Writing about Eros Vs Writing about Pleasure

reading

I recently just read two book sort of about pleasure and sort of about eros: Crudo and This is Pleasure (on another person’s recommendation). First off, Crudo by Olivia Laing is f*ing brilliant. It is about Olivia, the author, who is in the process of getting married in 2017. The story takes place right before, during, and after her wedding. However, post-modern twist, it is written as if the author is Kathy Acker, the experimental artist, dead since 1997. It is a recording and reaction to current events, marriage, subjectivity, and narration, birds, food, whatever crosses the author’s path and can be commented on in 140 characters or less. The writing is dynamic, propelled forward by its own momentum, like a social media feed, or news ticker at the bottom of CNN.

Immediately I imagined ways I could knock off this exquisite novel.  Imagine autofiction told by Chantal Akerman, autofiction told as beautiful cinematographic, detail oriented films (or sequence of shots). Imagine autofiction told by an AI, by a video game, by kant (or Reza Negerestani – just got off a board meeting with him – actually that would be an amazing novel). Imagine, in perhaps a Jungian sense, that ourselves and our consciousnesses are comprised of multiple daimons or impulses or desires.  Then, we can interpret Crudo as a meditation  on one’s life external recording and internal reaction  through the lens of one aspect of this personality. There is something mythic in Crudo. Kathy Acker is the god(ess) that Olivia channels in writing her own life.

Next I listened to “This is Pleasure” by Mary Gaitskill.   This is a genre of writing that I don’t like. When I read this I was reminded of another story I also don’t like, Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams, but at least Mary Gaitskill does not use magical realism. So what is my complaint? THE STORY IS NOT TRUE. It is too well made. It is like the well made play – like Hedda Gabler – anesthetized- although instead of a character blowing their brains out – I want to blow my brains out.

What does it mean for fiction not to be true? This is sort of a strange complaint to make of fiction. But I always imagine that fiction is the lie that is more true than the truth.  But there is no truth here since the story is a hermetically sealed perfect confection- there is only the story. The only interface to reality is the conceit around #metoo.

Yes this is a #meeto story. One third of the way through this story, I am slow, I was like why am I listening to this, and then I realized… Oh this is about #meeto.  Still not a good reason to listen, but at least I understand why the author wrote this. Because otherwise it makes no sense.

I am aggravated by stories with a punch line. I am not aggravated by stories with a good post-modern twist. That is my personal proclivity.

The story is written from multiple points of view, Rashomon style, about the actions of a man (Quinn), and how he interacts with women, which is almost entirely sexual without being seductive.  He will smack a woman on the butt with something, but then go to lunch in a platonic or non sexual fashion.  Okay, not sure what that means. Quinn’s is the only male voice we hear. The rest of the characters are various women he interacts with over the years.  There are some lines that are so offensive, and put into the mouths of women, that I cannot imagine how a woman wrote this.

Why this book is called “This is pleasure” is beyond me.  There is no pleasure, it seems Quinn is not even pleasuring himself.  It does seem like there is this reduction of sex to power, since the story opens with the line that Quinn bragged that he can understand what every woman wants to hear (or something like that). So his escapades seem just to be a drawn out personal experiment in proving this hypothesis.  I had no new insights into me too or anything, The only thing that seemed similar between Quinn and real life me too events, were the actions.

Not sure why I felt compelled to post about this, but I read these stories back to back and my contrasting opinion to both, especially while editing the tower, compelled me to record my thoughts.

 

Binge Reading &&& (Three essays)

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I’m trying to write something about science fiction and film which is related to the class I teach at fordham. Today, tech can refer to something like pranayama breathing or my smart phone. Should we use this in the same way? We can look at the etymology of technology – from the greek -techne + logos: the reason or plan of craft. We can consider yoga, craft of caring for the body, so there definitely is a technology to that. Likewise there is a craft of making communication devices. The difference between other ologies and technology (like perhaps psychology and anthropology and sociology), is that these other areas represent a practice, while technology can be both a practice and a subject. We talk about buying technology and using technology, and developing technology in a way that we do not talk about other ologies. So what is technology as a subject and not a process. Technology is the process of technology, a recursive statement perhaps or tautological statement perhaps.

 

But I digress – since really what I am doing is binge reading &&&.

CRYPTOPHASIA & THE QUESTION OF DATABASE: by EKIN ERKAN: Examines the filn Poto and Cabengo with reference to database logic (see manovich, galloway and a bunch of other peeps) and many continental thinkers. The TLDR is that rethinking film in terms of database logic does not subvert traditional power structures, but expresses a “Deleuzian” power structure” The power is in its momentary incomprehensibility and the ability to apprehend database logic (of images) only in recollection (ie memory). The goal of the author is to -show that “the metaphor of “radical cryptophasia” destabilizes the enumerative, cybernetic condition of control society’s database logic.” So I guess the project is to jailbreak the control structure of database images that themselves where theoretically a jail break of hierarchical images (authorial).
Cryptophasia, the made up language that some twins create to communicate, is interpreted interms of autosurveillence, and an example of self optimization. Merleau-Ponty is referenced – with crytophasia as some sort of body knowledge – affect as sensation, also as Laurellian- truly missing (instead of seen). This is all very interesting.

However I kept thinking about homomorphic encryption and cryptography as a personal practice (see past blog posts). This is a much more radical =radical interpretation and I would be interested to explore implications of this sort of knowledge – mic drop!

Geneology of a conflation by Sarah McKenna. This is an analysis of Pasquinelli’s eflux article on algorithms that I have yet to read.  The essay is really well written! The crux of the article takes aim at Pasquinelli neglect of the political dimension analysis of algorithms. McKenna provides an excellent summary of Stiegler’s position- that meta data, data mining et al are “capitalist proletarianization by exteriorizing human experience onto digital platforms” – ie a form of alienation. I completely agree. McKenna brings up predictive coding – or recursion of recursion as an explicit example of an algorithm that is NOT an extension of an organ. Via Negarestani, she explains that machines are Janus-faced and that machineology studies of machines that “traversing between the abstract and concrete” are janus faced, rather than extensions or even material practices. What is meant by Janus faced here? I believe it is a dual nature. But what to me would be more interesting would be to look at where Janus resides- the threshold. The algorithm is really an interface, it is a transduction engine or a mapping engine to transfer one thing into another. And this is what Janus is the translation point rather than the duality or as Pasquinelli would put it – the instruction set.  The algorithm (especially recursive/dynamic algorithms) unlike the syllogism are in the only method to explicitly create new knowledge.

Beyond Nano-Monadology: Exorcizing the leibnizian ghost from the philosophy of Nanotechnolgy by Jaimie Boyd.  This is a critique of Nick Land’s analysis of  nanotechnology.  Land’s critique is that nanotechnology dissolves the nature/culture distinction as nanotechnology dissolves everything into equal singularities. How is this related to the Leibnizian monad, posits Boyd. What kind of Leibnizian is Land and how does this relation break down? Boyd states, “Land’s is a kind of Nietzschean-Kantian monadology, an exilic monadology that retains the divine as a programmer despite the loss of vitalism and compatibilism.” I would completely agree with this.  I would go a step further and posit that Land is an an alienated monadology, or a non anthroposophic monadology.  Where as monads form the world of human experience, Lands noumenal nanomachine form the world beyond or ex human experience perhaps anti-human experience.  The evolution of the monad through Kant to Deleuze and finally to Land, is as sort of apology for the noumenal or a subject that which is in accessible to humans.  For Land, it is not longer a subject that is in accessible but a processes that is contrary to the process of nature and the process of culture.