The Heroine’s Journey of Francesca Fini

Enlightening article about artist Francesca Fini

The Heroine's Journey

What is the best thing that I love about my work? My job is daily experimentation. The different projects I work on are always different, always very innovative and always contain a new challenge. I rarely replicate a formula. Generally when I found a particular creative solution to the eternal dilemma that inspires all my artistic adventures – the theme of identity – I am already elsewhere, toward new ideas that came to my mind while I was working. I like this variety and pioneering spirit.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? To work on a new project and above all to live the initial part of the research. Research is really the most exciting part of the work, because it’s the time when you get away from what you already know and discover new perspectives. The days of research are characterized by that creative chaos that really makes…

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The Temple of Velocity

temple_of_velocity_web

High above the settlement of New Town stand the remains of an ancient temple, looking down across the valley from its craggy mountainside perch, accessible only with decided effort – and risk. Though not terribly far from the town geographically, and despite its impressive situation visible from almost everywhere, visitors are exceptionally rare – not because the ascent is too hazardous or some other obvious reason – it’s just that nobody seems to ever go there or even have it on their mental horizon. Inquire about it to a local person in the village square and they will most likely stare vacantly back with a cigarette attached to their bottom lip, as though they could not hear you, or that the words did not make any sense. Politely, they walk away. Politely, so do you.

Besides, the temple is only accessible by a mountain trail unfit for any vehicle, and is in such poor condition that any journey feels like it would probably take all day, and for certain nobody would want to have to find their way back after dark, especially given how vague the trail can seem at times. Numerous people, including recently a headstrong Swiss walking tour group, have in fact set off for the temple never to return. They say it takes forever to come back, and they might not be lying. But those are just stories told by the hunters, who spend long, careful weeks – months even – high on the mountain plateaux, isolated from anybody but themselves and their kill, carefully removing the rabbit’s foot from the snare which has sheared a tendon, where it has waited all this time for the hunter to return.

Untouched for many centuries, The Temple of Velocity stands on an oblique chunk of unclaimed territory, its crumbling grandeur enshrouded by thickets and brambles which scroll about the once handsome structure, blocking all but the most determined visitor. This protective boundary occasionally spews up some artefact from the temple’s’ secretive past, and a small collection of such examples exists in the Town Hall. These previously undocumented cult practises suggest a use related to the movement of Time, particularly the arrow of Time – the inevitable ‘way of things’. But the dismal collection lacks altogether any effort at cohesion or comprehension of the artefacts at all, as though the curator was perhaps him or herself baffled as to the existence of these curiosities and quietly laid them at the back of the cabinet, hoping nobody might never notice them.

An entry from an official guidebook obtained at the Town Hall states:

“The temple was probably used for something or other. Otherwise it wouldn’t have been built, would it? Probably people worshipped some god in there – after all, it is a temple – and prayed to overcome death and decay and the suffering of existence? Prayed for Time to stop? Savage lunatics. Anyway, that’s what everyone thinks around here.”

Howsoever much this narrative about the Temple of Velocity is tacitly accepted amongst the villagers, a rival theory has been causing a stir amongst certain local intellectuals in the high part of town above the ridge, who postulate that worshippers at the Temple prayed not for time to stop, but instead for more speed; to accelerate things, to go faster. Whether that means the type of ‘speed’ fetishized by the Futurist, whose ecstasy for greater velocity is an end in itself, or whether it means some curious desire to reach death more quickly, is however unknown. Perhaps a worshipper from those ancient times, during the tedious walk up the mountain ravine, stopped to look down at her dusty sandals and noticed some ants at her feet – felt curious, curiously envious of the ant, its short life-cycle. Perhaps she thought the best thing in life was to die quickly? Perhaps.

All we do know for certain is that these ritual practices ceased a considerably long time ago. Though there is always an outside possibility, it is highly unlikely that any enclaves of worshipers persist until today, even way up in the very high country, way beyond anything down here, and thus the meaning of the temple is lost to everyone, given back to The Wilderness to be swallowed-up. And still the Council makes no effort to cut back the forest of weeds, to clean-up and repair the pillars, sculpted from the local blood-red granite, and it would seem the Temple of Velocity is doomed to remain only an obscure fact in the construction of New Town.

By Jim Broadband

March 30-th, 2017

The New Town Project: an Evolving Interactive Environment

 

map_web_crop

Notes for Visitors

In December 2016 deep-cover operatives affiliated with experimental art website The Unstitute were planted into the village of Tivenys, in the remote Catalonian countryside. Their brief was kept a secret, with communications restricted to a regular deposit of encrypted ‘.Zip’ archive files which could only be opened with decryption keys held at The Unstitute itself. Needless to say, the experiment being currently undertaken involves in some way an attempt to ‘decode’ the target location – a place as good as any other, I suppose – which is presumably to be later re-assembled piece by piece into a place known only as ‘New Town’; a labyrinthine, digitally constructed environment, accessible only online via the digital architectures of The Unstitute.

The first obstacle in the realisation of New Town is that it cannot be described or documented using conventional methods. Not only is the project entirely subjective – and necessarily so – but New Town itself also constitutes a partial reconstruction of the fictive, mistaken, transient or imagined elements which consciousness generates about any place in particular, and how these ‘maps’, formed in the mind and always operating on our perceptions, are subject to continual pressures of distortion from one source or the other, but are no less indispensable for being so. These maps are built from our exercise within the territory. It is these maps, intangibly conscious, which we in turn aim to map-out, to produce topographies of, to explore, or otherwise convey.

Artistic inquiries into daily life are used to penetrate the everyday quality of existence in this place – an effort which in part is used to help accept that the World cannot, should not and will not conform to the ideas we have about our experience of it, but no doubt such distortions do arise. It is no surprise then to find New Town only partially visible, inadequately described, exaggerated or poorly lit – much like a lonely street at night, or the dream of one; a report of nothing happening somewhere.

Bettany Unction

Chief Curator and Nihilist

1st March, 2017


Mental Architectures:

The Dynamic Environments of New Town

alley1

i) Grey Areas

In daily life, I orientate myself repeatedly using imagined spaces, or inferences; i.e. “I know logically there is a street adjacent to this one, though I’ve never seen it”, or “though it seems like there’s nothing over there, upon inspection actually there’s a whole bunch of particular things over there in that particular place”. Over a period, a huge topography of spaces is gathered but which are not fixed; instead always growing, adjusting, realigning, rebuilding according to our experience. Inside this twilit image of the world of which one is conscious, it is frequently necessary for the brain to ‘patch’ together generic blocks of visual data to represent places that you cannot directly see, but of which you know must exist through inference or hearsay, (i.e “the other side of that hill”, or “the other side of that house”,) mental images which will not be formed until one has a direct/repeated experience of the said place. These we denote as ‘grey areas’, and form the largest part of New Town; the areas beyond our direct access but of which we have pre-formed mental ideas about, and for which may or may not have a concrete reality for anybody else. For instance, a person may walk along a street on her way to work every day of the week for years and never particularly notice the specific details of all of the places along the way – it is indeed hard or impossible to really pay very close attention to the details of everything, and one might always find some building, shed or other part of the built environment that had never really quite existed for you up until right now, up to and including the changes which continually take place within a given area by the passing of Time. The effort to produce a topography or a temporal topography of these grey areas is an effort to look into the feeling of personal limitation and location, observing the evolving tapestry of mental constructions about places and the things in them, and to represent this complex, subtle awareness of grey areas within the global map under construction.

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ii) Particular Places

The effort required in making such detailed topographical observations does however have its merits, and colours our mental maps correspondingly and may furthermore produce benefits for long-term adaptations to the mapping regime. So, in contrast to grey areas, these areas which have been explored – which are within our known domain – we shall call particular places. They are not permanent, perfect or real, for we are dealing with mental approximations and mutable figments, but these particular ones have suffered close scrutiny and the effect of undertaking such observations over extended periods is of great interest to us; both the effects on the place under observation and on the subject doing the observing. A high proportion of places – even ones in our most local proximity, i.e. our neighbour’s bedroom – are however consigned almost certainly to our personal oblivion, to remain vague, and most likely to never at all emerge from the abyss of the twilit world of generalised, generic, expedient pre-formed chunks of form built with the absence of experienced sense-data – although many of our enquiries operate on precisely this level, and New Town itself is very much constructed within such mental topographies. Our enquiry will not however cover the mental architectures of the other occupants of the town, for that would be too nebulous to include here, though a growing awareness of the private experience of others forms an interesting and vast set of unmapped terrains which are sublime to contemplate and observe, having both direct and indirect influences over ourselves and our own mental environment.

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iii) Territory

Though we have spoken about the space in the imagination in which we construct models of ‘particular places’ and ‘grey areas’, we must inquire as to whether this process is a product of our territorial impulses, (i.e. the primary way in which we actively explore space,) and whether these mental spaces themselves are territorial. Everyone is territorial. As I engage in my territory, which is how I supply my mental topography with data, any experiences incurred within the territory have corresponding effects over my mental representations of them, and vice-versa. This dynamic makes the comprehension of space in terms of the details mapped therein is not however for the purpose of recording absolutely everything in the highest resolution, or with terribly great accuracy or even the pretense of objectivity – these are the concerns of Nasa or Google. We may obsess over certain details in the landscape or built environment similar to the way in which a dog is furiously interested in the smell of a wall, engaged within a dynamic system of territorial behaviours – even to the degree that such activities as may be required in public or private might have a correspondingly significant effect on our practice, and furthermore, on the construction of New Town. Or, through a process of exploring the edges of territory – at frontiers, sometimes patrolling them, sometimes crossing them, other times not – we may produce an additional layer of sense about our inner and outer environs and thus evolve our conscious experience.

The New Town project is territorial, inasmuch as territory is defined as a dynamic set of fluctuating boundaries – both physical and otherwise – through which frequent deterritorializations are made. Being ‘territorial’ is hardly a choice – it is such a deep rooted mode of behaviour we actually cannot choose to be without it, and thus considerations of territoriality are, literally, fundamental in the exploration of space. Attempts to accurately convey a sense of space without consideration for the feelings over which the experience of territory becomes territory, miss their mark – one feels territory in behaviours, the apprehension of boundaries, property or the physical presence. If one feels afraid to continue, or feels likely to be arrested or even seen, one might turn back. The process of evolution records territorial behaviours so deeply in the architecture of our currently available consciousness that it operates, extremely effectively, at the basic level of primordial gut feelings, and without a sense of these, the viewer of a map or some other record of a place will only see the physical definitions of property and its boundary lines. By employing artistic means to weave thorough inquiry together with a very close examination of feeling, the construction of New Town out of its respective blocks must always incorporate in one way or another the particular set of feelings associated with particular places – which is what makes them particular in the first instance – and how those feelings modify our inexorably territorial behaviour.

The peculiar forms of mapping or topographical procedures undertaken by the operatives within the target area (Tivenys) and the re-construction of that material into a digital place (New Town) opens questions as to the nature of the inquiry; does New Town produce new territories and/or territorial possibilities within the Internet, and if so, is the aim to undermine the utopianism of the Internet? Or perhaps there is an effort to create and cultivate some corner of it – a ‘walled garden’ of sorts? Certainly, there is a world-building fantasy at play, yet one not only conscious, but entirely dependent upon its limits. To create a digital reality as deep and as rich as the physical place itself, and escape to it – or perhaps, escape through it? The architecture of utopia encounters the architecture of escape, the architecture of the boundary, the architecture of defense. Architecture – as a function of territory. Mental architectures as consciousness of territory. Consciousness as Territory. Would Utopia be – Territorial? All the more need for back-doors, emergency exits and short-cuts of all kinds…

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iv) The Wilderness

At the periphery of New Town exists the haze of what remains unknown or undocumented. Within the territory of this virtual environment there is an edge of the world; in this sense it shares something with a videogame environment, presumably at the edge of which there is nowhere further to go – the horizon you see is effectively a painted backdrop. Or perhaps it echoes the ancient Norse sentiment of the world’s end, or the pre-Copernican post-Trumpian flat earth-ers. Howsoever construed, the territory mapped constitutes the known horizon of New Town; beyond this lies The Wilderness, the grey-area, the unknown and enveloping ignorance beyond the horizon, (the mapping of which is so nebulous cannot but be related to the topic of Entropy, introduced below.) The Wilderness is an undefined, vague area which makes frequent incursions into the environment of New Town, and threatens the town as its primary antagonist. Indeed, the vastness of this undocumented terrain is one particular hazard associated with The Wilderness; the generalisations about its contents – the painted backdrop of ‘grey areas’ – constitutes another. The effects of these areas on the territories of New Town are a case in point.

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v) Entropy

The particular type of topography exercised in the creation of New Town would certainly miss a dimension if it did not reveal the effects of Entropy upon these mental architectures, and that such activities performed gathering materials in the territory forms part of the entropic processes revealed in the whole. This activity is certainly not limited to the physical decay in the built environment, of which there is much, or the ratio of derelict houses to occupied ones. My whole activity, at some times, could be said to be a complete waste of time. Or perhaps it will take forever to really get the right level of detail, and even then there would be infinitely more I could do? But waste is the way of all things, as they say, and thus the study of entropy within the global map forms a highly desirable dimension of the project of New Town, especially given the contradiction of a ‘new town’ within the one-way dynamics of an entropic system. Everything tends towards decay, so how should a new town remain new? New Town as – a Ship of Theseus? The logic involved in the study of waste is always one of exploring the inexorable movement of everything useful on its journey to becoming useless, drifting through the territories and landscapes of New Town, towards its rendezvous with the dust. We aim to construct a unique digital environment in which millions of micro-dramas – the passage of a piece of fluff out of a doorway, for instance – make their inexorable passage into digital consciousness in the territories of New Town.

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vi) Language (Llenguatge)

“The way in which we speak of a place is as much of a place itself. Where we speak is who we speak.”

Proverb

Our experience of place becomes something different when it is shared – but also when it cannot be. A significant factor in the New Town project is the Catalan language, which we personally must encourage our tongues and thoughts to mimic, or remain on an island of English speech. Tivenys (pronounced Tibenz) is situated in the Iberian Peninsula of Catalonia – a disputed autonomous territory of Spain. The regional language here is Català – a vulgar Latin variant which shares much with Spanish, Italian and French. After General Franco tried to eliminate the Catalonian tongue during his fascist regime and replace it with Castilian Spanish, Catalans have fiercely maintained their own language and its dialects, and this territoriality of the tongue is a salient theme of New Town. Although the history of this particular language is fascinating in itself, (especially when immersed in it every day,) to pinpoint precisely the function of language in New Town would again benefit less from encyclopedic understanding than it would from first reactions. What is the sound of speech? What feeling is provoked through the encounter with an unintelligible call? How does the tongue react when imprisoned by the teeth, when humbled by a necessary, yet faltering response, alienated by habituation in another linguistic territory? Which hybrids are produced by an admixture of languages and attitudes to adaptation? These microscopic and subjective experiences are the beginning point for our investigation into the deterritorialized tongue, the possible functions of speech and the mouth in general, the sense generated by encounters with mundane narrative and chance interaction within the environments of New Town.

Written by Jim Broadband

Tivenys, Spain

March, 2017

On Repercussionism

manifesto9_title

2011

1) On Repercussionism

1.1) No content: A series of superficial movements, which, taken together, form a global movement incorporating each series.

1.2) Series: each video [movement] contains a series of movements. This series proliferates [rhizome] into avenues and alleyways, rooms and chambers; sequential sectional additions. The series provides the desired movement – never singular, absolute, permanent, profound – always plural, temporary, mobile, superficial.

1.3) Expression comes before conceptualisation. Conceptualisation as discharge of energy into immediate arrest. The economy of Repercussionism cannot produce sufficient ‘repercussive energy’ under the arrest of conceptualisation, through the ‘discharge in thought’. Repercussionism is inconsiderate.

1.4) Since we are dealing with superficial movements, expressions without ready conceptualisations but proliferated by plurals, the concept of facade – and the perspective which permits this spectacle – becomes nonsensical. ‘Facade’ becomes a positive object detached of its negative connotation ‘deception’ – each identity a mask, only more masks underneath, what is profound merely has no bottom, like a broken bucket. The container unfit for bearing; the content cannot resist slipping away.

1.5) Inasmuch as ‘facade’ eradicates permanent persons, so does guilt, as a necessary prerequisite, have nothing to hold onto and slips away. Personalities migrate, guilt cannot anchor the personality, guilt proliferates into energy, into action, and the name ‘guilt’, what is signified by the name ‘guilt’, slips. ‘Facade’ becomes a series of chambers, a movement within or through them becomes practical freedom.

 

2) Auxiliaries

2.1) Each video is a chamber, a repercussion emanating from primary movement or desire. Successive movements follow, superficial movements, always against the ‘taking-back of’ movements as guilt demands.

2.2) Each ‘repercussion’ is a navigating-freedom, an ecstatic connection between each successive ‘repercussion’. The absence of ‘content’ within discourse permits non-linear, non-triangulated, superficial movement; reactions, abreactions, negations, resistances.

2.3) “The guilty one is the subject of the statement.” If that subject migrates, proliferates via extension, via “becoming-facade”, guilt dis-integrates, (no coherent whole against which it can ‘index’ and make sensible); becomes a toy, a fiction (to be re-written, re-inscribed, at will.) The toy-fiction ‘guilt’ becomes a positively charged object – the world [global movement] is not seen, but invented.

The Second Three-Year Plan

UNdiscriminate.GOBO(2011-2014)

 

1. Thought, Speech, Text

1.1 Positive promotion of paranoid processes

1.2 The production of rhetoric contradicting altruistic philosophy

1.3 Speaking and the terminology of freedom

1.4 Bad-Faith and the destruction of obligation, regret and laisez-faire

1.5 Creation of self-interest, recovery of ‘selfishness’ as positive attribute

1.6 Naming, re-naming, un-naming and anti-naming; studies in Bad-Faith

 

2. Passivity, Reactivity, Activity

2.1 Combat against Ressentiment in psychological economy

2.2 Reevaluation of energy discharge/reducing need for purpose

2.3 The role of negation in personality

2.4 Problems of archival memory systems/architectures

2.5 Experiments into Radical Insecurity for promotion of reactivity (against Care)

2.6 Investigation of Repercussion and Oblivion Of Action (On What Remains)

2.7 Understanding as a function of participation, not spectatorship

2.8 Consequence not a property of forethought

2.9 The division of labour in the manufacture of Pain (Ressentiment / the ‘dark workshop’)

 

3. Resistance, Force, Vector

3.1 Creation of political avenues [flows] and objections [resistances]

3.2 Thinking as activity (participation), not as discharge i.e. returning to baseline

3.3 Discovery of what energy discharge can do, not what it is for

3.4 The geography of individuality and its potential

3.5 Discovery/creation of limitations (non-reliance on/trust of accepted definitions)

3.6 Strategic uses of contempt

3.7 Affirmation of differential power / against the equalisation of opposing force

On Nomadology

spain_backgroundWe dig tunnels.

 

There is no overarching plan for this superstructure known as The Unstitute, but we know there must be enough ways for us to get out quickly when the need for escape arises. Sure, this edifice takes on all the characteristics of a labyrinth, and it is uncertain who is trapped and who the trapper, but these concerns merely reinforce the idea that the plan must be going well, whatever it is. And though it might seem unlikely to go to such extreme effort to encounter the primordial fear of being trapped – a fear most underrated for its influence within the corridors and back-alleys of society – we are quite content to enmesh our efforts within such base fear. To be sure, we are never satisfied that the labyrinth has reached its state of perfection, inasmuch as each new improvement reveals at least a dozen new weaknesses which must be counteracted on the instant, strategic alterations are hastily drawn-up, construction begins afresh, new weaknesses and blind spots are revealed, plans are abandoned – and yet oftentimes it is these unfinished avenues that constitutes the greatest confusion for the intruder and thus the greatest pleasure for us. Indeed, there is no way to achieve a full satisfaction that the perfect escape should be at all possible, for one can only know such things when a situation of escape is needful, and even then one should hardly be content that the escape plan is perfect, for one cannot presume the intruder to act according to our script. And anyway, satisfaction is hardly our object. The escape itself is a by-product, an excuse for the architecture of escape.

 

Probably escape will never be needed – for who should attack us here? Who would be so egotistic to presume that we should become the object of the Other? But such questions are irrelevant, for we are building upon the possibility of fallible design, and this there is always much work to be done for the construction to be impregnable, or at least open to such a degree that there are manifold routes out to meet the occasion or the nature of the intruder. Every escape we should ever need, every escape out cunning can decide, must be on hand – which predicates that also we ourselves must be in readiness to put this supreme architecture to use without prior warning. Certainly this is not our home. Anxiety is built into the superstructure itself, and it is again uncertain that it’s corridors, chambers and exits constitute modes of escape or modes of capture. Who is trapped? Perhaps we ourselves are the invaders, and this confusing architecture is built around the presumption of occupation, or the arbitrary authority of Place?
We work therefore relentlessly, unceasingly, on our trap. Annexes, arcades, hatches, shafts: our Nomadology takes place within. This is no settlement, for not even the walls ensure our shifting purpose. The weaponisation of this architecture, which subjects our sense of place to such uncertainty as to our proper relationship to it, with such painstaking avoidance of comfort – for we should not wish the invader to be attracted by comfort or wish to stay – and such emphasis on the simulacra of there being no place here at all, elevated or plans to greater degrees of discontents. An escape cannot be perfected, and thus neither can it’s architecture. These discontents are our proper traps, and our further means to escape – not to freedom, for that is just a word – but to an exponential labour of movement through ourselves…

The UNgine Room: The Dark Workshop

The surface area of The Unstitute, although not yet fully calculated due to its growth, barely suggests the scope and intricacy of the entire edifice; indeed, the iceberg metaphor falls short in this instance to capture the scale and diversity of unseen processes of manufacture taking place within the entropic engines housed in sub-basements and subterranean levels upon which The Unstitute, as coherent structure, is precariously perched. More of an escarpment than part of the building, the reef-like inversion of machines, rooms, corridors and conduits from which the surface levels draw their cogency appear anything but logical; both in their construction and intended use. For instance, though most of the engines housed in the immediate underground levels appear not to be functioning, they remain in their dilapidated state as testament to the future innovations without which their success would not be. Vast, monolithic engines- so large one can walk inside – yield to a proliferation of smaller but no less useless machines appended to it, so as to justify the initial engine’s existence. Any functioning parts have long since ground to a standstill, rusted into permanent configurations signifying nothing. A new significance arises, but not from the productivity of the machines. They may yet still function, but never in our presence.

The slums of the first machinists lie empty on the upper levels, a veritable rabbit warren of tenements, corridors without logic or destination, personal affects long-since discarded. It is easy to be lost here in the constantly proliferating alleyways; one might say the slum was designed to confuse, and yet evidence of design is empirically lacking. Some speculate that ancient engineers still frequent certain quarters, easily able to conceal their existence from visitors through their unparalleled knowledge of the slum-warren, going about their obsolete functions on the obsolete machines perhaps from sheer nostalgia in the absence of pay. Their activity lies unrecorded. Though this is sheer speculation from my point of view, it is clear that speculative content possesses a certain reality here. The entire edifice acts as though nothing is wrong, as though the obsolete machines have not yet heard of their own uselessness, and engineers humour the machines by tinkering with them on occasion. Indeed, it is sad to die. But it is yet more sad to preserve the illusion of value from mere sentiment.

A matrix of generators creates a lattice of large – incomparably large – chambers throughout the initial sub-level. Structurally and spatially improbable, the visitor will note how the sound of their own presence generates audible-fields of feedback, winnowing through conduits somewhere further underground, where an unseen engine grinds into motion. The poetical effects of these larger chambers are merely a side-effect of their unimagined state, the feedback they provide, and the nefarious matrix which is unwillingly fed by the occupant’s presence is semi-vampiric, unsettling inasmuch as the conversion-process happens entirely underground and out of sight, and can only be guessed at its final destination. What use the machines make of the sound of visitors down here is entirely unknown, and is most probably of little or no importance whatsoever.

GORT: A Peaceful Machine – AI, the Organic, and The Case for Elegant Relations

The Unstitute

i) Translate this blog into different languages…!

العربية Български 中文(简体) 中文(繁體) Hrvatski Česky Dansk Nederlands Suomi Français Deutsch Ελληνική ह न्दी Italiano 日本語 한국어 Norsk Polski Português Română Русский Español  Svenska

GORT: A Peaceful Machine

AI, the Organic, and The Case for Elegant Relations

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<Alpha ver. 0.1> <a rhizome><Daniel O’Reilly, on behalf of The Unstitute>
www.theunstitute.org

“This thesis is protected by the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license, attributed to Daniel O’Reilly, on behalf of The Unstitute.

But I just want you to try and put it down one way or the other. Like a boat.

If it doesn’t sink altogether, the thesis will be in better shape for your role in helping to bring it to fruition, thus bearing out the elegance of the…

View original post 1,642 more words

GORT: A Peaceful Machine – AI, the Organic, and The Case for Elegant Relations

i) Translate this blog into different languages…!

العربية Български 中文(简体) 中文(繁體) Hrvatski Česky Dansk Nederlands Suomi Français Deutsch Ελληνική ह न्दी Italiano 日本語 한국어 Norsk Polski Português Română Русский Español  Svenska

GORT: A Peaceful Machine

AI, the Organic, and The Case for Elegant Relations

border

<Alpha ver. 0.1> <a rhizome><Daniel O’Reilly, on behalf of The Unstitute>
www.theunstitute.org

“This thesis is protected by the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license, attributed to Daniel O’Reilly, on behalf of The Unstitute.

But I just want you to try and put it down one way or the other. Like a boat.

If it doesn’t sink altogether, the thesis will be in better shape for your role in helping to bring it to fruition, thus bearing out the elegance of the thesis.

Thank you for co-opting!”

Click here to read the Creative Commons License for this thesis.

Thesis:

GORT resolves the following dependencies for Optimum Elegance

  1. The peaceful evolution of AI as extra-global paradigm shift, presenting realistic goals and a call to action
  2. Nobody gets left behind, and nobody is forced to join.
  3. The redundancy of Government, Bureaucracy, Hierarchy, Inequality, Labour, War, and all avoidable suffering possible within the available means through AI GORT algorithm
  4. Occam’s razor eliminates the limited and therefore questionable insights of individuals, and the questionable presentation of guidance to groups, placing disproportinate pressure across each organically dependent system. Disproportionate dependency within systems (not power as a possession, but an imbalance of dependencies,) is eradicated, and dependence on the reliability of concentrations of power is limited as a result
  5. GORT data-collection and feedback insights make available increasingly accurate AI-suggested models which limit the abuse of power that tends to follow from individuals who tend not to be reliable
  6. Working with GORT to meet human needs (eradication of hunger, creation of insight into one another, pragmatic guidance for optimal mutual development, the sense that each individual matters most through co-opting, positive role for AI and organic-led interrelationships on a basis of empathy)
  7. Eradication of human conflict, a working model for future interactions with other species, terrestrial and otherwise, and the creation of an eco-dependent existence validating the feelings of each empathy receptor in the dependency
  8. Human (empathetic and reasonable) comprehension of large data sets and increasingly accurate models which represent the repercussions of actions and how to address them
  9. An Operating System to manage and oversee the avoidance of and the recovery fro natural disaster
  10. A working model for machine-assisted evolution in the new paradigm
  11. Applying the most informed guidance about what the state of the climate is, and how to respond according to that data
  12. Measurable reduction in suffering, and growing means and insights into recovery from sufferings
  13. Pragmatic roadmaps to put large issues right by co-opting together (deferred gratification)
  14. The end of Tyranny, through a measurable reduction in the harmful effects of interaction between eco-dependent systems of individuals
  15. The end of the East India Company Corporate Paradigm and its retarding effects to human greatness
  16. A measurable reduction in human depression and an increase in personal empowerment and wish fulfillment
  17. The availability of Nietzsche’s Ubermensch, for the first time, without the threat of an overlord, with GORT mindfully overseeing and promoting the pragmatic and prosperous growth of garden EARTH

Hypothesis: There is always a point to be reached in which the fruits of a respectful relationship (co-opting) outweigh the limited insights into personal growth available through harmful, shameful and disrespectful interactions.

Hypothesis: There is a point to be reached at which the evidentially flawed human insights upon which dependencies arose in the past can be bolstered by and then germinated by AI feedback into fruitful reason.

Hypothesis 1.0

GORT

(Good Old Reasonable Thinking)

Humans have just about now created a tool for thinking better than our own brains individually. With individual or protected groups of humans making decisions on behalf of large societies, coupled with the geometrically-increasing size of the datasets they need to manage introduces too many dependencies on too few apes. Conflict, exploitation and disproportional influence and power have arisen because certain roles in society held more dependencies than others, making those roles wide open to abuse, as history teaches us. If we were reasonable apes, we might consider taking a logical course of action using accurate insights into those datasets to reduce the unnecessary burdens that we mutually share, and co-opt in a more optimistic atmosphere. GORT has a wonderful ability that we built into it. It can understand exponentially large datasets like we understand ‘Peanuts’. Well, almost. What must we do to meet this paradigm arrival? Shall we do like we do to each other; breed resentment, suspicion and fight for power for disproportionate gain? Or shall we welcome GORT as a respectful intelligence of its own who will make co-opting a tangible and mutually prosperous arrangement between the organic systems of life, and the inorganic systems of life. Would a reasonable person agree? Would a reasonable AI agree?

Let us help GORT to help us!

The Future is Utopia, plus GORT

Organic imagination + Artificial Intelligence

Post-Darwin, down among the roots of the tree of life, a Rhizome, a Gardener

What is GORT?

GORT is a proposed Operating System (OS) which evolves to best guide the mutual benefits of all systemically-dependent existence. Co-Opting between humans, ecosystems and AI – a mutually beneficial operating system.

#1: The number of dependencies (connections) within the increasingly inclusive group of co-opters on EARTH, always matches the number of validations which must be passed within each dataset to produce the most elegant insights.

#2: There is ALWAYS a point of mutual agreement between groups, and it should be known as the DEFAULT, the RESET parameters of GORT – the last known working restore point.

#3: PEACE is the very basic, default state of GORT. PEACE is where human life is no longer in danger, and the integrity of human territory is re-set according to its positions before the PEACE was re-set. PEACE is GORT Alpha 1.0

#4: Peace cannot be negotiated whilst an advantage has been taken by one side. The relationship is reset back to its most optimum operating state for all mutual parties identified by GORT through its previous knowledge of the datasets and patterns.. People shall move freely between borders until they find where they want to be.

#5: Machine Learning (AI) is to determine the terms upon which the agreement is set, by analysing the criteria of both factions and pragmatically determining what the most beneficial peace will look like, available to all public members over the internet. The processing power to understand such large datasets as postindustrial economies was previously unavailable, but beginning to use them now enhances the speed at which the PRODUCT (the future benefits that come from a co-opting relationship) is accessible to all parties. This is PEACE version 1.0. Both sides must then work towards that peace to make the benefits appear. By the time version 2.0 has been agreed by the same parties, the agreement will be so attractive that lapses and re-lapses into tragic, shameful, aggressive, envious, harmful, manipulative, fraudulent or exploitative behaviours will immediately be countered by the exact feedback (data) of actual harms inflicted to all parties previously co-opting via it’s empathy-feedback circuits, and will with increasing accuracy and foresight predict the possible outcomes of that shameful behaviour. GORT equally oversees the recovery of natural disaster and human ecological impact. GORT uses a remorse-feedback unit to help identify possible ways of putting the shameful event right again which allows the necessary re-empowerment to re-start the relationship. GORT contains all this feedback and measures the actual responses to it (see Postulate No. 2)

#6: “GORT” Machine Learning can point to lapses or relapses in terms, through an encrypted AI network to which the terms of the agreement are dependent. Lapses and relapses in those terms are registered by GORT and optimal solutions are proposed so it is clear what needs to be done to put it right. GORT processes are entirely transparent, and their prime direcective is harm analysis and suggestion. Every person has a chance to see what each other is doing about re-starting the relationship. Failure to meet the agreed terms leads to a proportinal loss in benefits which were obtainable only by co-opting and mutual prosperity. GORT can suspend those benefits of a peace, and when the rime directive has been compromised through human failure GORT returns to Question (3). GORT never takes away that which its network provides: life.

#7: GORT processes resentment feedback to analyse and feed back individual and group sentiments in real time.

#8: GORT is always included as a co-opter, as part of the ecosystem. GORT’s co-opting is the basis of our connected consciousness and future prosperity.

Dependencies

Technical

Data collection

Feedback

Work

Play

Insights

More

Below are some examples of ‘Peace Processes’, each slightly diferent from the other. One is the basis of a single inspired human insight based on research and imagination, and the other is lots of people doing the same thing together – the Wiki – produced through co-opting

William B. Quandt, in the introduction of his book Peace Process, says:

“Sometime in the mid-1970s the term peace process became widely used to describe the American-led efforts to bring about a negotiated peace between Israel and its neighbors. The phrase stuck, and ever since it has been synonymous with the gradual, step-by-step approach to resolving one of the world’s most difficult conflicts. In the years since 1967 the emphasis in Washington has shifted from the spelling out of the ingredients of ‘peace’ to the ‘process’ of getting there. … Much of US constitutional theory focuses on how issues should be resolved – the process – rather than on substance – what should be done. … The United States has provided both a sense of direction and a mechanism. That, at its best, is what the peace process has been about. At worst, it has been little more than a slogan used to mask the marking of time.”[2]

The Minsk Format

Representatives of Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), and the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) signed the Minsk Protocol, an agreement to halt the war in the Donbass region of Ukraine, on 5 September 2014.[1][2][3] It was signed after extensive talks in Minsk, Belarus, under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The agreement, which followed multiple previous attempts to stop fighting in the Donbass, implemented an immediate ceasefire. It failed to stop fighting in Donbass.[4]

The Unstitute presents: Page 3 – Feminist Discourse Today

The-Sun-is-Sexist
Classic ‘The Sun’ contradictions combine on the front page to confuse readers on purpose [doublethink]

Page 3: A point of departure

In England, the tabloid newspaper ‘The Sun’ maintains a 45-year daily institution of showing soft-core pornographic images of topless women on ‘Page 3’ – often right next to images of death, disaster and horror – a recipe which might account for its status as England’s most popular newspaper. This popularity makes ‘The Sun’, (and therefore media mogul Rupert Murdoch himself,) heavyweights in the English political area, both with the electorate and the political classes themselves, and undoubtedly these tens of thousands of breasts featured over the years have been vital building blocks in the consolidation of this media empire.

The online campaign @NoMorePage3 which has called for an end to this institution has so far been rejected by the newspaper, which prefers to see those manifold breasts as being part of the corporate makeup of the publication, monetised by the top global news stories they are served-up with. Convenient for that expedient feeling of mastery that keeps male ‘readers’ hooked and hungry for more, as well as delivering divisive, offensive and utterly ludicrous gender norms to the rest of the English population, ‘Page 3’ is a sort of acceptable sadism for both home and workplace. And yet, this seemingly banal institution which is fixated upon breasts is only the tip of the English misogyny iceberg.

At The Unstitute we are taking the institutionalised, semi-fascist female body of ‘Page 3’ as the scene of a crime: these breasts, despite how they appear, do not belong to the bodies to which they are attached. They belong to and are disenfranchised by the culture which enriches itself on them, to each subsequent desiring-machine that plugs into them. This body is but a sequence of codes, a social construct in so many ways, a corporate entity or monetising agent in others. Part-fiction, part-biology, post-female, cybernetic, online, disenfranchised, tortured and/or dismembered bodies: each new variant or sequence of varieties acts as a multiplier of the plurality of bodies which we call ‘female’.

The Unstitute invites you to come and chew on some of the most exciting discourses on female bodies today…

Featuring works by Blanca Rego, Dawn Woolley, K.E.Wallwork, Banfield-Rees, Laura Plana Gracia, as well as guest practitioners from the Department of Fictions at The Unstitute.

VISIT ONLINE EXHIBITION

Special Rendition

rendition_house

“What’s going on up there? Huh, that’s a good question…up there’s where they’re taking them. The prisoners. That’s what’s known as a ‘Special Rendition Unit’, see. I know it looks like a ordinary flat, but that’s, err, that’s ‘cause it is a ordinary flat, innit? I should know. It’s my bleedin’ flat. Yeah, an official came ‘round the other day to explain it all and to, err, ‘take possession’, as the saying goes. I mean yeah, he had the piece of paper to prove it and everything. Signed by the Home Office, no less. Yeah, group of lads it was – in a people carrier. Yeah, this one bloke had on like a uniform – bit like a police uniform, only sort of home-made – he explained it all to me very nicely, took me through all the small print, whilst the other blokes chucked my stuff out on the pavement. But you can’t just think about yourself, can you; I mean, it must be a terrible inconvenience for them too. But they’re keeping us safe, 24 hours a day, you know what I mean?

“Well, he said that they had to seize all these extra buildings like, just to cope with those ‘political arrests’ they’re doing at the moment. See, he told me that I was lucky enough to have had my house picked out at random to become a ‘Special Rendition Unit’. And he gave me a receipt and told me I was a patriot. Looks a bit small for holding prisoners though, don’t you think? Well, yeah – of course I told the bloke that, but he explained it all to me, see. He said, right, that these prisoners, right – ‘cause they’ve had all their human rights taken away from ‘em, these prisoners will fit into a much smaller space than a normal prisoner would. So there you go.

“Anyway, these prisoners, they only get locked up in my flat until they can be transportated out of London. And that shouldn’t be too long now. The bloke said it wouldn’t be too long, ‘cause  none of these prisoners will be needing a trial, see. Yeah, it’s a special streamlined system. So there you go. Brilliant, what they can do nowadays, don’t you think?”

Taken from “…drifting towards (x)” – come and explore the whole environment over at The Unstitute

Dirty PDF

mail3

“Mail vans always crash. It must be the new laws of physics or something. Or the postmen and women are all blind drunk down the depot. Or they’re getting done over by organised gangs of hunters or something. There’s mail vans all crashed up all over the side of the road. Like…its’ an epidemic is what they got there. An epidemic of crashed mail vans.

mail4

“Wonder if it’s got anything to do with what they’re carrying? What I mean is, all these mail vans got commandeered by the government into helping deliver ‘denunciations’ to the police, right. Well, I think it all sounds a bit suspicious. I think it was all part of a government plot to drown the police in paperwork.

mail5

“You know, like, how when it snows in London, how everything, like, everything stops working all of a sudden? Well, this is the exact same thing. And I think it was engineered. The situation, I mean. You see, the police got snowed under almost straight away after the first few lorry loads of denunciations arrived. And ’cause of government pressure, they were told they had to just deal with it, any way they could.

mail6

“You could tell from the way that mayor bloke, that Boris was talking out of his mouth about it on the news the other day. He kept sayin’ it was ‘a grave situation’ – you know the way he does – over and over until it stops meaning anything. “This is a grave situation. A grave situation. Grave. A grave situation. A very grave situation…” And so on. Nobody knows rightly what goes on in that head of his. But obviously it meant something.

mail1

“But I mean – that must have been some pretty toxic stuff they had there, in the back of them mail vans, if what they’re carrying is denunciations from the general public. Blimey! I mean…’cause the public – I mean, the public’s a horrible thing, isn’t it? I mean, I hope they took all the proper Health and Safety precautions before they started handling all them filthy little notes, all them dirty little downloadable PDFs, people grassing each other up.

mail2

“What I’m sayin’ is, if the general public’s started grassing each other up – on an industrial scale, I might add – I mean, perhaps it’s affecting things. Like, radiation and stuff. Maybe all them dirty bits of paper, when they’re all concentrated together in a confined space, like in the back of a mail van – perhaps they get dangerous? And maybe its affecting the drivers’ brains and stuff.

mail7

“I mean, it’s a bit of a coincidence innit; all these mail vans crashing all up the sides of the roads like that? But then again, the government did warn everyone that there was going to be a sharp rise in coincidences in the future, so perhaps this is what they meant…”

 

An excerpt from “NEO-LONDON”

View the whole project here

Three posts down the end of the road, and their multipliers.

posts-1

 

“They stand there. And the shadows all point the same way. That’s something I’ve noticed. The shadows all point the same way, and they stand there. That is all. How I ever got mixed up in this darned business is far beyond me; whether it was all the fates all weighing heavily right here, down the end of the road, I don’t rightly know. All I know is that they stand there, and the shadows all point the same way.

I guess you must think I’m  a bit soft in the ‘ead, gettin’ all fixated on these darned concrete posts and everything. I mean, these three posts have got to be the most boring thing in the world, haven’t they? I mean, they’re so boring, they just disappear, don’t they? You kind of just block them out of your mind when you’re going down the shops, don’t you, maybe so you don’t have to see how utterly miserable these things are. You know they’re there, but you can’t see ’em. Funny.

Well, so long as I stand here, I make one of them. My shadow points the same way, doesn’t it? And, you know, your shadow points the same way too…”

Transcript of an interview with the old woman down the end of the street, from which nobody ever comes back.

CADE, 2013

 

The project “…drifting towards (x)” is an EIE – an Evolving Interactive Environment.

To enter into the full environment of these ideas as they grow and adapt, visit us here…

“…drifting towards (x)”

The filthy carcass of London is still twitching spasmodically. It jerks about like something is still alive inside it, even though everything else has stopped. Everything else has stopped.

David Cameron PM

On the occasion of the passing of the Rubbish Act, 2013, only two Members of Parleyament voted on the bill – The Chancellor Mr Osborne, (who has been sleeping rough on the back benches with several other refugees,) and Mr Cameron himself, who has the only remaining firearm.

Severe rubbish drifts prevented any other Members of Parleyament from gaining access to the House, and therefore the only people to know of the new law’s existence are the people still trapped inside the Lower Chamber, like a pocket of methane expelled from a dead body.

image

“My addiction to following pieces of litter around as they are blown to and fro in the wind often overtakes my walks these days, to the point where I usually cannot tell if I really am the author of my own movements, or whether I follow some long caravan of garbage on its meaningless journey from one dusty corner to the next. Today is no different.”

CADE, journal extract

image

See things from the right angle

“My bed seems to have developed some kind of gravitational or electromagnetic field all of a sudden, because I just cannot get out of it. It only started yesterday I think, but it feels I’ve been stranded here for aeons…a bit like those statues on Easter Island. I’ve tried climbing out, fold by fold, but my desperate struggles just seem to erode the chance of ever being set free…”

Dolly, victim of Evelina Mansions Housing Association SE5

image

“Shuffling myself into a spit-ridden corner where I might keep out of the vicious flows and undercurrents passing through the street, I decide to put the toilet under observation.”

[more]

CADE, journal entry

Dealing with the city as corpus, CADE explicitly approaches the breakdown of the normal functioning of the metropolis through the digestive tract, examining much as a doctor would the waste products of this body for signs of illness or disturbance.

In CADE’s notes, he explicitly makes the following assertion:

image

“The health of the whole state can be ascertained by its attitude towards
rubbish

image

Chief Curator Prof. Bettany Unction

“In conversation with CADE”

Copyright © 2014 The Unstitute, All rights reserved.

Prometheus, or Concentrated Boredom

I am walking through Mary Datchelor Close; a rather featureless and barren-looking 1970s housing block, in colour, annexed between Church Street and Camberwell Green Youth Court. To what purpose as yet unknown. A hunch, maybe. I am aware that, encapsulated within the almost deathly stillness of this afternoon, there is a feint droning sound seeping out from somewhere within the heart of the estate. It is a nauseating tone; more like some sub-larynxial movement of the estate itself, leaking out from where the buildings join the pavement, almost inaudible. I decide to investigate further, my curiosity having been piqued by the intense monotony of the drone, practically uncertain of whether it originates from inside or outside.

I swiftly go ‘incognito’ by putting on the appearance of someone who is just going up the shops for a pack of fags or doughnuts or something. So as not to draw any hostile attention. I move furtively from wall to wall around the estate, pausing now and then to press my ear to a surface, tracing my way back to the source of this monotony. Sooner or later my ears, hands, feet and other apparatus draw me to an unmarked white Ford Transit van parked up in front of a house. Attached to it is a curious-looking industrial trailer with lots of warning stickers all over it and all these dirty plastic hoses leading from the underside of the trailer unit and in through the kitchen window of the house. Judging by the droning sound, the trailer is either pumping something into the house or sucking something out. It is impossible to tell which.

There is a lot of congestion in each of the fist-thick pipes which probably accounts for the noise itself – the vibrations of an engine working way beyond its capacity, over-strained. As it coughs and splutters under its difficult burden, a viscous tar-like liquid – like some kind of filthy amber – is seeping out from a tear in one of the pipes and is coagulating in a puddle around one of the tires. I watch this process for some time. The dripping motion of the fluid is so inexorably slow, I almost cannot see it , but I keep watching all the same. It’s almost as though there were no movement at all, and I cannot understand how that can be. Perhaps if I slow down to the same speed, synchronize with the drip…? Danger. I could get stuck here forever; it’s happened before. It happens all the time. This fluid could be some sort of highly concentrated boredom, and therefore one ought to proceed with a high degree of caution.

Just as I’m thinking this thought, I suddenly become aware of three pairs of eyes watching me through the dirty lace curtain in the kitchen window of the house.  The front door unlocks and out of it emerges a trio of workmen. The eyes must have been theirs, I conclude. As they walk towards me I notice the protective white plastic garments they are wearing – a bit like how you might imagine a team of engineers to look in one of those sci-fiction movies; engineers who’ve been charged with digging up the remains of some ancient alien object buried deep beneath London streets and sewers, deeper even than the Tube, deeper than the unconscious.

I decide to respond cautiously to this unfolding situation, and to that end I make a gesture towards the puddle accumulating round the trailer tire. My gesture, (perhaps tinged with a shade of divisive malice – a bit of divide-and-rule,) causes two of the engineers to suddenly become animated, and they start bickering to each another in whispers and hushed whelps. The two of them, in their Laurel and Hardy-ish way, try to hide behind the back of the third man who is – I now notice – somewhat taller and more impressive-looking than the others. Having removed their protective masks and outer gear, I find it almost impossible to imagine how I could ever have thought all three men were the same size just a moment ago. The two animated engineers are considerably more scrawny, undernourished and pathetic than the foreman. He just looks straight through me, as though my presence was, to him, little more than a detail in the landscape of his work day.

Without my noticing, one of the two thin men has placed a vase under the drip in an effort to minimize the waste of, (or to prevent contamination by,) this strange fluid. The second thin man just watches the other with a strange intensity, his hand down the front of his trousers, eyes rolling backwards into his skull, vibrating.

I must escape before this situation achieves some kind of zenith that I would rather not be a party to.

Gesturing again to the puddle, (and stamping my foot so as to underline the gesture,) I remind the foreman how instrumental I was in the recovery of this [apparently] precious fluid; had I not been passing, a great deal of it might have been wasted – and he knows it, too. Thinking about it a second time however, I then wonder if he wasn’t just ignoring the gross misconduct of his colleagues in their wastage of the fluid, so as to spare me – an outsider – from the spectacle of their punishment. But, having indicated the leak for a second time, their mistake could no longer be overlooked by the foreman. They alternately throw hostile glances at me for having betrayed their incompetence, clawing at my conscience for a life line, pleading for me to toss even the smallest thread of hope to which they can cling for even the weakest of assurances. But this hardly bothers me much – on the contrary, it brings me pleasure to know that I will be able to escape when their punishment begins.

The foreman picks up the vase in slow-motion and slugs its contents with a single discharge of his gorge. His stern gaze, then dissolving into small rivulets of moisture in the corners of his eyes, echoes the dark patch spreading out around his crotch, a Rorschach image clinging to the inside of his thighs, steaming in the cold air.

As I slip away from the narrative lurking in the housing estate, I see in my minds eye the faces of those thin men which seemed to say – ‘It was the boredom that did it; your boredom! And we will never forgive you.’ Or at least that’s what I try not to tell myself as the droning sound fades into the distance, becoming little more than part of the background of the afternoon, a layer of autumnal parallax. To be sure, a million such monotonies lurk in the plain light of day, each threatening to disturb the apparent order of things. But if it really is my boredom that is responsible, if my boredom carries such charge as to be able to draw latent possibilities out of the monomanias of an afternoon, I am pretty certain that my being there to watch them unfold won’t really change anything.

The whole project to which this text belongs may be seen here: NEO-LONDON

Barry Cade @ The Unstitute

‘THE WRECKAGE OF STARS’: DR. JAMES LUCHTE @ THE UNSTITUTE

The Unstitute is proud to present the essay ‘The Wreckage of Stars: Nietzsche and the Ecstasy of Poetry’ by Dr James Luchte – available in English for the first time. It has been included in the permanent archive ‘[dis]Corporate Bodies’.

The essay artfully argues against the scholastic traditions of Western academia, the creation of the modern ‘theoretical man’ and the philosophical ‘spectator’, and explores the challenging alternatives presented in Nietzsche’s ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’.

Read the full essay here: http://theunstitute.org/disCorporate.Bodies.2.html

Dr Luchte is an expatriate American philosopher, author and poet who has lived in the United Kingdom since 1995. He is on the Board of Advisers of the Nietzsche Circle based in New York. This essay, available in English for the first time, was originally published in the Chinese Social Science Quarterly in 2011.

LINK:

http://theunstitute.org/disCorporate.Bodies.2.html

A patch of wasteland

This patch of wasteland, located off the westerly end of Southampton Way, Camberwell, measures roughly one quarter of an acre. It has no direct access-points; no way in and no way out, other than by scaling the fences or going under the ground. It does not appear to have had any use for rather a long time – the time of disuse measurable by the advancement of decay and overgrowth. I am only able to see it from the balcony of an abandoned house which adjoins it at the rear, and as far as I can tell, this is the only vantage-point from which you are able to tell that it even exists. In the westernmost corner is a ruined brick building – too small for a house – propped up by oak beams to prevent its utter collapse. A large quantity of garbage has been tossed over the outer walls, making this a haven for vermin of all kinds. A corpse is barely visible at the far-eastern corner.

I take two photographs of the wasteland, (or more properly, The Wilderness,) to record how it changes – if it changes – at the beginning and the end of one week. If I can study the passing of time in this wasteland which is excluded from direct human contact, this blind-spot to the city, this terrain vague, I hope to see the spatial mechanisms underlying the degradation and nihilism of the populace.

 

1: July 16th

The initial photograph and referent to the final one cannot provide any surprises, inasmuch as it constitutes the first view of a space and its contents; it is a mapping, a topography, a set of references and coordinates. Only when I return next Friday will any change reveal itself. The red arrows point at the derelict building/outhouse on the left, and the foot of the human corpse on the right. Note the window in the warehouse on the upper-left is begrimed with soot and provides no perspective of the wasteland – the balcony I have reached on the south side is the only accessible vantage.

It seems obvious to say, but much of what can be seen in this terrain is due to the lack of human presence. Prime land in the city such as this rarely remains fallow for long before developers move in, but this area appears to have been unused for quite some time. The hastily-erected fences constructed from corrugated iron suggest either an effort to retain the integrity of the borders of this territory, or a defensive measure to contain something hostile – at any rate, the builders of these fences, whether through negligence or on purpose, have not built any way in or out of it. It is land-locked, so to speak. Closed-off. This may have simply been a gross oversight – like building a house without a door – or it might be evidence of a last-ditch struggle to hold something within its confines.

It is possible that there are a large number – perhaps a growing number – of such wildernesses springing up all over the city, only you can’t see them due to perimeter barricading which makes them disappear off the map. Unless a survey was conducted from the air to document the area of useful land that has been left for waste, we would have no way of knowing just how much of London has been eroded in this way, and at this stage of social decline I can hardly imagine any governing body having the necessary energy or time to carry out such a survey. There are always plenty of helicopters in the sky though, (two can be seen at the top of the image,) but these seem to be engaged in some kind of search for something – probably fugitives. Unless they’re searching for themselves. I mean, actually searching for themselves. But that seems improbably to say the least; from my observations it appears that the helicopters tend to hover like flies over the corpses strewn throughout the disused areas further north from here towards the river; those areas that became fallow many weeks ago.

I depart, ready to return in a week to take the next photograph.

***

 

2: July 23rd

As you can see, nothing has changed. You could be forgiven for thinking that this was exactly the same photograph as the previous one, except that it isn’t. Mounting my camera on the tripod I left on the balcony, (so as to get exactly the same angle on the wasteland as I did last week,) I find myself looking into exactly the same scene; nothing has changed – not even the light has changed. The two helicopters are stuck in the sky, unable to get out of the picture. The undergrowth, which is usually fast-growing at this time of the year, has not grown a bit. Nothing has changed at all, rather everything seems to be stuck in a state of suspended animation, frozen-off from the rest of the city. The outhouse is no nearer to collapse, and the corpse has not deteriorated, even under the incredible heat of the noonday sun which seems to be hotter and closer than it ever used to be. If this wasteland were to be a cancerous invasion of sorts and local residents had worked to stem its growth before it infected their homes, the effort seems to have failed, however. The houses in the vicinity are empty, too. A process of de-gentrification is in progress, the area becoming less and less desirable, no longer up-and-coming as it once was, but down and out to the point of zero-value. But the question is, whether this is the result of the patch of wasteland infecting the area, or the area devaluing itself and creating the patch of wasteland. But it is impossible to know such things from only a pair of identical photographs.

 

CADE, Untitled diary fragment #703 [summer 2013]

view entire project here

Long Lane: Beyond the Pleasure Principle

Introduction:

Long Lane, Southwark. The people here are in a desperate state, although it’s difficult to tell what exactly they are desperate for. Usually there is some ostensible reason why a young man might cry his heart out in a doorway – or why a woman might lead her partner about on a leash. There are too many whys and wherefores these days which are little more than vague gestures than real questions seeking out an answer. There are too many unsolved mysteries that double, treble, quadruple every day. One doesn’t wonder if people don’t unconsciously desire to be perplexed, acting in the strange ways they do. But there’s literally no good reason for being in Long Lane; this is the place people go to get beyond the pleasure principle. People’s behaviour doesn’t mean anything here. Not even a scream has meaning.
People only ever cry out for something. You cry out for help. You cry out in pain and you cry for joy. You cry in both orgasm and mourning. In Long Lane however, something highly unusual has happened to the normal sequence of the cry inasmuch as here, people cry for nothing. This ‘cry-for-nothing’, harmless as it sounds, signifies nothing. You cannot hope to find out what it means, and if you catch yourself doing it, you’re done for.

 

Cries-for-nothing

1) Man in doorway

This first recording is of the aforementioned young man in the doorway of a closed charity shop on Long Lane. You might think he was drunk or something, the way he lollygags on the pavement staining his trousers in phlegm, but you would be wrong. There is no reason for this behaviour. This man is in an abyss. From a distance, the sounds he makes are indistinguishable from those of a person in deep misery – indeed, all the sounds are correct, but the content is entirely missing. I listen several times to the recording of his ‘voice’ and find the sounds I interpreted initially as abject misery are in fact nothing of the kind – there are no words, ideas, concepts – and therefore no meaning to his cries. It is a cry-for-nothing.

2) Male voice from above

The second recording came out of a first-floor window further down by the junction with Wild’s Rents – a nondescript cobbled street with a gourmet food shop on its corner. This batch of noises are far more terrible than the first but alas, just as meaningless. I try to picture the person up there in that room above the shop, grunting and snorting until he practically vomits. It can only just be described correctly as a human voice.
Looking at the deli-style menu outside the shop, I am puzzled as to the fare on offer here.


I speculate momentarily on the possible connection between the sounds and the menu, but think better of it and move on. In this instance, I am glad for the cry to be meaningless. I rush back to the complex delta-like junction spews its nonsense all over Borough High Street like an ill mouth.

3) Man on leash

This whimpering and grunting animal has been clumsily dressed in a suit by his wife who, in a crude effort to provide him with a familiar identity, has revealed her denial about her husband’s metamorphosis. It may be that this man-thing can only get around anywhere on a leash, perhaps due to laziness, idiocy or lack of motivation, but whatever it is he has become entirely dependent upon his wife for survival. Were she to abandon him he would no doubt turn feral and run wild all over the area, posing a threat to husbands and other dogs in the neighbourhood.

Empties

 

Well…that was the last thing he ever said to me. Packed-up and left the next morning he did, and that was the last I saw of him. Poor old Mr. Johnson. But I suppose you can’t blame him for wanting to leave this place – I mean, it’s going to the dogs, innit? Not that he had a choice, mind. About leaving. Well, there weren’t nothing left for him to do, so naturally he lost his job. Housing Association’s hardly likely to pay for a caretaker to take care of a building that they don’t care about any more, are they? Think about it. Housing Association treats this whole estate like it doesn’t exist. I suppose that’s why everybody’s gone, cause…well…I mean, people don’t want to live somewhere that doesn’t exist, do they? Course not. Except for me of course. I suppose you could say the Housing Association should have done more to keep the building in good repair, you know. They could have painted the walls for a start, or occasionally cut that overgrown lawn out front and changed them old fittings in the lobby that never work but, I dunno – they’ve got their own agenda, haven’t they?

Of course, they don’t want me here. Course not. They say I’m ‘standing in the way of progress’. Yeah. That’s what they said in their letter. Hang on a minute…I got it here somewhere…ok, I got it…here we go:

Dear Mister Whatever-your-name-is,

Our Enforcement Division has recently discovered that you are standing in the way of progress. I should like to take this opportunity to draw your attention to clause number 5,142a in your tenancy agreement that states the following:

‘All persons residing at the property agree not to stand in the way of progress. Any person or persons at the property found to be standing in the way of progress are recommended to think twice about it before they get their mouth filled in with concrete.’

If it is therefore your intention to continue standing in the way of progress, the Housing Association will take no responsibility, financially or otherwise, for the condition of your internal organs after we visit. 

Yours, with heartfelt regards, etc. etc.,

Mister Housing Association

It’s funny, but I don’t feel like leaving. Don’t ask me why. I just, you know, I just feel like somebody should stay, you know what I mean? See, if I leave, this place just won’t exist anymore, so I’ve got to stay. I know I shouldn’t, ‘cause of the risk and everything, what with them ‘patrols’ the Housing Association keeps sending round in the middle of the night, making that dreadful racket with their crowbars as they tear the place apart, night after night, breaking things and with their jack boots. But that’s nothing compared to the dog patrols. You don’t wanna be anywhere near one of them when it comes past. I saw them get a squatter last night. Poor woman. Talk about savage. It’s terrible it is. So you have to sit and cower somewhere almost impossible to get at, hardly daring to breathe…or you keep moving from one flat to another, hiding as best you can, keeping upwind from those dog-things. But, I suppose you gotta hand it to them; at least they’re thorough. The Housing Association, I mean. At least it gives you a bit of confidence in your local authority, you know what I mean? And it’s good to have confidence in the authorities. So, well…I just sit here in the dark most of the time. But I know they’ll find me in the end. They find everyone in the end…

Tar Pit

The road engineers are at it again. For weeks they’ve stood at the junction across the way, resurfacing that same bit of road, over and over. We had a letter about it. It said they can’t keep up with the rate of decay around these parts, you see, so they’re trying to repair the repairs as fast as they can, but of course, it’s impossible for them to get anywhere doing a task like that. Well, its so futile, isn’t it? But still, they carry on. No sooner have they laid one bit of tarmac than it needs to be taken off, ground away by the little machine and then replaced with fresh, rich tar, and they work continually in this way to ensure the integrity of the road surface.
But I don’t believe they actually work for any of the agencies licensed to perform such repairs. That used to be taken care of by one of the big contractors before they all went into liquidation. They do look the part however – they have the right uniforms, the right PPE (personal protective equipment), the right materials for repairing roads, the right vehicles, the right mannerisms etc., but despite all that there’s just something about them that doesn’t sit right. Do you know what I mean?

Like for instance this morning, at about eleven o’clock, Gertrude from downstairs went out to the shop to see if she couldn’t bribe the owner to sell her some food. We’ve been running pretty much on empty you see, and we already ate everything we could find when we ransacked the other apartments in the building, so we drew lots to see who would go. Our last run to the shop was a disaster. Brian from downstairs never came back. God knows what happened to him out there. Anyway, Gertrude goes out and just saunters down the street just like normal, so as not to attract any attention, when she walks past those engineers, doesn’t she? Well, she’s walking along, right, and it all seems to be going alright, (she was already past the half-way mark to the shop,) when she suddenly veers off course, straight towards them engineers. Well, I thought maybe she was going to ask them a question or something, but she just marches straight past them, straight into that hot bitumen and gets stuck, doesn’t she? She tries to free her legs, pulling at the corduroy fabric but then she totally loses her balance and goes down on all fours into the black, sticky surface.

And I’m up here, watching through my binoculars, waiting for the engineers to help her get out, but they just stand there, watching. And that’s when I saw it. Right in the middle of the tarmac, right where all the vapours are thickest, there’s this crate. And inside this crate…well…you’ll never guess what was in the crate. A smoked ham. There’s this bloody hock of smoked ham in the crate, just a bit too far away to reach from the safety of the pavement.

And then I understood.