Checkpoints on the Frontier of Desire

"In spite of First-World nationalism that imagines its subjects as immune to the threat of infectious disease, our post-postmodern, post-human, post-natural society nevertheless retains the structural paradigms of contagion and infection in discourses beyond biomedicine. We are strikingly not beyond contagion." Kari Nixon & Lorenzo Servitje (Endemic) "This, I suspect, will be no radical transformation, no shift into a world 'after nature' or a 'posthuman future.'Perhaps it will not even constitute an “event.” But I think, in all manner of small ways,most of which will soon be routinized and taken for granted, things will not be quite the same again." Nikolas Rose (The Politics of Life … [Read more...]

The Dream is the Mother

"Part of the difficulty in recognizing outbreaks of mass sociogenic illness has to do with its diverse nature. A historical review of these events suggests that the features of mass sociogenic illnesses tend to mirror popular social and cultural preoccupations that define distinct eras and reflect unique social beliefs about the nature of the world." Erica Weir (Mass Sociogenic Illness, Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2005) “America is no place for an artist: to be an artist is to be a moral leper, an economic misfit, a social liability. A corn-fed hog enjoys a better life than a creative writer, painter or musician. To be a rabbit is better still.” Henry Miller (The Air … [Read more...]

The Occult Technique

"Art is a mode of prediction not found in charts and statistics, and it insinuates possibilities of human relations not to be found in rule and precept, admonition and administration." John Dewey "In their { Horkheimer & Adorno's } account of western modernity, enlightenment and progressive rationalization become myth and ideology legitimating social irrationality and injustice, as natural and human relations are increasingly reduced to means through instrumental rationality, fetishized in consumerist culture industries through the often unconscious hegemony of symbolically reproduced values, styles, and practices, and reified and compulsively fixated in a media-driven society." Eric S. … [Read more...]

Fear of Fairy Tales

"Fear lurks in everyone. The one who always asserts to not know fear is mentally damaged or a fool." Max Horkheimer (Psalm 91, Collected Writings vol 7) “Fear, accompanying such an extraordinary state, also plays a role in enchantment. The thirteenth-century writer Albertus Magnus described wonder as “ ‘shocked surprise’ … before the sensible appearance of a great prodigy, so that the heart experinces systole. Thus wonder is somewhat similar to fear….” Jane Bennett (The Enchantment of Modern Life) “Adults live in fear of one kind or another—fear of failure, poverty, isolation, fear of loss of soul in the destruction of the earth. Those fears create a mood of “being lost in the … [Read more...]

The Immunity Bath

"We're all going to die, all of us; what a circus! That alone should make us love each other, but it doesn't. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities. We are eaten up by nothing." Charles Bukowski (Post Office) "Life and death. Already no physiology is thought scientific if it does not consider death as an essential element of life, life’s negation as being essentially contained in life itself, so that life is always thought of in relation to its necessary result, death, which is always contained in it in germ. The dialectical conception of life is nothing more than this…Living means dying." Freidrich Engels (Dialectic of Nature) "Fear of crime does not correlate with actual … [Read more...]

Privatizing Emotions

"But habitual identification with the aggressor also frequently occurs in people who have not suffered severe trauma, which raises the possibility that certain events not generally considered to constitute trauma are often experienced as traumatic." Jay Frankel (Identification with the Aggressor) "These children feel physically and morally helpless...for the overpowering force and authority of the adult makes them dumb and can rob them of their senses. The same anxiety, however, if it reaches a certain maximum, compels them to subordinate themselves like automata to the will of the aggressor, to divine each one of his desires and to gratify these; completely oblivious of themselves they … [Read more...]

Wish You Were Here

“There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.” Ecclesiastes 1:11 "At the 1889 ParisExhibition, and in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower,the centenary of the French Revolution, and consequently of the French Empire, was commemorated. This was the first exhibition to include a true colonial section for the history of France and the one that would mark the beginning of a model for colonial representations that would last during the final quarter of the 19th century and for the whole of the 20th century. In fact, the area in Paris reserved for showing the colonies was located in the Champs de Mars and … [Read more...]

The Ironic Little Nazis

"As states have hastily emulated measures adopted elsewhere, in particular through the imposition of curfews, nationwide lockdowns and travel bans, and escalation of citizen surveillance, a wave of authoritarian governance has swept the globe with profound, worldwide implications for democracy, the rule of law, and human rights, dignity, and autonomy. Reinforced by threats of criminal sanction, from fines to imprisonment, states have exerted tremendous vertical, paternalist power on citizens, despite serious questions as to the efficacy, sustainability, and proportionality of adopted measures. Day-to-day life was essentially suspended worldwide, with borders closed, social gatherings banned, … [Read more...]