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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animal, art, becoming, flesh, freud, guattari, human, lacan, machine, ontology, space, territory

It Means Becoming Human

But he [Lacan] did not realize the consequences of his rupture with Freudian determinism, and didn’t appropriately situate “desiring machines” — whose theory he had iniated — within incorporeal fields of virtuality. This object-subject of desire, like strange attractors in chaos theory, serves as an anchorage point with a phase space (here, a universe of reference) without ever being identical to itself, in permanent flight on a fractal line. In this respect it is not only fractal geometry that must be invoked, but fractal ontology. It is the being itself which transforms, buds, and transfigures itself. The objects of art and desire are apprehended within the existential Territories which are at the same time the body proper, the self, the maternal body, lived space, refrains of the mother tongue, familiar faces, family lore, ethnicity… No existential approach has priority over another. Thus it’s not a question of a causal infrastructure and of a superstructure representative of the psyche, or of a world separated from sublimation. The flesh of sensation and the material of the sublime are inextricably interwoven. Relationship to the other does not proceed through identification with a preexisting icon, inherent to each individual. The image is carried by a becoming other, ramified in becoming animal, becoming plant, becoming machine and, on occasion, becoming human.

Felix Guattari, Chaosmosis

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art, becoming, dimension, encounter, experiment, force, molecule, resonance, time, variable, vortex

Vessels

The charm of history and its enigmatic lesson consist in the fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is completely different. (Aldous Huxley)

Through saturation an artist brings all the diverse elements of experience into a real interfusion, an affirmative disjunction. The artist opens passageways, a vessel for engendering a pure becoming. An encounter with an outside, presenting a pure force which art can only express — art as transistor, as angel. As the cruelest resistance, which dispassionately disentangles the varieties of forces of essence, cautiously (even systematically) allowing the new to break free.

Art is certainly multiple, social, plurivocal. But our harmony is also a hint — we remind each other at every turn that force is also musical, cosmic, vegetable, molecular, animal…

Greatness in art is the power of resonance, not of reflection. Communication is certainly not the point. An experiment approaches the real precisely in order to catch up, to leap behind it, to stop time. Great art harbors no secret soothing, no escape into transcendence, but real insight into an immanent transformation. The human spirit — that greatest of resistances which causes even the stars to resonate — can overcome even itself.

The dimension called “aesthetic” could perhaps be distinguished as a singular torsion in the soul, a kind of critical overcoming of an internal limit, from which emerge limitless variations. A dangerous dimension of pure becoming which has always been working, in secret, just narrowly breaking free from this abyss overflowing with thorns, diverging lines, machines, animals, molecules, stars.

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1 = 0, art, clarity, contradiction, courage, cruelty, daybreak, future, God, identity, nature, noise, parasite, science, signal, silence, Uncategorized

The Voice of Silence

Flow.

There are no words, only silence; no silences, only words.

It’s not as bad as you think.

It’s worse.

There is no beginning which is not also an end.

The fire rages on, infinitely. Beyond time.

Above the waves. Can you hear them? Singing? So softly, like angels’ whispering secrets to us. In silence. A broken flaw in the scheme, the impossible number. Ten equals one million.

One equals Zero.

A flock of birds.

Reality is ideal, and ideas real.

Time is winding itself back; we’re wandering through forest trails, sinking into the moon. Foot in the desert, walking back to shore. Awake, alive, burning alive. Broken. Whole.

Freedom is — cruelty.

A little love goes a long way. Truth bends, but it is unbreakable. Fact?

Believe without fear.

Stand.

Worship with reverence, pray in silence. Close your eyes. Begin to dream. Let the fever slip over you. A million words, a million feelings. Thoughts, ideas, dreams, fantasies, desires. Dreams. Dreams. Cancellations. Waking. Time. Lost. Again. Feel the frames, the darkness sliding over you. Your face: the world. The broken are broken, the lost. The lost.

Open your eyes. Awake to your dreams.

Waking to fire.
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art, cruelty, difference, language, love, metaphysics, morality, nature, Nietzsche, Politics, rigor, science

The Poetics of Psychoanalysis: Towards an Ethics of Expression

Introduction: Rationality and Affect

The lofty prize
Of science lies
Concealed today as ever!
He has no thought
To him it’s brought
To own without endeavor!

Goethe, Faust (1st part, 2567-2572)

Intelligence is a moral category. The separation of feeling and understanding, that makes it possible to absolve and beatify the blockhead, hypostasizes the dismemberment of man into functions. Praise of the simpleton has an undertone of anxiety lest the severed parts reunite and put an end to the derangement. ‘If you have understanding and a heart,’ a verse of Holderlin’s runs, ‘show only one. Both they will damn, if you show both together.’

Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia 197 (“Wishful Thinking”)

In The Gay Science, Nietzsche expresses his desire for independent thinkers to reflect on the origins, and speculate on the future of science and art. On the one hand, he draws attention to the conditions for their invention: in order for scientific thinking and art to have begun at all, a wide variety of physiological and psychological faculties (whose effects are quite different without the framework imposed by artistic or scientific rigor) must become strong enough to overpower their “opposing” functions. For example, in order for science to begin, the impulse to doubt must overcome the impulse to believe, just as the impulse to wait must overcome the impulse to simply make something up and move on, and so forth. On the other hand, Nietzsche reminds us that the divergence between the aesthetic and scientific experience tends to fracture humanity’s spirit, pushing it both further from and closer to reaching itself than ever. At the very moment determinate thought emerges as a unity, science finds itself foreign to itself, incompletely digested. Its great distance and inhuman coldness oppose it to both practical wisdom and to art.

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art, ascetic ideal, chaos, efficiency, history, humility, illusion, improvement, irony, meaning, Nietzsche, order, problem, religion, resentment, science, socrates, spirit, will to power

The Meaning of Science

What is the Meaning of Science?
Nietzsche and the History of the Human Spirit

What is problematic about science? What does the “progress” of science mean about human beings? I believe this question turns everything which is unsettling, mysterious, and uncanny about the course of human development (and not only human); who can exhaust what is figured within the folds of this strange question — science thought as a symptom, science grasped as a problem?

What obstructs this question from being thought? How do we interpret this ‘secondary’ problem which intervenes at the critical moment to derail thought — this “problem of the problem” of the meaning of science? At any rate it is clear the difficulty we encounter in formulating this problem are manifold, altogether formidable, but taken separately…? For science itself always already understands, justifies, and regulates itself in turn upon the basis of something non-scientific. Science as such is ultimately foundationless, and furthermore, this is one of its necessary conditions. This is a warning for those who would seek to regulate philosophy by means of “scientific” protocol; for these would in turn require their own justification… Which is not to say that such justification exists or should be sought after — but rather to pause right here, so that we can open up our profoundest capabilities of insight in order to ask: what is science as a problem? What is the meaning of science?

We should stop for a moment and reflect upon this question. We are looking for a meaning specific to science, but the meaning of science as it actually operates in history (and not, for instance, an abstract image of “science” considered in isolation of real problems.) We must try to seek the meaning of science in the more general context of human development, and ask what science means for the human species; or even more pointedly, what it means about what the human species has become. This question should be read as signifying science’s concealed meaning-about-us, a partial truth about what we are becoming as a species. The meaning, if we can but attune ourselves to it, indicates something real — albeit darkly, indirectly and only with constant resistance — about the “rate” and “direction” of human development. In this sense the problem of meaning of science reveals a way to diagnose civilization itself.

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abstraction, art, becoming, expressivity, history, imagination, light, ontology, Thought, transubstantiation

Questions for an Ontology of Aesthetics

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Are we escaping or returning, gathering together or tearing apart?

We find ourselves suddenly in need of a post-conceptual way of thinking.

Perhaps this problem of art and machines has always already begun to make itself felt.

We are discovering that its appearance at this critical juncture signifies a bifurcation point, a new kind of possibility.

Imperceptibly we have moved beyond imagination into the abstract, from dreams to decoding.

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