‘A music made from contradictions’: Notes on Jameson’s Valences of the Dialectic


First, let me reproduce the prose poem of totalisation that serves as a kind of infinitely compacted crystal of Jameson’s multi-volume Poetics of Social Forms (which is being composed in a rather inscrutable order, in ways curiously analogous to Agamben’s Homo Sacer series):

‘We have indeed secreted a human age out of ourselves as spiders secrete their webs: an immense, all-encompassing ceiling of secularity which shuts down visibility on all sides even as it absorbs all the formerly natural elements in its habitat, transmuting them into its own man-made substance. Yet within this horizon of immanence we wander as alien as tribal people, or as visitors from outer space, admiring its unimaginably complex and fragile filigree and recoiling from its bottomless potholes, lounging against a rainwall of exotic and artificial plants or else agonizing among poisonous colors and lethal stems we were not taught to avoid. The world of the human age is an aesthetic pretext for grinding terror or pathological ecstasy, and in its cosmos, all of it drawn from the very fibers of our own being and at one with us in every post-natural cell more alien to us than nature itself, we continue murmuring Kant’s old questions—what can I know? What should I do? What may I hope?—under a starry heaven no more responsive than a mirror or a space ship, not understanding that they require the adjunct of an ugly and bureaucratic representational qualification: what can I know in this system? What should I do in this new world completely invented by me? What can I hope for alone in an altogether human age? And failing to replace them by the only meaningful one, namely how can I recognize this forbiddingly foreign totality as my own doing, how may I appropriate it and make it my own handiwork and acknowledge its laws as my own projection and my own praxis?’ (608) Continue reading
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Like a crime

The Terrorizers

“The social totality can be sensed, as it were, from the outside, like a skin at which the Other somehow looks, but which we ourselves will never see. Or it can be tracked, like a crime, whose clues we accumulate, not knowing that we are ourselves parts and organs of this obscenely moving and stirring zoological monstrosity.”

[Fredric Jameson, 'Remapping Taipei', in The Geopolitical Aesthetic, p. 114 - on Edward Yang's The Terrorizers, 1986]

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Locke détourné


‘In the end all the world was America, and more so than it is now; for no such thing except money was anywhere known.’

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Picturing Piketty


From here.

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Jameson on time, singularity, derivatives, postmodern gastronomy and the ubiquity of curators

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Care of William Bunge’s Fitzgerald: Geography of a Revolution.

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Advertising (m-l)

To fund his work with Gorin in the Dziga Vertov group, Godard produced this advert for the razor firm Schick. Apparently, the mise-en-scène – a couple in their ratty underwear waking up to an argument over a radio blaring news about Palestine, only to be reconciled by aftershave – didn’t do it for a public yet inured to irony, and, at least according to the art dealer who commissioned the advert, lost the company money at each appearance on TV. (The agency Dupuy & Compton was later incorporated into Saatchi & Saatchi.)

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