borrowed words (power of the commons)

reagan's 3rd sotu

reagan's 3rd sotu2

reagan's 3rd sotu3

reagan's 3rd sotu4

reagan's 3rd sotu5

reagan's 3rd sotu6

reagan's 3rd sotu7

reagan's 3rd sotu8

reagan's 3rd sotu9

reagan's 3rd sotu10

reagan's 3rd sotu11





The source text used here is Ronald Reagan’s Third State of the Union Speech (delivered on January 25, 1984). Nothing has been added. This is not an effort to create a strawman Reagan but rather an experiment to show the creative, poetic, and theoretical potential within contextomy. Reagan was used because he remains a polarizing figure but also because State of the Union addresses are in the public domain. The power of the commons.


a glitch of psychic crumbling.

For many people, if anything is representative of the art of noise, it is ambivalence.

Joseph Nechvatal’s Immersion Into Noise is a somewhat ambivalent book. It is the contrary to the noise abatement treatments of noise – it is just noise as art. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Unfortunately for me, many of Nechvatal’s claims of noise as art run contrary to my own (I do not believe that Rococo or Baroque as busy and complex as they are are in any way ‘noise.’ Intentional complexity is not noise it is complexity. The two should remain separate.). It is then, mostly the theorization of his introductory pages that resonates.

Noise may break some connections, but connections will always continue to grow in other directions, creating new thoughts and new affects.

Nechvatal is not alone in recognizing the creative power of noise. But it is theorizations of noise like Nechvatal’s that set themselves against the blasé readings of noise as just an annoyance to be toned down, a decibel level to be reduced to an acceptable non-hearing damage inducing appropriate levels. On one side of the coin noise is simply an annoyance, offering nothing and demanding everything. On the other side, the possibility of creation, new thoughts, new avenues, the very possibility of the new. Indeed:

This creative art of noise draws us closer to our inner world, to the life of our imagination with its intense drives, suspicious, fears, and loves – that which guides our intentions and actions in the political and economic world.

This is an approach to noise that is wholly other than the noise abatement campaigners. They rail against airplane noise, traffic noise, piped music, and the neighbor’s dogs and stereo. Nechvatal glories in exactly what the campaigners revile:

But for noise to be first noise, it must destabilize us. It must initially jar. It must challenge. It must initiate a glitch of psychic crumbling.

It would seem that bridging these gaps might be impossible. Noise is, after all, a complex concept with overlaying theories that cannot and will not harmonize.

the humor of truth: Isabelle Stengers’ Cosmopolitics I

the power to talk about the world independently of the relationships of knowledge that humans create.

Isabelle Stengers’ Cosmopolitics I has only one review on Amazon that basically amounts to: “this shit is hard.” That a single two-star review might be steering potential readers away from the work is disappointing because, while Stengers is dense, the text is incredibly rewarding.

The question of the relationship between a text on science studies and a stumbling progression towards a Paranoiac Noise Theory may not be obvious from the surface but the links, indeed, are present. Science is a question of knowledge and authority. And thus:

If learning to think is learning to resist a future that presents itself as obvious, plausible, and normal, we cannot do so either by evoking an abstract future, from which everything subject to our disapproval has been swept aside, or by referring to a distant cause that we could and should imagine to be free of any compromise. To resist a likely future in the present is to gamble that the present still provides substance for resistance, that it is populated by practices that remain vital even if non of them has escaped the generalize parasitism that implicates them all.

What is noise but knowledge that is unrecuperated into the system? Knowledge that resists the “obvious, plausible, and normal?” What is paranoia but a means of recuperating noise, of finding significance in that which is defined as insignificant? And thus noise and paranoia gamble on the present just as Stengers suggests.

Let us use our illusion.

Every living being may be approached in terms of the question of the requirements on which no only its survival but also its activity depend, and which define its “milieu.” And every living being brings into existence obligations that qualify what we refer to as its behavior: not all milieus or all behaviors are equal from the point of view of the living; and the difference is especially relevant when we address those obligations we impose on the living in the name of some knowledge we wish to obtain.

The question that Stengers brings up (not knowingly, perhaps) is a question of use and misuse. In directly questioning the move from experimental physics to theoretical physics is opened to the approach of the paranoiac.

There are no neutral narratives.

Can one appropriate her discourse? Rip, remix, and rewrite her questions of knowledge production and authority outside the scope of science and science studies? To take her work and, as a fellow philosophical refugee, use it (amplified through an 8×10 stack) to question other discourses, other authorities, other modes of knowledge production?

Are the means I give myself, the approach to practices in terms of requirements and obligations, appropriate to the problem I want to bring into existent practices, namely, the escape from a generalize polemic that puts every practice in a position of disqualifying and/or in danger of being disqualified?

Because, as she notes:

The true subject of description is now a disorderly multitude.

And conducting that disorderly multitude towards a revolution (articulating Dr. Gonzo’s rising sound) is a question that must remain open, that cannot be closed, that recuperates the remainder even as it (inevitably) excludes, selects, and chooses.

Nevertheless, they are strange poets indeed, for the power they have of asking questions that, by right, should be of interest to all humans, of making discoveries on our behalf, and announcing the truth of the shared world, obviously constitutes on component of their passion.

all quotes from:

Stengers, Isabelle. Cosmopolitics I. Trans. Robert Bononno. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010. Print.

Helmhotz appears.

Composed while listening to Fishtank Ensemble, Woman in Sin.

Fœtid controversy; or, thinking outside the bounds of academic theory

This forum is not the easiest for the presentation of academic work. I haven’t gotten the hang of simple endnotes yet. And the ease of composing and posting, the inherent graphomania of the medium lends itself to quick bursts of insight or doggerel rather than detailed and composed research. Not to say that it is impossible to be theoretical but the medium massages you the other way, the releases of which are often unsightly.

Hypertext theorists argued for years that the linked environment was the future of scholarship. Though they tended to focus on self-enclosed hypertext environments that existed prior to the ubiquitous Internet and their predictions haven’t so much come to pass with whatever version of the web it is we are using now (2.023). I argued in Master’s thesis that blogs were emblematic of a new form of writing and authorship, both collaborative and mutable. Unlike Plato’s book and 大庭葉蔵 it is able to “answer back”. Of a kind. Presupposing a community. A blog, a twitter feed, the Internet at large even, are mediums of information exchange. But the exchange demands a reader/viewer/recipient otherwise the signal is indistinguishable from the noise.

To be focused on in the future: the necessity of noise. Until then … here’s more wandering bytes.

This (therefore) will not have been a blog.

And so I will slide. Slip between the interstices between aesthetics, philosophy, theory, and politics. Wallow in pop culture and the vulgar materialism of books and food, the visceral reality of a man who spends his entire day with an almost three year old currently running around the apt being chased by a dragon. Everything’s connected. But not easily or simply in some Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk. The fragments are always more or less than the whole, missing and extra pieces that never make just one puzzle. That’s why ramen leads to Marx, to the flâneur, to Taylorism, to Orientalism, to Brittany Murphy, to Batman.

And so I will wander. And so I will walk.