[-empyre-] Re: philosphical panic?

hi tim and empyricists

sorry for making a false impression: my intent was to suggest that specific thinkers tended in that direction, not a blanket condemnation of thinking, especially in the direction of the thinking of the aesthetic

did i already say: I am beginning to understand why the aesthetic is important - in the sense of art and in the greek sense of sensation / perception / body: odd, how hard it is to get this right but . . .

against the infliction of unspeakable, unbearable pain: to insist on what is speakable - that is social - and what is pleasant, in whatever way, be it the pleasures of food and good company, of beauty, of intellect, of solidarity . . .

It has something to do with the "thisness" of the specific thing or experience of it. Not its "thatness", which emphasises, to me, what it is as species, but the absolute specificity of this moon, seen on this night, from this place

Puzzle: what is the thisness of a network work?

Panic: the result of fear, fear of the machine; fear of the alien others in the machine;

I suggested that these alien others are unacknowledged and enslaved ancestors.

Fear of the dead, fear of dying, fear of death: transferred into fear of hackers, fraudsters, spammers, bandits, pedophiles, migrants, guerrillas . . . and the indefensible practice of describing Others are 'terrorists' in order to legitimise panic as the permanent state of emergency (Agamben) and to strip the alien of their right to speak - an act that forces them towards violence as the only speech left, a speecjh which is, of necessity, unspeakable and unspeakably painful. Panic politics is this vicious circle.

Giving voice is one of the alternatives, as a practice, on this list especially earlyier this month.

The aesthetic might seem loike an alternative to politics, but it might also be an alternative politics?


On 26/04/2007, at 10:08 PM, timothy murray wrote:

Sean, sorry I didn't get this response out sooner. I'm very happy to have bring the philosophical into the discussion. But by so demonizing aesthetics, and by proxy the philosphical reflection on art, making it the carrier of panic, I'm concerned that you turn your reader's attention from the open possibilities of thought.

If 20th century philosophy/theory is totalitarian by nature (because it's abstract and requires erudition thus leave all possible interlocutors out of the web? is this the argument?), then we should put aside the works of Arendt on totalitarianism, Lyotard on the differend, Derrida's writings on justice and aparteid, Deleuze and Guattari on rhizomatic politics, Sam Weber on mediaura's and democracy, Verena Andermatt Conley on technology and ecopolitics, Bernard Steigler and Raymond Bellour on media, video and new media, and a wide spectrum of theoretical writing and new media artistic interventions on art in the age of computing, such as yours, mine, Mark Hanson's, Margaret Morse's, Anne-Marie Duguet's, or projects by artists such as out-of-sync (Neumark and Miranda), Tony Cokes, Thierry Kuntzel (whose passing we mourn at this very moment of his funeral in Paris), Du Zhenjun, Gary Hill, ad-319, Marina Grzinic, Adriene Jenik--just to mention these examples off the top of my head, etc, etc. etc.?

So my deep concern is that your expressed panic over closed systems of metaphysics and their fascist corollaries not translate into panic over thought, philosophy, and/or aesthetic considerations whose very core, I learned so clearly from my teacher, Lyotard, often derived from listening to art's call to resist the totalitarian panic resulting from the kinds of state sponsored terror to which Renate and I have been responded her art projects and my writings and curatorial interventions regarding Digital Terror.

Thanks for taking us in this direction. I'm looking forward to following this thread for the next couple of days.


Timothy Murray
Professor of Comparative Literature and English
Acting Director of The Society for the Humanities
Director of Graduate Studies in Film and Video
Curator, The Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Cornell Library
A. D. White House
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York  14853

office: 607-255-4086
e-mail: tcm1@cornell.edu

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