[-empyre-] Eddies, Whirlwinds, Trade Winds

editor at intertheory.org editor at intertheory.org
Mon Apr 6 23:43:52 EST 2009

dh...but i thought the emptiness at the center was what all religions have been fighting for...? (some tales will laud the Emptiness, other will fill it with God(s))...

it is only in the end, after some creative exhaustion, desiring of an ontological endpoint in focus, some choose to say we are faced with a destiny of 'that of the object thinking itself'...

but sun-tzu says: "the fight is chaotic, yet one is not subject to chaos..."? ...an attractive hypothesis, no?

In other words, with no fixed position, chaos does not threaten, and life is free to float, as indeed it does, to relocate at will, no? It feels natural, yes?

The humanists maintain, and it is a seductive proposition, that we must stand in for something, 'represent' as it were... something in the name of the Human?

Perhaps in the end, our most creative enterprise has been that of the humanist Law? Handed down from the ancients? The Law that reality must be tethered?


Nicholas Ruiz III, Ph.D Editor, Kritikos http://intertheory.org

--- On Thu, 4/2/09, davin heckman <davinheckman at gmail.com> wrote:

> From: davin heckman <davinheckman at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Eddies, Whirlwinds, Trade Winds
> To: "soft_skinned_space" <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
> Date: Thursday, April 2, 2009, 10:54 AM
> (Before I forget again:  Thank
> you Dr. Ruiz for putting this great
> project together.  And thanks for inviting me to
> participate.)
> I'm not pretending that this is any kind of an original
> insight,
> because Marx clearly identifies the idea that money is a
> fetish
> object.  And from a basic sort of reverence of the
> fetish object, we
> move towards fictitious capital.  Today, we have
> reached a point where
> neoliberal ideology has held up the idea, initiated by
> Marx's initial
> deconstruction of cash, that if money ultimately means
> nothing, but
> that we all rely upon it, that those who accumulate great
> deals of the
> stuff can steer this signifier to make it do whatever they
> want it to.
>  Hence, the absolutely political character of finance--its
> political
> influence in national capitals, the obsession over things
> like
> "consumer confidence," etc.
> This does directly parallel the crisis of language which is
> initiated
> by Saussure's observation of the arbitrary nature of the
> sign
> (although you can look back in philosophy and literature to
> find other
> figures who recognized this).  I see folks like
> Derrida, Barthes,
> Lacan, Foucault, etc, basically moving from this initial
> insight (the
> arbitrary nature of the sign) towards full blown criticism
> of
> discourse and the inherently constructed nature of the
> entire system
> of signs (which mirrors Marx's notion of fictitious
> capital).  Where I
> think that critical theory has gotten off track is in the
> leap from
> this observation--that signs are arbitrary and unstable and
> have no
> inherent truth--into this view that whoever can assert
> power over
> discourse can make language do whatever they want it to.
> The analog in the visual arts might be the move from
> Duchamp to
> Warhol, which performs similarly deconstructive work in
> terms of the
> values we associate with "art."  (And where everyone
> needs to look at
> J.S.G. Boggs, perhaps the artist of our times). 
> Where, again, art
> goes awry is in this idea that, since signs are unstable we
> can make
> them mean anything is art.
> Where these views ultimately fail is that they have
> followed a
> particular cultural object down the path to the point where
> they have
> realized it's indeterminate origin.  But since,
> philosophically, they
> are committed to the idea that the answer must reside on
> the path of
> their inquiry, that the thing they study is the center of
> subjective
> experience....  and this center is empty.  If you
> are committed to
> finding ultimate meaning in a particular system of signs,
> but find no
> meaning, there is a temptation to say, "I have found the
> ultimate
> meaning: nothing."  But this view ignores the
> fundamental similarity
> between bankrupt systems of representation--if money is
> ultimately
> meaningless, if language is ultimately meaningless, it art
> is
> ultimately meaningless--perhaps the "meaning" of money,
> art, or
> language does not reside in money, art, or language,
> respectively.
> Perhaps these things are what we have always known them to
> be--representations--and a representation always has to
> represent
> something other than itself.  Money only means
> something when we
> consent that it stands for some other quantity. 
> Language only means
> something when we use it to stand in for a non-linguistic
> order.  Art
> only means something when it stands for something other
> than art.
> The idea of an infinitely malleable language that has no
> referent
> outside of itself, the idea of language that is purely
> discursive with
> no outside, is ultimately a language that does
> nothing.  There is no
> mediation between the individual and the collective, if
> discourse
> cannot exert influence or power from the individual
> consciousness to
> the other and if it cannot bring the other to
> individual.  On the one
> hand, it is a form of post-Christian idolatry and theodicy,
> integrated
> into an elaborate collective solipsism.  At the
> extreme ends of this
> are those discourses which imagine the stock market to be a
> living
> organism, a higher form of life which governs all of us
> lesser forms.
> It's a similar ideology to the kind of naive postmodernism
> which most
> people experience at some point when they become
> disenchanted with
> mass culture.
> I guess this is why I enjoy Zizek, Badiou, Stiegler, and
> Hardt and
> Negri.  In these three scholars, you see some truths
> about the nature
> of systems of representation.  Zizek says that the
> sign always
> represents something other than what it directly pretends
> to be.
> Badiou says that systems of signs become meaningful when
> they
> represent a particular set of relations, that meaning is
> only stable
> when it is contained within a set which can account for
> their relative
> meanings.  Stiegler includes language and
> representation in his
> umbrella of "technics," meaning that it is never natural,
> but at the
> same time, insofar as humans could be said to have anything
> resembling
> a "nature" it would have to be this technical
> orientation.  Hardt and
> Negri come back to basic questions of what most people
> would recognize
> as justice--the right of people to exist.
> I don't entirely disagree Paglia, because I do think that
> Derrida is a
> junk bond trader (but she does seem like a huckster in her
> own way).
> I think this is something Derrida engages in
> self-consciously, he
> knows that ultimately language, money, or whatever is
> representation.
> And there is a tendency to pull back from this realization
> with a flat
> denial.  But the real philosophical move is to say,
> yes, language or
> money is a representation, but what does it
> represent?  Failure to
> take this step is a denial of consciousness and a denial of
> the
> social.  Maybe these things do not exist, but my
> limited looks in
> these directions indicate that the the power of discourse,
> commerce,
> and aesthetics flow come from the difference between the
> individual
> and the collective, the self and the other, etc.  And
> any effort to
> find meaning through any modernist obsession with the pure
> essence of
> art for art's sake, money for money's sake, or language for
> language's
> sake, is going to run into an aporia.  And mistaking
> this aporia for
> the totality of existence is just another type of
> provincialism that
> tells us nothing about nothing.
> Peace!
> Davin
> On Thu, Apr 2, 2009 at 8:03 AM, G.H. Hovagimyan <ghh at thing.net>
> wrote:
> >
> > On Apr 1, 2009, at 8:35 PM, Michael Angelo Tata, PhD
> wrote:
> >
> > Aside from Warhol, the place toward which my mind
> immediately turns as I
> > think about what Nicholas refers to as the Immaculate
> Deception is Camille
> > Paglia’s identification of Jacques Derrida as a
> junk-bond salesman in her
> > “Junk Bonds and Corporate Raiders” (part of Sex,
> Art, and American
> > Culture).  I think my mind races to this piece of
> writing because it does
> > raise the important question of the potential
> bankruptcy of theory in
> > general (a risk that does not seem to plague
> philosophy quite the same
> > way).
> >
> > Well now what.
> > As a child of the 1970's art world, I remember Warhol
> as more commerce than
> > art.  He did have three areas of production that
> related to each other and
> > were reflections of commodity capitalism, the mode of
> America in the late
> > '60's.  The three areas were his films which involved
> a party culture at the
> > factory, his silkscreen paintings and Interview
> newspaper.  The social
> > scene,party culture migrated to Studio 54 and the
> clubs in the 1970's. My
> > friend the Art Historian Alan Moore coined the term,
> "Clubism" when that
> > scene morphed into the Late Seventies East Village
> Punk/Performance scene.
> > The idea of a brand name and signature style was the
> legacy of Warhol's
> > silkscreen paintings.  Interview was a sort of media
> art work that was about
> > celebrity as a commodity.
> > The progression of these notions in American Culture
> continues. Reality TV
> > shows are about banal people being promoted to
> celebrities. celebrity as
> > commodity becomes a quality that can be created by
> obsession.  The signature
> > style/ brand name  products of Warhol became
> appropriation in the late
> > seventies and copyright, remixing and sampling culture
> in the present.  The
> > other part of this commodity matrix continued in the
> 1980's  when the market
> > became more important than the art object or the ideas
> behind it. This
> > occurred with the Neo-Expressionists and Neo-Geo. The
> discussion was that if
> > there is an end to historical modernist progression
> than all styles are
> > viable. The market decides what is art.  Money trumps
> ideas.  This market
> > logic was manifested in the first explosion of 400
> galleries in the East
> > Village in Mid-80's and continues today in various art
> market expansions  in
> > particular the latest L.E.S galleries and the art fair
> as a
> > sped-up/condensed art buying experience.
> > I come from the intellectually opposite camp. I
> believe in Idea overs form
> > and in particular that art should be a force for
> experimentation that
> > critiques the main culture rather than glorify it. I
> also feel that the
> > utopian spirit in art is alive and is an anathema to
> the "Extreme Marketism"
> > of the art world mantra of unique object/signature
> style/ brand name.  What
> > this means is that in this 21st century art world the
> signature style and
> > uniqueness of any any art work gives way to
> collaboration and collective
> > expressions.  Interestingly enough that doesn't mean
> that individual
> > expression and creativity goes away. Within any
> collaboration there is
> > something else that occurs; the collaboration
> encourages the individuals to
> > push their practice further and to look at the world
> from unthought of
> > points of view.
> > What has occurred in the USA with bubble markets is a
> lot of money (capital)
> > in the world seeking a safe haven and a decent rate of
> return. The US has
> > been the beacon for this because most of the rest of
> the world is
> > politically unstable or doesn't give a decent rate of
> return.  Essentially
> > it's capital looking for an investment instead of a
> producer looking for
> > capital. It's essentially a disease of success like
> obesity.  It's also a
> > consequence of the dismantling of our manufacturing
> base.  Manufacturing
> > creates wealth. The logic o Capitalism is the
> differential.  Labor is still
> > the basis of that.  What happens now is that we have
> a situation where the
> > culture and the world are trying to find a new world
> system based solely on
> > ideas and abstractions. The problem is that the
> motivating force behind this
> > is greed and markets. In an earlier time it might have
> been war, conquest
> > and plunder that was an organizing principal for
> societies.  This current
> > moment is about creating small utopias that are
> outside of the markets.
> > G.H. Hovagimyan
> > http://nujus.net/~gh/
> > http://artistsmeeting.org
> > http://transition.turbulence.org/Works/plazaville
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > empyre forum
> > empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> > http://www.subtle.net/empyre
> >
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