Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Raging Bull, Meet Running Bear

December 11, 2012Print This Post         

by Jeremy Fernando

Dedicated to Hannes Charen and all at the Journal for Occupied Studies [1]

A little over a year after the first tents were erected in Zuccotti Park, one is left with an overarching sense of futility. Almost as if the Occupy Movement had its moment in the sun—and now it is back to business as usual. Both the Arab Spring and the Indignants Movement in Spain, which inspired Occupy Wall Street—and its accompanying, protests, which initially spread like wildfire—seem also to have amounted to nothing. Mohammed Morsi’s recent decree, on 22 November 2012, to grant himself wide ranging powers almost bore uncomfortable resemblances to Hosni Mubarak’s rule—practically a castration of people power in Tahrir Square. It is not as if this was anything new; many promising movements have faded away before: London had its “Summer of Love” in 1967; Paris had its May ’68; perhaps this was just New York’s turn.

However, it is far too easy, too lazy even, to play world-weary cynic. For, this would ignore the fact that even though these events may not have played out in the manner one thought—even hoped—they would, their echoes continue to resound in us. Moreover, if one could know, predict, their exact outcomes they would hardly be events. Thus, in order to potentially respond to the possibilities of the Occupy Movement, we should first attend to it in its singularity.

And perhaps, there is no better place to start than with the juncture of its supposed failure.

One of the first things to happen after the Occupy Wall Street protestors were evicted from Zuccotti Park, on 15 November 2011, was the caging of Arthur Di Modica’s sculpture, the charging bull that has become synonymous with Wall Street. According to the New York Post: “Law-enforcement sources say the cops are keeping the barriers up to protect the sculpture from protesters who could vandalize the symbol of wealth and prosperity.” [2] This has, of course, been to the chagrin of tourists who are now unable to snap pictures with the iconic symbol. To many, the bull captures the spirit of pure capitalism: a raging animal bearing down single-mindedly on a goal; at the expense of anything, and everything, in its path. Ironically, police protection of the bull has done nothing but cause the further demise of local businesses in the area: “a sandwich server at Café Plaza on Broadway told The Post that the corral around the bull makes people think the area is closed off.” Perhaps the point they missed is that for capitalism to work, it has to be set loose.

What is less known is that in December 1989, Di Modica secretly dropped off the 7,000 pound bull in front the of New York Stock Exchange as a response to the recovery after the 1987 crash. Even then, the sculpture was seized by the police; and it was only massive public outcry and media attention that resulted in its eventual placement a few blocks away, outside Bowling Green Park. The fact that the bull was an artisan’s response to a particular situation should not be lost on us though: this echo certainly resonated with Micah White and Kalle Lasn of Adbusters who foregrounded the bull in their poster announcing the advent of Occupy Wall Street on September 17, 2011. [3]

And it is the notion of situation that is crucial here. Not just in the line from the said poster—“what is our one demand?”—but in the very spirit of the movement itself. After all, all Adbusters did was to put out the poster. “Occupy Wall Street, September 17. Bring tent” was, at best, a suggestion. According to White: “we basically floated the idea in mid-July into our [email list] and it was spontaneously taken up by all the people … It just kind of snowballed from there … They made it their own and ran with it.” [4] Thus, the movement was a result of people responding to a particular situation. And in many ways, it was precisely the spontaneous nature of the movement that made it difficult to police: the deterritorialised nature of the bodies ensured there was no head to cut off.

The police, though, seem to have taken their cue from riot-control specialist Rex Applegate: “If you are dealing with a crowd with no central command, the tactical approach is to segment it into units, creating ‘clear zones,’ boundaries, and leaders. In fact, it is often necessary to organize a crowd by force in order to defeat it.” [5] In other words, it is not just that—to paraphrase Caligula—one wishes Rome had only one head so one could cut it all off at one go, one has to go even further: one has to ignore the absence of such a head, imagine it into existence, and then cut it off. We see this most clearly in their strategy of attributing the entire movement to White and Lasn: for, the first thing one has to do is name it into existence. If one wanted to be ironic, one could say that the crowd had read Deleuze & Guattari well; the trouble was that the police were better readers. [6]

One can hear an echo of the classic riddle of two doors (where one leads to freedom and the other leads to death; one door always tells the truth, and the other lies) in the strategy of the police. The usual take-away from the riddle is that by asking the right question—“if I asked the other door, does he lead to freedom?”—you will get the answer you need. What is usually not attended to is the fact that you have to ask a question about the other door. It is only in this indirect manner, as it were, that one can get an insight to the conundrum. For, it is only based on the answer of the other that you can discern something about the status of the doors: it is pointless to attempt to discover which door tells the truth or which one lies. In fact, even after finding out which door leads to freedom, this fact remains veiled (and in terms of effects, completely irrelevant). By attributing the events to White and Lasn, the authorities have bypassed the entire movement itself. And when pressed to respond to what is happening in the streets, the same gesture—in one manifestation or another—is utilised: if they have so much time to camp out and protest, why don’t they just apply themselves and get a job.

A non sequitur even Silvio Berlusconi would be proud of.

In this sense, Slavoj Žižek’s call for a concrete statement—“there is a long road ahead, and soon we will have to address the truly difficult questions—questions not about what we do not want, but about what we DO want”—or at least a concrete question—“maybe, the time has come to turn around these coordinates of what is possible and what is impossible; maybe, we cannot become immortal, but we can have more solidarity and healthcare?”— might well be a moot one. [7] For, it is yet another version of if you ask the right question, you will get the answer you need. The trouble with this is that at the end of the day—or to echo one of Žižek’s favourite phrases, at the end of times—the answer still depends on the very system one is attempting to disrupt. Whilst one can argue that this is the very nature of communication—perhaps even politics itself—one needs to remember that they play the game of two doors rather well.

Maybe what is truly needed, as Simon Critchley puts it, is more of the impossible. Critchley contends that Žižek’s emphasis on concrete questions is hinged on a commitment to violence; a rupturing, breaking, which he sees as a version of Leninism. [8] Žižek’s response, in his review of Critchley’s Infinitely Demanding, is to point out that making such demands is a manner of submission, surrender, as “since they know that we know it, such an ‘infinitely demanding’ attitude presents no problem for those in power.” Hence, “the thing to do is, on the contrary, to bombard those in power with strategically well-selected, precise, finite demands, which can’t be met with the same excuse.” [9]

Perhaps what both Critchley and Žižek miss is the fact that they are actually saying the same thing. In the latter’s finite, precise, strategic demands, lies an echo of the infinite: for, when Critchley is speaking of the infinite, it is an attempt to open up possibilities within demands (after all, he certainly understands that asking for the moon is a metaphor).  One should never forget that when Lenin asks “what is to be done?” the true radicality of his question is that it remains an eternal question: at each point, there might be a specific, particular, response to this, but even within the momentary answer (if one insists on that term), lies the same question.

The demand: not for answers, nor certainty, but for nothing other than for possibilities: for the right to demand.

***

Running Bear loved Little White Dove

With a love big as the sky

Running Bear loved Little White Dove

With a love that couldn’t die

(Jiles Perry Richardson: Running Bear)

It is all too easy, too tempting even, to read the movement as a call for a return to nature; a reversal from uncontrolled capitalism to an earlier—purer—time, when life was simpler: a return to the soil. Where Little White Dove on top of our raging bull would be saved by her hero, Running Bear. After all, the gap between the 1% and the 99% is as wide as the “raging river” that separated them; compared to this divide, the split between the Capulets and the Montagues seem nothing but a neighbourly spat. The romanticisation of a past age—based on ideas and ideals that perhaps never existed—is not only problematic, but runs a further risk: one should never forget that most of the horrors throughout history were based on totalising ideas; notions that efface the particularity of situations. To compound matters, one only has to look at Khmer Rouge Cambodia to see that oftentimes the road to hell is paved with good intentions. [10]

There is, however, much to learn from Running Bear: in particular, his act of jumping into the river in spite of the impossibility of swimming across, in full knowledge that he was plunging to his own death. This could well be the response of the protesters to the standard conservative reaction of instead of standing around, why don’t they get a job: by rejecting the logic of the 1% (grabbing everything at the expense of everyone else), the protesters short-circuit capitalism itself. For, the logic of greed requires everyone’s participation: by refusing to engage in the same logic, by giving the other what (s)he demands without a fight, the entire game itself collapses.

As Jean Baudrillard teaches us in Symbolic Exchange and Death, “the only effective reply to power is to give it back what it gives you, and this is only symbolically possible by means of death.” [11] And this is precisely why the suicide bomber is the figure that scares us the most: not the one that is dead (for, once that has occurred, the loses can be calculated, accounted for, rationalised, put back under reason), but the one that is to come. The suicide bomber that is ready to die, that has already chosen the side of death, is the one who haunts us: for there is no defense available. Her death has already been counted; all we have to do is pay our end of the bargain, perhaps just not yet. This is “death [that] is neither resolution nor involution, but a reversal and a symbolic exchange.” [12]

Death as a challenge.

As their hands touched and their lips met

The raging river pulled them down

Now they’ll always be together

In their happy hunting ground

And this opens yet another question: so, what’s love got to do with it?

Traditionally, literature regards death as the supreme demonstration of love: in order to prove one’s love to another, one must die, or at the very least be willing to give up one’s life. But this would, of course, be completely missing the point. The death in love is not a physical death, but rather a death to other people, other possibilities. In other words, this is a symbolic death. This can be found in the moment of the “I do.” In this utterance lies a nod to madness; as the decision to spend the rest of one’s life with another has no grund, is not based on anything other than a futurial possibility. In other words, the moment one says “I do,” one is reifying time itself. Which also suggests that at the point of the “I do,” the two who exchange this vow—keeping in mind that promises have no referentiality, and thus, no possibility of verification—are opening the possibility of an eternal; where the future and the present collapse into one. For, this is the only way in which “when two become one” is possible: it could never have been about people, but about time itself: a promise that is made about the future, which is always in the past (when said, it is already over), lived out in the present. And here, it is not too difficult to hear echoes of Søren Kierkegaard’s notion of love: “the eternal in erotic love is that in its moment individuals first come into existence for each other.” [13] The coming together is precisely the opening of the relationality between the two: a relationality that opens the possibility without any possibility of knowing what this possibility is.

The “I do” as nothing other than an affirmation to possibility.

In responding to the call of the poster from Adbusters—keeping in mind that the movement organically developed, and thus, no one knew exactly what they were showing up to, or for—each person that turned up was saying an “I do.” Perhaps here, we might even posit that by responding in the affirmative to a question, what was being affirmed was nothing but the question itself. Hence, all criticism that there is no concrete question that is asked is moot. By opening the possibility of the question, the potentiality of questioning, the people on the streets have opened—channeling Critchley and Žižek—an infinite question within a finite question.

This would be détournement at its finest.

The imagination of the police was to cast a corpus—a head with a body—to the movement, and then enact their eviction on the very same body that they created. The imaginative response of the body is to play at questioning the system: as if there is a central authority that can answer their demands, as if there were any demands in the first place.

And what is foregrounded is the fact that Wall Street itself is a name for nothing.

We find this to be particularly true in Singapore’s version of the movement. Singaporeans were called to Occupy Raffles Place on 15 October 2011 via a Facebook group posting. The authorities reacted by deeming it unlawful. In a statement responding to media queries, the police said they had received reports that a netizen is “instigating the public to stage a protest gathering … in support of a similar protest in New York.” It continued: “Police urge members of the public not to be misled and participate in an unlawful activity.” [14] The fact that only a handful of people—mostly foreigners and journalists—turned up is usually regarded as a sign of its failure; or even worse, a sign of the apathy of Singaporeans. The more skeptical Singaporeans dismissed the entire thing as a joke. But one should never forget that there are few things more unsettling than the uncomfortable silence that follows a failed joke. The non-protest demonstrated, in a way that no actual protest could have done, the very nature of the state. The irony that only the police showed up for a protest was not lost on anyone here: the sight of them enforcing nothing only served to remind everyone that the capitalism itself is based on nothing. As long as there is productivity, maximum performativity and, most importantly, surplus value it can be anything you want it to be.

The very opposite scenario was seen in the last few weeks in Singapore. Aggrieved at unfair working conditions 171 bus drivers working for the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) refused to show up for work on 26 November 2012. After a reprimanding from the state—through its various ministries—for “an illegal strike” (workers in “essential services” such as public transportation have to give 14 days notice before a strike) which damaged the “industrial harmony” some of the drivers returned to work—leaving only 88 to continue the next day. By the third day, “20 SMRT bus drivers were brought to the police headquarters for investigations”; and on the 29th, four of the alleged ringleaders were charged in court. One of the drivers “faces an additional charge of making an online post about the strike … calling his fellow drivers to take action.” But, it is not as if the bus drivers were not saying exactly the same thing as the absent protesters at Occupy Raffles Place. However, their error was not just in exposing the running logic of Singapore (that people are a resource expected to be dancing to the same tune), nor even in highlighting the fact that workers are exploited differently—but in saying the unsayable. That this very “industrial harmony” is hinged upon its very opposite—in order to sustain this “harmony” what is needed is the disharmony of workers itself. This is exemplified in the fact that no other bus drivers—let alone workers in any other sector—joined the original 171 in the strike (even though it was a justifiable grievance—that they were paid less than other drivers doing the same thing—the same complaint that just about every worker has). And here, the imaginative nature of the state was demonstrated. By foregrounding the notion that it sympathised with the drivers—“‘we understand the grievances of SMRT drivers and it’s unfortunate that they sought to resolve this matter through organising an illegal strike,’ said Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo”—but that, according to Minister of State for Manpower Amy Khor, “what has happened has damaged this industrial harmony that we have built up over the years and swift action must be carried out,” there was a shift from the content of the strike to its means. The performance of reluctance by the state—we only stepped in, as it was illegal—transfers the focus from the very target of the protest (that disharmony of workers—the last thing that we want is for workers of the world to unite—is the perverse core of harmonious industry) to the protesters themselves (if everyone else is fine with being disharmonious why do you have to try and call for everyone to stand together). In this manner, the state has turned the very thing that the protesters have foregrounded (disharmony in harmony) back on themselves—a true demonstration of détournement. [15]

Thus, the true error of the 171 bus drivers was an error of form: the error of attempting to confront the proverbial beast—for that only serves to strengthen the illusion that there is something to confront.

Instead of the error of facing it head-on, of declaring that capitalism is an empty signifier, one has to jump into the very illusion. This is the lesson of Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street: the only way to defeat Freddy Kruger is to take him on his own terms. It is pointless debating whether he was real or not (the effects of Kruger in one’s dream were real enough): in fact, speaking about him was the most dangerous thing one could do (once one knew about Kruger, one was open to a potential night call). One had to just accept the notion of Freddy Kruger, jump into the dream and kill him there. After which, the same logic that threatened would be the very thing that saves.

For, dreams are quite literally worth fighting for. And if they don’t let us dream, we won’t let them sleep. [16]

***

Perhaps here, we might go back to the beginning, to the charging bull, keeping in mind that it was an artisan’s response to a situation. And whenever one thinks of artisans, of the possibility of art, one can also hear echoes of Plato’s warning—that it is potentially dangerous and can lead one away from being a good person.

When Arthur Di Modica dropped off his sculpture in front of the New York Stock Exchange in December 1989, he was responding — in the precise sense of reading — to the situation. And as Paul de Man never lets us forget: “not that the act of reading is innocent, far from it. It is the starting point of all evil.” [17] Evil in the precise sense of asking a question; a question that opens, that might never be answered, that remains a question. For, we must never forget the potential heresy in all questions; the echo of the primordial question that resounds in all questions; the question we read in Genesis 3:1—“did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’ …”

Perhaps now, the time has come for us to read Di Modica’s sculpture. Keeping in mind the lesson from 12 Monkeys and the OBEY posters: the appearance of a symbol on the walls captures the imagination of the people. [18] Just because the sculpture has been there for the last 23 years does not mean that it cannot be new: not only is the situation different, the context new, each time one reads, one attempts to respond to, connect with, connect to, another. Here, it might be helpful to turn to Avital Ronell and, in particular, her meditation that “the connection to the other is a reading—not an interpretation, assimilation, or even a hermeneutic understanding, but a reading.” [19] This is reading as an opening, an attending to; reading that responds with whilst opening possibilities — reading as imagination.

Now — perhaps more than ever before — we should keep in mind Paul Virilio’s slogan from May ’68: “all power to the imagination.”

But, this does not mean there are no risks involved. For, if reading is an opening to possibilities, its effects — and the manner in which they affect one — are unknown till they occur. Moreover, if each reading is a response to, it always already involves a choice, a choosing, of one over another. And since one cannot fully know what one is selecting until it is selected, this is a selection without grund — an act of violence; picking one over all others, quite possibility without any legitimacy. In this sense, each time one reads, one cannot be sure not only if one has mis-read, over-read, or under-read, one cannot be certain if one has even read. [20]

Therefore, reading as possibility itself is “power to the imagination” in the precise sense of one has to imagine that one is even able to respond to the situation and then to do so as if one can. If the state can walk through walls, why can’t you?

For, a true disruption comes through reading the notion that we are dealing with — responding imaginatively, with an artistic gesture. Perhaps, what the SMRT bus drivers could have done was to strike without having a strike. By taking the logic of “industrial harmony” itself to its limits — by driving in such accordance, in one tune, to the schedule of the industry, the bus schedule — what might have foregrounded is not only that public transport is no longer about serving the public but about transporting, moving, herding, the public in the service of a harmonious industry.

If power was truly in the hands of the people, surely they should be able to choose whomever they want — a true choice instead of picking from alternatives. And what is a more democratic vote than putting the name of whomever one wants in power, regardless of — in spite of — the persons presented on the voting slip. In this manner, regardless of who wins, the symbol chosen by the people will always haunt the incumbent. Not only would the candidate that won through the system be discredited, not only would the democratic system be called into question, the people would have actually spoken. The people would have actually dreamed.

By diving into that river.

Perhaps, what we need now is to take the message that we have been bombarded with — that nothing is impossible — seriously. Read it alongside the other message we are not allowed to forget: that the good times are over, that we need to tighten our belts, and most importantly, that the state owes us nothing.

And demand what we have been owed: the impossible.

Cover image of What You See Might Not Be Real by Chen Wenling, 2009


Notes:

[1] The Journal for Occupied Studies can be found at http://occupiedstudies.org/ I would also like to thank Vincent van Gerven Oei for his kind thoughts, and generous comments, on this piece.

[2] Rebecca Harshbarger & Frank Rosario, “Outrage over Caged Wall Street bull”, The New York Post. (27 December, 2011), http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/corralled_W2dxFv068vZWvbJczUu34J

[3] Amongst other places, a digital copy of the poster can be found here: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/57/Wall-Street-1.jpg

[4] Andrew Fleming, “Adbusters sparks Wall Street protest Vancouver-based activists behind street actions in the U.S”, The Vancouver Courier. (September 27, 2011), http://www.vancourier.com/Adbusters+sparks+Wall+Street+protest/5466332/story.html

[5] As read in Finn Brunton. Decontrol in Science, Music and War (Masters Thesis. Saas Fee: The European Graduate School, 2005), 56. In this paragraph, Brunton is summarizing Colonel Applegate’s riot-control strategies.

[6] The notion of repressive state apparatuses relying on the same tropes as those fighting for greater freedom, movement, nomadology even, is hardly a new thing. The Israeli Defense Force have for quite some time been a proponent of what is broadly called contemporary philosophy. In Eyal Weizman’s article ‘The Art of War’ (frieze, issue 99, May 2006) one finds the IDF commander Brigadier-General Aviv Kokhavi reconceiving the city as “smooth” rather than “striated”: rather than obey the conventions of the city, the IDF attack on the city of Nablus was “inverse geometry”—that is “the reorganization of the urban syntax by means of a series of micro-tactical actions”—in action. In Weizman’s words, this “involves a conception of the city as not just the site but also the very medium of warfare—a flexible, almost liquid medium that is forever contingent and in flux.” Kokhavi further explicates: “this space that you look at, this room that you look at, is nothing but your interpretation of it. […] The question is how do you interpret the alley? […] We interpreted the alley as a place forbidden to walk through and the door as a place forbidden to pass through, and the window as a place forbidden to look through, because a weapon awaits us in the alley, and a booby trap awaits us behind the doors. This is because the enemy interprets space in a traditional, classical manner, and I do not want to obey this interpretation and fall into his traps. […] I want to surprise him!” Shimon Naveh, Kokhavi’s instructor, continues, and explains why the works of Deleuze & Guattari are crucial to the methods of the IDF: “several of the concepts in A Thousand Plateaux became instrumental for us […] allowing us to explain contemporary situations in a way that we could not have otherwise. It problematized our own paradigms.  […] In Nablus the IDF understood urban fighting as a spatial problem. [...] Travelling through walls is a simple mechanical solution that connects theory and practice.” The full version of Eyal Weizman’s article can be found here: http://www.frieze.com/issue/article/the_art_of_war/

In all of this one can detect the teachings—and warnings—of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari themselves: the gesture of deterritorialisation is always met with an attempt to reterritorialise—both the state and the subjects are playing on the same field; what remains crucial is who is more imaginative.

The IDF and their relation to the works of Deleuze and Guattari was first brought to my attention by Manuel de Landa during his seminar Deleuze and Science at the European Graduate School (June 2007); and this dossier was reopened by a timely reminder from Vincent van Gerven Oei during a recent email exchange (June 2012), and also during a conversation with May Ee Wong (November 2012).

[7] Amongst other places, a transcript of Žižek’s speech at the Occupy Wall Street moment on 10 October, 2011 can be found at http://www.versobooks.com/blogs/736

[8] Simon Critchley. Infinitely Demanding: Ethics of Commitment, Politics of Resistance (London: Verso, 2007).

[9] Zizek’s review of Infinitely Demanding can be seen at Slavoj Žižek, “Resistance is Surrender: What to do about Capitalism”, London Review of Books (15 November, 2007), http://www.lrb.co.uk/v29/n22/slavoj-zizek/resistance-is-surrender

[10] For a haunting account of the early days of Khmer Rouge Cambodia, please see François Bizot. The Gate, translated by Euan Cameron (London: The Harvill Press, 2003).

Much of the text hinges on Bizot’s uneasy friendship with his captor Douch, developed over the three months he spent as the latter’s prisoner. Far from being a brutal captor, Douch is portrayed as a principled idealist, completely incorruptible, and totally committed to the cause. But it is not as if the Douch that is better known—the Douch that is head of the infamous S-21 torture centre—cannot be detected as well. In that sense, it is not a descent into brutality, a fall of the man in spite of his ideals, the idea, but that the murderous rampage is part of the ideology itself. And no where is this better captured than in Douch’s own words: “It’s better to have a sparsely populated Cambodia than a country full of incompetents!” (119)

[11] Jean Baudrillard. Symbolic Exchange and Death, translated by Iain Hamilton Grant (London: Sage Publications, 2007), 43.

[12] ibid., 156.

[13] Søren Kierkegaard. The Seducer’s Diary, translated by Howard V. Hong (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997), 111.

[14] Tessa Wong, “Police warn against unlawful Occupy Raffles Place protest”, Straits Times Online (14 October, 2011), http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_723264.html

Raffles Place is Singapore’s equivalent of New York’s Wall Street.

[15] Sharon See. ‘Four SMRT bus drivers charged with instigating illegal strike’ in ChannelNewsAsia. (29 November, 2012): http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1240133/1/.html

As of 3 December, 2012, “29 ex-SMRT bus drivers who received stern warnings and had their work permits revoked for their role in last week’s illegal strike – over pay and living conditions – were put on flights back to China yesterday afternoon, the Home Affairs Ministry said … 150 others who participated in the illicit sit-in, however, would be warned – as they had shown remorse or were coerced into participating – but allowed to remain and work here provided they continue abiding by Singapore’s laws.”

[Teo Xuanwei, ‘29 “active participants” in illegal bus strike repatriated’ in TODAYonline. (3 December, 2012): http://www.todayonline.com/Hotnews/EDC121203-0000035/29-active-participants-in-illegal-bus-strike-repatriated ]

The first driver to be charged, “for his involvement in the illegal strike last week was sentenced to six weeks imprisonment this afternoon, after he pleaded guilty to commencing an illegal strike.”

[Hussain Syed Amir, ‘SMRT bus driver sentenced to six weeks jail for starting illegal strike’ in TODAYonline. (3 December, 2012): http://www.todayonline.com/Hotnews/EDC121203-0000066/SMRT-bus-driver-sentenced-to-six-weeks-jail-for-starting-illegal-strike ]

[16] An echo of the Los Indignatos slogan: “si no nos dejáis soñar, no os dejaremos dormer.”

[17] Paul de Man. Allegories of Reading: Figural Language in Rousseau, Nietzsche, Rilke, and Proust (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979), 194.

[18] A collection of the OBEY poster series can be found here: http://www.obeygiant.com/archives

[19] Avital Ronell. The Telephone Book: Technology, Schizophrenia, Electric Speech (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989), 380.

[20] I explore the notion of reading as a pre-relational relationality which attempts to respond to nothing but the possibility of reading more fully in Reading Blindly: Literature, Otherness, and the Possibility of an Ethical Reading. (New York: Cambria Press, 2009).

About the Author:

Jeremy Fernando is the Jean Baudrillard Fellow at The European Graduate School, and a Fellow of Tembusu College at the National University of Singapore. He works in the intersections of literature, philosophy, and the media; and is the author of five books—most recently Writing Death. Exploring other media has lead him to film, music, and art; and his work has been shown in Seoul, Vienna, Hong Kong, and Singapore. He is the editor of Delere Press and the thematic magazine One Imperative.

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