Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Revolution Earth Playlist

in honour of the publication of Revolution Earth on Kobo to back up the paperback and Kindle versions from Amazon, reposted here from lambertnagle.com
1.Tracy Chapman – Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution
2. The Clash – London Calling
3. The Mutton Birds – Dominion Road
4. The Mutton Birds – Anchor Me
5. Finn Brothers – Won’t Give In
6. Blur – Song 2
7. Midnight Oil - Beds are Burning
8. Yothu Yindi – Treaty (Remix)
9. B-52s - Revolution Earth
10. Gurrumul Yunupinga – Djarimirri

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Visible Time

scraps from a talk I'm giving in Zagreb at the Broken Time symposium this weekend

Time is the medium of change. For that reason, it is necessary to control it. Calendars are more ancient than Stonehenge or the Pyramids. They shape time, sculpt time, order time, and seek control over the monstrous ocean of change that threatens to engulf each human life and all human societies. Humans are the historical animals: time is more for us than the cycle of the seasons. We seek greater orders across ancestral centuries. We recall a golden age, and look forward to another. There was an Old Testament and a New, and there will be a Second Coming. We seek such order because we are driven to it. Freud almost knew this when he described thanatos, the death instinct, the drive to decay and entropy. That is one extreme of the drive to order. The other is totalitarianism. We tidy the corners of the world where we live to keep the monstrous tides of pollution at bay, sometimes sweeping up dust, sometimes driving out strangers. The struggle, as Mary Douglas names it, between Purity and Danger (bigpdf here), structures lives and makes art an essential process of walking the boundaries between them, drawing in life from the chaotic margins to replenish what would otherwise become the sterile taxonomies of organization.

. . . There is a leakage at this level of the tiny fragments of time, a leakage of those even smaller fragments. These cannot be caught by sampling at ever more extreme rates. What is lost in any sampling regime, anything working on the fragment as such, is the puzzle of continuity first posed in Zeno's paradox 2500 years ago. To measure out life in units is to fail to understand the disintegration of integers. That lack of self-identity that troubles the totalizing self-presentation of the image as presence is the same dialectical negation that pulls apart the stability of the pixel. At the same time, the remnant of each division of time into units is a mark not of a near-enough approximation but of the failure of division to grasp the unstill gesture of motion as a trajectory, not a plot of points. Time is a vector, or more properly a scalar product of the multiplication of many vectors: in each case, a motion with direction and therefore marked by and as change.

. . . The time of the glitch, the time of the dead pixel, the time of laborious attention to the world and its pictured ordering: these are the particularities, the unique instances of suffering and joy that refuse universal history and its diary. They are instruments of hope and, I hope, pledges of the beauty that escapes.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Origins of Phenomenology in the Enclosures

Whatever else it is, place (as Arturo Escobar notes, page 7 of the remarkable Territories of Difference) is the site of embodiment. Phenomenology emerges as a philosophical movement at the moment of Western Europe's loss of place, necessitating a re-imagination of the body as the last remnant of place lost in the processes of enclosure and colonialism. Today the body itself becomes territory and therefore subject to enclosure, colonisation and primitive accumulation, on the basis of a Cartesian dualism itself first experienced as the exile and deracination of the military camp where Descartes wrote the Discourse on Method. Posited as universal, the body can be extrapolated and exploited as commodity, the universal par excellence of modernity. That universality, applied to land as pure territory (terra nullius), is a rational account of expropriation which in its universality excludes the particularity of indigenous and later mestizo thought. In plce of place, modernity constructs the existential condition, a condition unthinkable in indigenous traditions.