Sunday, April 21, 2013

Chris Fynsk Day 1

Christopher Fynsk taught a class entitled: HEIDEGGER, ART AND THOUGHT.

NOTE: As with all my notes from the EGS, there will likely be mistakes because I did not record the lectures, I made notes as they spoke, so I am perhaps interpreting what they are saying as I am writing.

This will be a first year, introductory course, although many of you are more senior students. We will be working through "The Origin of the Work of Art."

EGS became a real inspiration for me while I was at SUNY Binghamton. I hope you're aware of both the madness of this institution and yet the special work that is done here. I hope that continent. will help sustain the network of students here.

[Note: I will be referencing the translations found in David Ferrell Krell's Basic Writings.]

I find "The Origin of the Work of Art" works well as a source, like water. It helps guide readings of Heidegger. He's working with immensely difficult ideas. But once you grasp his formulations, you will be better able to read him with these hand holds.

It's also a fascinating position in his corpus. The late Heidegger was the really influential one in the 1970s and 80s. This essay was at a turning point in his thinking. The turn starts in 1930 and unfolds during the 1930s—a move away from the project that made him "Heidegger." It was quite an event when he came on the scene. "What Is Metaphysics?" was being read by Wittgenstein.

His body of work was larger than Being & Time and he attempted to pose a new question of being. The scope of the project is breath-taking. He wouldn't use the word, "system," but like Kant or Schelling he was working on the foundations of philosophy itself.

Fundamental ontology. His argument was that we could rethink Being itself from the human being's awareness of Being. If we can grasp what constitutes the being human, we can rethink Being itself. In this way we understand Being & Time as an existentialist text.

It's that the temporality of understanding takes form in the human's awareness of his mortality. Dasein is future-oriented. We project onto the possibility of our being; it's what distinguishes humans to other animals in this relationship to death.

Being thrown into the world, we find ourselves in a world already there and ourselves already there. He sets up a hermeneutic circle in this circle. Future opens onto past. It's the ground of our being in the present.

The articulation of the above becomes the foundation of our being in the world. He's proposing we rethink ontology from the viewpoint of temporality. There is a hidden privileging of the previous eras—it's a given that what we can rethink this if we recognize this constitution of the human being and thereby rethink ontology.

But, around 1929, Heidegger saw this wasn't going to be possible. Being & Time is actually a fragment, he never finished the second section. He hit a road block.

The problem of space arose and we'll see this in "The Origin of the Work of Art." He says that the language of the tradition will not enable him to think anew—this paleonymy. During the 1930s he attempts the new language, look at Contributions to Philosophy, the writing is pretty wild. The translation is nearly impossible. We'll talk about this problem of language later on.

In "The Question of Being" a passage beyond nihilism is possible. He sees the definition of nihilism is it's first problem. If we are to confront the question, we must rethink the term.

Fundamental ontology→1930→another thinking, the advent of Being, ereignis; we have to find other paths and languages.

The 1930s is also a momentous time for Heidegger as he asserted himself into politics and openly supported the Nazi regime. He understood Nazism as a revolution and saw himself as the spiritual führer. It wasn't a passing fancy (contrary to the way it was presented during the 1980s). He very much wanted this position. He later said it was a blunder, but he never retracted that he thought of himself as a Nazi.

European thought, aprés coup, was coming to thought in the 1980s about the Holocaust. A tremendous problem for thinking and art. Suddenly Faría's book, which provided information already available, became widely circulated. We had to face Heidegger in a way that was not being done.

"The Origin of the Work of Art" states that art is the founding site for a people and history. This is a quiet nod to Hölderlin, whom he was lecturing about in 1935. This new path he proposes has to be in dialogue with art. The advent of German destiny requires taking up Hölderlin's language. This is also when Heidegger begins to tangle with Nietzsche.

With his inaugural rector's address, "The Self-Assertion of the German University," Nietzsche and Hölderlin became primary references for Heidegger in the 1930s. "Nietzsche did me in," was something Heidegger muttered even into later life. He was fighting against the official Nazi formulation of Nietzsche and he tried to think with him his own version of National Socialism. This affirmative reading gave fascinating thinking on Nietzsche's concept of the Eternal Return and Zarathustra.

Then, in 1939, we have another turn, now against Nietzsche. Heidegger situates him as another metaphysician, simply overturning Plato. In German there are two volumes composed of Heidegger's lectures on Nietzsche; the second volume is a history of modern metaphysics. I cannot emphasize them enough.

Heidegger saw himself caught up in the metaphysics of subjectivity and this was due to the nature of the tradition's language itself. The poietic act was necessary to overcome this. He felt the Greeks got it right by discussing the production of worlds through language. Eternal Return and Will to Power were Nietzsche's way of being caught in metaphysics.

Descartes founds the truth of humanity, the subject, as the ability to present itself as the subject of History and the subject of Truth. Heidegger unseats this subjectivity—he returns to his earliest intuitions in the 30s and says that it's the finitude of the human that is most central. The question of finitude becomes more and more disruptive for him. We find ourselves in a world not of our doing and we take up these limits imposed by both finitude and our thrown-ness.

Nietzsche started with the artist, Heidegger in the 1930s displaces the artist, in this text the artist hardly appears at all.

Ereignis—the advent of Being. The coming about of the disclosure of Being; the advent of language.

The question is how to think about the work of art, how does the production of Truth happen here? This is the labor of the negative Hegel; Marx also has this mode of subjectivity. How can Being be brought, truthfully, in being said or produced in art?

We started with two questions: 1) subjectivity and 2) language. For Heidegger, the question of being is the question of language itself. In "What Is Metaphysics?" he's already raising the question of language. He, through Hölderlin, begins to talk about mythic language, Humboldt becomes important for him. The essence of art is poetry. The essence of poetry is language. We attribute the language-talk to the later Heidegger, but we see it here already, during the War years.

All of these ways of trying to find new ways of being brings us to an awareness of how Heidegger is writing. After 1939 we can no longer talk about his theses of Being because he has moved away from this traditional way of thinking. It gets so extreme, in a way. We have to give up what the words mean and then giving up, the language moves us away to thinking. The thinking is in the language itself. He dissects the words themselves, we speak Heideggarian, not German.

My experience has shown that even native German speakers have a similar trouble with Heideggarian language. We have to suspend understanding, but this requires a careful reading. The more we understand, the less we understand. But we will read carefully together and find that it opens up. There are no prerequisites, by reading carefully we will come to an understanding of Heidegger's thinking through the movement of the text. We'll be following the text and in this way derive an Explication de Texte, in the French tradition.

Let's continue a bit with this question of language. I'll be jumping ahead in his thinking, but it will help us in reading "The Origin of the Work of Art." Starting in the late 1950s, Heidegger wrote a series of essays on language. "Was heißt Denken?"and Unterwegs zur Sprache are exemplary.

We cannot treat language as an object of reason in the way Linguistics does. We can't say that language is this or that. The way it is present to us is given to us, gibt. "Es gibt Sprache." Heidegger invites us to think how we relate to language itself. We are in language and don't pause. We don't have a relation to language unless language is disturbed, as when a word is on the tip of our tongues. Only when a word escapes us do we become aware of language as itself.

How do we get to language? The relation is inversed. Language gives us the ability to think. It's not a tool to use in our relating, language actually gives us the relationship to the world. In "Letter on Humanism" he states that language is the House of Being; it's our horizon, our ground, but not in the traditional sense because that would be Logos.

The finitude of existence means being Abgrund. Language is that from which a subject comes to itself as itself through language and the relation to existence that language provides. He doesn't want language to be the subject, however.


Heidegger gives special prominence to this word, der Brauch; brauchen is to need, to use. Wittgenstein refers to this word for meaning. In "Die Sprache" (chapter 6 in Poetry, Language, Thought) he lays out language uses human speech to come into speech. If we think of language as the relation of language, through articulation language comes about. Poetry is a special expression of this. 

In the broadest sense, Language requires human speech in order to come about as language. Heidegger uses this scheme to bring us into relation with Language. We have to grasp how speech brings to language Language. We have to speak in a manner that brings to the fore Language. Poetry and thought bring this relationship into vision. Neither poets nor thinkers can get this relationship alone, poetry and thought have to come into dialogue.

In an initial stage we have:
Language→Speech→Language
    ↳[uses of the human here]

Ereignis appropriates the essence of the human with and for the use of language for itself

             ➚ Language→human speech→saying of Being
Ereignis
            ↘ human ≠ linguistic

You notice that the human appears twice, we come to ourselves as selves through our relating to the world through language use. It's prelinguistic insofar as Ereignis is co-originary with Language and the human. Derrida chose not to talk about this for some reason and it brings into question animal and the body.

This question of the use of the human is important for our essay, "The Origin of the Work of Art." What distinguishes art is its use of the earth. The artist's use of the earth is brought up here. Poetic speech turns upon itself such that it exposes itself in relation to itself. "It's most distinguished" Language is a drawing out of [trusts?], it articulates the relation between showing and saying—drawn into articulation and relating. Thought and poetry both do this, but poetry is a counterpoint.

If Truth is something transcendental and not in temporality, then how do we find the instantiation of Truth in our temporality? Die Sprache; Language is not regular speech. This poietic discussion of the creation of a people's world is very much of the German Romantic tradition, but Heidegger knows that this Romantic thinking is very much the metaphysics of the subject.

The subject's relation to the social order is this Butler/Rancière discussion, but what is at work here is this possibility for social order at all. The past twenty-five years has seen politics absorbed into all conversation such that politics is the ground of meaning. Heidegger is discussing the advent of the political, the limit of politics. Suddenly everything must be political..

Heidegger sees every human act that comes into being through Being with Truth. Art confronts dimensions of experience that are not immediately political. We cannot make everything reduced to the imperative that everything be political. Partly what "political correctness" does is say everything is political and the imperative that control be asserted in its horizons. This controlling limits our ability to engage what is. Contemporary "Theory" has seen this commodification of names and concepts: you write about certain people because you can get jobs doing that. This commodification overdetermines "Theory." Nevermind the references, get to the question.

I got into this discussion of Language to talk about usage and the earth. What Heidegger is doing is inviting us to rethink our relation to language and from this place consider what language does. Starts with aesthetics, which appeals to our relationships and he wants to undo this relationship. Art gives us a relationality in which we find ourselves in our relation to the world. It's an opening to relationality. Es gibt die Kunst. Art grounds being and so has a hierarchical effect yet overturns political relations—a moment of disruption totally processual and dynamic.

[END OF DAY 1]

Friday, October 7, 2011

Preliminary Notes to Laruelle's The Concept of Non-Photography and Barthes' Camera Lucida

I've been invited to facilitate the initial meeting of an arts criticism readings group at the gallery {Poem 88} over in the Westside Arts District (thank you Robin and Jon!) If you're in the metro Atlanta area, please come join us, it's fun and stimulating! We're taking a vote on next readings, here.

For our first meeting, since October is Atlanta Celebrates Photography and the current show at {Poem 88} is a collection of photographs from Ryan Nablusi we agreed to read excerpts from Roland Barthes' Camera Lucida (1981) as well as from François Laruelle's The Concept of Non-Photography (2011).

I am very grateful to the participants in our conversation on Wednesday night. I also welcome your feedback over the next several months as I will be presenting a modified version of this discussion at Parsons (The New School for Design) in the spring of 2012 at the invitation of some friends teaching there.

Like my friends in the reading group, I am new to the work of Laruelle and his non-philosophy project. So, this reading group serves two purposes for me, as I will also be sharing a paper currently titled "What Is a Thing?" later this month as part of Robert Cheatham's Thresholds series, where I will share some more of this budding speculative/object-oriented/non-correlationist sort of thinking.

And here are the opening remarks I made to facilitate our conversation:

Reading Group Notes
Laruelle's The Concept of Non-Philosophy + Barthes' Camera Lucida
{Poem 88} Gallery; October 5, 2011
Paul Boshears

I really appreciate your enthusiasm and presence here today, thank you. I've chosen these two texts because I think that they speak to each other and since this is Atlanta Celebrates Photography month, it seems fitting to read these. François Laruelle, in a very Deleuzean manner asks, “What can an image do, what is it that can be done in an image?” (56) It's a great question for us as we take part in ACP this month.

I'd like to lead our conversation for a few minutes, to give an overall sketch of the conversation between these two selected passages in these books and I'd like to focus our conversation tonight on a problem that Laruelle presents in his book. Where Camera Lucida, at least in the section we've read together, offers some techniques or rules (it's his word) to appreciate a photograph, Laruelle has significant metaphysical concerns, which we can sense when he states, “The traditional double conception of the image as description and as iconic manifestation, applies to the photo even less than to any other type of image.” (68)

Between the two texts I would suppose we found the Barthes to be more accessible than the Laruelle. Barthes is likely a very familiar figure to many of you and Camera Lucida is unique among his texts because it is written in such a personal manner. As you may have read, this was the book Barthes wrote while grieving the passing of his mother with whom he had lived almost all of his life. The subtitle to the book is “Reflections on Photography” and I think we get a clear sense of this almost meditative quality as Barthes shares particular images and their impact on him.

In the selection from Camera Lucida we encounter two important terms that will, I hope, serve to guide our discussion tonight. Barthes characterizes photography as an “uncertain art” and curiously introduces in that same sentence that this uncertain art is as uncertain as “a science of desirable or detestable bodies.” (18) And here we have the term that is going to guide our discussion of these two very different texts. Both Barthes and Laruelle are presenting us with their criteria for developing a science of photography.

I'd like to bring up another item to guide our talk: both Barthes and Laruelle, in their own ways, present a world of objects that do things. The world is seen, in both authors, as composed of thrumming material “vibrant matter” to take a phrase from Jane Bennett. Barthes discusses how those photographs that “reach” him—unlike those that simply present themselves to him uninvited—animate him and he, somehow, reciprocates and animates the photographs. This exchange of, what? energy?, is “what creates every adventure,” (20) and without advenience or adventure there can be no field called Photography and no objects called photographs to populate that field. (19)

Barthes admits to borrowing and working, self-consciously, with the paradoxes that accompany Phenomenology. He attempts to sketch an eidetic science of Photography (20). But Classical Phenomenology, perhaps frustratingly for Barthes, has never, “spoken of desire or mourning.” (21) This is the first time that Barthes discusses mourning in Camera Lucida and its introduction here is really interesting because he traces a previous interest in the ontology of photography, but that question, “what is the nature of a photograph” is no longer important for Barthes as he no wants, “to explore it not as a question (a theme) but as a wound: I see, I feel, hence I notice, I observe, and I think.” (21)

Barthes, in trying to establish how he assesses the quality of a photograph, uses two words from Latin: studium and punctum. Barthes describes studium as the “application to a thing” a kind of knowledge that has been metabolized through one's cultural filter, this filtering (or screening, if you will) is the means by which we participate in the world. (26)
The studium is that very wide field of unconcerned desire, of various interest, of inconsequential taste [....] The studium is of the order of liking, not of loving; it mobilizes a half desire, a demi- volition; it is the same sort of vague, slippery, irresponsible interest one takes in thepeople, the entertainments, the books, the clothes one finds "all right." (27)
The existence of studia is what underwrites what we might call a social contract as it is the mechanism by which we recognize each other. (27-28) The studium is the result of mutual intelligibility, it's the reason why I can say tree and you comprehend the concept. But you and I may not be referring or reflecting on the same tree.

The punctum is “that accident which pricks me (but also bruises me, is poignant to me).” (27) Puncta disturb studia and do so without any intentionality on the part of the photographer; puncta exist, in this sense, independent of human psychogenesis. Puncta are “partial objects” (43) and do not reveal there reveal themselves except in memory. (42) The relationship between studia and puncta is not one of causality, they are simply co-present when it happens to be the case. (42)

But, when studium and punctum are co-present, we have the potential for subversive and dangerous photographs because the co-presence of these two elements establishes a curious quality in what we tend to say is inert material. The photograph enables an object to speak and this compels us to think (38) and this inducing of thought in the viewer is creates a site of subversive potential, but it's not only in the Spectator, but between the photograph and the view, “Ultimately, Photography is subversive not when it frightens, repels, or even stigmatizes, but when it is pensive, when it thinks.” (38)

Such curious object relations here. We would think, then, that the role of the critic or the philosopher would be to facilitate the Spectators' relationship to those objects which happen to possess both studia and puncta. But not so, according to Laruelle. “What can an image do, what is it that can be done in an image? The philosopher's role is not to manifest this to us, but to hide it from us, inscribing the photo in a prosthesis [...] that denatures its truth.” (56) The philosopher, he says in another text, “A philosopher has never looked a man directly in the eyes [....] The philosopher misrecognizes the immediate for he himself is not immediate.” ("Biography of the Eye," 2009)

Where Barthes constantly suggests an interiority to photographs (and perhaps all objects), a certain call to immanence, Laruelle seems to be saying that no philosopher can tolerate immediacy. And this has to do with a maniacal refusal to relinquish the terms by which identity is formed. “Philosophy represses the identity of the photo, divides it or puts a blank in its place, a blank it no longer sees any more than It sees this identity.” (57)

Laruelle's position is that Western philosophy is so entrenched in transcendental metaphysics that no thing can be what it is without first being screened, that is represented. That is to say, processed through the lens of culture.
Any philosophy whatsoever (empiricism, rationalism, semiology and even
phenomenology) will try to conflate the being-photo (of) the photo with a
transcendent content of representation, the ideal or the a priori with the effective,
on the pretext of 'shedding light on' or rendering comprehensible—by reflection
—the photographic irreflective. It simply comes down to an attempt at reification,
an attempt to enclose the infinite uni-verse that every time, every single photon
deploys … (58)
Where did this position come from? Let's try to situate the conversation Laruelle has been having for some time now.

(from Alexander Galloway's Translator's Note in the essay “The Truth According to Hermes: Theorems on the Secret and Communication” in the journal Parrhesia 2010)
“Philosophy needs a nonphilosophy that comprehends it,” wrote Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari late in life. By non-philosophy they point not simply to a general inversion of philosophical thought, but to the work of one particular compatriot, the author and self-proclaimed “non-philosopher” François Laruelle.

Non-philosophy hinges on a rejection of what Laruelle calls the philosophical decision. To engage in the philosophical decision is to endorse the position that anything and everything is a candidate for philosophical reflection. Thus to do philosophy means to reflect on the world, and likewise if one is being philosophical, one is necessarily being reflective or meta-philosophical. Non-philosophy means simply to refuse such a decision. In other words non-philosophy refuses to reflect on things. Instead non-philosophy withdraws from the decision, and in doing so enters into a space of what Laruelle calls science.

Laruelle’s goal is to cut through the correlationist thinking associated with hermeneutics that forever breaks truth in half as: truth and its communication, or the secret and its manifestation. We must instead, as Laruelle writes here, “let the philosophers in on the secret,” so that they may pursue a rigorous science of truth. (18)
Why should we be concerned at all with this distinction between a radical immanence and the traditional transcendental approach which most of us here today are so accustomed to employing, and why would photography be the field or the objects through which we can understand what's at stake in the shifting from the transcendental perspective to that of radical immanence? “As soon as the photo is understood in the context of Transcendence in general, it is the object of a double causality, with one the inverse of the other.” (63) Causality itself goes wonky in this perspectival shift.

Attempts, such as those developed in Deconstruction, may delay the sleight of hand, but ultimately they, too, subsume under the gaze of Philosophy, the very subjects which the practice tries to address. “No philosophical interpretation escapes this illusion, not even those that deconstruct this convenibility of the image and the real, that differ this transcendent mimesis but which do not know that what can be in an image does not stem from the Other but from the One. The Other radicalizes absence and exacerbates the 'symptomatic' nature of the photo [....]” (65)

What Laruelle is putting forward in his redefinition of science is the potential for understanding through relationship that is not mediated, or broadcasted, it is immediate. This immediacy has a reality that we tend to occlude through a layering onto the world an anthropocentrism that is perhaps ill-equipped to provide solutions to real problems facing us.
If there is a photographic realism, it is a realism 'in-the-last-instance'; which
explains why to take a photograph is not, at least as far as science is concerned, to
convert one's gaze, to alter one's consciousness, to pragmatically orientate
perception or to deconstruct painting, but to produce a new presentation, emergent
and novel in relation to the imagination, and in principle more universal than the latter.
Now, this might seem like a bunch of hullabaloo but let me put forward what I believe to be a real-world, practical application of where Laruelle's position can lead us.
Currently we have technologies at work that have amplified and made possible a vast universe of scientific production. Neuroscience, for example, has developed in a manner that presents stunning, Science-fiction sounding headlines, suggesting that soon we will be able to use technologies to read individuals' minds, or record dreams. But this is a claim to realism, that the technologies are presenting images of the universe that are more real than the universes we interact with already. As Laruelle states “If resemblance is a resemblance to the absent but supposed perceptible (or indeed on the contrary, opposed to perception) object, this distinction still inscribes itself within the horizon of transcendence or of the World.” (62) The images that an fMRI scanner present are not how your mind works. We're barely able to understand how the brain works. Nonetheless these images are regularly being called upon to act as empirical proof of criminality and of a curious legal conceit we call intent. Laruelle's critiques of the wholesale subsuming of photography into philosophy isn't unique to only photography, but our worldview itself is in need of a reconsideration.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Note About My New Post at BURNAWAY

You can read my review of Performances in Nearly-Inaccessible Environs, Public and Private over at BURNAWAY.
In the review I briefly touch on the question, "what does it mean to be contemporary?" It's a simple question, but there are significant problems that burble-up when we try to answer it.

Hans Ulrich Obrist's article, "Manifestos for the Future," in e-flux is pretty great reading. As he states,
the phrase “contemporary art” has special currency today, as a commonplace of the media and of society in general. If “contemporary art” has largely replaced “modern art” in the public consciousness, then it is no doubt due in part to the term’s apparent simplicity [....]
But, of course, every work of art, every text, every action is always committed to in the present; and as such is always a product of contemporaneity, right?
The Street Enters The House. Umberto Boccioni (1911)

"Not necessarily," says Giorgio Agamben (with whom I studied this summer at the European Graduate School). As he states in his essay "What Is the Contemporary?" contemporariness is a singular relationship with times in which one lives. "Those who coincide too well with the epoch, those who are perfectly tied to it in every respect, are not contemporaries, precisely because they do not manage to see it; they are not able to firmly hold their gaze on it" (41). It sounds like an easy, off-the-cuff, maybe even elitist, dismissal: there are important people and then there's the rest of the rabble, and they are unimportant and of little currency with which to effect current events. But then Agamben goes on to discuss the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam (whose works we studied this summer in Judith Balso's poetry class—my notes from these classes will be available as soon as I can get them typed-up, promise).

Mandlestam's poetry exemplifies well what I'm getting at in my review of Performances in Nearly-Inaccessible Environs: works of art have a weird temporality. Mendelstam's poetry is written at a particular time in Russia's history, but his poetry speaks to more than only Russianness or 20th centuriness. This is because, for Mandelstam, the relationship between world and language is not fixed; they elide one another. As a result of this slippage, the work of Mandlestam's poems are never finished—they continue to create the worlds they seem to be describing.

This is why I am asking for your help in collecting the documentation of the Performances in Nearly-Inaccessible Environs... series. By allowing the documentation to evaporate, the works are forced closed and that's a shame because I suspect some of those works still have a lot to say about Atlanta and, perhaps more interestingly, about the housing boom that swept-up the country during the Aughts and precipitated this (why aren't we just calling it a depression already) prolonged recession.

As an aside: for those of you not familiar with Giorgio Agamben, maybe you could start by reading the introduction from the editors of a special issue of the journal Theory & Event.

Call for Performance Works (Please Distribute Widely)

I am very excited to have been invited to curate the public works section of the inaugural Off the EDGE contemporary dance event at the Rialto Center for the arts this January.

There will be some very significant dance makers at this week-long event and the opportunity for peer-learning is excellent.

Below is the call for works; my curator's statement is on the second page.
Edge PUBLIC Call for Works

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Tale of Three Terrorists/Freedom Fighters

If it's not entertaining, it's not really happening
The Christian Science Monitor (syndicated by MSNBC) has this cheery story of a Math major from UCLA who has decided to spend his summer vacation—wait for it—fighting with Libyan rebels. How exciting! He's just a young man who knows how to have a "'sick' vacation" as he told his classmates. It's a plucky little story.

But it's hard not to think about Detainees number 001 & 002 at Guantanamo Bay: John Walker Lindh and David Hicks.

Hicks' new book has brought about this uninforming pile of dreck from David Penberthy at The Punch "Maybe Dave Just Shouldn't Have Joined the Taliban." The chief complaint here being that Hicks should have known that the tides of history were going to shift against the former US-sponsored freedom fighters and now the kid's gotta take his lumps for being in support of a currently-unpopular political group that most of his compatriots probably knew next to nothing about before the war spectacle began in 2002. Never mind the serious violations of international law that put Hicks in a US kangaroo court and illegally held by the US government.

What's really compelling, though is the narrative of how John Walker Lindh was acquired by the US military in Afghanistan as told by his father in The Guardian this July. This is a must-read.

The Quebec Provincial Police had to eventually admit that these three terrorists captured during last year's G20 summit in Toronto were actually police operatives used to justify the state of exception and suspension of civil rights.
I'm not saying that either Hicks or Lindh were not morally wrong, although I suspect there was systemic violations of their rights by the US government (just as was the case for dozens of citizens from the UK and Germany, etc.) The truth is neither Lindh nor Hicks were guilty of the crimes for which they were tortured and mistreated and held captive and paraded as bogeymen by the US government. Laws matter, it's what makes a country worth defending and living in; Lindh and Walker were made to serve as homo sacer.

Friday, July 8, 2011

new post at BURNAWAY

Last week The Blow came through Atlanta on their tour of the U.S. and while in the A they gave an artist talk.  Their discussion of audience dynamics got me thinking about the nature of publics, which is a significant aspect of my work on spectacular agency and since we're on the eve of another U.S. Presidential election season the mediasphere will be chock full of talk about the American public as though we all understand what a (the) public is.

You can read my thinking on the matter at BURNAWAY.

Monday, July 4, 2011

"Interventions" Symposium at the Autonomous School in Zürich

"Drills 22 & 23," from The Palmer Method of Business Writing. A.N. Palmer (1935)

Christian Hänggi has been busily arranging for a two day symposium at the Autonomous School in Zürich at the end of July.

There will be presentations from Julia Hölzl, Jennifer Davy, myself, Benedikt Wahner, Jacob Miller, and Jamie Allen (who's going to be leading a soundwalk).

The flyer is available here (.pdf).

The event also presents an opportunity for Jamie and I to discuss the newest issue of continent. which is now available. With Nico Jenkins, we are also planning an event in Saas-Fee with our colleagues at EGS.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

new post at BURNAWAY

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Lauri Stallings and Nicole Johnson of gloATL and record another episode of ARTSpeak on AM1690 WMLB. The three of us discussed gloATL's world premier of Chapter III: This Is a World.

You can hear it today on WMLB AM1690 during your drive home or also by visiting BURNAWAY.