History of Electric Guitar Distortion (2018) Polyphonic. A good overview on how poor sound quality became perceived as rich. It’s interesting think about the link blues has with noise. Blues and jazz were considered noisy in their time but eventually they were perceived as elegant and clean. At some point the instruments were removed and we were left with just noise (amps, mixers and pedals). It’s a pity that grooves and noise were separated.
Luckily I was introduced to Clipping whos earlier work like midcity (2013) re-fuze noise with rap (it can be downloaded for free!). Songs like bullshit (2013) and their later work merge noise with grooves, which seems like a positively disruptive development.
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.
The Aesthetic (2018) ContraPoints. An entertaining essay on the logic how gender is performed and how looks matter. Maeby a tad too fast for me.