20200803

The world is a tea: The taste of water is the taste of the world. #ॐ

Digging Onyx Ashanti’s 2019 presentation for Eyeo festival. He wants to turn computerizing into a spatial and temporal activity. As an interface he focuses on hands, because “they do stuff before asking the brain”. He echoes a believe that humans can be programmed trough the hand-interface: The tools we use shape the way we think. I believe there is truth to this. I feel rejuvenated after working with crafts projects or construction. I think writing is a development of our desire to do thinking with our hands. Ashanti’s interest on hands has a solid connection to Tetsuo Kogawa/mini-FM transmitter stuff (mentioned earlier) as both artists are using gesture-based wireless systems.

LOW←TECH MAGAZINE is operated from a solar powered server. Access to the site is depended on weather! The design of site is perfect: Brutal and bandwidth efficient. The premise of the design is the same as with our Ore.e Ref. website (notes on the design here) but the LOW←TECH implementation of image dithering and coding optimization is way more advanced. Their design premise: “Default typeface / No logo” is elegant and they also offer “print-on-demand copies of the blog.”

The Internet is not an autonomous being. Its growing energy use is the consequence of actual decisions made by software developers, web designers, marketing departments, publishers and internet users. With a lightweight, off-the-grid solar-powered website, we want to show that other decisions can be made.

Installed an alternative firmware (Beta3) by Ralim to my ts80p soldering iron. Sending bug/testing notes to the [Long] TS80P Thread development channel. Soldering iron with an alternative firmware and a development community feels like the pinnacle of modernity.

Visited the Makamik squat for the Makamik-fest. The artist lineup was great and there were gigs and performances for three consecutive days. I heard a few gigs on Saturday and visited Salla Valle’s performance on Sunday. Valle worked outdoors and focused on smoke. She hid in the grass and send smoke signals by vaping, then she attempted to store smoke in jars (critique on live-art archivism?) and played a ringtone/mating call mixtape.

We had our final Achille Mbembe reading group session last week. The process was well organized and I enjoyed meeting new people. As a side quest, we met with the Helsinki based group, at the Malmi cemetery for a necro-touristic tour. I escorted folk to the pear-tree garden, a concrete-fence-stage and a relocated mass grave. The visit ended at the discarded gravestone disposal facility, where we saw old gravestones which had been grinded into rubble. Some fragments of letters and numbers could still be identified. The rubble pile felt like a monument and a very fitting summary for the Mbembe reading group sessions: Rubble mesh of identity signs which is used for construction and the underpayment of roads.

20200602

Started working at the Malmi cemetery. I’ll serve as a gardeners aid for two months. Manual labor. Its ten years since I had a punch-card (side)job. Colleagues lineup at the machine at 15:23 and wait for the clock. People rush in to meet the 06:59 punch-in que. Thursdays we get off at 14:53 and Fridays at 14:52. The odd schedules are due to the KIKY (economic competative ability contract?) which our previous shameful rightwing coalition government forced on working folk. People obey these schedules rigorously. Getting off a minute earlier gives a minute more time to be who you are.

Preparing texts, new mineral water works and Horse & Performance course for the autumn. There are some fun exhibition things scheduled too. After covid pressure, I have two-jobs pressure from where I jump to a teaching (and other) gigs pressure. Feels unfair. Got accepted to the Aalto University Doctoral Programme in Arts, Design and Architecture. Joined a Achille Mbembe reading group.

20200228

The Society of Enmity (2016) Achille Mbembe. A very broad and complicated text dealing with movement, (past&present) apartheid and death. The text introduces interesting concepts such as “algorithmic reason” and argues that the triumph of mass morality (social media?) is an emergence of fundamentalism which in itself is “no longer considered as antithetical to rational knowledge”. An other interesting concept is “Nanoracism” (or “pocket-knife racism”), a mollecular level technique for marginalizing others (trough personal martyrdom?). I also spotted a strong critique from the text: The re-emergence of racism in Europe is in fact a return to how things have always been. The text ends in a useful dismissal of the apocalypse.

Pushed to its logical conclusion, the phantasy of annihilation or destruction envisions not only the bombing of the planet, but also the disappearance of humans, their outright extinction. This is not an apocalypse as such, if only because the notion of the apocalypse presupposes the survival, somewhere, of a witness whose task it is to recount what they see. It is a form of annihilation conceived not as a catastrophe to be feared, but rather as a sort of act of purification by fire. However, it remains the case that this purification would be the same as an annihilation of present humanity. Such an act of annihilation is supposed to open the way to another beginning, the inception of another history without today’s humanity. It is, in this sense, a phantasy of ablation.

20190403

Necropolitics (2003) Achille Mbembe. We’ve cited this article in Trans-Horse texts, arguing that climate change should be approached as a weapon. When it is investigated as a weapon it seems to be used by those who deem themselves technologically advanced, against regions of the world deemed less developed. It is yielded collectively by masses of people who strive to express their personal freedom of choice. From this perspective “development” appears as an instrument for establishing regimes which favour hyper-individualism. This interpretation is strict but it makes the relations between polluters (the rich) and the other clear. Also, neutral concepts such as “carbon footprint” can be seen to be rooted on colonial thinking: “[…] colonial occupation entails first and foremost a division of space into compartments. It involves the setting of boundaries and internal frontiers epitomized by barracks and police stations; it is regulated by the language of pure force, immediate presence, and frequent and direct action; and it is premised on the principle of reciprocal exclusivity.”.

In the economy of biopower, the function of racism is to regulate the distribution of death and to make possible the murderous functions of the state. It is, he [Foucault] says, “the condition for the acceptability of putting to death.”

Foucault states clearly that the sovereign right to kill (droit de glaive) and the mechanisms of biopower are inscribed in the way all modern states function; indeed, they can be seen as constitutive elements of state power in modernity.

The writing of new spatial relations (territorialization) was, ultimately, tantamount to the production of boundaries and hierarchies, zones and enclaves; the subversion of existing property arrangements; the classification of people according to different categories; resource extraction; and, finally, the manufacturing of a large reservoir of cultural imaginaries. These imaginaries gave meaning to the enactment of differential rights to differing categories of people for different purposes within the same space; in brief, the exercise of sovereignty.

[…] colonial occupation entails first and foremost a division of space into compartments. It involves the setting of boundaries and internal frontiers epitomized by barracks and police stations; it is regulated by the language of pure force, immediate presence, and frequent and direct action; and it is premised on the principle of reciprocal exclusivity.

[…] body here becomes the very uniform of the martyr. But the body as such is not only an object to protect against danger and death. The body in itself has neither power nor value. The power and value of the body result from a process of abstraction based on the desire for eternity.

[…] under conditions of necropower, the lines between resistance and suicide, sacrifice and redemption, martyrdom and freedom are blurred.

The Necropolitics article is also useful for understanding what Mbembe is writing about in regards to afrofuturism. Achille Mbembe on Afrofuturism and the “Genealogies of the Object” (2016).

In rejecting humanism outright, Afrofuturism contends that humanism can only exist by relegating some other subject or entity (whether alive or not) to a merely mechanical status as object or accident.

If one wants to adequately grasp the contemporary condition–the Afrofuturists contend–one must do so from all the assemblages of human-objects and object-humans, for which, since the arrival of the modern era, the Black has been both prototype and prelude. For, once Blacks erupt onto the modern world scene, there is no longer a “human” who is not already enmeshed in the “non-human,” the “more than human,” the “beyond human,” or the “otherwise-than-human.”

[…] the Black embodies pure transformative potential through an almost infinite plasticity.

[…] the plantations of the New World would never have functioned without the large-scale utilization of these “creatures of the sun,” these African slaves. And even after the industrial revolution, these fossils, these human fossils, would continue to serve as coal for the production of energy, for the dynamic energy needed to transform the economy of the Earth System.

20180806

Bought a book by Michel Serres and started working on an application for the Doctoral Studies Programme in Artistic Research in Performing Arts at the Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki. I’ve written a 12 page research proposal called “Horse & Performance” (it’s taken me two-to-three weeks and I’m currently waiting for comments/guidance from friends). The English summary is the last part (I’m having trouble with it). Apparently I want to spy on people, talk to horses and ask them what they think about our perception of them.  I can’t read the the summary without giggling – Which has to be a good sign.

The “Horse & Performance” research investigates “what do we talk about, when we talk about horses” at Finnish horse-stables. The research is rooted on an ethnographic study which analyses how horse-hobbyist and professional construct the figure of the contemporary-horse. The ethnographic part of the research will focus on situations were people explain the animals behaviour trough unintentional utterance, murmured while working with them. I will also engage in an “performance architectural” analysis of the sites, where people meet with horses, trough which I will formulate an understanding on how particular sites (and particular technologies presented in them) affect our perception of the animal. The fieldwork will be contrasted to the work of artists and theorists who have contributed to the development of the “animal-turn”.

From these sources I will develop a set of post-humanistically geared exercises and grooming techniques, through which I will direct the question to the horses themselves and ask for their feedback. These exercises will be presented as public performances, organized in urban spaces. The feedback audiences provide will be used to further develop an understanding of the contemporary-horse. Performing publicly with an animals cause conflicts through which we can access views and assumptions people project on them. Techniques developed through this research, can be used to ask animals for feedback on how build environments should be organized. The research aims to advance the wellbeing of animals and to advocate ethical environmental design.

Here is a list of texts I refer in the full proposal:

  • Barad, Karen. 2003. Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter
  • Butler, Judith. 2015. Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly
  • Cull, Laura. 2012. Theatres of Immanence – Deleuze and the Ethics of Performance
  • Despret, Vinciane. 2016. What Would Animals Say If We Asked the Right Questions?
  • Haraway, Donna J. 2007. When Species Meet
  • Haraway, Donna J. 2013. SF: Science Fiction, Speculative Fabulation, String Figures, So Far.
  • Haraway, Donna. 2016. Staying with the Trouble: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene
  • Hribal, Jason. 2003. “Animals Are Part of the Working Class”: A Challenge to Labor History
  • Hribal, Jason. 2012. Animals are Part of the Working Class Reviewed
  • Ingold, Tim. 2011. The Perception of the Environment. Essays on Livelihood
  • Korhonen, Pauliina. 2014. Ratsastusreitit kaupunkialueella – Suunnitteluesimerkkinä Länsi-Vantaan ratsastusreitit
  • Leinonen, Riitta-Marja. 2013. Palvelijasta terapeutiksi – Ihmisen ja hevosen suhteen muuttuvat kulttuuriset mallit Suomessa
  • Mbembe, Achille. 2003. Necropolitics
  • Mitsuda, Tatsuya. 2007. Horse in European History 1550-1900
  • Kaimio, Tuire. 2004. Hevosen kanssa
  • Malm, Andreas. 2016. Fossil Capital – The rise of Steam-power and the Roots of Global Warming
  • Mejdell, Buvik, Jørgensen & Bøe. 2016. Horses can learn to use symbols to communicate their preferences
  • Morton, Timothy. 2017. Humankind
  • Ojanen, Karoliina. 2011. Tyttöjen toinen koti – Etnografinen tutkimus tyttökulttuurista ratsastustalleilla
  • Salminen, Antti & Vadén, Tere. 2016. Energia ja kokemus: Naftologinen essee
  • Serres, Michel. 2010. Malfeasance – Appropriation Through Pollution?
  • Schweder, Alex. 2011. Performance Architecture
  • Urry, John. 2004. The ‘System’ of Automobility
  • Weizman, Eyal. 2015. The Roundabout Revolutions
  • Weizman, Eyal. 2017. Hollow Land: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation
  • Wright, Stephen. 2014. Toward a Lexicon of Usership