July 24, 2015

Superconversation 50: Martin E. Rosenberg responds to Franco “Bifo” Berardi, “The Message of Francis”

. . .how is it possible for human beings to be both embodied and distributed at the same time. . .? How is it that they report on the experience of an emergent whole larger than that sum of the individuals involved? More to the point, to generalize the implications of my thought experiment: in light of the reference to the term “solidarity,” how can one get individuals to spontaneously behave in accord with the best interests of all, without coercion?

July 9, 2015

Superconversation 47: Manuel Vargas responds to Jonas Staal, “Empire and its Double: The Many Pavilions of the Islamic State”

If the XXI century has shown us anything, it is that it has been a very fractured one. The same can be also said about the Islamic State, which is composed by independent hubs, each one an ensemble manifested through a virtual platform and without any objective but the spread of acts of extreme violence, and a message of hate at its most elementary level . . . having wanted to destroy any resemblance of what they are against, they show themselves as the ultimate example of the object in their destructive hands. The only point they might be proving therefore is that subjectivity has ceased to exist so that, basically, we can easily conclude that they are condemning themselves.

July 11, 2015

Superconversation 49: Katherine Grube responds to Liu Ding & Carol Yinghua Lu, “Crimes Without a Scene: Qian Weikang and The New Measurement Group”

What does it mean to leave an art world? . . . It speaks to a specific relationship to history and historicization, but also to a self-conscious positioning within an avant-garde that reveals the horizons of its possibilities, the limits of transgression and the boundaries of a community’s expectations. The myriad departures and renunciations that mark Qian Weikang and the New Measurement Group’s careers as individuals and as a group sketch not only the bounds of China’s mainstream art world but also the parameters of its avant-garde . . . their refusal of the self-conscious forms of being a contemporary artist within a domestic avant-garde, an increasingly marketized cultural sphere and, finally, within a global transnational environment demonstrates a persistent resistance to instrumentality and the collective and social life it sustains.

July 9, 2015

Superconversation 46: Dillon Votaw responds to Uzma Z. Rizvi, “Theorizing Deposition: Transitional Stratigraphy, Disruptive Layers, and the Future”

Its mechanistic protocols of control, exploitation, and expansion catalyzed by industrialization, the geopolitical incursions of highly-toxic Western masculinity have everywhere produced pockets of keen awareness of this masculinity’s illegitimacy and inadequacy. The virtual potential for various forms of liberatory politics to have purchase on the real is increased when these pockets gain depth, density, rationale, and kinesis. It is clear that the dual emergence of telecomputation and the Carbon Liberation Front has given the left project accidental access to the privileged space of End-Game Fantasy . . . and participation in what Uzma Z. Rizvi calls “the speculative fiction of time.

July 7, 2015

Superconversation 45: Manuel Correa responds to Déborah Danowski & Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, “Is There Any World to Come?”

Can we truly embrace the great lesson of ecology, namely, that we are part of a complex array of vulnerable systems, without sparking another reboot in our imaginary cosmogonies? Is representation partly to blame for presenting the world as a digital rendering (everything in it is discreet and divided) instead of a tableaux formed by a multiplicity of topological surfaces that overlap and alter our perception?

July 4, 2015

Superconversation 44: Eyvind Kang responds to Kader Attia, “The Loop”

The game is to overturn the Pythagorean conception of the string, its harmonics and their respective relations with the series of natural numbers. Under this hegemony, the sound object is conceived of in terms of, or as a number, which in turn becomes the condition for physical structures of the body, initiating sound-action from the executive neurological capacity alone . . . These dynamics, when set into motion, exceed all models founded on transverse vibrations of the string and suggest resonant capacities and emergent properties in the manner of a complex physical system. In practice, the game of Harmonic Criticality is an entrainment with the instrument as object on a neurophysiological level which can be extended to the biochemical and mineral substrates.

July 3, 2015

Superconversation 43: Mohammad Salemy responds to Federico Campagna, “After Nihilism, After Technic: Sketches for a New Philosophical Architecture”

The art world shows how the engine of capitalism rather than running on notions of production and labor, or the concept of supply and demand, is actually fueled by capitalization, or how much one is prepared, or rather has been prepared, to pay the price today in order to receive a profit tomorrow. What guarantees future profits in the financial markets as well as the art world is not the logical algorithm of growth but the social power that can be systematically mobilized in both environments to enforce today’s prices and to guarantee a higher return in the future.

July 2, 2015

Superconversation 42: Nick Bazzano responds to Anne Anlin Cheng & Tom Holert, “Do You See It? Well, It Doesn’t See You!”

Allure, a lure for feeling: shine is a performative operation in which the felt aesthetics of refraction and diffraction reorganize relationality in a radiant choreography of thrown shimmers. Glittering in suspension between revelation and occlusion, between subject and object, between becoming-commodity and its radical disavowal, performances of shine shine light on ways that the derealization of hypervisuality—through embodying the opaque, ornamental, opalescent, obfuscatory—complicate, or even deracinate traditional discourses of visibility in what has come to be known (and often disdained) as conventional “identity” politics . . . Both Holert and Cheng continuously gesture toward a conception of shine beyond its Marxo-Freudian elaboration as “the lure of commodity or sexual fetishism”: a shine, in fact, “that resists precisely the concept of commodification.” This project resonates productively for me . . .

Superconversation 41: David Xu Borgonjon responds to Yin-Ju Chen & James T. Hong, “The Fruitarian Dilemma: a dialogue about kissing ass, corruption, and compromise”

‘Fiction’ is in the air, and it has been for a while. We are all thinking about how plots and narratives are constructed, how convincing stories are told—whether legal, racial, financial, sexual—but what about character:

–as a moral quantity?
–as a narrative agitant?
–as a constructed practice?

If corruption is a process, character is a practice.

June 30, 2015

Superconversation 40: Jason LaRiviere responds to Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, “Theorems of Life (as an addendum and clarification on monism)”

Is there not a corresponding danger inherent in the affirmationist discourses around new materialism? If we can locate a symbiosis between new materialism and animation do they not both point to a similar regression to ontological platitudes about internal intensities and oscillating spirits? Does the new materialism end up saying much the same thing as the hit song from The Lego Movie, another recent animated blockbuster: ‘Everything is Awesome!’’


The Persian Empire & the Question of Democracy in Herodotus’s Histories

Political debates surrounding the question of democracy versus elite despotism has an interesting history. As a Persian, I find the passages 80-87 from Herodotus’ Histories demonstrating how these debates predate modern Europe and are rooted, at least in written text, in the struggle between Persia and Greece for civilizational hegemony: 80. And now when five […]

Nick Land & Accelerationism

This is Nick Land, one of the most important philosophers of the last 20 years, and one the most innovative thinkers on the subjects of cybernetics and late capitalism. He is also one of the theorists of NRx, and is one of accelerationism’s primary figureheads. Nick Land didn’t always belong to the Right. Initially, he […]

The Ontology of Finance Redux

“The Ontology of Finance Redux” is an abridged version of Suhail Malik’s long essay “The Ontology of Finance: Price, Power, and the Arkhéderivative” published in Collapse Volume VIII Edited by Robin Mackay. Interweaving the works of Johnathan Nitzan and Shimshon Bichler, Elena Esposito and Elie Ayache, Malik provides a tour de force critique of the […]

#AltWoke Manifesto

Introduction: There is no term more ubiquitous, obnoxious, and self-serving in our current lexicon as “woke.” Woke is safety-pin politics, masturbatory symbolism, and virtue signaling of a deflated Left insulated by algorithms, filter bubbles, and browser extensions that replace pictures of Donald Trump with Pinterest recipes. Woke is a misnomer — it’s actually asleep and […]

Brief Notes on Ideological Complicity

Ideology is a cynical self defence against the subject’s inability to reconcile themselves with their social existence, the selection between ideal adaptations to the world.* It is neither a surface effect or ‘false consciousness’ of an exterior force with which the subject [subjectum] contends, nor a material substrate of subjection. It is rather the means […]