Friday, January 08, 2010

Artists Postproducing / Animals Consuming

Jonathan Safran Foers' avant-pop food manifesto, Eating Animals, includes a few interesting asides of a literary nature, including references to Kafka's vegetarianism critically apprehended by Walter Benjamin as well as a digression into the alterna-animot vision of Derrida who is one of the few well-known philosophers (besides my friend and colleague Cary Wolfe who first introduced to me to Derrida when we were all in Albany) to challenge the singularity and homogeneity of the word "animal."

Foer relates a story about Kafka who, visiting an aquarium, looks closely at the fish in the tank and feels really good about the fact that he does NOT eat them. He refers to these creatures swimming before him as his "invisible family."

The issue of speciesism is addressed by Wolfe in this ebr essay, where he writes:
... to broach the question of the institution of speciesism, as Derrida does with particular force in "Eating Well," is to insist we pay attention to the asymmetrical material effects of these discourses upon particular groups; just as the discourse of sexism effects women disproportionately (even though it may theoretically be applied to any social other of whatever gender), so the effects of the discourse of speciesism fall overwhelmingly, in institutional terms, on non-human others. But the effectiveness of the discourse of species when applied to social others of whatever sort relies upon a prior taking for granted of the institution of speciesism -- that is, the ethical acceptability of the killing of non-human others. What this means is that the ethical priority of confronting the institution of speciesism, and the pressing question of the ethical standing of non-human others, does not depend upon whether or not you like animals. Rather, it involves stakes for us all, human and non-human alike.
This review of Wolfe by Matthew Calarco in ebr (disclamier: I am the publisher of ebr), suggests that "Wolfe brings Derrida's work on the inhuman trace into dialogue with the scientific writings of Maturana and Varela in order to deepen the thought of inter-species language outlined in Derrida's writings on animals." The review prefaces these remarks by saying that "Derrida has, from the very beginning, insisted that his thought of the trace (the mark, iterability, etc.) cannot be restricted to the human." In a roundabout way that perhaps only I can make sense of, this connects with my own take on remixology as an innate creative process that is imbued in all life forms but that expands into more metamediumistic methodologies when filtered by humans whom I refer to as artist or postproduction mediums.

What is it about the artist-medium's bio-image as a durational achievement that makes human forms of remixology more privileged? Or, regarding the so-called artist-medium, is this entity to be construed strictly in human terms? Can a cactus be an artist-medium? A bee? Lately I have been questioning whether this aesthetic performance, one that is not species specific and that, following Whitehead, occurs with all entities who participate in the concrescence of novel forms of creativity, is part of an interconnected, self-sustaining autopoietic system of production such as the one Maturana and Varela have suggested, or, rather, a co-poietic unfolding of collaboratively generated intense experiences to be postproduced from here to eternity (the last part of that sentence is a mash-up of Whitehead, Ettinger, Bourriaud, and even Fellini).

There is a difference to be made here -- perhaps the difference that makes a difference -- but I prefer to articulate this difference in my philosophical films, novels, and installations instead of in academic essay form which I cannot help but notice my body resists, even as I write these words, even as I write these words knowing how much I admire and enjoy reading Derrida, Wolfe, and the writers I publish at ebr. As we begin our move into Web 3.0 and beyond, I am still searching (but not necessarily Google searching) for an indication of where "theory per se" is going (i.e. where it is moving so that it may survive as theory if it is to survive at all in digital culture).

The question is not so much why this difference, but how to participate in the making of this difference. Or so my instincts lead me to believe.

Metadata: , ,, , , ,

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Actualization III (Teleportation)

Monday, January 04, 2010

UNREALTIME (Extended Version)

Recently found out that UNREALTIME, the comprehensive retrospective of many of my digital art works showcased at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens, is now extended until January 10th.

A few links for those who are still catching up:

UNREALTIME exhibition

Interview with Rhizome

We Make Money Not Art review

Short chat with my sponsors at the US Embassy in Greece

In Greek: [1] [2] [3] [4]

Metadata: , , , , ,