Monday, 26 November 2012

local and global/ part 1

Lee has started writing his blog again.

There is an interesting post up there at the moment which touches on, amongst other things, the distinction between the local and the global.

This is a duality that I have found interesting for a long time. Really it's  a series of dualities.

I think first about the individual and the group. The political split that assigns primacy to the respective halves of that equation could be argued as being "first politics", and it is something that has troubled me for as long as I can remember. A while ago I was at a conference on Deleuze and the simple distinction was made (quoted?) that the right starts with the self and radiates out, while the left starts with the out and narrows down to the self. From here we can smoothly move to Identity Politics, the power games inherent in both (remember Adam Curtis's Century of The Self and the pivot point of Anti-Psychiatry and the distrust this provokes in other groups). Now we can think about how collective responsibility is frequently imposed from without that collective (See all instances of Communism realised as State Capitalism or secular feudalism) and the basic contradiction that Materialism is itself an Ideal.

I have been talking to Stuart Tait, of among other things, AAS Group, since Spring this year. These discussions has mainly focused on other related dualities, like that of the the artist and the audience, or the teacher and the student. What makes AAS a unique entity in my personal experience is a sincere and thorough approach to the flat plane of the collective. In a time where farcical and utterly insincere terms like "social engaged practice"(1), the still-born buzzword that never-was "Relational Aesthetics" and all variations on "collaboration" and "participation" are everywhere (2), it is refreshing to see a practice that is continually recalibrating itself in relation to its environment, including the allowing for the impact that it has on this environment. An so on and so on.

The point I would like to make about AAS is that it is significantly less formed, less formalised, less Idealised and more fluid, amorphous and molecular.

This is a collective that has no agenda other than to respond to situations. It makes no priority for presented situations which contain an audience (though it does sometimes perform in these situations) and can equally operate with only the four most constant parts present or with an expanded AAS with further additional parts.

The individual/collective and the local/global are both false distinctions, as Lee puts it here

"Decision making needs to ignore artificial borders and boundaries and simply treat humanity as an individual and a collective of individuals at the same time. "

Bruno Latour has talked about the false local/global distinction extensively.

"Is a railroad local or global? Neither. it is local at all points, since you always find sleepers and railroad workers, and you have stations and automatic ticket machines scattered along the way. Yet it is global, since it takes you form Madrid to Berlin or form Brest to Vladivostok. However it is not universal enough to take you just anywhere. However, it is not universal enough to take you just anywhere. it is impossible to reach the little Auvergnat village of Malpy by train, or the little Staffordshire village of Market Drayton. There are continuous paths that lead form the local to the global, the the circumstantial to the universal, from the contingent to the necessary, only so long as the branch lines are paid for."
Latour - We Have Never Been Modern - Harvard - 1993

There is no real duality in Latour model. Networks, which for Latour everything is a part of are always a monsterous mixture of the local and the global, of the immanent and the transcendental. The local of Cardiff is threaded to the global of Biennales, they can't be separated.

So the issue here for me is how can, for example, art, negotiate this singularity? The first point would be that there is no isolated entity called "art".

Much of the defined art discourse and art practice focuses on a sphere that it positions directly in front of itself. That is to say, an agreed territory of what art is about. A week or so ago I had an interesting conversation with Adam Sutherland of Grizedale (3) on how to move art from the position it has occupied for the past 200 or so years, namely the segregated self-fascination best demonstrated by the Romantic era, and redefine it as a thing of use which is connected to all other things.

My position on this has been pretty stable for the past few years; art rarely engages with anything in any manner other than appropriation and (Capitalist) detournement. The Grizedale stance is that art has been about itself. I would argue that this is not even the case. Some art is explicitly about it's own production, and much if not most, is built upon knowledge of and delicate deviations from it's own (historical/theoretical) narrative (4) this is true. However art rarely, if ever, engages with its material self. This is why I say that it is concerned with a sphere just in front of it, because the real practicalities of networking, form filling, strategic compromise, the great unspoken of artist's labour value, of fees, of careers, is left off the table.

Grizedale and Marcus Coate's current exhibition at The Jerwood Space in Borough is an exception. 

At times, these domestic issues of art reality do surface within work, but in my experience these mostly retain the distancing effect of performance, frequently through irony. It is like a partial, Kippenburgerian disclose.

1. As though any practice is not "socially engaged". As though "socially engaged" was categorically superior to an other that is not. As though "socially engaged" means anything than a patronising late-90s style aesthetic of usefulness. As though "socially engaged" means anything other than prepared and equipped to exploit the most vulnerable and extract the state resources allocated to them.  

2. These terms, and the practices which drift between them frequently share an approach to the collective which is comparable to State Capitalism. The artist or artist group or curator engineers a situation for "participants" to engage, frequently with each other in an imitation of a flat structure.  The artist, as shepherd may stay outside of this structure, or may involve themselves within group. In either case the outcome of the project is always subservient to the fact that it was orchestrated. The collective is never more than the material resource of the lead artist.

3. Grizedale is a fairly unique example of an institution that has managed to create a situation in which art discourse and production can engage with things outside of itself in a manner other than domination and recoding. Grizedale's operations are simultaneously amorphous and practical.

4. Here a complete career could be made out of examining why Art is perhaps the most conservative industry.  Cultural Hegemony does not even begin to cover it.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Landmark Seizures is available at X Marks the Bokship

State Science (2012)


Pot Healers (2012) Screening, The Armory, Pasadena

The Armory Center for the Arts
145 North Raymond Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91103

Friday 26th October 2012
$5 (suggested donation)

Text for MIA screening.

Artist name.

Ralph Dorey

Video title.

Pot Healers



Year produced.


Statement about work.

An introductory note for the viewer to read quietly.
I fell in love with a sentient beach ball while working (non union) in space. My hands are covered in mud and glue yet, despite all I had previously imagined at the kitchen table concerning this always approaching moment, I am sincerely ready. I wondered how far I might need to travel to be outside of the State, but things never work out like that. Anyway, I have now recognised that I misunderstood what “Permanent Revolution” meant and so have been labouring needlessly all this time after a multi-tenticular-snipe of my own cack-handed making. A dead hoarse run to nowhere. Still, I'll always have Bataille; at the extremes, there's freedom. So I bid you goodnight and an easy morning.”

Statement about artist.

I paint and write and keep to myself at the edge of town. My institutional studies ended four years ago and I have grown a beard ever since. Improvisation is the closest thing to immanence, sound is the closest thing to life. My last PhD proposal title was

Applications of the unknowable: a praxis of instability through the non-human”.

I think about George Clinton every day, and Martin Heidegger every other. To this writer, an artist's politico-ethics are the most important variable. I currently apply the ideas and games of Debord and Deleuze to the empowerment and self-realisation of children at a Special School. My only regrets are that I heard Dennis Oppenheim speak only once and that I didn't do more to save him.
Ralph Dorey, 6th October 2012, Walthamstow.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

An open question on art dualities and how they might be broken.


Below is a part of an email I wrote this morning, so it's an open question now.

I think there is something interesting in the blurred boundaries between what is marked as art and what is effectively the same thing but not marked as such. About a year or so ago I was really hooked on seeing the "art object" (even if that were an intangible thing) as least problematic when it was simply the by-product of a creative action that had another ends. So doing something with paint on canvas in order to understand something about space would result in something called art, or digging a trench in the earth to resolve a practical problem of drainage would also be called art. Whether it was good or bad art was another issue, neither wholly relativist nor objective. Some "works" having much more going on in them generally, a lot more movement and difference, but a subjective response still being vital.

I still hang onto some of this definition of art objects, but I've realised a bit more about how problematic it is in itself. There is a bit of the old heroic individualism in it, because it implies artists as people who just go an engage with the world and all we see are the relics of where they have been. I think this is a problem because it becomes primarily about that narrative, or the artist (images of an shirtless and ancient Picasso in his studio, self mythologising quotes becoming truisms). So the conflict I'm stuck on now is that on one hand I still don't want to present itself direct to an audience, but on the other I want the artist to be open for dialogue, and to make a statement on what they believe in and be prepared to discuss (and potentially defend or even alter) their position.

I think perhaps it is a pair of defence mechanisms that make it hard for us to have both. If we do something personal we try to avoid discussing it, and if we have to discuss something we try to avoid it being personal. The mode of modern art (and society?) also works very well to enforce a bifurcation between these two modes Artist/Critic Subjective/Objective Image/object feeling/thinking emotion/politic painter/sculptor. I don't think these distinctions exist in actuality any more than I think there is a split in the universe which divides me from everything else. However, there still remains the question for me of how to have art which we can think about in terms of the Deleuze & Guattari / Spinozan Plane of Immanence (everything as one overall ontological field, self included with degrees of intensity in different areas rather than hard edged idealised distinctions).

So not art for a rarefied generality of society and an Ideology, but equally not the rarefied narrative of an angry and emotional young white man who is somehow elevated above everyone else (which itself another Ideology)!

I think this does occur, work that avoids getting trapped in one of the two channels. I think some of it is a matter of perception but some of it is a matter of the work and the artist. I don't there there is a system for making more of this occur either but there might be situations that could encourage it and that's something I have been starting to think about, including perhaps the role collaboration strategies or “non-art agendas” might have to play in this.

This is a bit of a rant, but it would be great to know what you think about any of these ideas, where the gaps are or whether there is something else going on that I'm overlooking.

All the best

Friday, 14 September 2012

dark matter

X so we start with the void. The continual space between forms. Ether. Drunk.

Y This is the dark material, the dark matter.

X Dark because it is hidden yet present. Dark because that's what things are of themselves, without the attack of photons. Dark because that's what things are of themselves, withdrawn and holding all manner of expressions in reserve.

Y Material is the source of everything. Material is what is certain, regardless of whether we have access to it or knowledge of it. Material is the situation we find ourselves in and the knowledge that other situations exist which are equally material but within which we will never find ourselves.

X So material is itself dark.

Y With a linguistic turn it seems prudent to ask if dark is itself material?

X But with turning one adjective into a noun and one noun into an adjective we have arrived at an equation that bares no relation to the previous one. So the answer is no, dark is not material. Dark is just a resting state of things.


Doctor's text

The resources are perhaps not here for the realisation of things that might be suggested.

What is it to receive orders?

To be unable to respond?

Written text is always the enemy, it is always authority.

In place what could be try? Oral history perhaps? The history of Mouth?

Yet more words on the Blindness of Borges which allowed language to reveal itself in an undoctored state. 

Language is internally fluid, it is externally fluid but we are able to deceive ourselves because as we look at yesterdays newspaper.
We can pretend the words are the same as those we read previously while we waited for our meeting, and also those which we glanced down at while waiting for our meeting to end.
Language spoken is almost unbearably fluid, it is only stabilised by the text that we imagine as we hear it.

I'm not here talking about a duality with Logos on one side and a hydra on the other. 

I doubt Borges would approve of that either because for him the monster was always within the landscape, a part of the building, a function of the body or a habit of culture. The Borgesian monster is only ever a point within a field, and the same as Lovecraft this is what leaves us in horror. The monster is not simply an Oedipian/Chandlerian revelation that we are the beast but that we are immanent too all. There are no categories, no distinction, no separations, no distance. Nothing allows us to rise above anything else. We thought we were breathing but we are in fact drowning and this is our only state. The horror is more than the encounter with the meaningless. It is slow stretched throb. 
The spoken language offers hints at this horror, if we are able to listen.
And if we listen, we might also let go of what keeps us from this horror.
The ghost stories of both Marx and Nietzsche, which orbit their texts, are really keys to rapture through blood. Through soil. Through mountains and the spoken sounds of words. 
I doubt that anything can be written that is not a restraint on the human spirit.
So perhaps try that now, quietly under your breath. Outline an oral history of a republic defined not by state topography, but by amplification of expression. An expression defined by you.

Imagine that I now stand next to you.

There might be people in this place, you will have to forgive my being unable to see, feel, hear, smell or touch them. 

I want you to speak to me, tell me the history of this formless country, defined not by impassable rivers or ravines but a non-euclidean locality.
To define this space with a key concept would be madness. No oral history was ever reducible to anything smaller than its telling. So simply start from the first point and move from there. Not radial or linear but skipping and frothing, drying and cracking.

Talk about revulsion, which is a response to the proximity of the unstable formless. Expand this to cities and nations.
Talk about rot within the state.
Not the linguistic rot of corruption but civic senility, the putrification of systems. This is not the slow dynamics of bureaucratic life or of Stasi evolution. Those growing pains still retain the integrity of the organism and that would be the waltz of the institution and dissidence. Dissidence may lead but the institution grows larger with every step crushing everything against the walls of the dance hall. Grinding it into nothing in the inevitable endlessness of three four time.

No, the story I would like to hear is about the national putrification (see how easily this text itself has become demanding?). Whereas the dancing growth retains the state as the centre, the bloom of rot folds space around itself with no respect or prejudice. The wheels of colour establish new multiplicities, new quasi-bullseyes which drift and fold. These disrupt all reason, leave identity in tatters and the brain incomplete. Harmony is replaced by a wriggling granular cacophony.

In the final sounds of your horror story, tell me about the negation of a conquering viral narrative. Make it clear to me that the withering, splitting collapse of say, Palestine is not rot, but rather statehood labelled as rot. Make it clear that rot is the utter horizon and without identity. Make it clear that the irregular, multidimensional destruction is flagless and approaches not a utopian skyline but a snowstorm. A churning fertile sea of life moving too fast for anything to be named save its infinite ancient nonself. A restructured permanent revolution known not my characters and symbols but a cracked and oscillating vowel from an open mouth.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

First notes on Heterotopias

I wrote some things on Foucault's concept of the Heterotopia for a friend of mine so he could get a second opinion on how he was interpreting what is (for Foucault) a fairly scrappy and fuzzy bunch of ideas.

Here's the original text.

And this is my notes:

Heterotopia: Difference Space

For Foucault a Heterotopia is detached from time and space and “republic-like” it has a distinct culture. (I'd say that there's no definite distinction between places that aren't Heterotopias and places that are. I think it's more a matter of degrees and also relational to the individual encountering them. I haven't read more than the abstract but this essay seems to say the same thing while connecting it to Structuralism. I'm not that up on Structuralism myself but in principle it makes sense, Foucault is trying to say “there are these spaces, they are a distinct category, end of”. However, stuff doesn't really work like that, distinct categories don't exist, things are local and changing all of the time and reality is far more messy and complicated that the Ideal of a “category” which can only pretend to function by excluding everything else that doesn't fit. Anyway, here's that essay

Entrance to space is significant, exclusive, makes requirements of those that wish access and potentially denies such access.

Distinct from Utopia in that it is actual. Foucault is a bit fuzzy on the relationship between Heterotopia and utopia, he really only says that both exist and I don't think he opposes one to the other. They perhaps have similar qualities. I think there is more than a little of the latter in the former. The retaining of an impossible, Idealised and different space in the way we might carry an image of Utopia around in our heads is similar to what is inacted in a Heterotopia. I'd also say Heterotopia isn't so much a place as a behaviour or relation, I think we enact it more than we visit it.

A heterotopia is an individual (see also Manuel Delanda talk about Deleuze's Machinic Assemblages)
A heterotopia changes within itself (it is a composite of the actors of which it is constituted) but also in its relation to the exterior to which is has a definite relation (see Foucault discussion of changing status of madness through last 500 years, society exerts pressure on the asylum form the outside and makes it change shape from a place where we put these exotic divine people to a place where we attempt to “normalize” them)

Can be levels of intensity to heterotopias. Foucault doesn't actually say this, but putting my Deleuzian reading on it I'd say there are degrees of this quality. There are some points at which a full separation occurs and all actors that enter are re-coded as are the relations between them (say in a Carnival) and then others where it's more a slight dislocated feeling of having one's perception and behaviour modified. I think there's an argument to say that this is present to some degree in most places (a geographic or temporal space that has it's own identity)

Foucault sees distinction between time and space. I would suggest that duration is important in all (a prison is built in a place that did not have them, the carnival is in place under the surface in people's minds all year round) and that geography is the same in both cases, a fluid and cultural geography that is more to do with the cultural emplacement of “beating the bounds” than that the hard extensive geography of “there is a river on one side and a mountain on the other”. If that fuzzy image makes any sense at all.

I think it's a matter of intensities rather than a duality of space and time. I don't agree that musuem has a different relation to time than the fair just because it contains things from different periods (so does the fair, some attractions might both be and also be presented as historic and traditional, while others will be obviously from newer times. The mish-mash of cultural icons that make up funfairs seems a good indicator of this, even in 2012 I wouldn't be surprised to see a Cristopher Lee Dracula painted next to a Thriller Michael Jackson and that guy from Saw). I think this is more a Phenomenological issue, we are out of time when we enter the space. I don't believe that we are transported through time by each encounter with an artefact in the museum because I think first and foremost our experience is always of the museum. This is an experience of which a facet my be the temporal flutter of seeing stuff from ancient Carthage or the Paris Commune, but first of all the modifying experience is that of the museum itself. Of entering this secular sacred place.

Emplaced meaning. An increased intensity of the ritual and symbolic. Signs increase in evidence. We are aware of coding being more important, and the meaning of own actions being under observation. Like that cinematic trope of a character entering prison and standing as straight as possible and looking everyone in the eye to show they are not scared whilest also being hyper aware that the posture and eye movements of the other inmates. Makes me think of that TV show Oz, did you ever watch that?

The maintenance of a heterotopia is a conservative act. This is utterly my reading. A Heterotopia whether a brothel or a boarding school is exclusive and fights to maintain it's identity even while that identity is changing. It seeks to avoid entropy with the exterior and frequently develops a simulicrum-ish state, tending to the image of another culture/time/place that does not exist and might not ever had. I've never taken part in any obviously but from what I've heard there's a sort of odd mix of classical Greek, Italian monastic and British imperial about some of the rituals at your university.

Disjoint with space and time because the heterotopia is enclosed. Again, my reading. It has a border, and though this might be permeable physically, it is such that it is “psychologically” more solid. The borders of the space become the borders of thought, until perhaps the time comes to leave. I'm thinking here about a few scenes, including the final one in Werner Herzogs Aguire Wrath of God. The creation of a Heterotopia is a colonial act, it is the marking out of a territory and claiming it. The final scene of Aguire were Klaus Kinski is alone on a raft floating along a South American river really shows this idea of the mental borders, as if whilst on this flat square of wood there is a sort of forcefield surrounding him that makes his space different from the chaos of the jungle. It's a bit like royal litters or the sovereign soil of a foreign embassy.

A Heterotopia is state creation. (me again, but I think there is a lot of stuff out there relating Foucault's heterotopia to Deleuze and Guttari's Striation) The opposite is Nomad life. A boat is a point at which these two potentially converge. The boat is an attempt at a solid institution in defiance of it's surroundings (the water). It is also an liberation of space, I moves around, often in harmony with other forces (resisting the water with a sail boat allows us to embrace the meteorological intensities of the wind more easily). The boat itself is a unit that must be maintained, if it loses a part, it's likely to collapse (just like if bars were removed from the prison or the wrong music played at the fair).

Worth having a look at Deleuze and Guttari's chapter in Thousand Plateaus on multiplicities called “one of several wolves” about distinction between a pack/band and a mass. These aren't opposites, just parts of what is always a combination. Anyway, they are different kinds of multiplicity, and might be worth looking at in relation to the internal multiplicity of a Heterotopia as well as the external multiplicity of one heterotopia in relation to others and other structures all together. Just a thought.

Even though all Heterotopias are different, they exert a powerful “sameness” within. You either assimilate immediately, or they expell you. This obviously harks back to Foucault on Benthams Panopticon. Psychic restraint rather than material restraint.

I don't think these are space of resistance, I think think they are microcosms of dominance in themselves and a denial of the outside. I think they are a reductive fascism rather than a liberation through difference. Carnival is always about a release of pressure to ensure the status quo. It is always state sanctioned because the alternative to the mock revolution is the threat of a real one.

It is an attempt to think differently about, and
uncouple the grip of, power relations: to overcome the dilemma of every

form of resistance becoming entangled with or sustaining power. ”

The disorder provokes a space in which ‘fragments of a large
number of possible orders glitter separately’. Foucault’s overall concern in
The Order of Things is to establish the ground from which we produce clas-sifications and order, the foundational ‘codes of a culture’.

Final thoughts. This whole thing really made me think of the work of artist Mike Nelson, who has pretty much made his career from building these kind of spaces. He published an amazing book which is just an anthology of writing form different sources relating to this stuff, mainly from fiction, including people like Lovecraft, Borges and Conrad. In that book is a bit of an essay my another person who this really reminds me of and thats Hakim Bey with his famous essay on Pirate Utopias. The Temporary Autonomous Zone is a lot like a Heterotopia. There's a bit here

Anyway, this is all a bit of a jumble still and I'm really interested in the whole thing and how you might be using this stuff so please email if you'd like to talk more and think I could be of some help or just try and clear up some of the stuff I've garbled here. I'm going to stick these notes on my blog because there's some interesting stuff in here I think.


Fascism is a phenomenon that took place elsewhere, something that could only happen to others, but not to us; it's their problem." Is it though? Is fascism really a problem for others to deal with? Even revolutionary groups deal gingerly with the fascisizing elements we all carry deep with in us, and yet they often possess a rarely analyzed but overriding group 'superego' that leads them to state, much like Nietzsche's man of ressentiment, that the other is evil (the Fascist! The Capitalist! The Communist!), and hence that they themselves are good. ~Michel Foucault's preface to Anti-Oedipus

Saturday, 8 September 2012


Back to work.

Back to non-verbal Practical Ontology.

Back to non-academic study, the ocean of the Real.

Back to the lumpen Praxis of direct politics.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Reprise? Maybe. A pseudo-revolutionary-ontology of culture in a nice little skirt.

I understand what you're saying and I might have gone off at a bit of tangent after reading your Bracewell footnote, that in the nineties surface became depth.

Maybe I lost my thread a bit too, lost the distinction between what I'd written and what I'd just thought. Who reads this shit anyway?

My point is regarding the political implications of the archive#, of conserving history, of protecting against entropy*. More importantly I'm really suggesting that the world presented by History doesn't exist at all. The self initiated cultural link from Elvis to London Calling is so conservative as to be bizarre in the context of The Clash. But then rock music is inherently conservative, no less so than in constructing its supposed alternative lines. As if there could be any move more mainstream and Statist than Dylan styling himself on Guthrie. This is related to the point I've made time and time again about the absurdity of "re-visiting" modernism. The thing we call "Modernism", that's not the actual thing that happened at all, that just the carcass stood up in someone's suit with someone's flag stuck in its hand. What actually was going on in those brightest sparks in those European countries at that rough time is just the same free-but-situated creativity that occurs in pockets all over the world throughout history. Doing something useful and beautiful and the things that are at hand.Which I guess is just what you're saying.

There is an infinity of chaotic material in the space between these two photographs.

I get your point, pickings are getting thin in the culture barrel, the same shapes are being thrown, whilst the net is apparently being cast wider till it seems like an infinite tangle of wool is being pulled into maybe half a dozen fat strands, all smaller offshoots being eaten by the most nearest dominant narrative. 

What I'm trying to say, coming from the Steppling post is this. That's just talk in the wind. It's only theory and ideas and language that make the world seem like that. Sure, there is the institutional re-enforcement to a point where for all intents and purposes it might as well be stones-in-the-earth truth that the world was converging like that, but reality is far more messy. For all the arguments of Progress on one side and Irony on the other we feel like these are the only options available but these options are really just the only options the systems of evaluation are capable of dealing with. Like I said, institutional re-enforcement might have the ability to alter a lot of what happens in reality. Lots of artists are of the belief that you either try and risk failure and calls of naivety pushing the envelope or you rest in a world of knowing acquisition and risk being nothing like art at all feeling like you never gave it a real shot. However, what about all those people who are doing something else? I'm not just talking about cranks and attic-geniuses I'm just talking about people who are simply off the radar in all senses. People outside of those narratives because they simply don't exists to the methods of recording. It's one thing to record silence but it's another entirely to never engage with the systems of recording, of organised performance, of conventions of "professional" (the way you have to be to be paid, if only in theory and if only in some far far distant future when we..

But that's not what we're talking about. Because be can't talk about that. We can only talk about rarefied generalities or we can talk about artists. But the only artists we can talk about are those on the grid. The ones off the grid, we can't talk about, and as soon as we tried we'd just be replacing them with the closest representation we have to hand. But there is stuff out there that in some cases doesn't even know about the grid, so can neither be swayed by it, or more importantly perceived in context of it. Also, there is all the places where the grid has become so local and warped that what's being produced isn't just "Willie Nelson with the addition of X" because even what the locals think of as Willie Nelson is something we'd find utterly alien. Their perception, their aesthetics were so radically different that the world around was incomparable.

There isn't any progress, but there also isn't just a mobeus strip either. The is just the continuation of the big bang, culture is just part of that long drawn out explosion. Variations on the theme of eruption. When we talk about progress of lack of, we're just talk about our own talking. When we talk about progress or lack of, we are just talking the things that can fit through the doors of the courthouse.

What does psychoanalysis have to say about all of this? Oedipus, nothing but Oedipus, because it hears nothing and listens to nobody.

# I am on a war against the archive right now. I try to just be non-archive but I can't help being sucked into opposition. Artists who use the archive, who simply curate, you are collaborators and you lose the right to ever speak in your own voice by your own lack of conviction and reliance of borrowed authority. You are incapable of difference. Even critique of the system is nullified by that action, even non-state archives are corrupted by the action of use. The archive is just a doppelgänger, the best it can do (which can be exceptional), Adam Curtis style, is serve as raw material for a new form, for a new proposition. However, without an editorial voice, without a statement of their own the only argument put forward by the artist is an echo of the status quo: This is how is and the past is the past which built today.

* There is no such thing as cultural entropy. The rules of thermodynamics do not apply to culture and there is no more reason to think that they do than the watchmaker fallacy. Individuals are complex and unreliable and patterns across individuals are only discernible at the cost of those individuals. We cross out the extremes and take an average which is effectively meaningless abstraction because that "average person" composite does not exist. One freak and the whole soup is spoiled. And they are all freaks.

Entropy can't occur because it can only occur in a system of finite energy. Culture is not restricted by finite energy, every second new energy is being created and this energy is capable of genesis. I would suggest that on average, when a general gist tilts toward equilibrium, toward entropy, that's when a violent act of poiesis is most likely to occur. New individuals are deciding to make art with every second that passes. The only thing that keeps them in line, that keeps them trying to imitate previous shapes (even those shapes that say "I'm not like those other shapes") is the state power of history and the state device of how we look at, hear and experience culture. Really, when you think about it it's remarkable that the institution is able to exert such a hold over so many people who's only aim is to "create something new". So loads of them slip by it, in all manner of ways but mostly by accident.

I've been trying to dissect the state control of looking but I'm no where near it yet and that's for another post all of its own and possibly a PhD at some point in the future. What I do want to say is looking/listening/experiencing means something to us under Capitalism. Any of those activities is contextualised by Capitalism and by authority, regardless of the context. Even when authority is not actually present, it is present as a context. Looking is contextualised by the cinema, listening by records. And so on.

Monday, 27 August 2012

various phases of the lunar simulicra

Kasper linked this from John Steppling yesterday. Think it bears comparison to recent post at Our god is Speed

Dominance of naturalistic acting as a mechanism to add the weight of a synthetic authenticity to Capitalist spectacle. Lacan's mirror showing us Tom Hanks living in a world that is then transcribed onto our own through his verisimilitude. All transgressions and rebellions can be made to conform within this sphere, helps keep all attempts at transgression within this dominance and simply "other narratives". Progression toward entropy follows.

I think there is a case for arguing that while the mainstream(s) move toward homogeneity there are always rushes of creative chaos, but in order to survive these have to exist outside of record (the curator's archive, the narrative).

What I'm saying is that the fragments of things I come across in the real world suggest that whether as intentional/ignorant isolation or simply failed assimilation there are always violently creative forms of culture of various durations. I started writing a post on the nineties blog about the lumpen-platypus of crust, the "gumby" and realised that all I was doing was trying to bring something into the narrative.

These outsider forms are far to brief and unstable to be brought into the fold, their method of "resistance" is multi-dimensional. More than the search-engine elitism of witch house, or the fortress-fonts of the KVLT these things are just nameless, they are the mutants that did not got held up as the new thing in that year or even twenty years later because they never entered the archive, like all the blues musicians who never got their photo taken.

That's it.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Screenplay for a foreign duet, voiceover, scorecard girl and single red flare.

Corner of colour moves off in the right of the frame.

Outside of the frame smoke rises.

A pair of white hands interlock in an ambiguous gesture.

This is an old oak tree just offset.

A figure is beneath, hands held up to face,

Male voice-over: The cinematic frame contains all that I have learnt so far.

A ball held in the crook of a tree.

Dappled sunlight of the type favoured by Terrance Mallick in each of his films.

A close-up of an old skateboard. “Anti-Hero, Julian Stranger” and a painting of a giant squid.

Ecocide is the destruction of systems. "Positive and negative destruction", these are both false categories. The reign of vegetation will destroy mountains under the solar hegemony.

One white hand, with ink on fingers.

Blood Everywhere.

A cast in plaster of a wolf's head, roughly modeled in clay.


Saliva Everywhere.

A brass pencil sharpener. Round.

A long droning note forever.

A plot borrowed from a Norwegian Cod Opera.

A question about “what is a Western Promise?”

A stylus slips across a record pathetically.

Writing on recycled paper nervously.

Notes from an electric guitar like those of a tree.

Unrestricted growth. Thresholds. Bleeding.

The skateboard is still in shot, now joined by leaning pieces of wood, splintered ply supported by bamboo. (I have to make this stuff before I can write about it).

Canes joined with rope and plaster. "This is what we came here to discuss, this assemblage."

That all falls apart in front of you though. It's a pile of white pieces on the floor and you can't understand what you saw in it in the first place. Some materials have a majesty, plaster is not one of those materials. Some of this may well be a historical class issue built from the manual trades, built from the nouveau riche's replicas and the little shepherdesses of the nineteenth century. But under that plaster is still without much to redeem it, it pulls oils and water from your body and after that brief and surprising heat it falls to a state of scratchy inertia. Don't use plaster again man, it's not a good idea. It has no majesty.


There are no grand gestures, no cathartic sweeps, totalising absolution. The sculpture remains fragmented and pathetically unresolved. The temptation to bring about a resolution is HUGE. This is, after all, how armatures are made. This is the scaffold for something to welcome. We do not actualise one of infinite possibilities. Rather the material real creates these other worlds with its passing. This is not to say that there is no choice, no freedom. Rather that the future does not exist. Behind us there is nothing at all and ahead only neurons misfiring.

The droning note of an Indian instrument like a hobbled organ plays on forever and we move to the next scene.

A man climbs the steps at the front of a green lit stage. A woman waits at the microphone which is held on an old flat-bottomed stand. Man and woman begin to sing a duet. The lyrics do not rhyme and the music seems to both repeat without variation whilst continually developing. The music is describing space whilst the words tell a story. They are sung in a foreign language but translate as follows.

“A man arrives in a town where two families continue an ancient feud which burns up all that surrounds. Drinking water from a trough for livestock the man is told that in life one is either flame or fuel. We reflect on this while a subtitle states “action or that which is consumed by action's passing”. The story of deception, ambiguous motive, hubris and redemption is played out as is expected. The man leaves and as the lights dim the stage is re-set for the next arrival.”

At the front of the low stage, as the band continues to play and the man an woman look into each other's eyes, another woman stands and holds up a board on which is carefully written in black.

“Who is this song for?”

The room floods with the coloured smoke of a flare.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Upcoming // Supernormal Festival // Field research // August 2012

Artists Ralph Dorey and Lyndsay Officer are interested in the examination of material, in ecology outside of an anthropocentric field of vision. They are interested interested in an encounter with a human or non-human other which neither creates a spectacle of that other, of the subject or of the encounter. Setting up camp at Braziers Park in the week running up to and throughout the Supernormal Festival they will be conducting research into the site that consists of the surveying and mapping of biodiversity as well as use of the tools of archeology and anthropology. The project recognises the generative power of the observer as another material equal to that which is recorded. This is non-linear research within which observation, interpretation and response exist in a state of continual feedback.

 SUPERNORMAL is a three day, experimental arts and music festival at Braziers Park in Oxfordshire. SUPERNORMAL offers a platform for artists, performers and musicians to work collaboratively and creatively, incorporating new methods and mediums into their work for a new kind of audience. SUPERNORMAL presents an innovative weekend of art-focused practice in unfamiliar settings where both impromptu and timetabled events can surprise and delight.

10th - 12th August 2012

Monday, 9 July 2012

Sunday 8th July 2012 // notes on the body // arms body right now. The body as a whole, my left arm in particular and the extended parts of my body which branch out into liquid and becoming.
There is a colony of water droplets on my skin, half in shadow, half in light clustered along the apex of my forearm which ends in the hand which writes this. An hour previously I rubbed beeswax and calendula into my skin before leaving the house, in the hundred yeards before returning to my door the sky opened up and soaked me. The surface of the rain-water holds tight between wax and the hairs on my arm. Everywhere else is now dry as I write this.

 The body is an interface, a zone of many smaller encounters spreading out in all directions. Two months ago I fell down and fractured my left clavicle. I think with my body, my hands know all manner of things to which my brain is unaware of. Unaware of even in rough translation. My arm-organs perform all manner of tasks, perform all manner of research on their own. They long for contact, react to it like a tendril curling around the stimulus and drawing further parts of the union of me into contact. This is true even if such contact is a proximity of flight. The body has ears at all points, on arms, on eyes, on cells, on ideas, on names. Likewise it has mouths, and skin, and olfactory organs. Some large, some small, some simple and some beautifully baroque. When I fell an ear drum within me sought to accept this encounter, to perform it's organ function, to take compression and expansion as vibration and flow and digest this energy and then in the final portion of duration found it self lacking the hand to pass this (now) information onward to, and so instead it had cause to describe what it had experienced in a record of bone. snap. There is no separation between the ear and the sound, the briefest organism is both. A thing both within and without heard something of the praxis of physics, geology, chemistry and biology and played a two second (or eight billion year) composition which concluded with the flourished gesture. snap.Without a further stage to hand off to the action remains incomplete, recorded at the moment of crash. Or rather, collapse at the point of becoming receptive, just this side of the void. A collapse as a mark of receiving, or as close as we can get to receiving anything.

"Opening philosophy’s decisional closing of the Real’s foreclosure to thought, the operative fact of philosophy as the “organon . . . [or] a priori form which, giving us the World, forecloses the mystical experience which intrinsically constitutes humans,”mysticism is the involutionary science of turning the transcendental vector of flight from World to One into the most radical immanence without reduction whatsoever, of truing World to One via unbounded or non-decisional translation of the meaning of Plotinus’s pros from ‘to/toward’ to ‘with’, which it may also signify, as in the beginning of the gospel of John: “kai o logos pros ton theon” (1:1) [and the word was with God]—translatable also as ‘face-to-face’ or ‘at home with’."

The snap of philosophy is something I have brought up many times before and this with of mysticism seems a cousin to what I've talked about regarding belief as the site beyond reason it is the other side of the break. Immanent world as something beyond comprehension or communication, something animal. The feeling of horror is the reaslisation that one is not only face to face with this, not only held within but infected with and utterly permeated by its strands.
In words recalling some of the ideas of Nick Land (Around the era of those essays on Kantian Sadism, of the sublime as a violent punishment.1) Masciandaro goes on to state

"The question is stupid not because it is unanswerable, or leads into a bottomless tautology, but because it brings me face to face with an essential stupidity, with my stupidness, with stupid human being. I am too stupid to answer this question. And to ask it, exactly stupid enough."

This stupidity is very important, existing as a placeholder for something nameless. To be stupid, is to be intuitive, reactive rather than premeditative, to live in the moment rather than the past/future, to not privileged the idea, to not even privilege the brain. To be in the body while the body is already floating in the plane of immanence. To be stupid is to remain outside the royal court of reason, to remain outside that situation which presumes to discuss true material but never can because the precondition of its discussion is Idealism and the scored grooves of power.

The root of Bataille's erotics is not wildness for it's own sake, not hedonism (because that is just stories and entirely based on human contact) but sensation.

You'll notice this post can't decided whether it is dated today, yesterday or tomorrow. I thought I could get it completed in a day but it kept nagging at me. So as usual things left unsaid will just be spilled here on the pavement. For some unspoken parts this is for the best, I wanted to write on the sensation of tattooed line up my arm but really I have saved myself from that failure, it is a feeling beyond expression. The other part would be a record review I have been meaning to write for over a year now. The Body's All The Waters of The Earth turn to Blood is a record I have tried to write on more or less since it was released. I still might, but this isn't the right place for it.

In closing, here is one final failure. This song, and for the most part he video also (the wild boys are alive)  has stuck to me like a varnish for the last couple months. I played it on repeat for the first week after my accident and now I can not separate the haunted nausea from the synthesizers. This song makes me feel sick every time I play it, and try as I might I can not even examine that response let along unpick it (a dropped stitch). I know this is not just something I have layered on the surface of the music, attraction and sickness run through the whole project, more so than any other coil record, I think I just brought it right up to the surface. The failure is that, a song, an album, a pair of albums (with Horse Rotovator), a band, a movement, an era that I wanted to write about is now off the table, because I can't approach it with clean hearing. So like the articles mentioned in the previous paragraph, I shall just mark this and abandon it, put it to rest as thing I can keep touching but can't interpret.

Love's Secret Domain from Threshold House on Vimeo.

1: Here also is a fragment from something else I previously wrote elsewhere, in a friendly discussion on Cyclonopedia

"While I have the book out, here is something else from Fanged Noumena that is relevant:

The sublimity evoked by an experience is in direct proportion to the devastation it wrecks upon the imagination. Because the pain resulting from the defeat of the imagination, or the animal part of the mind, is the tension that propels the mind as a whole into the rapture of the sublime experience. Sublime pleasure is the experience of the impossibility of experience, an intuition of that part of the self that exceeds intuition by means of an immolating failure of intuition. The sublime is only touched upon as pathological disaster - Delighted to Death

Which is essentially what we were describing earlier in terms of the lovecraftian horror incomprehendible immensity of the real. However, the previous Land quote, (as well as the rest of that essay) develops the author’s (and Negarestani’s) position against this, which following from Bataille, see reason’s joy at violence toward the imagination as a tyrannical oppression which underpins the horror of modernity. Which leads neatly to Masciandaro, particularly this interview which features some nice stuff on the Sublime. I’m particularly interested in the stuff on rock climbing as relating to Bad and True Infinity (from the trison link). Being quite heavily into bouldering myself, the only way I can effectively climb is to think in terms of the immediate, atemporal moment. To think of the end hold or indeed the notion of grades and routes - which is something I think is not being addressed by Masciandaro- is have a duality of form (language) and matter (the screaming failing body). I'm really uncomfortable about seeing climbing as the romantic conquest of nature by the will. Better to see it as it is, ones skin and skeleton forming a network with the rock, with the upward direction being more or less arbitrary (which is suggested at by his "ultimate bouldering problem" idea, but I think movement is a part which is missing from that model). Not wrestling but training. This for me, resounds with the fluid and infinite immanence of things like “leper creativity”.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

New Writing// I Want To Create a New Chamber

A false start and a misplaced sense of history every time.
A whole heap of middles.

NinteenNinetyFive Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version.

Part one: Hatchings and Smashings. Easy on my balls they fragile as eggs.
What kind of eggs? Cuckoo eggs! Monstrous offspring, huge. Bastard eggs of the next man, inserted in the nest in the dead of night, who's the father? Rick James? Teddy Pendergrass? Raised in a velvet basement and then unleashed to make hideous love to the world. You know that line from Beowolf? You know the one:
It harrowed him to hear the din of the loud banquet every day in the hall, the harp being struck and the clear song of a skilled poet.
Well that's part of this mythos. That's part of it. But you have to remember who's writing the story, what is being made absent. What I'm saying is that's just one opinion, and you best hear another.

I watched Jackie Chan do drunken monkey kung fu when I was just a boy but even then I knew there was more going on than was being presented. Those drunken kung fus are hard on your body, hard on your joints especially. Watch the man do his thing it's as beautiful as swallows, as beautiful as cream going into your coffee. Strange attractors. Things are pulled in one direction and as intensity rises somewhere else another part of the body seems to become the head, seems to now take the lead. Well drunken kung fu is anything but, it isn't the result of damaged nerves, it's clarity. Watch the man move and it's more like micro-metrologicical-hypersensitivity, points of pressure rise and fall all around him, pull him in complex swirls feeding back into one another. The other combatant thought he was the only other there, thought it was just subject and object but that isn't the case is it? The drunken master is not just looking at you, he's looking at it all, you're just one relatively intense area, just one moment-by moment assemblage pushing air and throwing off waste heat and eventually getting your ass beat down and all the while all those other zones are a swirling riot rushing from point to point (headless) and they are going to keep on shimmying, keep drawing the man in the dirty draws this way and that, dancing to something you (doubly) can't hear because you're knocked the fuck out. 


The Ol' Dirty Bastard, first record, and ninteenhundredandninetyfive.
Try and focus on a hole, an absence. In terms of a style to which there is no father there is no Oedipal lineage to dwell on (Compare and contrast with Masta “who?” Killa). The Beowolf quote is bullshit precisely because ODB is not against anything stylistically, it's not a reactionary dichotomy. I like that story you'd hear a lot in old interviews of around this time, something like “I mixed rapping with singing, […] and I can't sing”. It's the cuckoo egg switch again, swap one part of the arrangement for something else and then reveal that something else as a negative value, as a yawning nameless negation, a black hole in the next. Singing has no aim but to unleash [animal] becomings. The singing eats up the words around it, beautiful non-sequiters (more so than Ghostface), points popping up all out of phase becoming phonic noise, eating themselves and defecating the magpie rattle of vocal chords, eating themselves again and sucking in the guest verses of other Wu Tang members, give me the mic so I can take it away


I felt the earth tremble underneath my balls. Sitting down with a wine cup on the Wudang mountain, the one plate met the other plate and this zone of intensity increased bringing forth heat and shivering in continual self correction and this energy just has to realize itself as a creative force, forcing billions of tons of rock up into the cosmos for some people to one day build temples and dragon-head incense burners on and found a discipline that bonded that mountain to the body. The was no one path this could have gone, every moment was local, every tremble was a moment of creation, an unplottable complex series, the only thing predictable with any degree of accuracy is from this point right here to what might be the next point, one single vibration. Maybe best not predict at all, no pretence of a plan, awkward as the RZA trying to hold it all together pausing between every line and trying to carry over some semblance of order through sheer angry frustration. Maybe best just go with it.
Look at Russell Jones dancing like a sailor, leaning back off/
to the right the shoulders both/
up and slumped/
the eyes back in the skull, the spit on the lips/
that line through the shoulders like the boom on a ship/
swaying as the pressure drops/
somewhere out to sea as the boom arm swings round over that sailor's head/
as the boom swings back to knock that sailor/
in the back of the head and out over the side/
out to sea down into the port side wash (we haven't left the dock)/
hitting a rock/ 
laughing bubbles back up to the surface all weightless and falling/
a honey Timberland slipping/
from one foot/
laces like linguine/
hung from the toe against gravity/
deep within the water exploding ordinances/
a lapping, wailing of molecular discordances/
Wudang son

Leaning back to the point of a fall, a hip out, a dinosaur rock n roll hip, the tremble comes down or maybe comes up. And then collapse. The violence of self-violence in a plane of immanence, communal infection I'm not saying I got it but nigga if I got it you got it.
[I had a whole paragraph here about the difference between the video for Shimmy Shimmy Ya and Sabotage from the year before. I couldn't get it to sit flat. Trying to explain how this video is a true carnival grotesque, whereas Sabotage is just the soft conservative cover of irony. One doesn't care and the other really does care. Like I said, it wouldn't lie down, so I sent it away. Shimmy Shimmy Ya is not a joke, that's for sure. It's a Swiftian hotshot.]

Part two: Heart of a dog (glands of the ol dirty doggy)

  I must succeed in endowing the parts of my body with relations of speed and slowness that will make it become dog, in an original assemblage proceeding neither by resemblances nor by analogy. 
That brief collision of participles that make up the body can become a changing process that acknowledges both the body and the brief collision of particles. A loose and formless delivery, a slack stance, images into sound, into a logos-less sound of childhood (Wu Tang is for the children) remember when you was young and you used to go a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-aaaaaaaaaaaaaa [...] remember when you used to say who could do this the long[est]? Sound as matter, like a punch as percussion, like all relationships between men and women being based not on signs but on smells. Like that very relationship being an entity. The interface is an object itself with emergent properties not found in either part separately but accessed through an encounter with the material world.

When her feet walked across the floor/ 
without a smell/
but with a smell/
that you can smell/  
your own smell/
and you know that feet stink/
it got an aroma to it/
and you're calculating how her ass moves from side to side with that aroma/
and you know that it's aroma in that ass too, but you can lick that asshole too and you won't get no aroma/
but you know that the aroma exists/
and then you can kiss her neck and/
suck this and suck that/
lick that and lick that/
and you can, you can actually feel/
you can feel the prophecy of a woman being sexy/
called a sex object and a sex tool/
and a, a fine scandalous romantic most moveable object/
that a motherfucker couldn't even get/
if he didn't have a motherfucking woman/

The Ancient Earthly Anti-Oedipus

All italicized quotes are taken from Ol Dirty Bastard, Deleuze & Guattari or Seamus Heaney.