art, experiment, Laruelle, non-philosophy, philosophy, text, textuality, Uncategorized

Philo-fictions and Experimental Texts: Philosophy as Artistic “Whatever” Material

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A few years ago, I took a graduate seminar on experimental texts at Emory University. Some of the work I have done during my studies I have put up on Fractal Ontology, but I never included this one. I will run you through the basics of the project.

First, I wanted to showcase the “consumption” of philosophical texts that I have participated in over the course of my reading. This usually entails me, pen in hand, marking and re-marking texts with underlines, brackets and marginalia. At the end of the course, alongside my own reflection in text-form, I produced an artistic artifact. Basically, I ripped out the pages from 25 of my favorite–and most marked–texts, juxtaposed them as partial objects, and grafted and glued them onto a desk chair. So, the seat and center of the chair looks something like this:

IMG_0299Below, I will include my experimental essay reflecting on this project and the questionnaire I had to fill out for the project. Here is the questionnaire:

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Katerina Kolozova, philosophy, podcast, Theory / Philosophy, theorytalk, Uncategorized

Celebrating Our 25th Podcast on theorytalk

Hello everyone! I would like to extend an invitation to check out what Joe and I are doing over at our new theorytalk podcast. We just released our 25th podcast and show no signs at all of slowing down any time soon. For a more complete description, you can find Joe’s earlier post on theorytalk here at Fractal Ontology, and be sure to check out our Patreon page for even more information on what we’re doing and how you can contribute financially (with your money) and creatively (with your feedback).

As an example of some of the pathbreaking avenues we are trying to breach in our attempts to vary our podcast content, check out Joe’s interview with Katerina Kolozova (episode 20). I give full credit to Joe for this episode, and I had nothing to do with it (or, if I am feeling charitable to myself, perhaps only indirectly due to my translations of Laruelle).

In the spirit of following Joe’s initiative to do something different for episode 20, we have begun discussing ways of changing up some of the formatting and thematic content in the podcasts. Since this is still something quite new for me and Joe, we are trying to diversify some of the content while continuing also to do our traditional jam-thinking sessions. This is something like taking the next step of balancing the old with the new.

Now, Joe and I have brainstormed a few different ideas for new formats for our podcasts that go beyond mere topics of episodes, and I will create a new post this weekend detailing some of these ideas to give everyone a taste of what we had in mind. We would also like to hear back from our dear readers and your ideas, comments or questions, so if you have anything in mind that you’d like to share, please feel free to comment on this post, and we can start the discussion.

Look for our next episode in the next few days, most likely Friday or Saturday!


deconstruction, derrida, Levi-Strauss, Nietzsche, structuralism, Uncategorized

Notes on Derrida’s “Structure, Sign and Play in the Human Sciences”

Derrida: “Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences”

From Writing and Difference, trans. Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978): 278-93.

“We need to interpret interpretations more than to interpret things” (Montaigne).

Derrida refers to the history of the concept of structure and an “event” in that history (it should be noted that in this opening paragraph, Derrida himself highlights the bracketing of the term event in quotation marks to serve as a precaution). Even here, the choice of the word “event” is “loaded” with a “meaning” that structural or structuralist thought seems to preclude. Thus we would have to say this word “event” as though it were crossed out or sous rature (under erasure). And so, with these precautions and noting structuralism’s potential objections, Derrida chooses to speak of an event whose “exterior form would be that of a rupture and a redoubling” (278).

This rupture perhaps brings to mind what Althusser normally calls an “epistemic break”, insofar as Derrida notes how the concept and word “structure” are as old as the episteme of Western philosophy and intertwines deeply with the “soil of ordinary language”. In fact the word and concept of structure are metaphorically displaced by the “deepest recesses” of the episteme. Of course, Althusser attributes epistemological breaks specifically to Marx and the way in which ideological conceptions are replaced by scientific ones. Here, what concerns the notion of an “event” in the history of the “structurality of structure” is the way in which it has always already been at work and “neutralized or reduced” due to its spontaneous attribution of a center or point of presence, “a fixed origin”. The goal of attributing a fixed center to structure is in order to “limit what we might call the play of structure”. It is not to eliminate play but to limit it according to the “total form” of structure that the episteme has succeeded in warding off “the notion of a structure lacking any center”, which would represent “the unthinkable itself”. (279).

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Laruelle, non-philosophy, translation

Non-Philosophy in Translation

I wanted to let everyone know that two of Laruelle’s books (Dictionary of Non-Philosophy) (Philosophy and Non-Philosophy) are now in print and available to order.  Univocal has done a great job in getting both of these books out in rapid succession, and the mirror fractal images of the covers just makes the pair the ultimate accessory :).

The Dictionary has been fully revised, and there’s a new introduction by the author included, along with his essay on the non-philosophical dictionary. All in all, it’s infinitely better than the PDF dictionary, which is outmoded and incomparably inferior.

I also wanted to link to a number of translations of F. Laruelle’s that I have posted in the past year or so, just to cross-wire the translation interests along with Fractal Ontology, my original conduit and channel for my translation-inspirations.

Intro to Textual Machines

The Transcendental Computer: A Non-philosophical Utopia

Badiou and Non-Philosophy: a Parallel

The Concept of an Ordinary Ethics or Ethics Founded in Man

The Concept of Generalized Analysis or of ‘Non-Analysis’

Who Are Minorities and How To Think Them?

[UPDATE] Toward an Active Linguistics


Lecture on Huxley contra Freud 4/1/13; ACLA Paper on Guattari

On April 1st of this year at 11:30 I will be giving a talk on my paper concerning Huxley and Freud. For those of you in the area, it’d be great to see you at Emory. For those of you outside of that area, I’ll try to see if we can get a recording of the event. Joe that could be something you can handle :). This lecture is a PSP luncheon meeting, and it finishes out my requirements for the PSP certificate (psychoanalytical studies).

Also, on April 8th at Toronto for the ACLA I will be giving a paper on Guattari and components of passage. I am already contemplating reflecting on Huxley or Proust for Guattari’s examples. Brave New World would have everything one would need to trace most of the transformations of the schizoanalytic fields Guattari envisions in Machinic Unconscious.


Constant’s Seductive Education, or Adolphe’s Astonishment (with translations)

[Update: I have taken the liberty of translating, by my own limited and critically biased means, the French citations of Constant in this essay. I hope that this makes for a more enjoyable and comprehensible experience! :)].

Benjamin Constant’s Adolphe presents the reader with the guiding inspiration behind its genesis, which is that what is at stake here is a narrative that would feature only two main characters. In his preface to the third edition of the novel, Constant himself broaches this idea in relation to his attempt to thwart the counterfeit versions of his novel by writing that the work concerns “la possibilité de donner une sorte d’intérêt à un roman dont les personnages se réduisaient à deux, et dont la situation serait toujours la meme” [the possibility of giving a sort of interest to a novel that would be reduced to two characters and whose situation would always be the same] (32). If we take this claim seriously, it is a question of what emphasis is to be given to the notion of “sameness” in the situation of the novel. According to the third preface, what seems to be the “same” in the narrative is also coincidentally indicated by how often Constant himself is approached by his readers with testaments of how they identify with the narrator and titular character Adolphe: “ce qui me ferait croire au moins à un certain mérite de vérité, c’est que presque tous ceux de mes lecteurs que j’ai rencontrés m’ont parlé d’eux-mêmes comme ayant été dans la position de mon héros” [what made me believe at least in a certain merit of truth {for Adolphe} is that almost all of my readers whom I’ve encountered have spoken about themselves to me as having been in my protagonist’s position] (33). Furthermore, at this point one should also ask: which situation is the same, which situation is the model for the sameness of the text, and to which two personages is the narrative reduced? In other words, what is the general situation of the novel that leads to such a universal identification on behalf of its readers? Although in a first reading of the novel the answer appears to be quite obvious that the two characters in question are Adolphe and Ellénore, perhaps “le moule universel” [the universal mold] of these two personages is more abstract and not necessarily easy to identify with proper names.  In order to shed more light on this subject, we will investigate what it means for the reader or anyone to claim to be—or more specifically and crucially “to have been”—in the position of Constant’s “protagonist”.  The guiding thread for this reevaluation of Constant’s famous claims in his third preface will be the extent to which the generalized theory of seduction regarding the “allogenetic” conception of the unconscious put forth by Jean Laplanche in his reading of and with Freud can be put to good use in rereading and resituating the orientation of Adolphe’s narrative thrust.

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To Read or Love as She Pleased: Dream-Reading ‘Dora’ through Dora’s Reading-Dream

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They do it in fear and trembling, with an uneasy look over their shoulder to see if some one may not be coming.—Freud, Dora: An Analysis of a Case of Hysteria, Touchstone: New York, 1997, p. 92.

How are we to approach the singular genre of the case history that Freud develops early on in his psychoanalytic and writing career? This genre is all the more striking in his first case history Dora: An Analysis of a Case of Hysteria precisely because it remains in fragmentary form for several reasons. Although the text is divided into five parts—which might spark in the literary critic the desire to see the structure of a Shakespearean play—the plot and subplot of the work is not necessarily easy to locate, for the action seems to encroach on the divisions and overflow on all sides. Perhaps this is another consequence of the fragmentary nature of this first case history or an indication that Freud has not mastered the genre with his first attempt, but it is necessary to remember that there is a multiplicity of narratives at play simultaneously throughout the work whose compositeness requires careful analysis before suggesting any unproblematic theoretical wholeness or unity.  But it is also the fragmentary status of Dora’s desire indicated by the fragments of her memory that sustains and also complicates the narration of this case history.

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