Issue #84
With: Emily Apter, Boris Groys, Houria Bouteldja, Rob Goyanes, Oxana Timofeeva, Claire Fontaine, Rijin Sahakian, Francesca Hughes, Jacob Stewart-Halevy
Indentured to the past, we drag our inherited identities through a forest of networks bursting with mysterious intellectual fruit. We’re not sure which concepts are poisonous and which are safe. History is like a mistranslated phrasebook full of old-fashioned illustrations which everyone makes fun of on the internet. Attempts at organization feel fanciful and absurd: eclectic inventories of apocalypse-kitsch. In “A Palace of Unsaids,” Rob Goyanes considers the work of mourning under…
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10 Essays September 2017

To hear “rightly” is to register acoustical rightness or trueness not only by means of forensic acoustics, or by moral criteria of right and wrong, but according to measures of rhythmic beauty (euruthmoi) and mellifluous accompaniment. “To accompany” (akoloutheî means to follow or to flow from) lies at the heart of what Plato, in the Republic, identified with the poetic. For Plato, just as matter must follow soul, so musical harmony and rhythm must follow poesis. Good rhythm in this sense accompanies, agrees with, or “goes along with” fine speaking. For Plato, making a “right” republic necessitates allowing the superior register to lead, and ensuring that its accompaniment be a good match.6 We could say that Plato gives us the “good match” theory of just translation.

The way from neoliberalism to neofascism becomes clear enough. And this way is very short indeed. Both neoliberalism and neofascism believe in competition—this is what distinguishes them from international socialism. Neoliberals tend to think that they will always be the winners of this competition. The losers will be always the famous Other. Liberals are ready to preach recognition of the Other, respect for the Other, etc. But it seems that they can hardly imagine a situation in which they themselves become these Others.

We, Indigenous Women
Houria Bouteldja

Must we necessarily subscribe to feminism? And why is this question, in and of itself, already an intolerable transgression? If so, does a new feminism need to be invented? For my part, I prefer to remain prudent and examine the matter more closely. We live in a complicated time, and this complexity makes our self-definition more difficult. Be that as it may, there is a need to clarify and to analyze in order to lead struggles that are adapted to our condition as nonwhite women of the East. For the purposes of our cause, I’m willing to use the concept of “decolonial feminism.” Though it does not entirely satisfy me, it’s a compromise between a certain resistance to feminism at home and throughout the Third World, and the massive, disturbing reality of the multidimensional violence that is inflicted on us, a violence that is produced by states and by neoliberalism.

The self is constituted by others; everybody is somebody’s Jew. Look to the Muslims murdered en masse in the Middle East, harassed and killed in the United States; the war against black lives carried out by cops and klans and right-wing terrorists; the classist eugenics performed on the poor by the extractive networks of capitalism; the Native victims of cultural and natural destruction via unregulated development of indigenous lands; the many displaced by the gentrification of urban space. And no matter who you are, at one point or another in your life, you are your own Jew.

What we think is solid ground in fact just covers this tenacious black liquid, a subterranean cemetery of enormous animals that inhabited the Earth long before us. I even believed that the scary dinosaurs could reemerge from the swamp-like pools created by oil spills, like the Loch Ness monster protruding from the water. Dialectically, oil retained something from that organic life, the death of which was its origin. The oil of my childhood was neither living nor dead, but a living dead, an undead, or an uncanny and utterly inhuman afterlife of ancestral animals.

Clear opinions are not expressed in the art world because they earn people enemies, and having enemies is a luxury these days: in a liberal world, nobody can afford them.

Trump speaks excitedly, as though he is the first person to think of bombing the shit out of Iraq. He speaks about the beauty of the burning oil fields remade in Exxon’s image. A year later, Trump’s words proved prescient. In the summer of 2016, oil fields across northern Iraq burned, with credit due not to Trump, but ISIS. Civilians in northern Iraq lived under a thick layer of toxic soot for eight months until the fires were finally put out in February 2017. Time will tell what damage, generational and in this lifetime, was caused to humans and the environment alike. Meanwhile, Trump also proposed a 10 percent increase—fifty-four billion dollars—in the US military budget, because we are going to win. What you can’t take by being a nice guy, you take by force. Beautiful women, oil fields, whatever.

Truth Is in the Tower
Francesca Hughes

Like all the formal logic and universal language systems that followed, Llull’s Ars is highly reductive and compressive in its makeup, comprising a set of basic truths designed so that any process can be broken down to a series of fundamental operational steps. This mandated processing of only-one-thing-at-a-time has constrained every computer since, no matter how powerful. The spatial reduction it delivers is not simply a response to archival exigencies but also key to reactivating knowledge.

The way in which those who provision, discuss, and consume coffee accrue and emanate Bourdieuian distinction is fairly intuitive to anyone who has lived through the diffusion of the Starbucks brand from Seattle-based upscale cafe in the 1990s to the interstate rest-stop parody fodder of today. But the way in which the linguistic production of lifestyle variables emerges dialectically with co-occurring visual and material cues is less easy to discern. It is not altogether clear how our expectations around speaking about comestibles align qualitatively with our tastes for them, or the images we create around them.


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