Monday, August 30, 2010

More on Unemployment

Last k-punk link. I promise. More on unemployment, that I hope will be appreciated by any who have had experiences like mine last year - Incidentally when I had the resources to blog at a rate that I liked. Long-term unemployment sucks, and is, by its very nature, demoralising and worse, psychologically damaging (and, as Mark points out, ontologically alienating). A piece I particularly like:

"For a number of reasons, during my twenties I believed then that I was unemployable - too feckless to do either manual work or retail, and nowhere near confident enough to do a graduate job of any kind. (The ads for graduate jobs would fill me with despair: surely only a superhuman could do the job as described?) I won't deny that eventually getting employment was important - I owe so much of what I am now to getting a teaching job. But equally important was the demystification of work that gaining this employment allowed - "work" wasn't something only available to people who belonged to a different ontological category to me. (Even so, this feeling wasn't rectified by having a job: I had a number of depressive episodes when I was convinced that I wasn't the sort of person who could be a teacher.)

"But surely the importance of Virno and Negri's work is to have undermined the distinction between work and non-work any way. What precisely counts as non-work in post-Fordism? If, to use Jonathan Beller's phrase, "to look is to labour" - if, that is to say, attention is a commodity - then aren't we all "contributing", whether we like it or not? As Nina argues, "[i]t is as if employers have taken the very worst aspects of women's work in the past – poorly paid, precarious, without benefits – and applied it to almost everyone, except those at the very top, who remain overwhelmingly male and incomprehensibly rich." In these conditions - in which unemployment/underemployment/perpetual insecurity are structurally necessary, not contingent accidents - there's more case than ever for a benefits saftey net."

More k-punk: Morrissey and Unemployment

"Is there anyone who has caught the agony of this state of worklessness better than Morrissey? The useless jouissance of refusing what was anyway impossible: "No I've never had a job/ because I've never really wanted one" "No, I've never had a job because I'm too shy" ... I do sometimes think that the implicit political position in those handful of early Smiths songs was one of the most powerful of the 80s. Singing "England is mine and it owes me a living" at the time of 3 million unemployed and the Miners Strike ... Rejecting the masculine destiny of Fordist worker at the very moment when that destiny was being denied to the working class ("No, we cannot cling to the old dreams any more") ... Rejecting, that is to say, all of those working class homilies about the dignity of labour"


It's been a while since I've posted, I know - in my defence I'm writing 20 000 words a semester of coursework, no counting all the (too much) variousness I do on the side.

It's also been a while since I've linked to k-punk, and too long since I've read. Straight off I found this, which looks very cool - I wish I was in the UK.


This one-day symposium will think through the implications of accelerationism in the light of the forthcoming publication of Nick Land’s Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987-2007 and Benjamin Noys’s The Persistence of the Negative.

More here. Along with an awesome picture of a cyborg.

Monday, August 23, 2010

From an essay on Johnson's RADI OS, drawing on Steve McCaffery's Levinasian Poethics

Steve McCaffery, in his description of John Cage’s mesostic poems, coins the term “parasitography” as a descriptor, describing the work as “utterly dependent [on the host text] for its existence”(217). I dispute the implication that the “parasite” does not contribute to the “host”, that there is an unfair exchange that is detrimental to the "host". The paragramatic reading strategies enacted by the like of Cage, Jackson Mac Low and Ronald Johnson illuminate heretofore elided textual potentialities already existent within the texts they draw from. In this way the relationship can be described more accuratly as symbiotic. This release of potentiality is most obvious in RADI OS, or other physically enacted works of performative reading such as Tom Phillips “treated Victorian novel” A Humument. The partner texts, such as, for example Paradise Lost and RADI OS , begin as Same to one another, yet through the process of excision or etching, the newly formed RADI OS gains alterity from its progenitor, without violent disinheretence – indeed, the poem functions as a loving tribute while still maintaining its difference. Furthermore, as a reading of Paradise Lost, it contributes its own (albeit idiosyncratic) interpretative work to the corpus of possibility that constitutes the possible responses to the poem. Johnson’s RADI OS performs and makes physically manifest these processes through its literalisation of erasure, thus enacting the process of its composition. Through the differentiation of the poem from its parent-text RADI OS gains its own alterity, while at the same time maintaining its obligation to the Otherness of Paradise Lost and its polysemy.