In the future

    In the future, when the remains of this age are sifted through by chatbot archaeologists, they will shake their little algorithmic heads and…
    In the future, when the remains of this age are sifted through by chatbot archaeologists, they will shake their little algorithmic heads and sigh and sigh and sigh Read More...

Uncertain augury

On exiting the subway today, climbing the stairs up into Union Square, a small feather fell onto our faces. Then more. We looked up. A…
On exiting the subway today, climbing the stairs up into Union Square, a small feather fell onto our faces. Then more. We looked up. A large red-tailed hawk was sitting on a branch, slowly devouring a pigeon in front of an American flag, too hamfisted to be an omen, too opaque to not be. The flag flapped a bit, but feebly. The hawk sat still, looked down at the gathering crowd, who were all saying, hawk, or eagle, and all taking pictures. The hawk went back to tearing gobs from the pigeon. The first time I wrote pigeon, I wrote dove.  As in, the sanctified doves of peace of the Pope that were rightfully attacked by two birds that are themselves permanent augurs, crow and gulls, the former because they are plural, the latter because they live off trash and so are already thick… Read More...
      We are forever staggered that we are not ceaselessly wrecked against the shoals of the world and ourselves    
      We are forever staggered that we are not ceaselessly wrecked against the shoals of the world and ourselves     Read More...

Fragment from a history of domestic architecture, 2548 AD

The house was dying. That much was sure.
With no small effort, the house consumed what remained of the forest. Some other time, earlier, ago (the house had never supported a clock on its walls), the whole thing would have been a breeze. The house simply showed up, a solid league or couple miles or many furlongs out past the center of population density. (The clockless house had basements upon basements stuffed with maps, being, all things said and done, a house). It minded itself, mended its traps. A little landscaping. Then it would be found, miming its surprise, the door never open but never locked, and the rest just fell into place. Axes took to the forest and carried it hewn into the house. Paths trenched into shape. Thieves paced the paths with high collars and pried the rich and poor alike from their things, which too were brought into the house,… Read More...

The rich own watches

Terrified by time yet aware that it is money, the rich own watches.
  Terrified by time yet aware that it is money, the rich own watches. Tremendous hoards of them. But despite the ample size of their residences and the fact that for the rich, residence is always a plural noun, there are still too many. The space between the walls being already stuffed with ruined birds, they cram the timepieces wherever they fit. The rich are fond of disguising their watches as other luxury goods. It is something to do. They do not share this fact beyond themselves. When the rich piss in each other’s toilets, they alone are aware that they are pissing on Breitlings and Ulysse Nardins. They hang their coats, which are woven from Vacheron Constatins, on Hublots. If one isn’t careful when cleaning up with a sponge that is also a Rolex, a mint A. Lange & Söhne Grand… Read More...

The rich go to the zoo

Are hyenas Crossfit?
The zoo confuses the rich, on multiple counts. First of all, the zoo is adrift in history. It doesn’t even know what century it is. It asks you this all the time, though the rich suspect it's just an opening pretext to bum a cigarette, at which point the zoo will keep trying to hand you a filthy and crumpled and senseless ostrich in exchange. The rich already have an ostrich, and it smells of fresh sage and lanolin. They rent it out to each other at cost. Moreover, the cages are not even reclaimed, the rich notice – they are merely old – yet an open plan zoo would end badly for the rich. In a related question, are hyenas Crossfit? Or are they ripe with carrion made dead just for them, zebra throats opened to hissing breadth with… Read More...

When the rich walk

For the rich, when they walk, there is no firmament
When the rich walk, they do so with an unknown number of small and relatively defenseless animals placed between the arch of the foot and the bed of the shoe. They walk with a deft and decisive lightness, not wholly unlike deer, deer not being amongst the fauna placed between foot and shoe, and hence, between rich and earth. For the rich, when they walk, there is no firmament: there are the stars above, which they know intimately and have tattooed iridescent onto the skin of hired help so their rich children may know of the cosmos on smoggy nights, and there are the warm and pliant things underfoot, from which claws, teeth, beaks, and grit have been removed prior to the walk. The result of this lightness of gait is that a not-insignificant portion of the fine-boned creatures are… Read More...

RIP Farocki (1944 – 2014)

In the cinema it is as if the world itself wanted to tell us something.
Only once it had been learned how filmic images grasp for ideas and are themselves seized by them, were we able to see with hindsight that the resolution of the workers’ motion represents something, that the visible movement of people is standing in for the absent and invisible movement of goods, money, and ideas circulating in the industrial sphere. In the opening sequence of this first film, the cinema’s basic stylistic principle is already present. Its signs and meanings are not put into the world, they arise from the real. In the cinema it is as if the world itself wanted to tell us something. - Harun Farocki, "Workers Leaving the Factory" Read More...

if these adjectives are synonyms of ‘enemy’

From a friend who translated this endlessly contemporary work: “One shouldn’t be too generous with certain adversaries. Against those who without disgust tolerated reading or listening to…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKeV0ksaZ5w From a friend who translated this endlessly contemporary work: "One shouldn’t be too generous with certain adversaries. Against those who without disgust tolerated reading or listening to things written and said about Arabs which largely repeated arguments that thirty or so years ago the Hitlerian press made against the Jude, and made them, if that’s possible, even more repugnant by covering them in a pedagogical, democratic veneer— because for the Nazi the Jew was irrecuperable while the ragged gesticulating illiterate Arab, incapable of using a modern weapon et cetera, can ‘progress’ if instructed in Western values—against these people one will never be ‘antisemitic’ and ‘racist’ enough, if these adjectives are synonyms of ‘enemy’." Franco Fortini, The Dogs of the Sinai, p. 30 Read More...

Salvage, Without the Punk

Neither more nor less political than smearing neon paint on a machete.
[These are notes toward a history of the legal and aesthetic concept of salvage. Since I've written on salvage a couple years ago (specifically on the image of a salvagepunkish world that became a staple of genre film, television, and so on), I've returned to the concept on different ground, with a specific interest in the legal framework carried within it and greater suspicion of the real limits of its mobilization again and again. So these notes toward a different tack. They also form a touchpoint for a series of new essays on empire and image I'll be posting here in coming days and weeks.] “but are we not all wreckers contriving that some treasure may be washed up on our beach, that we may secure it [...]?" - Henry David Thoreau, Cape Cod A beginning: beating the meteorological odds. Fernand Braudel writes,… Read More...

An Audio Letter

The past crammed beneath our feet sings, the debt will not return.
  The naval follies on the Serpentine, 1814 Along with 11 excellent writers like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Ben Lerner, I was commissioned by the Serpentine Gallery in London to write and record a text to be listened to by those walking across the Serpentine bridge in the park. My piece, a letter from the London of a different 2014 to a lost friend, can be found here along with the others, to be listened to in whatever park, room, or sub-bridge one so desires. A cloud hung a long slash over the moon and below it, they had rigged for blowing sky-high the Orient – the French flagship Orient, that is, whose shattered mast formed the first of Admiral Nelson’s three coffins. But the oil got loose from the ship, got everywhere, and when the moment came to spark, sudden the… Read More...

The Sabotage of Life (Sabotage Talk #4): 5/14

This Wednesday, I’ll be giving the last of the talks in my series on sabotage (Manual Override) at the Center for Transformative Media. This time, I’m…
This Wednesday, I'll be giving the last of the talks in my series on sabotage (Manual Override) at the Center for Transformative Media. This time, I'm centering in on a theme (the concept of life and the relative uselessness of that concept) that's been lurking throughout the previous three, grappling with it through the frames of animation, unwaged time, and hostility. I'll be joined in conversation with Hannah Black, who's been a terrific interlocutor for me about this project throughout the year. Free, open to all. -- The Sabotage of Life MAY 14th, the ‘GLASS CORNER’, room E206, 25 East 13th Street, 7.00 PM – 10PM The last in the series, this lecture tackles the last aspect of sabotage responsible for the century’s worth of attacks on it: its negation of the centrality of “life” as an ideal to organize around… Read More...