Dreaming of Pirates, part 2 (or Capitalism and Fun)

"Death is especially awkward for modern intellectuals who are likely to find themselves swept over by traditions they fought and measured themselves against." Michael Taussig "The barbarism of the present was already germinating in that period, whose concept of beauty showed the same devotion to the licked-clean which the carnivore displays toward his prey. With the advent of National Socialism, a bright light is cast on the second half of the nineteenth century." Walter Benjamin "Imperialism gripped the world as totality - a total market and completely exploitable productive source. Imperialism was unifying the world through trade routes and commodity exchange or plunder." Esther … [Read more...]

Dreaming of Pirates, Part 1

"This is not death, it is a fruit stand..." Lorca (Poet in New York, Bly tr.) "For Lorca, the vital impulse driving genuine and authentic creativity is Death (itself); for him, the duende is an embodiment or specter of Death as a living, breathing, dark or extreme exaggeration of Henri Bergson’s élan vital.." José Rodeiro "The *economic*, in the form of this most rudimentary and most brutal necessity, thus offers itself as a prosthesis for political stability, a winning substitute for the violence of the Prince, which may induce fear with its tens of millions of swords but sooner or later ends up exciting hatred..." Gilles Chatelet "We went into the Vietnam War and did all that … [Read more...]

Playing at Society

"The fascist agitator is usually a masterly salesman of his own psychological defects." Adorno "One important aspect to consider here is the shifts in approval of content via “thumbs up” “favorites” “likes” and now how Facebook has integrated this “reactions” system that has much more sinister marketing goals in mind rather than just showing your friends your reaction to their statuses by selecting a one dimensional emoji representation, as if that wasn’t alarming enough by itself. this seemingly minor shift in their interface development is pretty easy for them to seamlessly integrate without much deeper thought given to it by a conditioned user pool at large." K.F. "The weakness of … [Read more...]

Ten Thousand Mistakes

"The stranger, remarks the sociologist Georg Simmel, learns the art of adaptation more searchingly, if more painfully, than people who feel entitled to belong, at peace with their surrounding. In Simmel’s view, the foreigner also holds up a mirror to the society into which he or she enters, since the foreigner cannot take for granted ways of life that seem to natives just natural. So great are the changes required to alter humankind’s dealings with the physical world that only this sense of self-displacement and estrangement can drive the actual practices of change and reduce our consuming desires; the dream of dwelling in equilibrium and at peace with the world risks, in my view, … [Read more...]

Artificial Pains in Artificial Feet

"I see photography as a very classical medium, with of course all kind of genres—portrait, abstract, science photography, and so on. What I am also interested in right now is the negative, since it seems that it is going to disappear soon. When I ask my nine-year-old daughter, “What’s a negative?” she can’t say, as she knows only digital photography." Thomas Ruff (interview Apeture) "The modern world develops a technology increasingly alienated from everyday experience. This is an effect of capitalism that restricts control of design to a small dominant class and its technical servants. The alienation has the advantage of opening up vast new territories for exploitation … [Read more...]

Utopia or Abeline?

"The category of the Utopian, then, besides its usual and justly depreciatory meaning, possesses this other meaning – which, far from being necessarily abstract and turned away from the world, is on the contrary centrally preoccupied with the world: that of going beyond the natural march of events." Ernst Bloch (The Principle of Hope) "Modernity today is not what it used to be." Peter Wagner "The propertied class and the proletarian class represent the same human alienation. But the former feels well and self-confirmed in this self-alienation. It knows this alienation and sees in it its own impotence and the reality of an inhuman existence”. Marx (The Holy Family) Several … [Read more...]

The Cunning of Unreason

"When, in the summer of 1953, that is, still during my university studies in Bonn, I read a recently published lecture by Heidegger from the year 1935, the Introduction to Metaphysics, the jargon, the choice of terminology and the style told me at once that the spirit of fascism was manifested in these motives, thoughts and phrases." Jurgen Habermas (conversation with Michaël Fœssel) "If we tried to establish the political doctrine that rises from Heidegger’s fundamental ontology, we might conclude that it is fundamentally totalitarian. In Heidegger’s philosophy, all social spheres are alienated from man and are but the means for man’s integration into the ruling order. Man does not … [Read more...]

The Predicament of Immanence

"I saw an angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." Michelangelo "Nature produces similarities; one need only think of mimicry. The highest capacity for producing similarities, however, is man’s. His gift for seeing similarity is nothing but a rudiment of the once powerful compulsion to become similar and to behave mimetically. There is perhaps not a single one of his higher functions in which his mimetic faculty does not play a decisive role." Walter Benjamin (On The Mimetic Faculty) The relationship of art and ideology is very complex. At the most rudimentary level the idea of agit-prop theatre, for example, is nothing except ideology. That is its intention. Does that … [Read more...]