Landscape and Space

Larval Subjects .

Olive groveLandscape is neither in space, nor is it of space.  Indeed, landscape had to be evacuated and erased in order for space to come into being.  In this regard, space is a historical fiction that is all too real in its consequences.  Space was formed as conceptual space through a historical process that involved the invention of writing, the development of mathematics, and the rise of capitalism and colonialism.  Before that there was only landscape.  However, while a certain form of humanity is a necessary condition for the emergence of space, landscape is in no way dependent on the human nor any other living being.  Where space is a epistemic category, a cultural category, landscape was there well before any humans or any other living beings existed and will be there long after the demise of all these beings.  Landscape is in no way dependent on the gaze of the…

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The Archeology of Matter

Larval Subjects .

Creative_Wallpaper_Archeology_019602_In late September, October, or November this Fall I hope to teach a New Centre course entitled “The Archeology of Matter” inaugurating and outlining a project that might be referred to as “hyletics”.  It is often suggested that Descartes is responsible for mind/body dualism; however, philosophy has had a tendency towards idealism and dualism since its inception.  Indeed, while it takes different forms, the tendency towards idealism and the erasure of matter is not unique to Western philosophy, but appears to be a cross-cultural phenomenon.  Similar in ambition to deconstruction, hyletics explores the conceptual mechanisms and motivations by which materiality is repressed so as to open a space of thought proper to materiality.  Far from a scientistic orientation of thought seeking to assert the primacy of the sciences over all other forms of cultural production, hyletics explores the repression of material labor, the living and lived body, the desiring body…

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Important correction to 1st Printing of Ari Figue’s Cat


MIssing epitaph! First printing of Ari FIgue’s Cat. Head of chap. 41, A Game of Pool, should be a quote from Plato’s Gorgias:
“…he who does injustice, the unjust man, is utterly wretched.”
Polus is incredulous, when Socrates tells him that the tyrant, who wields power freely and takes what he wants–that his life is wretched.
Ari Figue tells a story — seems he met Socrates in a bar in Overbrook (in the guise of Rufus). In the story, they play a game of pool as they consider the merit of this claim.
There are other errors (there always are)–but this one bothers me more. I think it’s important to the content.

SLAVES BY CHOICE: Slavoj Žižek On The Jouissance of Servitude

The Dark Fantastic: Literature, Philosophy, and Digital Arts


A longing common to both the wise and the foolish, to brave men and to cowards, is this longing for all those things which, when acquired, would make them happy and contented. Yet one element appears to be lacking. I do not know how it happens that nature fails to place within the hearts of men a burning desire for liberty, a blessing so great and so desirable that when it is lost all evils follow thereafter, and even the blessings that remain lose taste and savor because of their corruption by servitude. Liberty is the only joy upon which men do not seem to insist; for surely if they really wanted it they would receive it. Apparently they refuse this wonderful privilege because it is so easily acquired.

SLAVES BY CHOICE by Estienne de La Boetie,
Written in French around 1548

Reading Estienne de La Boetie’s treatise today one…

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Recollections of a Freudian

Larval Subjects .

Since last week I’ve been haunted by a discussion with a friend that I had over lunch about his hostility towards Freud. Mind you, I’ve never been an orthodox Freudian. In particular we discussed Freud’s theory of fetishes. He led me to reflect on why I value Freud and where I diverge. I’ve never bought into the gender stuff or Oedipus in Freud. What’s left? The mobility of desire: desire is not programmed, but rather anything can be eroticized. We all have our shine on the nose, our fix. As he said, there are as many genders or orientations as there are people. The entire world becomes a signifying system, a referential system, in terms of our loves and attachments. The Birds. Alice. There’s the theory of the repressed. Our desire, our wishes, our betrayals of ourself always return in some form. Poe’s Telltale Heart. We never escape the truth…

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Sleepwalkers of the American Hologram


There are far far too many people–of the people who count–who don’t feel that uncomfortable or oppressed–overworked and in debt though they may be (debt, after all, is American Wealth… until you max the last credit card, you got cash, and cash what matters)–who don’t see, want to see, refuse to see, those who are clinging to the edge, or already long in free fall–or worse, see the plight of those unfortunates as their saving grace, as deserving what they get, as threats to their own precarious, delusional security, when the reality is, every one of those unfortunates got hold the heel or pant leg of the oblivious We Okay Don’t Rock this Leaky Boat majority… if it is a majority, which you might think by walking down Walnut in Center City on any weekday, or 2nd Street after dark on a weekend, or watching the traffic jam up crossing Ben Franklin –all those happy people heading down the shore on a Friday evening.

The late Joe Bageant was right. Called it the American Hologram. Where those people–the ones who count–I mean, the one’s we supposed to believe are the Real America–where they live. In that bubble.
I’m not talkin the filthy rich, the 1%, the .001%. They think they count. And for now, as long as the Bubble People believe them, they do. Naw, don’t mean them. I mean those in the Bubble. The Oligarchs–the filthy rich corporate assholes who think they are in control–they know that. Why they work so hard to control the press, to jack up and maintain the hysterical addiction to consumption, they work them to exhaustion and entertain them to near brain death. Cause they have this righteous fear, maybe some even glimpsing the truth–that no one is in control. It’s all on mindless auto-pilot. They jerk on the levers and pull the switches and the lights flash on and off–but it’s all a show. The machine is self-perpetuating, self-repairing…. as long as those people who it really
depends on, the one’s who actually make everything work, even while the assholes suck the rewards of their labor out of their pockets and bank accounts their paychecks.

Why the political servants of the assholes talk about ‘saving the middle class,’ even while they don’t give a flying fuck about saving the middle class, except that’s the only way they think they can keep the Big Machine running. The Middle Class are that machines Soylent Green.

No election is going to change that. Elections are the Ambien of the Sleepwalker in the American Hologram. There is no democracy. There is only this endlessly repeated burlesque show. Those who have been pushed outside the bubble, who have been refused entrance, who have fallen though the cracks–consciousness at least is theirs, and with them–not in any damn President, lies the hope that a great awakening may yet come.
May it happen. May it happen soon. May all those who are not themselves asleep, work to make it so. And if we are outside the bubble–may we resist with all the power of truth, the temptation of
Assimilation. It is our very exile that is our salvation

The Idea of Onto-Cartography

Larval Subjects .

www.wired-2There is a gravity to language.  In the case of physical gravity there’s not an attraction produced by forces, rather a bending, a curvature of space-time, along which another object then falls.  That curvature of space-time creates a path defining the vector of the object caught within the gravity well.  This is a good metaphor for power.  If mountains exercise gravity, if they have a certain power, then this is because they create a path along which other entities move.  I could, perhaps, climb the sheer face of the mountain to get to the other side, but this would be both dangerous and would require a great deal of energy.  Instead, I move along the contour of the mountain to get to my destination because this is the path of least resistance or perhaps I find a pass, a ravine, through which I might get to my destination.  Along the…

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Nature’s Mirror

I see these wonderful patterns in the pavement when I walk down the street–where the pavement is brocken. I’ve been doing art from this, from what I see, and what happens in my visual mind between seeing and rendering those patterns in ink or colors. Last night I brought some of these pieces to the book launch for my novel, Ari Figue’s Cat. A man came in early, no one else there. All he could see in the paintings were — human faces. Oh–there’s a nose! There’s the eye!
I don’t own anyone’s take on what they see in my art, so went along with him… but after a while, it got kinda anoying. When the fuck, I was thinking–are we going to stop seeing our own reflecdtion in everything? Maybe nature’s mirror isn’t there to reflect our own faces–or how we want to see them–but to reflect back at us–that we are of what we see–from what we see, and in seeing only the face that exists outside of those natural patterns, we are blind even to seeing our own truest image.