Miscellany While I’m still finishing off the one essay/review – which, as I said before, I may post on the North American Center for Interdisciplinary Poetics until I can find a print home for it – I’ve got to move onto the next one. So at the moment, I’m just doing my homework, so to speak… Well, this afternoon I re-read Steve McCaffery’s Introduction to Parapoetics. It’s an important step in adumbrating a trajectory of possibility within poetry/poetics. The gist of the article is of a (para-) poetics resisting specialization in any discipline, probing, I think he says, the fungibility and centrifugality of specialized discourse. Said more simply, it will investigate the ruptures within the study of a single discipline. Instead, for example, looking at poetry within the context of poetic history or even literary history, parapoetics looks to the interstices. Hmm. Still not so simple is it? Anyhow, I’ve framed it to look like a discipline in itself – perhaps for the English department – but I think the general idea is intended to impact practice as much as study. Every artist is to some extent be concerned with context, historical, temporal, special etc. The context an artist identifies often contributes to the work in varying degree. Ezra Pound’s appropriation of Calvacanti and the Troubadors is an act of contextualizing, for example. It seems a parapoetics is a kind of contextualizing that goes outside of discipline and outside of the concerns considered relevant to a particular practice. It allows questions such as, how does architectural space impact writing or vice versa? And we can construct non-reductive answers creatively as well as academically, perhaps. Well, I’m outta time…
I only have 20 mins left today, but at least I’m getting something up. This blog was supposed be regular, however after last month’s madness I haven’t has the energy.. I’m hard at work finishing off the Architectural Body review. Not having written an essay in 5 years, it has proven to be a challenge. Of course, there was an abrupt learning curve involved too. It wasn’t until midway through that I bothered looking at autopoiesis.. only to find that it is more influential than I had imagined. Well, it’s going to be at lest a 4,000 worder, not including notes. I wonder where I can actually publish this? After all this work, I may have to settle for a posting on the North American Center for Interdisciplinary Poetics (http://www.poetics.yorku.ca/)where it will have to compete with Karen Mac Cormack’s piece on the same topic. Though I think mine is more carefully considered!, There is a lot of thinking through that needs to be done on architectural bodies, procedural poetics, etc. A fully embodied mind is totally revolutionary and needs to be brought into discourses as wide as political theory, sociology, and well, science from whence it comes. So much of human thought works on binaries and the shades therein. This theory precludes binarism in a linear sense. Once I’ve finished this review I want to go back to work thinking it through with my own practice.. yes, my real writing has suffered over the last 6 weeks..
Politics - I can’t continue this blog without discussing politics. Although any artistic act is a political act, I am not quite capable of sublimating my own anger and hostilities through art alone. Anarchists optimistically see every turn of dissent as an opportunity for ‘revolution.’ The discussions going on in the Anarchist Research Listserv of which I’m a part, tend to highlight this fact. In every, glint of anti-governmental sentiment they see chances to persuade, chances that soon the world will look toward Anarchism for guidance on what to do next. While I loosely align my own politics with anarchist thought, I find this optimism somewhat blind to a deeply dark era I’m afraid we’re entering. Anarchism does, however, offer some generally useful ideas vis-à-vis the war and politics. I’ll bullet point a few of them here: • The State Anarchists are famously anti-statist – silly to say really because anti-statism largely defines Anarchism – and would see this war on both sides as an ideological construct. If one could stand outside of the inter-state feuds and resolutions, indeed if we could see this situation outside of the law, we may gain a more acute insight into the functioning and manipulation at work. We should not see this war as illegal – illegal is not a moral or ethical standpoint and is only valuable if you want to give up thinking. We should not see George Bush as a villain, nor Saddam Hussein – to villainize either one is to be blind to the larger construct in which they are toys. This construct? The State. Don’t forget that Hegel postulated that the state is the synthesis of the Geist, and that by his own dialectical reasoning this postulation is illogical. If we were to accept dialectics, we would want to look for an antithesis to the state. As we know, in its megalomaniacical desire to maintain its synthetic status the State attempts to quash it’s antithesis: the people in it. By our physical disposition, we are diverse, contrary to the aim of the State. Patriotism is the name given to the adhesive used to gloss diversity. • Party Politics Well it goes without saying that party politics are irrelevant. I find it fairly naïve that Americans believe the root cause of the war is the stolen 2000 election. Yes, Bush and co. did not get the presidency legitimately, but would the Democrats behaved any differently? Probably not, though the rhetoric would have had palliative effect, Republican-speak is just too coarse to stomach. • Religion is a sensitive issue for Anarchists. Tolstoy was a Christian, and there have been Christian (and perhaps other sects) Anarchist movements. Most Anarchists are atheists because religion requires your supplication to one master or another (God, priest, or cleric). The War on terrorism was not drawn up to be a religious war, I don’t think that even the idiots in the Whitehouse or Parliament had that in mind. Nevertheless, the war is a religious war, Islam versus secularism (secularism doe not imply godlessness, but God outside of politics), and this means that this war is extremely complicated. Muslims can be secularists as much as Christians can favor theocracy. Therefore, what we have is a war being fought on 5 fronts, between the secular and religious in Islamic and Western counties, and the war itself. In America, where this war has been raging for longer than Americans would like to recognize, theocracy is winning. Were theocracy losing, politicians would not need to voice their belief in God and most Americans would not prefer a Female president to an atheist. Anarchists should not forget to keep one eye on ideals and the other on practicality. I agree with the above critiques, but think that we also need to engage with the politics as they are being fought now. This war is not the fault of even a group of people but an entire system. We should ask what changes could be made to the system? One change necessary for the US and GB is to institute a proportional voting system, like the sort used in Germany. This would reduce the chance of unilateral decisions being made in the name of a minority. It would also allow a greater number of political voices to enter into public debate. This is important for anarchists as well because the further the mainstream politics are from Anarchism, the fewer people will know anarchism for what it really is. Oops. I’m writing into office hours..