Archive for the ‘postmodernism’ Category

Condition for a postmodern Time travel

June 17, 2007

I don’t think we want to live in a never ending carnival – that place where we all put masks on our faces and play the carnival’s roles; that place where the distinction between real and fantasy disappears; that place where reflection and auto-reflection are irrelevant; where the eye of the beholder is cut out; that place having its own, peculiar Time span; that place where we become signs.

Maybe Baudrillard thought that we have entered into a carnival and that then a lock-down has occurred, leaving us trapped inside, our masks on, for good.

Carnival

Distribute in space, order in time – that’s the rule by which Control operates, and this operation, explains Lyotard in the Postmodern Condition, uses time as a parchment, continually engraving the memory of the things and their whereabouts on time. Control needs time, for time is the paper on top of which Control memorizes its territory, its subordinates.

There are, though, endless places where Control is helpless, where its engraving operation on time is blocked. Actually, I should rephrase and say that there’s only one place where Control operates and that is the everyday’s world – that which is the subject matter of science. But there are endless worlds in which Control malfunctions, in which it has no foot in the door. These are the worlds of the stories; the world of the carnival.

These worlds, written on invisible parchments, are architected to be forgotten. Memory cannot nail them down, says Lyotard, for they are having a unique distribution in space – a compact, condensed distribution that leaves no spaces between the things of those worlds. And memory needs space in time – a space for writing down orientation instructions, location coordinates, inventory lists and so forth. Yet, the space in the story’s world is fully occupied. One cannot order things in time, for there’s no time left in the story’s world.

Hurry up, than, for there’s no time. Go to the carnival – lose control; read a book – lose control; hear a podcast – lose control.

No matter which story the carnival tells – the story is always anchored in the present. The past and the future – these are scientific concerns; stories don’t bother with time. They are hosted inside a time capsule – a time machine.

If you want jumps in hyper-space; if you want to move along parallel worlds – all you need to do is to skip from one book to another. Place each book exactly near the other book, leaving no space between the two, thus making sure Control is incapable of writing on time.

[But I don’t like losing control; I don’t want to stay in the carnival. I’ll have to give up than.]

For more on Time and books see Trading Time in InterZone

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Textual Landing Fields – Edgar Allen’s PoeTic

February 14, 2007

I was happy and surprised to reread Poe’s The Poetic Principle, for I unexpectedly met there, right on the first page, some recently acquired friends, namely the 2nd and the 3rd, paragraphs.

Two paragraphs, 20 lines, that few words, and still – the impact is that of a tactical nuke.

Lyotard, Foucault, Derrida – to name just the recent French figures – were, I feel, regulars over this textual place. I’m talking about the revulsion of the epic, “the best epic under the sun, is a nullity: – and this is precisely the fact”, says Poe. But this concluding sentence does not, in any manner, preclude epic oeuvres. Rather, it’s the reader who should slice and dice the oeuvre: “Follow the Poetic Principle”.

The reader may rely on the author’s suggested division – like chapters, numbering, or any other structural indices (starting, as Poe suggests, from Paradise Lost Book II); or the author’s thematic division – here I am reading Foucault, who is always suggesting several possible starting points to his essays (at least those I’ve read) by constructing as many in-world landing fields (“Wait… wait! Time, a landing field”, but that’s another borrowed poem already).

“Minor Poems”: If there’s something I’ve noticed, although Tabula Rasa, while reading Foucault, is his lovely insistence on adding the minor tag to almost everything. A precaution, I thought; a necessity, I reckon now. So when Foucault starts his formidable lecture of Kant’s Was ist Aufklärung by stating “a minor text, perhaps” [3rd paragraph…] – well, that’s a great sign of admiration and respect.

I’ll make it short, than:

Lyotard: my previous post on Lyotard’s modern/post-modern should be placed in a dialogue with PoeTic.

Foucault: finding the PoeTic principle in the epic which is our life is what makes a human a human. (and see Foucault’s “What is Enlightenment?”)

And finally – blogging – the author deconstructs his own epic.

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Lyotard: Against Input/Output Philosophy

February 1, 2007

I was listening this morning to a fragmented lecture by JF Lyotard on post-modernism. I liked what I heard, although I’m not convinced that I understood anything. Yet using my right to freely interpret, here is my understanding of this fragment, which elusively explains what’s post-modernism through an observation of what has happened to philosophy and what is the role of story telling in our culture.

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Since Kant, Philosophy has gradually lost its status as a meta-science, a science that provides the knowledge-of-the-self for all other sciences, and even – defines all other sciences. From this omniscient perspective, Philosophy has crashed down.

Why did it crash?

Lyotard doesn’t explain, but I could understand, and I might be just as wrong here, that Philosophy crashed because rational, linear discourse is always limited. Plato, Descartes, Spinoza and many others, always got to the point where they needed another medium in order to proceed.

What is this other medium?

Rising up again, the Philosophy returned to what has preceded it and to what has been its subject of negation and fighting for a thousand years – the stories, the legends, the myths. I’m not talking about their content, but rather about their form, the story telling as an explanatory medium.
The story telling, le recit, was that tool used when all other tools have failed. And so, post-Kant continental philosophy has started to develop a new brand of Philosophers, who excelled not [or not only] in mathematics, science and analytics, but rather in… story telling. And stories themselves have been repositioned as containers of philosophical value. And all this is Modernism.

So what is post-modernism?

Clearly, this modern phenomenon met the resistance of the utilitarian philosophers, implicitly labeled by Lyotrard as the Input/Output philosophers who, like any other cost-oriented scientists, are measuring philosophical narratives by their outcome: this is what went in, this is what came out – did we gain something out of it?
Those I/O philosophers, says Lyotard, can find themselves and did find themselves helping out hideous regimes to justify their acts, and its because of that, I think, that Lyotard defines post-modernism as a preference for short stories and limited narratives over never-ending epical narratives, which tend to provide a total framework.

Foucault, audaciously defined his writings as fiction, stating that his books are “experience books, as opposed to truth books or demonstration books”. And in his essay “What is Enlightenment?” he speaks about his preference to short fiction. Naturally, I’m doing an analogy here, but you will be able to see it in the following excerpt:

[…] the historical ontology of ourselves must turn away from all projects that claim to be global or radical. In fact we know from experience that the claim to escape from the system of contemporary reality so as to produce the overall programs of another society, of another way of thinking, another culture, another vision of the world, has led only to the return of the most dangerous traditions

(and see also Questions to which answers are not the right answer)

A Spooky TAZ in Burroughs’ FoucaulPticon

January 16, 2007

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DJ Spooky’s Rhythm Science has this track where the voice of William S. Burroughs is remixed. Obviously, the choice of text is significant. Here’s it:

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To achieve independence from alien domination and to consolidate revolutionary gains, five steps are necessary:

Space 1: Proclaim a new era and set up a new calendar

Space 2: Replace alien language

Space 3: Destroy or neutralize alien gods

Space 4: Destroy alien machinery of government and control

Space 5: Take land and wealth from individual aliens.

Reminder: State’s control is space-oriented.

So now we got Foucault, linked to Bey, who’s linked to Laswell and also to Burroughs, who’s linked to DJ Spooky, who’s remixing Laswell as well as Burroughs, and not any text of Burroughs, but rather a next-step-text, an how-to text that goes with the spirit of them all.

Wordie: Playing with Structuralism

January 7, 2007

In a most common coincidence, two posts after Laswell’s pure content, I encounter an opposite phenomena – that of the pure form. But before that, a very short intro to Structuralism.

A simple definition for Structuralism would be a meaning acquired from the geometrical relations among the different elements of the system. Speaking of languages, words acquire their meaning not because they refer to an external thing, but from their political position in the overall linguistic structure – and open a dictionary to see what I mean.

Now, Structuralism can be very cruel. You are defined – not by what you are – but by what others say about you. It’s pure form, pure structure – no content.

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Wordie – a new web2.0 service – allows you to experience structuralism, playing with words – pure words, without any context. As their tagline suggests: Like Flickr, but without the photos.

Wordie – playing with Structuralism. I feel an unexplained uneasiness here.

Methods and Black Squares – The Logo?

January 2, 2007

A proposal.

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The Ontology of DJ Spooky

December 4, 2006

“Philip K. Dick, Samuel Delaney, all these science fiction writers were engaging with trying to figure out how to think outside the box. The tragedy is that there is no outside the box. You’re just in another box, in another box…”, DJ Spooky’s Remixing the Matrix

You’re just in another box, in another box.
You’re just in another box, in another box.
You’re just in another box, in another box.
You’re just in another box, in another box.

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Click the image to get to DJ Spooky’s collected Essays

Also, I find the following DJ Spooky’s observation a sort of an answer to those worries raised in earlier posts:

“Once you get into the flow of things, you’re always haunted by the way that things could have turned out. This outcome, that conclusion. You get my drift. The uncertainty is what holds the story together”

DJ Spooky, Rhythm Science