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!


becoming, event, interconnection, language, philosophy, Politics, self-organization, society

Occupy Theory!

The 99% movement sweeping the globe is indeed something new under the sun. Little molecular revolutions, the occupations are rhizomes; in this clear revolt against neoliberal “realism” who does not see the spirit of sixty-eight, dormant for a long winter of four decades, awakening once more?

Thinkers have not only the opportunity but in many ways a profound obligation to help focus and organize the will of the people, to help inspire and to amplify revolutionary reflection and affect.

While the medium of thinking is primarily writing, nevertheless theory can help crystalize and push complex systems towards transformation — towards becoming-something-else. This transformation need not, as some might have it, be specified entirely in advance; indeed, such a specification is perhaps impossible.

The self-regulated emergence or becoming of the people’s voice through the consensual decision-making mechanism of general assembly, the thunderous roar of the people’s mic, are things that philosophy should not simply note, or even sit back and interpret, but actively encourage and assist.
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machine, Nietzsche, ontology, philosophy, truth


Nietzsche. That joy and vision should be brought to bear even in the darkest corner of the human soul — and especially upon that within it which surges upwards and beyond the human species entirely; above the world, and so finally able to see, from a vision born of flight. –To “survey” reality as though from an impossible distance, an incommensurate height.


Joyful wisdom. Science is such that it can only truly be said to exist once many powerful and warring social and psychic desires have been tamed, coerced into accord, allowed to achieve their fragile pact. (A difficult enough thing; and, indeed, the conditions for a joyful science are still far from ripe!) The result being that a scientist, insofar as he or she is a scientist, is precisely the one who is unconcerned about whether another agrees to the “truth” of this or that proposition; in every instance it is rather the force or real function which counts, which is to say: the manner in which a given idea alters, amplifies, and re-assembles already existing systems of ideas. The production of a new semiotic system is always coupled to a wide variety of psychic and social machines, together forming a new regime of ideas along with an appropriate “pragmatics” of desire. This “image of thought,” for our purposes here, can be considered simply as a series of collective practices interwoven with a multiplicity of signifying systems, the coupling of productive processes with anti-productive processes, a conjoining of systems of pure affects with order-words. A pragmatic then is precisely a ‘process’ which can be said to function ‘structurally’ only in a heuristic and reductive sense. Indeed, the reality of thought is not a stasis or immanent emptiness but rather (or more fundamentally) a transfinite process of conception, first and fundamentally a flight into new pragmatic regimes. This a conceiving of new practices  may be realized or constituted in any particular case, but only insofar as it tends to produce novel and singular functions. It is not true that the repetition of a similar effect is the origin of thinking; rather it is precisely a difference, in the last instance a shift in perspective, sometimes infinitesimal, which is required.

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alterity, eventfulness, incommensurable, language, philosophy, polyvocity


Permutation. An idea, an axiom, and especially a supposedly universal system, cannot help but attach to what is readily available. A finite stock; an endless and chaotic assemblage of variations, as Levi-Strauss’ famous bricoleurs: scientists, artists, philosophers, revolutionaries — what but psychosocial handy-men, making use of what is both close by and useful, what is already and what can be quickly assembled? How could we create new machines, except by utilizing the stock which remains from previous constructions (and deconstructions)?

Michale Brun, A Moment of Silence (1/3)

Michale Brun, A Moment of Silence (1/3)

Novel. The event is rare — is this not an inherently tragic proposition? Would not the souls to witness it  discover the event branded upon them indelibly, or else lost forever? For the new can indeed induce joy; yet under different conditions it is capable of producing a strain under which a break is nearly unavoidable. –Is there breakthrough, novelty, only in extraordinary cases? Deleuze reminds us that Spinoza kept for years the coat he wore the day a young man attempted to take his life, in order to remind himself that human beings do not always love thought. That the event is rare seems a platitude; yet it can be an opening for gloomy passions, for a creeping cynicism and an uncanny piety: in short the belief that there are few beings in the world capable of the creation of new capacities — new concepts, new passions, new perceptions… But we do not know the thresholds, we are groping in the dark: the event is an event, they come in bursts, and their frequency depends on the associated rates of flow. An event is indeed infinite, but to seek a living, transcendent meaning in the pure rate of innovation is to fall prey to one of the most dangerous lures for thought today. –An infinite number of effects is not a cause; nonetheless we believe in extracting the cause from ‘within’ the effect, thinking we are ‘objective’ by thus subtracting the true cause from the field of the question, all the while we are actually subtracting the thought itself from the consciousness of thought.

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desire, diagram, future, language, life, machine, ontology, outside, philosophy, thinking


Philosophy begins in aporia, with a paradox or inconsistent consensus. Thus, the most ancient metaphysical figure, which we also recognize as the most simple, the shadow of the parasite upon the unconscious: a thought which denies and provokes, which produces a paradox through its utterance, through its very way of existing. Precisely, then: a prohibition which prohibits its paradox from being thought. The most ancient trope of philosophy begins and ends with this “must,” which exceeds its limit, and so cannot “seriously” be interpreted as a prohibition. But now what does this injunction become? It functions as a portent — a premonition: do not think this now, but perhaps some day. Thus a portent in the precise sense that the paradox prohibits itself from being resolved, and so remains inextricably open, ex-posed to an outside of thought — to a possible future. A denial of the impossible — which follows as a necessary consequence of the possible. Thus the prohibition is not a “discipline” of mind but a rigorous passivity or vulnerability which allows the compulsion of a result, even against the heart’s own desires. Hence the labor, and danger, of thought.

The prohibition barring the very Thought is a portent in the literal sense that it proclaims the immanent Reality it simultaneously denies. The world is swept away and transfigured, merely by a breath, a word, a thought: the originary paradox of becoming, already giving birth to both those of language and being, of discourse and discipline. The philosopher’s stone is only an implosion; to philosophize is to make legible this indecipherable transformation, to reveal this uncanny origin of writing, and to uncover the divergent roots of sensation and signification: in short philosophy’s task today is to crack itself open… Philosophy is a vulnerability, not a power but precisely a humility before thought, a restrained reason which is finally capable of inventing a way out of the black hole, of engendering immanent becomings… We are only beginning to diagram this machine. Philosophy sometimes realizes itself to be one with its result, and poses the question of its foundational prohibition in rigorous terms as the force of a concept: this “strange” energy attending the donation of signs. We may well ask: why are we continually returning, or rediscovering this result, this symptom? Reality itself become symptom; of what origin is this “hidden” glare, this resonance, this infinite inter-mediation, this fold?

An odd but simple paradox which is immediately the production of an entire system of mixtures, a complex and diversely-constituted assemblage, rigorously but madly constructed — axiomatic and diagrammatic by turns. A machinic immanence, where we had thought to discover life; and a new humanity, where we had “only” thought to invent machines. We are moving outwards from the middle of language, turning towards an outside. The essence of language is not this journey but the sound of pure silence, the tension of the saying without a “said,” which indicates a unique vulnerability before truth: the sincerity or truthfulness which is the very donation of the sign itself; thus beyond essence or before being, this giving without a given, this ambiguity.