Auto Draft

(introduction of LOG#25 / about capitalism, technologies, masochism, machinism and languages…)

Reclaim Resi[lience]stance//….R2

I am an imposter. They told me so… finally… it’s out… What am I to do now with the life of agreeable fakery that binds me, in claimed feebleness, to things and to people, to suspect humanity. We could wonder about this…, and wander…  together… as if it were some new territory to discover… a blank map, some terra incognita… a Moby Dick[1] on the move with Gregory Peck clutching at the ropes of his Harpoon, dead yet still alive at the same time… Step right up, Boys, Girls, and Androgynes, you’ll get your money’s worth… Log is so cheap… let yourself be what you’re not, too, slip into a schizophrenic zone, a thick soup of contradictory desires emerging from the clay like the hydrocephalic Golem-Golum… that way you, too, can naively elude our unpredictable and irreducible conflicts, which are part and parcel of domination and slavery, destruction and the new, fusions of ugliness and beauty, obstacles and possibilities, garbage and fresh blooms, threats and various forms of protection, technicist prowess and forces of nature… Here everything comes together and interlocks. It’s all here, in the making, in a movement in the making… Step right up, Boys, Girls, and Androgynes… Let yourself get carried away, to see and tell what connects us, the people behind this Log, but also all the rest, the ones who stir up trouble and take shelter in these friendly, territorial, womblike refuges where you can circle around in the ill winds that blow through congregations and metropolises, in all those places, those little hotspots. And anyone can follow suit, as long as it goes toward making a “place” that we can mine for whatever remains habitable, desirable, or musical in the gloomy universe of planetary noise. It’s good, it’s really good. It comes in the form of a human group, a re-peopling of the social structure in the form of a dream. A dream of social climates, empty lots, existing forms of nature and people and enhanced intimacy. It alters what exists, it marks out vanishing lines, subjectivities, it throbs in the form of local stories and languages, little tales, the stuff of fables and narratives garnered by tacking together and tinkering.[2] It isn’t totally iconoclastic, but cultivates a profound fear, an aversion to preformed, reproduced optic matter, standardized image/merchandise. It’s also nasty… Not really ready to buckle under and keep its mouth shut. Then again, it’s naive and full of good ideas, forced as it is to elbow its way through the monstrous dump of social media junk… It’s the planet within the planet, the swarm of bees buzzing in the face of a society that has become bogged down in the deterritorialization programmed by Deleuze and Guattari (Anti-Oedipus, 1972). It’s “the weed in the human cabbage patch” that Henry Miller talked about. “True, the weed produces no lilies, no battle ships, no Sermons on the Mount… Eventually, the weed gets the upper hand… Grass is the only way out… The weed exists only to fill the waste spaces left by cultivated areas. It grows between, among other things. The lily is beautiful, the cabbage is provender, the poppy is maddening – but the weed is rank growth…”[3] It lives in this grassy environment, between the flotsam and jetsam and other detritis of this society of chaotic performance. It tinkers, recycles, reconstructs in all historical senses of the term. In other words, it proceeds without apparent method, by means of declarations, unstable desires, and objectives – so much so that it’s fun to see those bent on destruction deducing scraps of theories and rules of etiquette from it all. Go ahead, trample on this patch of lawn, it can stand up to anything, it’s a football field with lots of sides. But is it the final round of human forms preceding the final collapse and freezing over, or just some bushy piste, with “succesive lateral offshoots in immediate connection with an outside?”[4] Then again, no one gets it, it remains an ellipsis, but so much the better… a problem of writing, there absolutely have to be “anexact” expressions to nail something exactly. Let’s say that it is about naming those aesthetic species that grow wild between social snowdrifts. The rhizomatic bad seed sown by the two philosopher friends that stocks us up again.

It proceeds by variation, expansion, and conquest, via crossing points, recycling, adaptation, capture, embrace, tweaking… It’s a connection to sexuality, obviously to the animal realm, the plant realm, the world, politics, artifice, machines and bits… like a thousandth plateau… it means discovering continuous areas of intensities pulsating all by themselves and evolving by avoiding being directed toward a culminating point or external end, a little war machine, an automatic pistol of combinations, associations… assemblage in vivo that’s a lot more incisive than innovation in vitro… It operates like so many “dream machines,” pitted against the methods, messianisms, and mercantile theories of happiness, the natural state privatized and reprimitivized, symbols, progress. When everything has once and for all suddenly descended into anything goes, the deep freeze, urban guerilla warfare, and the rest of the whole shamozzle, there remains that sixth sense, nerve endings and defensive reflexes. And don’t think it takes to the maquis, either, that it goes in for underground resistance. There is a reality principle that doesn’t seek to be right against the daily disorder but walks gaily over its ruins. It lives in broad daylight, not in the shadows, because the shadows are a refuge for jumpy activists living in the comfort of their ideals… clowns, as Zizek calls them. It doesn’t illustrate destruction or violence, but is a state of things, a palpitation between Eros and Thanatos. It isn’t there to reproduce what is, or to eliminate its existence, its precondition, its affects… “Nostalgia is a weapon,” wrote Douglas Copeland in Generation X. Why should we deny ourselves access on the pretext that this particular furrow has been ploughed by the archaeologists “della città,”[5] regressively, in lazy imitation? The word still exists, the sentiment too, we’re going to have to wheel it out again, push it into the very heart of whatever situation, like a hesitation of time’s arrow, here and now, here and elsewhere, elsewhere but not just anywhere, avoiding the futurist past as much as the positivist future… Quite the opposite… And anyway, why would “It” be more moral, why would it have some right over the whole collection of good wishes and good consciences? There are so many people who are happy to carry morality’s flag, they’re legion, as numerous and powerless as criminals.[6]

 

Reclaim Resi[lience]stance …..R2[7]
In this violent antagonism, within the hollow of this personal disorder, this personal confict, we are facing two worlds facing each other: WEF versus WSF, Davos[8] versus Porto Alegre[9]… on one side, business and its operative economy, both financial and managerial; on the other, all the multitudes and their potential for organization from the bottom up – for a productive and operative resistance against the first.  How can the architect, artist, scientist, writer, and citizen absorb, swallow, and digest this Janus-like condition without favoring one over the other? How can they walk on the razor’s edge, following a schizoid strategy of weaving together contradictory forces, of knitting together two genetically opposed wires? On the one hand, technology as a vector of invention in the pursuit of “businessdom,” the mix of free enterprise and the ideology of progress that was a basis of the democracy empire, and on the other, the growing of the bottom-up, of the biopolitical tribes, suspicious of the delegation of power’s simulacrum as a highly imperfect and corruptible system that needs to be renovated by, and through, the multitudes and their creative energy and potential.
Log 25 explores ways to navigate this antagonism, which could be negotiated in an (un)certain and ambiguous manner… nonhierarchical, nondeterministic, defining a path in which architectural protocols could fuse bottom-up and top-down, contingently, simultaneously, as if the ingredients were making recipes, and the recipes were modifying the substance of the ingredients… apparatuses of exchange,[10] which transform the game of power and the knowledge diffused through that game.

The stuttering between Resilience[11] (recognizing vitalism as a force of life) and Resistance (“Creating is resisting”)[12] seems, in a schizophrenic logic, a plausible hypothesis… shifting, drifting, in the crack of territories between strategies of emergences, manipulating processes, computation, fabrication… flirting with the fetishism and the arrogance[13] of tooling, daily updated Stakhanovismly as a psycho syndrome of our alienation… and… at the opposite… the line of their own subjectivation, their “raison d’être”…

In this context of endless perplexities, it is not innocently that a group of philosophers requestions the foundation of “our ideal insane asylum,” called democracy, through the validity of its structure and the procedures of delegation of power; questioning notions of government, of governance, of bio-democracy.

Contradictorily, the discipline of architecture in the time of now feigns ignorance of this genuine conflict, and concurrently legitimizes more and more its identity, or the illusion of an identity, at a condition of noninvasive, nonsubversive, nonpolemic, nonpolitical consequences.[15] In this inoffensive demonstration of wallowing in a cozy postdigital a(e)ffect, addicted to a totemic production,[16] “we” seem to be afraid of the wolf… afraid of losing the privileges acquired over a period when the reason of the few prevailed over the destiny of the many, sitting squarely within the fantasy of control: from a disciplinary urbanity, based on the model of psychiatric hospitals, and panoptic prisons as a model and instrument of urban planning,[17] we have slipped into an informational system of control, into a whole panoply of watchwords, to take up Deleuze again.[18]  The modes of constituting the city are so well-coded and planned that they induce in advance instructions for its “proper usage,” “directions for use” in which playing around with its reordering is no longer tolerated. The systems of incarceration of the classical age have no reason now to exist, so the manufacturing of cities apes its principles of surveillance[19] in an “open sky.” This is something we sense… but what’s more pertinent, as Antonio Negri underlines in the conversation that follows here, seems to be the return to the industrial world, of the factory, the mill, via its modes of production, profit and enslavement in relation to what lies outside it… of the city itself, which has become the very stakes of the production and trafficking of ideological and financial values. The architect has become the mainspring, the cheville ouvrière, of this process in the literal sense: he is the “worker” on the city assembly line, from Detroit to Shanghai, producing the icons of triumphant, authoritarian capitalism (the new El Dorados of Asia!) via its exchange zones without being remunerated with the surplus values engendered, the capital generated.

As a hired hand, capable and lobotomized, the “sub-proletarianized” postcapitalist architect is not only the main link in the assembly line of industrial and urban products; parallel to this, he is also the elegant mask of the duplicity of a system that hides its true nature through the artificial eroticization of this “flagshipshit.” Subservience to a manufactured product, without questioning the conditions in which that product is made – which could be read as the conscious projection of willing slavedriving – has simultaneously generated a general impoverishment and dumbing-down of the field of architecture. To trigger and regulate this intellectual pauperization, the “professionals of the profession” have invaded and cannibalized the terrain of the academies so as to bend them to their own needs: to produce the alienated workforce, super-talented when it comes to tools but servile when it comes to their jobs, required to surf modes of manufacturing that are at once operative and cynical… eviscerated of any rebellious, not to mention alternative, hypothesis that would turn their talent into a tool for transforming the system.

It’s not so much postcapitalism that is in question here as it is the conditions in which architects have tried not to play around with its malleability, its capacity to absorb strange, not to mention toxic, bodies capable of undermining its predictable mechanisms…

It’s true that the media visibility that arises from such submission operates like some psychotic reward. It produces systemic pathological effects: precisely the known symptoms of the industrial sub-proletariat: the worker of the week at McDonalds and the “Pritzker Prize” are blood brothers – a photo on the wall of their dependency, in thanks for their docility. But submission to the mechanisms of power and authority “doesn’t pay” except for those who serve as vehicles for that illusion. It is only in strategies of conflict, opposition, indignation, and occupation that the capitalist structure, an ectoplasm with an adaptable and variable geometry and contours, agrees to renegotiate its transactional modes… But for this malleability to operate, we first have to run the risk of confronting it, causing it to crack, biting it, in close combat, using tactical strategies of visibility and fallback… facades and dissimulation… offensive drives… occupation of turf, in the hollows of conflicts, in the hollows of speech utterances, their rescripting, their de-alienation – not in the cozy living-room idealism of the defeat of thought.

Architects as a whole have neglected to hunt “the beast.” [20] Claiming to be serious, rigorous, expert, professional, they have naturally and willingly and as a matter of course made themselves subservient to the system that is supposed to feed them, and in return, logically, they are underpaid for such subservience. This particular form of masochism, which is not so much masochism as it is acceptance of the sadism of the system, is actually, height of irony, seen as… a performative act.[21]

Surely we’re forced to reread the political distance… the ontological schism… between these the notions of sadism and masochism22… from the one, we should be able to exercise our strength by the effective recognition of enslavement to a system, by finding new contract-based solutions to its limits, its contents and modes of dependence and strategy of infiltration, of resilience; and from the other… the sadism that profits from our ingenuity, false virtue, or proclaimed cynicism, to organize the institutions and modes of operation taking advantage of this (false) innocence… to alienate, bow, bend, according to its specific agenda, with no safeguard other than its quarterly profit and loss accounts…

In these conditions, and by default, it would be prudent to ask ourselves about the legal framework of such a submission, of the protocols of Sacher-Masoch, and even to define the mechanisms of exchange, domination, enslavement, eroticization and suffering, as a potentially contractual support element of this same transaction… and to redefine what constitutes the nature of that contract… not just in terms of the relationship between the parties, but in terms of the representation of this relationship: masochism is a theatricalization of the transactions involved in the human comedy, a way of exorcizing their hidden face, revealing, reawakening, opposing urges, Eros and Thanatos, life and death, at one and the same time… indissociably… and liberating the protagonists from the authority of the systems of control, in order to introduce obstacles, conditions and limits, instructions and contradictions, childish pranks and perverse acts…  that make the nature of these transactions visible…

This is what the ecosophy of things, substances, and beings is… as well as the lucid recognition of a kind of operaism… capable of transforming the rules of its exercise, of its power… like the rules invented by “the bent man”[23] who faces his demon: the supposed weakness of a strategy of resilience, nestled in the very hollows of modes of operation that act, bend, corrupt, script, subjectivize… in order to free the narratives from alienation…

But make no mistake, we are not dealing here with crazy new flagellants, eschatologists, oozing blood at the feet of the cult’s ministries, but with tribes which infiltrate the very mechanisms that underpin and articulate the visible, both those linked to language, from speech utterances to all kinds of writing – poetic, political, psychological, prosaic, mathematical, computational, as well as multiple crisscrossing, entangled narrations, but also those linked to machinist tools, to  the manufacture of things and substances, as well as those navigating this side of that, casting lines of subjectivation, of force, cracks, great escapes, made up of incongruous assemblages, tactical bouts of paranoia and schizophrenia, about to venture into possible new orderings, operative and affective critical apparatuses[24]… in a stuttering swarm.

François Roche, Bangkok June 2012

(Acknowledgements to Julie Rose, Translator and Olivier Zahm)


[1] In Herman Melville’s novel, the animal’s whiteness should be viewed as one of the last unknown lands to still resist the mapping of the world and its reduction. A last vestige of a time when nature did not allow itself to be tamed or ruled… before its sudden, violent, blinding awakening (Hurricane Katrina, El Nino, cyclones Jeanne, Tomas, and Nargis, Hurricane Xynthia, Typhoon Ewiniar, earthquakes in Indonesia, Japan, the coastal tsunami of Fukijima… a chain of devastating uncertainties that we couldn’t predict, despite our seismographic sciences). Faced with the autistic, blind, deaf and dumb violence of our mechanisms of technological, industrial, mercantile, and human domination, nature reacts… in a stuttering version of the original chaos… in a mutiny against human organization… Gaia seems to take its revenge. Nature is not an ideological “greenwashing” in some cozy living-room politics, neither is it a millenarist eschatological Eden park, which we’ve been very lucky to escape from, liberating ourselves from the hedonist harvester so we can negotiate with the dark, hostile forces that were hiding in the depths of the forest…

[2] From the French bricolage, from bricole, the Roman catapault, a seige weapon, made in situ by extracting and transforming the materials at hand in whatever situation.

[3] Cited in Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987), 18.

[4] Ibid., 19.

[5] Aldo Rossi, L’architettura della città [The Architecture of the City] (1966; repr., Macerata: Quodlibet Abitare, 2011).

[6] “Cause I’m a criminal/ You’re goddamn right/ I’m a criminal/ Yeah, I’m a criminal.” Eminem, “Criminal,” The Marshall Mathers LP, compact disc, © 2000 Aftermath/Interscope.

[7] Reclaim Resi[lience]stance
-”a plat de resistance”

– The letter “R” in Gilles Deleuze’s “Abecedaries”
– Resistance as William Morris, Walter Benjamin, John Ruskin with Baudelaire / the spleen and the “aura” against mass production / from Craftsmen to Computation Craft, jumping over the standardization of the Bauhaus Gropius period
– Resistance as Structural Optimization (genetic algorithm, evolutionary algorithm) to “discover” the output by incremental and recursive calculation, through reiteration, for uncertain, unpredictable, un-deterministic protocols
– Resistance in the social and philosophical manifesto, in the pursuit of the “Etablis”, the “Situ” with some friends in the luggage as Diogenes, Spinoza, Nietzsche, Foucault, Deleuze, Negri…
– Resistance as a strategy of obstruction (The Five Obstructions, by Lars von Trier)
– Resilience in the recognition of nonlinear systems in nature as a potential for emergence
– Resistance as a strategy of opposition / La Boëtie (Voluntary Servitude), Thoreau (Civil Disobedience) and Gandhi’s methods
– Resistance as suspicion of the resolution of science’s failure by science . . .
– Resistance-resilience as feedback . . . animism, vitalism, machinisn feedback. . .  for narrative bachelor machines and contingents scenario…

- Resilience as the recognition of the post human, infiltrated by and porous to technologies and information, as both a transitory object and subject.
– Resilience as the recognition of the planet’s disease and the madness and contemporary barbarousness and the stupidity of the planetarian petit-bourgeois media class

- Resilience in a strategy of absorption (human adaptation after a shock, a trauma, an impact)
– Resilience as the inoculation of a pathogen, of a toxicity to improve the resistance to this very pathogen

[8] The World Economic Forum (WEF), a nonprofit foundation based in Geneva, describes itself as an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas. The Forum organizes its annual meeting in Davos, a mountain resort in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland. The meeting brings together some 2,500 top business leaders, international political leaders, selected intellectuals and journalists to discuss the most pressing issues facing the world…as it should be.

[9] The World Social Forum (WSF) is an annual meeting of civil society organizations, first held in Porto Alegre, Brazil, which offers a self-conscious effort to develop an alternative future through the championing of counter-hegemonic globalization. Some consider the WSF to be a physical manifestation of global civil society, as it brings together NGO, advocacy campaigns as well as formal and informal social movements seeking international solidarity. The WSF prefers to define itself as “an opened space – plural, diverse, nongovernmental, and nonpartisan – that stimulates the decentralized debate, reflection, building exchange, and alliances among movements and organizations engaged in concrete actions toward a more democratic and fair world….a permanent space and process to build alternatives…against what it seems to be.

[10] In pursuit of the notion of Félix Guattari’s “The Three Ecologies.”

[11] In psychology resilience refers to the idea of an individual’s tendency to cope with stress and adversity. This coping may result in the individual “bouncing back” to a previous state of normal functioning, or using the experience of exposure to adversity to produce a “steeling effect” and function better than expected. Resilience is most commonly understood as a process, not as a trait of an individual.

[12] A scientist, a mathematician, creates a function…it is mainly an act of resistance… against the wishes of casual opinion… against the whole domain of stupid questioning…Creation is resistance…it is production of exaggerations…and their existence is the proof of their resistance… against the stupidity and vulgarity…  See “Abécédaire de Gilles Deleuze, R, Resistance,” television interview with Claire Parnet.

[13] When John Ruskin writes of the arrogance of the Renaissance, he claims both the over-instrumentalization on the part of geometry to frame limited types of knowledge and, simultaneously, the arrogance of the people owning this tool to discredit all others and to establish their authority, putting an end to the social organization of knowledge and construction developed during the Middle Ages.

[15] “Non-Standard,” the 2004 exhibition at the Pompidou Center, is behind this shift or, rather, regression in the status of the architect, who once more becomes a simple designer… As Hal Foster writes, “After the heyday of the Art Nouveau designer, one hero of modernism was the artist-as-engineer or the author-as-producer, but this figure was toppled in turn with the industrial order that supported it, and in our consumerist world the designer again rules. Yet this new designer is very different from the old. . . . One thing seems clear: just when you thought the consumerist loop could get no tighter in its narcissistic logic, it did: design abets a near-perfect circuit of production and consumption, without much ‘running-room’ for anything else.” Hal Foster, Design and Crime (and other Diatribes) (London: Verso, 2003), 17–18.

[16] The scale of production acts like capitalist compensation for the architect’s loss of influence, as does the money received in exchange for recognition of his powerlessness, on condition that it be both cynically performative and three times the size it was. Vouloir-faire, wanting to do, is substituted for savoir-faire, know-how (kunstwollen vs kunstkönnen).

[17] See Michel Foucault, History of Madness, trans. Jean Khalfa (London: Routledge, 2006).

[18] According to Deleuze, “disciplinary societies are regulated by watchwords (as much from the point of view of integration as from that of resistance).” Gilles Deleuze, “Postscript on the Societies of Control,” October 59 (Winter 1992): 5.

[19] And neither the abusive “greenwashing,” nor “social networking entertainment,” nor, worse still, “postdigital-parametric” blindness are likely to redefine a position, a transmission point, from which we could “exercise our power,” our praxis (in the sense of human activities capable of transforming social and political relationships).

[20It is no innocent matter that the very people who generated the factory city, “a product of industry and marketing” to use the political phraseology of the barricades of the 1970s, are now transforming that factory city into a tool of capitalist propaganda, sharing in its construction like a randy, gangsterized rotary club. It is no innocent matter, either, that the critical systems in charge of questioning their validity simply offer them a helping hand, fascinated by the power that these great strategists grant them in return for their dependence.

[21] At the tip of the iceberg are Rem’s epigones and rejects whose names, among others, would be pointless to list.

[22] A subtlety developed by Gilles Deleuze in “Coldness and Cruelty” (1967), in Masochism: Coldness and Cruelty & Venus in Furs, trans. Jean McNeil (New York: Zone Books, 1989).

[23] “Call it madness, if you want. . . But the new world knows only resistance. . . When I bend in order to avoid accepting the rules of their authority, I am destroying the foundations, I am insulting their legitimacy. . . . There is rage in the face of my madness, a ferocious rage as if they found themselves faced with an act of revolt. . . Cretins, don’t you understand that it’s exactly that?” Antonio Negri, “The Bent Man” (2005), in Trilogy of Resistance, trans. Timothy S. Murphy (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011).

[24] Gilles Deleuze,  “What is a dispositif?”, in Michel Foucault Philosopher, trans. Timothy J. Armstrong (New York: Routledge, 1991). “What is an apparatus [...] in a game of power, strategies of relationships supporting types of knowledge and supported by themselves; both orderings of desires and of creations in Deleuze, apparatuses of knowledge and of power in Foucault, indissociably linked”.  Agencements deleuziens, dispositifs foucaldiens », Monique David-Menard, College international de philosophie, revue rue Descartes, #59, 2008

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