Category Archives: readings


Thinking—Spaces for Research—Creation – McCormack (2008)

Thinking—Spaces for Research—Creation – McCormack (2008)

  • Matters of Concern 
    • “The question was never to get away from facts but closer to them, not fighting empiricism but, on the contrary, renewing empiricism. (…) … the critical mind, if it is to renew itself and be relevant again, is to be found in the cultivation of a stubbornly realist attitude—to speak like William James—but a realism dealing with what I will call matters of concern, not matters of fact.” (Latour 2004)
    •  “Give me one matter of concern and I will show you the whole earth and heavens that have to be gathered to hold it firmly in place”? 
  •  Matters of concern (for geography)
    • 1) Thinking space — how it is conceptualised, produced, inhabited, contested, constructed, made and remade
    • 2) Making more of the practice and craft of thinking — corporeal, affective and perceptual (“forces that act under the representation of the identical”)
    • 3) Fieldwork — “exploring how different techniques of experience and experiment work to animate and inflect thinking with the force of the nonrepresentational”
    • 4) How techniques of experience and experiment complicate the critical tendency to oppose the lived and the abstract as conceptual, ethical, and political spaces 
  • Thinking-space: as facilitating environment and generative activity / cultivation of ecologies of research-creation
  • To have a space // geography — is it immobilising concretisation? (Bergson / Whitehead) 
    • unprocessural in nature — space as a container for action – LIKE A LAB!? 
    • an ‘unwillingness’ to think becoming!? 
  • Space-time // thinking-space is ‘before individual agency or intentionality gets to work’
  • Thinking about space 
    • epistemological after-awareness of processuality 
  • Thinking-space
    • co-intensive sensing
    • fundamentally an object of encounter rather than recognition
    • “cognitive experience must originate within that of a non-cognitive sort”
  • “It is one thing to affirm a movement from the grammar of disciplinary extraction to that of participation in a world that already participates in us before we think about it. It is another to work this affirmation into the practice and craft of research.”
  • “‘field’ has come to be understood less as a site ‘out there’ at which research takes place, but a space of distributed agency, action and encounter within which research materials are not so much discovered as co-generated”
  • How are Thinking Spaces arranged? The Thinking Space of the cloister… it’s “rhythm analysis”
  • The Production of Space (1991) — “field of application par excellent [of rhythm analysis], its preferred sphere of experiment, would be the sphere of music and dance, the sphere of ‘rhythmic cells’ and their effects.” (1991) 
  • Lefevre’s rhytmic / Guattari’s ritornello
    • the production of subjectivities through multiple ritornellos
    • eternal returns // 
    • Lefevre Cloister / Guattari’s Kitchen
    • making spaces… Critical Media Lab? 
  • La Borde — psychoanalytical environment – Jean Oury – social political and aesthetic practices
  • Participation rather than presentation /// Not a plan of action but an ethos of openness
  • “relational movement exercises becoming movement of thought” 
  • The after-affects might sustain a series of affirmations, presented here in no particular order…
    • That the critic is the one who assembles, the one who provides arenas within which to gather (Latour 2004)
    • That the paradoxical movement of dancing bodies (Gil 2006; Manning 2006) is generative – in potential – of multiple thinking-spaces
    • That concepts are mobile attractors, things to be played with and not necessarily policed or applied.
    • That what Whitehead (1978) calls “conceptual feeling” is not a contradiction in terms.
    • That as far as research methods are concerned, much more can be made of techniques that in embracing their own inventiveness “are not afraid to own up to the fact that they add (if ever so meagrely) to reality”
    • That research-creation would benefit through learning ‘ritournello games’ which “fix the existential ordering of the sensory environment and which prop up the meta- modelizing scenes of the most abstract problematic affects” 
    • That research-creation involves an ethical commitment to learning to become affected (in a Spinozist sense) by the relational movement of bodies, and a political one borne of the claim that we can never determine in advance the kinds of relational matrices of which bodies are capable of becoming involved 
    • That the world needs more conceptually rich environments within which to experiment thus ethically and politically. 
  • Ganzfeld Tents
  • Bruce Naumann — Dance or Exercise on the Perimeter of the Square 
  • Certainly, the lines of this geography might trouble any phenomenology of lived space defined against abstraction. And they would do so as part of what Gunnar Olsson calls “a cartography of thought” (1991: 181) that draws out the lines of which things and events are composed: “the lines that make them up, or they make up, or take, or create”

Cyborg Manifesto — Donna Haraway (1983)

Cyborg Manifesto — Donna Haraway (1983)

“Michael Foucault’s biopolitics is a flaccid premonition of cyborg politics, a very open field.”

“The stakes in the border war have been the territories of production, reproduction, and imagination. This chapter is an argument for pleasure in the confusion of boundaries and for responsibility in their construction.”
“the relation between organism and machine has been a border war. The stakes in the border war have been the territories of production, reproduction, and imagination.”
“a ‘final’ irony since the cyborg is also the awful apocalyptic telos of the ‘West’s’ escalating dominations of abstract individuation, an ultimate self untied at last from all dependency, a man in space. An origin story in the ‘Western’, humanist sense depends on the myth of original unity, fullness, bliss and terror, represented by the phallic mother from whom all humans must separate, the task of individual development and of history, the twin potent myths inscribed most powerfully for us in psychoanalysis and Marxism. Hilary Klein has argued that both Marxism and psychoanalysis, in their concepts of labour and of individuation and gender formation, depend on the plot of original unity out of which difference must be produced and enlisted in a drama of escalating domination of woman/nature. The cyborg skips the step of original unity, of identification with nature in the Western sense. This is its illegitimate promise that might lead to subversion of its teleology as star wars.” — this last sense in which the cyborg is, again, the fulfillment of a kind of knowledge of self — what Marx and Freud missed (that Simondon understood) is that there is not originary unity… — Hilary Manette Klein – Feminist Studies – Vol. 15, No. 2, The Problematics of Heterosexuality (Summer, 1989), pp. 255-278
“The main trouble with cyborgs, of course, is that they are the illegitimate offspring of militarism and patriarchal capitalism, not to mention state socialism. But illegitimate offspring are often exceedingly unfaithful to their origins. Their fathers, after all, are inessential.”
Charting Three Breakdowns

  • ANIMAL <> MAN — “By the late twentieth century in United States scientific culture, the boundary between human and animal is thoroughly breached. The last beachheads of uniqueness have been polluted if not turned into amusement parks–language tool use, social behaviour, mental events, nothing really convincingly settles the separation of human and animal. And many people no longer feel the need for such a separation; indeed, many branches of feminist culture affirm the pleasure of connection of human and other living creatures. Movements for animal rights are not irrational denials of human uniqueness; they are a clear-sighted recognition of connection across the discredited breach of nature and culture. Biology and evolutionary theory over the last two centuries have simultaneously produced modern organisms as objects of knowledge and reduced the line between humans and animals to a faint trace re-etched in ideological struggle or professional disputes between life and social science. Within this framework, teaching modern Christian creationism should be fought as a form of child abuse.”
  • ANIMAL <> TECHNOLOGY — Pre-cybernetic machines could be haunted; there was always the spectre of the ghost in the machine. This dualism structured the dialogue between materialism and idealism that was settled by a dialectical progeny, called spirit or history, according to taste. But basically machines were not self-moving, self-designing, autonomous. They could not achieve man’s dream, only mock it. They were not man, an author to himself, but only a caricature of that masculinist reproductive dream. To think they were otherwise was paranoid. Now we are not so sure. Late twentieth-century machines have made thoroughly ambiguous the difference between natural and art)ficial, mind and body, self-developing and externally designed, and many other distinctions that used to apply to organisms and machines. Our machines are disturbingly lively, and we ourselves frighteningly inert.
  • PHYSICAL <> NONPHYSICAL — ” Modern machines are quintessen- tially microelectronic devices: they are everywhere and they are invisible.”
    • The silicon chip is a surface for writing; it is etched in molecular scales disturbed only by atomic noise, the ultimate interference for nuclear scores. Writing, power and tech- nology are old partners in Western stories of the origin of civilization, but miniaturization has changed our experience of mechanism.
    • Our best machines are made of sunshine; they are all light and clean because they are nothing but signals, electromagnetic waves, a section of a spectrum, and these machines are eminently portable, mobile – a matter of immense human pain in Detroit and Singapore.”
      • Transparency and knowledge – something can become invisible because its a closed black box, and something can become invisible because its too open, sunshine, light…


  • “However, a woman is not simply alienated from her product, but in a deep sense does not exist as a subject, or even potential subject, since she owes her existence as a woman to sexual appropriation. To be constituted by another’s desire is not the same thing as to be alienated in the violent separation of the labourer from his product.”
  • “It is no accident that the symbolic system of the family of man and so the essence of woman breaks up at the same moment that networks of connection among people on the planet are unprecedentedly multiple, preg- nant and complex. ‘Advanced capitalism’ is inadequate to convey the structure of this historical moment.”
  • “Some differences are playful; some are poles of world historical systems of domination. ‘Epistemology’ is about knowing the difference.”

The Informatics of Domination

  • “we are living through a movement from an organic, industrial society to a polymorphous, information system from all work to all play, a deadly game.”
  • The cyborg is not subject to Foucault’s biopolitics; the cyborg simulates politics, a much more potent field of operations.”
  • “Technologies and scientific discourses can be partially understood as formalizations, i.e. as frozen moments, of the fluid social interactions constituting them, but they should also be viewed as instruments for enforcing meanings. The boundary is permeable between tool and myth, instrument and concept, historical systems of social relations and historical anatomies of possible bodies, including objects of knowledge. Indeed, myth and tool mutually constitute each other.”
  • Furthermore, communications sciences and modern biologies are constructed by a common move the translation the world into a problem of coding, a search for a common language in which all resistance to instrumental control disappears and all heterogeneity can be submitted to disassembly, reassembly, investment and exchange.
    • communications sciences, the translation of the world into a problem in coding can be illustrated by looking at cybernetic (feedback-controlled) systems theories applied to telephone technology, computer design, weapons deployment or database construc- tion and maintenance. In each case, solution to the key questions rests on a theory of language and control; the key operation is determining the rates, directions and prob- abilities of flow of a quantity called information. The world is subdivided by boundaries differentially permeable to information. Information is just that kind of quantifiable element (unit, base of unity) which allows universal translation, and so unhindered instru- mental power (called effective communication). The biggest threat to such power is interruption of communication. Any system breakdown is a function of stress. The funda- mentals of this technology can be condensed into the metaphor C3I, command-control- communication-intelligence, the military’s symbol for its operations theory.
  • Communications technologies depend on electronics. Modern states, multi- national corporations, military power, welfare state apparatuses, satellite systems, political processes, fabrication of our imaginations, labour-control systems, medical constructions of our bodies, commercial pornography, the international division oflabour and religious evangelism depend intimately upon electronics. Microelectronics is the technical basis of simulacra; that is, of copies without originals. Microelectronics mediates the translations of labour into robotics and word process- ing, sex into genetic engineering and reproductive technologies, and mind into artificial intelligence and decision procedures.

The ‘homework economy’ outside ‘the home’

  • “The extreme mobility of capital and the emerging international division of labour are intertwined with the emergence of new collectivities, and the weakening of familiar groupings.”
  • “In the prototypical Silicon Valley, many women’s lives have been structured around employment in elcctronics- dependent jobs, and their intimate realities include serial heterosexual monogamy, negotiating childcare, distance from extended kin or most other forms of traditional community, a high likelihood of loneliness and extreme economic vulnerability as they age.”
  • Gordon, Richard, and Linda M. Kimball. “High technology, employment and the challenges to education.” Prometheus 3.2 (1985): 315-330.
  • “To be feminized means to be made extremely vulner- able; able to be disassembled, reassembled, exploited as a reserve labour force… factory, home and market are integrated on a new scale and that the places of women are crucial and need to be analysed for differ- l’nces among women and for meanings for relations between men and women in various situations.”
  • “The homework economy as a world capitalist organizational structure is made possible by (not caused by) the new technologies. The success of the attack on rela- tively privileged, mostly white, men’s unionized jobs is tied to the power of the new communications technologies to integrate and control labour despite extensive disper- sion and decentralization. The consequences of the new technologies are felt by women both in the loss of the family (male) wage (if they ever had access to this white privi- lege) and in the character of their own jobs, which are becoming capital-intensive; for example, office work and nursing.”

  • “Technologies like video games and highly miniatur- ized televisions seem crucial to production of modern forms of ‘private life.”
    • Books, etc., did the same no?

Cyborgs: a myth of political identity

  • “Cyborg politics is the struggle for language and the struggle against perfect communication, against the one code that translates all meaning perfectly, the central dogma of phallogocentrism.”
  • “Cyborg politics is the struggle for language and the struggle against perfect communication, against the one code that translates all meaning perfectly, the central dogma of phallogocentrism. That is why cyborg politics insist on noise and advocate pollution, rejoicing in the illegitimate fusions of animal and machine.”
  • Anne McCaffrey’ s pre-feminist The Ship Who Sang (1969) explored the consciousness of a cyborg, hybrid of girl’s brain and complex machinery, formed after the birth of a severely handicapped child. Gender, sexuality, embodiment, skill: all were reconstituted in the story. Why should our bodies end at the skin, or include at best other beings encapsulated by skin?
    • The Bateson example of the blind man with the stick: IN STEPS TO AN ECOLOGY OF MIND, THE ANTHROPOLOGIST and scientist Gregory Bateson repeatedly uses a simple example to chal- lenge taken-for-granted assumptions about the body and the self. Consider, he says, a blind man with a stick. “Where,” Bateson asks, “does the blind man’s self begin? At the tip of the stick? At the handle of the stick? Or at some point halfway up the stick?” (Davis, Joseph E. “If the ‘Human’ Is Finished, What Comes Next?: a Review Essay.” (2007): 1–16. Print.)

Intense pleasure in skill, machine skill, ceases to be a sin, but an aspect of embodiment. The machine is not an it to be animated, worshipped and dominated. The machine is us, our processes, an aspect of our embodiment. We can be responsible for machines; they do not dominate m· threaten us. We are responsible for boundaries; we are they” – P 315


Nervous System — Mick Taussig (1992)

Why the Nervous System?

  • I admit to falling foul of the whirlygigging of the Nervous System, first nervous, then a system; first system, then nervous—nerve center and hierarchy of control, escalating to the topmost echelon, the very nerve-center, we might say, as high as the soul is deep, of the individual self.
  • And whenever I try to resolve this nervousness through a little ritual or a little science I realize this can make the NS even more nervous. Might not the whole point of the NS be it’s always being a jump ahead, tempting us through its very nervousness towards the tranquil pastures of its fictive harmony, the glories of its system, thereby all the more securely energizing its nervousness?
  • Objects taking on human forms. 
  • “Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat,” Georg Lukacs
  • Of Benjamin… “The tradition of the oppressed,” he wrote at the end of the 1930s, “teaches us that the ‘state of emergency* in which we live is not the exception but the rule.”
  • It calls for an understanding of the representation as contiguous with that being represented and not as suspended above and distant from the represented— what Adorno referred to as Hegel’s programmatic idea—that knowing is giving oneself over to a phenomenon rather than thinking about it from above. And it calls for a mode of writing no less systematically nervous than the NS itself—of which, of course, it cannot but be the latest extension, the penultimate version, the one permanently before the last.
    • Similar to the Serres Keynote — Philosophy After Nature conclusion — the contiguity of the represented and the thing:  “Being able to reflect them, any object can become the subject of other objects. Verne’s cave even shows the vision of the universe has of itself… They discover the bottom of a cornucopia, rich and saturated with material and informational plenitude that, represents both the world as it is and the joyful splendor of thinking. I do not see any difference anymore between reality and representation, since the latter is part of the former.” 
    • “…like anything in the world, like everything that lives, I am a diamond, made of hard canon that is at times pure, transparent or granular, reflecting a thousand times over the thousand and one hues of the rainbow, shining out of the multiple things of the world and of the thousands of people and living things I ever met.”

Tactility and Distraction – Chapter 8

  • O

Taussig – Cabinet Magazine Interview

How much of the magic of the state is manipulation by state operators, and how much is projection from the people onto those operators and operations—a popular participation?

It’s a circle.

phd readings

Meadows – Vilém Flusser (1979)

Meadows by Vilém Flusser from Natural Mind 

An essay on nature and culture which describes how ‘culture’ relates to the agrarian, notions of ‘dominating’ the ‘field’ (comus 

  • “it is not so much about Heidegger, the glorifier of meadows, that I think of.” (such a weird line, as in writing/reading it, you can’t help but thinks of Heidegger…) 
  • Heidegger means “the cultivator of meadows in the forest” (?)

Metamorphoses – Roman poet Ovid – 8AD: “sponte sua, sine lege fidem rectumque colebat,” — “spontaneously, without law, faith and what is right were cultivated.”

  • “maybe it would be better to say that for the Romans, meadow and field were “fields of action,” that is, battle fields. Battle against which enemy? Against the field itself.”

Mistake of treating ‘early’ man as analogous to current indigenous tribes (arrow of history, etc.) 

  •  We must, therefore, imagine the dialogues around the bonfires in the recently cultivated meadows more like research and advanced reflection meetings, and less like the contemporary “potlatch” of indians in the Aleutian Islands. 

“fidem colebat” — cultivated faith

  • “the experience of the meadow… is one of the most intense experiences of nature that we can have, and to lie down on a sun-drenched meadow is to commune with nature”
  • Even though the meadow is made by man, man is at its highest communion with the natural when he’s in the meadow, because this is a true relation with nature
  • The meadow is in some sense synthetic, but it does not alienate us: “The meadow is as it should be (in fact: intensified nature) for being the articulation of fidelity to nature. As our ancestors transformed the forest into meadow, they provoked and accentuated the natural essence in it. They continued to be faithful to it.”
  • For our ancestors: 
    • “They did not feel the contradiction between culture and nature.
    • They did not “fidem rectumque colebant,” that is, 
    • they did not synthesize faith with technology, and 
      • synthesising faith with technology in our contemporary world is what produces an ‘uptight’ / ‘un-just’ relation to technologies as we both chastise ourselves for still believe in these new gods, while constantly repopulating our lives with them
    • as they produced culture, they did not reveal the essence of nature.”
    • “culture was what is natural to men, and therefore, appropriate to the whole of nature.”
  • “The meadow, as culture (and not in spite of being culture), is essentially nature, because it was produced under the criterion of “fides;” under the criterion of an integrated religiosity”


    • Technology, culture (and not in spite of being culture), is essentially nature if it could be produced under the criterion of ‘fides’, under the criterion of an integrated religiosity.


  • Somehow this description of the natural, as that which is originally not other than us, but part of a ‘fides’ or faithful relation to the world allowing for a ‘just’ or ‘right’ relation to the world — is also what has happened to us technologically… (2nd nature, etc.) 
  • Technologies have become 2nd natures, and therefore we find ourselves twice alienated — once through the cultural-natural cleaving, and again through a kind of religious-romantic ‘disappointment’ or ‘ove-expectation’ of technological 
phd readings

A Science of Signals: Einstein, Inertia and the Postal System — Jimena Canales (2011)

A Science of Signals: Einstein, Inertia and the Postal System — Jimena Canales (2011)

Account of the ‘media thinking’ of Einstein through his contextual era, and his involvement with letter-writing (his wife Mileva, his lover and cousin Elsa, his children).

At issue is whether relativity theory and communications technologies are connected as consequential or constitutive. That is, were media technics, their limitations and capacities arise as a consequence of relativity theory, OR did communications technologies in fact constitute the theory of relativity, as they gave rise, in Einstein to the limits of electromagnetic speed, etc. Eventually the links between Relativity and communications signals were effaced.

Main point of the paper: “Einstein often claimed that his theory seemed strange only because in our “everyday life” we did not experience delays in the transmission speed of light signals: “One would have noticed this [relativity theory] long ago, if, for the practical experience of everyday life light did not appear” to be infinitely fast.4 But precisely this aspect of everyday life was changing apace with the spread of new electromagnetic communication technologies, particularly after World War I. The expansion of electromagnetic communication technolo- gies and their reach into everyday life occurred in exact parallel to the expansion and success of Einstein’s theory of relativity.”

The author contrasts Einstein’s thinking to his “contemporary” Kafka, a number of times in the paper: 

  • Einstein’s position, wrote Lodge, led to an absurd result: “as if we could prolong a man’s life by evading the tidings of his death; and might be entitled to say, without absurdity, that a man who died at seventy had lived seventy-one years and a lot of miles, if we had travelled so far that a messenger took a year to reach us.” A few years earlier, in 1917, Kafka wrote the story “The Great Wall of China,” which described a similar situation. Because of the long transmission time of messages across the great nation, “in our villages, emperors long since dead are set on the throne.”
  • In Einstein’s universe the distant and the close did not match with the faraway and contiguous. Kafka, at about the same time as Einstein, described places that, although next door to each other, were far since they could never be reached by a messenger.
  • During these same years, Kafka wrote “written kisses don’t reach their destination,” revealing that he was notic- ing some of the same aspects of communication tech- nologies that Einstein was. In the face of electromagnetic alternatives, postal communication appeared much more secondary than the telegraph and telephone.


  • “Einstein often claimed that his theory seemed strange only because in our ‘everyday life’ we did not experience delays in the transmission speed of light signals: ‘One would have noticed this [relativity theory] long ago, if, for the practical experience of everyday life light did not appear’”
  • Einstein soon started defining “signaling” in physics in the way it was used by the communications industry, and distinguishing the term from previous definitions that included periodic and predetermined signals. Previously, the term “signal” was used frequently in physics to denote both a symbol and a sign, including periodic and predetermined causes, but Einstein increasingly defined it in narrower terms: as a communications signal. — p.13
  • “Einstein, by reference to signals, and their path and their reach, overhauled concepts of time and space. By reference to them, he recalculated the shape and size of the universe; understood gravitational forces; determined the relation between cause and effect; and differentiated the past from the present and future.” p. 17
events readings

Philosophy Without Nature — 3 Sept 2014

Information and Thinking – Michel Serres

Jules Verne L’etoile du Sud — precious gems

Immanuel Kant — the Sun Ego

  • billiant mirros sparkling flares… exhcnaging millions of inforatmions about themselves 
    • Kaprow quote about the computer 
  • the things of the world have the ability  reflect itself
  • Vernes cavern — the vision the universe has of itself
  • “I am a diamond”
  • Matter and mirror, media (support) and messages
  • I do not see any different between reality and representation 
  • Materialist versus spiritualism
    • Atoms encode — they are material but they are also sign
  • They encode, we encode, they count, we count, we speak, they speak. Knowledge is thus the ability to listen and to translate the scattered languages of things. They usually speak mathematics. 
Round Table:
  • Rosi Braidotti
    • Calvina — Six Memos for the Next Millennium — “the lightness, the rhythmic speed” – stands outside the flux of time… 
    • Serres is post-anthropocentric – flat ontology with a realist method
    • Profound ontological pacifism – with a knowledge of science as a great evil (thinking materialism without ideology) 
    • Style is not a rhetorical device it is the method
  • Francoise Balibar
    • The use of language in physics conferences… e.g.: 
  • Simon Glendinning
    • Classic cosmopolitanism – every other is my fellow (horizon of humanity)
    • De-centered humanisms
    • A responsibility to those not yet born
  • Mark BN Hansen
    • Whitehead – We’re the hosts for agents. 
    • Serres – no argumentation, not speaking from a position of privilege (speaking for others)
    • Flat ontology / Speculative Realism – 
    • (Zielinski’s comment about Kittler’s removal of the
    • Serres different than speculative realism as the ’things’ are not the enemy
    • Matter and information as non-dialectical — all things express other things 
    • “Any object can become the subject of other objects” 
  • Rahel Jaeggi
    • There is a difference between thinking and storing information
    • Distinction between what bees do, versus what people do when they work 
    • Not just referring to something but knowing that you refer to something
    • “I don’t blame the stone when someone throws it at me”
    • We’re human being that take responsibility for events 
  • Paul Ziche
    • The challenge is what distinguishes this text from naive scientism of 1800’s
    • The image of the starry sky — is familiar to Kant (symbol for the sublime, which precisely transcends knowledge)
    • Compares the starry sky to to the Verne cavern (the softness of the sky, the hardness of the rocks/crystals) 
    • Genesis: Its just too simple to say lets move from matter to information
    • Matter and mirror
  • Derrida — No justice seems possible or thinkable without the principle of some responsibility

  • Romanticism — Why is romanticism so bad? Could this be a positive comparison?

Latour & Technology 
Shane Denson
    • We’ve Never Been Modern — ‘intermediaries’ versus ‘mediators’
    • Expansion of media
    • Hansen: “medium as an environment for life,” “marks an originally correlation of technics and thought, one that comes ‘before’ history and that is for this very reason… “ —> We Have Never Been Natural 
    • Stiegler “co-originarity” of technics and the human – epiphylogenesis
      • human life is unthinkable without technics
      • non-genetic evolution
    • Hansen “medium is environment for life” – a “transduction between the organism and the environment that constitutes life as essentially technical”
    • Quasi-autonomy view of technical and human evolution
    • “reciprocal (though asymmetrical) indirection” (302) — humans are concretely grounded through the body / physiology  
    • Medium naming the link between the human and the technical
    • Cinema as tertiary memory – stores experience 
    • Primary retention: immediate experiential process / Secondary retention: memory activated afterwards (Husserl) 
      • Hearing is not absolute / second audition is always different 
      • Tertiary memory is what allows us to discover this — that is, the presentation of a ‘recorded experience’ 
      • Temporal experience is problematically ‘mass produced’ as in ‘live television’ – where experience is present as tertiary memory 
      • Hanson responds that Stiegler reduces primary intention 
      • Salanskis – retention 
    • Stiegler prioritises mneotechnics —over the human (a kind of fatalistic ‘sucking of the human’ into the machine)
    • Tertiary memory – technology – might have its own form of embodiment that is marked its own material boundary between discrete object hood and environmental flux. 
    • For example film has a referential and non-referential side
    • The technical as also sitting between the unmarked environemnt of material flux
    • Merleau Ponty (flesh) — Viviane Sopjek — 
    • “As a body that does and then learns to think”
    • Question of Ontology: the cognitive phenomenal realm is embedded in the material realm — representation is a part of reality (Serres) 

Rumen Rachev

    • Onto-speculative theories
    • Matter of Care and Media Natures 
    • Software studies
      • application
      • network
      • code
    • How technologies arises — How software come to be perceived as software and how software actualise itself through material practices 
    • Coal Fired Computer – mining and energy
    • Crystal World – reselling
    • Maria dela Bellacasa ‘Matters of Care in Technoscience: Assembling Neglected Things’ 
      • Matters of care: “what care can actually mean for the thinking of things and how this notion involves doing and intervening”
      • Barcuh Gotlieb 
    • Software Mediatures — mining process of media and how it evolves into technologies
      • Investigating high-tech media culture is entwined with a variety of material agencies…
    • Google Black
    • Software matters
    • Questions: 
      • The digital is a principle — not material? But the development of the digital is brought about through materials — in terms of how software develops… 
      • Code and Spaces — the human ‘experience’ of code is not of these elements, not of the ‘gold’ in the pcb, etc.

Notes to self moral dimension of media geologies: 

  • One direction: the morality of production and the development of industries which exploit worker 
  • Second direction: the morality of material complexes of technology creating the ‘coding sweatshops’ 

Notes to self development of theories that absorb both the materiality and human experience of technologies 

  • There are always questions which speak of the gap between the material and experiential (e.g.: if we speak of the ‘material’ structuring of the digital for example)… but… There are many forces keeping this from occurring 
    • we cannot experience ‘multi temporality’ / ‘multi spatiality’ 
    • technologies are built (scale, integration) to resist ‘experiencing’ them
  • Note that this is what constitutes the problem of the ontological/epistemological divide. There is a mistake in the potential of objects to reveal themselves as they’ve been separated into an aesthetic (representation, immediate) and production — this is what analysis of the ‘practice’ of the technological helps in breaking down the onto/episto divide. That is, making software, is a way of understanding how we create ideas. The world is there to teach itself things. 
  • e.g.: Programming a low level circuit board allows you to understand the material substrate of software – the chip gets hot when you render too many objects on the screen – just as creating a clay pot would lend an immanent (internal, emergent) account of the object. 
  • Imagine a world in which you made everything you had, everything you used by yourself. You would not only have a full, and careful account, of the sorge (care) and  elements, but you would 
  • So this claim, that we must account for ‘both levels’ of the experience of technical objects (how they are made, and their cultural effects / human-deception) is a certain form of blindness to the practices which forge them, which are implied in the sensible but do not arrive there, always.

Moritz Gansen

    • AIME — 10 month extension — An Inquiry into Modes of Existence
    • Anthropology of the Moderns (We Have Never Been Modern) 
    • Overt philosophical orientations — 
    • Prince and Wolf — LSE — like a dog following its prey and 
    • Finally he could be a philosopher, sociologist, 
    • Etinne Souriaux — modes of existence — 1943
      • The manners of being of the diverse beings
      • A work of aesthetics?
      • Metaphysics is one of an ‘art of existence’ and ‘mode to be made’ (masterpiece to come in AIME) 
      • Souriaux lecture – the existential incompletion – ‘everything is given to us in a half light…’ – ‘everything is work to be made’ – sketches and drafts – everything demands its own accomplishment
      • Instauration – the creating of things (not the restoring, but the founding) 
        • White supremacist magazine 
      • To exist means to be in a fundamental way – to be in a specific manner and mode (planes of phenomenon, synaptic being) 
      • (Like AIME) leaving spaces for further modes of being 
      • Anti-hegelian, opposed to metaphysical machine: “We must beware of the dialectical fascination”
      • Orders and hierarchies bring into relations different modes of existence 
    • What good is philosophy that doesn’t contribute to your life
      • This proliferation as instauration – virtual / actual / becoming 
      • The virtual – calls out for its own instauration
      • Tiny instauratory acts (artists, painters, etc.) 
      • Everyone bears a certain responsibility to the virtual — they are never simply accomplished or given… 
      • Beware of which reality you pay most attention to — it judges you.
    • Simondon starts with a originally unity whereas Souriaud begins with plurality 
    • Philosopher is a dog ancient greece
    • The Great Instauration — Bacon
    • Genealogy — Bergson & William James … The Pluralist Philosophies of England and America … Stengers / Deleuze 

Critique of Forms of Life — Professor Rahel Jaeggi, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin 

  • Hannah Arendt and the realm of the human
  • Practices are described 
  • Practices are situated (playing hide and seek versus hiding from the police)
  • Practice suppose a common horizon of interpretation (bundles of practices – which can and do transform) 
  • Practices are materialised 
  • Someone must be responsible — 
  • Immanent critique – transformative but rooted in an internal perspective 
  • Arendt — “one can never survive bare”
  • Hegel’s analysis of the modern bourgeois family
  • Problems are in a particular way self-made 
  • Problems call out in ways in which the practical side of the world requires 
  • The meta question – one can recognise if a process has succeeded in the ‘deepening of experience’ 
  • Ethical learning process 
  • Hillary Putnam – pluralism
  • Experimentation is the only path to new solutions 
  • Robin Celikates — Forms of Life — cultural shaped forms of human coexistence
    • Structure, Struggle, Progress 
    • Forms of life are embedded in material — can we account for this embeddedness in the form of practice theory? 
    • Bundles of practices have sedimentary elements which are not transparent or known by the forms of life which undertaken
    • Emphasis on system-like character 
    • It must be possible to blame or praise a person — this is difficult … 
      • Marxist analysis’ success was to recognise those structural dynamics – it wasn’t just a group of rich people sitting in a room saying, “lets’ try and convince the poor to be exploited…”
    • Problems / Solutions (instead of needs / satisfaction) — focus on learning processes 
      • conflict and oppression cannot always be described as ‘learning’? (e.g.: the fall of S.A. apartheid cannot be described as learning) 
    • Vulgar Hegelianism — “progress is just what has lead to us”
events phd readings

Les nouvelles technologies — Serres (2007)

Mais si on perd, on gagne. La main en perdant sa fonction de marche quadripède, a gagné en universalité. On a perdu du formaté, et on découvre de l’universel. “L’homme est une bête dont le corps perd” (comme une casserole qui perd de l’eau par un trou, le corps de l’homme perd).

Les nouvelles technologies : révolution culturelle et cognitive (video)

Transcription-de-la-conférence-Michel-Serres-INRIA-Lille-2007 (transcript)


The Real World of Technology, Ursula M. Franklin

Americans and Nature 

“Sometimes I think if I were granted one wish, it would be that the Canadian government would treat nature the way Canadian governments have always treated the United States of America — with utmost respect and as a great power.
Whenever suggestions for political action are placed before the government of Canada, the first consideration always seems to be “What about the Americans? They may not like it. They may let their displeasure be seen and felt. They may retaliate!” And what about nature? Obviously nature does not take kindly to what is going on in the real world of technology. Nature is retaliating, and we’d better understand why and how this is happening. I would therefore suggest to you that, in all processes of planning, nature should be considered as a strong and independent power. Ask, “What will nature do?” before asking, “What will the Americans do?” 

“ Maybe what the real world of technology needs more than anything else are citizens with a sense of humility — the humility of Kepler or Newton, who studied the universe but knew that they were not asked to run it.”

  • Alisdair Grey’s stories about the Art School and the tunnel

first phase – exuberance and enthusiasm  “In this phase technologies create human bonds and a sense of excitement in people who feel grateful to be part of such wonderful, progressive times. The voices of reservation sound like disgruntled skeptics, fearful of change — like the old lady who said that if God had wanted us to fly, she would never have given us the railways.”

second phase – concretisation and domestication  “After this phase, with its flights of imagination, human contacts, and excessive hopes, a new phase appears. This is the phase of the stern father saying, “What do you really want to do when you grow up?” This is the phase of growth and standardization of the technology. From here on the involvement of people, whether workers or users, is drastically reduced.”

“There’s also the language of computers to support this image of harmless domesticity. One speaks of booting up and boilerplates; one talks about mouse and menu. The user has the feeling of choice and control, of mastery and a comfortable relationship with the machine and with other users.”

second phase – industrialisation and exploitation – “But this phase will not last. Behind that pink fluff one already sees the features of global restructuring. The changes in the workplace are there and it is not the workers who exercise control. After you’ve looked at the gushy computer magazines, you may want to read Heather Menzies” book, called Fast Forward and Out of Control,6 in which she speaks about global restructuring in terms of the Canadian economy and Canadian workers. If one doesn’t watch the introduction of new technologies and particularly watch the infrastructures that emerge, promises of liberation through technology can become a ticket to enslavement. I’d like to remind you of one example of the doubtful promises of liberation by a new technology. The case is focused, direct, and drastic. Let’s look at the introduction of the sewing machine.”


Women and Technology

Feminine coping skills versus growth skills

From “When Old Technologies Were New”

  • p.212:  “Informal entertainments were sometimes spontaneously organized by telephone operators during the wee hours of the night, when customer calls were few and far between. On a circuit of several stations, operators might sit and exchange amusing stories. One night in 1981 operators at Worcester, Fall River, Boston, Springfield, Providence and New York organized their own concert. The *Boston Evening Record* reported: ‘The operator in Providence plays the banjo, the Worcester operator the harmonica, and gently the others sing. Some tune will be started by the players and the other will sing. To appreciate the effect, one must have a transmitter close to his ear. The music will sound as clear as though it were in the same room.’ “A thousand people were said to have listened to a formal recital presented through the facilities of the Home Telephone Company in Painesville, Ohio, in 1905. And, portent of the future, in 1912 the New York Magnaphone and Music Company installed motor-driven phonographs that sent recorded music to local subscribers over a hundred transmitters.”

The nature of typing is such that
there are none but silly errors to make:
renowned only for pettiness
and an appearance of stupidity.
I don’t want to make silly little errors;
I want to make big important errors.
I want to make at least one error
which fills my supervisor with such horror
she blanches and almost faints
and then runs to the manager’s office.
The manager turns pale and stares out the window
then resolutely picks up the phone
to page the big boss at his golf game.
Then the big boss comes running into the office
and the manager closes his door
and hours go by.
The other women don’t talk
or talk only in whispers,
pale as ghosts but relieved it isn’t them.
An emergency stockholders” meeting has to be called
about which we only hear rumours.
To make sure I don’t accidentally get a job
with a subsidiary, allied company or supplier,
I am offered a choice of either
fourteen years severance pay or early retirement.
A question is asked in Parliament
to which the Prime Minister replies by assuring the House
most typists only make silly typing errors
which only rarely affect the balance of trade.
The only time I get to talk about it
is when I am interviewed (anonymously) for an article
about the effect of typing errors on the economy.

The separation of knowledge and experience 

  • “We talked about the separation of knowledge from experience that science has brought. In its wake came the rise of experts and the decline of people’s trust in their own direct experiences.”  (aesthetics as experience – Raciere) 

“There is nothing essential in the magnification of the obvious.”

ideas readings

The Test Drive – Avital Ronell (2005)

On Being Tested

  • Blanchot: “the trial of experience”
  • “A structure of incessant research” as a “modality of being”
  • “Neitsczhe for his part introduces the experiment in the most personal among his books, The Gay Science
  • Neitzche’s ambivalence toward the test / experiment:
    • “With is future-seeing night goggles and his sensitive little radar ears he sensed that test sites would make the wasteland grow and foresaw the concentration camp as the most unrestricted experimental laboratory in modern history, a part of the will to scientific knowledge.” 
    • “At the same time, though time has stood still, life as knowledge, Nietzche hoped, would not be at best a bed to rest on or a slouch of leisure, but would embrace dangers, victories, heroic feelings. Neitzsche noted science’s capacity for making immense galaxies of joy flare up.”
  • “Testing, which could be seen as the thrownness of technology, traverses many sectors of existence and does not begin as an explicitly technological life form”
    • What does the first part of this sentence mean??  Throwness, in Heidegger “thrownness” or “facticity” is the “burdensome character of Dasein.” “It is and has to be.”
    • Perhaps “in its state of having been designed in time” (Zeitentworfenheit) (from Zootechnologies: Swarming as a Cultural Technique)
  •  the facticity of its being delivered over”: the factuality of its lack of quality, prosthetic technicity. This fact ality is also one of 

Why Science Amazes Us 

  • Blindness / Amazement — precondition of epistemological deficiency 
  • “At one point Nietzsche sees the experiment freeing us from theconstraints of referential truth. Science amazes him, though a reactive tendency to re­ duce itself to calculative efficacy also lands it squarely in his repertoire of illusions, dissembling interpretations, and masks. He redirects science to art, ligaturing an ancient complicity.”

PART 4 – On Nietzche’s The Gay Science

  • “The meaning of scientificity that concerns Nietzsche, and that can be seen to dominate the technological field in which we moderns exist, embraces the qualities of both destructive and artistic modes ofproduction, involving an ever elusive and yet at the same time tremendously potent force field”  (Pharmacon, Stiegler?) p. 156
ideas phd readings

Black on Black — Eugene Thacker (2013)



Black on Black

  • The Metaphysical, Physical, and Technical History of the Two Worlds, the Major as well as the Minor.
  • Fludd published his work between 1617 and 1621
  • Et sic in infinitum — ‘And so on to infinity…’
  • “the nothingness prior to all existence” / “un-creation prior to all creation”
  • “a box meant to indicate boundlessness”
  • “neither a fullness nor an emptiness”

Robert Fludd

  • The state prior to creation (pre-individual) as ‘the mist and darkness of this hitherto shapeless and obscured region’, in which the ‘impure, dark, and dense part of the abyss’s substance’ is dramatically transformed by divine light.’



  • If we keep the eyes open in a totally dark place, a certain sense of privation is experienced. The organ is abandoned to itself; it retires into itself. That stimulating and grateful contact is wanting by means of which it is connected with the external world…iii 

“Perhaps, and maybe this is being generous to Schopenhauer’s text, there is a retinal pessimism that secretly underlies colour theory, encapsulated in the notion of black as privation (Goethe), black as retinal inactivity (Schopenhauer), black as that which precedes the very existence of light itself (Fludd).”

 ‘On the Black Universe’ — François Laruelle 

  • ‘Black prior to light is the substance of the Universe, what escaped from the World before the World was born into the World.’
  •  ‘As opposed to the black objectified in the spectrum, Black is already manifested, before any process of manifestation.’