Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Extreme Contemporary Conference, Part II

Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, “A University Without Intellectuals—What Exactly Is Coming to an End and Why?” [*Note: this is sort of run-through as the same end-of-history arguments most of you will have, no doubt, heard before]

1) The contemporary is a new chronotope. There have been no new paradigms for the last 25 years. Death of the master thinkers--is there anybody of his generation of the stature of Foucault/Derrida/Habermas? A revisionist period, in which one would expect great erudition and scholarship, but no, there's a diminishing amount of time.

2) If this is a new chronotope, what was the old one (episteme classique)? The birth of history with Darwin, Hegel/ evolution/ dialectic. The birth of the second-order observer (the birth, then, of the present as mediation between past and future, a short moment of transition. The future appears as an open horizon of possibility.

3) How did it break down? Death of the grand narrative (Lyotard); end of metahistory (Hayden White). We no longer believe in the openness of history.
[I still can't figure out why this means there are no longer any intellectuals]

Svetlana Boym, “Off-Modern Ruins: Contemporary Reflections on the Avant-garde”

1) The off-modern as part ruin, part construction site.
2) A new diagnosis of the modern, a new symptom: ruinophilia, which goes beyond postmodern quotation marks or the neo-baroque (following Benjamin's notions of ruin as an allegory of thinking.
3)Etymology of nostalgia a meta-nostalgia--its neologic invention from gr. nostos (home), is itself nostalgiac.
4) Off-modern nostalgia as an utopian wishing directed sideways. Tatlin Tower as example (monument to 3rd Internationale)--as emerging from the space in between torndown statue to the Tsar and a not-yet-built monument to the party . For Tatlin and others, artistic revolution precedes political revolution. Their goal was to match with imagination did with reason, to confront technology with technique.
5) Seeks, precisely, to discomfit: equation of confort and conformity.
6) As an effort to preserve these energies, she wrote the Off-Modern Manifesto, originally as a joke. Her claim is that error has an aura/order. Interested in what the failures of technology reveal (you can read more here).

Joshua Clover, “Stock Footage, or the Representability of World Systems”

1)Would like to attend to some of the cultural fields which Jameson overleaps, despite his claims to a Poetics of Social Form, by focussing on two artworks, which like poetry do the work of providing the "cognitive maps" for which Jameson's postmodernism calls, that exist somewhere between the longue duree and the momentariness of fireworks. Postmodern not as unknowable but as unrepresentable, a representation of unrepresentability, then, is what's at stake.

2) Collapse of the historical and the cultural into each other. The groundlessness/baselessness of late capitalism--infrstructure having exchanged itself for immanence. History becomes untethered from the real, and what results is information, networks.

3) Lombardi and the Black-Shoals Planetarium come from the field of information art, which includes "process art" and "event art." Involves the display and manipulation (re-constellation)of real information.

4)Mark Lombardi, conspiracy theory art, sociograms, charts the global networks of money influence involved in real events. Extraodinarily large drawings. Our "mania for information flow" --up close it works as to demystify--and attach names to (Kissinger, etc.) --what normally appears as abstracted, reified social relations involved in , but stepping back a kind of reverse Chuck Close effect (Charlie Distant), allows and everything is flattened, made abstract and unreal.

5) Earliest point in time of Lombardi's art is 1973--the peak of accumulation, collapse of the Bretton Woods, and also the beginning of the derivatives market (futures, options) which were enabled, in part, by the Black-Scholes equations, allowing in effect the pricing of the future in real time. (Black and Scholes found a company that collapses in 1998 and has to be bailed out by Greenspan to avoid economic catastrophe).

5)Autogena and Portways Black-Shoals Planetarium uses these equations to visualize--as stars--all of the transactions of the world's markets, a sphere in which all people who have a retirement fund or own stocks are involved. Ongoing process happenign at every moment, a degree of abstraction so great that it becomes representation.

6) A representation of capital that has become free, become the subject of history, self-valorizing, autonomous. Not exactly Jameson's "waning of affect" but the affect of missing affect, of becoming or being made abstract. The planetarium as a kind of sublime negative knowledge.


Reginald Shepherd said...

Hi Jasper,

This conference sounds interesting. Thanks again for your very kind and generous remarks about me on your blog. Do you think that you add in a link to my blog to yours? Shameless self-promotion, I know, but can you expect of a child of the society of the spectacle?

Take good care, my friend.


Jasper Bernes said...

Hi Reginald--

I added your link. You're really tearing it up over there on your blog; I can barely keep up.


Bill Luoma said...

hey fudgie,
accurate review of the extreme contemp. conf.

yr a hard worker.

i posted my talk over here:
this here

hopefully jim redwood burl will read it.