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Monthly Archives: March 2015

synthetic zerø



Going Through the Motions: Ceaseless Work and the Reduction of Publicity to Emergency:
“I am interested in thinking about things and their role in politics and public life. This interest is occasioned by the contemporary neoliberal impulse to privatize everything and the difficulty, in such a context, of preserving public things and of articulating the importance of public things to democratic life.
Where so many democratic theorists focus on the importance of the demos to democracy, theorizing the terms of inclusion, identity, or nation, I am drawn more to the idea of the importance of objects to democracy. AS we know from D.W. Winnicott, subjectivity itself postulates objects, it emerges in relation to objects which enable the transition from one developmental stage to another, from private to public and from self to other. What if democracy is rooted in common love for, and contestation of, shared objects?
Hannah Arendt’s famous…

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Larval Subjects .

borromeantheoryOver on Facebook, my friend Carl Sachs expresses sympathy for social epistemologies and wonders whether it’s possible to be both a social constructivist and a realist.  As it turns out, this is an issue I’ve struggled with a great deal as well.  As I remark in the introduction to The Democracy of Objects, what I want is not a rejection of social constructivist positions, but rather a framework that is sophisticated enough to make room for both correlationist frames of thought and realism.  In subsequent work, I’ve referred to this with the rather inelegant term “borromean critical theory”.  Drawing on the resources of Lacan’s borromean knot along with the Venn diagram in logic, I’ve tried to think the intersections and divergences between nature, signs, and phenomenological experience.  I realize the danger of evoking the term “nature”, so carefully critiqued by Latour and others, yet I’ve been unable to find…

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Pop Theory

SMAGThere is, apparently, a ‘war against the humanities‘ going on in British higher education, according to a piece in The Observer this weekend. The piece cites as its primary evidence for this ‘war’ the perspectives of scholars from the humanities, of course, lamenting the effects of changes to funding regimes but also the culture of management in British Universities on the proper pursuit of scholarship.

I always worry when ‘the humanities’ is used as a catch-all to encompass the social sciences as well as more ‘arts’-type fields. It is true, of course, that both arts and social sciences disciplines have suffered from the same funding changes since 2010, but I’m not quite sure that the standard ‘whither the humanities?’ style of criticism of higher education policy over this period necessarily sheds much light on what is really going on, or on how best to evaluate it. The piece in The Observer

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synthetic zerø


“Atopological Trilogy creates new concepts for Deleuze-Guattarian thought without any heed for sectarian, sermonising, or dutiful readings of the philosophers. In Part I of the trilogy, “Becoming-Sexual of the Sexual,” Aracagök demonstrates the ways in which quantum theory and the concept of “complementarity” inform Deleuze and Guattari’s thought, especially in relation to “becoming” in general and “becoming-woman” and “becoming-queer” more particularly. Aracagök argues that the ways in which the philosophers put forward a ban on “becoming-man” with a certain degree of undecidability encapsulates (albeit in a cryptic form) other becomings, the most important of which is becoming-queer, or rather, the becoming-sexual of the sexual.
In Part II: “Deleuze on Sound, Music, and Schizo-Incest,” Aracagök puts into resonance the sound, noise, and music (and the question) of schizo-incest with the intention of deterritorialising a notion of the meta-audible. If Kafka’s story, “The Investigations of a Dog” leads us to a realm…

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The Disorder Of Things

Sent from Taipei, the last post in a container ship ethnography. The entire series can be viewed here.


“We cannot think of a time that is oceanless
Or of an ocean not littered with wastage”
– T. S. Eliot, “The Dry Salvages”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA An APL vessel heads out of the port of Hong Kong

On our thirteenth day at sea, after having been battered by 6 meter waves and snow, gale-force winds and storm, having watched the ship’s skeleton snake and bend with the force of rough seas from within the depths of its passageways, I woke up on a calm, quiet morning to a sea that had turned a lighter shade of blue. From my porthole, delighted, I watched as seagulls weaved in an out of the wind currents above the containers, seaweed merrily skimmed the surface of the ocean, and fishing vessels began dotting the horizon. Land was near. Less…

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