20180310

On route to Vyborg by invitation of Miina Hujala & Arttu Merimaa. Learning about Ruinenwert (it’s in a troubling relationship to Deep time Marxism). Reading The Value of Ruins: Allegories of Destruction in Benjamin and Speer (2003) Naomi Stead.

The article made me think that the slogan “Personal is Political” is in a problematic relationship to fascism (or totalitarianism): “Personal is political” approaches endorse the aestheticization of the shared political realm (because opinions and positions become public primarily through acts of personal expression). The text made me also think that framing household chores as a form of labor was a bad move.. Where can we live if everything is work? When our imagination is forced to serve politics we lose our freedom. #ॐ

[…] that the ruin is not simply the remnant left over when monumentality has withered away, and that ruination does not necessarily entail a loss, but rather a shift in the meaning and monumentality of architecture.

A new aesthetic, or more pointedly a subversion of aesthetics, is unveiled by the arbitrary processes of decay. In the dialectical image is also revealed the new ways of seeing produced by new technologies and materials. For Benjamin, it is through such violence that the present can be revealed to itself. Speer’s concern, however, is not for a specific and fleeting ‘now’, but for atemporality. The sudden presence of the present, glimpsed in the rusting reinforcing rods, is for him an unwelcome excision and framing of a moment from within a temporal continuum. Speer thus unwittingly reveals a truth crucial also to Benjamin – the temporality of a ruin is produced not only by the means of its destruction, but its original construction as well.

‘Allegories are, in the realm of thoughts, what ruins are in the realm of things’, he writes. Benjamin describes allegory as a form that has been progressively marginalised by the hegemony of beauty within aesthetics, an ascendancy exemplified in the aesthetic symbol.

Benjamin sees the allegorical sensibility as a means to defeat the totalising aims of symbolism; with its emphasis on transience, specificity, and the contingent world of lived experience, allegory provides a means to represent the frailty and finitude of human life.

[S]ince [Speers] ruins are designed to ‘inspire’ subjects a thousand years in the future with the same aesthetic affect he admires in the present, they are predicated on the belief that the citizens of the future will be no different from those of his own time. Tradition, for him, is based on conservation, on the perpetuation of an unchanging ideal. Benjamin’s understanding of historical subjectivity departs radically from Speer’s positivist, teleological view of history as continuous progress: the ‘allegorical mode’ allows him to express ‘the experience of a world in fragments in which the passing of time means not progress but disintegration.’

Given Benjamin’s ambivalent attitude towards destruction, there is some room for interpretation as to whether he regards the ‘destructive character’ as the positive instrument of divine violence, or some darker force. Is Speer the destructive character, or is the allegorist – read Benjamin – himself? The answer lies in the fact that for Benjamin destruction is never an end in itself, it is only ever a process required to free history from accretions of tradition and mythology.

Benjamin’s understanding of allegory as a critical strategy, a means of undermining or corrupting established traditions from within, lends it a crucial significance both to his philosophy of history and his critique of the aestheticisation of politics.

[…] Speer’s use of the ruin is ‘symbolic’ in that it aspires to the idealised, atemporal totality characteristic of Nazi Neo-Classical architecture. Allegory, for Benjamin, is not only counteraesthetic, but a counter to aesthetics and therein lies its particular strength in opposition to the ‘aestheticisation of politics’ he identified as a key characteristic of fascism.

For Benjamin, it is through the suddenness and shock of destruction that the subject emerges from the ‘dream’ of tradition and into modern life in the present. The stripping away of the ‘traces’ of tradition, the removal of ‘aura’, the sudden shock of awakening, all aspire, in Benjamin’s conception, to the emancipated state of the ‘new poverty’, where illusions are abandoned and the subject is presented to itself in the present. Ruin, both as verb and noun, process and object, thus exemplifies a mode of working and a field of possibilities for historical materialism.

The process of ruination can be applied equally to the conceptual and to the objective world. This is the true meaning of Benjamin’s statement that ‘[a]llegories are, in the realm of thoughts, what ruins are in the realm of things’: criticism in the name of allegory is a process of conceptually ‘ruining’ the structures of affirmative argument and then of working through the [Are white tea-cups with putin prints criticism?]

20171227

Kettlebell History Goes Back Much Further Than Russia (2016) Nick English.

In 1981, The Official Kettlebell Commission was formed [USSR], which advocated (but didn’t enforce) mandatory kettlebell training for all workers.

Felkar more or less agrees that Pavel’s marketing was extremely influential in spreading kettlebells as a fitness tool. She likens him to Eugen Sandow: he wasn’t the first guy to excel at bodybuilding, but he was a marketing genius who lay a lot of the groundwork for today’s world.

A civil servant missing most of his brain challenges our most basic theories of consciousness (2016) Olivia Goldhill.

Darwin Grosse’s Art + Music + Technology feels like an interesting podcast series. Listened to the chat with Michael Hetrick. Fun and nerdy.

Guerrilla Public Service Redux (~ 2017) a happy story of artist Richard Ankrom’s infra-art activities from 2001. A positive narrative. The same strategies of using uniforms to disguise guerrilla actions are still actively used.

Deep Decay – Into Diachronic Polychromatic Material Fictions (2017) Andy Weir. A difficult but informative text. Deep time Marxism feels like a fresh and fun approach/addition to the discussion. I should continue making melancholic downbeat electro (I’m dreaming of a drum machine).

As philosopher Ben Woodard has pointed out, the radical futurity invoked by the eco-crisis remains largely wedded to an anthropocentric horizon—understood in terms of “our children” and future generations. The deep geological repository, however, embodies not only a call to future generations, captured as a narrative of protection in the film [Into Eternity (2010)], but also a more radical confrontation with the death of human thought, and so its contingency alongside nuclear timescales.

If the more radical futurity of the eco crisis, alluded to by Woodard, can be understood as the further and scientific removal of the human from the centre of the universe, then the deep geological repository registers and deepens this germ of trauma.

The deep geological repository, as site of activity and its operational conditions, presents a specific kind of problem, one that necessitates what Jussi Parikka has called for in a media archaeology that he aligns with art practice, “the investigation of the mineral and substrate materialities as well as the materialities of production, management of global labour processes, and various other materialities that are always entangled”.

Art can be an experimental platform for building multiple “diachronic material fictions” that think the deep geological repository as futurology, excavating its political stake. From one perspective, this is important as artists are stakeholders in an ongoing industry consultation process, demanding critical reflection on what this could mean beyond the instrumentalisation of making seductively stunning images. From another perspective, our understanding of the “contemporary” of contemporary art is subject to traumatic reconfiguration, amplified alongside inhuman scale, refracted through multiple interface methods. Finally, developing the ideas of thinkers such as Parikka, who proposes “concrete and long-term investment in geological times of media as crucial for processes of subjectivation”, we can consider what it means to think production and circulation of these fictions as constitutive of radical, processes of subjectification, opened and cut across by deep time.

20170322

Submitted the terms deep time Marxism and the institutional horizon to the Bureau of Linguistical Reality database.

Work on the SOW: Blacksmith ed1 metadata is progressing steadily. I’m currently authoring a .csv table with descriptions, filenames, tags etc. for freesound.org. The work is very tedious. The table has 324 rows (each with eight columns). Also added ID3v2.3.0 & RIFF INFO metadata to the files. Unfortunately I couldn’t sync the data automatically so the details are a bit different between the .csv and the metadata embedded into the files. Got the Sound of Work: Blacksmith edition 1 webpage on Ore.e Ref. site ready. Prepared a collection of one shot sounds for Kristian, so that we can start rehearsing with them.

20160831

Found a clever song by Kids Without Instruments “Fossils”  from 2014.

Someday we’ll turn into dust
Places we used to love will be rust
In another life I won’t know your name
In another life things won’t be the same

The song motivates me to continue working on making the concept of Deep time Marxisim audible. I stumbled to the song via FrankJavCee’s youtube channel. He has also made an interesting video on the History of Muzak. His channel reminds me on Hennessy Youngman videos.

Applied for the The Young Artist Grant. I’m feeling lucky with my grant game.