The White God 1: Kurtz

He’s been haunting me. In the past few months, he’s been following me in the books I’ve been reading: Blood Meridian, Heart of Darkness, and now The Windup Girl. The character is a little different each time, whether he shows up as Kurtz, Judge Holden, or Gi Bu Sen/Gibbons—yet there is no mistake. He is a figuration of white, European Humanism, for whom science and technology provide the instruments for the brutal colonization of non-whites and nonhumans alike. He is a white god of death, whose anthropomorphism and ethnocentrism fuel a blinding nihilism… Continue reading The White God 1: Kurtz


Marking Territory: Pollution as Appropriation in Serres’ Malfeasance

In Malfeasance: Appropriation through Pollution? French philosopher of science Michel Serres makes a provocative argument that links our seemingly unstoppable drive to pollute and befoul our environment to both an animal instinct to mark our territory and the economic imperative to amass property. Continue reading Marking Territory: Pollution as Appropriation in Serres’ Malfeasance

A Cause for Young People

A cause for young people is not a supplement of the soul; it is the very future of a society, of a civilization, a culture, and must be worshipped. Young people of the twenty-first century have a right to something other than to be policed: they have a right to a future, and to a future that is terrestrial but nevertheless spiritual, that is, elevated.

Bernard Stiegler. Uncontrollable Societies of Disaffected Individuals, Disbelief and Discredit, Volume 2. Trans. Daniel Ross. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2008. 123.

Numbers or Souls? Angelo Musco’s Ecotechnical Bodyscapes

Angelo Musco. Xylem.  2011.  Metallic C-Print mounted between Aluminum and Plexi-glass.  8'x20'.

“For some it’s the numbers,” Angelo Musco told TIME Lightbox in an interview last March. “For me, it’s the souls.”

Musco creates “Bodyscapes,” enormous images composed of thousands, even millions of naked bodies. What looks like a forest scene or a bird’s nest from a distance turns out to be, upon closer inspection, a mass of bodies stretched, reaching, bent, huddled, flying, swimming, curled, piled, entwined—but most of all, amassed, aggregated, collected, concentrated. The images are certainly beautiful, but it is a terrifying beauty. For Musco, the body is a site and a celebration of pain as well as joy. Continue reading Numbers or Souls? Angelo Musco’s Ecotechnical Bodyscapes

Floris Kaayk’s Visions of Emergence 1: “The Order Electrus”

O nature, nature, life will not perish! . . . [I]t will start out naked and tiny; it will take root in the wilderness, and to it all we did and built will mean nothing—our towns and factories, our art, our ideas will all mean nothing, and yet life will not perish! Only we have perished. Our houses and machines will be in ruins, our systems will collapse, and the names of our great will fall away like autumn leaves.

—Karel Čapek, R.U.R.

Back in January, I wrote a post about Floris Kaayk’s “Metalosis Maligna,” a short film that I had seen years ago but thought lost to the internet void. There are two more of his videos that I want to share. Embedded above is “The Order Electrus” (2005), which I saw at the same time as “Metalosis Maligna,” in those heady days as I was groping around for my doctoral thesis project. Check out the video after the jump. Continue reading Floris Kaayk’s Visions of Emergence 1: “The Order Electrus”

Tiny Free Library

Walking my dog this morning, I discovered this curious little booth in a neighbour’s yard, which seems to have popped out of the ground overnight.

"Free for use of [the] Public."  This structure, erected in a loved one's honour, represents a political act of faith in the future of a community.
“Free for use of [the] Public.” This structure, erected in a loved one’s honour, represents a political act of faith in the future of a community.

I find this Tiny Free Library very touching, not only because it has been erected in somebody’s (posthumous) honour, but also because it is a testimony to a family’s good faith and trust in their community. Whether those who erected the library are aware of it or not, this little structure is an enormous political act. Where our governments and institutions seem to do everything in their power to degrade and dissolve public trust, and seem most inclined to leave little of any worth to posterity, here is a humble reminder of what it means to think of “community” as that which offers up something to the common, invites others to do the same, and puts faith in a future where this common will be preserved.

Shortly after I returned home, I pulled out some books I didn’t need anymore, as did my wife, and I delivered them to the Tiny Library. The shelves are already stuffed full.