kagablog kagablog 2017-09-19T09:48:33Z http://kaganof.com/kagablog/feed/atom/ WordPress ABRAXAS http://www.kaganof.com <![CDATA[]]> http://kaganof.com/kagablog/?p=100013 2017-09-19T09:48:33Z 2017-09-19T09:48:33Z “I’d love to say that I awoke from my own fugue state and remembered only the stinging fizz of my wounds as Hominy gently dabbed at my police-inflicted abrasions with cotton balls soaked in hydrogen peroxide. But as long as I live, I’ll never forget the sound of my leather belt against the Levi Strauss denim as I unsheathed it from my pants. The whistle of that brown-and-black reversible whip cutting through the air and raining down hard in loud skin-popping thunderclaps on Hominy’s back. The teary-eyed joy and the thankfulness he showed me as he crawled, not away from the beating, but into it; seeking closure for centuries of repressed anger and decades of unrequited subservience by hugging me at the knees and begging me to hit him harder, his black body welcoming the weight and sizzle of my whip with groveling groans of ecstasy. I’ll never forget Hominy bleeding in the street and, like every slave throughout history, refusing to press charges. I’ll never forget him walking me gently inside and asking those who’d gathered around not to judge me because, after all, who whispers in the Nigger Whisperer’s ear?
“Yes, massa.”
“What would you whisper in my ear?”
“I’d whisper that you’re thinking too small. That saving Dickens nigger by nigger with a bullhorn ain’t never going to work. That you have to think bigger than your father did. You know the phrase “You can’t see the forest for the trees?”
“Of course.”
“Well, you have to stop seeing us as individuals, ’cause right now, massa, you ain’t seeing the plantation for the niggers.”

The Sellout
page 79-80

ABRAXAS http://www.kaganof.com <![CDATA[Paul Beatty on The Slave]]> http://kaganof.com/kagablog/?p=100011 2017-09-19T09:36:46Z 2017-09-19T09:36:46Z “Hominy, you’re not a slave and I’m definitely not your master.”
“Massa,” he said, the smile evaporating from his face, and shaking his head in that pitiable way people who you think you’re better than do when you they catch you thinking that you’re better than them, “sometimes we just have to accept who we are and act accordingly. I’m a slave. That’s who I am. It’s the role I was born to play. A slave who just also happens to be an actor. But being black ain’t method acting. Lee Strasberg could teach you how to be a tree, but he couldn’t teach you how to be a nigger. This is the ultimate nexus between craft and purpose, and we won’t be discussing this again. I’m your nigger for life, and that’s it.”

The Sellout
page 77

ABRAXAS http://www.kaganof.com <![CDATA[Kyle Shepherd]]> http://kaganof.com/kagablog/?p=100004 2017-09-15T02:53:42Z 2017-09-15T02:50:50Z 0
first published here: https://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/business-day/20170915/281822873966436

ABRAXAS http://www.kaganof.com <![CDATA[Hout Bay, Tuesday 12 september 2017]]> http://kaganof.com/kagablog/?p=100000 2017-09-14T15:33:31Z 2017-09-14T15:33:31Z 0
photo Justin Sullivan

ABRAXAS http://www.kaganof.com <![CDATA[Medea, falling…]]> http://kaganof.com/kagablog/?p=99997 2017-09-14T15:35:07Z 2017-09-12T09:18:48Z 0
a poor image reconstruction by Nicola Deane
South Africa, September 2017

Synopsis: “The poor image tends towards abstraction: it is a visual idea in its very becoming.” Hito Steyerl

Edited by Kaganof & Deane

Appropriated texts:

1. Something Wild (Garfein: 1961)

2. Remix collection of Aryan Kaganof: Venus Emerging (2004); courtesy of DOMUS (Documentation Centre for Music, University of Stellenbosch)


1. Derived from The Dreams (1964) – an Invention for Radio by Delia Derbyshire (of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop) in collaboration with poet and dramatist Barry Bermange.

2. Signal To Noise (1997); courtesy of DOMUS )Documentation Centre for Music, University of Stellenbosch)

Nicola Deane is an artist currently researching her PhD at Stellenbosch University – Decentering the Archive: Visual Fabrications of Sonic Memories – an interdisciplinary practice-based project that involves translating music related documents from an archive in the music department (DOMUS) into visual media for a conceptual art installation.

2017 Medea, falling… a poor image reconstruction (7:33)
2017 “Through the ear, we shall enter the invisibility of things.”
2017 The Post-Medium Condition (3:11)
2011 In Media Res (8:03)
2011 Portrait of the Artist, Thanking Her Detractors (00:54)
2010 Code Desire (5:37)

ABRAXAS http://www.kaganof.com <![CDATA[Alain on what has been revealed]]> http://kaganof.com/kagablog/?p=99995 2017-09-12T09:06:59Z 2017-09-12T09:06:59Z “The modern error, which occupies something like four thousand volumes, is the attempt to find out if religion actually was revealed, and where and when, and by what evidence we know it. It seems, according to an inverted piety, which is in fact impiety, that the revealed idea will be true only insofar as it can be established that the precise circumstances under which it was revealed were real, and exactly as they have been reported. This proof cannot be produced, because every proof of existence is a proof of experience, and there can be no experience of the past. But there is more to be said. No one asks if the trees really went in search of a king; no one asks if the fox really spoke to the crow. It is a question of a fresh understanding of the idea that lives in the story. If we learn from the story, then it is true in the way that stories can be true. Whether or not I know that Homer existed, it does not alter the beauties of the Iliad, or what knowledge of the gods and of himself a man can draw from the poem. Jesus denounced the pharisee; I recognize myself in that image; I judge myself; this manner of speaking is driven into me, it pierces me like an arrow. I hope to escape by first examining the problem of whether or not Jesus really said that, telling myself that if Jesus never lived, what he said might well be false. This is a delaying tactic. It is a diversion whose purpose may be to make religion inoffensive, I mean for those who practice it. Our beliefs are rarely based on evidence; the mind is simply bemused by this kind of criticism. But the whited spulcher is something real, and so is Pharasaism; what matters is not whether these things are true but hows they are true. And if Jesus taught that one cannot have royal power, through armies and money, and at the same time save one’s soul, what needs to be examined is not whether Jesus said this on such and such a day, but whether what he said is true. It is very true that we must believe, that we must start from belief, and hold to it, and always return to it; it is very true also that we must think about what we believe; that is what thought it. Comte often meditated on a particular sentence from the Imitation: “Intelligence must follow faith, never precede it, and never break with it.” This maxim, which the readers is already prepared to accept, instead of being scared off by it, will become clearer if we examine the well-known parable of the fig tree.

Jesus hungered, and he came upon a fig tree in the way; but there were no figs on it; it was not the season for figs. Thereupon he cursed the tree, and it withered and died. This is unacceptable; and our exegete immediately tries to find out what witless copyist or misinformed letters might be responsible for the remark that it was not the season for figs. But repeated experience has taught me never to change a text before I have tried seriously to understand it. For this difficulty disturbs me, and from what disturbs me I have often drawn great and important ideas, which my slack and abstract thought might otherwise have overlooked. And this, I claim, is a pious attitude, pious in the true sense; not because I promise to accept the absurd, but because I attempt to overcome the appearance of absurdity, which I obviously cannot do if I correct it first. My method proved sound in this case. For I told myself that, if it was not the season of figs, then it is also not a question of the fig tree, but of myself and my human brothers. I immediately started looking for human fig trees, and I did not have to look far. Not long ago a man said, speaking of the war, that that was not the season for figs, that is, for justice and truth, but that the season had now come. And others say, more simply, that the office is closed, that the unfortunate person will have to come back tomorrow; or, better still, that there are no funds available. To all of this there is no reply, for it is external necessity that commands, or, if we look closely, the order of power, the order of Caesar, which always invokes and always will invoke necessity against justice. Not right now, I haven’t got time, circumstances are stronger than you and I. Let us wait for the season of the figs, that is, for sunlight and water. These people excuse themselves as the innocent fig tree might have done. And in a flash the curse comes over me. Is it not always because of circumstances that we put off repaying a debt? And is it by circumstances that the unfortunate Jean Valjean tries to prove to himself that he need not go to Arras to give himself up and save Champmathieu. But, says the Lord, are you fig trees, who receive everything from outside, and produce only under the right conditions? Or are you men, who know yourselves and even will yourselves to be free to distribute the reserves of your being as your own spirit dictates? Who renounces this privilege? Pilate, the great prefect, renounces it; his spirit washes its hands like the fig tree. Would he renounce it absolutely, expressly? I don’t know. But I call him Lord who violently reminds us that the principal crime, perhaps the only crime, is to renounce in oneself the condition of being human. This Lord is demanding; Jean Valjean listens to him, and follows him, without asking if this Lord who is right was born before or after some other man, or if he was born at all. For it is easy to say that we could all live like administrative fig trees, always acting by the calendar and according to the edict of things, or of Caesar, and that this kind of life might even be pleasant, were it not for Jesus. What Jesus has said cannot be taken back; what has once been revealed cannot be withdrawn.”

The Gods
(les dieux)
translated by Richard Pevear
Quartet Encounters

ABRAXAS http://www.kaganof.com <![CDATA[]]> http://kaganof.com/kagablog/?p=99992 2017-09-10T19:52:40Z 2017-09-10T19:52:40Z 0

ABRAXAS http://www.kaganof.com <![CDATA[]]> http://kaganof.com/kagablog/?p=99989 2017-09-10T12:52:45Z 2017-09-10T12:52:45Z 0

ABRAXAS http://www.kaganof.com <![CDATA[Medea, falling…]]> http://kaganof.com/kagablog/?p=99981 2017-09-07T13:18:18Z 2017-09-07T13:18:18Z 0

ABRAXAS http://www.kaganof.com <![CDATA[Dolly Rathebe]]> http://kaganof.com/kagablog/?p=99978 2017-09-05T13:58:38Z 2017-09-05T13:20:49Z I remember walking with Dolly in central Joburg. We were walking down a street behind the High Court when we saw a jewellery shop. We entered the shop. A white lady came. I told her that we wanted to have a look at their rings. She picked up a key as she went to a locked glass display cabinet. She took out a velvet board full of gold and diamond rings and put it in front of us. I waited for her to make a mistake, and she did. With the swiftness of a panther, I had already taken one of the rings and with my nimble fingers put it in my pocket when she temporarily looked the other way. We later told her she could take the tray back because we were done and that we did not see anything we liked. She looked puzzled as she looked at the tray again and told us that there was a ring missing. There was a parley for a few minutes; we wanted to know if the insinuation was that we had stolen the ring. Nervous, she explained that she was only saying there was a missing ring.

“Are you accusing us of stealing the ring? Are you accusing my fiancé of stealing from this shop? Why are you doing this?” Dolly screamed at her.

“Did you see us taking any ring?”

“No, I did not. That is why I’m not sure really. I ‘ll have to call the boss,” said the lady.

The bespectacled boss came. He was calm, listening patiently to her as she related the story. He then listened to what Dolly and I had to say. During the conversation, I took out my wallet, which had four, big ten-pound notes in it.

“Here is my money, sir. Perhaps this lady thinks I’m just a loafer. I had come to buy a ring here; I am not a useless lay-about!” I screamed with Dolly joining me in the protest song.

Soon the boss apologised and bade us goodbyes. Down the street, Dolly was stunned to see me take out the ring and putting it around her finger, smiling.

Dolly became a great housewife who loved children. During the years we were in PE. I worked at the Bay Bus Company and I did not want her to work because although we were not rich, we were managing financially. She was loyal to her family and even pushing the showbiz life aside, sacrificing fame for her role as a housewife. She wanted to settle down, stop singing and raise her children. PE offered the kind of refuge she wanted at the time. Many of her friends visited her while she stayed with me at 46 Mendi Road and they’d share reminiscing conversations about the good old days in Sophiatown.

Our first child was a boy, Smilo, soon followed by a girl, Nontsikelelo.

I tried by all means to make Dolly happy. She never showed any signs of being unhappy in PE, although she always suggested to me that we should find a place of our own rather than stay at my parents’ place. We had our problems at times though. In fact, I later realised that Dolly was not entirely happy in New Brighton.

One evening I could not find her at home. I decided to go and look for her at 1 Ntshinga Street where her friend Ms Msengana lived. She was not there and I thought that maybe there was a problem with one of the children so I went to the family doctor’s surgery but Dolly was not there. No one had seen her. I then decided to go look at her relative May Cetu’s place in White Location. There was a party at the house and I could not see Dolly amongst those many ladies. May herself told me that Dolly never came to her place that day. I was about to leave when I decided to go into the room and boom right there behind the door was Dolly hiding. She had apparently been drinking. I was incensed and ended up beating everyone in the house, creating mayhem.

Then there was the day Dolly left PE, and her marriage. It was a long weekend and the Basin Blues had a show in East London. I gave Dolly the 84 pounds that was my share from a recent show around PE and told her I’d be back the following Monday.

But when I got off the lorry on the Monday back home, Dolly was not there. On the bed, the bare pillows lay on the floor and the bed had neither blankets nor sheets. My brother Touchy told me that Dolly had left. She had taken the 84 pounds, dishes, blankets, cutlery and other small things. I immediately thought of my revolver, hidden under one of the broken planks on the floor. It was gone. I sat down wondering, confused. I was not going to go fetch Dolly, I decided.

Then a few months later, she started writing me letters telling me that she was remorseful and was planning to come back to her marriage. Almost every month she would send her few items of clothing stating that she was preparing for her return. I wanted my Dolly back home.

Then I heard that she was in an Alfred Herbert show. The show was visiting PE but I got a call from the director, Alfred himself, informing me that no Dolly was not with the cast.

She had apparently met and fallen in love with an American called Smith, who wanted to marry her. It was during this time that Dolly filed for divorce. In court papers, Dolly gave three reasons for the divorce: that I did not have my own house; that I had twin children in Grahamstown; and that I had a child with one of the Pemba daughters. So our four-year-old marriage came to an end.

However, later that evening, I hooked up with Dolly and we spent the night together at the Alabama Hotel where she was renting a room.

Not long after we had parted, I heard that Dolly had gotten married to John Smith.

Then years later, she would call me every time she visited PE. She would invite me, give me a complimentary ticket and ask people to send me backstage. She was uncomfortable though when I visited her in Cape Town where she ran a shebeen in Elsies River. She became restless even though we have always had a place for each other in our hearts.

Dolly Rathebe will remain special because she bore the Durus those two children. When her chapter ended in Pretoria and her heart stopped beating, I knew she would sing somewhere in the skies above.

– The Black Train Rising: The Life and Times of Welcome Duru, by (Professor) Vuyisile Msila.

ABRAXAS http://www.kaganof.com <![CDATA[closure]]> http://kaganof.com/kagablog/?p=99971 2017-09-04T18:07:40Z 2017-09-02T11:07:59Z “Daddy never believed in closure. He said it was a false psychological concept. Something invented by therapists to assuage white Western guilt. In all his years of study and practice, he’d never heard a patient of colour talk of needing “closure”. They needed revenge. They needed distance. Forgiveness and a good lawyer maybe, but never closure. He said people mistake suicide, murder, lap band surgery, interracial marriage, and overtipping for closure, when in reality what they’ve achieved is erasure.”
Paul Beatty
The Sellout

ABRAXAS http://www.kaganof.com <![CDATA[blackness and the human condition]]> http://kaganof.com/kagablog/?p=99968 2017-09-04T18:06:45Z 2017-09-02T11:00:45Z “I seen it a million times,” my father used to say. “Professional niggers that just snap because the charade is over.” The blackness that had consumed them suddenly evaporates like window grit washed away in the rain. All that’s left is the transparency of the human condition, and everybody sees right through you.
Paul Beatty
The Sell Out
pg. 259

ABRAXAS http://www.kaganof.com <![CDATA[Naar de klote!]]> http://kaganof.com/kagablog/?p=99962 2017-09-01T06:36:29Z 2017-09-01T06:33:59Z 0-59Screen shot 2017-09-01 at 8.32.45 AM0
first published here: https://www.vpro.nl/cinema/films/film~1642515~naar-de-klote~.html

ABRAXAS http://www.kaganof.com <![CDATA[Afke Reijenga on Naar De Klote!]]> http://kaganof.com/kagablog/?p=99957 2017-09-01T06:18:33Z 2017-09-01T06:16:16Z 0Screen shot 2017-09-01 at 8.14.53 AM

ABRAXAS http://www.kaganof.com <![CDATA[Suiwer]]> http://kaganof.com/kagablog/?p=99955 2017-08-31T12:45:58Z 2017-08-31T12:45:58Z Suiwer begin met die figuur van ‘n filmbeeldreeks (Die Bou Van ‘n Nasie), wat oopgesny word en versprei word om ‘n plat, bandagtige oppervlak te vorm. Hierdie streek is wesenlik soos die liggaam, maar dit is nog nie georganiseer nie, dus die figuur van die ledemaatsverwydering. Terselfdertyd word ‘n filmklankreeks (Die Kandidaat) in die in stukke gesnede liggaam oorgeplant, wat die stabiele struktuur van die oorspronklike klank-beeldverhouding vervang met ‘n kruisondervraging wat dien om die affects wat verborge en ontken word, deur die oënskynlik stabiele en permanente strukture van die stelsel (Afrikaner-Nasionalisme), bloot te stel.

Die plat band wat die liggaam geword het, word ‘n draai gegee en bymekaar gebring. Dit vorm ‘n Moebius-strook (‘n sirkelvormige figuur wat net een oppervlak het as gevolg van die draai daarin; ‘n lyn wat langs een kant van die strook geteken word sal aan die ander kant verskyn sonder om met die oppervlak kontak te verloor). Hierdie strook is in beweging, herhaaldelik sirkuleer.

Die teks van hierdie moebius-strook is afgelei van Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd se Sosio-Psigologi van Misdaad, ‘n kursus wat hy aan die Universiteit Stellenbosch gegee het, terwyl professor in Sosiologie en Maatskaplike Werk.

Uiteindelik stop die herhalende beweging en vorm ‘n stabiele disjunksie. Suiwer draai dan op sigself rond en skep ‘n onveilige ruimte, (unsafe space) ‘n trauma kamer. Hierdie stadium in Suiwer verteenwoordig die vorming van Afrikaner-nasionalistiese denke, oorheers deur binêre logika en rassisme.

Suiwer is ‘n konseptuele animasie film wat ons toelaat om die elemente van die post-Apartheid maatskappy as veins te sien. Dit is, hulle het meer as een moontlikheid. Dit is altyd moontlik vir intensiteite om in ‘n stabiele stelsel te kanaliseer, of om ‘n stelsel te ontwrig deur dit deur intensiewe ontwrigting (disruption) te destabiliseer.

ABRAXAS http://www.kaganof.com <![CDATA[Stones Again reviewed by Vuyokazi Ngemntu Dejavu Tafari Yajitorro]]> http://kaganof.com/kagablog/?p=99951 2017-08-31T05:34:50Z 2017-08-31T05:34:50Z 0

ABRAXAS http://www.kaganof.com <![CDATA[Ivan Illich – Rebirth of Epimethean Man]]> http://kaganof.com/kagablog/?p=99949 2017-08-30T11:59:26Z 2017-08-30T11:59:26Z Our society resembles the ultimate machine which I once saw in a New York toy shop. It was a metal casket which, when you touched a switch, snapped open to reveal a mechanical hand. Chromed fingers reached out for the lid, pulled it down, and locked it from the inside. It was a box; you expected to be able to take something out of it; yet all it contained was a mechanism for closing the cover. This contraption is the opposite of Pandora’s “box.”

The original Pandora, the All-Giver, was an Earth goddess in prehistoric matriarchal Greece. She let all ills escape from her amphora (pythos). But she closed the lid before Hope could escape. The history of modern man begins with the degradation of Pandora’s myth and comes to an end in the self-sealing casket. It is the history of the Promethean endeavor to forge institutions in order to corral each of the rampant ills. It is the history of fading hope and rising expectations.

To understand what this means we must rediscover the distinction between hope and expectation. Hope, in its strong sense, means trusting faith in the goodness of nature, while expectation, as I will use it here, means reliance on results which are planned and controlled by man. Hope centers desire on a person from whom we await a gift. Expectation looks forward to satisfaction from a predictable process which will produce what we have the right to claim. The Promethean ethos has now eclipsed hope.

Survival of the human race depends on its rediscovery as a social force.

The original Pandora was sent to Earth with a jar which contained all ills; of good things, it contained only hope. Primitive man lived in this world of hope. He relied on the munificence of nature, on the handouts of gods, and on the instincts of his tribe to enable him to subsist. Classical Greeks began to replace hope with expectations. In their version of Pandora she released both evils and goods. They remembered her mainly for the ills she had unleashed. And, most significantly, they forgot that the All-Giver was also the keeper of hope.

The Greeks told the story of two brothers, Prometheus and Epimetheus. The former warned the latter to leave Pandora alone. Instead, he married her. In classical Greece the name “Epimetheus,” which means “hindsight,” was interpreted to mean “dull” or “dumb.” By the time Hesiod retold the story in its classical form, the Greeks had become moral and misogynous patriarchs who panicked at the thought of the first woman. They built a rational and authoritarian society. Men engineered institutions through which they planned to cope with the rampant ills. They became conscious of their power to fashion the world and make it produce services they also learned to expect. They wanted their own needs and the future demands of their children to be shaped by their artifacts. They became lawgivers, architects, and authors, the makers of constitutions, cities, and works of art to serve as examples for their offspring. Primitive man had relied on mythical participation in sacred rites to initiate individuals into the lore of society, but the classical Greeks recognized as true men only those citizens who let themselves be fitted by paideIa (education) into the institutions their elders had planned.

The developing myth reflects the transition from a world in which dreams were interpreted to a world in which oracles were made. From immemorial time, the Earth Goddess had been worshipped on the slope of Mount Parnassus, which was the center and navel of the Earth. There, at Delphi (from deiphys, the womb), slept Gaia, the sister of Chaos and Eros. Her son, Python the dragon, guarded her moonlit and dewy dreams, until Apollo the Sun God, the architect of Troy, rose from the east, slew the dragon, and became the owner of Gaia’s cave. His priests took over her temple. They employed a local maiden, sat her on a tripod over Earth’s smoking navel, and made her drowsy with fumes. They then rhymed her ecstatic utterances into hexameters of self-fulfilling prophecies. From all over the Peloponnesus men brought their problems to Apollo’s sanctuary. The oracle was consulted on social options, such as measures to be taken to stop a plague or a famine, to choose the right constitution for Sparta or the propitious sites for cities which later became Byzantium and Chalcedon. The never-erring arrow became Apollo’s symbol. Everything about him became purposeful and useful.

In the Republic, describing the ideal state, Plato already excludes popular music. Only the harp and Apollo’s lyre would be permitted in towns because their harmony alone creates “the strain of necessity and the strain of freedom, the strain of the unfortunate and the strain of the fortunate, the strain of courage and the strain of temperance which befit the citizen.” City-dwellers panicked before Pan’s flute and its power to awaken the instincts. Only “the shepherds may play [Pan’s] pipes and they only in the country.”

Man assumed responsibility for the laws under which he wanted to live and for the casting of the environment into his own image. Primitive initiation by Mother Earth into mythical life was transformed into the education (paideia) of the citizen who would feel at home in the forum.

To the primitive the world was governed by fate, fact, and necessity. By stealing fire from the gods, Prometheus turned facts into problems, called necessity into question, and defied fate. Classical man framed a civilized context for human perspective. He was aware that he could defy fate-nature-environment, but only at his own risk. Contemporary man goes further; he attempts to create the world in his image, to build a totally man-made environment, and then discovers that he can do so only on the condition of constantly remaking himself to fit it. We now must face the fact that man himself is at stake.

Life today in New York produces a very peculiar vision of what is and what can be, and without this vision life in New York is impossible. A child on the streets of New York never touches anything which has not been scientifically developed, engineered, planned, and sold to someone. Even the trees are there because the Parks Department decided to put them there. The jokes the child hears on television have been programmed at a high cost. The refuse with which he plays in the streets of Harlem is made of broken packages planned for somebody else. Even desires and fears are institutionally shaped. Power and violence are organized and managed: the gangs versus the police. Learning itself is defined as the consumption of subject matter, which is the result of researched, planned, and promoted programs. Whatever good there is, is the product of some specialized institution. It would be foolish to demand something which some institution cannot produce. The child of the city cannot expect anything which lies outside the possible development of institutional process. Even his fantasy is prompted to produce science fiction. He can experience the poetic surprise of the unplanned only through his encounter with “dirt,” blunder, or failure: the orange peel in the gutter, the puddle in the street, the breakdown of order, program, or machine are the only take-offs for creative fancy. “Goofing off” becomes the only poetry at hand.

Since there is nothing desirable which has not been planned, the city child soon concludes that we will always be able to design an institution for our every want. He takes for granted the power of process to create value. Whether the goal is meeting a mate, integrating a neighborhood, or acquiring reading skills, it will be defined in such a way that its achievement can be engineered. The man who knows that nothing in demand is out of production soon expects that nothing produced can be out of demand. If a moon vehicle can be designed, so can the demand to go to the moon. Not to go where one can go would be subversive. It would unmask as folly the assumption that every satisfied demand entails the discovery of an even greater unsatisfied one. Such insight would stop progress. Not to produce what is possible would expose the law of “rising expectations” as a euphemism for a growing frustration gap, which is the motor of a society built on the coproduction of services and increased demand.

The state of mind of the modern city-dweller appears in the mythical tradition only under the image of Hell: Sisyphus, who for a while had chained Thanatos (death), must roll a heavy stone up the hill to the pinnacle of Hell, and the stone always slips from his grip just when he is about to reach the top. Tantalus, who was invited by the gods to share their meal, and on that occasion stole their secret of how to prepare all-healing ambrosia, which bestowed immortality, suffers eternal hunger and thirst standing in a river of receding waters, overshadowed by fruit trees with receding branches. A world of ever-rising demands is not just evil-it can be spoken of only as Hell.

Man has developed the frustrating power to demand anything because he cannot visualize anything which an institution cannot do for him. Surrounded by all-powerful tools, man is reduced to a tool of his tools. Each of the institutions meant to exorcise one of the primeval evils has become a fail-safe, self-sealing coffin for man. Man is trapped in the boxes he makes to contain the ills Pandora allowed to escape. The blackout of reality in the smog produced by our tools has enveloped us. Quite suddenly we find ourselves in the darkness of our own trap.

Reality itself has become dependent on human decision. The same President who ordered the ineffective invasion of Cambodia could equally well order the effective use of the atom. The “Hiroshima switch” now can cut the navel of the Earth. Man has acquired the power to make Chaos overwhelm both Eros and Gaia. This new power of man to cut the navel of the Earth is a constant reminder that our institutions not only create their own ends, but also have the power to put an end to themselves and to us. The absurdity of modern institutions is evident in the case of the military. Modern weapons can defend freedom, civilization, and life only by annihilating them. Security in military language means the ability to do away with the Earth.

The absurdity that underlies nonmilitary institutions is no less manifest. There is no switch in them to activate their destructive power, but neither do they need a switch. Their grip is already fastened to the lid of the world. They create needs faster than they can create satisfaction, and in the process of trying to meet the needs they generate, they consume the Earth. This is true for agriculture and manufacturing, and no less for medicine and education. Modern agriculture poisons and exhausts the soil. The “green revolution” can, by means of new seeds, triple the output of an acre–but only with an even greater proportional increase of fertilizers, insecticides, water, and power. Manufacturing of these, as of all other goods, pollutes the oceans and the atmosphere and degrades irreplaceable resources. If combustion continues to increase at present rates, we will soon consume the oxygen of the atmosphere faster than it can be replaced. We have no reason to believe that fission or fusion can replace combustion without equal or higher hazards. Medicine men replace midwives and promise to make man into something else: genetically planned, pharmacologically sweetened, and capable of more protracted sickness. The contemporary ideal is a pan-hygienic world: a world in which all contacts between men, and between men and their world, are the result of foresight and manipulation. School has become the planned process which tools man for a planned world, the principal tool to trap man in man s trap. It is sup-posed to shape each man to an adequate level for playing a part in this world game. Inexorably we cultivate, treat, produce, and school the world out of existence.

The military institution is evidently absurd. The absurdity of nonmilitary institutions is more difficult to face. It is even more frightening, precisely because it operates inexorably. We know which switch must stay open to avoid an atomic holocaust. No switch detains an ecological Armageddon.

In classical antiquity, man had discovered that the world could be made according to man’s plans, and with this insight he perceived that it was inherently precarious, dramatic and comical. Democratic institutions evolved and man was presumed worthy of trust within their framework. Expectations from due process and confidence in human nature kept each other in balance. The traditional professions developed and with them the institutions needed for their exercise.

Surreptitiously, reliance on institutional process has replaced dependence on personal good will. The world has lost its humane dimension and reacquired the factual necessity and fatefulness which were characteristic of primitive times. But while the chaos of the barbarian was constantly ordered in the name of mysterious, anthropomorphic gods, today only man’s planning can be given as a reason for the world being as it, is. Man has become the plaything of scientists, engineers, and planners.

We see this logic at work in ourselves and in others. I know a Mexican village through which not more than a dozen cars drive each day. A Mexican was playing dominoes on the new hard-surface road in front of his house–where he had probably played and sat since his youth. A car sped through and killed him. The tourist who reported the event to me was deeply upset, and yet he said: “The man had it coming to him.”

At first sight, the tourist’s remark is no different from the statement of some primitive bushman reporting the death of a fellow who had collided with a taboo and had therefore died. But the two statements carry opposite meanings. The primitive can blame some tremendous and dumb transcendence, while the tourist is in awe of the inexorable logic of the machine. The primitive does not sense responsibility; the tourist senses it, but denies it. In both the primitive and the tourist the classical mode of drama, the style of tragedy, the logic of personal endeavor and rebellion is absent. The primitive man has not become conscious of it, and the tourist has lost it. The myth of the Bushman and the myth of the American are made of inert, inhuman forces. Neither experiences tragic rebellion. For the Bushman, the event follows the laws of magic; for the American, it follows the laws of science. The event puts him under the spell of the laws of mechanics, which for him govern physical, social, and psychological events.

The mood of 1971 is propitious for a major change of direction in search of a hopeful future. Institutional goals continuously contradict institutional products. The poverty program produces more poor, the war in Asia more Vietcong, technical assistance more underdevelopment. Birth control clinics increase survival rates and boost the population; schools produce more dropouts; and the curb on one kind of pollution usually increases another.

Consumers are faced with the realization that the more they can buy, the more deceptions they must swallow. Until recently it seemed logical that the blame for this pandemic inflation of dysfunctions could be laid either on the limping of scientific discovery behind the technological demands or on the perversity of ethnic, ideological, or class enemies. Both the expectations of a scientific millennium and of a war to end all wars have declined.

For the experienced consumer, there is no way back to a na•ve reliance on magical technologies. Too many people have had bad experiences with neurotic computers, hospital-bred infections, and jams wherever there is traffic on the road, in the air, or on the phone. Only ten years ago conventional wisdom anticipated a better life based on an increase in scientific discovery. Now scientists frighten children. The moon shots provide a fascinating demonstration that human failure can be almost eliminated among the operators of complex systems-yet this does not allay our fears that the human failure to consume according to instruction might spread out of control.

For the social reformer there is no way back, either, to the assumptions of the forties. The hope has vanished that the problem of justly distributing goods can be sidetracked by creating an abundance of them. The cost of the minimum package capable of satisfying modern tastes has skyrocketed, and what makes tastes modern is their obsolescence prior even to satisfaction.

The limits of the Earth’s resources have become evident. No breakthrough in science or technology could provide every man in the world with the commodities and services which are now available to the poor of rich countries. For instance, it would take the extraction of one hundred times the present amounts of iron, tin, copper, and lead to achieve such a goal, with even the “lightest” alternative technology.

Finally, teachers, doctors, and social workers realize that their distinct professional ministrations have one aspect-at least-in common. They create further demands for the institutional treatments they provide, faster than they can provide service institutions.

Not just some part, but the very logic, of conventional wisdom is becoming suspect. Even the laws of economy seem unconvincing outside the narrow parameters which apply to the social, geographic area where most of the money is concentrated. Money is, indeed, the cheapest currency, but only in an economy geared to efficiency measured in monetary terms. Both capitalist and Communist countries in their various forms are committed to measuring efficiency in cost-benefit ratios expressed in dollars. Capitalism flaunts a higher standard of living as its claim to superiority. Communism boasts of a higher growth rate as an index of its ultimate triumph. But under either ideology the total cost of increasing efficiency increases geometrically. The largest institutions compete most fiercely for resources which are not listed in any inventory: the air, the ocean, silence, sunlight, and health. They bring the scarcity of these resources to public attention only when they are almost irremediably degraded. Everywhere nature becomes poisonous, society inhumane, and the inner life is invaded and personal vocation smothered.

A society committed to the institutionalization of values identifies the production of goods and services with the demand for such. Education which makes you need the product is included in the price of the product. School is the advertising agency which makes you believe that you need the society as it is. In such a society marginal value has become constantly self-transcendent. It forces the few largest consumers to compete for the power to deplete the earth, to fill their own swelling bellies, to discipline smaller consumers, and to deactivate those who still find satisfaction in making do with what they have. The ethos of nonsatiety is thus at the root of physical depredation, social polarization, and psychological passivity.

When values have been institutionalized in planned and engineered processes, members of modern society believe that the good life consists in having institutions which define the values that both they and their society believe they need. Institutional value can be defined as the level of output of an institution. The corresponding value of man is measured by his ability to consume and degrade these institutional outputs, and thus create a new-even higher-demand. The value of institutionalized man depends on his capacity as an incinerator. To use an image–he has become the idol of his handiworks. Man now defines himself as the fur-nace which burns up the values produced by his tools. And there is no limit to his capacity. His is the act of Prometheus carried to an extreme.

The exhaustion and pollution of the earth’s resources is, above all, the result of a corruption in man’s self-image, of a regression in his consciousness. Some would like to speak about a mutation of collective consciousness which leads to a conception of man as an organism dependent not on nature and individuals, but rather on institutions. This institutionalization of substantive values, this belief that a planned process of treatment ultimately gives results desired by the recipient, this consumer ethos, is at the heart of the Promethean fallacy.

Efforts to find a new balance in the global milieu depend on the deinstitutionalization of values.

The suspicion that something is structurally wrong with the vision of homo faber is common to a growing minority in capitalist, Communist, and “underdeveloped” countries alike. This suspicion is the shared characteristic of a new elite. To it belong people of all classes, incomes, faiths, and civilizations. They have ‘become wary of the myths of the majority: of scientific utopias, of ideological diabolism, and of the expectation of the distribution of goods and services with some degree of equality. They share with the majority the sense of being trapped. They share with the majority the awareness that most new policies adopted by broad consensus consistently lead to results which are glaringly opposed to their stated aims. Yet whereas the Promethean majority of would-be spacemen still evades the structural issue, the emergent minority is critical of the scientific deus ex mach ina, the ideological panacea, and the hunt for devils and witches. This minority begins to formulate its suspicion that our constant deceptions tie us to contemporary institutions as the chains bound Prometheus to his rock. Hopeful trust and classical irony (eironeia) must conspire to expose the Promethean fallacy.

Prometheus is usually thought to mean “foresight,” or sometimes even “he who makes the North Star progress.” He tricked the gods out of their monopoly of fire, taught men to use it in the forging of iron, became the god of technologists, and wound up in iron chains.

The Pythia of Delphi has now been replaced by a computer which hovers above panels and punch cards. The hexameters of the oracle have given way to sixteen-bit codes of instructions. Man the helmsman has turned the rudder over to the cybernetic machine. The ultimate machine emerges to direct our destinies. Children phantasize flying their spacecrafts away from a crepuscular earth.

From the perspectives of the Man on the Moon, Prometheus could recognize sparkling blue Gaia as the planet of Hope and as the Arc of Mankind. A new sense of the finiteness of the Earth and a new nostalgia now can open man’s eyes to the choice of his brother Epimetheus to wed the Earth with Pandora.

At this point the Greek myth turns into hopeful prophecy because it tells us that the son of Prometheus was Deucalion, the Helmsman of the Ark who like Noah outrode the Flood to become the father of a new mankind which he made from the earth with Pyrrha, the daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora. We are gaining insight into the meaning of the Pythos which Pandora brought from the gods as being the inverse of the Box: our Vessel and Ark.

We now need a name for those who value hope above expectations. We need a name for those who love people more than products, those who believe that

No people are uninteresting.

Their fate is like the chronicle of planets.

Nothing in them is not particular,

and planet is dissimilar from planet.

We need a name for those who love the earth on which each can meet the other,

And if a man lived in obscurity

making his friends in that obscurity,

obscurity is not uninteresting.

We need a name for those who collaborate with their Promethean brother in the lighting of the fire and the shaping of iron, but who do so to enhance their ability to tend and care and wait upon the other, knowing that

to each his world is private,

and in that world one excellent minute.

And in that world one tragic minute.

These are private.*

I suggest that these hopeful brothers and sisters be called Epimethean men.

· The three quotations are from “”People”‘ from the book Selected Poems by Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Translated and with Introduction

by Robin Milner Gulland and Peter Levi. Published by E. P. Dutton & Co. Inc., 1962, and reprinted with their permission.


Ivan Illich was born in Vienna in 1926. He studied theology and philosophy at the Gregorian University in Rome and obtained a Ph.D. in history at the University of Salzburg. He came to the United States in 1951, where he served as assistant pastor in an Irish-Puerto Rican parish in New York City. From 1956 to 1960 he was assigned as vice-rector to the Catholic University of Puerto Rico, where he organized an intensive training center for American priests in Latin American culture. Illich was a co-founder of the widely known and controversial Center for Intercultural Documentation (CIDOC) in Cuernavaca, Mexico, and since 1964 he has directed research seminars on “Institutional Alternatives in a Technological Society,” with special focus on Latin America. Ivan Illich’s writings have appeared in The New York Review, The Saturday Review, Esprit, Kuvsbuch, Siempre, America, Commonweal, Epreuves, and Tern PS Modernes.

first published here: http://www.preservenet.com/theory/Illich/Deschooling/chap7.html

ABRAXAS http://www.kaganof.com <![CDATA[“fallism”]]> http://kaganof.com/kagablog/?p=99947 2017-08-30T11:49:18Z 2017-08-30T11:49:18Z “fallism” – “an oath of allegiance that everything to do with the oppression and conquest of black people by white power must fall and be destroyed”.

ABRAXAS http://www.kaganof.com <![CDATA[we who ARE NOT DEAD YET]]> http://kaganof.com/kagablog/?p=99938 2017-08-30T07:44:15Z 2017-08-30T07:36:14Z 0
first published here: http://www.unlikelystories.org/content/we-who-are-not-dead-yet

ABRAXAS http://www.kaganof.com <![CDATA[]]> http://kaganof.com/kagablog/?p=99935 2017-08-29T09:11:43Z 2017-08-29T09:11:43Z 0

ABRAXAS http://www.kaganof.com <![CDATA[Suiwer]]> http://kaganof.com/kagablog/?p=99931 2017-08-29T07:36:29Z 2017-08-29T07:34:15Z Suiwer begins with the figure of a film image sequence (Die Bou van ‘n Nasie), being cut open and spread out to form a flat, band-like surface. This region is material like the body, but it is not yet organized, thus the figure of dismemberment. Simultaneously a film sound sequence (Die Kandidaat) is transplanted into the dismembered body, replacing the stable structure of the original sound-image relationship with a cross examination, a juxtaposition, that serves to expose the affects hidden and denied by the ostensibly stable and permanent structures of the System (Afrikaner Nationalism).

The flat band that the body has become is then given a twist and joined end to end, forming a moebius strip (a circular figure which has only one surface due to the twist it contains; a line traced along one side of the strip will end up on the other side without breaking contact with the surface). This strip is in motion, circulating repetitively.

The text of this moebius strip is derived from Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd’s Socio-Psigologi van Misdaad, a course that he gave at Stellenbosch University whilst Professor of Sociology and Social Work.

Finally the repetitive motion stops and forms a stable disjunction. Suiwer then turns around on itself and creates an unsafe space, a trauma room. This stage in the versuiwering represents the formation of Afrikaner Nationalist thought, dominated by binary logic and racism.

Suiwer is a conceptual animation film that allows us to see the elements of the libidinal economy as duplicitous. That is, they have more than one possibility. It is always possible for intensities to channel into a stable system, or to disrupt a system by destabilising it through intense disruption.

ABRAXAS http://www.kaganof.com <![CDATA[one for the shit eaters]]> http://kaganof.com/kagablog/?p=99929 2017-08-24T09:27:43Z 2017-08-24T09:27:43Z After this prolonged silence, an idea started inwardly
arousing me – a-stupid, hateful idea; as though
all of a sudden my life was at stake; or, given the circumstances,
more than my life. So, seething with fever,
I told her in a tone of demented irritation, ” Listen to
me, Xenie.” I began ranting, for no reason, I was frantic.
“You’ve been involved in literary goings-on. You
must have read De Sade. You must have found De Sade
fantastic. Just like the others. People who admire De
Sade are con artists, do you hear? Con artists!”
She looked at me in silence. She didn’t dare speak.
I went on, “I’m so irritated, I’m so infuriated, I’m so
done in I don’t know what I’m saying – but why did
they do that to De Sade? ”
I almost shouted, ” Did any of them eat shit? Yes or

Bataille, Blue of Noon

ABRAXAS http://www.kaganof.com <![CDATA[Liam Burden reviews the Bow Project cd]]> http://kaganof.com/kagablog/?p=99910 2017-08-15T14:54:21Z 2017-08-15T14:51:37Z 0

ABRAXAS http://www.kaganof.com <![CDATA[Hannah Arendt]]> http://kaganof.com/kagablog/?p=99907 2017-08-15T12:21:42Z 2017-08-15T12:21:42Z 0

ABRAXAS http://www.kaganof.com <![CDATA[Céline on song]]> http://kaganof.com/kagablog/?p=99905 2017-08-15T12:09:37Z 2017-08-15T12:09:37Z One night, I don’t know why, they changed our number. The scene of the new sketch was the London Embankment. My misgivings were immediate, our little English girls were expected to sing, off key and ostensibly on the banks of the Thames at night, while I played the part of a policeman. A totally silent role, walking up and down in front of the parapet. Suddenly, when I’d stopped thinking about it, their singing grew louder than life itself and steered fate in the direction of calamity. While they were singing, I couldn’t think of anything but all the poor world’s misery and my own, those tarts with their singing made my heart burn like tuna fish. I thought I’d digested it, forgotten the worst! But this was the worst of all, a song that couldn’t make it … And as they sang, they wiggle-waggled, to try and bring it off. A fine mess, all of a sudden we were knee deep in misery … No mistake! Mooning about in the fog! Their lament was dripping with misery, it made me grow older from minute to minute. Panic oozed from the very stage set. And nothing could stop them. They didn’t seem to understand all the harm their song was doing us all … They laughed and flung out their legs in perfect time, while lamenting their entire life … When it comes to you from so far, with such sureness of aim, you can’t mistake it and you can’t resist.

Misery was everywhere, in spite of the luxurious hall; it was on us, on the set, it overflowed, it drenched the whole earth. Those girls were real artists … Abject misery poured out of them, and they made no attempt to stop it or even understand it. Only their eyes were sad. The eyes aren’t enough. They sang the calamity of existence, and they didn’t understand. They mistook it for love, nothing but love, the poor little things had never been taught anything else. Supposedly, they were singing about some little setback in love. That’s what they thought! When you’re young and you don’t know, you mistake everything for love trouble …

Where go … where I look …
It’s only for you … ou …
Only for you … ou …

That’s what they sang.

It’s a mania with the young to put all humanity into one ass, just one, the dream of dreams, mad love. Maybe later they would find out where all that ended, when their rosiness had fled, when the no-nonsense misery of their lousy country had engulfed them, all sixteen of them, with their hefty mare’s thighs and their bobbing tits … The truth is that misery already had the darlings by the neck, by the waist, they couldn’t escape. By the belly, by the breath, by every cord of their thin, off-key voices.

Misery was inside them. No costume, no spangles, no lights, no smile could fool her, delude her about her own, misery finds her own wherever they may hide; it just amuses her to let them sing silly songs of hope while waiting their turn … Those things awaken misery, caress and arouse her …

That’s what our unhappiness, our terrible unhappiness comes to, an amusement.

So to hell with people who sing love songs! Love itself is misery and nothing else, misery lying out of our mouths, the bitch, and nothing else. She’s everywhere, don’t wake her, not even in pretense. She never pretends. And yet those English girls went through their routine three times a day, with their backdrop and accordion tunes. It was bound to end badly.

I didn’t interfere, but don’t worry, I saw the catastrophe coming.

First one of the girls fell sick. Death to cuties who stir up calamity! Let ’em croak, we’ll all ber better off! And while we’re at it, don’t hang around street corners near accordion players, as often as not that’s where you’ll catch it, where the truth will strike. A Polish girl was hired to take the place of the sick one in their act. The Polish chick coughed too, when she wasn’t doing anything else. She was tall and pale, powerfully built. We made friends right away. In two hours I knew all about her soul, as far as her body was concerned, I had to wait a while. This girl’s mania was mutilating her nervous system with impossible crushes. Naturally, what with her own unhappiness, she slid into the English girls’ lousy song li9ke a knife into butter. Their song began very nicely, like all popular songs it didn’t seem to mean a thing, and then your heart began to droop, it made you so sad that listening to it you lost all desire to live, because it’s true that everything, youth and all that, comes to nothing, and then you start harking to the words, even after the song was over and the tune had gone home to sleep in its own bed, its honest-to-goodness bed, the tomb where everything ends. Two choruses, and you felt a kind of longing for the sweet land of death, the land of everlasting tenderness and immediate foggy forgetfulness. As a matter of fact their voices were foggy too.

All of us in chorus repeated their plaint, reproachful of everybody who was still around, still dragging their living carcasses from place to place, waiting along the riverbanks, on all the riverbanks of the world, for life to finish passing, and in the meantime doing one thing and another, selling things to other ghosts, oranges and racing tips and counterfeit coins … policemen, sex fiends, sorrows, telling each other things in this patient fog that will never end …

Louis-Ferdinand Céline
Journey to the end of the night
translated into English by Ralph Manheim
New Directions isbn 0-8112-0847-8
New York