Encountering Art

In Chicago for the weekend. Went to the Art Institute (like you do). Enjoyed it as always but thought (again) that it is a rather exhausting affair, both physically and mentally.

Physically, it is rather tiring to walk around such a relatively large building (a series of buildings, really), fighting through crowds of other visitors, going up and down stairs, sitting down, getting up, looking around. Mentally, it is impossible to enjoy such a great variety of things without almost immediately giving up paying attention and just beginning to scan everything with a minimum amount of attention required to register the difference between “this one here” and “that one over there”…

Encountering objects not made for museum (most of the content seen today, except for things from the past century or so) is easier as one may imagine how they were used in “real life.” However, looking at objects made for this sort of experience, one cannot help but wonder whether they have any value in and of themselves, outside of the crowded halls of major museums where they are valuable simply because they hang on walls and stand in middles of rooms?

On Sheer Madness of Tim Morton

No commentary is required here, just quotes:

The very people who most fervently endorse Hegel are quite tone deaf when it comes to issues of “subject position” (in Althusserian) or “style” (in phenomenologese). They are deaf to their guy’s big discovery. I find this irony not accidental. If you are not a Hegelian, this is how they sound, sometimes. It is as if someone has hidden a little ball under one of three cups, and is asking you to guess which one. They already know where the ball is:  “Is it under here? Noooo….Is it under here? Noooo…aha! Here it is!” Tin ear, you see? Because he (the policeman, emphasis on man) has admitted that it is a game with a pre-programmed outcome. A journey with a known destination: like a Romantic piano sonata, in two ways. Equal temperament is the way to tune piano strings (and hence, in piano-centric modernity, all other instruments), slightly fudging the harmonic ratios between them to enable maximum journey possibilities. A=A is the nadir of “not getting it,” of “falling at the first hurdle”—or of not even trying to jump over the hurdle. This is the quintessence of the OOO move. To return to A=A, to occupy that position, as it were, is to have exposed Hegelianism for what it is: a pre-programmed ruse that knows in advance that A=A must be disavowed/sublated, and the exact procedures of that disavowal/sublation. It goes without saying that this is caught up in a certain resistance to anarchism, which is why I use the term occupy.

A night in which all cows are black still has cows.

Sure, I put these all together and out of context, but trust me this is much better than the original.

Twenty years after cultivating a new orientation for aesthetics via the concept of non-photography, François Laruelle returns, having further developed his notion of a non-standard aesthetics.

At some point there will be so many Laruelle books around I will have to read one! See here. (Note that I have nothing to do with the website I linked to – just linking to it. Please do not sue me and so on. Even tsk-tsking me about it is not really appropriate).

Once again, all can see for themselves that the mix of treason, megalomania and laziness never brings more than a meager broth. I have no other commentary to make on this banal story of mental corruption.

Oi, this Badiou fellow does not sound too happy!

To see a philosopher of Badiou’s stature engaged in such sniping is a shock, given the operatic architectonics of much of his work, but it is also to see him as MBK saw him: petty, self-aggrandizing and paranoid (not unjustly) about betrayal. This is one of the troubling things about MBK’s book: Belhaj Kacem charges Badiou with a number of misbehaviors and seems to be telling the truth. And yet it’s also true, as Badiou counters, that he tells it in an anecdotic and even vulgar fashion.The critique comes couched in a surprising amount of name calling, enough that his future translator may have to resort to the innovations in invective that Hergé’s used for Captain Haddock. But we must remember that Belhaj Kacem’s philosophy is in fact an avowed antiphilosophy. Perhaps because of its correspondence with his own rhetorico-emotional register, he is further empowered to accuse Badiou’s philosophy, too, of being petty, self-aggrandizing and paranoid. Reading Après Badiou, you begin to believe him.

Marx-Engels Werke (MEW) in PDFs (Download)

marx-homepageRejoice, comrades – the entirety of Marx-Engels-Werke is online here. Not to be confused with MEGA (Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe) which is still in progress, but still. If you read German, you cannot do better than this.

UPDATE: See this note from the folks behind this awesome initiative regarding some of the broken links:

Wir haben viele Emails erhalten, in der die Freude zum Ausdruck kam, endlich die Marx-Engels-Werke im Netz komplett abrufen zu können.
Gleichzeitig hat sich dabei herausgestellt, dass bei der Erstellung der URLs in den Links bei einigen Bänden Fehler unterlaufen sind.

Manch erfahrene Homepage-Kennerin oder erfahrener HP-Kenner weiß offenbar um die typischen Fehler beim Hochladen von vielen Dateien, so dass wir einige Rückmeldungen erhalten haben, wie der vollständige, richtige Link bei dem jeweiligen Band heißen muß.
Besonders bei “dem” Band 26, besteht der Eindruck als sei er gar nicht abrufbar. Es sind allerdings auch 3 Bände – zu den Mehrwerttheorien und ein Leser hat das Rätsel geknackt.
Ich habe es eben selbst ausprobiert und auch die 3 Bände zu den Mehrwert-Theorien lassen sich hochladen.

Bei den Links für die Bände 8, 18, 28, 38 und 43 fehlt jeweils ein Punkt
“.” im Dateinamen vor dem “pdf”.

Der Band 26 ist aufgeteilt in 3 Bücher – entsprechend ist er auch in drei
Dateien geteilt. Die PDFs heißen entsprechend “mew_band26-1.pdf”,
“mew_band26-2.pdf” und “mew_band26-3.pdf”, wie ich nach kurzem
ausprobieren herausfinden konnte.

Alle PDFs sind offenbar vorhanden, nur die URLs in den Links stimmen nicht

Zum Register Band II (Register von 1989) gibt es ebenfalls einen Tipp von einer Marx-Leserin:

Beim Registerband 1989 vom Dietzverband muß man hinten einmal um “.pdf” kürzen

Da die Korrekturen auf der Homepage wohl erst in den nächsten Tagen gemacht werden, schicken wir euch vom Verlag diese Vorinformation – zum sofortigen Herunterladen komplett aller Bände.

Beste Grüße und ein gutes Neues Jahr
Sven – vom Verlagskollektiv

Hierarchy of Objects, or, Fuck Posthumanism

Look here. I know it’s a sexy new trend to talk about post-humanism and how humans are not as important and so on, but when it comes to it, everyone knows that it is not the case, nor should it be the case. Humans are still around and they are the most important component of reality. Does it mean we must destroy environment and kill nonhuman animals in order to achieve the highest level of human satisfaction? Not at all. Or, at the very least, not under all circumstances. If humans are objects (in a neutral sense), then they are the most important objects; there is a hierarchy of objects. There is no equality among objects – some are important and some are not. I do not care for the chair I am sitting on, I do care for those who built it.

All the idiotic bafflement regarding such anthropocentrism is hypocritical posturing. We are, as humans, always after our own survival and prosperity. We care for nonhumans only by extension. When all human conflicts are resolved and settled, we will still be struggling against nature, against the limitations of our physical states, against that which is nonhuman.