On the psychogeography of cities and the internet

 

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Img[1]: Maze screensaver from Microsoft ‘95

[1] Situationism and the Internet

The enduring legacy of the Situationist dérive for the 21st century may include its status as a method for breaking out of the psychic boundaries that delimit one’s daily life to an unchanging routine. In a reflection on the psychogeography of Tijuana, Aurelio Meza quotes Guy Debord’s observation via the text of Chombart de Lauwe that over the course of a year, a student’s daily movements throughout the city of Paris formed “a small triangle with no significant deviations, the three apexes of which are the School of Political Sciences, her residence and that of her piano teacher.” Debord had expressed “outrage at the fact that anyone’s life can be so pathetically limited,” so he proposed the dérive—“a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiences”—as a method for expanding one’s psychogeographical limits. Where capitalism and modernity had together conspired to make narrow psychic hallways out of a large metropolis, surrealism would break things open and make the city a world again.

“On the psychogeography of cities and the internet”

On Modularism / Science and Capitalism in Louis-Ferdinand de Céline’s “Death on the Installment Plan”

001.1—Twentieth Century Modularism

I have gotten about two thirds of the way through Louis-Ferdinand Céline’s Death on the Installment Plan, a novel I first became aware of via an oblique reference made in Beck’s 2006 song The Horrible Fanfare/Landslide/Exoskeleton. First published in 1952, and then translated into English by Ralph Manheim in 1966, Death on the Installment Plan follows the childhood and adolescence of Ferdinand, the son of an abusive antiques salesman in the filthy slums of Paris. Described in the book jacket as “creative confessions,” this novel uses ellipses to stitch together narrative and emotional fragments that often turn extremely lewd. The book is full of shit and vomit, written in such a manic and sometimes slapstick way that reminds me of the baroque sadisms of writers like William S. Burroughs or Thomas Pynchon.

“On Modularism / Science and Capitalism in Louis-Ferdinand de Céline’s “Death on the Installment Plan””

On Modularism / Science and Capitalism in Louis-Ferdinand de Céline’s “Death on the Installment Plan”

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img[1], Diagram of OSCAR from The Modular Body (2016), an “online science fiction story” by Floris Kaayk 

001—The Modularism of Blogging

Blogging is characterized by MODULARITY. (It is the medium of modular modernity, or modularism.) Blogging takes individualized snapshots of life that can be linked to one another, reordered or otherwise reorganized, individually deleted or repeated (reblogged, annotated, etc.)… The blog is always-already a collage or a palimpsest, but what must be recognized at this juncture is that if the blog is a collage or a palimpsest then it is one that is spread out in a line, composed of many dots held together by a loose and entangling thread. “On Modularism / Science and Capitalism in Louis-Ferdinand de Céline’s “Death on the Installment Plan””

22 Theses on the Interspecies Interface, Written on November 2016

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1. The interspecies interface reaches not across languages, but across language itself, as it is humanly understood.

2. There is a difference between agency and consent. A nonhuman species has agency in its relations to humans and other species, but it cannot consent to these relations, in the sense that consent involves verbal affirmation.

3. Whether or not some nonhuman animals have language or humanlike cognitive capacities is an open question.

4. Ethics cannot depend on whether or not animals are like humans.

5. Ethics is a matter of life and death.

6. If ethics cannot depend on whether or not animals are like humans, it must depend on something else.

7. Donna Haraway argues that our interspecies politics must reject the gesture of making a species “merely killable.”

8. Nonhuman animals are not the only beings who get made merely killable.

9. Colonialism and genocide hinge around the gesture of making people merely killable.

10. “Dehumanization” is a word for making beings merely killable.

11. Fascists like Hitler and Donald Trump incite and organize violence by dehumanizing groups and thus, making them merely killable.

12. Biologically speaking, all Homo sapiens are in the same “human” species. Politically speaking, we are not.

13. The category of the human is subject to historical and political forces, in the exact same way that the changing boundaries of nation-states are the products of historical and political forces.

14. “Sovereignty” is a word for momentary forms of species affiliation.

15. Sovereignty is an incitement to kill the Other.

16. Whether or not fascists should be considered human is an open question.

17. That fascists must be opposed is without arguing. Whether or not this opposition must be based on dehumanization is an open question.

18. Solidarity is not the same as sovereignty.

19. Dehumanization is a filthy trick meant to prevent solidarity among the oppressed.

20. It is a historical tragedy that likening people to animals has long meant making them merely killable.

21. Fascists and colonists are worse than animals, not least because animals are never in charge on whether or not they are, in fact, animals. Fascists, however, are always in charge on whether or not they are fascists.

22. Only fascists can consent to fascism.

the manyheaded screaming octopus of the pacific northwest

—in october the supermarket transferred me from the deli department to the
seafood department which means birds and mammals are out and fish are in—
in the lobby its a circle of dogs walking each other but at the higher levels of the
organization youll find the dogs walk in much more complex shapes —the russian
woman took monica no no to the elevator where together they ascended to the
thirtyseventh floor which opened up to a grey hallway— down to the right here is
the office for insight global which provides algorithmic marketing services for
ours and other churches —on my first day at the seafood section my boss takes
me to the stockroom which is reached through a long flight of descending stairs
the room is cavernous dimly lit and a thick wet groan bounces off the walls—the
first thing that monica noticed as she entered the waiting room of insight global
was that it was full of empty chairs—on the receptionists desk was a telephone
receiver and a small sign that said please pick up the phone and someone will be
with you shortly —monica picked up the phone said hello? and in reply heard a
dog barking—because the dog was in the next room over monica could hear the
dogsbark on both the phone receiver and through the offices walls—out a door
burst a strong black labrador wearing a dark blue business suit on its torso and a
bright red collar around its neck—monica and the russian woman followed the
dog down the hallway to a gigantic room full of many rows of tables and many
different sizes and breeds of dogs each wearing either one or two or three or four
or five red leashes on each of their red collars each leash connecting directly to
the collar of another dog with either one or two or three or four or five leashes on
its collar which were each connected to the collars of other dogs inside the big
room—all the leashes and all the dogs in the room were entangled overlapped
falling over and on each other and the sound of a thousand dogs screams
bounced off the walls— this room is where we keep our most prized creature the
manyheaded screaming octopus of the pacific northwest—

Preliminary theses on the “interspecies interface.”

(2/3)

I would like to focus on the concept of the “interspecies interface,” in general terms. An image may perhaps be useful:

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This image is the primary template for all interspecies interfaces. The interface always stands in as a middle term between two radically different creatures. The interface is an object at the same time that it is an event or a process. It is a mediator as well as the very act of mediation itself. When the interface is in place, the constitutive difference between species A and species B is in some way erased; but, in many other ways, this constitutive difference remains and is perhaps accentuated. So the interface is a machine that changes the way that differences between two species are configured in relation to one another; in so doing, the interface also changes how each species configures itself in relation to itself. The moment of interfacing is one in which two species together enter into a state of exception (c.f. Agamben) in regards to what they are in relation to one another or in relation to themselves.

“Preliminary theses on the “interspecies interface.””

The Gumball

I guess I am a father, except—I think the baby may not be mine, because I’ve never had sex, and because the baby is not a human. Last night, Jessica and I were at the Hollywood Theater, the one just slightly underneath the ground of San Diego. We watched most of a romantic comedy titled I Chews You, which was about two animated—as in living as well as in moving computer graphics —pieces of bubble gum who fall in love with each other on a rainy night. It is, in fact, the rain which wakes up the bubble gum, the rain which transforms gum and gum from two flat, lifeless sticks abandoned at a bus stop to animate matter quivering in each others’ presence. It is the rain that gives individuated personhood to pieces of bubble gum—at least insofar as this film is concerned—and, remarkably, the very first gesture performed by these pieces of bubble gum as they come to life is to obliterate the very difference that separates the two into separate beings. As they get soggy and fall in love with each other, the pieces of gum approach each other for a kiss, which, given that they have no mouths or faces or anything of the sort, proceeds as a merging- together of their whole bodies, which at the end transforms them into a single wad of gum, unrecognizable as a multiplicity save for the fact that it is twice as large as a single-sticked wad. This was how the movie began. From then on out, I Chews You followed the life of the wet wad. In one scene, it runs into trouble with the sun, drying and cracking in its heat—in another scene, which might have been the lead-up to the climax, the wad runs into trouble from internal conflict, its integrity as a wad threatened by the occasional urge of its component parts to separate from one another, to re individuate into two separate wads of chewed-up bubble gum. I’m not sure how that conflict ended, because as it was playing out, Jessica let out a blood- curdling scream there in that movie theater. I didn’t know what to do as she sat next to me, violently gripping her armrests, raising her legs up on the seat in front of her, and throwing her head back in extreme pain. I think I’m having a fucking baby! , she screamed, which was highly startling in itself as well as because we had never had sex in the five years we had dated each other, and, additionally, because in those five years Jessica had never shown any visible signs that would suggest pregnancy. Bullets of sweat were dripping off of her body, so many that the floor of the movie theater was soon covered in an eighth of an inch of sweat. Here it comes! she yelled, and out of her vagina slowly emerged a gigantic pink gumball.