Notebook (return of the native)

September 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

“I drew attention… to George Eliot’s use of these metaphors – ‘network’ and ‘web’,  ‘a tangled business’ – to describe actual social relations. But I think we have to go on to distinguish the different bearings of this complicated image. The network, we might say, connects; the web, the tangle, disturbs and obscures, To discover a network, to feel human connection in what is essentially a knowable community, is to assert (I mean assert creatively, produce as an experience) a particular social value: a necessary interdependence. But to discover a web or a tangle is to see human relationships as not only involving but compromising, limiting, mutually frustrating. And this is of course a radically different consciousness; in fact the first phase of a post-liberal world: a period between cultures, in which the old confidence of individual liberation has gone and the new commitment to social liberation has not yet been made.”


September 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

Contemporary research paradigms configure the archive as the site of a resurrection. The materials that compose it – & their attendant interest-piquing histories – are to be put back into action, to be made to move as Marx’s dancing table moved. They are to be exposed not through the old paradigm of the museum vitrine – the public spaces of display & education that came into being with the mass publics of the nineteenth century – but enclosure & cloistering within the movable racks of the off-site storage facility & the password-protected server (access $10 a day for those without university credentials), & occasional sanctioned interaction w/ whatever public can be bothered to touch & be lectured to about these objects. Pastness, as Benjamin suggests in the Arcades Project, accrues in the remnants of material cultures just as surely as exchange value does, as an alternately charming & repulsive negative of that variable. To imagine & engineer a life for them – to suppose a vita nuova of democratic engagement & nice ‘impact’ outside the vanished context of a now-transformed commodity-world – is to betray the scars of the historical that cross them in the form of permanent transience.

September 26, 2013 § 5 Comments

September 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

society of the spectacle

September 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

Neoliberalism depends upon & rewards one form of neurosis – affective hysteria, performance anxiety, excessive superegoic sublimation – & punishes & exacerbates another – anhedonia, depression, cathectic withdrawal. The happiness of social media – all those filter-blurred photos of expensively bohemian domestic bliss, icons of having-one’s-shit-together – is the outward aspect of the happiness-destroying labour that constitutes it. That the one – as this odd Guardian article suggests – is always threatening to lapse into the other confirms their symbiotic role in the disciplining of labour. The hashtagged opinion on the issue-of-the-minute, the passive-aggressive facebook status, the moan about work simultaneously disclose the “marks of weakness, marks of woe” found in the “chartered street” & fend them off, defer them until “the mutual ruin of the contending classes”.

September 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

September 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

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