Creative Metaphysics (2.0-2.1)

(2.0) The lens of life would be a beautiful object if it were available at whim! But the acquisition of such a helpful thing is something worth striving for. Here Nietzsche’s ghost supports the very beneficial contemporary movement towards collaboration which is odd, you say, because he was indeed the most solitary of thinkers. Nietzsche’s hammer hits home with the relations it nails: Life > art > science. Such a path offers a nice perspective, but why is it so often ruined by the banality of the everyday (I mean that socially constructed reality in which material inequality is the major party pooper)? This banality takes the noble unique power of the individual and via industry makes it in to such a timid, characterless, spineless, and domesticated being that one often needs to meditate just to get over the headache this common process generates. You understand what I am talking about the abstraction of capital progress where a scientist is detached from his science, and an artist is separated from her art.

 

(2.1) A different separation was via Nietzsche echoed throughout philosophy where the French post-structuralists – the incorruptibles as the awesome Hélène Cixous named them – went to work in showing what was an established notion of the subject, the self, to be at least polymorphous if not a poly-amorous concept. So here is a hint at our first enactment of a creative metaphysics… one always finds oneself descending to where one presumed one’s self not to be! As a first principle then revel in one’s artificiality for nature encourages conditions of becoming, have no fear be queer my dear, or never wait for bait always test fate and never hate there is always another date. Such encouragement of building, re-designing, re-programming the self does stem from an observation of such processes happening throughout the current younger youths than I. One feels inspired by the speed at which younger generations will flow, no… stampede within their own flash cultures moving at such speeds that hole art movements, cultural shifts, and innovations may conspire within but a brief moment. In many ways the young generations have already grown into and mastered this new transient world, and I hope they look back at the all too rigid power structures of the past with a pride befitting of a world full of billions of choices. Nasty Nietzsche was against a situation full of a plethora of cultural preferences because he saw it as diluting meaning but one will discuss the dangers of self building in relation to creativity in a paragraph or so later… first, let us understand the reference and relation between “Dream Images”, and the “Ecstatic Reality”, that according to Nietzsche seeks to replace the individual with a mystical sense of unity.

Tanabe Hajime’s Zange 懺悔: The Power Of Tariki

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Tanabe Hajime’s Zange 懺悔: The Power Of Tariki •


‘Although Socratic ethical intellectualism did not develop as far as the
self-reflective (für sich) stage of metanoetics mediated by salvation of
Other-power, metanoesis is already implicit in its ironical dialectics.[ Tanabe Hajime, Philosophy as Metanoetics (1986), University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, California, Pp.17.]’

The above quote is in the section explaining the meaning of a translation of Tanabe Hajime’s major work, Philosophy as Metanoetics. What one wants to explore with this short reflective piece is Hajime’s concept of Tariki 他力(Other-power), and briefly understand what it is and the power it contains? In the beginning quotation we gain an insight into how this idea is active in the mediation of the self reflective part of Metanoetics. So one can observe that this Other-power mediates via a salvation or by being saved. Tariki is best explained in its superiority over Jiriki (Self-power) which Hajime abandoned, in his own words: ‘Yet insofar as this entails an act of self-denial, it points to a paradox: even though it is my own act. It has been prompted by a Power outside of myself. This Other-power brings about a conversion in me that heads me in a direction along a path hitherto unknown to me.[ Ibid, Tanabe Hajime, preface, pp.li ]’ So, the concept of Tariki 他力 is that which the process of a regeneration in life starts from through practice and faith found in Zange 懺悔(confession/repentance – conversion). This term is so powerful because it appears as an innate concept to philosophy of both the West and East. If in need of further explanation one should consider two things: 1) we may discover the Truth, but not anticipate its effects. 2)Being wrong, or incorrect is a state unavoidable in existence – Hajime and his support of Japanese Nationalism is a way to understand Other-power. Moreover, the Japanese social concept of omoiyari 思いやり[ Kazuya Hara, The Concept of Omoiyari (Altruistic Sensitivity) in Japanese Relational Communication, Intercultural Communication Studies XV: 1 (2006). ], sometimes translated as: ‘always considering the other [person]’ is also useful to understanding this concept, so meta-ethically important.[ Tariki, allows, and enables for thinkers to think about the “ethics of ethics” because Other-power maintains there is something in the world that causes a certain reflective reaction on an individuals behaviour and the qualities of one’s being. ] Are there any western thinkers that come close to expressing a kinship with Hajime’s concept? Tentatively put, a western thinker close to this idea is Emmanuel Levinas who’s notion of the “other” and “being is two” in his writings could be read comparatively. However the two concepts of “Other” differ in that for Levinas the “Other” is an unreachable distance readable in his concept of Illeity in his later writing.

[ (Emmanuel Levinas, Enigma and Phenomenon, (1965)
&, Darren Ambrose, Levinas, Illeity and the Persistence of Skepticism, IAPL Conference
Chiasmatic Encounters, Helsinki, (2005) ) For Hajime it would not necessarily have such an emphasis on separation it would be more positioned towards external events in relation to an individual’s consciousness of their actions and the following mediation of the two.]
Finally, the force of Other-power in this process of repentance one has personally experienced. After living in Japan, and desiring cultural assimilation one eventually confessed that Tokyo was not a suitable home. Its Capitalism uncreative, unkind, and enslaving for me.

  • Paul Harrison, November (2017)

Bibliography
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—Hajime, T. Philosophy as Metanoetics, (University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, California 1986).
—Hara, K. The Concept of Omoiyari (Altruistic Sensitivity) in Japanese Relational Communication, Intercultural Communication Studies XV: 1 (2006).
—Levinas, E. En découvrant l’existence avec Husserl et Heidegger, (2e éd. Paris: Vrin, 1967).
—Darren Ambrose, Levinas, Illeity and the Persistence of Skepticism, IAPL Conference Chiasmatic Encounters, Helsinki, (2005).

We Blog Therefore We Are!

Free. Online. Radically. Collected. Education is an online entity consisting of a motley group of creative animals seeking to reinforce the web’s potential for supporting new and healthy politics. Grounded in the belief that to maintain a free internet we have to work as a community that values every voice rather than kneeling to the rule of law a sell your labour and sell your self attitude. That is screaming: me, me, me, me, or I, I, I, an I- consciousness rather than a you and an ours. Amidst this false love of self and dogmatic capitalist oppression of anything that may be remotely common or communal, it is hard to maintain an active resistance to the intoxicating lure of mass produced images. How then are we to maintain an optimum amount of lucidity when it is so easy to become ‘plastered’ with all the LARGE information and BIG data, we have parked on our eyeballs? Our question then is how to collaborate or share, to communicate, and to have communal ownership over what we are posting and what has been posted. A goal we should be striving for this however is under threat, make no mistake that the freedom we have in communication in our social networks and digital platforms is not universal it is very much a habitat of the west. These past years we have experienced mass civil unrest as usual the same lines are being drawn poor are poorer the rich are richer – a story which this time is different because of collaboration. Authentic attempts in democratic activism are what inspire F/O/R/C/E; this essay explores the strange environment and character we seek to call the home for our work.

To avoid misinterpretation lets use two examples of selflessness that are now interwoven into digital attempts at activism. The internet would not be what it is today without it’s culture of open source (a free form of collaboration whereby developments in code are shared freely regardless of author) this method of working had it’s champions foremost of which stood Aaron Swartz, a man who championed free communication and a freeing up of access to online education. His suicide is something that should deeply trouble America because he was ruthlessly prosecuted for spreading digital documents for free, bearing in mind that this is the individual who developed RSS 1,0 web syndication, the structural component that enables websites to share information. That alone is a great legacy however Aaron was incredibly productive from a very early age he co-founded the company Creative Commons and will remain an icon for advocating for access to free information and its tools of digital distribution. In the face of his abandonment by the then spineless Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the prosecution and charge of a million dollars and thirty five years in prison, his final decision to end his life. Has to be seen as containing very unsettling questions about the nature of economic control and influence over online behaviour, look at the way in which the need to expand to have ownership comes often with catastrophic consequences – phone hackers don’t get such a level of disrespect?

That is because they where journalists (apparently) and just doing there job, of course highlighted by the failed takeover of Bskyb, by the Rupert Murdoch owned farce of a franchise called News Corporation. If this English example of the tension between capital and new online conversation is not enough for you to begin pondering your position then lets delve further. Let’s look at another individual who whilst working collaboratively at Bletchley Park during World War Two, as a member of the code breaking team deciphering Nazi messages that turned the face of the biggest of conflicts, Alan Turing worked on concepts that literally resulted in contemporary cybernetics and technology. It is stupendous that her royal highness took so long to pardon this innocent genius from the idiocy of then homophobic laws. The fact that both of these characters committed suicide after being illegally pursued by their respective governments after being core members of communities that worked towards positively shaping how we now live our life’s should never be forgotten. As it appears to us that their achievements where solely off their own back, however what is really highlighted is the question of what madness happened or took place around these chaps that ostracised them to the point of despair is this the limits of any collaboration? Are we to believe that these similarities are not to be found lurking feeding of long worn out capitalist patterns, are our collaborations of the future to carry these sad occurrences?

No, they are not because we are not going to forget what these two would have more than likely described as the most important process in the realisation of their perspectives and concepts. That is ‘collaboration’ without it the accidents, disagreements, and ideas that will shape present experience may never see the light of day, an otherwise wondrous discourse then has to die. As a discussion Blogging or ‘Web Logging’ has been around for many years but its core structure is a chronological process of allowing, a clear unbridled transmission of a logical use of public reasoning. Today it is second nature to blog, it is an extension of our daily behaviour and it will become ever more important as an attack on the notion of private intellectual property is coming, it is still in the pipeline. Politicisation of digital material has been slowly developing in tandem with shifts in our understanding of our current situation, on the one hand starved off the promise and premise of consumerism. Which is the practice of defining one’s existence through the products and brands that you support and buy into, rather a statement of ‘I am what I own’. Whilst turning to the other palm we discover events such as the use of google maps by activists and student protesters to avoid aggressive police kettling (herding) techniques by using satellites to swiftly avoid the cops, the speed that digital matter can travel has altered any possible politics! The scenes of the crimes of those wanting inequality who desire a superiority are to be overcome.

The manifesto of the Occupy movement was never written down it did not need to be, the call for action resonated around the globe powering through the blockade of all the imperialist media. That is because it was a cross platform meta-emotional demand for a dis-functional, disrespectful, and parasitic economic structure to be altered in the image of the new digital ‘# generation’. To actualise this claim we have to divert, convert, and subvert or uproot perceptions on digital material. This is a hard task to visualise and entertain but we have to because the fact that the occupy movement sang a loud epitaph for capitalism, a bi-product of which was the axiom of the 99% against the 1%. This thought derived from revolutionary moments like Tahir Square in Cairo, revolutionary in the mass mobilisation of all classifications of the public and revolutionary in how the impetus for action was generated. Through digital networks the denouncing of illegitimate governance has been ignited but it has been burning slowly, worryingly so, and if we are to come to the conclusion that we are living through a failed revolution. Then the haunting words of the Frankfurt School thinker Walter Benjamin should be seen in a serious light ‘every rise of Fascism bears witness to a failed revolution’. This is not to suggest that here in the United Kingdom fascist tendencies like those found in Ukip will solidify and accumulate, resulting in real political influence but it is a fact that this evil is on the increase. It is only kept at bay if we keep engaging in discussion that is an open and free flowing madness.

So how do we keep this pressure striving towards emancipatory positions aimed at creating a more just community and a functioning system? We use our digital materials and the new environment we grew up with, the digital environ which is known as the Blogosphere, to directly combat perverse attempts to manipulate the technology we are becoming more and more attached to. Make no mistake the digital mirror (internet) of real life events is the reflective material that we should acknowledge as the battle ground for the ‘rule of all for all’ (democracy). This ever elusive experiment in equality that is so easily blurred by an increasingly greedy society of oligopolies that are busy attempting to infiltrate government to gain more influence over markets. Such is the antithesis of all that is needed as we move towards new problems that have been created by miss-collaboration, a shadowy process, the financial manipulation of people. You can see a huge disenchantment with this currently online with the rise of the hacking group Anonymous, who whilst operating under the iconic anti establishment mask of Guy Fawkes demonstrate new modes of resisting. Although you will not see F/O/R/C/E with such deep mascara our path is less aggressive but equally as radical in that it’s still an attack on value. Our project is about redefining the very idea of intellect because we deeply understand that there are huge divisions in education both student and teacher are working with a strong unhealthy value.

The value of set curriculum non fluid test based modes of educating human beings no longer hold any substance for us. This can be summarised under the question what value does education contain outside of collaboration? It is the process of collaboration that provides the moment of understanding the missing component in the politics of the mass struggle for meaning. When your overburdened with debt it becomes difficult to imagine starting a new blog which will somehow make life more meaningful beyond finance and monetary problems. However the thing is it will and what is even better is that you can invite people from anywhere on the planet when you post a review and a thought it is also an invitation, your action carries a suggestion. It says I feel and think this, what do you think? This is what needs to be thought of as a healthy definition of collaboration which both maintains an individual amongst a multiplicity of voices. This is what puts our reliance on the digital realm as a col-laboratory of re-thinking the channels of legitimate authentic demands such as free education and an open political public, into thought. A channel that we are focusing on is the video channel our agenda is to occupy Youtube and Vimeo, maintaining what we today shall label the Ourtube. So it is F/O/R/C/E’s implicit goal to create the most open, eclectic, diverse, mad, bad, rad, sad, upbeat, on beat, uplifting archive available today; we face difficult hurdles ahead of us that is why we push for mass collaboration.

The barriers to this are not primarily philosophical however we have new notions that are barging their way into our collective perspective like the strange idea of the Post-human. Some reaction to Postmodernity losing its buoyancy in contention with Slavoj Ẑiẑek’s idea of ‘there is no Big Other’ you have to be your own master, this statement can be used to further grasp what one is blabbering on about. This call for self mastery is the philosophical bar, from the ancient Greeks through all of the greatest of ponderers: Nietzche, Hegel, and Descartes encourage this aspiration. How does this relate to collaboration? Well it is good to understand that these thinkers came to their realisations because of collaboration, this is to say that whilst in conversation (in communion) with someone and something. A wonderful thing happened that is essential to successfully collaborating, they fell into disagreement, disagreements create thoughts, enthusiasm and energy. It is in this spirit that we attempt to function as an entity of moving parts never at home in dogmatically interpreting cold academic jargon tied to capitalist interests. Adopting a Cartesian vocabulary as human beings we are neither res extensa (extended thing) or res cognitas (thinking thing). It is these two behaviours that F/O/R/C/E is swimming amongst, it is a spectrum and a frequency to be also found online. You can see this when the internet changed from centralized one-to-many systems to the decentralized many-to-many topography of network communications.

Lets then make sure the internet remains so by collaborating?

Art = The Black Hole For Knowledge

When perceiving interpretations and accounts of the world and it’s western society you will notice a few things, firstly science and physics are continuously shaping our views of this world. Whether we are observing the newest discovery in subatomic particles or attempting to decipher a new theoretical notion in quantum processes and calculations which physicists have developed. This at times often can be held as a fantastically brilliant art form as it does share similarities with art if you look at the narratives: a physicist proposes an equation, an idea then tests this in the experiment. Does the artist not take their idea proposes a matter of subject moving on to a very prolonged period of experimentation, in this angle of shared characteristics between art and science good gallery and exhibition space become like the laboratory, with which one achieves a certain greatness. Unfortunately this prodigious-ness falls short as both practices or fields of behaviour are currently failing our species. Why is this the case? One reason suffices to explain, both art and science are chained to the mast of the sinking ship that is known as knowledge. Do not be confused with this, as what is suggested here can be simplified in a very simple question. The question (which is extremely relevant to the relevancy of both subjects) is, as a human being what would you prefer to have when living experiencing your life, knowledge or understanding?

Now immediately many people may start to say ‘what’s the difference, are they so different?’ at first glance they are similar you can believe that knowledge is generated through understanding. However what one will propose here is that today we desperately need the above processes to develop and leave us with understanding, knowledge needs to be dethroned (or even destroyed?) – simply because it has become overtly possessive like the pimp that beats his whore. Putting it much more softly, if you know you will avoid the option for the helpful understanding. Within this suggestion one does hope to also show how art rather than science is naturally in the business of developing understanding, rather than science which has a long history of knowing. It is not the fault of scientists that their area of expertise carries this great weight and damaging characteristic as looking at their process of experimentation you see it is destructive; when using a hydrogen collider or ‘Atom Smasher’ they smash, break, and collide matter to get a waveform to analyse and use as data. This appears to be an experiment only the physicists are invited to partake in however that is not the case because every single one of us carries atom smashers on our bodies. Every time we blink we have been smashing photons to build a picture to understand our world. The difference being is that one has to use the language of mathematics to challenge the factual.

The other, or art, is not completely roped to numbers it remains and has been an experimentation with more mobility. The major retort to this suggestion will be one of being accused of operating within just a semantic, word game, metaphysically wish fulfilling co-ordinate to overcome these possible dismissals we will be taking a journey on the next shuttle or rocket into the universality. That is unknowing, on the way we will take our knowledge and see it absorbed in the hole of art. Art this fantastic black hole when it happens when you encounter a great work of art, you are invited to develop your understanding of it’s subject, the art arises from facts but is sitting on top true art has always been secretly driven by understanding it’s constructed by it shaped by it. Where as modern science is historically understood to have grown up on the highway from Scientia (Knowledge) through René Descartes’s X/Y Co-ordinates, to Isaac Newton’s scientific method, and arriving at quantum physics and mechanics. Again we should ask incisive questions to unravel the scenario we are exploring, let us start with the narrative of the similar and the different; regarding knowledge and understanding, in doing art in a world of science or equation. In a recent discussion with fellow artist Pavel Büchler, Hester Reeve shows her wonderment at the thinker Hannah Arendt’s comment on art, the conversation is under the title Doing Art Now.

‘I am struck by Arendt’s claims that art works are ‘thought-things’ first; they arrive into the world from the human capacity for thought, but this doesn’t stop them also being object-things. It’s this combination which is extraordinary about art.'(i)’ This extraordinary quality is what makes art the ideal breading ground for one’s understanding but what helped design this complex numinous un-edited space between thoughts and objects? Before we arrive at artists that are exemplar black circles that help swallow some knowledge to develop the above question let’s take a short detour with some philosophers, our destination is the space station of Aesthetics where Immanuel Kant and Jacques Derrida are waiting patiently. Fascinated to be in outer space they both made great steps in the ‘how art breads understanding’ Kant critiqued judgement on his fantastic path, his reaction to Newton’s new bread of science which at that time caused a major havoc, bringing into question the idea of God’s dominance. As it showed that the cosmos functioned within mathematical laws that could be created by a man. Kant’s great achievement was to turn this break in perception and show that even if with this new knowledge there was room for the knowledge that had thus far ruled over human endeavour. It is honourable that this thinker created his own set of laws to match the laws set by maths; thankfully Kant’s struggle to bridge the gap between empirical and rational views on art. Did not reaffirm the dominance of numerical physical fact instead his distinctions such as the ‘antimony of taste‘ (ii) and that of the ‘parergon’ (Greek for incidental or by-work), kept discussion open and full of subjectivity. Therefore we should be grateful to Kant because the open unique experience one can have with art whether it be associated with that of the sublime, the beautiful, the unsettling and the calming. Was protected through a Kantian distinction between inside and outside, which we will soon see is still very important in today’s habitat of the overwrought processes of knowing.

All knowledge we have today creates the type of lasting blindness you get from gawping at the sun. This blood red immobility is in contrary and in ignorance to that of an understanding in artwork; working on, in, and from a work of art both as a creator or viewer happens to create potentials. Such as those tied to the difficulty of developing a concise understanding; think about the notion that you can never know what an artwork is really about without speaking to it’s creator, whilst the artist’s work reaches it’s potential when it’s spectator or audience develops a response to it. Here we have a reality that is threatened by data and information, if you approach art and the work of an artist thinking you know their work and it’s meaning you distort the chance scenario. It is now in this current historical context that there is a chance to view the task of art differently. As an opportunity to get rid of your knowledge, another way of saying this is that to arrive at the real or actual value of art, one has to become aware that as a phenomenon art is innocently blind. Here the French philosopher Jacques Derrida offers us an opportunity, a reconstruction of an earlier deconstruction. In 1990 Derrida was the curator of an exhibition at the Louvre in Paris, Memories Of The Blind, it opened with the painting The Origin Of Drawing (1791) which we will be an ideal example of the marvellous movement away from knowing and toward an understanding. It is precisely in this image you see Derrida’s attempt to highlight the lines between inside and outside. (iii) Highlighting the behaviour of object/thought relationships that are to be found in this confrontation with a sight from antiquity; Butades is frozen in time, her hand is busy tracing the shadow of her lover as she is facing separation from him for a reason unknowable to us. Although faced with this aesthetic it would be extremely common to understand or interpret that: a) the two are lovers, b) Batudes outlining of the shadow points to that which is exterior, the event that is still to take place or the future that is still to come, an epic frame for our situation today. Subordination to knowledge is not helping anyone it is doing the opposite hindering our attempts to arrive at a better purpose for each other’s life, a greater presence outside of cold fact.

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Joseph-Benoît Suvée’s, Butades, The Origin Of Drawing, (1791).

Meanwhile Derrida is finding it hard to decide on if he should start to explain how this image also illustrates some of Plato’s core concept’s, but before he can decide he is accosted by another German bloke. Friedrich Nietzsche hobbles towards them apprehending Kant, ‘Plato is the name for a disease! Why would you ruin and ridicule this great example of human tragedy in it’s most needed form?’. Let’s not, as it seems that one of the most historically accepted renditions of the root of most art is that it is to be found either born out of or smearing itself in the muck of that which is tragic. For is it not tragedy or tragic what we are discussing? This deceit which is the toxic state of our knowing, what would a world look like if art and science where built without architecture that allowed for knowledge? Before we arrive at the black hole we shall play a word game to pass the time with one of the major paradigm shifts in the 20 century, the discovery of Antimatter. In this angle we have adopted a position that is anti – matter, this is in opposition to those matters often banded around, counted as being an adequate platform for knowledge not understanding. It is understood therefore there may be a super-massive Black Hole at the centre of every galaxy in the Universe, it is also thought that Black Holes created through the death of a star, create Antimatter. Thus this shadowy realm that physically exists next to, behind, or accompanying everything that one may observe. Is a new way that a being could arrive at a better reading of this Butades’s painting.

What one is trying to articulate and bring together is that understanding has the same positive properties to those found in the behaviour and event of this particular revolution in physics. Within this space in time there is yet more evidence of the strange embroiled relationship between science and art. In 1941 the ideas of the physicists Richard Feynmen and Ernst Stueckelberg collided, an idea that an anti-particle could travel backwards in time was released (iv). When asked why he did not publish his idea in a more prestigious journal, Stueckelberg said something like this: ‘because it was a time of war, it was impossible to find an artist for the diagrams.’, many would have been enlisted! Maybe, Ernst ‘as artist’ drew the diagrams himself? This suggestion however likely or false if it where true demonstrates the shared material of uncertainty that artists and scientists have been moulding, casting, and thoroughly falling through. Thus the level of uncertainty generated by an event like the devastation reaped by the atomic bomb landing on Nagasaki, has stayed with humanity the complete loss of life left a deep black shadow. One that forecasts a world continuously delineated by opportunities to sell products of knowing. It was with the knowledge that by dropping a nuclear weapon it would assert such devastation on the other, on the enemy that it would cripple them to the point of submission to imperial power. It actually had an effect of the aftershock of an earthquake, it highlighted the extent to which our species operate and function under a wider structure of a heavy evergreen knowledge.

It is in this manner that a reality whereby knowledge not science has a lot to answer for if it results in this kind of forgone shadow, as having this privileged position being able to look back in time. You may well adopt the logic that this had to happen or that it would have happened eventually. If this is so then it is not preposterous (as art has to happen) to propose that art creates a shadow of it’s own allowing not for the zero energy of knowledge but for the bottomless pit of understanding, the negative state of electrons on an invisible ladder of all unconscious quantum (v). This (how much?) attitude is all mortally and morbidly enlightening as on this spacecraft to art as passengers we begin to doubt questioning when we will arrive at the centre of the galaxy? It is a long journey and knowledge weighs heavy on the passengers, especially on those philosophers. As respite they all fall into a dream, whilst snoozing they land on a long and windy yellow brick road where all three thinkers are hoping to be awarded with a watch, diploma, and medal. These will have to wait as we have finally arrived at today’s black hole The Wizard Of Oz Experiment (2011) by the German artist Dennis Neuschaefer-Rube, is an example of this chance to banish knowledge. For this author it shows this by denying or manipulating the usual role of numbers and facts; because of it’s inherent process of re-using visual information, in a non-linear manner; a characteristic that is seen strewn throughout most of our creative efforts. With this video installation you do not know what the material is until that external experience. Then given the information that this work comprises of a screening of the original Wizard Of Oz film, side by side five thousand eight hundred and twenty nine times. All of this becomes irrelevant when confronted with the experience of viewing the work with a type of presentiment. This knowledge you have can be taken from you if you understand that when you start to look. With a preconceived idea of the contents of this work then the art itself distorts and destroys this, replacing it with an understanding that did not exist before you had the encounter. Looking at this work you can not actually observe any of the detail of the original material of the film. Another way of describing this anti-material behaviour of art is the simple understanding we have arrived at through quantum mechanics, particularly those destructive forces found when matter collides with it’s counter part (vi).

MonitoringDennis-Neuschaefer-Rube-THE-WIZARD-OF-OZ-EXPERIMENT

Dennis Neuschaefer-Rube, The Wizard Of Oz Experiment, film still from film installation, 2011.


i. Pavel Büchler & Hester Reeve, Labour Work Action: Transmission Annual: Doing Art Now, Ed. Michael Corris, Jasper Joseph-Lester, Sharon Kivland, P15, Artwords Press, 2013.
ii. Andrew Ward, Kant The Three Critiques, P.211, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2006.
iii. Jeff Collins, Bill Mayblin, Introducing Derrida, Ed. Richard Appignanesi, P.140-145, Totem Books, 2005.
iv. Frank Close, Antimatter, Oxford University Press, p102, 2009.
v. Ibid,  p43.
vi. Jim Al-Khalili, Quantum A Guide For The Perplexed: Antimatter, Phoenix, London, p164-165, 2012.

Occupy & Mutuality: Towards an understanding of Anarchy

In Tournament of Shadows episode six of the BBC drama Ripper Street (2012) you find a radical Jew who is blown up in his own house. Framed as a bomb maker the main protagonist of the series goes to visit the victims brother Isaac. Whom, informs the detective that his brother was an Anarchist in a most powerful manner. Isaac’s words describe what could be said to be the desire behind both the Occupy Movement and The 99%. The brother emotionally articulates that his brother believed in ‘Anarchism from the Greek Anarkhos (without rule), Joshua believed completely in altruism, mutuality, and an end to mans dominion over man’. It is a shame that we had to lose this fictional life to be presented with an alternative to the populist definition of an Anarchist. Implying a violent individual causing disorder, upheaval, and living without rules. Well, that may be quite an image that we could carry of the dreams of a contemporary young rebel. However, this text attempts to contemplate how anti-capitalist movements are being undermined through their focusing on existing institutions such as the state and banks.

The main issue that evolves around this particular conundrum is two way, on the one hand, you have the current separation of power and politics. A position described by the professor of philosophy Simon Critchley as ‘It is certainly not populist or people centred. Politics, does not have power, politics serves power. Whereas power is global or supranational, politics is still local and there is a gap between the two’ It is this break in phenomena that Critchley believes is the source of the sense of estrangement or loss we currently carry. Now, this thinker goes on to explain the classical goal of politics being one of Autonomy. This notion is a main goal of the Occupy Movement and subsequently leads us towards the opposing position. It is one’s opinion that for this collective ownership to happen our appreciation/consideration of human nature has to be honed. Currently thoughts such as greed as a form of survival, as part of nature, inherent within ownership and value. Stand, as instant opposition to a direct form of revolutionary emancipation and perhaps society should turn to another word beginning with the letter A.

Autotomy, referred to as a ‘casting off of a part of the body by an animal’ it is a way of surviving an attack. Now it is paramount that we understand why it is important that we cast off this part of our body? And what part of our bodies we need to disperse? To start to answer these two questions one should turn their attention to what happened during the recent riots throughout the United Kingdom. The traumatic experience of the Malaysian student Ashraf Hazig who was seriously hurt with a broken jaw. One individual seemed to comfort him whilst his accomplices raided his backpack clearly escaping with a Sony Psp games console. This horror operates on many levels as it highlights the dark side of our materialistic culture. What Sigmund Freud ordained in his writing ‘Das Unbehagen In Der Kulter’ literally the uneasiness in culture. In this text Freud describes civilisation and its discontent with the norms or rules that it creates for itself. Rules that in this case distorts and alters the distance between the image of our current condition and primordial man.

But this ancient human is still present deep within our psyche it lies patiently waiting to show itself. When it does as in the case of Mr. Hazig and his deceivers we are presented with an ‘Unbehagen’. This uneasiness is what one needs to throw away if we are to participate in peaceful change. Unless we continue to allow for an imbalance that could also be, in a way, be what; in Lacanian thought is known as the ‘return to the real’ or the ultimate trauma. Now, how to begin to think about whether or not it is possible to dissect something attached to culture which is constantly evolving and forever terrifying. Here is where we should think about Anarchism and especially the idea of Mutuality, described by the Frenchman Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. As a form of ‘spontaneous order without central authority, a “Positive Anarchy” where order arises when everybody does “what he wishes and only what he wishes” A nice idea, alas in reality this relies on reciprocal forms of communication. Which does not happen when you have been continuously fed commodities and been told that there allure or value is paramount.

But this is a rather objectified view of our over committed relationship to sell-able objects lets entertain a more subjective angle. In our Capitalist system you have this social hierarchy at the top the Bourgeoisie, at the bottom the Proletariat. Or Employer and Employee, or Master and Slave, as a reading of the prominent Hegel by Alexandre Kojève offers a key systematic component. Describing Desire ‘is the desire for recognition. In order to achieve recognition, the subject must impose the idea that he has of himself on an other’ Now I am not even entertaining or talking about the historic danger of abolishing a market then leading to a Totalitarian relationship. Lets be clear what I am actually proposing by using a visual metaphor, it is a belief that one can grasp easily, in that we need to alter the existing pyramid into a circle. Perhaps intuitively speaking if we are to redesign capitalism then our attention needs to rest on matching the repetitive wheel of growth and recession.

To that of the natural perennial cycle of life and death, order and chaos. Through a transmuted reflection on the Hermeneutic, Gestalt, Metaphysical, and Pataphysical formations. Or more generally the needs of a sentient being, our humanity residing in our consistent reach in time, thought, and action. Our ability for empathy should inspire us to cultivate bewilderment at the structures and sequences we have created. Transferring this energy or ‘Positive Anarchy’ to one another will not be easy to do, it will take a long deep look into the unknown recesses of the dark penumbra of ownership. In an effort to break into modes of thinking, new sequences of being.

  • Paul Harrison (the above writing is some old musings on Anarchy. Maybe, I will revisit them at a later date.)

Creating the Positives _with Alex Kneip

Creating the Positives
Paul Harrison on Alex Kneip’s photos of Tokyo.

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I can only imagine this collection of images. Alex has no way of showing them to me. In thefuture I hope to view them, but for now I can only imagine. Imagination then is precisely the point, the logos of any possible topos. A place which is only accessible through the process of capturing, reducing, and refining both light and time. A perfect synthesis of photons and their matching events, materialised into the two dimensions of photography. Photography is special for many reasons it allows us mortal, corrupt, confused, and potentially doomed animals to capture and prolong sections of our existence. The mystery of the still image, a picture in situ, is even now after so many centuries of development and practice. Still quite difficult to explain… we could sketch a quick geology of image making, it looks like this: picture/image – animation – film – virtual reality. You see how pictures are archaic. In the waters of our evolutionary origins, ancestral beings grew primitive sensors, what we now refer to as eyes. Photography then is always dealing with a kind of economy of visibility. Involving temporality, politics, and aesthetic categories. The advent of the I-phone and Instagram has made everyone a photographer… creating a new visual grammar? However, even these new digital platforms and mechanics are animated by reproducing reality. Let’s recite the words of the immortal Walter Benjamin, “technical reproduction can put the copy of the original into situations which would be out of reach for the original itself. Above all, it enables the original to meet the beholder halfway, be it in the form of a photograph or a phonograph record. […]i ” Benjamin also describes very clearly how unhelpful valuations of cultural heritage are liquidated by the mechanics of the camera. In the epilogue the end of the idea, ‘art for art’s sake’ is thought as being related in some way to a Fascist Fiat ars – pereat mundus (Let technique – lost world).

This Latin phrase is framed between a change in sense perception brought on by the advances of technology. Which is indisputable… One then invites you to embrace this change because Alex has certainly succeeded in exploring the metropolis of Tokyo in a way which subverts and undermines this negative Latinate statement. Through his preference for the physical qualities of film, and his love of his instrument – a Canon A1 camera an object passed down to him from his father. One believes Alex let technique lose one world, an old world which had to bebleft behind. Making room for the new experiences the psycho-geometry of Tokyo’s culture freely offers. In a way this collection of photos shows Tokyo through a similar method of transmission. Alex is the father of these images… the one who exposed these events to scrutiny. People who may look at these pictures can now in line with Benjamin’s thought meet the original experience. One hopes some of these images were taken in 千川 Senkawa, a place where me and Alex met so many people from all walks of life. Translating this place’s name into English you have a ‘thousand rivers’. I would like to invite you the beholder of these images to use the name of our shared home as a narrative. This collection of photos not only represents the spirit of an important time in an individuals life. It should if you look carefully with an open mind and eager imagination. Articulate the potential for true subjectivity as a natural movement, a reduction of the negative into a positive. Or, in other words these images captured the photo-genesis of the moment of cultural assimilation. A year in which a German masterfully explored the urban oasis of this the most famous of Asian cities. May you the reader take inspiration from these photographs, and visit a place of consistent transformation.

深い川は静かに流れる。’Still waters run deep’ Ne?

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i.Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,English trans. Harry Zohn in: H. Arendt, Walter Benjamin, Illuminations, London, 1973. pp 219‐53

Originally published: Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung, V, no. 1, New York, 1936.