Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Monday, June 20, 2016

Nice Video

By Korakrit Arunanondchai. Thanks to Ingrid Luquet-Gad for suggesting this artist...


Thursday, June 9, 2016

"Plastic Geologies" by Heather Davis (SonicActs Dark Ecology Day 1)

Rosa: We invited Heather to talk at the SonicActs academy on plastics. That was a very interesting panel that you can still see online. When you have these kinds of conversations and they are sent to an editor it's interesting...a male editor...the voice changes. It feels like it lost a part of its femininity, some parts get cut. You do have to trust your editor. During an answer on queer ethics, Davis talked about queer kinship. As a political stance: who our intimate partners may be. Do we need to conform to the notion of the couple, to the binary gender system? Who inherits property when we die? Who and what do we leave behind? Who are our ancestors and to whom are we related? What are we killing off and what are we becoming?

In the interview there is a special feeling of being female. Males also give progeny. There is a whole realm of thinking about kinship and progenies and non-filial relationships. This is an underlying theme, maybe Heather's island of baby thinking...

Heather is a postdoctoral fellow in arts and humanities at Penn State. She has published a few books, one is Art in the Anthropocene and the other is Desire, Change. 

Heather Davis:
I'm thrilled to be with you again. I shan't talk too much about queer kinship but instead focus on plastic geologies. Plastic is fascinating because we are very intimate with oil production through it.

Plastic age <> duration. Our age is the upper layer of many ages of the past. Bergsonian duration. They cannot be extracted from the flux of becoming.

I love this provocative and literal quotation. And also a strange tension around the question of becoming and duration. An idea that we are going to have this archive. But also this process that's built into that. That is a very interesting thing. Its processual nature connects it to questions of memory. Of the earth and of other animals.

Plastic is one of the indicators of the Anthropocene. Pertida Phillips, Plastic Meteorite 2013. The actual object is about the size of a very large egg. It really does look like a meteorite. She just found it on the beach. One of the crazy thing about plastic is that it's incredibly mobile. Ceramics took 1000s of years to achieve global distribution. Plastic is found everywhere including our own bodies.

Photograph of the plastic layer, of an anthrosole (a nearly completely human made soil). You can go across earth and the anthrosole will rise or fall depending on human activity in each area. Geography in terms of the depth of human marking not just borders and so on. This includes ceramics, chemical resides, agriculture (nitrogen and phosphorus).

This slide (next) is a palstiglomerate. Patricia Corcan and Charles Moore coined this term. (Moore discovered the great garbage patch in the Pacific). Kind of a rock, an endurated material (plastic fused with other materials on the beach).

Here plastic is literally becoming a rock.

Why is this important? Metabolic Rift concept. Metabolism is what does the processing. Metabolizing elements and compounds. Phosphorus, which requires production (eg by our bodies when we eat, but it's a lesser amount); we depend on mining processes for it. >> industrial agriculture. And because we're doing this we are setting ourselves up for a huge crash in agricultural practices. We are using so much of the stuff that it can't recirculate in a homeostatic way.

Plastic is designed to be biocidal. To be a protective barrier.

LA: the Silver Lake reservoir. Covered in layer of plastic to stop bromide production and algae formation. Millions of plastic balls. Was meant to be temporary but now it's permanent and will apply to the even larger LA Reservoir.

Plastic as the death of metabolism. Has a biological reality where it is incredibly resistant to metallization. The perfection of accumulation without metabolism. End point of petro capitalism. [Don't things need to be dissolved to make ore value]

Citarum River Indonesia--so so filled with plastic. So much plastic on surface that water has become anoxic.

Marx: human behavior and labor, uses metabolism. “Metabolism between himself and nature.”

Hannah Landecker, “The Metabolism of Philosophy”: how do organisms eat other orgniams and yet persist as themselves? They persist by converting the world into themselves.

[Then there is the problem of what is the self into which the world is being folded]

Smithsonian collection of different types of plastic. The problem of universality. Trying to figure out where they came from and what their chemical composition might be.

Plastic is designed to be very hard to discern. Easier to describe through design history. Very hard to break apart a polymer. And they are also protected by copyright. Plastic embodies universalism.

Plastic is just a surface all the way through--exactly the same, no difference between inside and outside. Nothing else is like this [crystals?]

It remains separated from the earth. It's a “geophobe” refusing relations to minerals and air
it can become anything [the “easy think substance”]

Tyvek. The endless proliferation of the same. No relation to a particular part of the Earth. It has no umwelt.

*****

Decolonizing the Anthropocene

Logic of plastic has a much longer history than the material itself
First purely synthetic molecule is in first decade of twentieth century
Logic of defying place <> process of colonization
Settlers >> Australia insisted on agriculture, including mining of phosphorus to make it resemble England
moving and unearthing rocks and minerals, tied to project of erasure
Eyal Weizman on bedouin is also writing in a way about terraforming: climate change as the explicit goal of colonialism
severing
delocalized version of being in a place
Tar Sands in Alberta
Kyle White
[is plastic the hamartia of capitalism? that has to revolutionize the means of production all the time]
knowing where you are is also a question of governance
disrupting a relation to place >> disrupting not only a particular relation to plant or animal but also processes of indigenous governance and gender systems

Lawrence Gross, Anishinaabe Ways of Knowing and Being: suffering is climate change = the end of (their) world
what happens to one after the apocalypse (after the end of the world)?
dealing with consequences of cultural destruction: now a question for all of us
[white us are now experiencing what they are experiencing]
there will be a rapid diminishment so important to ask those people and start engaging
how to develop strategies to live through end of world

*****

Reasserting Relationality

an important category for colored thinkers etc
Madeline Tafoya (Santa Clara Pueblo), Pot with Bird Design (such objects usually appropriated without knowing who or where or what)
Duane Linklater, UMFA2003 10.20, 3D printed sculpture (deliberately rubbish), strange blobs
sense of humor, preserving where machine got stuck, glitches
a really amazing way to talk about colonial erasure
reformulating plastic to talk about abstraction and universalism
eg beige plastic version of Kwakwaka'wakw, Raven Mask
zombie doubles of original artifacts
comment on how UMFA holdings are composed of these diminished relics
how to rethink relationality in a more general sense too

how might our relation to plastic change?
instead of as this infinitely disposable material without relation to its location
can you repurpose and hack
you can domestically recycle plastic
to rethink the value of oil and the intimacy of oil
to render these things through glitches

I think this is all very interesting but the underlying problems of universality and the violence of extraction don't go away
space of critique not far from complicity

SonicActs Dark Ecology Day 1

Dark Ecology is a five-year project that has resulted in 3 journeys in this region, 20 commissioned artworks in this area and on this theme.

The second journey was in the darkest time of the year. We decided to make the final journey during the peak of the summer, when there is no darkness anymore...

We will also see two of the commissioned artworks. Dimitry Morozov and Pasviktal (Jana Winderen) commissioned 2014. It can be viewed as a headphone installation throughout the day and night.

Tomorrow we will cross the border to Russia and you can participate in two artworks, one by Esper Sommer Eide and Signe Lidén, Altitude and History. We had a presentation on it at the Nikel library on Sunday. Had the highest age of participants ever.

Tomorrow we will see Justin Bennett's work Vilgiskoddeoayvinyarvi (Wolf Lake on the Mountains) at the Kola Superdeep Borehole.

We have been overwhelmed by the local interest in these works. More than 100 people signed up for the sound walk. We had expected 5 to 10!

On Sunday morning we return to Norway and see another installation, by Cecilla Johnsson, Prospecting and head to former mine in Kirkenes where there will be a performative reading, by Nickel van Duijvenboden. And finish with Mikro, a performance by Justin Bennett and HC Giljea.

There will be two lectures, by Heather Davis (“Plastic Geologies”) and Tim Morton.

Dutch TV will feature dark ecology tonight. We have a photographer and our media team, Friday Milk.

*****

If you have never experienced the white night of of the midnight sun, I'm going to try to help you. Imagine it's about four in the afternoon-ish, cloudy (but it isn't clouds), forever. It's quite quite extraordinary.

I'm so lucky and so touched to have been part of this adventure and I can't believe that two little words I thought up enabled this whole thing to take place.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Agriculture Is Exploding

With artist David Brooks at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

Wow this was fun. Laughter, almost cried onstage at a beautiful question about being seen, invented the word Methopotamia lol...awesome chemistry between me and David.




Thursday, June 2, 2016

I Wrote This For an Essay on Frankenstein

...which I'm proofreading right now:

Heidegger’s whole argument is devoted to showing how being is not presence. An environment is precisely something one is unable to point to, yet is strangely there nonetheless. When you look for the environment, you find things that are in it: a hammer, a smartphone, some rusty nails, a shed, a spider, some grass, a tree. So there is a big difference between environmentality and Nature. Nature is definitely something you can point to: it is ‘over yonder’ in the mountains, in my DNA, under the pavement. Nature is what is constantly present despite . . . (fill in the blank). But constant presence is just what environmentality is not.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Ontological Interpretation

I love David Bohm. I started to get into speculative realism because I started reading his work. It was just while I was being invited to the launch of Jane Bennett's Vibrant Matter, and it felt so exhilarating to be upgrading how I thought about things...

So, this is very very interesting. The Standard Model ideology is “There is no quantum world” (Niels Bohr); Bohm's “ontological interpretation” was so called because of the bad rap the word ontology has had in our correlationist age. As a bit of a put-down.

But it turns out that this theory is still in effect...possibly more plausible than ever.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Me and Haim Steinbach Last Week

At Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in New York City, in Chelsea. What a fantastic time. They recorded it, and so you too can have this fantastic time.

By Shawna Cooper

Thursday, May 5, 2016

You Must See Alex Cecchetti

So so so good performance art:

TAMAM SHUD
When everything is so clean
it is difficult to remember something
First episode of an artist’s novel by Alex Cecchetti

May 13, 2016 (Friday), 6.00 p.m.
Performance
CCA Laboratory building (CCA Ujazdowski Castle Warsaw)
Free entrance, booking required. Reservations from May 9 at: info@csw.art.pl

I am dead. My body has been found somewhere between Los Angeles and Warsaw, dismembered. Murder, accident, suicide, detectives haven’t found anything relevant, my identity is still unknown and me also, I don’t remember much. This is why I have decided to investigate over my own death myself. Only clue, in a secret pocket sewn inside my trousers, I have recovered a fragile piece of paper torn from the pages of a book, written there, the words Tamam Shud, ‘this is the end’.

Please join us for the public launch of Alex Cecchetti’s art project Tamam Shud. Until December 2017, the artist will be developing a new artist’s novel by means of tools such as performances, exhibitions and public editorial readings. Lost memories, recovered traces, and the first investigations to solve the mystery are some of the elements that will signal the beginning of the creative process. Tamam Shud: When Everything Is so Clean it Is Difficult to Remember Something is the first episode in which a contralto (Wanda Franek), a countertenor (Michał Sławecki) and a glass harp music players (GlassDuo) will join Alex Cecchetti in the investigations. Follow us in this series of events, and note down that the next episode is coming in the Fall.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Frieze Magazine on Me and Plants

...and Jane! I love being paired with Jane. Thank you Ellen Mara de Wachter.

Look, this is so so nice:

The commodification of plants – as ornaments, cash crops or sources of energy – is a recurring topic in the work of London-based American artist Rachael Champion. Her monumental installation Primary Producers (2014) is a pebble-dashed landmass with sinkholes in which wild and specific strains of freshwater algae grow in pools of water. Cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, were the primary producers of life on earth during what scientists have called the Great Oxygenation Event, 2.3 billion years ago. By pairing them with the reconstituted stone of pebble-dash – a popular but often-disparaged material used on modern British houses – she stages a rehabilitation of these two organic commodities. Champion’s democracy of materials brings to mind ‘the ecological thought’ propounded by philosopher Timothy Morton, in his eponymous 2010 book. For Morton, whose writing has been associated with the object-oriented ontology movement, this mode of thought involves acknowledging and valuing the interconnectedness of all objects and organisms. Morton discusses how the history of ideas has produced: ‘“Nature” as a reified thing in the distance, under the sidewalk, on the other side where the grass is always greener […] a special kind of private property, without an owner.’ Our alienated sense of the plant and animal life that surrounds us has caused the rift between humans and their so-called ‘environment’ that has produced catastrophic results for the planet and its species. Ecological thought – applied in science, poetry or art – would result in an ethically sound approach to human and non-human living organisms.




It’s not surprising that Morton’s and Bennett’s theories have found eager proponents in the art world: the tenor of their arguments is reminiscent of countless discussions about the ‘vibrancy’ of artworks, expressed through their colour, mood, affect or transcendent properties.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

"Congrats" and "Best" are the wind-up sign offs of our age

Whether or not you mean to insult people, your abbreviation automates the insult for you. It implies you can't even be bothered to press the keys to complete the word or phrase.

Being kind means saying "Congratulations" or "With best wishes."

Friday, April 22, 2016

TANTRIC POP: From Prince to Björk on Earth Day

Before there was Björk there was Prince. That's a very simple encapsulation of my personal pop life.

Happy Earth Day by the way. I tweeted that I was in the wrong universe yesterday, because it was the Queen's birthday and Prince's death day.

And I wondered what that really meant...and now for all kinds of reasons I know something: Eye No. It's not all bleak.

We're talking about gnosticism. We're talking about tantrism. We're talking about fusion of spirituality with sexuality, a magical combination that can truly eject you from the cycle of suffering, and something sadly lacking in the metallic plastic sex pop of now. On the whole.

Both of these artists are so explicit about the body, but it's a body complete with subtle body and chakras and orgasms that aren't just in that one particular sex organ center. Or rather, you are covered in multiple sex organs and to some extent you are a great big open flower like that one Prince is sitting in, like a sexy sideways Buddha, on the cover of Lovesexy. Chakras are imagined as flowers with petals not because it's cute but because they can open, and the Greek for opening is orgasm.

Lovesexy happened the same year that Blake happened to me. If Michael Moore is the reincarnation of Wordsworth, then Prince is the reincarnation of Blake. Which do you prefer? hahaha

The genderqueer Jesus vibe, the one(s) they edited out, scared of the implications, stripping it all down to a homophobic patriarchal breeder machine. Interestingly, the one where he had sex with women, rather than the pedophilically sexless official homosocial (and misogynist) mother cult. The one where he says you have to abandon your mum and dad.

Consorts. Using sexuality to explore reality. In some Gnostic scriptures God is called The Silence: “and together we'll stare into the silence [post orgasm]...and we'll try to imagine what silence looks like...yeah...we'll try to imagine--what silence looks like.” (“If I Was Your Girlfriend”)

That symbol of his, so obviously with ankh-like qualities, his band of basically multitalented Marys of Magdala, the Jehovah's Witness quality adding that feeling that this reality is about to be rent asunder and we're going to see the real one, which in this case is not a sterile heaven but palpitating and palpating actual bodies.

That i want to know what the fuck is going on, right now quality that you find in all tantric practitioners on Earth. Björk thinks about it through esoteric Sufi. Prince has his flavors.

That top level of hedonistic consumerism that is (sorry eco puritans and Platonist Marxists of doom) a magic gate to somewhere. Including ecological awareness, caring for other beings. On this Earth, which equates to refining and expanding pleasures. 

The i want to know now, in this life quality, which is so close to just greedily grabbing stuff in the (spiritual) supermarket...close to basic libidinal energy, it could all go a bit wrong, but what other energy do you want to use, is there any? Paging Björk's Kate Bush's Wilhelm Reich.

That feeling of being in the wrong universe, indeed...one wants to burst out of it like one of Blake's Glad Day type people.

That what's wrong is a misplaced spirituality, an anti-sexual Spooky Electric Sound that cuts like a knife and tries to get in you. An evil heaven. Gnosticism.

Heaven is evil. Hell is just energy. Earth is where it's at. Tantric pop.

I'm just going to keep writing this post as things occur to me. Happy orgone accumulation day!

***

If we really have gotten global warming very very wrong, like so wrong we are going extinct and all that, like if the world is actually ending and this is indeed an apocalypse theism style, just like I haven't been arguing all this time (!), then isn't it better, instead of collapsing into stoical despair, to party like it's 1999? I mean it shouldn't just be heard as a cliché at this point. The world has got a bomb, we could all die any day. The world is not the Earth. The world is the human project(s) and for sure this world has got a bomb, and is a bomb, exploding slowly for 12 500 years, now faster.

So assume the worst. Does that mean you have to acquiesce in basically oil culture mode? Hanging on in quiet desperation, so that everyone becomes English, English being the world that pays to have a queen over its head, everyone knows their place? Or shouldn't you be partying in solar mode?

Is it the Queen's birthday, or Prince's death day, which bleeds into Earth Day? Which?


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Strange Strangers in Vilnius Saturday

This looks so good. I've already heard the sound component and it's just amazing. At the Contemporary Art Center:

http://www.cac.lt/en/other/general/16/8195

Doesn't this look amazing?

Saturday 23 April 2016, 10pm at the CAC Basement Hall

Plays for the Strange Stranger is a performance in four parts. The performance is directed towards a character named the Strange Stranger. Using sound, dance and objects we attempt to open a channel of communication to this mysterious entity.

In order to open this channel, the performance challenges our certainty about what is familiar (and human) and what is strange (and non-human). Using Timothy Morton’s theory of ecological thought as a loose starting point, the performance creates a temporary space in which we are confronted with the strangeness of the world around us. Through a disorienting barrage of music, voiceover, shapeshifting objects and transcendental dance, the performance leads us towards the promise of a luminescent super-communion with everything non-human.


Jude Crilly
 (CA/UK) is an artist working in sound, sculpture, text and performance, based in London and Amsterdam. Floris Schönfeld (NL/US) is an artist working in video and performance; he is currently in residence at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. Both artists were residents of Rupert, Vilnius. Play for the Strange Stranger is their first collaboration, supported by Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam.


Written / directed / sound design: Jude Crilly & Floris Schönfeld 
Performers: Rūta Butkus, Antanas Lučiūnas, Pilypas Misiukevičius, Andrius Mulokas
Movement development: Rūta Junevičiūtė
Music: Jokūbas Čižikas 
Costume and object design: Jude Crilly & Floris Schönfeld
Light design: Julius Kuršys
Sound engineering: Antanas Dombrovskij
Curator: Monika Lipšic

Admission is free of charge. Limited amount of people (~100)
Duration: 40 min



Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Charles Long's OOO Art

Nice piece on it...he was reading Ian and me, and I so enjoyed doing the lecture for his opening. The “databergs” are playing with the hyperobject concept.