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Dizziness

My body felt spongy and disoriented. I no longer had a sense of the size of the room or where
anyone was within it, I didn’t know where the walls were, or the distance between my elbow
and hip, my chin and the floor. I gave myself over to this dizzying absence of location.

—Karen Sherman, “The Glory Hole”


Dizziness: a feeling of disorientation, a loss of balance, or our capacity to “navigate the unknown.” Ruth Anderwald, Karoline Feyertag and Leonhard Grond argue that “dizziness, marked by an increasing feeling of loss of control and vulnerability, is a midway state at the point where everything and nothing seems possible, where certainty and uncertainty are in superposition.” In Dizziness—A Resource, the editors turn to the potential reading of dizziness as method; as a generative means to shake “normative assumptions and perceptions,” as well as unsettle dominant modes of knowledge production and orientation.

The popularity of the phrase “new normal” amongst news readers implies a drastic shift in lifestyle and reality. However, as Helen Lewis writes, the global pandemic, in fact, exposes preexisting inequalities within society—for example, the unevenly distributed death rates, the invisibility of care workers suggested by lack of PPE, and the gendered responsibility over childcare. For Anderwald, Feyertag, and Grond, dizziness thus effectively proposes a catalyst for change: it unbalances societal monolithic certainties, and enables impermanence, re-orientation, and “con-fusion.”

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Compiled by Georgia Perkins
8 Essays
Disorientation: We Are Almost There Many of the more prominent artworks produced in the last decade or so are characterized by a recasting of what were once called installations as something closer to interiors, relegating the installation to a supportive role that places meaning in the service of activity. From an artwork spread out everywhere we turn to one that is located very precisely in the features that can be said to make up the space—the walls, the furnishings, the floor...

At first, I thought “performative” was coined by dance people in order to sound like museum people. But then I realized that the art world’s misuse of this term predates the dance world’s. Which made way more sense but also bummed me out even further. Why would dancemakers do this to ourselves? Why would we let museums rename what it is we already do? And why would we ourselves then use that language to describe what we have already been doing all these years? I long to see the dance world assert its language as part of its commodity. If you want to present dance, you need to know how to talk in dance’s existing language. It serves the form just fine because it is of the form. Dance doesn’t want to talk about itself from the remove of class or body. Dance wants to be hot in the center of its own glory hole—though it will happily pee on the museum steps for the right price.

Killing Swarm, Part 2
Franco “Bifo” Berardi and Massimiliano Geraci

She couldn’t move, and this quickly distorted every perspective, collapsing the vanishing points. She transmitted her instability to the surroundings, a fluctuation that made it impossible for her to grab on to something. To grab on to anything. All her memories had dissolved into that uncontrollable fluctuation. This was why she took Remembrant, so she could see them scroll by as though on a roll of celluloid. She knew they were hers, those memories, but she didn’t recognize them. Her memories from ten years earlier when she threw her arms around her mother’s neck, and her memories from two nights ago—which she felt in her muscles and tendons, but didn’t recognize—when she had come across the two old corpses, like buoys tossed around by a stormy sea, by a storm which had its origin in herself. She had bludgeoned them repeatedly in order to finally attain a bit of calm.

From the start of the credit crisis, panic has been caused by what we didn’t know. What happens if a Lehman Brothers is allowed to fail? What happens if toxic mortgage-backed securities are bought through a government bailout? Then, what happens if the U.S. treasury decides not to bail the banks out of these bad debts? So it should have been reassuring that one of the most nerve-racking of the unknowns turned out to be benign. We now know that we should not have feared...
This is an image from the Snowden files. It is labeled “secret.” 1 Yet one cannot see anything on it. This is exactly why it is symptomatic. Not seeing anything intelligible is the new normal. Information is passed on as a set of signals that cannot be picked up by human senses. Contemporary perception is machinic to large degrees. The spectrum of human vision only covers a tiny part of it. Electric charges, radio waves, light pulses encoded by machines for machines are...
Psychogeography is a practice that rediscovers the physical city through the moods and atmospheres that act upon the individual. Perhaps the most prominent characteristic of psychogeography is the activity of walking. The act of walking is an urban affair, and in cities that are increasingly hostile to pedestrians, walking tends to become a subversive act. The psychogeographer is a “non-scientific researcher” who encounters the urban landscape through aimless drifting, experiencing...

Does climate change instantiate the “Kantian gap” between phenomenon and thing-in-itself, or rather actualize the Kantian correlation between mind and world, of which the thing-in-itself is the irrelevant remainder? As Déborah Danowski and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro have argued, “We can see the irony of our predicament as that of a catastrophic terrestrial objectivation of the correlation”—in other words, “human thought, materialized as a giant technological machine of planetary impact, effectively and destructively correlates the world.” If the productive abstractions of modern technoscience—this weaponized, transformative, operative logos—have remade the world, they have done so through the “actually existing linearity” of GDPs and CO2 levels.

X. In 1935, Erwin Schrödinger devised an insidious thought experiment. He imagined a box with a cat inside, which could be killed at any moment by a deadly mixture of radiation and poison. Or it might not be killed at all. Both outcomes were equally probable. But the consequence of thinking through this situation was much more shocking than the initial setup. According to quantum theory, there wasn’t just one cat inside the box, dead or alive. There were actually two cats: one...
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