Sunday, April 20, 2014

Materialist Lyric Mode

The vital question is how to articulate the totalizing impulse of critique – which I’d argue is still as important as ever, in the face of capitalism’s own totalizing force – with a poiesis necessarily fixated on the smallest point of ingress to the materiality of everyday life, or to put it differently, the smallest unit of affect or event in its difference from a reified situation. Art small-a. I’d be willing to bet that a materialist lyric mode is the closest thing to an avant-garde we currently possess. It’s no longer very interesting to say: “Look, I’ve divested myself of my subjectivity, I’ve laid bare the mechanism through critical mimesis, I’ve taught the petrified social forms to dance by singing them their own song.” Better for artists to ask: “How can I make something that speaks to my experience in all its fucked-upness and seeming inevitability; how can I produce anything at all without immediately reproducing capital; what representational or anti-representational claims can I make with regard to my own place in the violent hierarchy of class society?” But this is a kind of lyric that opens onto epic to the extent it necessarily folds totalization back into subjectivity, or history into experience.

-Daniel Spaulding.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Queer Silence/Noise

Next AU reading includes Jonathan Katz's essay on John Cage's Queer Silence or How to Avoid Making Matters Worse - which raises questions about modes of resistance, and intersects with Robin James thinking about how we might resist being co-opted by the regime of neoliberalism.  

Robin James"The point is to make signals that, when co-opted, skew the balance and bend the circuit- sort of like retroviruses and malware. Critical delinquency generates noise that isn't noisy in the "right" ways (and thus might not even register as noise), queer noise that, when it gets co-opted, distorts the processes it is supposed to support."  

Cage via Katz: 
"Protest movements could quite easily, and despite themselves, lead in the opposite direction, to a reinforcement of law and order.... protest is all too often absorbed into the flow of power, because it limits itself to reaching for the same old mechanisms of power, which is the worst way to challenge authority!"  

"The goal is thus not to challenge power, but to escape it.... what makes noise a noise is precisely its freedom from an preordained conceptual or ideological system. Thus music permeates culture, and our culture permeates music; change one and you change the other."  

Katz's essay on Cage also suggests a tangent on Buddhism, which seems to lead toward Zizek's (somewhat controversial) critique of Buddhism. 

eg, Tim Morton"I am nauseated by [Zizek's] repetition of asinine Hegelianisms about buddhism.  [But] I generally admire and respect what Zizek has to say about anything. [And] I actually agree, from a certain point of view, with what he says about buddhism: for example, as an indictment of western New Age interpretations that are also intrinsic to certain eastern forms of buddhism.  I nevertheless completely disagree with the substance of his arguments which are based on a common Hegelian misunderstanding of the soteriological aims of  buddhism."

All of this is perhaps unrelated to Jody Rosen's spectacular essay on Eva Tanguay, the first rock star. Thinking of Attali's Noise, Tanguay is perhaps an example of music as a herald of social change. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Could use a cocktail of a more scientific american - one that is 
other-regarding, a friendly operative

Checked my boredom
Voiced each inch
Dreamt I was paid to watch
to self-police
to borrow & bar none
to break house & pots

Young robin throws itself
nose to glass into its own reflection
Tear down thy vanity
Is it right to use all tools
all schools to exploit
to tear down the master's house
to knock down
the precariat fight
to find oneself alone
frail subject bigger
beneath familiar map
Future ghost
salted with salutes
each insignia numb to stimuli
love & tenderness to trump
to impose names with kisses

It is exclamation’s high spot
the brandscape traversed
I learned to spell what’s past
to scream mismatch
to frame bloodflow
to weigh terms
the non-site exposed
or struck – her bite
a trajectory both black and blue
Consistently dead
on deep background
the function of neurons
simplistic addiction
libidinal engineer

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Post-Ironic Spambot

"It's an unfortunate iron that walks stiffly over us, pressing our clothes. I miss the comforts of a baggy garment which covers everything while revealing very little."

-from a prefatory note on wax world

Perhaps the point is to embrace the irony that is all around us, ie, to get past it?