Hello Blogosphere… I have been abscent for quite some time but now I am back with a horribly erratic and often unfollowable peice of writing. A small essay trying to build a metaphorical understanding for how Art of all kinds (but particularly visual) has a virus like quality. I attempted to create a concept that was useful when trying to imagine our refined cultural practices as not overly valued financially but closer to a biological autonomous event. I am not sure I succeeded and this is a bad essay for sure… read with caution.
Abstract: One has been thinking about artistic events and methods that are potentially ant-capitalist. Throughout the past two decades global culture has been accumulating and translating large changes in culture. Changes that have been driven by a surge in the use of new technology, science’s increased understanding of biology, and societies restless creative growth. This essay describes these changes in the aesthetics of one event. The visual event one labels as an Infective Fissure, an encounter with the radical potentials of the virus we commonly refer to as art. Having tried to both accurately explain this in current visual culture, and philosophically explore this event’s intellectual points of origin. The text features interpretations of the work of Philippe Parreno, Peirre Huyghe, and Joseph Nechvatal (among others). Combining with the writings of: Victor Burgin, Jacques Derrida, Jacques Rancière, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Nick Land, and Hito Steyrel to offer an exploration of an event that one for-sees in many of our artistic experiences today, tomorrow, and the day after. Infective Fissures are events that demand even more aesthetic reflection?
Key words: Infective Fissures, Events, Aesthetics, Politics, Techno-capital,
Cybernetics, Virology, and Art. (word count: 5515)
Viral Complexities: Art’s Old Medicine.
In the description of his personal project the video loop, ‘Virtual Amplification’ (2011). Edgor Kraft has written down an interesting sentence, ‘Each new mouse click takes us away from an answer and question just as each following step of developments of the media environment and virtualisation moves us further from the understanding of what is an authentic realityi.’ Such a sentence incubates and galvanizes contemporary thinking around new forms in art’s production and consumption. Kraft’s work immediately illustrates what one wants to articulate. One finds that the circular narrative of this video loop evokes the symmetry/asymmetry, inside/outside, of life. Post-web 1.0 an internet that was also referred to as an ‘information portal’, an environment that one could only read from. However we are now interacting with a newer version and are awaiting it’s next evolution. Art has been affected by these movement’s and we have witnessed large amounts of creativity. That use new digital media in the world of data, software, and networked communication. In the middle of all this is the potential for a unique event. A development which brings together technology and biology to invite new ways of thinking about the future of art? This writing seeks to outline, define, and persuade the reader of the importance of these new radically viral aesthetics.
In the essay ‘Recycled Electrons’ George Boole, an academic and logician, recollects his first encounter with the internetii. He says that, ‘the globe’s time and space had been instantly redrawn’ and that, ‘it’s trunk/branch/twig structure is an underlying framework that has become part of our very mode of thought’. If this is true then one believes new media art is virally complex precisely because it now serves as an ‘underlying framework’ for critical insight on arts place within capitalism. Another way of articulating this is that NMA is for today’s ‘art world’ what Karl Marx saw as the Proletariat (the workers), the first and only class. Suggesting a naive reality whereby new media artists have spawned a revolution, and the means of production the ownership of markets and wealth. Is as the internet should compel, equally redistributed amongst a community. Staying with the Marxist terminology in addition to Kraft’s and Boole’s word’s, the viral impact of media can be practically explored. Just observe the fact that in 2008 the online community Anonymous in reaction to the treatment of Wikileaks, disrupted and nullified the stalwarts of capital. MarsterCard, Visa, and Paypal, where stopped in their tracks by a community influenced by the
Evental Aesthetics: Aesthetic Inquiries 4, ISSN: 2167-1931. Submission (2017)
behaviour of online creativity and it’s circulating images. A fetishism dormant in the movements of a memeiii?
The Visual Meme’s (ideas, styles, or behaviours shared within a culture) on the website 4Chan, shows how an image can become a virus, mutating so quickly, that it gave birth to an entirely new culture and community. To understand the relevancy of this to art one could choose to see these changes as what the artist and media theorist Victor Burgin, saw as an ‘absence of presence’. Writing under the same title he explores changes fuelled by postmodernism and conceptual art. Burgin, whilst referencing Michel Foucault’s metaphor of fetishism as ‘capillary action’, and describing Freud’s articulation of fetishism as Disavowal (which is a splitting between knowledge and belief)iv. Seemingly embodied in the then art establishments very relation to history. Yet finding this splitting is very rewarding and should demand that those that are concerned with the openness of art. Need only turn and see new forms of media that have an unequivocal anti-capitalist metabolism. Even Foucault’s metaphorical use of ‘capillary’ lends itself to media art’s virus like body. If you are still doubting the accuracy of the viral narrative one is considering, and how Burgin’s ‘absence of presence’ is relevant.
Then look at recent events at the Barbican in London, one exhibition in partnership with Google: ‘Digital Revolution’ (2014). Claiming to be a comprehensive account of digital art: Google’s corporate presence (DevArt) spawned a critical counter exhibition ‘Hack The Art World’ which was a completely digital online exhibition originally geofenced (only available in that location) to the Barbican. It resembled for the art critic Jonathan Jones an exhibition in Paris in 1863, the ‘Salon des Refuses’, showing art rejected by the official Salon. So are these exhibitions and artists demonstrating yet another form of disavowal? Maybe, but the lead artist of the group behind the show Jan Vantomme made a very valid point. When he stated that tech giants should help start legitimising digital artists by buying and collecting their work. The way the art in this show was used directly to illustrate this point should be seen in an extremely positive light. The demand of these artists was legitimate and positioned so as not to detract from the work of the institution. Or from the artists in the physical exhibition, instead it did something more important. It shows that resistance need not be completely dismissive or demand full blown opposition. So another angle, perspective, point of view is necessary to decipher a way in which we can harness these aforementioned antagonisms – the material question is one of dissemination. Like the notion of the meme a one cell thick lining of the capillary, art can now be micro-circulated.
Trapped in a world terraformed by our technology and it’s numerical dominance in data or information. A global conversation contaminated by the axis of encryption/decryption, either infection or defection? One way of framing these issues is brilliantly elaborated in an essay by writer Lori Wike. Wike brings together the thoughts of Jacques Derrida and Roland Barthes on absence, presence, and temporality. In doing so interrogates the link between an image and a word – however it seems that it is actually Barthes words in this text that are more befitting to our contemporary digital creativity, ‘the Photograph mechanically repeats what could never be repeated existentiallyv‘. This statement by Barthes can be witnessed in the blossoming of digital affects, animation, and image manipulation due to computers. Today we unconsciously time travel through a multi dimensional sphere of representations, every single one of them manipulated. A process which is already pre-destined to increase – artists and cultural bodies need not fear these changes. Especially if like Derrida they embrace the affective enthusiasm of their parasitology, their ‘virus being many thingsvi‘.The benefit’s of being prone to infection are like a real immune system, art will develop new forms of isotope ones with an iterability, such precursory examples can be seen in recent projects.
‘No Ghost Just a Shell’ (1999) the reanimation of a Japanese anime character by Philippe Parreno and Peirre Huyghe. ‘Low Animal Spirits’ (2014), at Banner Repeater, London. A collaboration resulting in a live algorithmic score derived from the loss of the referent (presence) in both economy and language. Thirdly, ‘Dark Velocity’ (2014) which underlines the main topic that warrants the complex metaphor of this text. Brilliantly summarising, ‘The invariability of contemporary art’s commodity form makes object-ownership hold crucial levering power in the field thereby overshadowing the potential for financial diversificationvii‘. One views the separation between knowledge and belief in psychoanalysis, firmly rooted in the modernist questions of ‘why?’, and ‘how?’. As not entirely outdated in deciphering the above dilemma, the aforementioned overshadowing of diversification, has in this author’s opinion culminated in but one option. Media art and philosophy now have the unenviable task of articulating ‘what?’ and ‘when?’, as questions which will most strongly influence current and future culture. So staying with the letter V as the root linguistic pathogen we can glimpse yet more relations, associations, and paths to discuss. Moreover, art’s complexities will grow with strains and concept’s found in: virtuality, vitalism, and plasticity. Conceptually attaching themselves to the current ‘discipline’ of art’s newest media?
‘Discipline is no longer imposed on the body through the formal action of the law – it is printed in the collective brain through the dissemination of techno-linguistic interfaces, inducing a cognitive mutationviii.’
What exactly is this mutated cognition, and how does one come to fully appreciate it? Well the first step would be to suggest an event where the mutation is self evident. This would initially be found in a single movement specifically the aesthetic change within cultures of visual production. A transformation from the dominance of montage or collage into the current process of appropriation. This is the physical structure one observes as supporting the notion explored in this text that is the struggle to think through images as viruses, not viral images, but the virus that is an image. Exploring this positive pixel plague there are several artists and thinkers today that have been measuring this idea in a variety of interesting and sometimes semi-conscious ways. But, before referencing these creators one wants to detail the visual experience derived from ‘viral complexities’, and why philosophically speaking they are medicinal for artistic cultures. Earlier, one briefly touched upon some intriguing ideas: ‘absence of presence’, ‘parasitology’, and ‘micro-circulation’. Here Burgin and Derrida present a cloudy aesthetic which could be misconstrued as being contradictory, oppositional, or negative? On the one hand an absence, on the other the more ambiguous presence. In Seeing Sense Burgin solicites a consultation with Sigmund Freud to understand the origin of ‘visual thinking’, and through cigar smoke affirms its biologically older than words. In ‘The Ego and the Id’ Freud suggests that after observing Varendonck’s study of preconscious fantasies, that thinking in pictures is only a very incomplete ‘becoming conscious’, resulting in his question, ‘how we make something that is repressed (pre)conscious would be answered as followsix’. Of course Freud’s answer is ‘analysis’ and is concerned with reaching into the depths of his patient during therapy. However, for the sake of detailing this therapeutic imagitus, Art’s newest infection is not to be found prior to consciousness, rather it is located in its absence? Its possibility?
‘ambition and eroticism here is economically achieved through a pair of substitutions-a ‘v’ for an ‘n’. and a ‘t’ for an ‘r’ – which tacks the manifest verbal text onto its pre-text in the pre-conscious. By this device, the verbal fragment faces onto both manifest and latent contents of the image.x’
This pre-textual birth of the virus is visible in the progressive ending of a recent social stigma; AIDS, ‘adding infinite dimensions’ is a nod to the value of experiencing a virus’s transmission. Here one implies that infection, the infectious mysteries of the image have never been nefarious. Simply wishing to allude to this blood disease’s past culture, its stigma, and how it could be both positive, liberating, and negative. Regarding the intentions of this text one does see a precedent in the overly aggressive homophobic reactions to Gay people contained within certain cultures of yesteryear. This word play alludes to this aggressiveness in the socio-visual prejudice against a body with a virus. Instead one catches a glimpse of the contemporary site of the aesthetic experience increasingly contaminating artistic creation today. Therefore, when seeking to make ‘heads or tails’ of the experience of erotic ambitions, Victor Burgin’s text details just how complex the connection between a picture and a plague really is – yet, Burgin only lifts the lid off the sample tube. In the quotation above a section throws doubt toward the notion that images are viruses; how exactly do finite humans breed such a thing, the grandest of infections named art?
Secondly, how is it that one is still grasping for fragments of language when the substitution of v for n (virus for noumena?) provides fuel for an alternative economic achievement? Artists, is it not infuriating? You are all trapped travelling psychoanalytically backwards in a pipette injecting linguistic interpretations onto a surface before consciousness. This dilutes the evidence and the current argument! Technology and it’s material territories behave virally, and art is the virus the object we can encounter. Here is one’s conclusion although the aesthetic experience one is describing has to be better described, and more critical evidence offered up to the reader. Let us look at some art where you can see the virus under its microscope. From the early 1900’s Hiroshi Kawano under the influence of the German thinker Max Bense1 created ‘Digital Mondrians’(1964), followed by Andy Warhol using an Amiga 2000 to digitise his soup cans onto floppy disks (1980’s), and recently the
virus called art has manifested inside the Petri dish where E. coli is the paint for Dr. T. Ryan Gregory2. Experiences with these works are all well and good, but to fully appreciate the event: an encounter with any image and its intrusive politicised ontology, will request the human subject to be comfortable with both being possessed and possessing.
Such an ideal would be welcomed if even attainable? Let us focus on ‘possessing’ because that is what images do and are constantly being subjected to … imagine the words of a wealthy collector or informed curator, ‘I’m in possession of an original Mondrian’, and ‘this painting possesses such and such a quality’ are both defunct utterances. Why? Because remember this discussion is exploring the event created by the very real material reality of the visual virus. Hosting the potentials of such an experiential artistic encounter, and its increasingly pertinent presence in the dispersion of new technologies in Art makes one contemplate what kind of laboratories or weather best transmits this pathogenic phenomenon? Today, encountering art as a virus has almost entirely become computational the repercussions of this are difficult to understand. Yet whilst recently reading one of Jacques Rancière’s books this great thinker adds more depth to a seemingly parasitic reality. Disagreeing with Walter Benjamin’s thesis that the mechanical arts of photography and film gave members of the public, the Masses visibility. Rancière demands that through what he calls the Aesthetic Regime of Art there exists a revolutionary kernel inscribed into Aesthetics.
‘This programme is literary before being scientific: it shifts the focus from great names and events to the life of the anonymous; it finds symptoms of an epoch, a society, or a civilization in the minute details of ordinary life.xi’
For so many people ordinary life is programmed in such a way that there is a real threat that art will become auto-immunised, and the experiences available lost behind some unhelpful capitalist protectionism. If one cares about the infectious qualities of new images then referring back to the insights of the exhibition ‘Dark Velocity’ (2014) enables the question: what exactly nullifies the potential for ‘owner-less objects’, and ‘financial diversification’ innate within this primordial power of the artistic virus? How does the artist who sees the aforementioned potentials think through, and resist
the frequent habit of Capitalism to bleach, erase, and develop new anti-art antivirals? The biggest threat to art, its pathogens, and culture is that monetary habits continue to destroy free association and chain libidinal and sexual inhibition to profitability – a kind of, ‘you can have desire, but only through a screen!’ like attitude? Completely shattering the capacity for appreciating there has never been the right to copy, rather it is appropriate to appropriate; do not let the screen take from you! You take from it! Correct? Opting for passive consumption over infection does not bode well, one has to respond to this event, ‘The seductive force of simulation transformed physical forms into vanishing images, submitted visual art to viral spreading,xii’ Perhaps, Post-modernism’s empowerment of surfaces traps the above process on the screen, so eventually the visual event one seeks to detail is deprived of autonomous animation, and its transmission is terminated?
Wait, really, how to stop this termination? First, by naming the event under consideration, and protecting it with a clearer definition. Infective Fissures are events that allow for both the artist and the audience to gain a full appreciation of the relations innate to the possessive, or that what possesses? This includes the best articulation of this erotically ambitious economy, ‘When a hypercathexis of the process of thinking takes place, thoughts are actually perceived – as if they come from without and are consequently held to be true.xiii’ But, again does this psychoanalytical obsessiveness, a patient’s hypercathexis, an over investment in an object not present us with the need to libidinously battle against the conservative exclusionary economy. The industry that promotes a possessive obsessive ownership and deletes a sexy creative subjectivity? Therefore when thinking about Infective Fissures it is this synthesis of truth, a synthetic truth, that re-enacts potentials for a new biopolitical understanding of aesthetic experience in these new cybernetic techno-capital spaces. These events are somewhat unpredictable because of the omnipresent systems that violently enforce object ownership. By unpredictable one means that an Infective Fissure has a great potential to disrupt the market dictatorship, and offers very promising future transmutations. However, at the moment these events are too easily uncontaminated. The fate of ‘No Ghost Just A Shell’ (1999) is the best example of the need for communities involved in artistic creation to acquire temporal understanding. If a new way of sharing the rich wealth of possibilities is to appear, it wont be an aggressive territorialization?
‘The legal document which transfers Annlee’s copyright to a foundation That belongs solely to her is, in effect, her death warrant. Paradoxically, it Also gives her her freedom since “The acquisition of ANNLEE is part of an artistic project that consists in liberating a fictional character from the realm of representation.” “Give me liberty and give me death” could be her epitaph. …xiv’
In a brilliant review of the exhibition when it visited San Francisco writer Marcia Tanner imbues the Anime character with yet more independence. Completely agreeing with the eulogy; even the art object itself desires death? The demise of an ‘objective dominance’ in the field runs in synchronisation with a whole new generation of image consumption. It is unavoidable the changes wrought by digital technology and an increase in the speed of information have combined to challenge hegemonies. That is why an Infective Fissure is an event, offering a hypercathexical deterritorialization. Always expanding a territory; the virus travels body to body, but it is important to state this does not imply ownership just the expansion of space. Sadly, Peirre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno’s exhibition was an event which ultimately succumbed to the white blood cells of capital’s infrastructure. Initially the project would be fearsomely exemplar of the event one seeks. The purchase of Annlee and her exploitation by other artists was not driven by capital, but by creative contamination. The 428 dollars used to purchase her took into consideration the level of visual detail in her characteristics; the cheapness of the digital file matching the blankness of this material canvas.
This is as Tanner writes an exquisite corpse, the shared distribution of unformed matter. Resulting in the creation of identity and value is shared throughout the community’s territory. Unfortunately, this fissure, this event failed and the point of infection was blocked. Institutions and collectors moved in and bought the whole exhibition. At that time Curator Hans Ulrich Obrist saw this as a unique precedent, artists operating against market logic, disseminating/archiving information, and immortalising an undead thing. A communal sign one associates with the kind of solidarity necessary for a mutually possessive event. One in which technology, cognition, and emotion form a macro-biological wonder. Obrist question was this, ‘How can a community constitute itself on the basis of the same sign, identifiable to all, yet peculiar to each person? The first part of the question is good, and useful to understanding Infective Fissures, although penultimately what is ‘peculiar’ to the individual just encourages privatisation in an over confident individualism. Therefore more screens are erected, curtailing growth, and owning – Une mauvaise idée. Okay, if this is a process which destroys this aesthetic event then how is it possible to safeguard it from capitulation? The best way of reading this dilemma arises in a mixture of sources:
‘Whatever ultramodernity places under the dominion of signs postmodernity Subverts with virus. As culture migrates into partial-machines (lacking an autonomous reproductive system) semiotics subsides into virotechnics. 001010101101110010110101010100110010001000101010111010000101 01100101001010001100100111001000100000000010011111100010010010101 010100001000010101001111110010010001000110100100010100101011110001 010010000100 0111 … Yes No Yes No Yes Yes No longer what does it mean? but how does it spread?xv’
‘… ultimately ends up creating a culture stretched between bulimia, steroid overdose, and personal bankruptcy. This perspective—one of more traditional Cultural Studies—views image spam as an instrument of coercive persuasion as well as of insidious seduction, and leads to the oblivious pleasures of surrendering to both.xvi’
The most radical aspect of the failed Infective Fissure, ‘No Ghost Just A Shell’ (1999-2003) was brought up when Olbrist and Perrano interviewed Jean Claude Ameisen, an immunologist. Ameisen asks, ‘Can something live without death being present?’ a question which really takes the event under scrutiny into confrontation with its postmodern locality. Above, the rouge British thinker Nick Land is first to offer one’s discussion room to find its way. Moreover, the movement of the sign into virotechnics is of the up most importance for this discussion. So, after the stream of binary code Land points us again to the social question: how to transmit, avoid quarantine, and support artistic contamination? The nuances of this question coalesce with media artist, and thinker Hito Steyrel’s words. One translates her aptly named book ‘The Wretched Of The Screen’ (2012) as perhaps the best source to see the problems Infective Fissures encounter as and when they happen. One wonders if she would agree? That even Land’s ‘Hypervirus’ a super addictive art form yet to materialise has to somehow defeat this wretched screen.
Speaking about this with a Deluezian accent one becomes aware that instead of enabling the deterritorialization of this event. The screen behaves as a divisive surface inviting a politics of consumption and evaluation, rather than perception. If we delve deeper into Steyrel and Land’s texts we see the problem with more clarity. Currently the artwork and the surfaces it is presented on are still presented as objects in markets. So, artists if they wish to live in a genuinely emancipated society that can regularly experience Infective Fissures. They have to find ways of exercising their agency and assimilating persuasion and seduction outside of ownership. This involves a narrative that has to meander its way around the dehumanising forces of currency internal to postmodernity. Rancière’s notion of revolutionary aesthetics is useful in generating resistance against what Steyrel brilliantly describes: current changes in visual culture. Particularly haunting notions include the ‘poor image’, and the potential for the virus to be mere spam of the earth. Steyrel also has disdain for the sanitising screen, ‘TV has become a medium inextricably linked to the parading and ridiculing of lower classes.xvii’. Polluting the screen with ever more powerful strains of art is her call.
One individual that is undoubtedly answering this demand is the American artist Joseph Nechvatal. In a two year period (1991-1993) he pioneered a unique practice that resulted in the creation of an extremely original way of making art. Nechvatal uses his own vocabulary to explain his art. Viractualism is a specific exploration of the interfaces between the technological and the biological. This thinking is strewn throughout this artist’s defining work. In his (2015) exhibition bOdy pandemOnium: Immersion into Noise works on display manipulate these new possibilities and showcases all the revolutionary force of new aesthetics. The reason Nechvatal’s work and Viractualism could be the definitive example of what an Infective Fissure actually resembles. Certain essential qualities are obviously present: 1) the works are collaboratively made with at least one other person. 2) The exhibition features a method that actively embraces the degradation of the image and its information.
Nevertheless, maintaining a critical analysis one has to confess that there is something still missing from this art, that makes me suggest Nechvatal as the artist who next to Philipe Perrano and Peirre Huyghe is thus-far been the closest to realising the event one has attempted to describe. One is sceptical because if you look at Nechvatal’s ‘Viral Venture’ (2011), and his painterly ‘Alife’ method (surely one of the best fusions of programming, animation, virtual reality, and biological simulation?), at no point is the audience/perceiver of this work invited in to participate in the act of creation. One deeply agrees with Nechvatal’s articulation of his creations, ‘art and the history of technology are often marked by ruptures, and most histories overlook moments where “deep fusion” occurs’ and ‘This is important because it represents the seminal function that occurs between the wild real-time and the captured/protected.xix’. Yet, until the audience transforms from passive consumer to active participant, and is invited as co-author into the moment of creation. This event will remain marginal meaning one has been thinking through an event of the near future. A future where more and more people are free to engage with art because the world has accepted universal income in response to the continued debilitating qualities of grossly unequal financial ideologies.
Infective Fissures may be happening now in the creative practices of the younger generations, the teens that are so accustomed to lightning fast communication will welcome market diversification. For this progression to happen the current impetus has to be on stressing the importance of the virus itself? What one desires to stress is that the current phenomena so visible is that ‘appropriation’ is an undead replication of non living things. Resulting in the necessity of fully promoting just how radical this change could be? If one needs even more intellectual evidence? More deconstruction of the concepts at stake then one points you to Jacques Derrida’s idea of a dissimulated contamination, and William S. Burroughs’s ‘The Electronic Revolution’ (1970), both suffice to deepen the profile of the virus and the event which enables its encounter. As Burrough’s explains quoting a scientist by the name of Mr. Wilson Smith.
‘Viruses are obligatory cellular parasites and are thus wholly dependant upon the integrity of the cellular systems they parasitize for their survival in an active state. It is something of a paradox that many viruses ultimately destroy the cells in which they are living…xx’
It is not that paradoxical anymore! The destruction at the cellular level took place in the relentless march of science and its technologies. Whereas it is a shame that it was not the coin instead of the cell? Joining these two realisations together creates an Infective Fissure; if, and only if humans embrace certain facts. Hidden inside our creative economy is a need not to repress sexuality, and at the same time master it?
Because the very same forces involved in successful reproduction are both controlling and liberating. Humorously the initials of one’s theoretical event combine to suggest a type of artistic infertility treatment? But, this is overdoing it and far from being unrealistic Infective Fissures are events that are not only set to increase. Moreover, as more and more of us become radically unhappy with a revolting pictorial reality again portrayed by Steyrel, ‘According to the pictures dispersed via image spam, humanity consists of scantily dressed degree-holders with jolly smiles enhanced by orth-odontic braces.xxi’. People will continue to succumb to the market’s overly monopolising malware. Unless the event called an I.F and those experiencing it cultivates a more confident relation to what Derrida acknowledged as παρασιτος (Parasitos), or always eating at the table of anotherxxii. Next to behaviour Nick Land clearly observed in the computational schizo-creation, called hypervirus, ‘yes yes no yes no nomadically abstracting its processes from specific media (DNA, words, symbolic models, bit-sequences), and operantly re-engineering itself… ROM is melted into recursive experimentationxxiii.’ If this clear structural evidence in support of Infective Fissures is not algorithmically acceptable, then putting it simply: the browser will close, and the event will be thrown in the trash bin of theory. Hopefully after reading this PET scan of an essay you also wish to experience an I.F, and come to agree with one’s belief. It is not that art should be like a virus, the understanding rests in appreciating it exists as a virus. Please, brace yourself for your next infection? Seek it out, share, and rejoice in the free contamination?3
Derrida, Invisible Culture: An Electronic Journal For Visual Studies, Rochester.edu, (2000) <http://www.rochester.edu/in_visible_culture/issue3/wike.htm>%5Baccessed 2nd November 2014]
volatility/> [accessed 2nd November 2014]
viiiFranco Berardi (Bifo), Proliferating Futures, Vol 1 #4, Winter/Spring (1996) [Proud To Be Flesh:, Mute Publishing/Autonomedia, London/New York, p.41, (2009)
I am sorry blog, I have been away for too long, but here is a post about some translations from Japanese into English. I am sharing it for other Japanese learners and for anyone with an interest in Buddhism and Kanji.
First up we have some letters I am sending to old students who I miss a great deal. I hope to see them all soon they where such nice people and I was lucky, I will always be lucky to have met them. The above Japanese translates as,’ Maki, Please give this to everyone. On the other side of this letter there is interesting English poetry. I am looking forward to the next time I am in Japan. Let us stay in touch. Paul’
The second is a map that my friend Yutaka wrote me… it describes a place of nature, a place near Tokyo which has a lot tress; a kind of forest. Yutaka is a fellow philosopher and I want to talk about co-authoring some texts with him in the future.
Thirdly, there is this bookmark, I took it from a flyer for an exhibition on Ink Painting and I love Sumie and Ukiyoe (Ink painting and Wood Block painting) I could spend all day every day looking at these Japanese art forms. 水墨の風, このブークマークは東京駅近くに出光美術館で展覧会からですね。
I saved the best to last, this year I will sit my first JLPT exam and then each year after I will sit another. My enthusiasm for this Asian language comes from a teacher I had a Yoko amongst other Yokos. Yoko is a translator of Taiwanese Buddhist texts for one of the biggest Buddhist temples in the world. This translation below is from a recently published book Learning the Spirit/Mind of Zen. Like all authentic Buddhist literature its beauty, power, and truth are constants.
The Translation into English Reads:
“Mutually helping each other.
A place where this happens becomes heaven.
Respecting the neighborhood together.
A place where this happens becomes a pure land.
Heaven is ones home.
The Pure Land is ones spirit”
Remove the weeds of the mind. And allow the seeds of merit to grow.
Thank you for reading. I will post a much larger and more extensive Japanese translation soon.
Interactivity and Animation: Recent Developments in Motion Design
Designing motion is a really interesting thing humans are both capable and incapable of doing it. Moving away from the idea that motion is the sign of life; from the unmoved mover (Aristotle’s god) to our daily experience of consuming oxygen and producing carbon dioxide we are capable of manipulating our directions and the forms which inform our motion. This is the purpose of this post to provide a brief insight into artists that are providing an opportunity to study and look at the space occupied by interactivity and animation. So, we may appreciate their presence and prescience. Studying and learning from their great examples together. […]
I went to art school with this mad South African animator. When we were studying at Sheffield Hallam University Mathew was interested in sound and experimented extensively with this medium; his degree show exhibition was a soundscape of considerable depth. I am not sure about other influences, but I am sure he may agree with me when I say that it was not only the awesome presence of Chris Cunningham, Warp records, and Aphex Twin that influenced Williamson’s progression. His extensive use of computers to create striking imagery surely must reference the machines which invite talented individuals like Mathew to express themselves to the best of their creative abilities. There was a particular moment that I realised Mathew’s work had taken a leap up to the next level when he made an animation installation for Sheffield’s festival of mind. This Installation was projection mapped onto a curved surface and although I was not there to see this in person the image of it struck me as a moment where Matt realised the full extent of his digital potentials. Since then he has been busy living up to that potentiality recently completing work for the newest series of Doctor Who. Below, are screen shots of said Dr.Who work and other visuals stolen from his instagram you should follow him @mattwilliamsonav. You should also tune into his streaming channel and get zapped by the current. https://m.twitch.tv/mattwilliamson
Another resident from that urban urspring of English creativity called Sheffield. Universal Everything is the baby of a certain Matt Pyke. Completing his education in Portsmouth and London he is arguably director of the most prominent and innovative team of motion designers currently swimming around the multi-verse. For a good idea of this creative characters background and person read an interview with him here >>>. Of course you should have already visited their awesome website and gawped at the magic they have drawn into existence. Below, are a few of my favorite examples of this everything which would be universal. The name is evocative and shoves the problematic presence of animation right to the edge of your eye. I will ignore the interpretation or perspective of this studio’s name that is suggestive of an easy relation to capital, ‘if everything is universal, including ourselves, then we can do everything’ – nothing is out of bounds and of course in this case although they cultivate commercial relationships with the worlds biggest companies and therefore supportive of monetary ideology; as long as we are gifted such visual wonders then perhaps we may ignore the hidden flux of finance that powers such innovations. No, not ignore, just be grateful that this group of creators are creating with such ferocity. Also, it is very much a group and this collaborative part is important: Universal Everything could be a precedent for what creatives or human creativity should achieve in the expected third industrial revolution where social networks merge with new technological spaces to produce an entirely new economy.
I really love all their images but the moving images that feature and ask the question about the relation between the organic and machine are mesmerizing. Tribes makes me think of the Anthropocene and the vast size and difficulty of providing an image that is truly applicable to all humans and their behaviour. For the next few years I hope to study language and animation so the work OFFF, a series of hybrid typographic-architecture prototypes is well lodged in my memory and has an immediate association and affinity with the architectural practice of Eniatype.
A Japanese sound artist who is completely subdued and is continuously seducing with his mathematically inspired work. Ikeda’s work is very Japanese and he has earned his reputation through a unique blending of number and minimal components of sound. Sine waves, bass, sub bass, pitch, blips, high hats, samples, white noise, sets, sub-sets, dots, dashes, equivalences, riddims, horns, digits, bits, and much more could be wielded by this great Asian alchemist. Sound is interesting because of its ontological diversity it exists but so ephemerally and this trace like structure makes us think of the quantum physics that suggests waves comprise the inner workings of physical matter. But, this idea from physics does not portray the whole story with the exact standards of science and therefore Ikeda’s work achieves something remarkable and transforms or should I say animates the physical innards of sound into images. Doing so in such a natural way that his installations often seem to be revealing the workings of the contemporary technology driving the processes that have exploded and will explode even more in the coming decades. I am suggesting that Ikeda-san has really dug deep into sounds unique matter and discovered its affinity with math. I like his work because it has that Japanese aesthetic that we all love and it makes me think of the dynamism and dualism of theories that originate in the original attempts to ground/ discover the source of mathematics. I understand that in the history of this kind of thinking there are two Set theory, and Mereology. The first discusses and determines collections of objects and the extent to which number supports said collections, the second is the study of parts and wholes, and I think that Ikeda’s art invites much more inquiry into these matters. Please enjoy these samples of his work below.
Are Team Lab Japan’s answer to Universal Everything? I do not think so they are a team of creatives equally matched to deliver moments of animated audacity. Only team lab seems much more concerned with reproducing nature as we experience it naturally and I think this is a running theme throughout their work – after all they are Japanese. Japans relationship with wave forms is well documented from the Hokusai’s ‘Giant Wave’ 神奈川沖浪裏 Kanagawa-oki nami ura and through Asia’s dominant traditional writing style. The calligraphic strokes of Black ink seem to effortlessly harness the force of liquid lines. What I find most interesting about Team Lab is and other creative entities like them is their commitment to shared processes of creativity. In their video works interactivity is blended with floor to ceiling projections to provide an immersive experience. Some of their installations follow the cultural practice of wrapping; the Japanese delight in the representation of things so a precious yet transient equality is maintained. With both the representation and its content bask in the shared ease at which they are transmitted to a perpetually increasing fan base. Here it is necessary to pay Team Lab a great compliment in their own language. Their art is a quintessential visual practice in which they provide memories as a Furoshiki風呂敷 (Thanking present) or as a continuation of Giri 義理 (Gift giving). So I compel you to enjoy these Japanese gift givers. The work below is from the groups exhibition in California, Continuous Life and Death – enjoy
An American artist widely acknowledged as an influential contributor to the new artistic domains of the 21st century. Roth can be easily seen as a front runner and already a great influence on artists seeking to use technology in there work. Roth is also a co-founder of the awesome Graffitti Research Lab, and the Free Art and Technology Lab both influential groups expanding into new spaces and potentialities of visual networked communication. The recent aesthetic of his work is very bloody I like the red of these works: Internet Landscapes (2016), a body of work that explores the artists experience of traveling Sweden searching for the physicality of the Internet. The press release from collect the WWWorld. Exhibition (2011) describes this newish realm of creativity,’to demonstrate how the Internet generation is implementing and developing a practice started in the Sixties by Conceptual Art, and further developed in subsequent decades in the forms of Appropriation Art and post-production: the practice of exploring, collecting, archiving, manipulating and reusing huge amounts of visual material produced by popular culture and advertising.’ really simplifies the climate of the last 8 years. Roth in many ways is a fine example of a creator who is well positioned to make good use of the new technologies such as quantum computing and developments in the internet as it grows and changes.
Rose Butler primarily works in moving image and video and is a very respected teacher and researcher (again in that beautiful place called Sheffield). A handful of her work makes use of interactivity where the observers of her work are considered as active components. The first example being Butler’s collaboration and commission for FACT in the UK. This work was perhaps the first time this artist worked with the concept of surveillance; in this case pedestrians and members of the public were recorded going about their daily business and often shocked to see themselves on the big screen. An art installation that simultaneously explores the bigness of screens and how we are now watched and/or watching? Other works and exhibitions that include interaction are Stall, Barnsley (2005) featuring a reproduction of a market stall and then an interactive animation in which due to a loop in the recording participants can re-visit their initial visit to the market therefore offering a commentary and experience on the changing economic structure of markets. Again click on Rose’s Hashtagged name to see more of her work.
Auto Italia South East: A recent trip to London.
The last time I was in London it was a fleeting experience. I was on the way to Belgium to collect some of my possessions; the remainder of my belongings (especially some books, and an artwork). I was invited to go to Auto Italia for an event, a live reading. Featuring the voices of Marta Barina, Moza Almatrooshi, Imani Robinson, Rhona Eve Clews, Gonçalo Lamas, and Ebun Sodipo. All were fabulous … and I shamefully can not remember the name of the head curator, but the whole event was local and very very, vocal; it was a very warm and inviting experience. I enjoyed the invitation for all attendees to move their chair and adopt the use of eye masks so as to envelop and shroud the room in a deep state of listening.
I have two personal highlights from the experience. They are Moza Al Matrooshi’s bilingual reading; in Arabic a language that I admire visually because of its naturally cursive and calligraphic form of writing. Yet, it was lovely to hear her address cultural assimilation and migration in a graceful way. Next to Al Matrooshi’s voice I and many others were moved (in an aggressive way) by Imani Robinson. Going last, the speakers voice gave voice to the structural racism that physically and psychologically affects so many Black people throughout the world. As soon as this reading began you could feel the collective attention and mode of sensory consumption of the audience alter. The words that were spoken confronted our ears were not for entertainment. Rather, a masterclass in how to use rhythm, time, and tone to deliver an intervention; not just a reminder of the stark inequalities that remain ever nefarious but a performance that informed everyone present.
I have researched a little further into these creators and artists; below are a few points of interest, and links to some sources.
#http://ebunasodipo.tumblr.com/ / #Shades of Noir / @toblacken
#https://www.martabarina.com / #atpdiary_sp3Treviso
#https://imanirobinson.co.uk / #https://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/from-ferguson-to-the-uk/
#http://rhonaeveclews.com/ / #http://www.audiofoundation.org.nz/programmes/exhibitions/rhona-eve-clews-mathew-cowan
All Crystals are Displayed at Site:
Sheffield’s Long Standing Contemporary Art Gallery re-opens.
Crystals are essential to Lasers, image take from Edinburgh University Engineering
‘Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)’ is an exhibition about the expansion of our crystal culture. Our ever increasing complexity of the usage of crystals as surfaces for images. From André Breton’s metaphor for the Surrealist and Freudian realisation that dreams offer insight into the workings of the unconscious. The metaphor Breton used to describe intense processes of creation; he chose the object of the crystal because it carried both a movement of extreme pressure and also a connection to the earth all but one that remains invisible. On a discourse on how that which is inorganic is animated, the author makes many a reference to art historians of yesteryear. One of them, a man called Haeckel mentored and tutored a crystallographer Otto Lehmann made some experiments that would be the first in which the term liquid was affixed to the crystal. The German term flüssige or fliessende Kristalle (liquid or flowing crystals) contained an addition to a discourse that has remained relevant since antiquity; a discussion on the relevancy of that which is stationary or that which is in motion. Lehman published his visual evidence, his microphotographs of the internal workings of crystals in a book Die neue Welt der flüssigen Kristalle und deren Bedeutung für Physik, Chemie, Technik und Biologie, Liepzig, Akad. Verlagsgesell-schaft. m. b. H, (1911). (1) Such a small historical comment, is an insightful initial source but to deepen the contemporary roots and background for this exhibition the interview between Jeanine Griffin and Jussi Parikka on medium is well worth your time.
Coinciding with this exhibition a new book by Esther Leslie was published but it is an earlier study of her’s Synthetic Worlds, Leslie references chemical mastery and new industries emerging from within this mastery. Specifically an American company is shown to have been one of the first to transform the ashes and remains of a loved one into a crystal stone; connecting directly to Otto Lehmann’s European discoveries and the material exploration of being; the discussion of the shared space the animate and its dual share. The exhibition is centred around a special structure that enables the rich plurality of creation exhibited. I only looked through once but I enjoyed Jennifer West’s ‘Spiral of Time’ a 15mm exploration of film’s continued space for rumination, the pairings of tools by Shimabuku, and the Otolith Group’s ‘Anathema’ reminds me of a dear friend of mine’s degree show work in which the computer chip’s circuitry was used to show it’s urban aesthetic and the city as a site of utopian fantasy. Finally, the animation made by Norwegian artist Ann Lislegaard ‘Crystal World (After J.G. Ballard)’ is a very pleasant linear and tonal use of animation. The shifting shapes located within its digital structures reminded me of some of the beautiful architectural achievements humans have invented.
Ann Lislegaard ‘Crystal World (After J.G. Ballard)’
The exhibition’s richness does indeed make everything different the day you ponder its contents and in many ways the collection of images and creativity on display displays the increasingly creative environment that art and science need not compete for. Recently, physicists discovered the existence of time crystals; ‘a bizarre state of matter with an atomic structure that repeats not just in space, but in time, allowing them to maintain constant oscillation without energy.’ (2) To summarize why these are so special and why there validation is important this article puts forward the idea that they show how the well established notion that matter if malleable exists in a balanced state (equilibrium), but with the existence of time crystals this allows for matter to exist in an unbalanced state (dis-equilibrium). The scientists who made the discovery used crystals to generate these mysterious objects. They used two lasers to keep the ions (atoms with missing or extra electrons) in an unbalanced state; creating a magnetic field, and then to manipulate the atom’s spin.
Philosophy @Leuven in Belgium; & a Necro-psychoanalyst
The following is a quick and too speedy review of the writings of some of the wonderful individuals I studied with in Leuven. Each person’s paper’s topic will be briefly explored; its ideas summarized and elaborated on so as to share and place this interestingly informed information into the streams of human energy traversing the internet. I hope they travel far…and feed the minds of others…
[I have linked to the original essays where possible otherwise if you wish to speak to the authors then the link goes to their Facebook profile’s]
A comparison of the thought of Arthur Schopenhaur and Eckhart Tolle. Starting by showing how a scholar called Warburton suggests this poodle lovers pessimism as not absolute only partial. According to Schopenhaur happiness in an unstable world is inconceivable when William’s quotes Schopenhaur’s Buddhist dependency this makes me smile.
‘“It must be pleasure to me to see my doctrine in such close agreement with a religion that most of men on earth hold as their own, for this numbers far more followers than any other”
(Schopenhauer 1844, 169).
Schopenhaur is interesting because his fondness for Buddhism is a fondness for the oldest kind of Buddhism; the belief system that arose from within the womb of the Indian Brahman. Then, Tolle is referenced referring to how, ‘the dream of a symbolic world allows our consciousness to interpret or interact with the world’(Tolle, 1997, 128). This sounds like Tolle is an exponent, a supporter of the idea that our reality is holographic; After this the paper describes dangerous desire, wish fulfillment being a delusion, and then similarities between the two thinkers. The evidence that Schopenhaur’s pessimism is not absolute is taken from the writer Fernandez who describes it as conditional. Which is where the paper leaves us: as a part of a whole. Choosing to forgo the ‘will to life’ in favour of liberation through our very material suffering.
This writing explores the performance ‘Rhythm 0’ by Marina Abromovich and what it has to tell us about freedom, human nature and abstraction, violence, and their relations to Emmanuel Levinas and Jean P. Satre. I had heard of Abromovich before from a brilliant documentary film made for her retrospective at MOMA, in NYC, and I had understood that this was a very famous performance but I had no idea what it precisely entailed. Reason no.1 to have enjoyed reading this.
The artist was invited by a gallery in Naples Italy to perform “Rhythm 0”. The gallery was Studio Morra in which visitors to the performance where invited to do whatever they want to the naked being of Abromovich; perhaps encouraged by the 72 suggestive objects on the table. One of these objects was a handgun with a bullet. We all like to think that we are calm collected cultured animals, but given a smidgen, a filament of freedom, and we get a little weird. The last few hours of the performance regressed into violent chaos with one visitor encouraging the artist to use the bullet. Of course (we are not all monsters) a fight with the guilty individual broke out. But, when the performance was over we are told that the moment the artist resumed active agency again and walked towards her audience everyone fled the gallery.
Bender’s interpretation is an interesting one she traces and mines some of the potential philosophical implications of the performance. Referring to Satre’s idea that we are always both subject and object; involving a wholesome process of becoming an object. Exemplified in Satre’s reflections on a waiter in a cafe. Including the pressure of not being someone, but of being an object for others? What is made apparent is the power of a gaze of perception itself. Especially of that of the creator; is this evidence of the artist possessing a gaze apart from others?
Next up is Levinas who suggests that a moment of contact between two beings, between one and the other, is not necessarily a connection between human beings but culminates in an “other”. Marlieke’s choice of thinkers and citations is telling and reveals the greatness of Levinas, ‘speech becomes serious only when we pay attention to the other and take account of him and the strange world he inhabits. It is only by responding to him that I can become aware of the arbitrary views and attitudes where my uncriticised freedom always leads me, and become responsible.’(Levinas…?). Leaving is considering the very nature of responsibility. Who is responsible when those in charge frequently relinquish responsibility?
Abromovich, judging by her words in Marlieke’s essay, does so; saying that her purpose in performing is to create a stage for people’s fears. Maybe her admission is that if we all perform more actively, more intently, with more vitality we may free oneself from our fears? Eventually, our lack of personal completion results in a kind of “involuntary debt”; we are indebted to an otherness that is wholly other to us as active subjects and objects. I enjoy attempting to use art to explore philosophy and visa versa philosophy to explore art; and you can clearly see the possibility of philosophy arising and being authored by art.
A masters thesis, reading of Bergson’s Padawan the French philosopher Vladimir Jankélévitch’s work distinguishing remorse from regret and melancholia and mourning in his phenomenology of psychopathology after Freud. Devine characterises these interestingly as experiences. In many ways Devine’s writing is a commentary on the impossibility of nothingness and how this impossibility is embroiled in processes of regret, remorse, despair, melancholia, and mourning. Questions that lurk at the beginning the Devine’s exploration: when does remorse tell us about the eternal within us? Is remorse really timeless? Devine begins by describing Jankélévitch’s own stance, ‘Consciousness is the moment by which the self splits into two. The “I” (le soi) becoming an object of an “I” (le moi )’, a kind of gap, and a drop of Kantianism, ‘perfect happiness would only be possible if one knew nothing of one’s happiness’. We should all make an effort to contemplate these things.
Moving on Freud’s thinking is referenced when he describes the phenomena of ‘mourning’ and this is used by Devine to situate the reader before he articulates remorse and melancholia. Freud saw how work itself can come to replace the searing pain of loss and mourning. Writing in On Transience describes how the loved and lost object is allowed to rest when work is seen as being successful. Furthermore, the individual suffering from melancholia may suffer more because of its a-temporality. Freud’s characterisation of melancholia as a disturbance of self-esteem is absent in mourning. Devine draws our attention to the harshness of Freud’s ego split and how one part goes after the other, ‘we can not easily judge the degree of correspondence between the two versions of the self.
This is also why remorse can be said to be a feeling and guilt as a state. If I have read the paper correctly than this statement may also be so: for Jankélévitch repentance creates a distance between the wrong doer and the wrong. This in turn creates this necessity to suffer the eternal that we can locate within ourselves, that part of each and every one of us that is indeed eternal. Turning remorse into a virtue is dependent on how true the remorse may be thought of? There are many virtues in this study but one I find particularly interesting is a struggle to locate and anchor suffering as a phenomenon; what is the relation between impersonal or personal suffering. Devine resolves this with the help of a different French philosopher called Levinas and his stripping away the (human) world. Does his ilya (anonymous being) lead to an exposure to infinite eternal existence? Jankélévitch’s answer to this is the same as Achille’s speaking to Odysseus, ‘what good is eternity if it is not for living?’ a very good answer indeed, and it is here that Devine concludes successfully arguing that choosing an existence in finitude over an inexistence in eternity.
Next up we have the Flemish physics fiend. Studying with Jens and his (“Jensing” a kind of Lensing; a way of seeing”) is awesome and very rewarding always on hand to discuss any and all topics. He is originally trained in Biology and is currently engaged in the critical creation of the European Union’s scientific policy making. His essay I found very rich “Escaping Technology a Dissidents Perspective” is an essay written on the infamous American Unabomber; and his manifesto “Industrial Society and its Future” (1996). Van Steerteghem begins with a good question; as every essay should do: Why did the serial bomber want to escape technology and is such an escape even possible?
Unabomber believed in a power process only satisfied by living as primitive man. Under technological society this process was disturbed according to this terrorist manifesto writer. Steerteghem rightfully questions this and initially makes a connection to thinking of Heidegger. But, a writer called Bijker is also cited and it is here the criticism begins in earnest, ‘the socio-technological ensemble, where technical success consists in tying together different preexisting artifacts with different preexisting social elements in productive ways.’ (Steerteghem, Ku Leuven, 2018). I think this is a good statement to begin resisting Unabomber in the face of his accelerated technological telos.
To counter act the glum view of the Unabomber’s thesis Steerteghem points us towards network theory and the mathematical structures of advanced connectivity; saying that manipulation of the hubs can lead to control over technology. Then Bruno Latour’s ‘Actor Network Theory’ is discussed. Taking a holistic view of ANT and this culminates in clusters of ‘”Black Boxes” that represent the successful integration and acceptance of new technology and/or a scientific theory. The conclusion of this paper takes Unabomber’s own notion of a ‘power process’ and using it to show how it supports the opposite of anti-technological reality. Technology is in itself a power process and therefore can not be separated from other such processes hastily deemed as natural.
But, this Flemish author has forgot his Marxist potentiality and in the concluding remarks succumbs to a notion of society (“the clusterscape”) that is still an imprisoning one, and overlooks the global revolution’s potentially technological heart.
Albin is a Dutchman and a dynamic thinker. I enjoyed the conversations we all had; with Jens, Anne, Peyton, Marlieke, Marren, Ross, Alirazor, Amin, and others.
Albin wrote his paper on a very interesting subject the antagonism between myth and science. Beginning with the ancient propensity of creation myths having order being a process of moving away from a prior chaos. Latum will argue that rather than the modern understanding of myths as “a miss-representation of truth.”, myth under Latum’s pen will be shown to be the fundamental bridge between humans and an otherwise chaotic reality and how Science’s modernism is itself a myth. After remembering how chaos is first born in Hesiod’s Theogony; we are then introduced to a beautiful ancient myth about chaos originating from ancient China. In the Zhuangzi Chaos (Hundun) ) is seen as ‘the creative spontaneity that ceases to exist once one meddles with it by attempting to impose order’. So, in this Chinese myth we see Van Latum’s initial thesis clearly: myths help humans order Chaos into meaning. But, not via means of control rather appreciation.
In the discussion on the relation or development from mythos to logos an interesting point is made, ‘whereas both Plato and Aristotle concerned of different levels of mimesis of reality this plurality went through a process of reductio ad unum (an argument that rests on the absurdity of the opposing argument) the result of which is modern realism.’ It is with the reductio that one feels a kinship with this Dutch brother’s writing and thinking; I feel that many people would agree that this modern realism has a major problem in that it occasionally appears as mythless; leaving us a task to really nurture an cultivate the opposite. Such a line of thinking was also followed and developed by Mark Fisher in his Capitalist Realism (2009). Latum also paints a more useful picture of the philosopher of science Karl Popper; in that his ‘falsification theory’ is seen on preserving a mythical science. Instead of the Popper who unsuccessfully attempted to refute the work of Marx and Freud.
This paper really finds its rhythm when numinous Nietzsche is referenced as Latum starts discussing contemporary Chaos … some much needed Socrates bashing ensues… Overall, the claims of science to rule over the entirety of nature are shown to be unhelpful myths. These claims came into being as the Christian paradigm, or scientific dominance over western thinking began to loose its huge influence. That is why we are still learning from Nietzsche, ‘Truths are illusions about which it has been forgotten that they are illusions, warn-out metaphors without sensory impact’, and we readers are forced to admire this papers conclusions, ‘Chosmos is chaos, of interpretation on the back of a selective process’. Eventually we are left with one certainty if we embrace the myth making capacity of chaos we can see our openness to the pure potential of artistic creation.
In an ambitious dance with Nietzsche Keturakyte explores a supposed superiority of Buddhism over its Western counterpart Christianity. Nietzsche’s opinion is well expressed and articulated; as is his appreciation of Buddhism. Reading this text we encounter Buddhist Dukkha (suffering). Then its cause the craving after transient things Trishna; and also a path to the elimination of this suffering ashtanya manga. Nietzsche’s critique of metaphysics is characterised as being one of revenge. That Christian Moralities explained as the one life is littered and scarred by revenge. That the mere essence of metaphysics is the denial of and revenge over becoming and time as the expression of decadent and declining life. So, Nietzsche’s admiration for Buddhism is written to be centred around its capacity to be truthful to the meaninglessness of human existence however he does not like its self denying aspects seeing them as too passive.
I find that Keturakyte’s elegant exploration of the Buddhist influence on Nietzsche to be accurate and refreshingly honest, and very well positioned for future development. Especially the idea of ‘Euro-Buddhism’ but to offer but a small critical note. I think Nietzsche’s criticism of this passive nihilism of Buddhism is not thoroughly separated from Schopenhaur’s Indian reading and so does not do Chan Buddhism full justice. Keturakyte’s points about the a-temporality of Nietzsche’s ‘Eternal Return’ as transcending both Buddhism and Christianity is not quite attainable. For the reason that in Chan Buddhism especially its passivity is to explicitly do away with distinctions that seek to differentiate. Resulting in an appreciation of how things are: endlessly coming to be and passing away, manifesting and re-manifesting, and all is just inter-being including eternity and its return.
Sam along with this A.I have constructed an impassioned defence of how artistic practice can and ought to be used to build the “good place” in contrast to the non-place we so usually are confronted with. Bunn’s Master’s thesis is very interesting and eclectic, yet ordered in its creative energy. I like the format of the study, and the interplay between A.I and human really creates with the material and topic matter very coherently. Beginning by pairing off Sacral art and Fine art Bunn or Grussgott and showing how exactleeeeeeeeeeeeeee this sacral can be seen as a “twisted tear drop”; half a way. There are seven chapters in Sam’s study and I will list them before drawing out some of the highlights that caught my attention when I first read. The contents include; ART or art?, Stories make Sense making Sense, Grasping Utopia, Eutopia as a Tool, Re-imaging Infastructure, eUtopia Explored and Attempted, and the conclusion.
I am not sure about Art confirming the American Dream this feels like it gives to this particular dream too much. But, the conversation discussing the persistence of filmic ideology (ideology is persistent as film? Or, ideology is a film?) moving through this notion that American cannot separate the idea of liberty from liberalism. From this constitution to Adam Smith’s marketised version; here the A.I reminds the human that America is not just full of capitalists, ‘Remember Jameson (influential Critical Theorist) is American.’
Reading through the next section on storytelling and sense, I am reminded of Walter Benjamin’s texts and how this study is a little bit like a new project from the Arcades? Discussing the potentially vegetative state of humans if they fail to grasp Bertold Brecht’s reality shaping hammer. But, Bunn or Grisbott pick up this hammer with a sub-hypothesis, ‘what if this main residue of watching a film is: lasting images?’ This branch is interesting its difficult to interpret but it could be that film’s deep realism is like a hammering of images; like the way a blacksmith would gradually craft a refined metal. It is also interesting that this involves an element of forgetting and remembering: forgetting to remember is absolutely what I do…
Then an utopia lists many influential authors and Ernst bloch keeps the concept of utopia firmly in the everyday rather than just a literary form. I love Darko Suvins/Surins’s idea of a ‘novum’ and I skip Thomas More’s well cited definition of utopia; a non-place. Then we continue to move through the good places of some films and their lasting images.
On page 59 Gussbotts and its human friend find agreement and I think I have stumbled upon the essence of this text and its true purpose; what it really engenders and supports. The A.I asks, ‘you are talking about popularizing socialist politics in mass consumable story form, aren’t you? The answer is yes; we now need to find our second yes to affirm as indeed the true aim of this paper, the formal desire of this intellectually creative event. I like how part of this discourse throughout this study is its cautious character; it permeates an awareness of the pitfalls of over-stating content and one’s thinking.
This and the idea of “socialist politics in a mass consumable story” is really evident in one of the many artistic projects Bunn completed as part of his time in Linz. The project Reise in die Zuhunft a journeying into the future with today’s children, and art’s radical potentialities are immediately enacted as social reality is seen as uniformly and universally creative in the artistic sense. Such play is then carried on into a ride of sorts; the brilliantly named ‘Far-see-er’; a series of interconnected rooms exhibited together as a ride designed to be ridden, of course, at the Architektur Forum in Linz. Overall, one, everyone should journey through and re-experience this journey that Sam Bunn and the A.I took because this study is refreshingly in its diversity, honesty, and creativity. The Agent Author’s humility is constantly present in this study; a good example is the response to the dilemma that the discussion on eUtopia might be unresolvable and we may be forced to accept the Utopia the negative option.
‘perhaps one should just learn to live with the dust that is stuck to the word utopia and not to confuse people with this ‘eu’. Generally they just think that I make some kind of obscure comment about the European Union.’
I wish this creator and fellow lover of art all the best for his future eUtopian film making.
Julie Reshe is the necropsychoanalyst par excellence and one half of the directorship of a new educational model for the future. Operating within a Post-Lacanian landscape Reshe is constantly expanding on the richness of Freud’s brilliant Venetian verisimilitude. I am not entirely convinced the notion that humans are “living dead” can overcome the negative imagery of the Zombie; yet one thing is more certain Freud’s Thanos remains important as ever for today’s epoch. Below are some thoughts on Reshe’s essay on ‘Destructive Plasticity’.
The essay is written as a critical response to the great French philosopher Catherine Malabou; who years ago introduced me to the idea of epigenetics (how feelings encode meaning and trauma can be distributed across generations biologically via way of the genome). Homing in on the scientific neurobiological conception of synaptic plasticity Reshe wants us to reflect on the negative side; the formalism of synaptic connective via way of destruction; and in attempting to hastily attribute a “cure” to such a destructive plasticity, Reshe reminds us of Foucault’s insight: that, the concepts of illness and health are socially constructed.
Running, both with and against Malabou, Reshe reformulates the notion that the child, can be a little monster, and therefore after encompassing a kind of destructive plasticity or a Lyotardian ‘primordial susceptibility’ – the child that remains throughout life. Yet, this writing really on one level is very comforting considering the biographical and important personal references to real lived experiences. This is then complemented by the text’s desire to critically think through psychoanalysis. Freud’s idea and its Greek influence is referenced that, ‘Psychic traumatization is understood by the analogy of physical traumatization.’ A difference imposed by the foreign body entombed with the local body.
After rightfully questioning the ease at which a disorder may legitimate the presence of an illness. I find Reshe’s conclusion compelling and ripe for much more development. If we are all beautiful monsters then we are all still susceptible, still receptive to these powers that are both organic and inorganic; power that we still marginally understand. Yet if we join Reshe in refelecting on our beautiful little monstrosities then we may increase such a thing.
タミヤ・サイ / Sai Tamiya,
I think your illustrations are amazing and I want to learn more about them so it would be really good if over the next couple of months you would be willing to engage in an interview with me about your art and illustration practice. How you started making the images you make? Images, that somehow as if by magic, but really by your talent, carry and transform the rich tradition of Japanese printmaking and aesthetics and really brings it into the contemporary world – in a more modern way.
I would like to help promote your work… because your images contain an essential Japanese style that everyone should see.
Thank you for your email.
I’m glad that you liked my illustration.
First of all, my work is CG, not real wood prints. I like Japanese paintings and wood prints. But it is not realistic in terms of time or cost to draw drawings using rock paints or inks. So I use a pen tablet to draw as realistic Japanese paintings and wood prints as possible.
I mainly use Painter, Photoshop and a pen tablet.
Draw outlines such as people and background with Painter and paint colors with Photoshop. Then, to lay out realistic prints and textures of Japanese paintings, layer the paper texture captured by the scanner.
Finally, color adjustment is done and it is completion.
Best regards, Sai
I would really love to interview you over the second half of 2018 for a blog post. Let us email each other with two questions each email. About all kinds of topics that relate to your work, Japan, and the wider world.
Here are the first two questions:
1) You use digital software rather than the older woodblock printing. Can you describe to me the moment you realized that this way of working was the best for you?
2) I love the work of Sesshū Tōyō and the fact that Van gogh collected Japanese wood block prints. Are there any western artists that influence you?
(I am sorry this reply is late, I am always too busy…) I am planning on visiting Tokyo next year so after our discussion we will become friends in person…
私がイラストレーターとして仕事をし始めた１９９６年頃に、デジタルイラストレーションが世に出始めて私もMackintoshとFractal Design Painterを使い始めました。デジタルではペンタブレットを使って手書きのように描かくことができ、色の調整や編集が容易であることそして、その頃から出版業界でも次第にフロッピーディスクによるデータ入稿が主流になったのも、私がデジタルソフトウェアを使い始めた一因です。
At first I was using acrylic paint, about 1996 when I began working as an illustrator, digital illustration started to appear in the world and I started using Mackintosh and Fractal Design Painter.In digital, you can paint like a handwriting using a pen tablet, it is easy to adjust and edit colors.
And from that time on, the publishing industry gradually became the mainstream of submission of data by floppy disk.
That is one reason I began using digital software.
私は西洋のテンペラ画がの色合いや質感が好きで、Sandro BotticelliやFra Filippo Lippiをよく参考にしました。私がデジタルで描き始めた頃、私はテンペラ画の質感を表現するために色々なマチエールを作り、それらをスキャンしてイラストレーションに使いました。その手法は今でも使っています。
I was drawing oil painting when I was a high school student and Van Gogh is one of my favorite painters. I like the color and texture of western tempera paintings, especially Sandro Botticelli and Fra Filippo Lippi. When I began to draw in digital, I made various material to express texture of tempela picture, scanned them and used it for illustration. I still use that method.
It would be nice to meet you when you came to Japan next year.
‘man with carp’
>1)Which Japanese artist working with eroticism do you like?
>2) Do you think works that are erotic in some way are more subjective than objective? Because sex can be thought of in many different ways?
1) Which Japanese artist working with eroticism do you like?
They may not be an artist who draws erotism, but I like Seiichi Hayashi and Komura Settai.（They also draw nudity）Hayashi Shiichi is an illustrator who played an active part in various media in the 1970-1980 years, and the woman he draws is very attractive with its annui atmosphere. Komura Settai is an artist over 80 years ago. Although his illustrations are simple, the composition is refined and makes it feel narrative. It seems to be an ukiyoe print, not an ukiyo-e, it seems old and a new style.
2) Do you think works that are erotic in some way are more subjective than objective? Because sex can be thought of in many different ways?
Since it depends on the case, it can say either, but what you are painting at work is objective. Illustrations of novels are for helping readers imagine the story scenes,I draw illustrations faithfully to the story as much as possible, from characters, scenes, to the background of the times.
The 4th, 5th, 6th questions…
SAI, I will send you some more questions soon… もうすぐ、多分もっと三個の質問を送っています。じゃ、元気だね…
I like “after the festival” in the paintings I drew recently.
The reason is the expression and composition of the person.
I think I was able to express a little lonely atmosphere as she came back from the shrine festival.
‘The Girl with an umbrella’
In Japan, I still wear a yukata at a festival and wear kimonos at an adult ceremony etc, In general, geisha is a hostess with skills to entertain customers at banquets and the like,a woman wearing a kimono and a geisha are quite different to me in Japanese. I want kimono to become more popular like everyday wear.
I don’t see much of recent animation, but I often see it when I was a child is a series called “World Masterpiece Theater”. I like all the stories, but I especially like “Anne of Green Gables” among them.
Okay, four last questions (It makes me sad but we are both busy and can continue our conversations in person), and I like your answers. I am learning many new things.
八ー 音楽は話しません。ゴールデンボンバーよりBABY METALどちらが好きですか。どちら聞きたいですか。
九ー 私はタオ・オカモトさんが敬愛します。この彼女は映画にザー ウルバリーンで見えました。誰かが好きですか。
I’m a fan of Hayao Miyazaki, I am looking forward to the opening of Ghibli Park.
I like “My neighbor Totoro” in Ghibli’s movies, Tokorozawa I lived in college days is also the stage of “Totoro”,
there are still Totoro’s forests in the suburbs.
It is good to take a stroll around the city where the movie was set.
私がよく聴くのは１９７０～８０年代の音楽で、ディスコやファンクが特に好きです。洋楽ではEarth, Wind & Fire、邦楽では山下達郎が好きで、最近は８０年代の日本のシティポップスをよく聴きます。
Unfortunately I don’t hear either.
I often listen to music in the ‘70s and ’80s, especially like disco and funk.
I like Earth, Wind & Fire in Western music, and Tatsuro Yamashita in Japanese music. Recently I listen to Japanese popular city pop in the 80’s.
私はマイケル・J・フォックスが大好きです。彼の映画では”バック・トゥ・ザ・フューチャーが”有名ですが、The Secret of My Successも私の大好きな映画です。
I love Michael J. Fox. In his movie “Back to the Future” is famous, “The Secret of My Success” is also my favorite movie.
Currently I mainly draw illustrations of books and book covers, but in the future
I would like to increase the work on other media as well.
As my illustration is drawing Japanese style like Japanese paintings, I would like to make use of it even in overseas work.
[Ben J. Houghton’s film ‘2nd Life’ was exhibited at Bloc Projects in Sheffield.]
The French artist Benjamin Bardou’s work is a visual feast at first sighting on Instagram one was hooked asking what is this new glitchy and painterly crack? It turned out to be some experiment in video editing and production using something called ‘pointcloud’ in the animation of videos. Take for example ‘Dotswarm’ an application for apple operating systems developed in New Zealand. After glimpsing at what this kind of animation is I encountered a new development in animation techniques that is animating the cloud. This is very fascinating for me because the image of the cloud is a very very very beautiful and strong image. Clouds have inspired so much culture over the history of our species from Aristophanes’s portrayal of Socrates to a fantastic youtube lesson on the continuation of Chan Buddhist hermits titled Amongst White Clouds (worth watching it still makes me romanticise about being a hermit… although I do not wish to be one). In Japanese the Kanji for cloud 雲 / ku-mo / is comprised of two parts ‘rain’ 雨 /a-me/ and a radical for ‘say’言/ Iu / which in turn can be in turn reduced down to two. So, one direct translation into English can be ‘rain say’ or ‘say rain’ the potential meaning of which escapes me. Yet, it does provide a route into the two videos which I would love to just gawp at continuously projected in a high definition. First viewing was a kind of reality check because Bardou’s short films really forced immaterial aesthetics into one’s thoughts. Similar and relevant considerations are also found in a brilliant discussion of an “immaterial world” author Steve Wright asks a question that is perhaps also asked by the two films Lost in Tokyo, and Wandering in Paris (please watch them below), that is ‘Are we living in an immaterial world?’. In Wright’s sharp dissection of post-workerism and especially the work of political and economic thinkers such as Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt in their books Empire and the Multitude ideas of immaterial labour and the changing reality of capitalism are thought through. I think an element of wrights conclusion is rather interesting when he mentions ‘Speculative ventures – which have been rife in the past decade – seem to make money out of thin air’, and…
‘In the meantime, debt continues to balloon, from the micro scale of individual and family credit cards, to the macro level of public sector budgets and current account deficits. However ingeniously the burden of such debt is redistributed, the terms of the wager cannot be forestalled forever. When it is finally called in, things will become very interesting indeed. If nothing else, we may then find out at last whether or not, as Madonna sang. …
The boy with the cold hard cash Is always Mister Right, ‘cause we are Living in a material world.i’
Ending on Madonna’s song completes a nice circuit in that the essay begins with referencing Zen. Two individuals try and outsmart a master and ask, ‘can you teach me about reality without using either sound or silence? The master punches them in the face’ such a moment of aggression is perfectly placed so as to allow me to make an important point regarding Bardou’s cloudy creations. For me they were and still are a punch to the face in that they build upon the notion of a veil that covers an underlying reality, or a reality that should indeed be veiled?
Fundamentally, modern life is computational the acceptance of mathematics builds a one sided picture of the world. A sphere of certainty although useful is it really necessary? If so what kind of necessity does it represent? Questions such as these are seemingly resolved in the silent Buddhism by way of a profound negation of illusion of Maya; qualities that are shared with Plato in that the most rightfully revered ancient Greek Pagan believed whole heartedly in a universal law. In the Timaeus (Plato’s creationist account for existence) we can read Timaeus describe how the maker of the universe a creator God desired ‘everything to be good, marred by as little imperfection as possible’; this God found everything visible in a state of turmoil therein he was forced to turn this chaos into order.ii It is this movement away from the senses and an emphasis on their being two realms of reality the transient and the eternal and unchanging. For those readers interested in how Plato came to make his distinction between the sensible (A-C, eikasia -pistis), and the intelligible (C-E, dianoia – noesis) represented by a divided line. Can it not be true that all lines are not just divided but are dividing; Plato would have perhaps said that all lines are divided by the sight or gaze. Yet what about the line made by Plato’s creator, a line from Chaos to order, and is this line still as persuasive as it has been for over a thousand years? I am less convinced that Plato did not completely miss-interpret the followers of Heraclitus and that his debt to Parmenides was not burdensome upon the human imagination. Speaking about such topics makes me also add that the role of the Sophists on Socrates and Plato needs studying as it contains hidden mysteries and insights. Bardou’s films offer up not a frustrating but a strong example of artistic wonder surviving, thriving, and marking its territory among its newer iterations: philosophy, science, and design.
It is one of those infuriating moments of existence a good friend of yours has helped bring an awesome artwork to a city that gave me my first taste of actual education (the state organised schools, the generic secondary schools in the UK, I experienced as a factory and a prison – aware that the national curriculum is so devoid of any kindness nor nuanced belief in those learning under it – I hear some of you think: ‘well at least you had education of some sort?’, yes, I did, but only when I moved to an open and free space at the Art school in Sheffield). It is a shame I could not participate in this community’s appreciation of a film ‘2ndlife’ by Ben J. Houghton. A film which features visual material shot and taken from the country I consider as my second home. Japan, has a claim to being the most interesting country, nation, or culture currently thriving on this planet because it is home to some of the oldest unique events, objects, and processes. To name but a few that western readers may easily identify and understand: Manga & Animation, Samurai, and Sushi. But wait, the latter is a silly sentence because each reader has their own identification and understanding of the Far East. This is but one of the good things about this film although a monologue Ben’s voice (I assume) never detracts from the content his camera records; content that features places and locations that I am personally so fond of. This is of course to be expected as any lucky person able to live in a country that is not their own will testify that although it is a confusion as to whether or not your interpretation makes the place, or does the place (time/space) make your interpretation?
The film is a good resource and example of how art is a parental practice to philosophy. Watching 2nd life one hears, ‘every artistic practice is generative’ and this made me nostalgic for such a belief for I do not believe this is applicable to the whole (every practice) of such practices. This is due to my repeated experience of the severity of manipulation involved in human habits and thus an inability to fully control symbolic value (this is most likely tantamount to a personal confession about one’s own inability to draw conclusions surrounding such distinctions as value and meaning, being and non-being, the transcendent and immanent). One really likes how the film really deepens the titles duality. It comments on a life within a life and beliefs surrounding rebirth and the Buddhist belief of Saṃsāra (संसार: an endless cycle of rebirth and wandering; is it akin to the western wondering necessity? Who knows?). For me there are strong highlights that stuck with me after one watch of this film. The first comes at 09:44 – and Ben’s voice reminded me of the spiral circles in French thinker Delueze’s metaphysical detailing of desire … and this film brilliantly hammers home that time is necessary for meaning and generates a lived experience in which time’s transitory mysterious materiality is laid bare for the spectator’s spectacles. Houghton correctly states three modes of learning 1) brutal ‘trial and error’ 2) emphatic connections, 3) love and compassion – all eventually, by way of artistic inquiry and agency lead to “learning as liberation from learning.
Here the film’s speculations start to go even more deeper as the narrator suggests whilst on a Tokyo train that it is perhaps a strange and dark aspect of human consciousness that allows our thinking, or being to often encompass a “Tearing through humanness” amidst all the energy and re-incarnation. Another memorable line that hits right to the hidden dilemma at the heart of human creativity, “trying to find a usable marker is like trying to grab a beam of sunlight in a river current”. This line makes me think of the strangeness of how objects only exist under the parameters of their own usage, but this sentence seems to disturb this in that with the surface of a flowing river’s encounter with light. Such an example of flux is one of the joys of film and video (both digital and analogue) they capture light for fleeting experiences that are often feel so fundamentally familiar we forget their difference. The mechanics of film: the capture of light and time, the animation of matter, and the social and anti-social modes of production… offer up alternatives to what we so often are forced to take for granted. Here, cinema and literature are shown to be deeply intertwined and contained within their operating systems, within their modus operandi, is a utopian day dreaming. Understood from the perspective of a ‘second life’ this may suggest that rebirth be something desired; never mind the Buddhist wisdom that states this as unnecessary suffering, ‘if one can live again then why not?’ Well, there is always the probability you could come back as a fruit fly or a loathed creature like a cockroach? This is why Buddha’s insights should not be messed with however if we, in our thinking, are searching for a connection between East and West then here is a potentially political one: Is Buddhism more Hobbesian (as in the self is this illusionary leviathan?) or Rosseau-ian (that the institutions with which we have to live by corrupt our innocence?); it could be a mixture of course?
A cat moving through a graveyard hones the films fluctuations on its current: its exploration of the true difficulties that every human faces. How, in each of us there exist drives that if we find a balance within daily life then they may flow peacefully but if we experience a degree of unbalanced events and situations then ‘like follows like’ we move towards chaos. Such interrelations are very difficult to navigate and to survive them the psyche of an individual has to go through training, has to measure itself amongst the vast possibilities that reside in even the most miniscule of spaces. This meditation manifests more vividly at an introduction of a cat (a most beloved creature in Japan). At 34:26, a cat’s poem states, ‘you smell like soul and blood, just waiting wanton time … waiting for the time where my ideas act…’ all spoken in a slow and lucid stroll through a graveyard. Reminding me of supposed antagonisms between reason and its absence, realism and relativism, automation and autonomy. But, is it not true that an animal such as a cat teaches humans their own futility? We can never be as beautiful nor as stupendously wacky (see the mass of cat Instagrams), or even as wise as our feline associates. This cat and poem in a graveyard (all Japanese cats are related to the six cats (Goma, Otsuka, Kawamura, Mimi, Okawa, and Toro in Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore (2002)) made me want to read the book again of course and also research other relations one could find that connected Ben’s film with Murakami and I stumbled across an article written by Michele Eduarda Brasil de Sá. In this article Michele brilliantly invites us to consider a Japanese notion of “Space Time” by honing in on an important part of Murakami’s novel. We are presented with the main character kafka Tamura discovering an oil painting in a library in which supposedly the secrets to the labyrinth of time are found as well as “The Edge of the World” (世間の縁 /sekai no fuchi/).iii
Inevitably Murakami’s novel and the cat cameo culminates in me and you, dear reader, being forced to bow to the cat’s (にゃー義 /nya-gi/ a belief in the feline) because it could be the case that cats are in possession of an understanding of why gravity is also only partially universal and more than a little bit wave like. This then entails a perspective that strives and struggles for an appreciation of the limitations of life and of living. Houghton’s film is so thought provoking it gracefully invites much consideration on this narrative of struggle, of the finite that all humans represent. Here again Buddhism trumps western thinking in that the Buddhist death is positive we should be embracing the lack of choice with which we came into being as different to how we could leave existence. Ben’s work also references the notion of Antinatalism in the thinking of philosopher David Benatar, and how Houghton experienced a group of American military personal discussing their masculinity at the doors of the notorious suicide forest Aokigahara or ‘The Sea of Trees’. Such a coincidence makes me think of an anti-antinatalist position that I also think the maker of this film would also support. That is it is a little daft considering we are all here because two or even more people made us. To prescribe a negative value to birth is akin to saying you would rather not be when you are being. You could say that this misunderstanding arises from not appreciating how being is always taken over to a space, it always finds itself there. This is of course a little derivative of Martin Heidegger’s thinking (I wish it were more Kantian, or Schellingian but I need to study these Germans more), but what I find fascinating by the ease at which anti-natalism is refuted (in only one sense, but it could also be defended as a form of “free” choice) is that it also enables an understanding of traditionally materialist stances on the cosmos. Here we have two positions that are against human life one being anti-birth, and the other against continuing life (suicide).
But, I am sure these two are positive they are affirmations of life because both are about choice seen as both intentional and wholly other. We are fundamentally not in control of the beginning of existence and yet we can say with some certainty that it is more likely that we are in control of our demise (not when but how) even though there is still the possibility that this control may be taken away from us. The ancient atomists understood existence as unforgiving and unaffected by humans, yet they acknowledged that atoms may join and separate and that is why a film about Japan such as ‘2nd life’ is so great; it is not humorous but it demands we take materialism and the role of religion seriously. I think this film encourages and nurtures understanding on the role of transience in transcendence. This then connects back to what one mentioned regarding Plato’s conjunction between constant change and infinite being. I think the regularity of material change is of a nature that is apprehensible in that ‘becoming’, the titanic twin of change, reinforces teleological time (there are other forms of time (Chronos is a mischeivous god!)). Why? Plato believed in universals (Ideas = forms) and for something to be a universal it must remain forever and be incorruptible. . Science and particularly astrophysics and quantum mechanics reveals the extent to which all could be related, this is called the unified field theory, and it aims to reveal reality as an equation. Regardless of whether or not the physicists make such a remarkable achievement the fact that some of us are striving for such things demands that we question the effects it may carry. If such a process is accomplished in the name of knowledge then this worries me because it suggests another standardisation that may do away with a determination (struggle to understand) found in those phenomena such as light, colour, and life.
One good example of why a spectrum predominates over standards is mass/matter/weight itself and here again we can find Plato and Buddha’s presence. Plato had the notion of το μέγα και το μικρών (‘the great and the small’ /to mega kai to mikron /) a dualistic ontology that has ‘the One’ as a principle of unity, and ‘the indefinite dyad’ a principle of multiplicity and indeterminacy.iv Buddha has a similar if not equivalent duality that Enlightenment is another One (but, differs in that this represents an absence of thinking), and unless we learn to see through the multiplicity called ‘Maya’ an illusion, our suffering increases. But, it is the half of the split comprised of illusion that interests me and I am not here trashing the One, just stating that the contents of the sensory realm being illusionary may not be problematic if we understand them as illusions. That being illusionary generates a necessary need to be creating our own relations between things? Even mathematics can be said to partake in such processes; one very striking modern scientific example is a discrepancy between the Quantum and the relative, or how do we understand atoms when their material qualities appear as change itself.
A striking example would be a symmetry between the great and the small this can be found if we consider the notion that mass is only a constant if it travels at the speed of light. Other than this it is subject to change. This then makes it also a spectrum if what we measure changes by our measuring then does this support the necessity of a spectrum of choice struggling in face of determination? Or, does it affirm a determination a one unchanging and perfect? I do not know, but this is the line of questioning I will further at some point. First, to end on some aesthetic evidence for these considerations. Whilst studying for a philosophy of science exam I came across the symbol for Solar mass M☉ and learnt that it is equivalent to the mass of our sun: two Nonillion (two quintillion kilograms), allowing the measurement of the mass of the planets and cosmic entities. If we look at the symbol ☉ for solar mass we simultaneously see how Plato was brilliant and wrong in that our contemporary understanding of our sun states that it too has a lifespan, it too has to die, and if it has to die, then surely the universe also?v This symbol also resembles Plato and his intellectual father Parmenides’s belief that the One took the form of a circle because by definition, ‘that which is equidistant in all directions from the centre’ can be said to have a kind of perfection but importantly we have a choice if this is seen as a process of becoming. If we exist within the universe on a line from one sun M☉ to others M☉1 + M☉2 + M☉3 + M☉4 +M☉n……. we see clearly how choice arises from a battle against a determination with demise as Ben himself narrated, ‘you must be in a place of perfect unrealised potential at the moment of death’.This all may be a digression from the brilliance of Ben Houghton’s film but I felt that I wanted to take the opportunity to share some thoughts and urge anyone interested about this film to get in touch with the artist and demand that he screen this 50 minute film near you. This film deals with so much that is of interest ( sovereignty of personhood… love as a co-dependency) it would take a second life just to second this awesome work of art.
Perhaps, this commentary on a ‘2ndlife’ is too focused on just one recent extrapolation of death and indeed too anchored to the beautiful Japan. So, to end with something that expands the death of this film into another stream of thinking on death found in the ‘Tibetan Book of the Dead’, these lines lifted from The Aspirational Prayer Which Protects from Fear of the Intermediate States may offer a temporary period. But still a perfect pregnant potential, Thank you Bens!
‘When I am miraculously born into the intermediate state of rebirth, may I not be beguiled by the perverse prophecies of Māra, And as I [freely] arrive at every place that I think of, May the bewildering fear and terror, generated by my negative past actions, not arise. When the roars of savage wild beasts echo around me, May their cries be transformed into the sound of the sacred teachings, the Six Syllables , And as I am engulfed by snow, rain, wind, and darkness, May I achieve the pure clairvoyance of radiant pristine cognition
May I easily come to master by study and reflection, The manifold stages of learning ̶ small, intermediate, and great. May the country into which I am born be auspicious, And may all sentient beings be blessed with happiness. ‘vi
猫はなかば経由動くでフィルムの変動をナラティブに研ぐ、そして全ての人間は正しい問題を向かいます。どうやってか、全ての人中に動因があって、もし私たちが生活でバランスを見つけるからこの動因を平穏ですけどもし、いつかの経験をするので同じ事を一緒に習うで私たちを混乱に動きます。相関はナビるが難しさともし良い生存して個人のプッュケーを訓練しなければなりませんと個人のプッュケーは自分を微細なスペースで膨大な可能に対して計ります。この瞑想は一番の鮮明する猫の紹介時で(日本で猫が超愛してる)。34分26秒で、猫のしはみみは精神とちの匂いみたいです。はちゃめちゃな時間を持って…時間で私のアイデアに行為を持つと私がこの信じる事を全ての実践で言わないけど前の信じるから懐かしくてなりました。このいない事は人間の習性で深刻なてさばきので象徴的な価値を支配が出来ません。(でも、これは私の価格と意味いるといない、超越論と内在的で断じないから個人的な懺悔です)。私はこのフィルムに題名の双対をもっと深さなる事が大好きです。生命を生命中に伝えて生変と生変と仏教の輪廻と信じるも伝えます。私ために一回見る後で強い圧巻を見かけました。まず、9分44秒でベンさんの声はフランス人の哲学者デレューズのデザアイの形而上学的唯物論を連想します。このフィルムは時間のマティリアリティを見物人のメガネためにあらわにすると時間も意味の命脈ために必要です。ホーウトンさんは3つの学びの除法生と言って、1) 残虐なテストとミス、2) 罷り手作、3) 愛と慈悲です。これ学び方たちはアーティスティックの調査と仲介経て”学びは学びから解放”と導く。
ここにフィルムの思索はもっと深さに始めるに話者が東京よ電車でエネルギーと生まれ変わり中に見知らぬで暗い人間の意識の分から皆さんの考えると存在よく人命をばりばり経由すると網羅と理解を出来ます。他の印象深い文章は人間の徳蔵生の心に行く本流中で光線を奪い取るようにするは使えるのマーカーを見つけるようにみたいです。この文章は私に物が物の使う方であるだけと考えるですけど、この文章この考えると光が本流を会いて妨げます。この光速の例え一つのフィルムとビデオの喜び(アナログとデジタル) ではかない経験を言う。全ての言うは明徴でゆっくりはかば経由して話しました。理由と不合理、現実主義と相対主義、オートメーションと自治権も、この対立関係たちは私に連想しました。でも、猫は人間に無駄なこと教えるを正しいですか。人間は決めして猫の知恵と綿陽でならないです。この猫とし(全ての猫は6匹の猫とゴム、オツカ、カフムラ、ミミ、オカフ、トロ、と村上・春樹の’海辺のカフカ’(2002年) 。私にこの本をまた読みたいです。そして、他の関係たちを見つけるとベンのフィルムから村上・春樹までつなげると研究するので私はミシェールさんはエドアルダー・ブラツル・ディー・ザーさんの記事を積まずできます。ぎじで日本的な時空を考えて村上・春樹の本の大切な部分にピントに行く。主人公、カフカ・タムラは図書館で油絵と時間の迷宮とせかりの縁を見つけました。
ところがこの収集は約をほされる。古いアトミズトは存在から人間のかざいけのないが優しくないと分かりました。でも、アトミズトはアトムを一つ一つと結びつけると承認しるので二回目の命が本当にいいです。二回目の命はユーモア無し唯物論と宗教の役目をちゃんとする。このフィルムは超越中で無常を促がす。これはプラトン前にことで常数の変化と広大無辺の散在の交渉またリンクします。置く薄々変化の至善は分けるから理由が変化のヲタンな双子を成ることでテローローギキャルな時間に増強します。(クロノスはわんぱくな神様だから、他の時間形があります。) 何故？ペラトンさんは普遍と信じて(イデア) と理念)何かが普遍あれのこの物を永遠に連結有ります。
iSteve Wright, ‘Reality Check: Are We Living in an Immaterial World?’, in Proud to be Flesh: A mute magazine anthology of cultural politics after the net, (Mute Publishing, London; Autonomedia: Brooklyn, 2009) 472- 480.
iiPlato, trans. Robin Waterfield, Timaeus and Critias, (Oxford World’s Classics, Oxford University Press. 2008).18.
iiiMichele Eduarda Brasil de Sá, Time(s) and Space(s) in Huraki Murakami’s “Kafka on the Shore”, Conference Paper, 2016.
ivAristotle, Metaphysics, (A 6, 987 a 29 – 988 a 1)
vSee Stoic “ἐκπύρωσις ekpyrōsis, “conflagration”) is a belief in the periodic destruction of the cosmos by a great conflagration every Great Year. The cosmos is then recreated (palingenesis) only to be destroyed again at the end of the new cycle.
viComposed: Padmasambhava, revealed: Terton Karma Lingpa, Trans: Gyurme Dorje, The Tibetan Book of The Dead, (Penguin Books, England, 2005) 316.
(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.
 In Nietzsche’s the Birth Of Tragedy: Out of The Spirit of Music (1872) the all powerful thinker of Modernism; described an artistic creative force in the ancient world. These notes seek to achieve the unenviable task of translating, studying, and re-animating this Dionysian/Appoline or Orphic/Homeric Artist Metaphysics for those who may feel need for the application of such wholesome processes of thinking in their own aspirations and creative endeavours. In the face of the herd mentality of contemporary arts it makes sense to return to Nietzsche (unlike Friedrich I do not despise the herd quite as much; after all what are you to partake in if you desire to provide woolly garments or feeding others?). Let me clarify why study him? Nietzsche more than any other thinker in history embraced an undiluted creativity that saw him through writing remind us of some unavoidable truths: a) Like Hegel, there is the whole master slave praxis, b) Authentic toxic nihilism solves absolutely nothing, c) The Goddesses/Gods have NOT seized to exist, d) to fully apprehend the world is a solitary achievement, e) Science of all things should become feminine rather than masculine, f) Perfecting your perfect perverse perspective is paramount to the constitution of these metaphysical acts of creation we meta-moderns wish to see!
[1.1] “Nietzsche, Nietzsche, Nietzsche whatta creature! Nietzsche, Nietzsche, Nietzsche whatta feature!
Nietzsche, Nietzsche, you were never a preacher!
Nietzsche, Nietzsche you’ll always be a teacher!
[1.2] So let us understand the hidden possibilities of re-reading the thoughts of this great mind. How are we to enact his demands, “To see science under the lens of the artist, but art under the lens of life”… and: “as artistic powers which spring from nature itself, without the mediation of the human artist, and in which nature’s artistic urges are immediately and directly satisfied; on the one hand as the world of dream images … on the other as an ecstatic reality, which again pays no heed to the individual , but even seeks to destroy individuality and redeem it with a mystical sense of unity.” (Nietzsche, B.O.T, (2))