[-empyre-] the pitfalls of trendy theory and popular art projects

Gabriel Menotti gabriel.menotti at gmail.com
Sun Feb 12 21:16:15 EST 2012

> I wonder why you doubt the commensurabilities?
> probably you are interested in how the research you
> ask about was "written", or written down (is it up?)
> as they say, and this is course perhaps a different
> question. [Johannes Birringer]

I’m not sure if I *doubt* them. I’m just very curious about people’s
strategies to deal with the in/commensurable, as this seems to be one
of the obstacles for the connection between artistic practice &
academic research (or even between different disciplines): things that
are easily amenable in one domain completely escape the parameters of
the other, rendering them either irrelevant or impossible to assess
(at least by PhD examiners, peer-reviewers, etc).

So, in a way, it is a question about “how do you write your practice?”
But at the same time, is this writing – or, more generally, "the
logos" – able to convey what at first escaped it, and you found
somewhere else?

> Your comment on Baader-Meinhoff, however –
> I could not figure it out, sorry, Could you unpack
> it for me? [JB]

Uh, sorry about that. The Baader-Meinhoff phenomenon is when you start
stumbling again and again, apparently by chance, upon something that
you just discovered.

The urban dictionary specifies “obcure information:”

Is it a fate? A conspiracy? Or just a sort of involuntary cognitive bias?

In any case, I was wondering if the sudden hype felt around some
theories could not be just a *personal* (or collective, but not
universal) impression. A case in point might be how, after some days
of Transmediale, I felt that the notion of “incompatible” had become
meaningless. Maybe it hadn’t, maybe it is just me that got saturated
of it.

> to my mind we are not yet finished with the
> old metaphysics.  I have not yet read or heard a
> 'new' metaphysics which was not just metaphysics
> couched in new terms or frames. e.g Harman's
> talk at tm. [Baruch Gottlieb]

Yes, I agree. What I meant is that the ship detour inspired a new
metaphysics *for Kircher*, making him come up with another way to
structure the universe. Maybe “cosmology” would have been a better
word. In any way, the “new” thing I was referring to is already
medieval. =)

> (by local scholars, you mean latin american ones?
> I suppose you are right... but Zielinski probably knows
>enough about scholars by now not to expect too much.
> Academics are European.  Academic institutions are European. [BG]

Indeed, the latin american ones. To some extent I think that you are
spot on, and Academia is European throughout, no matter where you may
find it. From my experience with Humanities/ Social Sciences in
Brazil, what I get is that the influence of the local context in the
traditions of this institution is less in terms of references/
bibliography than in terms of method (understood as a sort of
“flexibility” of form and procedures). I wonder if César (or any other
lurking Brazilian/ Latin American!) have a similar impression and
could bring in some better thoughts on that.

> who's favour are you expecting to curry here? [BG]

One’s own. =) Is “hype” one of these popular toxics that could fuel
people into understanding and/or productivity? (The analogy here being

> When I started my
> master's degree I was already a professor having to advise doctoral students
> with only a bachelor's degree albeit with years of artistic practice, [BG]

Interesting situation! Hope this doesn’t sound offensive, because I am
genuinely curious: did you felt any professional tensions (or maybe
freedoms) while working in academia with a “pure” artistic background?


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