The Cunning of Covid

"I think the question of whether the theatre should adapt itself to the masses, or the masses to the theatre, has been settled once and for all. The masses only understood, or pretended to understand, the tragedies and comedies of ancient Greece because their stories were known to everybody and were explained over and over again in every play anyway and, as often as not, set out by a character in the prologue." Alfred Jarry (On the Futility of the Theatrical in Theatre, Mercure de France, September 1896.) “The productive logic of film is the productive logic of the work of art in the twentieth century.” Peter Osborne (in conversation with Paul Willemen in Working Together: Notes on … [Read more...]


"Technically speaking, platforms are the providers of software, (sometimes) hardware, and services that help code social activities into a computational architecture; they process (meta) data through algorithms and formatted protocols before presenting their interpreted logic in the form of user-friendly interfaces with default settings that reflect the platform owner’s strategic choices.” Jose van Dijck (The Culture of Connectivity: A Critical History of Social Media. 2013) "A bullfight is a tragedy in three acts. These noble creatures, who are waiting for their death this afternoon are the heroes of that tragedy. The tragedy of the bullfight is based on the innocence of this creature. … [Read more...]

The Unthought Unknown

"When I speak of moralism, in this context, what I am concerned with, in general terms, is the misuse of morality for ends and purposes that are themselves vicious or corrupt. Moralisers present the facade of genuine moral concern but their real motivations rest with interests and satisfactions of a very different character. When these motivations are unmasked, they are shown to be tainted and considerably less attractive than we suppose. Among these motivations are cruelty, malice and sadism. Not all forms of moralism, however, are motivated in this way. On the contrary, it could be argued that the most familiar and common form of moralism is rooted not in cruelty but in vanity. The basic … [Read more...]

A Barking Where There Are No Dogs

"Attempts at description are stupid...” George Eliot (Daniel Deronda) "They love their delusions as they love themselves." Freud ( Psycho-Analytic Notes on an Autobiographical Account of a Case of Paranoia ) "In direct confrontation with the positivism of Comte and Mill, Dilthey’s objective was to show that the human sciences (Geisteswissenscha en) of history, poetics, anthropology, and sociology stand on an equally strong logical and methodological footing as the natural sciences, even though a key epistemological criterion separates them. In a well-known formulation, Dilthey asks us to distinguish between explanation (Erklären) and understanding (Verstehen). Open to history and … [Read more...]

Emptying the Human

"There is no such thing as criticism, there is only history. What usually is passed off as criticism, the things you find in architecture magazines, is produced by architects, who frankly are bad historians. As for your concern for what should be the subject of criticism, let me propose that history is not about objects, but instead is about men, about human civilization. What should interest the historian are the cycles of architectural activity and the problem of how a work of architecture fits in its own time. To do otherwise is to impose one’s own way of seeing on architectural history." Manfredo Tafuri (Interview with Richard Ingersoll, 1986) "One of the greatest problems of our own … [Read more...]

The Magic Kingdom

"Following from the way that Adorno reads the disenchantment thesis, the distortion that leads to the harmful consequences of disenchantment occurs when the calculative thinking associated with the purposive-practical attitude begins exclusively to usurp the authority to determine when experience can count as cognitively significant." Roger Foster (Adorno and The Recovery of Experience) "Metaphysics must question whether, and to what extent, thought can transcend the sphere of concepts to grasp objects. Although philosophy’s con dence in its ability to transcend concepts is as “doubtful as ever”, it is both one of philosophy’s “inalienable features and part of the naïveté that ails … [Read more...]

Funeral Rites (or Rise of the Screen)

“Modern civilization suffers from a lack of principles, and it suffers from it in every domain. By a monstrous anomaly, it is, alone, among the others, a civilization without principles, or with only negative ones, which amounts to the same thing. It is as if an organism with its head cut off went on living a life that was at the same time intense and disordered.” Rene Guenon (East and West) “The twentieth century saw the crystallization of a process of enormous significance, which has affected all that goes under the name “religious.” Secular society, without any need for proclamations, has become the ultimate repository for all meaning, almost as if its form corresponded to the … [Read more...]

Digital Infantilism

"Because there has not yet been any progress in the world, there is progress in art; ‘il faut continuer’ [it must continue].” Theodor Adorno (Aesthetic Theory) “Deadly monotony and indeed a total absence of content thus characterise the reign of the commodity. Gradually, an abstract, empty and unchanging form, a pure quantity without quality—money—is imposed on the world’s infinite and concrete diversity. The commodity and money are indifferent to the world, which for them is nothing more than raw material to be used. The very existence of a concrete world, with its laws and its opposition, is ultimately an obstacle to the accumulation of capital, which has no other goal than itself. In … [Read more...]