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 lids. #ॐ