Speculative Thievery

Do not take me for some conjuror of cheap tricks! I am not trying to rob you.

 – Gandalf the Grey

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A conjuration, then, is first of all an alliance, to be sure sometimes a political alliance, more or less secret, if not tacit, a plot or conspiracy.

[…]

For to conjure means also to exorcise: to attempt both to destroy and to disavow a malignant, demonized, diabolized force, most often an evil-doing spirit, a specter, a kind of ghost who comes back or who still risks coming back post mortem.

– Jacques Derrida, Specters of Marx

In conjuring specters, in delving into the haunted realities of culture and its general milieu (do ghosts feel the anxiety of influence?) one finds oneself in the ever on a threshold, always in a liminal zone, the zone of the interface, the demesne of the ghost, the topos of juxtaposition.

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This, though, is the opening of invention, of heuretics, of the possibility of (re)creation. Being with and creating with the ghosts, the rotting corpses of the past, the desiccated flesh of the present. This is remix. This is building new bodies, new selves, from the background noise. This is carving a home from the bare mountainside and meditating till your arms and legs waste away from disuse. Useless: never used.

And so, towards the furtherance of a conspiracy, let us spiral further down, add a new layer of irony, a new distance of doubt.

What does it mean to play on the question of the meme (the Arrested Development macro specifically) with the question of philosophy. The trick. The question and space of play. Did you know Siggy had an affair with the White Lady? Is the meme itself a play, is all juxtaposition play? Interplay and intertext, the flux of values and power structures, hierarchies and hegemonies. To what end? To what politics? To what disruption, what space of rupture, what possibility of invention?

Of course there are no answers in the demesne of the ghost. Tiresias and a warm cup of blood are but tales to protect a fragile mind from an indifferent universe. The injunction to speak will offer no guarantees, for we must make our own way, and benefit or fail under the Sisyphean task. A man walks into a hanging … But lacking rules and guarantees only offers the paranoiac a greater openness in the act of creating the (cultural? ideological? phenomenological?) universe anew.

 

Speculation is always fascinated, bewitched by the specter.

– Jacques Derrida, Specters of Marx