A Thousand Distastes (part one)

"...taste is made of a thousand distastes." Paul Valery "...social actors make a demand of themselves that is just as counterfactual as it is binding, namely, to be the conscious shapers of societal structures and not merely entities that de facto produce them: that is, to have a steering influence on the construction, preservation or transformation of specific structures. This modern aspiration to control was first formulated by the Enlightenment. Its range and radicality are entirely alien to premodern societies. It is especially, though not exclusively, manifest in measures of political steering." Uwe Schimank "The immediate future of the United States seems to me to have two … [Read more...]

Frankenstein’s Shadow

"In Europe as well as the United States, the erosion of industrial employment through wage arbitrage, outsourcing, and automation has gone hand in hand with the precaritization of service work, the digital industrialization of white-collar jobs, and the stagnation or decline of unionized public employment.” Mike Davis "The world of dreams is a living forest in which fantasy dwells in a state of riddle..." Salomon Resnik "The invention of perspectival representation made the eye the center of the perceptual world as well as of the concept of the self." Juhani Pallasmaa "The truth is that not only are we not Christians but we âre not so much as pagans, to whom the Christian … [Read more...]

The Health of Zombies

"Everything crucial comes into being only 'in spite'. . .. Every new truth comes into being in spite of the evidence: every new experience is acquired in spite of immediate experience." Gaston Bachelard "In German, Heidegger has the voice of what you might expect in a letter you would get at sleep-away-camp from grandma. Juxtapose “being at sleep-away-camp” with “being-in-the world” and an English monoglot starts to hone in on the sound of Heidegger in German without needing to study the grammar. If English translation didn’t provide Heidegger’s phrases with a densely arcane professionalism, as if it were a technical language, while he is being so down-home, it would be much less … [Read more...]

The Dying Light

..imitation supplements inadequate congenital variations in the direction of an instinct, and so, by keeping the creature alive, sets the trend of further variations in the same direction until the instinct is fully organized and congenital. If both of these views be true, as there seems reason to believe, then imitation holds a remarkable position in relation to intelligence and instinct. Karl Groos (The Play of Animals) "To my mind certain so-called abstraction is not abstraction at all. On the contrary, it is the realism of our time". Adolph Gottlieb “Like everything genuine, its inner life guarantees its truth.” Franz Marc “We’re developing a new citizenry. One that will be … [Read more...]

The Courtiers of No Court

"Nostalgia stalks modernity as an unwelcome double". Peter Fritzsche "If madness is everywhere, nobody knows what sane, healthy and rational behaviour is any more.” Steve Taylor "The contemporary world, scientific, technical, and sensualist, sees itself without exit - that is, without God - not because everything there is permitted and, by the way of technology, possible, but because everything there is equal. The unknown is immediately made familiar." Emmanuel Levinas A number of anthropologists have concluded that early hunter/gatherer communities only spent about 20% of their waking time looking for food. The remainder of their time was spent in storytelling and music and … [Read more...]

God’s Shadow

"What is most unfortunate about this development is that the data body not only claims to have ontological privilege, but actually has it. What your data body says about you is more real than what you say about yourself. The data body is the body by which you are judged in society, and the body which dictates your status in the world. What we are witnessing at this point in time is the triumph of representation over being." Critical Art Ensemble “Avarice is a ruinous thing. It dulls the vision and the hearing, and renders men more inhuman than wild beasts. It does not permit in any way the development of friendship, of fellowship, of the salvation of the soul itself. " John Chrysostom; … [Read more...]

The Mechanical Goat

"What developed in the South was a theology carefully tailored to meet the needs of a slave state. Biblical emphasis on social justice was rendered miraculously invisible. A book constructed around the central metaphor of slaves finding their freedom was reinterpreted. Messages which might have questioned the inherent superiority of the white race, constrained the authority of property owners, or inspired some interest in the poor or less fortunate could not be taught from a pulpit. ( ) Stripped of its compassion and integrity, little remained of the Christian message. What survived was a perverse emphasis on sexual purity as the sole expression of righteousness, along with a creepy … [Read more...]

Little Big Man

"It is self-evident that nothing concerning art is self-evident anymore, not its inner life, not its relation to the world, not even its right to exist. The forfeiture of what could be done spontaneously or unproblematically has not been compensated for by the open infinitude of new possibilities that reflection confronts. In many regards, expansion appears as contraction." Adorno (Aesthetic Theory) "In explicitly subverting the masses’ ability to experience truth and pleasure unmediated by centralized authority, fascist propaganda openly expresses the totalitarianism implicit in the true power relations of “late industrial society.” In this regard, it is even more “objectively … [Read more...]