Audio of Anthony Paul Smith’s inaugural Dublin Unit for Speculative Thought (DUST) lecture, “Faux Amis: Francois Laruelle and the Speculative Turn” (Flat_Pack Gallery & Studios, Wednesday 9 January 2013) is now available.
Dublin Unit for Speculative Thought (D.U.S.T.) and the M.A. in Art in the Contemporary World (National College of Art and Design, Dublin) presents:
John Mullarkey (Professor in Film and TV, Kingston University, London)
“How to Behave Like a Philosopher”
2pm-4pm, Harry Clarke Lecture Theatre, National College of Art & Design, Dublin, Friday 1 February 2013
Abstract: In this talk I outline one way in which Laruelle’s non-standard philosophy might be introduced – through philosophical behaviourism. Images of ‘posture’ are common throughout Laruelle’s work, with the seemingly literalised use of ‘orientation’, ‘stance’, ‘gesture’, and ‘comportment’ being prevalent in his writings. Such allusions might bring to mind ideas from Ryle, Wittgenstein, Dennett, and even the early Merleau-Ponty, whereby the conscious intent of philosophers (the world each creates) is eliminated in favour of the shared behaviour, or style of thought, they manifest. Yet this would be a philosophical behaviour without ‘behaviourism’ – the overdetermined philosophy of what behaviour is (which is usually reduced to one or two variables). By expanding the notion of behaviour beyond these limits – that is, rendering it non-standard – it can be seen that the concept of philosophical ‘decision’ (the key structural invariant for philosophy, according to Laruelle) is neither intellectual nor voluntary, but a matter of orientation or posture as regards the Real. That said, what non-standard philosophy may ultimately teach, is less a new thought about the Real, or even just about philosophy, but a different category of behaviour as regards other behaviours – a re-orientation that renders behaviour indefinite.
Anthony Paul Smith (LaSalle University and Speculative Heresy blogger) will give the inaugural lecture for the D.U.S.T (Dublin Unit for Speculative Thought) art/theory collective at Flat Pack_Gallery and Studios in Dublin on 9 January 2013.
Anthony Paul Smith (LaSalle University,http://lasalle.academia.edu/AnthonyPaulSmith )
2pm-4pm, Flat_Pack Gallery and Studios, 32 North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7, Ireland (http://flatpackgalleryandstudios.com)
Wednesday 9 January 2013
Faux amis?: François Laruelle and the Speculative Turn
Interest in François Laruelle’s project of non-philosophy continues to grow, in part because the seeming closeness of his project to that of speculative realism. In this talk Anthony Paul Smith aims to introduce the basic contours of Laruelle’s works in relation to those of speculative realism. While Laruelle has championed a form of thought that is in many ways more virulently non-correlationist than even Meillassoux, he attends to political and ethical questions in a way that appears to weave seamlessly this non-correlationism with a revised, non-standard humanism very different than the anti-humanism present amongst the speculative realists. Exploring this may show how Laruelle’s version of philosophy of science is amenable not with a cold world, but with a vision that simply isn’t worldly.
For more information about D.U.S.T please visit http://dublindust.wordpress.com/
These are all the notes I could manage to take while still paying sufficent attention. It should go without saying that weirdnesses or cracks that appear are no doubt due to my memory, hand writing, or stupidity and not to Reza!
Edit: Reza has posted his notes for the first half here.
Reza set up the talk as addressing “Genuine inhumanism” as an encounter with modern thought thereby entailing a dis-enthralled system of knowledge. He set out to do this through a series of thought pieces. These pieces began with an outline of the ambitions of post-Copernican thought to then be followed by a tripartite critique or assault against three conceptualizations of assault (and to propose a more epistemological model of acceleration as a counter). At the same time Reza noted the upswing of the various forms of acceleration he was critiquing.
In proper asymptotic fashion, Reza argued that the charge of Nick Land’s conceptualization was that the ends of reason do not lead to more reason, but simply unfold the unreasonable. Secondly, while Reza seemed to acknowledge the critical/epistemological knife of Brandom and Brassier, he set out their project as ‘axiomatic deaccelerationists’ Thirdly, Reza asked how acceleration could be understood as epistemological mediation which engenders, and is engendered by, germs of modern knowledge. Lastly, Reza proposed a diagrammatic example of modern acceleration as a form of epistemological navigation following the lead of Oresme.
Following this general map Reza began to discuss the ramifications of Modern Systems of Knowledge as he saw them. Structural, knowledge is oblique as it always works from the local to the global and functions in an asymptotic manner (ie the transcendental local can only function asymptotically). Because of this topological constraint [as opposed to something like correlationism?] knowledge can only access objects via the concept of space and therefore one must understand the topoi of thought. In the service of such topological thinking the computational relation between information and knowledge (in the form of computational or iterative myth) must be debunked). This in turn is forced by the 11th commandment – as long as there is a possible path, it is mandatory to take it. Modern knowledge is a thrall to space.
This enthrallment worms its way into the question ‘what is the concept?’ The question becomes how is the concept an information space that can be integrated into the apparently non-informational [the physical, structural, etc?] Here Reza entered into a discussion of Longo’s gestural thinking. [As I am just getting into Longo I cant really do this justice] Gestural thinking works in detecting symmetries as concepts are produced by normativity as geometrical gestures. Because of the importance of the topological for the conceptual, mathematics become the science of the concept since math transfers the invariances as the gesture that has maximal gestural stability.
[To go into the math of the gesture Reza produced two diagrams connecting the relation of information and form, leaping from Aristotelian formulations, in order to illustrate how the question of 'what is the concept?' is overridden by the question 'where is the concept?' leading to a deep ecology of the concept.]
The space of the concept can be thought of in terms of the shell that the snail carries on its own back ie concepts are no longer discrete but are mobile (concepts are the topos of the concept). How does one then locate the concept if it is constantly shifting like a metamorphic protean god? Computational dynamics sees this as the problem as repeated localization whereas it is actually ramifications of the locality of the concept that pushes it into the open.
Here Reza mentioned the Bourne Identity as linking together the where I am with the who I’m I [brings up a tactical vision of the snail] Each question is a new plot line moving through ramified concepts. This engenders a anti-Heideggerian move, roots are always mobile. Following such a model of navigation the transcendental procedure is taken to the extreme as asymptotic due to the structure of the object and the structure becomes restructured asymptotically through the operations of the concept.
Reza then reiterated the agenda of his tripartite critique in which all the targets are guilty of deep access whether machinic (Land), normative (Brassier), political (Marxism).
Land’s accelerationism functions programatically and not epistemologically working towards the Machinic Singularity via the computational regime. Computational dynamics hinge on algorithmic processes whose iterative nature explains its efficacy. Iteration only functions in finite time and hence the speed of acceleration. Against this Reza discussed Poincare’s critique of the contingency of the iterative loop apparent in high frequency trade and the failure of battlespace virtualization. The iterative medium cannot handle contingency but only the pseudo-randomness of Laplace and Hilbert. This pseudo-randomness is bound to Frege’s absolute logocentric formalism and the confines of Hilbert space. Hilbert believed that the world could be broken down into data-cubes. For Hilbert small perturbations were unimportant and interations lead to an increase in precision and therefore the consequences of iteration are meta-predictable. Such thinking should be combated as participating in the metaphysics of necessity. One should utilize infinite contingency against predictability. Turing and Hilbert see the algorithmic process as deterritorializing the entire planet. Small perturbations are infinite and finite and have real consequences down the line.
One should strive for coherency over consistency (which is too normative in the end). The physical world is one of geodesic principles and the straightforward use of information is lost as one must take into account entanglement. Furthermore, the machine algorithm has no place for ignorance. Laws are not a priori given in physical space – they are the result of the observer working within geodesic space. The rational unfolds the unreasonable. Algorithmic thought on the other hand can only answer ‘yes or no’ as its ‘ignorance’ is already axiomatically decided. Algorithmic thinking thereby collapse falsifiability and ignorance. The machinic becomes purely strategic and ideological.
Reza then turned to Brassier and Brandom. The normative turn of certain Sellarsians suffers from an inference problem since norms are by definition recursive and therefore always yield the same result. In this sense normativity is a mode of iteration. Against normativity acceleration should be followed as the catastrophic rearrangement of the limits of the system. Peirce pushes normative though a synthesis of thinking and doing and not a metaphysical enactivism but a form of gesture as a form of action (in the same way as Bertholz). These gestures stem from viewing reason (via Chatelet) as a ration of thought to nature. Reason is the broadening of the scope of oscillation between nature and culture in a rational to and fro-ing. Broader forms of reasoning are required. Abductive reasoning or manipulative epistemology are good mental labs for developing extreme hypotheses. We should embrace violent noetic propulsions which are mutilating as non-neutral observers are imported into fuzzy zones.
Observers are forced to work in a disequilibrial dynamics or twisted contingency but a rational disequilibrium introducing new forms into space. Acceleration responds to the global scope of knowledge – concepts need to be released out into the open (the catastrophes and disasters of Rene Thom) demanding the subject to improvise into contingency. Acceleration functions as the epistemic navigation of the concept space introducing dialectical instability.
Chatelet’s dialectics are a form of alien communication, they are a form of imperfect cutting or dialectical severance as an insider is left in what is cut off leading to a new ratio or intermix of thought and nature. The accelerationist gesture creates cognitive attractors which attracts ignorance as mitigation. Acceleration functions as a means of thinking catastrophes in order to establish a new accessibility. Truth is co-constituitve with error, truth is non-conceptual whereas for Brassier action produces pragmatics with a prestablished relation to nature. An alternative model is that of the long forgotten practice of metis or cunning reason against the regime of simulation as seen in the work of Benedict Singleton. Another promising avenue is the anarchic constructivism of Gabriel Catren in which the thinker or navigator is the gluing together of the rebel and the foundationalist. We should pursue metisocratic reason towards the unreasonable and engage in an ethics of humiliation.
Abducting the Outside: Modernity and The Culture of Acceleration
A lecture by Reza Negarestani focused on the possibility of a genuinely modern philosophy of the inhuman in the wake of a disenthralled system of knowledge as an accelerated navigation of concept-spaces. The lecture is drawn on the works of Giuseppe Longo, Lorenzo Magnani, Gilles Chatelet and Alain Berthoz in cognitive sciences, mathematics especially the recent geometrical turn and physics accompanied with introductory commentaries on the exciting works of Gabriel Catren on anarchic constructivism and Benedict Singleton on metis intelligence and a cunning understanding of reason.
Sunday, November 18th, 7:30PM
Miguel Abreu Gallery, 36 Orchard Street, New York
REZA NEGARESTANI & FLORIAN HECKER
The Non-Trivial Goat and the Cliffs of the Universal:
A Topological Fable on Navigation and Synthesis
Date: Thursday, November 15th, 2012
Time: 7:30 PM
Location: Abrons’ Playhouse, 466 Grand Street, New York (at Pitt Street)
Chimeras are integrated bodies that synthesize incompatible modalities, surpassing their respective particularities without fusing them, finding a common ground, or reducing one to the other. Chimerization, a recent work by Florian Hecker, uses psychoacoustics to compose such creatures from readings of a libretto penned by philosopher and novelist, Reza Negarestani.
Expanding on this work, Hecker and Negarestani come together in a live experiment – less a collaboration between philosophy and sound than a synthesis of the two. In this abstract performance, recalling Artaud’s theatre of cruelty as much as Beckett’s minimalist narratives, the participating elements will be chimerized through their mutual immersion in the abyss of the universal, and thereby revealed, in turn, as nothing other than local guises of this abyssal continuum.
The performance opens (Part 1: Descent) with a theory-fiction-mathematics manifesto that introduces the dramatis personae and abruptly drops the goat of philosophy into the abyss. This prologue of a mangled philo-fiction or ‘philosophy on acid’ is followed (Part 2: Navigation) by a performative gluing of philosophy and sound in which the auditors become the goats, each completing the chimera according to their localization and navigation of the space. In the final movement (Part 3: Alienation) this personal experience of local synthesis is replaced by an estranging immersion into the impersonal experience of the global, synthetic environment as the intensifying, sonic chimerization moves beyond the sphere of the knowable.
An exercise in deregulation of the senses, this unique performance brings together two ambitious thinkers and practitioners in an experimental surgery that opens up their respective fields onto unexplored grounds.
Doors open at 7pm. Seating is limited, and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
For more information please contact Sequence Press, located within:
Issue Project Room’s Littoral Series is made possible, in part, through generous support from The Casement Fund, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
The audio of both responses from Paul Ennis and Michael O’Rourke to Levi Bryant’s talk “Two Ontologies: Posthumanism and Lacan’s Graphs of Sexuation” at Independent Colleges Dublin on 3 July 2012 is now available on You Tube.
The image above is a drawing by Tammy Lu and it is the cover image of Levi Bryant’s The Democracy of Objects. Please visit tammylu.net
For those who are interested, here’s a copy of my talk I gave last weekend on the technological sublime, machine perception, and cybernetic communism. Held in the beautiful Treignac area at The Matter of Contradiction: Ungrounding the Object event, it was a lot of fun and filled with some fascinating discussions. It also marked the first time all three of the editors of The Speculative Turn had met in physical form (at last I finally met Levi, who’s as generous and fun in person as I’d expected.) Many thanks to the Treignac Projet for inviting me and organizing the event. Check out more of their work here.