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Monday, October 8, 2012

Ai Wei Wei the ZEN Master

Ai Wei Wei Garish Painting Ancient Neolithic Pottery

Chinese Hold Ai Wei Wei’s Passport, 

Denies Access to Art Opening at the Hirshhorn in DC

October 7, 2012

But then, in one of his classic moves, he turned the tables on his persecutors: It could be, he said, that the notable absence of an artist from his own opening would have a bigger impact than his presence there ever could. That absence could underscore the daily indignities imposed by a Chinese state that is trying to forge “a new national identity based in culture and humanity,” Ai said, but whose soft-power actions mask an unchanged hard line. “I still think it's very old, cold-war thinking … I think that the thing they are afraid of most is freedom of speech—the spirit of freedom of speech is the number one enemy for a totalitarian society.”

Soft power is a "floating sign" masking hard power

And this is what Christopher Nolan did with the character of The Joker performed by the irreplaceable Heath Ledger in his The Dark Knight Rises
as observed by Darren at:
in Dublin

A blog that gets best prize year after year.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Unknown Knowns : The Subjugated Knowledge of Terrorism Studies (2012) - R. Jackson

New post on Foucault News

Unknown knowns: The subjugated knowledge of terrorism studies (2012)

by Clare O'Farrell
Jackson, R. Unknown knowns: The subjugated knowledge of terrorism studies, Critical Studies on Terrorism, Volume 5, Issue 1, April 2012, Pages 11-29
This article employs Foucault's concept of 'subjugated knowledges' to explore forms of knowledge which provide explanations of the nature, causes and solutions to terrorism and political violence, but which have been suppressed and silenced within the terrorism studies field. Subjugated knowledges include historical knowledges that are present within the functional and systemic ensemble of terrorism studies itself, but which have been masked by more dominant forms of knowledge, as well as knowledges outside of the field that have been disqualified and excluded as naïve, inferior or below the required level of scientificity. This article analyses some of the primary mechanisms and processes by which knowledge subjugation takes place in terrorism studies and the consequences of such suppressions and exclusions. It argues that the presence of subjugated knowledge means that the field exists in a highly unstable condition where certain forms of knowledge are simultaneously known and unknown and where eruptions of subjugated knowledge periodically destabilise the dominant discourse. Among others, the rise of critical terrorism studies represents such an eruption in the field. The article concludes by suggesting that one of the key future tasks of critical terrorism studies must be to liberate a range of potentially important subjugated knowledges and that Bourdieu's concept of the 'collective intellectual' provides a potentially important model for undertaking this difficult task.
Author keywords
Foucault; peace studies; subjugated knowledge; terrorism studies
Clare O'Farrell | 2 October 2012 at 6:00 am | Categories: Journal articles | URL:http://wp.me/p13ybx-Aj

Friday, May 18, 2012

Foucault revisited for the Digital Humanities - Guido Koller

Because this post is so excellent I have re-posted from:


Foucault revisited for the Digital Humanities

Michel Foucault, L’archéologie du savoir, Gallimard, 1969
Review with respect to digital humanities (avant la lettre)
Also historians have succumbed to the temptations of structuralism. For quite some time now, they have not been working anymore with events, but with developments, including those of longue durée, as Ferdinand Braudel has called them. Michel Foucault speaks of deposits, layers, which are now being investigated: For example the history of the cereal or the gold mines, of the starvation or growth. In such a history we are no more talking about chains of events, but about series types and periodization.
This contrasts with the philosophy, which focuses its attention on fractures. Its interest is on the effects of interruptions and boundaries. The problem is no longer the foundation of a term or an idea, but rather its transformation. In the center of the history of thought now is discontinuity.
What are the two different developments based on? On challenging the document, Foucault says. The document was treated as “the language of the silenced voice”, as its decipherable trace. The document was a material through which the past should have been reconstructed. Historiography is now looking for relations in the documentary structure itself. It wants to give form to a mass of documents. So, documents become monuments and historiography becomes archeology – to a description immanent of the monument. Henceforth it is, as mentioned, all about series and about relations between these series.
Thus discontinuity is becoming the essential element – instrument and object – of the historical analyses. The possibility of a “global history” is being blurred in favor of the option of a “universal” (or “general”) history. It is about the overall shape of a culture, a system of homogenous relations that can be found in all areas of society. Thus the “new history” encounters the problem of constructing coherent document corpuses; the problem of the selection principle; of specifying methods of analysis; of the delimitation of quantities that structure the material to be examined.
The “general” or “new history” leaves all questions about the teleology of becoming and the relativity of historical knowledge in favor of questions that are to be found in linguistics and anthropology – in short: in structuralism. This gives the tension between structure and history a new meaning.
Remark / interjection: According to the Google Ngram Viewer the term “event” was more frequently used than the term “structure” until the 1930th. Since 1965, the term “structure” experiences a real hype.
This change in the episteme is not complete yet. Until now, history was a correlate of the subject; Its function was to maintain the sovereignty of the subject against all decentering: Historiography set the rationality of the telos against the analysis of the conditions of production by Marx, of the psyche by Freud and of transcendence by Nietzsche. A history that is not incision but becoming, not system but labor on freedom. And this history which is related to the synthetic activity of the subject disappears, as already mentioned before.
Historiography is detached from a whole complex of terms (and ideas): “Tradition”, for example, allowed to consider the dispersion of history in the form of the same; “influence” brought similar phenomena into connection with a process of causality; “development” related a sequence of events dispersed in time and space to a single organizational principle, and from there to a hypothetical origin and end; “mentality” established a community of sense, allowed as a unifying principle the existence of a collective consciousness. Even the units “book” and “work” are not backed up: A certain number of characters mark the boundaries of a text and a certain number of texts can be assigned to an author, indeed; but: the discursive unity of a text is never clean and severely cut, it is a knot in a net in which one text refers to others texts. Foucault wants to have a “pure description of discursive events” as a horizon for the study of a particular object.
 Archaeology in the meaning of Foucault defines discourses as practices obeying certain rules. The discourse is not a document, a sign for something else, but a monument. The archaeology defines types and rules of discursive practices that “pass through” original works. How this archaeology is going to treat change, the phenomena of succession and alteration? How does it structure the relation between diachrony and synchrony? If a particular discursive formation just enters at the place of another – is time then not simply being bypassed, does then the possibility of a historical description not simply disappear?
The archaeology always in Foucault’s sensedefines the rules of the formation of a set of statements and their correlation to the events. It distinguishes several levels: the level of the statements; the level of appearance of the objects, of the types of statements, of the terms; the formation level of new rules; and the level of substitution of a discursive formation with another. Thus, science is emerging on the threshold of the 19th century. The amount of discursive elements that is necessary to constitute science is knowledge. Instead of the axis consciousness – knowledge – science, that keeps to the subject, Foucault’s archaeology follows an axis discursive practice – knowledge – science. What it describes is not science in its specific structure, but the field of knowledge.
L’archéologie du savoir is neither historiography nor philosophy. It is a discourse about discourses. It describes the decentration, which would recognize no place, no subject as a privilege. The discourse has not the task “to dissolve the oblivion and to recover in the depth where they are silent, the moment in which things have been said”. It does not collect the original, does not remember the truth, is not the “presence of history in its conscious form”.

 What does it mean for the Digital Humanities, to “visit” Michel Foucault again? Hisarchéologie du savoir anticipates the decentration that we have found with Jacques Derrida, and confirms the importance of structure, the discontinuity in history and the fracture in the episteme. In addition to this it deconstructs the meaning of the document and of the terms used in the “old historiography”. Against this, it constitutes discursive practices whose position in opposition to the events is rather vague. These discourses are not sign and play as with Derrida. And they give the subject no consolation as the “old history” did. Knowledge has no purpose outside of itself. It emerges and vanishes in ever new formations. If we follow its traces and think and write about it, we are creating at best a new branch of a particular discursive formation. No matter whether analog or digital. Foucault deals with statements, in any form. The acceleration and liquefaction of discourses that impress Wolfgang Schmale, would have confirmed Foucault in his analysis of the episteme. He knew that texts are knots in a net of discursive practices, as in Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht’s book “In 1926”, and it wouldn’t have surprised him to find them on a screen. But there is also Foucault's observation, that historians are working with developments , including those of longue durée, as Ferdinand Braudel has called them. Foucault speaks of layers, which are now being investigated. In such a history we are talking about series and periods. Would this work with the Digital History? On the one hand, Schmale for instance says clearly no and reserves the traditional monography for such long and complicated narratives. On the other, the digital techology provides the instruments to deal with large quantities, statistics and algorithms. So the question remains an open one, at least for the moment. Either way: L’archéologie du savoir is a text that in its depth would have absorbed the digital revolution without much further notice. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

!FUCK Is A Word Is A Word Is A Word That Means EVERYTHING You Want It To Mean!



View PostGeorge H. Smith, on 12 February 2012 - 07:14 PM, said:
View Postseymourblogger, on 12 February 2012 - 06:49 PM, said:
In fact there is no truth. It has become just a word. Like fuck. Meaningless.

You think the word "fuck" is meaningless? Maybe you should try a different discourse.
And then to my great good luck and fortune
ninthdoctor posted this youtube on fuck
to prove me wrong!

Ho ho ho and a kettle of rum!

Baudrillard on Implosion
Following Nietzsche of course
Excess leads to annihilation
Even Bill of  AA says this: Touch bottom first!
Hear that Michael Stuart Kelly!

How do you like this different Discourse, George H. Smith of the best selling atheist best seller!

Beaucoup thanks to ninthdoctor for his youtube Discourse

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Baudrillard Reading Himself Through Nietzsche

 It is the terrorist model to bring about an excess of reality, and have the system collapse beneath that excess. - Baudrillard  

Following Nietzsche's advice, we might sound out concepts with a hammer. This might perhaps be a good way of conducting our interviews. Nietzsche, whose searing words accompanied you through adolescence. (Baudrillard - Fragments p 1)

It was a relationship that went in fits and starts, so to speak, and there was an enormous period of eclipse in it. I was a great devotee of Nietzsche. I read him very early, in the sixth form. I was even lucky enough to have him in both the written and oral German agregation exams, though that was my undoing, as the examiners didn't agree at all with my reading; Nietzsche took his revenge there, unless we take the view that he did me a favor by preventing me from passing the exam. After that I stopped reading him entirely. I held him in a kind of quasi visceral memory, but I'd only retained what I wanted to. I would remember particular aspects of his thought, or find aspects of it emerging in a more or less aphoristic memory. There was a long eclipse, but I was already on the ecliptic. All in all, Nietzsche was never, strictly speaking, a reference for me, but an ingrained memory. 

Nietzsche is in me in the mode of the unzeitgemass as he puts it himself, the mode  of the untimely

In talking with you about Nietzsche, I was thinking tn particular of the genealogical method which enables us to uncover what lies hidden behind ideas, to see their real basis. (Francois L'Yvonnet in Fragments - Baudrillard p.2)

That was the method I followed, but my material came from worldly affairs. There are no other ways of thinking, it seems to me. In this sense, Nietzsche really is a unique thinker. I don't see any other like him. 

Perhaps one only ever studies one philosopher seriously, just as one has only one godfather, as one has only a single idea in one's life. Nietzsche is, then, the author beneath whose broad shadow I moved, though involuntarily, and without even really knowing I was doing so. I've quoted him at times, but not often. And I've never even thought of mobilizing or adapting him for my own ends. If I come back to him now, this is doubtless because I'm going back to the aphoristic form, in writing and photography. Though Nietzschean aphorisms are often of such scope that they're perhaps something other than aphorisms.  At any rate you can use Nietzsche aphoristically, and not philosophically or ideologically.  (Baudrillard - Fragments p. 2)

Fragments is one of his last books. He died in 2007 and his thought was still changing up until his death.

Ayn Rand  read Nietzsche also at an early, impressionable age. It is my belief that she was thoroughly steeped in Nietzchean thought so much so that Nietzsche permeates all the fiction she ever wrote. And like Baudrillard, I believe Nietzsche was IN HER. Nietzsche, like Lovecraft, enters your mind and influences it, if not for all time, for a very long time, and is terribly difficult to shake off. That is, if you even want to. As is known about Rand, she was incredibly capable of extreme denial. Baudrillard, of course, is too sophisticated a scholar to not know this about himself and he identifies it. Rand was totally occupied with writing fiction that cut into the Dominating Discourse of America and changed the way we think in many areas. I also believe that her great influence has to do with Nietzsche seeping  through the interstices of her mind into ours. 
Number 1 in Notes: Journal of Ayn Rand Studies , Vol 10 number 2 p 340 

1. One indication of the degree of Nietzsche’s influence on Rand can be 
gleaned from the fact that, as Rand related to Barbara Branden (1986, 45), “The first

book I bought myself in America was an English version of Thus Spake Zarathustra,
and I underscored all my favorite sections.” Not only did Rand have many favorite
sections in this work, but she underscored them all in an English-language edition
even though “her English was halting and uncertain” at that time (68). She must
have known the work extremely well.

This is my point.



Foucault, Nietzsche, Genealogy - A Method: End To Interpretation

In talking with you about Nietzsche, I was thinking tn particular of the genealogical method which enables us to uncover what lies hidden behind ideas, to see their real basis. (Francois L'Yvonnet in Fragments - Baudrillard p.2)
link to goodreads
The Foucauldian genealogy is an unmasking of power for the use of those who suffer it. It is also directed against those who would seize power in their name. As Francois Ewald pints out, there are three, not two, parties to every power struggle: not only those who exercise power and those who would exercise it in their place, but also those on whom it is exercised. Because one speaks against power, one does not necessarily speak with those who suffer it. Hence Foucault's concerted attack on all forms of interpretation and representation: on the use made of the linguistics of Saussure and Jakobson, on psychoanalysis, on Marxism. For the interpreter, things are never what they seem. People never say what they mean or mean what they say; they never know  what they want or what they are doing.

For Foucault interpretation is reduction, repression, obliteration of fact, discourse, and desire. It is a technique of knowledge; it is also a technique of power. Interpretation requires specially qualified interpreters, representatives.  The dialectic is an interpreter's weapon for the seizure of power.
The regime of 'truth' gave the intellectual, whose business truth was, a certain 'universal' status. The 'disinterested' intellectual represented the conscience of society as a whole. 

But Foucault shows that truth does not exist outside power, still less in opposition to it.  Each society has its own regime of truth: the types of discourse accepted as true, the mechanisms that make it possible to distinguish between truth and error. ... The will to the power of truth is a pitiless tyrant; it requires a singular and total devotion.  It is a service that has tempted the European mind since Plato. Nietzsche gave the first signs of its possible end; he also provided a way out, which is called genealogy.  Genealogy was a 'grey' activity, but it was also a gay science, a science of the hypothetical. That gaiety, that love of hypothesis, pervades all Foucault's work. He is the reverse of a guru, a teacher, a subject who is supposed to know, though he would, in all modesty, be flattered if, without excessive seriousness, he were compared to a Zen master, who knows nothing.  For him uncertainlty causes no anguish:...

A love of hypothesis, of invention, is unashamedly, a love of the beautiful. What drew Foucault to the case of  Pierre Riviere was not the mass of official documentation, but the beauty of Riviere's memoir, a beauty that shamed the dreary prose of the educated experts who busied themselves around him. It was a daring, provocative remark,  suggesting that beauty of expression in an indication that what is being said is worth listening to. The question of Foucault's own style is not insignificant. It is not so much that Foucault writes well _...It is rather that he writes  with ostentatious brilliance: his writing betrays a quite shameless delight in its own skill that calls to mind the sumptuous prose of our own pre-classical period....To write in this way is no affectation or self-indulgence.  It is, if it requires justification, functional. Like all style, it is both natural and cultivated:a natural mode of expression for a writer striving to renew contact with a pre-rational world of communicating Reason and Folly and a conscious rejection of the language of Reason that seeks by its grey, measured, monotonous tones to give an impression of authority, objectivity and truth. (221-4)
All of the above is a quote from Alan Sheridan's Foucault The Will To Truth (p. 219-224)

For a genealogy of the movie Eclipse see here.