kagablog

September 2, 2017

blackness and the human condition

Filed under: race — ABRAXAS @ 1:00 pm

“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
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September 1, 2017

Naar de klote!

Filed under: 1996 - wasted! (naar de klote!) — ABRAXAS @ 8:33 am

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first published here: https://www.vpro.nl/cinema/films/film~1642515~naar-de-klote~.html

Afke Reijenga on Naar De Klote!

Filed under: 1996 - wasted! (naar de klote!) — ABRAXAS @ 8:16 am

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August 31, 2017

Suiwer

Filed under: kaganof short films — ABRAXAS @ 2:45 pm

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.

Stones Again reviewed by Vuyokazi Ngemntu Dejavu Tafari Yajitorro

Filed under: 2003 - stones again — ABRAXAS @ 7:34 am

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August 30, 2017

Ivan Illich – Rebirth of Epimethean Man

Filed under: philosophy — ABRAXAS @ 1:59 pm

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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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

“fallism”

Filed under: 2016 - Metalepsis in Black — ABRAXAS @ 1:49 pm

“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”.

we who ARE NOT DEAD YET

Filed under: kagapoems — ABRAXAS @ 9:36 am

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first published here: http://www.unlikelystories.org/content/we-who-are-not-dead-yet

August 29, 2017

Filed under: registered — ABRAXAS @ 11:11 am

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Suiwer

Filed under: kaganof short films — ABRAXAS @ 9:34 am

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.

August 24, 2017

one for the shit eaters

Filed under: literature — ABRAXAS @ 11:27 am

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
no?”

Bataille, Blue of Noon

August 15, 2017

Liam Burden reviews the Bow Project cd

Filed under: michael blake,music — ABRAXAS @ 4:51 pm

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Hannah Arendt

Filed under: dick tuinder,philosophy — ABRAXAS @ 2:21 pm

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Céline on song

Filed under: literature,music — ABRAXAS @ 2:09 pm

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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 be 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 like 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
1934
translated into English by Ralph Manheim
1983
New Directions isbn 0-8112-0847-8
New York

Cyclonopedia on openness

Filed under: philosophy — ABRAXAS @ 1:37 pm

If the so-called despotic institutions of the Middle East have survived liberalism, and have grown stronger instead of being shattered into miseable pieces long ago, it is because openness can never be extracted from the inside of the system or through a mere voluntary or subjective desire for being open. Openness can never be communication by liberalism (not to mention the free world).

Human history is an experimental research proess in designing and establishing modes of openness to the outside. Openness is not ultiately, so to speak, the affair of humans, but rather the affair of the outside – everything minus the human, even the human’s own body. But opennness is not only associated with human history. Parsani argues that the Earth, as the arch-puppeteer and occult-manipulator of planetary events, has a far more sophisticated openness of its own. If the human is the subject of openness or the one who opens himself to his outside, then the Earth is the ‘inside-out subject’ of human openness. Undoubtedly, human openness is full of twists. This includes social openness, gender communications, and openness between populations and governments of the contemporary world, whether cultural or petrological. Parsani shows that human openness has a strategic and tisted spirit for which every communication is a tactic and every openness is a strategy to be unfolded … It is difficult to study the politics, culture and economy of the world without questioning its issues and concerns regarding the ethics of openness.

Openness comes from the Outside, not the other way round. Nietzschean affirmation was never intended to support liberation or even to be about openness at all. It was an invocation of the outside, in its exteriority to the humand and even to the human’s openness (which includes desires for being open to the outside). Radical openness has nothing to do with the cancelation of closure; it is a matter of terminating all traces of parsimony and grotesque domestication that exist in so-called emancipatory human openness. The blade of radical openness thirsts to butcher economical openness, or any openness constructed on the affordability of both the subject and its environment. The target of radical openness is not closure but economical openness. Radical openness devours all economic and political grounds based on ‘being open’.

While the subject of the economical openness manifests itself in the statement ‘I am open to’, the objective of the openness is what ‘being open to’ aims at. Economical openness is constantly maintained by these two poles which must afford each other. For an entity, the act of opening to its environment is only possible if the environment has already afforded the entity within its environing range, and if the entity itself is able to accommodate part of the environment within its capacity. The capacity of the entity is directly influenced by the subjective survival of that entity. For this reason, so-called (economical) openness represents the affordability and the survival capacity of its subjects, not the act of openining itself.

‘I am open to you’ can be recapitulated as ‘I have the capacity to bear your investment’ or ‘I can afford you’. This conservative voice is not associated with will or intention, but with the inevitability of affordance as a mesophilic bond, and with the survival economy and the logic of capacity. If you exceed the capacity by which you can be afforded, I will be cracked, lacerated and laid open. Despite its dedication to repression, its blind desire for the onopoloy of survival and the authoritarian logic of the boundary, the plane of ‘being open to’ has never been openly associated with paranoia or regression. Suchh is the irony of liberalism and anthropomorphic desire.

However, while affirmation is tactically nurtured by affordance, it is also a stealth strategy to call and to bring forth Epedemic Openness whose eventuation is necessarily equal to the abortion of economical or human openness. As far as survival is concerned, radical openness always brings with it base-participation, contamination and pandemic horror, the horror of the outside emerging from within as an outonomous xeno-chemical Insider and from without as the unmasterable Outsider. In any case, radical openness is internally connected to unreported plagues. If affordance is the mesophilic extension between subjective and objective fronts of communication, the outside is defined by the exteriority of function rather than distance. If affirmation is ultimately strategic, this is because epidemic openness is inherent to the repression of the outside and the suspension of its influences. In a polytical twist, epidemic openness craves for solid states, manifest closures such as dwelling and subsistence and survival economy. Conforming to the secrecy and the conspiracist ethos of affordance, for which every tactic is another line of expansion (to afford more), radical openness requires strategic calls or lines of subvervions from within affordance. Radical openness, therefore, subverst the logic of capacity from within. Frequently referred to as sorcerous lines, awakenings, summonings, xeno-attractions and trigggers, strategic approaches unfold radical openness as an internal cut – gaseous, odorless, with metallic wisdom of a scalpel. Openness emerges as radical butchery from within and without. If the anatomist cuts from top to bottom so as to examine the body hierarchically as a transcendental dissection, the the katatomy of openness does not cut anatomically or penetrate structurally (performing the logic of strata); it butchers open in all directions, in correspondence with its strategic plane of activity. Openness is not suicide, for it lures survival itself into life itself where ‘to live’ is a systematic redundancy. Since the Outside in its radical exteriority is everywhere, it only needs to be aroused to rush in and erase the illusion of economical appropriations or closure. Openness is a war, it needs strategies to work. Openness is not the anthropomorpic desire to be open, it is the being opened eventuated by the act of opening itself. To be butchered, lacerated, cracked and laid open – such is the corporeal reaction of subjects to the radical act of opening. Accordingly, affirmation is a camouglaged strategy, a vehicle for cutting through affordance and creatively reinventing openness as a radical butchery.

August 14, 2017

Siphokazi Jonas – crowdfunding poetry

Filed under: poetry — ABRAXAS @ 2:02 pm

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August 11, 2017

Filed under: caelan — ABRAXAS @ 5:22 am

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August 9, 2017

Ieva Jansone on the abyss

Filed under: 2016 - abyss — ABRAXAS @ 1:02 pm

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Matthew Whoolery (Soiled Sinema) on Matricide

Filed under: kaganof short films — ABRAXAS @ 12:58 pm

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Matthew Whoolery (Soiled Sinema) on the abyss

Filed under: 2016 - abyss — ABRAXAS @ 12:42 pm

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Lydia Lunch and Weasel Walter

Filed under: lydia lunch,music,poetry — ABRAXAS @ 10:57 am

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August 8, 2017

Peter Whitehead on the abyss

Filed under: 2016 - abyss — ABRAXAS @ 12:55 pm

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Molyneaux’s problem

Filed under: philosophy — ABRAXAS @ 12:51 pm

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‘A Man, being born blind, and having a Globe and a Cube, nigh of the same bignes, Committed into his Hands, and being taught or Told, which is Called the Globe, and which the Cube, so as easily to distinguish them by his Touch or Feeling; Then both being taken from Him, and Laid on a Table, Let us Suppose his Sight Restored to Him; Whether he Could, by his Sight, and before he touch them, know which is the Globe and which the Cube? Or Whether he Could know by his Sight, before he stretch’d out his Hand, whether he Could not Reach them, tho they were Removed 20 or 1000 feet from Him?’

Ruby Savage on the abyss

Filed under: 2016 - abyss,ruby savage — ABRAXAS @ 12:25 pm

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Filed under: kaganof — ABRAXAS @ 12:21 pm

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