Tim Tsang meets Txgen Meyer — transcript (partial)

Tim Tsang: Instead of pretending that it does not exist, if walls are indeed – Oh hello.

AC: Hello!

TT: Hey who’s that?

Andrew Culp: Hi I’m Andrew

TM: Oh Hey.

TT: People are just-

AC: Hello!

TT: Yeah this is Andrew, and I’m sitting with Taegen.

TM: Hi.

TT: Uh, we can’t see you super well but you’re there.

TM: I can see him in the T.V.

TT: Oh! There you are, that’s sick.

TM: Yeah, and here you can kind of see him. I need to announce: I made a mistake.

TT: What Happened?

TM: The audio wasn’t going through, and I wasn’t checking the mixer. There was no audio in Twitch for a little bit and we had four people watching.

TT: No worries, that’s cool. They didn’t hang up

TM: I’m glad you guys are still here with us, thanks for staying along. [laughing] So we have two different screens going on.

TT: One is facebook, Tim’s computer is going on facebook live and Taegen’s is going on Twitch. They’re kind of the same thing, I’ll take a picture of them in a second, but there not.

TM: Yeah, they’re kind of the same thing but kind of different.

TT: I think that’s kind of interesting, I’m still thinking of Andrew’s question and I think it’s another example of the setup. Simplifying simplification could be, “oh well let’s just have two people and a microphone, let’s go unplugged,” and yes that’s true, but then the gathering is limited to that. Instead of that, just piggybacking of the previous answer part A in terms of like, “how do we deal with the walls,” I wonder if having many cameras or camera angles is possible, not like a maximalist approach but that we do have a lot, but each of those elements does play a creative role in that. Maybe that’s another take to gathering, where it’s not even a gathering of humans but that is just a gathering of things. Not necessarily internet of things, but a gathering of things. You talked about, “what would a human strike look like?” I wonder if we might come to part of that answer as we become more “gathery” with things in a way that traditional unions would. What would it be like to have a union with humans? Playing around with different meanings as well, of words. Even the word “union”, people getting married and it’s a union, but you have a strike and it’s also related to unions. I’ll stop there.

TM: [laughing] Well, one thing about gathering- I’m glad Parches is here now, letting me talk about this, and Andrew I’m sorry you have to hear this if I make mistake but nonetheless, I have a great idea about reading the [6:53 at .6]. I like to think of it as a quite novel idea, and it has to do with the way that we conceptualize refrains. Because the refrain is generally a concept that’s just sort of pushed aside and no one cares about, we don’t see “political theorists” talking about the different fascist refrains that are being imported. Refrains are, generally speaking, not something that theorists really discuss. On the one hand, having spent most of my life in music from the age of four I was doing performance stuff and I started learning piano when I was five, music was a big part of my life so I’ve always been one to want to draw from music concepts and the refrain stands out to me. When you look at the refrain, at least when I do, what you find is something very beautiful, something I call “accelerationism,” but no one else seems to. [laughing] I think that I might have a few disagreements with a few people on what accelerationism means. When I look at this phrase, “accelerate the process,” in Anti Oedipus, I look at what Guattari writes in the Anti Oedipus papers, what he writes in the Anti Oedipus papers is that the process is the dissipative process of Prigogine and Stengers. Now for me, the question then becomes- well, I know I’ve asked you many times Andrew about trying to take concepts from AO and bring them to ATP, in regards to the process: where do we locate it in A Thousand Plateaus? Clearly they don’t disregard it entirely, and one place I find it, and that I think it is critical to find it is in the refrain. We find the dissipative process in the refrain in what Deleuze and Guattari call its catalytic function. They say that the catalytic function of the refrain is that it binds materials, it brings together disparate elements. It produces a gathering, it produces a community. For me, this is a central concept to any sort of organization problem that any person involved in politics might have. “What type of refrains are we producing?” It’s interesting to me to think about accelerationism in terms of the acceleration of the refrain, the acceleration of the catalytic function of the refrain, or what Ilya Prigogine might call an auto-catalysis. I’m thinking of gathering through these terms, in what ways are we maybe gathering with regards to sonically? How might we be gathering? Taking “sonically” possibly loosely, it’s definitely an expansion of what we mean by sound.

TT: [inaudible yelling 7:02]

TM: [laughing] Any comments? I feel like Andrew got me, I saw you nodding along there.

AC: One thing that I really like from DnG, is that, they’re talking about different forms as composition that’s not on a principle of identity, which is to say things that have been reduced simply to some sort of category like let’s say: race, class, gender, or even more broad things like humans versus the nonhuman. To say that things are brought together based on their identity, and that similarly they are not hierarchy organized in some sort of [barissotiliam 11:34 .7 speed] order, if that’s the case then there’s all these other interesting principles by how things might gather. I think it’s really smart to bring in Prigogine and Stengers and other folks who are working in the eighties and nineties and using scientific models for how things might come together. The classic way to talk about it is the assemblage, but I really like your bringing up of the refrain because it gives it a different image of composition and I’d say that the big two questions I have about it are: How do we make political judgements or how do we find politics within it? The second would be a series of examples to help us get started. [ken cern 9:04] has a really great article that said we should use Deleuze’s writing on likeness and harmony and say that:what capitalism is, is an accord of accords which itself is drawing on a sort of metaphysics built out of music. A harmonies of harmonies that tries to take all sorts of particularly different and dispert elements and put them all into a way in which they resonate together. I’d say that if we agree with DNG that one of the great images of something to confront or to at least challenge or overcome is capitalism. Perhaps the biggest challenge we have is capitalism that is able to build its own sort of refrain, in almost a sort of fantasia/magician’s apprentice way in which everything is just brought together, Mickey Mouse and the Wand. It’s out of control and it is bigger and more powerful than we could imagine. We have to come up with new images for what happens when there’s this out of control, sort of capitalist sorcery based on the refrain and other musical principles, and what happens? Do we create dissonance? Do we create breakages? What are the images that we might want to conjure in order to think of how to respond to it.

TT: Is that the second question? The first question you asked was, “How do we make political judgements?”

AC: Yeah, like how do you find politics within the refrain? The refrain seems to be a clinical or diagnostic model. If we’re to figure out the politics where do we go? Second, what are some examples that we can find in things that work in the refrain and use those and the material in order to further our judgement?

TM: I’m glad you asked the first question, for me this is where I get to talk about my second interjection into Deleuze and Guattari’s canon: Sun Ra. We’ve talked a little about Sun Ra in the past, I turn to Sun Ra in moments when a Christian would turn to a bible almost. When I have that uncertainty, I go and I look at my copy of the immeasurable equation and I look for comfort. Sun Ra is definitely someone who I locate as being a critical source for being able to deploy the refrain politically. He was someone who did it so skillfully, so consciously. Obviously you can look at works like Nuclear War as a classic example.

TT: Nuclear War! Nuclear War is a mother fucker.

TM: I mean it is a mother fucker, right? Clearly Sun Ra’s move is not disconnected from the political. For me, Sun Ra becomes critically important when we deal with the cosmos. Even Deleuze and Guattari reference cosmic refrains. That’s why I think the refrain is such an important concept as well. It’s one of the few times when we see the word “cosmic” come up in Deleuze and Guattari. We don’t see it too often. We see this word “cosmos” come up in regards to a “cosmic refrain” and I think that’s really important with regards to being able to do a type of analysis which brings in Sun Ra’s cosmic philosophy. It’s undeniably, even by Deleuze and Guattari’s standards, a cosmic philosophy. Being able to draw those lines of connections may help us, obviously I’m not giving a direct answer here.

AC: Let’s think about Sun Ra for a second, let’s break down the refrain. So the refrain, in music, tends to be more than just a form of musical notation, where you repeat a phrase. It also compositionally has a part within the larger song, it’s the place where we all sort of come back to in order to reiterate a theme. In the way DNG like to talk about it, a kid walking the city or town and they’re whistling a tune to themselves and it’s nice and familiar. It allows them to explore unfamiliar places, where you get to a place of uncertainty but the refrain helps to sort of bring you back and help you explore more, which I should parenthetically say really matches their image of what Deleuze sometimes talked about as a diastolic systolic universe. He talked about communities, but I think this comes back to the biological metaphors that he often uses. So diastolic and systolic are often how we describe the capillary system and blood pressure and the way in which we pump blood through the body with expansions and contractions. But people also talk about expansion and contraction in so many other ways. There’s a dilation of the universe as well as a contraction. Some people even describe the process of life, the way in which animals are able to internalize things that have previously been external to them, and carry that outside within them, it allows them to then explore other places. As water based organisms were able to then interalize water, that allowed them to explore the land. There’s this internal/external expansion and contraction, natural selection process. The refrain is a really interesting analogy to bring in here, but I like how you’re bringing in Sun Ra here because he doesn’t use it in this very straightforward, biological ways. What does it mean for Sun Ra to be from Egypt? I think that’s where the refrain suddenly gets really interesting. Sun Ra is an alien but also kind of an Egyptian, bringing in these historical elements but without claiming a very specific sort of historical genealogy or lineage that we would be sort of more familiar with. The refrain is not just some sort of mechanical or direct connection, it’s this much more sort of expansive way of building relations between things that seem somewhat unexpected, can accumulate, allow space for a lot of improvisation and can go off in sort of chaotic different directions.

TT: I wish I was from Egypt. [Parches 16:38] are you from Egypt?

PP: No I’m from jupiter, I have something to share with you also. Speaking about refrains, I was just reading this book called Breathing by Bifo he actually talks about the refrain, he talks about the concept of the refrain and he adds, [inaudible 17:02] that enables the organism to enter its singular cosmos into a wider incantation. It’s talking about the refrain as sort of an articulation of signs that allows us to interface with the wider cosmos and cites Bifo and says that, “time is the projection of a singularity and simultaneously the frame of inter-individual conjunction, the grid where uncountable refrains interweave. These books specifically talk about music and rhythm as the way in which the trans-singular time interface creates some kind of consensual reality, or what he calls rhythm and he talks about music as post-modern process of transforming chaos into harmony. Later on, he makes the distinction between fortune and will, chaos and logic. Chaos being this intimate or near intimate cosmos that’s indifferent and that is outside the subject. He is very specific about saying that logic can only make sense of a little or very tiny logic and can only make sense of a very tiny part of the cosmos. It’s this sort of thing where subjecthood becomes and individual refrain, each of us imposing a tiny bit of logic onto this chaos and all of these things interconvene, becoming rhythm or music which to me sounds like it has a lot to do with Sun Ra or what his music seems to render for me. He also interjects accelerationism into this, i know Txgen you wanted to talk about accelerationism, my question when talking about accelerationism is, “what is accelerating?” What is the thing that is accelerating? But in this book, he is talking about the intensification of the semiotic flow. Because information can flow a lot faster, it sort of breaks this refrain or rhythm that we inherited from the modern age where it was a sort of configuration of rhythms and refrains or of semiotic articulations that are creating a wider consensus. Because the flow of information is accelerated, it breaks this balance or this machine and creates this chaos. He also makes this distinction between cyberspace and cybercrime, cybercrime meaning the mental rhythm of processing stimuli of the accelerated flow of information. He goes on to say that when the acceleration of cyberspace breaks the rhythm of mental time, we no longer know what is relevant and what is irrelevant in our environment and this is what we call chaos. The inability to attribute meaning to the flow and that breaks down our framework of relevance. Something like that, the last line is nice because it brings me back to Sun Ra: a special vibration of the soul spreads out at this point, which we call panic, a subjective report of chaos.

AC: I think the model of the body without organs that we get from Anti Oedipus is very much about this sort of interface with chaos. At least at a minimal level of organization or minimum level of habit and/or induction of chaos is necessary for living beings to survive it. If it was just a direct onslaught of the unexpected without any sort of defenses against it, we would just sort of wither and dissolve into nothingness or just break up into a million particles. There’s always some danger in that process because if we close ourselves off too much, we inhibit change and we calcify, which I think is why DNG think that the worst thing against the flow of life is to not embrace it and keep transforming and becoming something else. The other risk that I would propose, that’s been my sort of intervention, is that there is a danger in too much harmony. At Least from my political diagnosis, I think the greatest model for harmony that we have right now is capitalism: capitalist harmony. One of the challenges I think for a political program is that if capitalism is the most harmonious composition of things that we’ve ever seen, what is our strategy? Become just as harmonious? Have an alternative harmony that somehow overcomes it or succeeds because of other principles. Can there be an antagonistic counter-approach to harmony in which creating more than just dissonance, but also breakage and transformations. I think that’s where the strategy of accelerationism comes through, where accelerationism sees the process of disintegration pushing through and past various aspects of capitalism into something new, better, and different. In that way, there’s a disagreement that lies between [author 23:34] and DNG that other people might be inhabiting now. DNG were writing a long time ago too, I think it’s probably time to refresh our ideas, new utopias and new strategies, and see where things are going.

TM: I wanted to respond a little bit to [Parches] when you said, “What’s accelerating?” I don’t know if I call it accelerationism seriously or not. I’m convinced myself it’s not ironic in my years. Other people are more convinced than me that this is accelerationism. If I were to say what’s accelerating here, what is accelerating is the catalytic function of the refrain itself, the refrain’s ability to organize matter and organize bodies. The intensification of that process, where by the wide spread of information may be one way that that’s done. There’s many different ways I can imagine that taking place with regards to accelerating. A good example that I like to draw from is the example of the auto-encoder algorithm in development and coding. We have an algorithm which basically takes in information, takes data points and processes them, categorizes them into what types of data they are and what they represent and rebuilds from them a sort of canon from which it produces something new. The idea is that it produces something which should be a perfect replication of what it was fed, if you gave it pictures of a dog then what you would get out is a picture of a dog. But you would also expect some level of error, where in the reproductions there will always be new things getting produced out of things. I like auto-encoders for a lot of reasons, Pelly writes about how auto-encoders are useful for literary theorists. I think auto-encoders may be useful in regards to how we use the refrain even. Not only do we need refrains, but we need to be able to hear refrains and process refrains for ourselves. We need to be able to understand and identify refrains if we’re ever going to imagine using them as matter, sonnerized. We have to at least hear it first. That’s something that Sun Ra talks about so much when he talks about training. Spreading what Pelly might call the training set of the auto-encoder or the set of information that we give auto-encoders in order for them to go to the process whereby they can start to produce on their own. I think that acceleration in these terms means an acceleration of that process of the training set being spread. In some ways, it is a spread of information but at the same time it deals more with the way in which information is processed rather than the spread of information itself. Being in-tune with what Sun Ra might call the plane of duality comprehension, what Deleuze and Guittari might call the  plane of consistency, having some affinity with that claim serves as some sort of evaluative metric for us to start to think of. Of course I’m speaking semi-super vaguely, and I guess my response to that would be to read what I read about it.

TT: Just read my book

TM: Just read my book, I said it there probably better there than I could live.

TT: But we are having a gathering now, so you need to talk about it.

TM: That’s true, I’m sure I’ll flush it out later but I don’t want to take up too much space. I said a lot, I feel.

AC: I gotta run, so I want to thank you all for hosting me. It was great to see you all for a little bit, maybe I can create my own refrain to drop a bomb on you all and see the devastation after I leave and say: we began this conversation by talking about this being the anniversary of this being a united farm worker’s strike. My question is where does the strike fit in with the refrain. That’s all, see ya!

TT: See you.

TM: See you, and I see we also have a new friend here. Hello?

KJ: Hey what’s up.

TM: How are you?

KJ: What’s upppp?

TM: This is my friend Kristel

TT: Hi Kristel

TM: I’ve got to say, I think this is the first time I’ve been able to say live to you that I love your podcast.

KJ: Thank you, I love what you do too.

TM: We’re friends together in a group, cybaby.

KJ: Cybaby was supposed to be a thing, and now it’s just a group.

TM: You’re here with us, I’m sure you just heard our discussion about refrains, I know that one thing you do is music. Do you want to tell us a little bit about moogfest, but maybe you can just tell us generally what you do for people who may not know what you do.

KJ: I do different projects, but what I’m generally doing is very emotionally and not very computer centric. It’s funny you mention moogfest because for me, saying moogfest [sound effect]. What I did at moogfest is I was the drone therapist so I made drone music while people talked to me about their problems and I was like their therapist, along with my friend Heather too. [sound effect] It was good, I met some very interesting people.

TM: That’s good, I know everyone is just throwing things at everyone so we’re going to have a lot to think about after tonight, but one thing I have for you in regards to refrains, I know you do drone therapy and one thing I am interested in thinking about with regards to gathering and refrains is how therapy might play a role in that.

KJ: Let me paraphrase here and be specific here, how therapy can have refrains like a musical-

TM: How the therapy of refrains might aid us in gathering.

KJ: Therapy is all about vulnerability and any good gathering starts with somebody opening up about themselves.

TM: Did we open up about ourselves?

TT: A little bit.

KJ: You’re opening about yourself here.

PP: Can you elaborate on the connection between gathering and assemblage because you used them in the same sentence, but I don’t know what you mean by gathering.

TM: Honestly gathering for me is just a word I put in quotation marks to describe today.

TT: Hey Parches, happy birthday!

PP: Oh, thank you.

TM: Oh happy birthday.

KJ: It’s your birthday? Happy birthday.

PP: My birthday was yesterday but thank you.

TT: Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Parches, happy birthday to you. See, that was a refrain.

PP: That was a refrain, yes.

TT: We sang that last night.

PP: We did, or you did. I guess I was wondering about gathering, the word that you keep using. It seems that you’ve mentioned it at the same time as assemblage. If we are talking about refrains as individual ways of interfacing with chaos or individual ways of interfacing with other refrains in order to create our rhythm. If a refrain is an incantation of signs then maybe a gathering is an incantation of refrains or something like this. If a refrain is the singular articulation that allows us to interface with the wider chaos, maybe refrains come together to create a rhythm and maybe this rhythm or gathering is another name for it.

TM: I like that.

TT: It’s nice, the refrains can happen. Kristel would not have known it was your birthday unless we said it on the air. By gathering the refrains that have been happening in the past twenty-four hours, that makes it visible audio. Is that what you’re getting at?

PP: Sure, a refrain is something that has the property that it comes back over and over again.

TT: Right.

TM: Yeah, that brings us to a really interesting discussion. I want to give Kristel a chance to answer a little bit. With regards to gathering, I think about the ways in which Sun Ra might use sound. He will use sound so poly-rhythmically, poly-phonically, it will be very dissonant. But at the same time, there will be structure and order and every note will have its place and he talks so much about how most of his improvisations he wrote beforehand. He talked about how he would write solos for people that he would have them perform that he had just written earlier that day. So how all of these chaotic things have some sort of organization, some sort of structure. This word, gathering, is maybe a way for me to think through a way in which I can and we can organize bodies and matter and sound and space in such a way that it has some sort of event like structure to it that is acknowledged but at the same time it does not demand anything.

KJ: It’s like a birthday party.

TM: Yeah!  A birthday, so we just sort of looked at what sort of stuff is going on. We do have a birthday, we have one birthday, so we can celebrate this birthday.

TT: Yes we can. Parches, can you talk about your facebook post that you made today? It’s very interesting. When people have a birthday, they post something on their wall but you did something interesting.

PP: What did I do that’s different from what people do?

TT: Well, you posted two pictures of yourself instead of one? Can you explain to our friends what that was?

PP: Sure, okay this morning I woke up and I wanted to thank all my friends that posted on my facebook wall for my birthday. I wanted to do it in a nice way so I posted a couple of photos, one was me about to blow out the candles on my cake and looking up. Another was a collage my friend did that was kind of silly and had me just in bicolors and it said congratulations in spanish. I don’t want to call it a poem, but I wrote it in a way that is poetic.

KJ: Can you read it?

PP: Yeah, I can. It’s three lines but I can. What I wrote is: thank you friends, in thirty lifetimes I could not assemble a crew as kind and as generous. That’s it.

TT: [Laughs]

PP: It’s true, I wanted to invoke this idea, having thirty alternative lifetimes. I like playing with other dimensions, so thinking that maybe I would have lived thirty different lives and still not find friends as good as I have in this one was my thought.

KJ: Aw.

TT: That’s cool, it is like a party. Kristel, can you tell us a little more about drone therapy? Is it like a party, a gathering? You mention that you take more of an emotional approach to stuff rather than a tech/gear standpoint.

[42:10, sound is interrupted by some sort of video, multiple parts of kristel talking were inaudible.]

KJ: Drone therapy just started with me being by myself, just having a really sad party and my feelings and experiences. Because I wasn’t posting it on social media, just like, “Ah, just look at this sad video I made about my life.” It became a party.

TT: It was a sad party, and then it became a real party.

KJ: It was always a sad party.

PP: I like that it’s a sad party and it’s therapeutic. You’re not pretending it’s a happy party to be therapeutic, you are embracing that it is a sad party and it is therapy at the same time.

KJ: Yeah, and I think there’s a joy in that for sure.

TT: I don’t know if it’s asking too much, but would you be able to talk about what sorts of people were drawn to joining therapy. Our last guest, Andrew, was talking about normies. But just thinking about people groups. I drove for Uber for a couple years, and I met a lot of different kinds of people from different parts of town. I’m curious, have you been seeing a specific type of people?

KJ: It depends on the event, I’ve done it at all ages events where I’m talking to teenagers and they are coming to me with problems such as fighting with their friends. Typical teenage problems. There was a guy, his brother was getting married that day but his brother was an alt-right neo-nazi and he wasn’t going to his wedding and it was weighing on his mind. It really depends on what the event is, I did an all day outdoor festival and I got a lot of people who were out on acid which is more difficult.

TT: Is there a plan, or the way you go through the process. You mentioned it being an all day event, what does that look like?

KJ: The maximum now for me now is three hours, I’ve done up to five hours before and that was too much. I usually get started and people are pretty shy so I start to zone out and eventually people start to come through and talk. Every event was different, every crowd was different. There was one man who commented that it was mostly women who had come out to talk to me, which was true for that event. I think that makes sense, maybe women are more willing to talk about their feelings?

TT: Have you ever tried it on children?

KJ: Feel like I would, but it has not happened yet.

TT: I have a three year old son, I don’t know if he would be into drone therapy.

KJ: Probably would, the baby listened once, he didn’t say anything, he just kind of crawled around.

PP: Didn’t you used to play a noise machine for him to go to sleep? That’s kind of like a therapy

TT: Yeah, my son is three years old and he can’t go to sleep without two noise machines. We put one by his bed that just plays drone sounds. At first we had one that played ocean waves, or cricket sounds, or white and pink noise. But then we just got one that just plays white noise, but he at least needs two. Even when we go out of town for the night, he needs noise machines. Once he hears that sound, he goes to bed.

KJ: That’s sweet, I have a white noise machine for sleeping too, do you want to see it?

TT: Yeah

KJ: So what it is, is a CV radio that truckers used to communicate to each other. Sometimes I can get truckers from the south who are talking to each other.

PP: Have you ever used it to channel ghosts?

TT: Trucker ghosts?

KJ: There’s no active truckers on the road right now, it’s been pretty fun to wake up at nine in the morning and hear these guys using all this lingo that you don’t understand.

PP: Do you play drone for them?

KJ: No I’ve never entered the chat. I have the microphone, but I have never used it.

TT: That’s really cool

PP: Is that microsampler next to you?

KJ: Yeah [sound effect]

PP: It’s a refrain!

KJ: That makes me so happy.

PP: I don’t use it that much, I think Tim borrowed it for a while.

TT: That’s so cool.

TM: I feel like Kristel would be one of the people who would like this jacket I got.

KJ: Yeah it’s a NASA one, what does it say on the sleeve?

TM: It says “national aeronautics and space administration.” It’s a beautiful crop top, alright? We’re showing off the stomach.

KJ: Where did you get that? That’s amazing.

TM: It was at H&M, I saw it right at the checkout line, and I knew I had to get it.

KJ: Did you know I have a group called NASA.

TM: I didn’t.

KJ: I think we know each other through Mathew Donovan?

TM: Yeah.

KJ: We have a group together called NASA, it’s noise against sexual assault. We organize shows and such.

TM: I’ve heard of that.

TT: Yeah, me too.

TM: Yeah, you know mathew right?

TT: Yeah, I do, we all do actually.

PP: Hello Mathew!

TT: Hi Mathew!

KJ: We love you!

TM: Oh, you haven’t seen the setup! You weren’t here for that.

TT: I’m trying to enlighten our friends.

TM: You can send it in the skype group chat, I’ll show you guys the space.

KJ: I saw the pictures that you posted.

TM: Oh, okay.

TT: Yeah, if they are watching on Facebook they should be able to see it.

TM: there we go, it’s moving now. It’s beautiful. We have a really nice space here, we put it together in forty-five minutes? An hour?

TT: Yeah, something like that.

TM: We spent most of the time sitting on our computers worrying about software issues.

PP: That’s a refrain too.

TT: Yeah, unfortunately. Dystopic refrain!

TM: Oh, Margaret is having tech problems.

TT: Oh, okay.

TM: In a little bit, I think Tim and I are going to take a little— Oh hi there!

KS: Hi!

TT: It’s Kathryn!

TM: Hi Kathryn!

KS: Hi!

TM: Okay we were going to take a small five minute break because we need to do some behind-the-scenes stuff real quick to make sure the website is working right before we got into talking to you. But you can stay here on chat, just so everyone knows we won’t be chatting for a second.

PP: Okay friends, I think I need to go, but thank you so much for inviting me.

TM: Thank you so much for coming!

PP: I hope to talk more with all of you at different points in time, good luck with the rest of the stream too.

TT: Thanks Parches, Later.

PP: Bye

TM: See you.

[Break to fix streams]

KS: In my mind is how do I be a reasonable parent in the age of global warming? Oh, Hi.

TM: Hi!

TT: All we heard was how to be a parent in the age of global warming.

KS: Yeah, Kristel was asking me what’s on my mind in regards to quantum physics and I was about to answer something but I thought, no, it’s how to deal with this apocalyptic era and have a six year old? How do you do that?

KJ: I’ve been thinking about how it’s kind of this whole judgement day-western world of thinking, we always kind of think the world is going to end. My parents thought the world was going to end when they were kids, they thought there was going to be bombs.

KS: I remember that era-

KJ: For sure global warming is real, I just think the hopelessness is my era. It’s comforting.

KS: I’m mixed, I agree with you. I remember the era of being terrified of nuclear holocaust, I was raised in that. I feel like that was a very present part of my own childhood, the fear that we were all going to be annihilated by nuclear bombs at any moment. My earliest memories of dreams are of nuclear apocalypse. I see that, and I think that there’s definitely a way that it fits into a certain desires that we have to feel hopeless and externalize problems so much that we can’t even deal with them. As a scientist, I can’t deal with how much bad news there is coming from science. It’s very hard to figure out what to do. My students are constantly asking me, “How do you go on?” I don’t really have a good answer. That’s not a great place to be as a teacher.

TT: Hi Kathryn.

KS: Hi Tim, how’s it going?

TT: Thanks so much for being here, I feel like everytime we talk we’re on skype.

KS: Yeah, it’s a pretty weird way to have a conversation.

TT: We were talking earlier about the idea of gathering. It’s interesting, even the dichotomy of “oh, is a cyberfriend a real life friend?” It almost doesn’t matter, we met in person for the first time and I had heard of you but I feel like it’s the context of what we’re doing and I really appreciate that. I feel an affinity to you. If, out of many things, because you are a parent.

KS: Yeah, likewise.

TT: Yeah, I have no idea how to do anything, let alone talk about global warming and apocalypse. Were you saying something specific about your child? You said you have a six year old, is that something that they are starting to ask about? Mine is only three and his world is a lot smaller.

KS: I’m going to use she/her pronouns for my child, but I’m also going to clarify that my child is very clear that that is the right set of pronouns for my child. That always makes me uncomfortable, how to deal with gender in children too. My kid is very intensely aware of the adult world, when she was three a good friend of mine passed away and she became obsessed with death around that age. This is where her focus and emphasis is on what’s going on around her. Anytime she’s in the car and she listens to the radio, she understands all of it and we have to interpret all of it for her. It’s really difficult, we’re in such a state of, “what the hell do you do? How do you go forward in life?” and that’s obvious to any kid.

TT: Part of me is wondering too, at this rate, maybe they’ll be teaching us how to survive because that’s all they’ll be doing, or are right now.

KS: it’s a weird time, maybe this is just saying more about me than my kid but my kid goes to a birthday party and comes home with a bag of goodies. Where did they come from? What was the origin of these materials? It’s a bunch of plastic crap. But plastic crap is such an upsetting problem, so my poor child is like, “I went to a birthday party and I got this bag of goodies and now it’s like oh my god apocalypse.” That’s kind of what I’m dealing with. Sorry what are you doing with that plastic cup?


TT: I don’t know!

KS: Just so you know how crazy of a person I am, we were trying to figure out a good school for her, and we went to all these various open houses for schools and they would put us in focus groups with other parents to talk about what we valued in education. I said I valued that this education was going to deal with climate apocalypse and the gigantic social injustice that it will cause and all the other parents thought I was crazy. Another time, I went to a guitar store to get a used guitar pedal for something and they had lost the pedal I was attempting to purchase and they were like, “we’ll just give you a new one for the same price” and I told them, “I can’t buy a new one, the world is ending!” These are stupid things, stupid situations to be having thoughts about because it’s not about that, it’s about much bigger decisions of governments and institutions. Obviously, I’m just not handling this well and I feel weird as a parent not handling it well in front of my child.

TM: How are you? How is life besides the climate apocalypse, of course.

KS: Is there a besides? I don’t know. Good I guess, in a lot of ways, yourself?

TM: Things are going okay, the nights been going pretty good. We’re dealing with a lot of cool things about what it means to be gathering right now. Why are we gathering? What does it matter if we gather? Also what modes of gathering are possible, and I think that exploring gathering in a space like this allows us to really open up what types of gathering are possible. Obviously we are gathering us, but we are also gathering on another screen here with twitch viewers, people who have decided to spend part of their day watching us converse. I don’t know if you’ve seen, but we have a green screen on the twitch stream. It’s very beautiful to have the screen waving in and out so that the green screen changes. It’s nice to be able to change space in that way and take control of space. As a child, I was afraid of playing aloud because I didn’t feel like I was able to take control of space in that way. To be able to just sit in a space like this, just have full control of it, have all of our ways be whatever I want, is a great experience at least for myself. To be able to gather with friends in such an environment as well is just, for me, a great thing. I wanted to gather with you as well—I think Taylor Adkins may be with us right now.

KS: Oh yeah, hi!

TM: Howdy!

TA: Hello.

TM: You two are two great people to talk about this with possibly, I think Kathryn talked things related to this when I heard you talking at Tim’s last event. For Taylor, we have in Deleuze and Guattari nonbeing, and how essential this parenthetical nonbeing is. This nonbeing which is a problematic one, not an oppositional one. That’s something I wanted to explore—sorry someone in chat said something, but thinking about gathering in all these ways and how important it is as Deleuze says in difference and repetition that we be different but not opposed. That we draw together so many people from so many different areas, Tim being an artist and myself being more of a researcher/writer and only an artist somewhat. But drawing so many other people with us to gather was also a really important decision. Part of me always wants to break down the space were in with everyone and break down why we are gathering here today. We’re gathering for a lot of reasons. One of the reasons we’re gathering is that it’s internaut day. Internaut day being the day they celebrate the creation of the internet. It’s not the actual day the internet was created, the man who created the internet said, “please don’t know celebrate internaut day, it’s not the right day it means nothing.” But I say let’s just go for it.

KJ: Happy internaut day!

TM: Happy internaut day, we’re celebrating networking and communication in that way. I just thought you’d be cool to talk to about space. Today is also the anniversary of the day in which the first picture of the earth from the moon was taken. I think that’s a really interesting position to be in, gathering outside of earth, you’re thinking about these conditions of Earth. Thinking about possibly post-anthropocentric or post-anthropocentic modes of gathering. All of these are things related to this topic of gathering, anything you have to contribute at all I’m glad to hear.

KS: I feel like I could launch in with a whole bunch of random thoughts about separability and inseparability in physics.

TM: I want to hear it.

KS: I don’t know if that would be useful.

TM: I want to hear it!

KJ: that sounds really cool!

TM: Taylor knows why I want to hear it!

KS: I don’t know you Taylor, so I don’t know your thing.

TA: Well i guess I have a number of things, I kind of identify like Txgen where I consider myself a theorist insofar as I’ve studied literature and philosophy and was meant to be a professor I suppose in a former life. Took a different path, I’m a translator in French philosophy and that’s kind of where I get my clout if I have any.

TM: You definitely have clout with me.

KS: Sorry to put you on the spot like that.

TA: Not at all!

KS: Okay, so we talked about gathering, I am thinking about the notion of entities separated in space that are brought together in space. I’m thinking in physics that that’s actually very connected to some of the things I’m working on right now. The spatial separation is a really complicated concept in fundamental physics. The fundamental entities as we’ve described them in quantum physics, photons and electrons, the things that we are actually made of don’t have location in an indefinite way. So a single entity, a single photon can easily inhabit the entire universe up to the point when it interacts with something, at which point it has to be at one location. The concept of gathering, I think of if very macroscopically. You can’t have that concept in a fundamental physics sense because it relies on spatial separability being presumed in the first place and that you can spatially combine in second place. If you have a bunch of overlapping, spatially, non-locatable entities then what does that even mean? I think on a metaphorical sense there’s a lot to do in terms of thinking about individuals also not really being locatable. In the same way, if you weren’t seperated in the first place than you don’t need to be brought together.

TA: I like what you said there Kathryn, I discussed a little bit about this with Txgen in a discord chat on Laura Well, the founder of nonstandard philosophy. The work that I’m finishing up now, we’re basically editing the very final product. [1:24:55 Name] and I were finishing the translation of Laura Well’s nonstandard philosophy and he dips into abstract algebra on the one hand for operators of non-commutativity and idempotence but he also goes into quantum mechanics, quantum theory. He likes to the call generalized framework of what he’s looking into “quantics.” The reason why he turns to quantum theory or this general quantics which physicists might take umbrage to because it’s being used outside the physical domain to discuss macroscopic entities like philosophy or philosophies. He’ll liken the state of philosophies in an internecine kind of mutual warfare as “core puzzles.” The whole goal of a generalized science that could manipulate them and study them and collide them as particles and the thought experimentation was moving from philosophy to philosophy as this macroscopic phenomenon to envisioning it as a wave particle complementarity such that non-philosophy would be more than transcendental operator or procedurality of thinking the co-presence of all these particulates, philosophical philosemes or just condensed essences of their sense of identities that respects them and doesn’t cancel them out like physical waves or like a hegelian type movement of negation and contradiction and alphabong, but superposes them in this wave of virtuality or futurality and it becomes all gnostic and messiatic and it gets really weird but it’s so cool. That’s why I’m drawn to Laura Well, it’s moving beyond the political essence of philosophy which about mobilizing philosophical decisions against each other. Trying to unhinge my own biases that would be religious, philosophical all based on these kind of identitarian beliefs. I said a lot of stuff, I want to pass it off please.

KS: Yeah, I’m not familiar with that work but there are a lot of people. This is how I met Tim actually, I’m not a quantum physicist by training, I’m a nuclear physicist by training. But working in an art school environment, initially I became exposed to Karen Barad’s work, I don’t know if you’re familiar with her work or anyone is here.

TM: I am, yeah.

KS: Oh good, I’m going to quickly distill this because I think it’s an important connector between some of the things that are being said. She was trained as a theoretical physicist and went on to become a scholar in feminist and critical studies in a broad interdisplinicary space. She wrote this very seminal work called Meeting The Universe Halfway and in that she takes the thesis that the ontology of quantum physics should be taken as a general ontology in implying that the universe does not observe our preconceived notions of separable entities and separable identities either. I have critiques of Karen Barad’s thesis, we can get there or not, but as I’ve seen how other scholars have tried to make a similar move I think hers is one of the most rigorous. She is taking a strong philosophical stance which I think is a really powerful one which is that if you ask the universe if the concept of separability make sense the universe kind of says no. It doesn’t have that written in as a rule, so roll with that and see what it implies on all scales in the social domain as well as the microscopic doman. It’s a very rigorous argument that she’s making.

TA: I want to know what Txgen thinks about this because obviously the question of separability in certain senses can be Spinozist.

TM: You know how Guittari goes on in schizoanalytic cartographies about separation and non-separability. A lot of these things ring very true to me, at least what I read in Guittari. He draws a lot from [1:30:53 name], a physical chemist who I am inspired by in many ways, who writes a lot about dissipative structures and self organization and deals with a lot of these same topics and different terms. I feel like I am acquainted with you already, we’ve gathered intellectually.

TA: On the refrain, when they talk about chaos as the milieu of all milieus, there’s something to this notion that the proper name “chaos” helps to designate in this question of separability—what was the author’s name, again?

KS: Karen Barad.

TA: Karen Barad, okay, you said the universe meets in the middle?

KS: Meeting The Universe Halfway

TA: Right, so that is the milieu, the midplace. It’s interesting, in French when they say milieu I always think they see something deeper, because it’s just half-place. It’s just the middle, so this question of chaos being this intermingling of all middles, if we go down the road of the physicist like Kathryn saying, at least to my mind gives me a different appreciation for what they are doing in the refrain plateau of A Thousand Plateaus, which you are writing about, what you have written about Txgen?

TM: Me? Yeah.

TA: I guess that’s where I would go with it, Kathryn, you’ve given me a nice new appreciation, new things to ruminate on as I read A Thousand Plateaus, questions of refrain and chaos, all this stuff that is so central to their work.

KS: I didn’t understand what you said about chaos and I think maybe it’s because it’s in areas of literature that I am not in, so please elaborate.

TA: Yes, so in A Thousand Plateaus, one of their signature plateaus that gets talked about in a very rigorous way, also in another work that Guattari published beforehand in the Machinic Unconscious he does a lot with refrains and they talk about coding, and iterability and other things. Their whole point being that the refrain itself has a relationship with chaos, it’s cutting out territories and planes of consistency or consistency out of chaos. That’s only if we understand chaos as this place where the milieus, the components from which territories are created out of periodic repetition of rhythms that constitute these milieus. The Chaos would be the commingling, the inclusive disjunction of all rhythms resonating in a certain vibratory, oscillatory manner. It’s all about the variations of speeds and these relations between components to rhythms to milieus to territories. THe relations are external to the terms themselves. That’s what chaos, in its siniousness would constitute for them. Where the universe meets in the middle, where all territories and consistencies find their genetic impulse. Does that make sense? This is more philosophical, quasi-mystical.

KS: To me, no it doesn’t make any sense at all.

TT: Chaos!

KS: But I don’t need to say it anymore, someone take it some place.

TT: I’m just taking notes, as we are talking. Taylor, I didn’t say hi but I’m Tim.

TA: That’s okay Tim, nice to meet you.

TT: Yeah, thanks for being here, I love [name 1:35:57], I can’t get my head around it but I feel like I come to [name] from an artists standpoint. Also with a background in music, Kris knows music as well and Txgen’s music, so if we were to push back, we have outnumbering you. On my way here, I was listening to Glenn Gould’s 1981 performance of the Goldberg Variations. I don’t know how familiar you are with the Goldberg.

TA: I’ll write it down.

TM: I’ve listened to the Goldberg Variations so many times.

TT: It’s interesting because people who love Goldberg Variations usually, ninety-nine times out of one hundred love it because of Glenn Gould. It’s not a bad thing, it’s a wonderful thing actually. Gould, to me as a pianist and musician is sort of non-philosophy-ish. He was the first concert pianist—when I say concert pianist you think, “oh yeah, stuck up. You’re a pianist you must be white have long hair and be beautiful or whatever.”

TA: Is that the stereotype? That’s great.

TT: Maybe it’s changed, I don’t know. It’s been a long time since I dropped out of school.

TA: I’ll take your word for it.

TT: I don’t have long hair so I didn’t have any hope in that world.


TT: I could say a thousand things about that, but about Glenn Gould I think what was interesting to me is that he provided a way—Kris was talking about how she uses a lot of the moag, but people who use moog historically aside from P-funk or Sun Ra, you have heavy rockers like Emerson Lake and Palmer, like the old prog rock, long hair, dirty DRRRR DUUU DUUU, GRRRRR.

KS: It’s all about the long hair still.

TT: It’s something about the long hair that I still can’t quite get over, I don’t know, everybody here has long hair except me.

KJ: Do you want to see something crazy?

TT: What?

KJ: Watch this!


TT: Wait, but you still have long hair!

KS: But it would be better if I didn’t.

KJ: So you’re allowed to play moog.

TA: I guess I have to take my hair after that comment.

TT: I’m getting sidetracked and ahead of myself, but it’s really interesting. I don’t know if you’re aware, Kris, but I was big into moog. I called myself a moogist, I had a thing going from 2007 to 2010 or so and then I killed it because I couldn’t stand it. I think I wasn’t able to do what it sounds like you are doing, getting beyond the tech, getting beyond the tools and mechanism. I think maybe I did but no one seemed to care, and maybe I’m such a people person that I feel if no one is hearing me then it’s not worth my time to invest in that. In my mind, I felt like I actually got the soul out of the machine, I got it to feel, I got it to experience. It was the soul! For me, it was very philosophical, my approach to the moog, it’s a keyboard that only plays one sound at a time, you can’t play chords on it. My only way of making it interesting, to give it a journey, place, network, framework required a lot of tactical maneuvering of the actual electric signals that are actually coming through that machine.It’s actually very philosophical because you are thinking of systems all the time, are you using this one tone and modulating it? Or you are modulating it so fast that it becomes a platform or plateau of sorts and then you are kind of jumping off from that. Using that plateau as a base of information for something else, you look at it and tweak it and it’s like, “can I hear where it’s being used? Can I hear the plateau being a plateau or does it melt into something else all together?” I played a moog voyager and it had three of these single tones that you can combine. You meld them together in a way where you can’t tell which is which, and then you have this chaos in a way. That’s kind of how I’m making sense one way.

KS: Tim, I lost you slightly, you were talking about Glenn Gould and went into the moag. I want to get into some of this but don’t want to get sidetracked. Am I getting it that your main point is that chaos has a very auditory model. We can think about it in the way that you synthesize tones together and you get noise, is that kind of where you are going with that?

TT: It was kind of a chaotic point and I apologize, I ended up there but what I wanted to talk about with Glenn Gould was not about playing Glenn Gould. He really popularized the Goldberg Variation and became synonymous with that, but he’s not Bach. Bach is something that’s dead and altogether but it’s like Jesus. I guess Andrew’s offline but-

KS: That is also partly your link to thinking about trying to find the soul behind the technology. What’s the “it” there, what’s the primary “it” to a device like a moag. Am I getting that?

TT: Yeah, it is. That’s the point where I ended up, I wasn’t planning to go there, I was trying to get back to the original as if it were possible. The thing about Glenn Gould is I feel like he’s very non-philosophy, Taylor was bringing that up about the relationship to that and my relationship to that is not the study of philosophy itself but through music which is what I’ve known.

KS: But I don’t understand the statement, what does it mean to say that Glenn Gould is very non-philosophy?

TT: Sorry, Glenn Gould was the first concert pianist to retire. At the age of thirty, his primie, he retired from the concert stage because he felt like it was just empty exercises and you could never, no matter how perfect you were, no matter what you give on a single live occasion, you can only be seventy percent-max to translate that music one to one. In a way, he felt like he was being disingenuous to himself and to people, people are paying a million dollars to come watch him and he does this half-assed thing that you don’t care about. For him, he was like, “well the honesty of the medium is really important.” He retired, and he exclusively devoted his whole life from age thirty onwards to playing recorded classical piano and it became a new world, a new genre. Then, CBC not BBC as in Canada, did an experiment, “You guys suck!” It’s about the medium, the purity of the product or what comes out, not so much the fact that a lot of classical pianists thought it was too pure, “when you press record I have to pour out my soul.” Whatever is done at the end of the day is what you have and that’s my soul. Glenn Gould was like, “No. Well yes, to a degree. He did this experiment with the radio guys, and I think they are all guys, he did two recordings of the same piece. One was a single take, and the other had fifty-five takes and he sat down for hours and cut it up and put together the most human variant. It’s not a robot playing piano, it’s taking physical recordings of himself and looking at almost different lives, lives lived and putting them together.

TA: He composed them.

TT: Yeah! They totally couldn’t guess which one was which, I think it was really interesting. The philosophy that he was trying to be non-philosophy about was classical music in that way and how using the medium of technology, he was able to go in this new direction but also speak back to the music. It wasn’t like he was done with music, he was very much doing it but it was like, “Did you know you can musicalize music?”

KS: I’m not trained as a musician, this is all a late in life thing that I’m into this at all so I come into this very naively, particularly to someone with your background Tim. It seems so intuitive to me to think about the expressive potential of a live recording in a really different way than the expressive potential of a live performance. I guess people obsess over this, but to me it seems like different things, and they are different things with expressive potential.

TA: Yeah, they are not contraries. If I take you right Tim when you say it has something  of an air of non-philosophy to it, one of the concepts out of so many is this notion of a time without temporality. When you undertake a notion of the story you told of Glenn giving up the act of rendition to create this indiscernibility between recorded and re-shuffled. This way of counteraffectuating all the recordings he had and superimposing them in this waveform so that they all communicated in this one ideal event, that constitutes this matter of infinite variation that could be made possible. A continuum of all of these superimposed recordings. The artist’s then is not to just repeat in a simple way, or a way as you said might not reach the desired virtuoso goal. But to be able to take all the highlights across this waveform, how many did you say? Sixty? Seventy performances and be able to rearrange them at will, which could include certain missteps which at the moment have felt like a mistake but in the end could be improvisation, could be a more effective intense stutter in the performance that has nothing to do with hitting all the notes, played them all and spaced them all perfectly but could include missteps, errors as more indicative of a live performance than any perfect machine created recording could have done.

KS: I want to jump in on this, absent the background that some of you have in actual music which I don’t have, the point that Taylor made about temporality just seems really relevant to me and it seems a lot like how the way that in the philosophy of mathematics, some people treat mathematical truth as a-temporal, as something that exists in a way that is separated from any instantian in time. I personally am not at all a mathematical platonist, I think this is wrong and we cannot think as mathematical truths as being in some kind of perfect, ideal timeless world. This is still being actively debated, there’s people on both sides of this with real skin in the game. I think the music is very similar, I have a really hard time thinking of purity in music and I have a really hard time thinking of the idea of a song or composition as an abstract entity because to me it’s always situated in a temporal experience. The temporal experience is always mediated, it’s always mediated by your ears as instruments of listening, it’s mediated by the technologies that you are using, it’s mediated by so much.

KJ: Have you ever recorded something, loved it, it sounds good on your headphones and speakers and then you hear it in someone’s car and you’re like, “it’s awful!”

KS: Yeah, it’s completely context dependent and completely embedded in time. I just don’t understand this idea of having a purity of anything. It seems like mathematically it doesn’t make sense.

KJ: The purity of the vision though, I’m working on a couple of albums right now and I have a vision of what it sounds like and part of that is just from the live shows that I’ve done, I know I needed my voice to choke up at this static point. Then when I record it, I literally record it 4,000 times until I get that.

KS: But how do you even know what it sounds like in the live setting because you’re not the audience?

KJ: It’s the way it feels in my throat.

KS: Right, so there’s an expressive thing that you want to get right.

KJ: I hate recording because when I play live, I can play it through.

KS: I have the so opposite feeling, because when you are recording you have complete creative freedom to make it sound however you want.

KJ: But you don’t have freedom of knowing where people are going to listen to it or how they are going to take it.

KJ: That’s true but I also don’t care about the audience that much when I’m recording because I’m an amateur, it’s for me.

TT: Your stuff is great Kathryn!

KJ: Yeah I want to hear it, your stuff is great.

TA: I haven’t heard your work and I too am intrigued. The only thing I would say about this is that it constitutes a loop of feedback for information for the artist making the music. You were saying that you were making music and recording, it could be technology that comes into play. How does it sound on speakers, how does it sound on huge speakers, different equalizers. All the different things that artists can’t control but listening back, as you guys said, when you hear a recording in someone’s car it might sound horrible.

TT: I have a question!

TA: Part of that is the technological medium, that we can’t ever predict but we can at least try to listen to recordings and think about the different ways it might sound in headphones versus in a club. One of the mediums that you envision your work being suited for, if you are doing a podcast you don’t think of the same kind of sonorous qualities as a musician would and the different types of forums that we can predict ahead of time for the sonic recording. That’s part of the dice throw right?

KS: Yeah, back to physics stuff. A lot of what we talk about in physics theory these days is contextuality and I think it’s the same in music too, that you really can’t isolate the thing from the context in which it’s acting or enacted. There’s no separation there, you can’t even define what it would be absent the context.

TT: Speaking of definition, what does everyone think we are doing right now? We were talking about recording, talking about being live. From a philosophical, musical standpoint what are we doing?

KS: If we put enough reverb on this entire gathering, it would sound like a beautiful drone song. Sometimes I think about how things sound, say it seems like a fly that lives for three days. Do they hear everything really fast? If you heard what a fly hears would it sound like a drone song? Everything is just one talent.

TA: That brings up the question of perceptive worlds. In the plateau on the refrain in A Thousand Plateaus they bring up [1:57:41 name] and he talks about these different worlds in which animals live, and one of them is the perceptive world. Your question about the fly listening to our conversing with the reverb, what the fly would experience. It embodies rhythm one could say in its totality, it’s much different than ours. We live in different perceptive worlds that are differently attuned to different phenomena. What could the fly or even the human learn from the nightingale who cycles through these infinite variations, or seemingly infinite of songs. The perceptive world of the nightingale is much different, although similar in strange ways to humans. The circulation of nightingale’s songs would be very similar to radio or spotify or what’s dominating the sonic, melodic airwaves of human perceptive worlds. A lot of times it could just be traffic, there’s an element of chaos, obviously there’s an element of capitalist production that informs at the base all of our sonic refrains, or atleast the majority of them, maybe not all, you gotta leave some space.

KJ: Txgen, what do you think?

TM: I think that this is a nice gathering, in relation to gathering we are about to be joined by Gregory Marks who I want to talk with about the gothic and a lot of less happy things. That’s where my mind is right now, thinking on more solemn things.

KJ: That’s where Kathryn and I started out, when we were just chatting.

KS: Yeah, being a parent in the climate apocalypse.

TM: Yeah, to go full circle, thinking about the climate apocalypse, what does our gathering mean for some post-anthropocentric art. Is our gathering a work of post-anthropocentric art? Is our use of machines, in line with [2:00:49 name] might say is a non-anthropocentric view of the machine. How is our interaction affected or affecting many different catastrophes, not just the climate catastrophes, there’s a lot of catastrophes that [2:01:15 name] would say are being pushed into non-equilibrium systems. Thinking about the ways in which the indeterminacy of non-equilibrium systems and the uncertainty that they bring. But also at the same time, the benefits that they may offer are something to think about. But it still necessitates being pushed into that critical threshold of non-equilibrium, that chaotic space.

KS: Why do you need a label for what you are doing and why do you need to call it anthropocentric anything?

TM: I think we have to acknowledge that we are humans, I don’t know about Tim but I might be human. I feel like that’s something to acknowledge given climate concerns, it’s a place to begin.

KS: But, why? Tell me why, tell me more.

TM: I think that a lot of what I think about in regards to the post-anthropocene has to begin with at least acknowledging the conditions that we currently live in, and the conditions that we live in were created by a particular sort of being.

KS: Is that true? Weren’t the conditions we live in created by the big bang?  

TM: Well, Yeah.

TA: I think Txgen’s talking about the future. You asked about labels though, why labels, and part of it is this ever going tension between terms and their becoming, or what the principle of those terms point towards. I think what Txgen’s asking is asking, after the post-anthropocene, part of what I was thinking was that if there was an after the human, or after “man”, this indefinite entity that stands for some seemingly stable specific difference but actually is with the post-anthropost, one is also thinking of in a Nietzsche sense a hyper or over, there’s always this tension between men as the tightrope between ape and overman. How do we use labels as signatures to move beyond something that’s a stable, ontological core puzzle and can have at least some consistency to at least establish— You asked about labels but sometimes, I think this is what Tim was getting at with non-philosophy, non-philosophy is always trying to set labels into a kind of infinite speed whereby they are constantly put to the test, their hollowness, their sufficiency. Lacking better language, we do sometimes fall into stereotypes so it’s always good to work around established terminalogical concept core puzzles and put things into motion. To still be able to communicate with others and take that journey through language, language is always having to substitute and metaphorize at the limit. I guess that’s part of the gathering, bring disparate minds and slam together different conceptual subliminary ways of making sense of the world, the universe, the one.

KS: I’m down with interdisciplinary oneness, that’s all good. We’re just not that important in the grand scheme of the universe we exist for a blip. We exist in this really narrow moment when life is possible in the conditions of the universe as a whole. We are certainly not the only ones out there that are life, we are just one form. We shouldn’t give ourselves this enormous, “everything weights on us” mentality. No, whatever put evolution in place put a type of competition in place and that has something to do with what we do. We are here as part of that system, I think, I’m a hard and fast physicalist in all things. We are just not that important, we are here for a little while and we won’t be here in a while. The sun is going to eat the Earth, Andromeda is going to collide with the Milky Way, eventually it’s all going to be ripped apart by dark energy. Maybe the stuff we haven’t figured about black holes might affect things, but it’s bleak.


TT: I think it’s interesting, you know, we were discussing celebrating our gathering together and now you seem to want us—can we not still celebrate [00:20] together, mobilizing ways of investigating that universe that may inevitably destroy us, and already chose us to be infinitesimal but at the same time we have the ability to inquire into our infinitesimally—isn’t that wonderful?

KS: It is, it is absolutely profound. But I think we get ourselves a little–look, I studied the big bang for part of my career, and profundity that is in my soul, like that experience, I’ve looked at the big bang. Recognizing what that means for humanity and our ability to contextualize where we are is incredible. But I think this comes back to what you were saying about the label, the big bang’s name, we give ourselves way too much importance in our ability to do that. Our ability to do that is an evolutionarily adaptive technique for managing the state of the world that we live in. It isn’t filled with as much as meaning as we think it is. That’s my stance. That’s my stance in terms of thinking that separability comes from believing in the label. It comes from believing that when you separate and give something a name, that you’ve made a thing. If you sort of give up on that, and give up on our authority to make those judgements successfully, in a very sort of fundamental way, I think that’s good. You have to communicate, but you have to communicate in a provisional way. You have to know the name isn’t perfect. The name is an imperfect tool for the purpose of the communication—you could always be getting it wrong. It doesn’t have intrinsic truth.

TT [2:30]: And the name you had beef with was Anthropocene?

KS: I don’t know if I have beef with anything, it’s just what I do. [Laughs]. For the sake of argument, it’s the desire to say “what is this?” I have a problem with that impulse—it’s a natural impulse—but it doesn’t mean there’s an answer to the question makes sense.

TT: Txgen’s computer just overheated. Should we move the tarp?

TM: we could, I don’t think it would be too much of a hassle.

TT: Hey guys, we’re gonna move the tarp because the sun is overheating our computers.

TM: Rancho Cucamonga, California! [Laughs]

TT: You can keep talking, I can do this.

TM: You got it? You need something to take it down with? We gotta redo all the…

TT: Oh, one way ticket.

TM: It’s a single use unfortunately; we don’t have any multi-use adhesives.

[4:25] There’s so more inaudible stuff

p: I have a question for Kathryn. Do you feel like there is a difference between the dread that people experience during the cold war and the dread people experience from climate change?

KS: Yes, because there was a clear other in the cold war. They were the bad guys. And with climate change, the bad guys are us. So I think that is different. There are similarities in the sense that the bad guys were still us, they were still humans, but they were still the Other in a way that is different. Maybe it’s been apocalyptic since then. Maybe that’s a good way to analyze human history since 1945, I’m not sure.

: I believe that the terrifying thing is that the Other now is the forces of the Earth which capitalism has turned in its own way against those who stand to create and enjoy the surplus value of their productions. Part of your vision of [unclear] already holds the future of [unclear 6:10] is always already dead. But in the meantime we probably won’t get there and the supreme irony of our intelligence is mobilizing the forces of the earth to turn the earth itself into not what we are apart of, not what we are, in the last instance, [unclear 6:40], in this accelerating intense way, such that we are the instruments of our own demise, and are the great parasites of ourselves, but in an interesting way the earth can, afterwards, however many hundreds, thousands, if not millions of years, or potentially billions, correct its course absent our parasitic influence, and give rise to, in a sort of finite measure of time, possibly other lifeforms or other lifeforms without humans.

KS: I still feel like that gives us this incredibly special place. We have some special place, but we’re not the only parasitic organisms. The thing is that the Earth is going to become uninhabitable anyway, and I think the question is not “How should we think about humans?” but just “How should we think about ethics? What’s right?” Like we have this time on this planet, what’s right to do with it?

TA: I don’t see those interests or interrogations as mutually exclusive.

KS: They’re not mutually exclusive, but it’s easy to get caught up in this defining ourselves, labeling ourselves, and it doesn’t necessarily provide us with a direction in how to act.

TA: I think this is where Laurelle comes in again, where he talks about man and person. The person in French also means nobody. The conceptual name that we have for our specific difference and our generic instantiation as humans itself becomes nobody in itself, it alientates [unclear 8:30-31] without creating alienation, and its what he thinks as immanence. You might reject that again as leaving a backdoor for giving us importance, but I think its about this very fact that we can’t get hung up on ways of defining the human and make it kind of reified [Unclear 8:48] that we can take solace in, we have to consider ourselves sort of part of this abstract flow of chaos that we are barely making consistency out of, and part of that is seeding this notion of individual or collective importance, acknowledge our [unclear 9:10] and our sort of future with at the very last limit a sort of heat death but, in the meanwhile, we can still gather together and scientifically discuss and artistically discuss our being together on this crazy ride. Which is something to rejoice.

KS: Absolutely, there is progress, I don’t think that there is no progress. I just think we get caught in a lot loops because we are very obsessed with ourselves.

TA: It’s interesting though, I like to quote Ru Paul: “How are you gonna love [unclear 10:02] if you don’t love yourself?” How the hell are you gonna love everybody else? Odysseus’s great sin is hubris, and the whole tale of that is his becoming-nobody. That’s part of our own destiny, to confront the hubris of our own exploitative desires, to become-nobody.

KS: Okay but, being all sciencey, when you love yourself, what are you referring to when you say that? Because a lot of “you” is microorganisms. Is it them? Where is the self in all that? The self is a lovely consistent story, but that doesn’t make it real.

TA: This is where language is failing us, you’re pointing out an endemic failure of language to think in terms of macro individuals and to not have the kind of gamut that it should have. This very quickly gets us to Deluezian territory, but also [11:16] who writes concentrates 600 pages about “where is the individual, how do we think individuation?” Part of that too, I think that I agree with you, part of our journey into self-consciousness and this sort of future elaboration of what Reza Negarastani might call Intelligence as Spirit, this dialectic that’s not just internal but externally motivated and engaged  in the Earth and beyond, in the cosmos, this cosmic becoming; part of it is asking this question of yes, when we say myself—yes I was being colloquial, but you’re asking obviously in a sort of crucial, philosophical, psychological, even scientific question: where does the self reside? In Deleuze and Guattari’s way of looking at it, the self, or the I, or the ego, is always already cracked. There is this sort of this downcasting of the sovereign subject, and part of that is linked to this question of the post-anthropocene, whatever is the post-anthropos, man is no longer the solitary collective unit of all subjugated forces under him but, as you’re saying, it goes deeper, in almost a monadic nietzschean way, going from not just the human person, this fiction, but down beyond the organs, to the microorganisms, and then you can beyond that to the quarks and beyond that.

KS: You absolutely could. This is another personal issue that I always have: I feel like a lot of what we do in Western philosophy is this sort of labeling and this situating of the self relative to other things and I think that, again, separability is really complicated. Separability is not a given, not even in selfhood. One of the most insightful experiences for me personally is being a mother and going through the experience of having another body within mine, and going through the experience of having another body, where that person, that other body—when you were [13:46] can attest to this, the first 3 months after an infant is born the infant highjacks both of its parents as its habitat and as its identity. The idea that you’re a separate individual at that point is absurd, you’re not, you’re absolutely not a separate individual from that person, and the baby doesn’t know what separability is, they don’t understand that the pain they feel isn’t your pain, they don’t understand you still exist when you leave the room, and your biorhythms, your chemistry, your identity, is completely taken over by the person. For me that is a very useful counterexample to the notion that self is this primal concept. It isn’t. And I think if you talked more women—if philosophy had talked to more women who had given birth and gone through this experience, we might have come up with a different version of thinking about identity that was less individuated from the beginning.

TT[14:50]: Txgen, she sounds like a deleuzian and she doesn’t even know it.

TM: You’re arguing against Deleuze and you don’t even know how Deleuzian you are.

TT: She’s not arguing against Deleuze, she’s actually arguing so resonantly, I just don’t know if she’s… Kathryn have you read the works of Giles Deleuze?

KS: No wait no-

[15:15]: She’s a scientist!

TA: I recommend difference and repetition, I think you would enjoy reading Deleuze. Put it in your horizon, you know, think about it.

TT: I have a question for Taylor. You’ve thought a lot about Laurelle, how about his partner, Franciose? I know she translated a lot of his stuff.  Did they have kids?

TA: He has a daughter from a different marriage. I don’t believe they have kids themselves. Anne Franciouse is great, she’s a philosopher as well, but she practices more in the anglo tradition and obviously he was brought up more in the german/French. She’s good, she’s currently being translated by a friend of mine, Joe Venio, and he’s at Emory, finishing a PHD in philosophy. He’s translating of hers called Philosophic Scripts. A lot of her work is in dialogue Laurelle, in the 90’s they had a collective, not a school per say, but a sort of gathering together of unified voices in their discordance–a lot of interesting thinkers together. I’m not familiar if Anne has translated into English any of Laurelle herself, but I think she had a positive influence on him, especially in this current period, where he’s going into quantum physics and he’s looking at [17:31] realism and he’s really drawing upon these areas that might have seemed completely foreign to his original or earlier work but actually is like the very thing that brings it all into perspective in a way that unifies a strong, unique thread in the most rigorous way.

T: But you know that Laurelle was a musician, or he was brought of to perform, [18:07] has a theory that a lot of non-philosophy needs to be understood musically, in terms of musical variation, and this is very important to Laurelle. If he’s right I hope he writes extensively on this topic, because its virtually untouched and it’s not very apparent in Laurelle itself, but I take [18:33]’s word on it, he’s spent time with Laurelle and Schmitt and talked to him one on one in a very intimate way. So, this notion of non-philosophy and music you were drawing on earlier is a lot more real than you might of guessed. It’s got a factual background and its not just a coincidence. In [18:07] view there is a direct correspondence between  Laurelle’s training as a musician and his elaboration of non-philosophy as this manner of varying philosophies without opposing them, this musical democracy of thought that can be made possible in this new space. The waveform itself has these musical tendencies. He’s written about music very recently. He’s nearing the end of his life, and in these last few works and in the introduction to [19:46] he’s kind of hinted at this musicality that animated all of his work. I’ll try to get more to you, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge on the subject. But I thought what you said earlier about music and non-philosophy, that’s not just a coincidence.

TT: That’s great, thank you Taylor. In some ways it makes sense, and I keep thinking about what we’re doing, and someone on twitch was like “WTF are you doing?”

T: Well, twitch is a gaming platform.

TT: Kathryn’s point is really valid. I didn’t catch when you guys were cutting each other’s heads off—

T: Not at all. We were having a good-spirited back and forth.

TM: [Laughs]

TT: Kathryn was taking it easy on you. But I really liked her point on just the matter of humans, in terms of humans, if it’s not like Anthropocene, I wonder if there’s a way where, it’s not even a way of getting outside the human per say—I’m still stuck on, still feel that point—the closest thing I can think about Is maybe race, in terms of how someone who’s not Asian will never understand what it’s like to be Asian and is that separability?

KS: I think there’s so much unresolved on thinking about subjects, but you don’t understand anything about anybody. We have just a lot of good consistent stories we tell. Even the basic experience of smells and colors on a physical basis are different from person to person. There’s no basis to think we share these in common, except there are certain consistent touchpoints we can compare and agree with each other. Touchpoints and stories. We have consistent stories. We can tell a lot of consistent stories and that’s what we make all of this out of.

TM: I think Gregory Marks is with us right now, if you want to say hi to everyone.

GM: Hi, can you hear me all right?

[Round of greetings]

KS: I should probably take off here soon. I have to get my kid to bed. Is there anything I should apologize for?

TM: No! We love your presence.

TT: That’s the very reason we asked to gather.

KS: Go ahead and launch the next phase, I’ll linger for a bit and disappear. I enjoyed getting to talk to all of you and I hope we get to do this again.

TM: How are you doing Gregory?

GM: Not too bad.

TM: I’m not sure how long you’ve been in the call with us, but what are your thoughts so far in seeing our conversation?

GM: I’m not certain, I’ve been sort of half listening for the past ten minutes or so, I’m not sure, sorry. [Laughs]

TM: No worries! You don’t need to have too many formed thoughts about what we’re doing here.

TT: how are you doing today?

GM: I’m not too bad. Stayed up a little too late last night working on a paper on Gothic and the Anthropocene and that may be a bit relevant to what we’re discussing today.

TM:  That might be something that comes up. [Laughs]

GM: It may come up.

TM: I don’t know how, I don’t know what gave you that inclination.

TT: How is the paper coming? Are you just starting or finishing up?

GM: No, just editing at the moment, I wrote it like a month back, and the it needed massive rewrites, but I think I’ll be finalizing it.

TT: Hopefully we help in some way, or don’t hinder your process.

TM: I’m glad to be able to talk to you Greg, Gregory, whatever you prefer to be called. I still gotta get you talking with me and Joe on the podcast. It’s nice to get to chat with you today.

GM: Yeah, sure.

TM: As you see it, do you get asked “what’s the gothic?” Can you boil it down to one sentence, is there a definition you like to work with?

GM: Generally I find there’s two definitions I prefer to use. The first [27:31] defines the Gothic as a kind of genre of negative aesthetics, which is to say, as opposed to romanticism and so on, which is concerned with transcendence, we find in the gothic an aesthetic of privation, but also ambivalence, mixed disgust and desire and so on. Which I think tends to be a bit broad itself, anything can be construed as gothic if you’re looking for those elements of negative aesthetics.

TA: It seems very Freudian, we desire this thing for the very reason we suppress it, this kind of ambivalence of the drive and its ways of impeding itself so it can better overcome itself, but then meeting fate which says “That’s enough of that.” The negative part of it, the drive sort of implodes on itself, there’s some bad faith in desiring what half desired or what’s repressed, or any ambivalence. It seemed quasi-Freudian in its way of thinking half-pleasure half-disgust, half-desire half-disgust.

GM: Freud is obviously a massive element in theorization of the gothic, with the idea of Thanatos and the uncanny and so on.

TA: I like that you also said something about privation. I think the great utopia novels of the 20st century, 1984 and Brave New World, privation and surplus. Would 1984 have Gothic elements or would I expanding the genre outside—that’d be an anachronism right? Is there a periodic distribution to the Gothic?

GM: Well, the thing is it tends to be a bit blurry as well but historically speaking the gothic begins with [30:34] and perhaps ends with Wuthering Heights about a hundred years later. But the thing with Gothic is that is has these long afterlives, so of course you see Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde and Dracula and so on in the late 19th century, and you know Hammer Horror, the Munsters, and Adam’s Family and whatever sort of mass cultural representation of the gothic in the 20th century.

TA: And you even have it as a kind of a subculture. I grew up around goths in the mid 90s. The self described goth kid: is that just like a sliding slippery appropriation or does it cast into relief one of the essences of the gothic—this disgust, desire, there is something ambivalent in the goth, in a certain sense, would you go that far?

GM: I’m not sure, I was never much into the Gothic scene. You find Gothic aesthetics returning in these various sorts of subcultures and so one. Really I think its online cultures, cyberpunk and the cyber gothic, that’s it’s true successor these days.

TM: I have a question for you Gregory. We’re thinking about the Anthropocene, we’re thinking why do we want to name ourselves in some way, I’m thinking what does the Gothic think about the earth or the condition of the earth?

GM: Part of my sort of current research and writing that I’m doing is founded on this sort of idea that even if we think of the Gothic as sort of archaic these days it really is one of the first aesthetic movements that really attempted to wrestle with ideas of extinction, with nature not simply to be perceived as an aesthetic object, to be mastered and controlled, but nature and the Earth as a sort of inhuman presence that exerts some control over our lives and over ourselves.

TA: Is part of it that nature always kind of gets its revenge? I brought this up maybe before you got on, but I thought of Odysseus and the ways that the forces of nature are inhumane. Well, I guess they are personified. Is part of the gothic then to leave—like with lovecraftian kinds of ways of depicting these almost ineffable and indescribable horrors that lay outside the human—or is it again toward nature and not some sort of… I guess Lovecraft injects a part of semi-deification but in this dark twisted way into the heart of nature’s unconscious and its retaliations toward us.

GM: I think we find in the Gothic that nature tends to be less anthropomorphized than either pre modern or romantic imaginaries. Or even in Lovecraft we find its no longer nature as a sort of thing itself but rather a set of [35:18] that no longer center the human or care about the human’s position in that.

TA: Is that kind of an extension of the Gothic?

GM: I think so, yeah. But the paper I’m writing on the environment—part of the focus is on Lord Byron’s poem “Darkness”—are you familiar with it at all?

TA: I have read Byron before, but I don’t recall that poem so I’d have to look it up.

GM: It’s very short. It’s essentially this apocalyptic vision of this world where the sun has sort of flickered out. The poem concerns the slow descent of this darkened Earth into a barren, I think he calls it a lifeless lump of clay or something, but its not treated in as an apocalypse in the sense of a revelation, there’s no recourse to some anthropomorphic date, or any model, it’s simply this thing which happens and which people attempt to find whatever remains so they can eke out the last bit of existence. It’s such a bizarre poem though because in the final lines it shifts from describing the state of the earth  to this darkness, whose almost like this sort of Goddess of darkness, who has no need for any of these people.

TA: The cold voice of reason—well it’s unreason to humans, but it’s made rational. I like that poem “Darkness” I’ll have to check that out. It reminds of me of Asimov’s famous short story. There’s this planet with three suns and every couple thousand years all suns set at once. So  for the first time darkness, in hundreds of generations, has come about and it’s like the other personified—there’s always one sun providing some sort of light, some sort of daytime, for these inhabitants. It’s obviously got political overtones. If the gothic had a presence or rebirth in the 20th century, would it be able to provide an inclusive disjunction for science fiction and fantasy as genres? Does the gothic live on in science fiction?

GM: I think certainly. Obviously only in some work of science fiction and fantasy.

TA: There would a gothic fantasy, a gothic sci fi, right? That could just be a terminological distinction—I’m thinking of all the different genres of music but literature too can be subdivided ad infinitum—I’m just wondering about the gothic ‘s persistence?

GA: I think seeing the Gothic as a system of Negative aesthetics, it’s really only useful as a descriptor and that you end up with this sort of, Southern gothic, [39:58] gothic, my work is on the post-human gothic, where the gothic is this adjective that denotes that we’re no longer dealing with things themselves, but rather these dark mirror images of whatever genre or movement we’re concerned with.

TA: You gave you first definition of the gothic, you want to give your second?

GM: Okay the second is [40:39] structuralist take on the Gothic. So, her [40:49] of Gothic conventions she goes through a good number of classics and essentially claims that within all of these fictions there is a common structural core which is structured around what’s inside and what’s outside and what separates them. So we find this in the setting of the gothic, where you have castles, prisons, mountain ravines, its very focused on these sort of spaces and barriers. But then you can extend this to the psychology of Gothic characters, where people will be victims of trauma, amnesia, being unable to remember key events, certain things are locked away in the mind. Even the genre conventions of the gothic itself, where it will have nested stories and letters and fragments within the stories. So when you read something like [42:10] somewhere in the middle of the book you’ll end up with  four narratives nested within one another, you become trapped within the structure of the book itself.

TA: There’s something on a lesser scale done in Heart of Darkness. Is it a narrative in-framing, I know there’s a word for it, but is this atypical, this framing of different stories, this sort of infra-narrative assemblage?

GM: The nesting of narratives is typical of the Gothic, [42:56] Frankenstein I think the most famous example. I think Heart of Darkness is another fantastic, not explicitly gothic tale, but can be read as picking up those elements from prior gothic works.

TA: Part of the horror, the horror: that’s the moment of disgust, the gothic moment of the novel, because it coincides with perhaps not what he himself, Barlow, desired, but what he was a part of, the war machine he was a part of and what it desired. Its ultimate desire constituted or made possible: the horror.

GM: The sort of inexorable pull of the story to the heart of the continent.

TA: Into the heart of white supremacy that the novel attempts to confront in its own way and then denies in the last movement of the novel, where he tells the good lie to Kurtz’s wife. He still is a functionary of the ultimate essence of what that war machine was attempting to accomplish in its imperialistic aspirations. I wanted you to go back to [44:43] if you could or you could continue your thought. That’s a work of hers I haven’t read. You were talking about {44:58}. Is this a later or earlier work than Between Man or [45:08]?

GM: It’s derived from her PHD thesis I think. I think it’s maybe her first published book.

TA: I’m wondering if it encapsulates any of her work in Between Man, or inspires it? I’m thinking about what you said–basically if I could translate the relation of the of the interior and exterior milieu together, in that inter part. So I’m thinking of her oedipal triangles of the between men, and the sort of woman as desired object and mediator of the homosocial, desire… we can look at Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, does she find the triangle in the Gothic, does it simplify itself in this sexual tension between men?

GM: I know in the preface of the book she does sort of adapt the thesis to that later work of Between Man—

TA: So she comes back a rewrites—

GM: Yes I can’t remember exactly when the book is published in regards to Between Man and [46:32], but the preface to the book really resituates it within that sort of queer theory. The sort of conflict between the inside and outside where it’s always the outside of something desired as well, but cut off, and she comes back to Frankenstein: a man chasing another land across a wasteland.

TA: Interrupting the moment of consummation after the wedding at the inn—the monster he makes is like his own self-sabotaging height of masculine hubris: I can create life, I can be a mother. There’s something where he sort of externalizes and sort of effectuates in reality his own id that continues to haunt him. You could say that the id has regions, obviously the superego; its like rosebud—I just wanted to create life to make dad proud! It’s all because he wanted daddy to love him that he had to go beyond the boundaries of biological necessity and determination to create life. That comes down in a negative way on him—is there a negative narrative, a tragic element, that’s necessary?

GM: In only certain gothic certain stories. Famously, the gothic genre is split between masculine horror gothic and feminine terror gothic. In the horror gothic, we find negative aesthetics depict a kind of anxiety around one’s place in the universe, usually a very masculine anxiety, around autonomy, agency, mastery, and so on, and it never ends well for these characters.

TA: Like the scientist, like Frankenstein.

GM: A typical example of horror Gothic is Matthew Lewis’s The Monk. You spend 300 pages following this supposedly virtuous and upright religious figure who slowly succumbs to the temptations of the devil. The end of the book is just this scene of horror as he dashed across the rocks in the desert, he sells his soul to escape this inquisition. Horror is kind of this limit where the character can’t move pass

TA: Castration, or whatever you want to call it. You said there’s also terror?

GM: If horror is defined as this kind of limit , this shock, then terror is this suspense that is often resolved, rather than leading to an annihilating shock. Terror often leads to kind of if not understanding, than a kind of [51:12] between these threatening forces and the subject that perceives them.

TA: So Lovecraft tries to have it both ways, to straddle that line between horror and terror?

GM: I think Lovecraft tends to fall on the side of horror. At the end of the stories, even if the characters remain alive—

TA: There’s a limit. Is that part of it? There’s like a [51:46] limit to what can be known and like an acknowledgement of that limit?

GM: Yeah at which point you either acknowledge you are the Other, you are the [51:58] or you’re destroyed by whatever, Call of Cthulhu.

TA: So terror is about the resolution. The terror allows a provisional resolution?

GM: Yeah, yeah. You’ll find it in the terror gothic: there’ll be scenes of the—you  know the sublime and so on—and these experiences, although they threaten the stability of the individual, they ultimately have a kind of edifying or educational power to them, or they work to recompose that subject so they can cope with what they’ve encountered.

TM: Hi! Trying to move a little bit towards our next guest here, one thing I wanted to hear you talk a little bit more about would be the relationship between the gothic and trauma, and maybe how the gothic works towards understanding collective trauma in particular.

GM: Honestly you put me on the spot, I’m not up to speed on trauma studies and whatnot.

TM: You brought up briefly earlier, so I was going based off that.

TA: The dialectic between terror and horror, I think we were kind of starting to move in that direction even if we didn’t realize it.

GM: Yeah, you could say that trauma tends to figure into the gothic dependent upon whether or not we’re reading horror gothic or terror gothic. We find in the terror gothic this, not necessarily coming to terms with what shapes and these monstrous forces outside—I don’t know where I’m going with this [laughs].

TA: I think its two different ways of working with the trauma, and adjusting to enjoy our symptoms, or working through the trauma and potentially entering into this becoming that sweeps us along and potentially could have edifying moments; some that promotes in the end a positive affect, rather than a negative one?

GM: In the terror gothic, rather than being focused on this horrifying anxieties of a gothic hero, we instead find a journey of education and self-discovery of a gothic heroine, who will begin the story in this state of powerlessness, of being subjected to the various natural, social, patriarchal orders which surround her that which by the end of the novel she’s able to, by these trials of terror, come to understand how they compose and how they can be changed. Or how she herself could be changed by these experiences, and how she could speak back to them in some way

TA: And that seems to have political implications, at least if we follow this along. I’m just thinking about D and G saying there’s no becoming-man, and that being the genre of the horror par excellence because its precisely the horror of not becoming man, or this sufficiency of being sort of dominant or majoritarian model confronts its own definitude of its own will to power, such that it inevitable creates these castrating or depotentializing effect that reveals the lack of foundation of authority, and everything else that flows from that. And as you’re saying with terror there’s something swoops us along into this becoming-minoritarian, they can have salutary, convalescent, mutational, evolutionary, or just enlightening effects that show the ability to cross this limit, this threshold, that was merely a reactionary investment into a kind of dominant mode of identitarian being–that kind of political essentialization of these reactionary modes of thinking and dwelling and being. I’m not speaking for you—I guess I’m trying to weave in this very interesting notion of the gothic and see where it goes in this thought experimentation.

GM: No I think you put it could well: I think we could really say that terror gothic is this fiction of becoming, of becoming anything at all, really. Whereas horror really only leads downwards, into some kind of disillusion, catatonia, and so on.

TA: We have to become imperceptible to become anything, starting from that majoritarian point.  Well Gregory, I probably need to sign off at this point. I want to thank you for dialoguing, I’ve been wanting to pick your brain about this stuff, I’m glad to get a slice of it here. Tim and Txgen, I want to thank you for having me on tonight.

TT: It’s our pleasure, thanks so much!

TM: Yeah, I’ll text you. We text.

TA: Yeah, we do. We’re good friends. I wanna hear the whole thing, I’m glad to be a part of it. It’s been really great to be a partner in and to learn from it and see if I can do something that’s just as inclusive and interesting. I applaud your efforts and I’m so happy to be a part of it. I will sign off now unless you had anything left to say.

TM: I will see you at some point in the future.

TT: Are you on facebook?

TA: I am. I have messenger enabled… I wonder if the easiest way… is if you try to just send a messenger message over Facebook.

TT: We’ll stay connected. That’d be great.

TA: I’d love to talk to you tim.

TT: Thanks for being here.

TT: Alright Txgen, I’ll talk to you soon about your pamphlet—oh no proposal—for future projects.

TM: We’ll see you. We have another guest coming right now. Oh! I need to update the link. That’s probably why we dropped so many viewers. Remember it shut down and I forgot to switch it over. We were at six and now we’re at two. Hi Kristel?

KS:  Hey, thanks for having me.

TT: Thank you for being here. How you are doing?

KS: I’m good. I have to go out soon, but I’m hanging out and listening.

TM: I’m having a good time, I like to think we’re having a good time.

TT: We are.

TM: I just need to update this link and we have an archivist and slavery historian coming to talk to us about slavery.  It’ll be very related to our discussion of the Gothic.

TT: Gregory, are you still there?

GM: Yeah!

TT: I had a silly question: does the gothic include children, or babies, or anything about pregnancies, or young children? In your study have you encountered anything like that?

GM: Yeah, not enormously. I know there’s quite a bit written about motherhood in the gothic. As I think Kathryn was discussing earlier, this sense of pregnancy and so on as being this experience of the body being possessed by something Other and yet part of oneself. I think famously as well, classic gothic stories, at least terror gothic stories, tend to end with marriages and reconstitution of family structures, as well. It’s not really something I’ve looked into, but certainly there are gothic horror and gothic terror elements of motherhood and takes on motherhood and so on.

TT: Speaking of Kathryn, I don’t know if you were here when she first came on but she was talking about how she has a six year old now and had to address this sort of terror rising, this global reality we live in of everything dying, and being enslaved to systems… when her child was three actually was when she first encountered death and had a million questions… I wonder in children’s stories—I have a three year old of my own—and the stories we go through aren’t gothic, and I wonder if in some ways if that would better equip them for life. It’s almost like, and I don’t know too much about it, but there seems to be a particular age range where they start to see the world that way, but given our world today, three year olds do encounter a lot of gruesome things or whatever.

GM: I suppose the wager I’m making, with the direction of my own research on the post human gothic,  is that the gothic, or at least the kind of aesthetics that are associated with the gothic, are particularly well-suited for  if not understanding than at least describing and coming to terms with the world that we face in the Anthropocene. Yet I still feel that the gothic retains a kind of ambivalence, and it doesn’t really give answers, or easy ways of understanding the situations that are described. I’d not sure if I’d recommend eco-gothic as bedtime stories but certainly you can see the gothic in its pop cultural form it’s a very I think adolescent genre, it’s really concerned with  the growing need to understand the world one lives in, and the place that you begin to take within that and so on.

TM: We’re just having a little bit of difficulty getting our last guest here. We’re probably going to want to be able to see this screen a little bit better.

TT: Should we move a little bit? Or I could sit on this side… the other side of the TV?

TM: Oh yeah, we could do that… we could straddle the TV together. It brings us outside of the green screen? How do you feel about that? Uh oh! It’s actually pretty cool.

TT: Gregory, can you see us? Oh, you can see us and we can’t see you.

TM: Oh shoot, there’s the tunnel. It’s hard with the autofocus because it’s very bright on that side… we’re just waiting.

TT: Should we just sit here?

TM: We can just sit here and say nothing and nothing  can go on [laughing]… we could still converse!

KS: [1:10:28]

TM:Alright! I love you, thank you so much for coming.

TT: It’s great to meet you.

KS: I love you too, thanks for having me.

TM: Harvey, are you in the call? He says “Good evening I am in the call” but I don’t… did you see him? Oh! Hi there! We were playing waiting music because we didn’t know when you were coming…

[Gangster’s Paradise playing]

TM: So hi!

HB: How are you guys doing? Can you hear me?

TM: We can hear you great. Can you hear us?

HB: Perfect. I’m going to try to put some light on me, a little more.

TM:So hi there? How are you doing today?

HB: I can’t complain. Thank you so much for having me and waiting for me to get my technical difficulties… computers never do what you want them to do when you want them to do it.

TM: Sorry, we’re just fixing the screen sizing here. I don’t know if you can see the screen behind us, but you’re on it right now. We’re just fixing the sizing there. So yeah, we’re spending today dealing with gathering in a lot of different ways—what it means for us to gather, why we are gathering—dealing with this things in a lot of different ways. One thing we haven’t really dealt with that I think you could help us on is to what extent  we need to be aware of or acknowledge race and racial identity in every gather. At least considering where we are: we’re in a country founded on slavery and colonialism. It seems to me as important as ever, if we’re going to deal with the political aspects of gathering, the social aspects, the physical aspects, we also have to deal with these less happy topics and I think we’re getting there in regards to with it in terms of the gothic. That’s something I think Gregory—who’s still in call with us—

GM: Yep, I still I am.

TM: It would be nice to hear you maybe speak a bit about gathering and how we can sort of be aware of and act on with the awareness of our sort of predispositions.

HB: Let me do this: I’ll introduce myself, my background, where I come from, how I got into this particular field, and then I’ll hopefully be able to answer the question. My name is Harvey Brown and I am the executive director of the Black Boys Foundation, and we are a history organization that for the last almost 50 years our family’s been running a newspaper in Riverside and San Bernardino California and the inland empire. It’s called the Black Boys Newspaper and about 30 years ago we wanted to start a foundation to really start to teach history in the community and start to honor and tell the story of people in our community who were doing amazing things. And then we started to really build into that, and then about twenty four years ago there was a really big racial incident that had happened where teachers were teaching in a particular school district that slavery was okay, that there were some good sides to it and good reasons for it, and what we wanted to do was partner with the school district and then… find out what’s going on, so everybody can have this question answered. So as we start to get into the gathering and the talks, what we’ve been doing for twenty four years now is that we’ve been taking educators on tours of the Underground Railroad. We physically go from Kentucky, which was a slave state, to Ohio, which was a free state, to Michigan, til we drive across Canada and we end up staying in York. We’re actually following the fugitive slave [1:16:12-16] and  we’ve now taken over twenty five hundred educators, community members, students, and people who, amazing teachers, who now get a chance to see this work for themselves and bring it back into the classroom , in the community,  in our school site. And now we’ve expanded from one tour a year to up to five tours a year where we taking a number of educators and teaching them through this primary source. That’s kind of how I got to where I am today, and in doing that one of the things I was able to do is: one of historians had passed away recently, and donated a number of pieces and artifacts to us and so over the last maybe three or four years I’ve accidentally become a major collector, I have 2000 pieces directly from slavery, and today I will actually put on the really nice white gloves and walk you guys through some of these pieces. And the story I try to tell through these pieces is a story of resilience. And so we talk about gathering and the place that we are and we talk about race and ethnicity, it’s a story of resilience because in this story of resilience based off everything that has happened to us we should not be here, we should not exist—but we do. And when you look at that, it becomes a banner of “we made it through so much, how much further can we go?” And so I tell the story through primary sources, with all these different artifacts, and I talk to students in schools, and I get a chance to go out to museums and corporations and just talk to anybody who wants to listen and learn about this particular piece through that. So I hope I answered that questions a little bit. I’m gonna walk you through just some of the pieces I have in my collection and how it works. And I think that one of the best things to start out with is to understand: “what happened?” So this right here, you see it right, is an original slavery bill of sale. This sold human beings. This right here. It’s dated 1855, New Orleans, Louisiana, and it sold for one thousand one hundred and fifty dollars:  it sold a man named Thomas into slavery for life. And Thomas, who at the age of twenty eight, was gonna be continually put through this process over and over and over again. I like to tell these stories as we go through so that people can understand where it is. If you noticed something that was a handwritten document. Many of the documents are handwritten. Like This one right here, we’re still learning about this one, and this is another handwritten document where they sold a person for sixty five dollars, in the 1800s. Handwritten. But when you look at that, one of the things I started to ask questions about in my research—and let me know if I get off on my own little tangent—

TT: You froze for a second.

HB: Those pieces right there come from documents that were sanctioned by government. So what I started doing in my collection is I started collecting the original slavery logbooks. So this is a logbook from 1849, the original printing of Virginia code of law. And in this original printing of  Virginia code of law… what is this, what is that? And these people didn’t choose this at all, this is something that was put on them, so we actually changed the terminology from slave to enslaved, because once you start to understand it, you start to realize that these people wanted freedom just like our founding fathers wanted life liberty and the pursuit of happiness, you start to realize how this whole thing plays out. So what I want to do is show you guys this one little piece real quick, and then I’ll take any questions and we can kind of go on from there, because if you’ve seen it in person, it’s totally different than… alright, so right here, you can see it really good, see it right there on the header? It says slaves and free negroes. These are the laws of slaves of free negroes. And there is the Dred Scott case, but also on page 450…

TT: I think his connection might be bad, because you’ve been running fine…

HB: There you guys go. Sorry about that. So one of the things it says right here is that slaves shall be deemed personal estate. And this is, again, Virginia Code of Law 1849. This had been going on since the founding of our country that these laws existed, and in doing that and in building these conversations, what I try to do is let people know that we’re actually more alike than we are different, and we look at some of the laws and rules in here it actually shows you how we’re more alike than different, and you’d think there would be certain laws that would be one way but they really will surprise in what it is that they do. So for example, I’m gonna read another law to you all. This law is in public policy. In the state of Virginia—which is also a [1:23:22] but it says right here, and I’ll put it here so you can take a snapshot for later, but it says right here that if a white person assembles with negroes for the purpose of instructing them to read or right, or if he associates with them in an unlawful assembly, he shall be confined to jail not exceeding six months and fined not exceeding one hundred dollars, which in that time is a little over three thousand dollars today. That law was not for negroes, that law was not for black folk, that law was for white folk who wanted to be down with us. And so what I like to teach is that we’ve had good people who wanted to be on the right side of history, and we’ve had bad people who choose to be on the wrong side of history, and as you look at this you will see that there were people who wanted to be on the right side of history, but the law still said you couldn’t. As human beings, as you guys look at the other different topics that you guys are going to tackle, on today, that’s something  we really should look at. On any issue, no matter what, we should be thinking about our legacy and what it is we want history to say about us in a hundred to a hundred fifty years. As somebody is writing the words that I write, am I doing it with the right mindset? Am I doing it with a mindset of diversity and inclusion, and bringing us all together, closer together? Am I doing this to make sure we can further our next generation, or am I doing this to constrict us, to hold us back, so that we’re separated, more apart. Because at the end of the day, no matter what, these documents, all these different things, its gonna show everything we did today, in a hundred to a hundred fifty years. And within that, and then I’ll be quiet, you have things like this. These are slave shackles. These are real, and these are from the 1800s. These were on people. And if we’re not careful, the same things we dealt with then, are the things we’re going to deal with in the future: history will repeat itself if we allow it. But just remember: the human spirit is really about us wanting life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—but that’s for all  people. And what I do, what Harriet Tubman did, what Frederick Douglass did, what Harriet Beecher Stowe did, what Abraham Lincoln did, and what some others did, they pushed the government, they pushed our country to being a better, more inclusive nation, using all the original words they’re pushing us towards that. So that’s what I do. Questions?

TT: I don’t have a question yet but that’s amazing, thank you for sharing that. I’m gonna take a couple seconds, let that soak in for a second.

HB: Yeah you almost have to digest.

TT: Yeah it’s really something to see something… I can’t touch you  but you’re touching, you’re holding it, and you’re showing us through the screen and at least for me it’s as real as it can be. Just talking about it doesn’t quite do the same. There’s something about… I’m trying to think about things we covered today… some of them have to do with distance. Is it less real if we’re a little farther away, or really close, or by each other? And we’re using a lot of technology—its not really anything significant, but when you were showing that piece of document, that bill of sale, I couldn’t help—I don’t know if you can see us on this TV—we had to turn to the tv to see the big thing, even though we’re interacting with you. I really appreciate—it sounds like it was your idea of doing that, of engaging educators and students in this way where you almost have to look the other way, or to get other people to engage with, I guess in this case, my case, engage with media, but media in terms of this material, as well as historical documents, as well as our very tools, and I wonder, it’s not really an answer, it’s kind of an open thought or question: how do we engage with our tools? Do we look at this way, or this way? In terms of how we engage with the past and then specifically, where we just talked about the gothic, the horrific past…

HB: Right! One of the good things: I read a couple articles recently from the Smithsonian  and the Smithsonian, they’ve developed all sorts of resources you can use with your technology to bring these pieces to life. You can go to museums now where you can bring your earphones, and when you go with your earphones and your phone you can take a picture of something and…why they were significant in history.

TT: That’s good, yeah.

TM: Yeah.

HB: You know, the reaction where you guys are having where you’re stunned a don’t know what to ask, don’t worry about it: I’ve done this enough with enough people to know that’s how most people are. When you go through these and look at these and start to see it—again, that’s what I started  with whole concept of resilience because it can be disheartening, it can be very sad, and you could look at this and say “damn they went through this!” And yes, they went through this and it’s sad—it actually makes you angry, the people that did these type of atrocities. But at the same time, I look at the strength of people who made it through so we could be here today. And what I try to do is talk to people from different religious backgrounds, from different racial background, from all these different areas, to ask them what was their family upbringing? What is your single story? What is your background? And then you find the connection between all of us—between your story and my story: where’s that connection that brings us closer together?

TT: Wow that’s really crazy. Is there any recorded knowledge as to how these elements were passed down? Like did just one person hold onto this piece of paper, or—

HB: Yeah. So we have a story where everything got sent to a person, Jerry Core. Jerry Core was a historian in Maysville Kentucky. His family was enslaved. He became a major corrector to tell the story of their area and that’s what they wanted to do. And as they did that, he over the rest of his life had now children, he was never married, so his job, his career, his passion was doing that. And as he found documents he’d bring them together and when he passed away his family partnered with us to help continue not only his legacy, but the legacy of the strength in each one of these people. And from there I started collecting on top of that with things like the log books, with other pieces, to be able to tell additional stories, to fill in some of the gaps, that I have not been able to figure out just form this particular question.

TT: You mention stories a lot and it kind of strikes my ear in an unexpected way. We were talking with an astrophysicist? I don’t know who she is, a really smart scientist person, who studied the big bang for half her life and is always like, comically critical of students. She teaches at an art school. When they think humans are the greatest, we’re really great, we invented all these cool things, we built as these machines, we built as these theories of thinking about the world, and regardless of anyone’s belief she was kind of going at it with a philosopher, who was kind of coming from a more mystic/philosophical kind of approach  in how the world functions or is on a philosophical/theoretical level and he was kind of saying well what’s wrong with thinking the anthropocene of the human and the scientist was saying “oh humans aren’t that great what about other things and what not” and it depends on how we approach truth , on how we approach reality and facts and what we really know about the self or what—and there’s something that she said that struck me in kind of a different way when she said “we’re really good at telling stories.” And that’s kind of what survives as truth. I wasn’t thinking about our racial past of our country or anything like that, but even hearing you mention the story a couple times would you say that is one of the strongest ways we, as a people, can kind of fight against our past or the problems of the current state?

HB: We definitely have to tell those stories. In Africa culture they call them griots, and when you talk about griots, what they did was that they were passed down generation to generation to generation. They passed down the story of the village: they tell you all about your ancestors. So you hear all about your grandmother, and what your grandmother did, and you hear about your great grandmother, and your great great grandmother, and they’re stories that you’d be able to hear and what that does is give you strength. Once you know that, once you know that strength, then you can move forward. So now looking forward, as we continue to tell stories, I think it’s gonna help us. I think it’s gonna continue to help us. One: it’s gonna bring us closer together. But then secondly it’s going to be able to make sure that—no, I’m gonna stop there. It’s just going to bring us closer together.

TT: That’s a really great point I think. It kind of goes back to the circle of where we started just now. Maybe one way that we’re gathering is that we’re gathering stories.

HB: Whenever you’re doing these talks, and you’re bringing other people into the chatroom, are you asking them about their stories as well? Are other people sharing their stories.

TM: Yeah… we got a lot of interaction with others who have been participating. Sometimes they’ll take hold of the show for a bit.

TT: Yeah, they’re hosting us. But even before that, the very title of this thing is Tim Tseng meets Txgen Meyer. So there is a meeting that’s taking place. We’ve met in the past, from our events and what not, and I was sort of hosting this talk show thing a month ago and Txgen was there the whole time—it was eight hours long. We sat in front of the camera for eight hours. We had a picnic as well. It was a talk show/picnic–on the moon! It was the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. So we called it Apollo 11-11 – We came in peace for all. This snippet was something that was on one of those plaques of the space shuttle or something like that and my friend Kyle was really enamored by how—everyone thinks about the moon landing and all that “oh US Russia they’re just trying to one-up each other” but in all the messiness or nastiness I think that it was really encouraging for him to see that—you know, looking at humanity as a whole without the country boundaries or the racial or cultural things, but that the pursuit of another planet or another world or another imaginary or way of being  or sphere or what that would even begin to open up in the ways that we think about ourselves and our lives back home. I think it was a really nice kind of launching point. And I think a lot of that came out of that spirit, in which I think the event in July and Txgen came and stayed for the full time and was also a guest and we were kind of interviewing each other and we got to know each other pretty well so we thought “why don’t we do this more?” Txgen is kind of hosting a lot more this time, bringing in a lot of people.

TM: Yeah, it’s been nice to… gather. [Laughs].

HB: This is good, this is good.

TT: Yeah, we’ve heard some stories. There was a mother talking about—complaining about—raising a six year old in our current climate and what that’s like and being the crazy mom at school whose concerned about our environment and what we’re doing to it. We had an artist who was here who was—

TM: Oh, hi! Do you want to pick up pancake and go on the green screen? Does pancake wanna go on the green screen? I’m gonna… so you can see pancake on the screen. Pancake is on the screen here.

HB: Do you guys really want to laugh? Look at this, watch this:

[Collective “Oh no!”]

HB: It’s just like you. Looks just like you.

TM: I think she’s more interested in the green screen.

TT: Your computer’s nicer. Yeah, we had an artist who works with synthesizers, and  is a musician. Part of her work is providing therapy sessions—

TM: Yeah, drone therapy.

TT: Using sound and sonic drones but almost as a way to meet and reach and connect and be connected with people and then to really soak in their story. Who else did we have?

TM: We had Taylor who’s a philosopher and a translator, Taylor Adkins. Gregory, who was just here, just left, is a PHD student in Australia, working on a PHD in literary theory, working on the Gothic. Earlier today we had Parches, and Andrew Pulp, who’s a professor at Cal Arts. Both the professors we had were art professors even though neither of them are professors in art departments.

HB: I’m trying to see how to share this screen I wanna show you guys a couple pieces.

TM: Yeah. If you missed, we just saw some real, actual artifacts from slavery.

HB: So what I’m  gonna do is share my screen with y’all and I’ll show you some additional pieces that are in my collection. Right here we have slave whips, we have things from the klan, from the colored waiting rooms. I’m really big into books, my oldest book is from 1627…

TM: So yeah, our night’s been going good. The green screen’s been doing us well. We even changed the image a little bit, before. Hello?

TT: Are you still there?

TM: I hope he realizes…


TM: Let’s see, we’ve been having a good fun time—oh! The call ended… can you restart the call?

TT: Yeah. Do I go here? Yeah. You’re the only person in the group.

TM: Yeah. It starts off no ring and you have to tell it to ring. It’s a new system they’re trying out. There you go. I guess I’m responsible for this dog now.

TM: It’s time to start wrapping things up. We’ve only broke this stream once? Alright, so cool.

TT: So that’s it?

TM: Have we gathered? Have we met?

TT: We definitely have.

TM: How was meeting? [Laughs].

TT: We were supposed to go from two to seven. We’ve had all our friends come through. It’s been really great.

Juliana Huxtable interview (excerpt)

Taegen Meyer: Why do white men resent black women?

Juliana Huxtable: There’s so many entry points to that… I think that black women challenge white men’s sense of entitlement to a world that’s organized according to their desire taxonomies. Black women also symbolize the white man’s- if you could codify white male guilt, I think black women would probably be the most literal embodiment of that, like that in walking form. I think that it’s indicated in the way, like one of the things that I’ve always found really interesting is the way that sexuality generally between white people and black people as the sort of the two polarized opposites in America, obviously I understand that there are other gradations and brown people but when it comes down to specifically that dynamic, which is kind of part of the foundational construction of like, at least American identity, arguably western identity at large, but any kind of sexual dynamic between white men and black women automatically implies rape. Not that it has to, or not that I think that’s what it actually is, but historically that’s what that symbolizes. Growing up particularly in the south where I got to see those sort of power dynamics play out in a way that even in New York I don’t think people understand that it still is quite that literal. Even like black men are resented and black men are also policed, but they, the relationship between black men and white men is fundamentally so different to the relation between black women and white men because I think black women just represent- it’s almost like your mere presence makes white men hyper aware of themselves. They’re aware of themselves, and they’re aware of their own impulses, and their own desires, and they’re aware of their gross sort of like, the potential for a gross mischaracterization and theyre bumbling and they don’t know what to say, you know? So i think you are the kind of corporeal embodiment of all the things about themselves that they don’t really want to acknowledge. So in an economy, in a kind of like intense racial taxonomy, you’re pitted against each other sort of inherently. W

hich I think that’s part to do with it, and I think it’s also, this thing happens with, because I think blackness is linked with aggression in a lot of contexts and it’s linked with masculinity and so I think that, and I think that those systems, I think it becomes really clear- I don’t know I imagine, I’m not a white man so I don’t know but I imagine, there’s like a kind of friction between your inability- it’s like you’re looking at a woman who is so, black women are beautiful. I think that black women are like gorgeous and I think that it’s a really intense experience to insist on treating black women as these either de-sexualized or hyper-sexualized but in a kind of demeaning hyper-masculine way. I feel like it must be really like- ‘cause I feel that way, I feel that way so often with white men, it’s like, I enter a room full of white dudes and it’s like, you feel that energy where it’s like they don’t know what to do and it’s like sometimes, you know, I want to just be like, “maybe you should do a shot or something” I don’t know. Just my presence is making you so aware of yourself and you’re freaking out and you don’t know what to say, you know?

TM: Yeah

JH: I don’t know, I think that has something to do with it.

TM: It definitely does, I mean obviously we’re not gonna solve white resentment here on this skype call, but just something I wanted to ask-

JH: I think that there’s a refusal to- whatever the opposite of benefit of the doubt is is what black women are given. I’ve noticed that it’s like anything you say as a black woman that speaks from your experience is immediately presumed to be redundant, late, over reaching, performative, you know, going for your low-hanging fruit just so that you could hang it over someone’s head. It’s like that kind of dynamic is really really really ripe and so, I don’t know why actually, sometimes in those situations it’s like, I wish that I had an answer and I’m sure there’s some like Frantz Fanon passage or like

(both laughing)

JH: You know, I hope Angela Davis gone off it at some point but sometimes it’s actually just this really like radically indescribable experience and I’m just like, “I. Don’t. Know.” Specifically traveling, I feel this way all the time traveling. Like being in Italy, oh my god, Italy is the worst place. That’s why I love this tweet where someone posted like vacation shots of like, different areas in Italy and was like, “isn’t it beautiful?” and then like a black woman retweet it and wrote, “Yeah, Italy is really beautiful and everything until you get off the plane and they call you a nigger.”

(both laughing)

JH: Which is so true, it’s actually so true, but like that experience, it’s actually to the point where I’m like, I don’t know, it’s almost like I’d rather deny a kind of like framework for explaining it. Sometimes I’m like, I don’t even, I don’t want to give them the ability to pathologize this cause to pathologize this is because to pathologize this also to a certain degree relinquishes the potential for people to just be absolutely mindlessly cruel, you know? It almost requires more hope in humanity for me to try and understand why someone would do that but I feel that way traveling a lot, where I’m like I literally don’t know but I feel like, “that’s a nigger” right now.

(both laughing)

JH: I feel like I’m being made to feel like such a nigger right now and this is so intense and it’s just like I don’t know, I don’t know. That’s one of those things, specifically resentment, and seeing it, and experiencing it, and feeling it, and the multiple ways in which resentment can express itself, cause you think, “oh resentment.” but it’s like, there’s so many subgenres of resentment and it’s like, I don’t know. I actually don’t know, and I feel that way so often. I was talking about that earlier today because in Argentina, I’ve been experiencing a lot of one shots, me and my friend who is also black but not a black woman, but black. Yeah. So actually really, we were talking about that earlier.

TM: And then, of course, like with the last things you said, there are a million things I want to say but I have to stay on track here and ask: what does free black movement look like?

JH: Free black movement, can I expand it? Can I also be like, feels like, sounds like?

TM: Go ahead?

JH: Okay. Sonny Sharrock, Black Woman. That’s a song by Sonny Sharrock to me that is a moment in a singular iteration of free black movement. Free black movement to me as as dance, free black movement for me, the club and the dancefloor. It doesn’t even need to be the club, it can also be the church like praise dancing, but spaces in which all of the kind of hyper-awareness of the one-to-one relationship between like blackness and corperal reality and just like totally being like in and of the flesh, to release that and dance, and dance as a space of just like complete and total liquidity is like, ah. Free black movement to me looks like that, it looks like dance. It’s like fourteen year olds doing dance videos on tik-tok.

You know one of my favourite passages in any book I’ve ever read is from Wretched Of The Earth where Frantz Fanon is talking about the dance circle, and the dance circle as something that’s permissive and protects, and the dance circle as a way to re-enact, and as a form of violence. So thinking of violence as a sort of part of power structure and the language and something that’s inherent to the condition of the racialized condition of colonialism but specifically, dance as a way of utilizing and deploying pre-eruptive violence and the dance circle specifically is a space in which I think black free movement is enacted and played and it’s always, for me especially, and I would say even growing up, even knowing that my specific ginger performance wasn’t always considered to be in-line with the dogmatic version of blackness that we were adhering to in a lot of different ways, dance circles were always a space in which that dissolved.

Even people where it’s just like, did not fuck with me, in that moment, somehow, I was always black enough, and we were always there in this space and it was totally free and liquid and the only kind of limit to that was blackness. I think it was a space in which all the other sort of facets dissolve and it became a space in which blackness was the sort of defining factor but because everything else dissolves, it was a completely and totally free space and so it was blackness untethered from the sort of like, taxonomies that otherwise might splinter what that could or could not be and so I think for me, like dance and music are generally two spaces in which I am thinking of black freedom, black free movement, but especially the dance circle, especially, especially, especially, especially the dance circle. Which takes so many forms, it takes so many forms, there’s so many subgenres of dance but, yeah.

TM: Thinking about your work then, because a large part of your work, at least as I see it, is sort of producing this space for dance to be possible. Even thinking to some of the performances of yours I’ve seen, though from a distance, you’re able to really cultivate that free black movement that you’re describing here and I would assume that this is a conscious act. I’m interested to know in what ways it’s an active production.

JH: Specifically, when I DJ?

TM: Yes.

JH: I’ve always said, for me there’s a lot of DJs I know and a lot of DJs that I like dancing to their sets. I know that they can’t really dance but to me I don’t want to fuck someone that I wouldn’t want to dance with. Whatever, that’s really crude to say that but whatever. To me there’s a direct relationship between my DJing and my dancing, I love to dance, dance is a very primary means of expression to me. So, it is intentional but it’s also kind of intuitive, and I think that’s one of the things I like about specifically the club as a space and the club as a space that’s really been pioneered by black people. Black people are responsible for clubbing. Yes, Europe kind of took it and then shaped it and did its own thing and I love it’s techno function, whatever, whatever, whatever it’s not to deny there have been contributions to the idea of clubbing added on but clubbing is something black people started with organs and black cultural production. Specifically as illicit spaces of corporeal freedom and corporeal disillusion and dance as also a negation of responsibility to the idea of a body, just to disappear into your flesh. All these things are part of clubbing and its history and so it is intentional for me in a lot of ways but it’s also kind of intuitive. I’m not at all saying I’m a free jazz musician, I would never hype myself up that much but the sort of relationship between structure and form and I really appreciate the technique of DJing and I like practice to enhance and understand like, mixing, and all the different elements of it, but the relationship between kind of understanding the sort of foundational technical elements and Improvization, and Improvization is so important to me. The idea for me is to access a kind of sublime, the height is just absolute spendlor, and to really take yourself and move yourself through difficult spaces. I would say free jazz as a kind of model of technique and Improvization and intuition is what inspires me for how I relate to the sort of act of DJing as a making space for.

Of the Refrain Transcript

I don’t know when I’ll have a chance to rerecord this video. Here’s the transcript of what I wanted to say.

Published in 1980, A Thousand Plateaus was the second volume of the collaboration between philosopher Gilles Deleuze and militant anti-psychiatrist Pierre-Felix Guattari titled Capitalism and Schizophrenia. The ramifications of this text are still being dealt with throughout a multitude of lines of research, its influence reaching everything from linguistics to physical chemistry. In this video I will be discussing the eleventh plateau titled “1837: Of the Refrain”.

We enter into this plateau with a discussion of the three aspects or movements of the refrain which it makes or mixes. There is a movement from chaos to the beginnings of order, a movement which maintains an interior space for order, keeping chaos outside, and a movement which opens the interior space to cosmic forces. Paul Klee presents these three movements in relation to the black hole, or what he calls a gray point. The gray point begins its journey within the forces of chaos, then jumping over itself constituting the terrestrial internal forces of the home, then launching out from itself impelled by centrifugal forces of the cosmos.

Just as a bird sings to mark its territory, the refrain is a territorial assemblage, always carrying the earth with it throughout all its functions. Thus we may also understand the refrain in these terms: Sometimes there is a movement from chaos to the threshold of a territorial assemblage, what we will come to understand as directional components or infra-assemblages; sometimes there is a movement of the organization of terrritorial assemblages, otherwise referred to as dimensional components or intra-assemblages; sometimes there is a movement away from territorial assemblages for other assemblages or for somewhere else entirely, henceforth referred to as interassemblages or components of passage or escape; and sometimes all three movements occur at once.

Continuing, Deleuze and Guattari acknowledge that Milieus and Rhythms are born from chaos. Milieus, they say are vibratory, in other words, a block of space time constituted by the periodic repetition of the component. There are many milieus of the living thing, namely an exterior milieu of materials, an interior milieu of composing elements and composed substances, and intermediary milieu of membranes and limits, and an annexed milieu of energy sources and actions-perceptions. Every milieu is coded, understanding code as being periodic repetition; however they say of each code that “is in a perpetual state of transcoding or transduction”.

Transcoding or transduction is the process whereby one milieu serves as the basis for another, it is the communication of milieus. They say of milieus that they are “open to chaos, which threatens them with exhaustion or intrusion.” Rhythm should be understood as the milieus’ answer to chaos. Both chaos and rhythm are in between two milieus. Chaos is thus not the opposite of rhythm but the milieu of all milieus. There is rhythm in every communication between milieus. Being chaotic, rhythm is not meter. Meter assumes a quantifiable code in a noncommunicating milieu, whereas rhythm is always undergoing transcoding. They say “meter is dogmatic, but rhythm is critical […] It does not operate in a homogeneous space-time, but by heterogeneous blocks. It changes direction.”

To change milieus is constitutive of rhythm. Milieus exist by virtue of a periodic repetition whose only effect is to produce difference. The difference is the locus of rhythm, repetition being the locus of its production. It follows that productive repetition has nothing to do with reproductive meter. They highlight a particular case of transcoding, when a code only takes or receives fragments of another code. In transcoding, it is not simply a case of simple addition, but the constitution of a new plane, as of a surplus value.

We come to a point where we must account for the relationship between a Territory and a milieu. Deleuze and Guattari say “the territory is the product of a territorialization of milieus and rhythms.” There is a territory when milieu components become dimensional, opposed to directional, as such becoming expressive. The definitive characteristics of the territory is the emergence of matters of expression, or qualities. The expressivity of the territory arrives when it acquires a temporal constancy and a spacial range that make a territory, a mark, a signature. The territory is secondary in relation to the qualitative mark. The territory is a product of territorialization, understanding territorialization as an act of rhythm that becomes expressive, or of milieu components that become qualitative.

Is this becoming expressive of rhythm or melody art? If so, the territory is a result of art. The artist is the first person to make a mark. They say “the expressive is primary in relation to the possessive.” That is to say expressive qualities delineate a territory that belong to the subject that produces them. The quality is a signature, but the signature is the constituted mark of a subject. Like Duchamp’s fountain, the territorial mark is a readymade. However, in this respect art is not the privilege of humans. They cite Messiaen in saying many birds are artists in singing their territorial songs.

The refrain is the result of the territorialization of rhythm and melody via a becoming-expressive, and they become expressive because they are territorializing. This is not to go in circles. Instead, they are affirming the self-movement of expressive qualities. We should not reduce expressiveness to the effects of an impulse triggering an action in a milieu, otherwise referred to as subjective impressions. Instead expressive qualities should be understood as being auto-objective, that is to say they find objectivity in the territory they draw.

Expressive qualities enter into relations with one another which express the relation of the territory they draw to both an interior milieu of impulses and an exterior milieu of circumstances. There is an auto-expression of the quality. On the one hand, expressive qualities constitute territorial motifs in their entertainment of internal relations with one another. On the other hand, expressive qualities produce territorial counterpoints, that is to say they produce points in the territory that place the circumstances of the external milieu in counterpoint. These territorial motifs and counterpoints explore potentialities of the interior or exterior milieu. In the vocabulary of ethologists this is discussed through the concept of ritualization, however this does not account for the variability or fixity of nonpulsed motifs and nonlocalized counterpoints.

Instead, they argue that territorial motifs form rhythmic faces or characters and territorial counterpoints form melodic landscapes. There is a rhythmic character when rhythm is no longer associated with a particular character, subject or impulse and instead is the character in itself. The same general formula applies to melodic landscapes, which are found when the melody is no longer associated with a particular landscape and becomes a landscape in counterpoint to a virtual landscape. What then distinguishes a musician bird from a nonmusician bird is that the musician bird articulates rhythm and harmonizes melody, as opposed to a simple reproduction of a style. The same then is true for human music.

Debussy’s criticism of Wagner, that of comparing his leitmotifs to signposts, is true on some level. However in Wagner the motifs increasingly enter into conjunction, becoming autonomous to the point of auto-expression. Proust is cited as one of the first individuals to underscore this aspect of the Wagnerian motif. They say “the appearance of the motif itself constitutes a rhythmic character in” and here they are quoting Proust “the plenitude of a music that is indeed filled with so many strains, each of which is being.”

Returning to the territory, they say that it “is first of all the critical distance between two things of the same species.” This critical distance is a relation based on expressive qualities. It is a matter of keeping a distance from the forces of chaos. This distance is not a meter, but a rhythm. There are two aspects of the territory that we must keep in mind. Firstly, it ensures and regulates the coexistence of members of the same species by producing a distance, keeping them apart. Secondly, it makes possible the coexistence of a maximum number of different species in the same milieu.

The question arises of whether or not humans have made art in the first place. We are reminded that territories have two notable effects: a reorganization of functions and a regrouping of forces. When functional activities are territorialized they change pace. This is attested to by the theme of specialization or professionalism. The territorial refrain passes into professional refrains often as the professions assume that various activities are performed in the same milieu, with no other agents in the same territory. Professional refrains mark a territory in such a way that the same activities cannot be performed as a result of the rules of critical distance for competition.

We should also consider the other effects of territorialization. The territory unifies forces of different milieus constituted by the forces of the earth. Although in extension the territory separates the interior forces of the earth from the exterior forces of chaos, this does not occur in intension. Ultimately, territorializing marks develop into motifs and counterpoints, and reorganize functions and regroup forces. We will continue return to this moment. What is essential to the becoming-expressive of rhythm is the disjunction between code and territory. Each milieu has a code, and there is a perpetual transcoding between milieus, however the territory forms at the level of decoding. With territoriality comes the establishment of an intraspecific critical distance between members of the same species. It is through the disjunction of territoriality that it becomes an indirect means of differentiation. From this it follows that decoding is the negative of the territory.

What has been discussed up to this point is the movement from forces of chaos to forces of the earth, from milieu to territory, from transcoding to decoding, a passage from infra-assemblages to intra-assemblages. In this same way we cannot speak about intra-assemblages without discussing the passage of the refrain. As Deleuze and Guattari note, the refrain is “any aggregate of matters of expression that draws a territory and develops into territorial motifs and landscapes.” Let us not get too far ahead of ourselves though. Before we can discuss the refrain any further, we must approach a deeper understanding of the intra-assemblage and what it is sometimes plugged into.

What is included in the intra-assemblage is not just the territorial assemblage but also assembled, territorialized functions. The question is begged, what holds territorializing marks, territorial motifs, and territorialized functions together in the same intra-assemblage. Here we arrive at the question of consistency, that is the holding together of heterogeneous elements. Again let us not get too far ahead of ourselves. The intra-assemblage passes into the interassemblage through forces of deterritorialization, that is to say that the territorial assemblage passes into other assemblages. However none of these passages are necessary, but take place on a case-by-case basis. The ambiguity between territory and deterritorialization is what they call the ambiguity of the Natal, understanding the Natal as being outside.

There are a vast number of movements of deterritorialization which take off from the territory that Deleuze and Guattari list. Independent of the causes of the numerous movements, each movement is different in its essence and cannot be reduced to the interassemblage, or the passage from territorial assemblages to assemblages of another type. Instead, we should speak of a movement away from all assemblages which opens up onto the deterritorialized Cosmos. Generally, the territory is traversed by relative deterritorializations wherein there is a passage from the intra-assemblage to interassemblages. However, this is not the case for absolute deterritorializations, which we will discuss further in due time. What is important to note about the distinction between relative and absolute deterritorializations is that a relative deterritorialization is necessarily followed by a reterritorialization, the same is not true for absolute deterritorializations.

Here, they present a classification system for refrains. Firstly, there are territorial refrains that seek, mark and assemble a territory. Secondly, there are territorialized function refrains that assume a special function in the assemblage. Thirdly, there are territorial refrains which pass into new assemblages by means of a relative deterritorialization. Fourthly and finally, there are Cosmic refrains which maintain the ability to move by absolute deterritorializations.

To return to the problem of consistency, we must understand that it is not just a question of the manner in which components of a territorial assemblage hold together, but also the manner in which different assemblages hold together. The easiest answer that Deleuze and Guattari can identify to the question “What holds things together” is provoked by a linear, hierarchized, centralized arborescent model. This is a model which is constructed of oversimplified binaries. In search of a rhizomatic model for consistency, we must keep in mind that as opposed to a functional center which brings into play only localization, we should understand a system as being a coordination between centers, a passage between one heterogeneous center to another.

We may turn to Eugène Dupréel for an elucidation of this type of model in his theory of consolidation. He proposes that life does not go from a center to an exteriority but from a discrete aggregate to its consolidation. There are three implications of which that interest us. First, there is no beginning from which a linear sequence can derive, but intercalary events like densifications, intensifications, reinforcements, injections, and showerings. Second, and this is not in contradiction with the first implication, there must be a distribution of inequalities such that sometimes it is necessary to make a hole in order to consolidate. Third, there is no imposition of meter or cadence, but a superposition of disparate rhythms. Consolidation does not come after, but is creative itself. Just like consolidation, consistency produces consolidated aggregates by means of intercalated elements, intervals, and articulations of superposition. Consolidation is simply the terrestrial name for consistency.

Let us deal with a concrete example, that of the song of the chaffinch. Normally this song has three phases. First, there is a succession of four to fourteen notes which crescendo in volume but decrease in frequency. Then there are two to eight notes of a constant frequency lower than the first. The song ends with a complex flourish. From the standpoint of acquisition, this song is preceded by a subsong, the distinction between the two Deleuze and Guattari describe as follows: “the subsong as mark or placard, the full song as style or motif, and the aptitude to pass from one to the other.”

What concerns them at this point in the plateau is what happens when the components of the subsong develop into motifs and counterpoints of the full song. They say “the organization of marks into motifs and counterpoints necessarily entails a taking on of consistency.” This occurs in such a way that they describe as a color answering to a sound. There is a synthesis of heterogeneities, a machinic opera. Inasmuch as these heterogeneities are matters of expression, their synthesis forms machinic enunciation.

They continue “from the standpoint of consistency, matters of expression must be considered not only in relation to their aptitude to form motifs and counterpoints but also in relation to the inhibitors and releasers that act on them.” It is the mistake of ethologists to restrict matters of expression to a binary distribution of these factors. Instead, what needs to be done is to approach matters of expression in terms of assemblage. It is not melodic and rhythmic themes which are constituted as a result of performance and recording, but the opposite. The consistency of a refrain takes primacy. The notion of behaviour does not provide an adequate understanding of the natal, which stretches from the intra-assemblage to the Cosmos.

We have already encountered the argument that the territorial assemblage is inseparable from lines of deterritorialization in the direction of other assemblages, however we have not considered the effects of deterritorialization on a given species at a given moment. Whenever a territorial assemblage undergoes a movement of deterritorialization, they argue that a machine is released. To propose a distinction between machine and assemblage, a machine inserts itself into the assemblage which is undergoing deterritorialization and produces a variation of it. It is only when an assemblage has been freed by deterritorialzation that we find a machine. Machinic statements are machine effects that enter matters of expression. As a rule, they say, “a machine plugs into the territorial assemblage of a species and opens it to other assemblages, causes it to pass through the interassemblages of that species.” However, the machine can also produce an opening onto the Cosmos or an effect of closure into a black hole. This closure occurs when an all too sudden deterritorialization occurs while cosmic paths are blocked. What is important to remember is that machines are always keys that open or close an assemblage.

It follows that the consistency of matters of expression relates to both their ability to form melodic and rhythmic themes and the power of the natal. There is another aspect. As matters of expression take on consistency they constitute semiotic systems in which the semiotic components are inseparable from material components. The distinction between molar and molecular is between two group movements, one towards equilibrium and homogeneity and one in the opposite direction. The intermolecular forces that give rise to a molar aggregate can either be one of linkage or discernment and discrimination. This distinction is the same as the distinction between stratified systems and self-consistent aggregates. Life fits into this distinction as it implies a surplus value of destratification.

Almost being contradictory it is both a complex system of stratification and an aggregate of consistency. As Deleuze and Guattari say “the living thing performs a transcoding of milieus that can be considered both to consitute a stratum and to effect reverse causalities and transversals of destratification.” The territorial assemblage implies both a decoding and its own deterritorialization. What holds everything together is the transversal, or the component which takes up the vector of deterritorialization. Assemblages being produced by both the semiotic and the material it only makes sense to relatively distinguish between the consistency of assemblages and the stratification of milieus. What should not suprise us is that the distinction we have been seeking is not one between assemblages and something else but the two poles of the assemblage, that of the system of strata and the plane of consistency.

We have made a lot of movements, first from milieus to territories, then from territorial assemblages to interassemblages, and simultaneously from forces of the earth to the deterritorializing Cosmos. Here, they present two questions that guide the majority of what follows in this plateau. How did Paul Klee present this movement towards the Cosmos, and why has this word been selected. They point to Klee first in claiming that the first act of the artist is to observe their surroundings and grasp the naturing nature in natured nature. From there the artist directs their attention to the molecular. The artist comes to believe that there are other worlds they have not been told of. Finally, the artist opens up onto the Cosmos. What it lacks is the people to carry with them.

What follows is a fairly long discussion on the distinction between Classicism and Romanticism that if you are interested in I highly recommend you read this section of the plateau. What I will summarize from this section is that in Classicism we find an essential relation of matters-forms. In the modern age, which must be cosmic, this relation is replaced with a direct relation of material-forces, understanding matter as molecularized matter and forces as forces of the Cosmos. Turning back to Klee, they speak of a rendering visible as opposed to a reproduction of the visible. What we find in music is precisely a rendering duration sonorous.

We have finally arrived at the Mechanosphere, the plane of cosmicization of forces. This is Sun Ra’s plane of duality comprehension. Sun Ra’s primary instrument being that of the Moog synthesizer was not a pure coincidence. This instrument was selected for its ability to molecularize sound matter and harness cosmic energy. It is the assemblage of the machine of cosistency, namely the sound machine. The synthasizer takes the place of the ground in a priori synthetic judgement for Cosmic philosophy. Through the synthasizer, Cosmic philosophy gains a motive attribute, the ability to make thought travel, just like Sun Ra envisioned.

The cosmic artisan is the modern figure of Cosmic action. As Deleuze and Guattari say, they are a homemade atomic bomb. The invocation of the Cosmos is not a metaphor but an effective operation from the ouset of the artist’s connection of materials with forces of consistency. Material thus has three principal characteristics. It is molecularized matter, it has a relation to forces which can be harnessed, and is defined by the operations of consistency applied to it.

In identifying three ages, the classical, romantic, and modern, we are not speaking of an evolution. Everything attributed to an age was already present in the preceding age. The freeing of the molecular was already found in the classical. As such, the Cosmos has been present for all of time. They say “all history is really the history of perception, and what we make history with is the matter of a becoming, not the subject matter of a story.” Becoming is present in a different way in every assemblage.

A new classification system of refrains can be produced. Firstly, we find milieu refrains which come in two parts, one of which answers to the other. They turn to the relation of the piano and the violin played in tandem for an example. Secondly, there are natal or territorial refrains which mark the disjunction between the earth and the territory. Among the examples used by Deleuze and Guattari are the lullaby, drinking song, work song, and military song. Thirdly, folk and popular refrains which are tied to a song of hte people, bringing into play affects and nations. Examples are the Polish, the German, the Pathetic, Vengeful, and Panicked. Finally, there is a Cosmos refrain found in the sea and the wind. It is a molecularized refrain tied to cosmic forces.

They establish a distinction between visual and sound arts by comparing the powers of deterritorialization held by each. The claim is made that colour clings to territory and tends to dissolution when it deterritorializes. Sound however, they say, “invades us, impels us, drags us, transpierces us. It takes leave of the earth, as much in order to drop us into a black hole as to open us up to a cosmos.” Continuing they say “Colors do not move a people. Flags can do nothing without trumpets. Lasers are modulated on sound. The refrain is sonorous par excellence.” It is here that we find the double-edged sword of the refrain, it’s capabilities to just as easily open up onto the Cosmos as to declare a fascism of music.

A refrain is also a crystal of space-time. It acts upon its surroundings, extracting from them vibrations, decompositions, projections, and transformations. With this action the refrain has a catalytic function. That is to say it increases the speed of exchanges and reactions in its surroundings, assuring indirect interactions between elements devoid of a so-called natural affinity, thereby forming organized masses. As such the refrain fabricates time. As they say, “Time is not an a priori form; rather, the refrain is the a priori form of time, which in each case fabricates different times.”

As this plateau concludes they discover two primary refrains which the musician requires in their movements. The first type of refrain is the territorial or assemblage refrain which is necessary to deterritorialize to produce a second type of refrain which they identify as being the end of music. This second type of refrian is the cosmic refrain of a sound machine. The goal then of the musician should be to deterritorialize the refrain above all else. They conclude saying “Produce a deterritorialized refrain as the final end of music, release it in the Cosmos – that is more important than building a new system.” Continuing, they say “the cosmic force was already present in the material, the great refrain in the little refrains, the great maneuver in the little maneuver. Except we can never be sure we will be strong enough, for we have no systen, only lines and movements.”

consent not to be a singular expression of myself

  1. “To produce Blackness is to produce a social link of subjection and a body of extraction, that is, a body entirely exposed to the will of the master, a body from which great effort is made to extract maximum profit. An exploitable object, the Black Man is also the name of a wound, the symbol of a person at the mercy of the whip and suffering in a field of struggle that opposes socioracially segmented groups and factions” (Mbembe, Critique of Black Reason, p. 18).
  2. The production of whiteness in America began with the exclusion of Black inhabitants of the colonies from privileges and rights granted to white colonists. Juridically, the black individual has been established to be a non-person. The constitution of race allowed for Non-European Individuals to have their ontological status demoted. The forced mobility of the Black Individual has been a primary factor in the production of Black Subjectivity since the emergence of the triangular trade. Aided by genomics and advances in technology, the production of racial subjects has re-emerged nearly everywhere. In the context of a rise in white nationalism, large swaths of communities are subjected to ‘racial categorization’ that transform immigrants into ‘an essential category of difference’ (Ibid, 23).
  3. “On one level, then, Black reason consists of a collection of voices, pronouncements, discourses, forms of knowledge, commentary, and non sense, whose object is things or people of African origin. [Black Reason] provide[s] the justifications for the arithmetic of racial domination” (Ibid, 27). Black Reason extends into the molecular, finding itself in every nook and cranny of Western Subjectivity. Race is not simply an aesthetic category, it is a byproduct of ressentiment. We must distinguish between a ‘call to race‘, the goal of which is “to imagine and create a different space, where isolation would guarantee protection”, and ‘racial assignation‘, “a more or less coded way of dividing and organizing a multiplicity, of fixing and distributing it according to a hierarchy, of allocating it to more or less impermeable spaces according to a logic of enclosure” (Ibid, 34 – 35). The ‘processes of racialization’ aims to force movement as precisely as possible “in a way that diminishes threats and secures general safety” (Ibid, 35).
  4. “As phenomena, racism and the phobia of others share a great deal” (Ibid, 36). Racism will not be ended by the dissolution of the capitalist mode of production alone. “The noun “Black” is […] the name given to the product of a process that transforms [African Individuals] into living ore from which metal is extracted”, where it was utilized in the ‘New World’ and converted into financial currency in Europe. This was a “structuring dimension of early capitalism” (Ibid, 40). Fanon correctly assessed that the Black Individual was an invention of Whites, “a fantasy produced by European imagination” (Ibid, 43). “The process of racialization was to establish clear distinctions between laborers of European origin and Africans” (Ibid, 44). “[The following] [t]hree historical determinants […] explain the power of the fantasy of Whiteness. In most settler colonies, Whiteness was transformed “into a dogma and a habitus”. “[T]he fantasy of Whiteness involves a constellation of objects of desire and public signs of privilege”. “The fantasy of Whiteness draws part of its self-assurance from structural violence and the ways in which it contributes on a planetary scale to the profoundly unequal redistribution of the resources on life and the privileges of citizenship”, which benefits from technological developments, political organization, and ‘cruelty without measure’. (Ibid, 45)

This text is an excerpt of a forthcoming publication “Networked Ressentiment”.

Review: When I Get Home – 9.4/10

On her fourth album, Solange skillfully invokes the cosmic jazz of Sun Ra to create a work whose central function is to produce a constant repetition of affirmative difference. As Ra says:

“The enclosed vibration limitation / Repeats itself over and over .. it is a cycle .. an eternity never changing / The outerspirals move brilliantly with word-precision, yet varying / Ever outward and ever onward on.“

Sun Ra, The Immesurable Equation, p. 145.

To some this may seem to be a work of cryptic expression, muddled by a lack of semiotization. However it is this lack that is necessary for the constitution of an a-subjective work of jazz. Amongst their other uses, samples are employed to remind the Black Woman that she is powerful beyond measure, to demand a freedom of movement and articulation, to declare intention in all of our actions, and to anticipate the liberation of the Black Individual from their present struggles.

As the album opens, Solange tests the precision-tuning of the listener, simoutaneously embracing a-temporality in her approach, abolishing meter through a repetition of the primary refrain over a fluidly changing rythmn and tone. “Alameda“ affirms the cosmic darkness of black self-ownership and autopoesis, presenting a knight of black faith. The film released in simultaneity with the album continues the refrain of black positivity, making use of an all black cast, many scenes filmed in the dark of the night. Overall this album is a force that may be utilized to open the ears of many towards the plane of duality comprehension.

This text is an excerpt of a forthcoming publication “Networked Ressentiment”.

important information

last saturday i went to downtown la. started my day by going to the a+d museum, they have an exhibition on disgusting food. i got to try some of it at their tasting bar. passed on the shark meat but did try some bugs, durian, vegemite, and the cheese of a baby goat. the rest of the museum was alright, overall a bit too liberal for my tastes. what can you expect from the arts district of la though.

from there i walked to the broad. stopped for food after seeing the line wrapped around the width of the building. when i came back the line had shrunk greatly. only had to wait 15 or so minutes. after getting my ticket i decided i wanted to go see a film screening at the redcat. sharon lockhart’s pine flat. 2 long hours. 12 takes each 10 minutes long. each take focusing on the actions of children. moving solemnly from a child wandering in a snowy forest trying to find his friend to two couples making out. after the film i asked her whether she was directly attempting to challenge/critique particular modes of temporalization. she said yes but didn’t give any particulars, only using the phrase ‘adult time’.

i sent a very hard email for me write today. it is the first time i’ve told my family about my recent rape. it feels good to finally have it off my chest but i still worry what their response will be. i’ll likely be leaving myself downstairs in the basement for the night. i hope i don’t get too anxious feeling isolated, but only time will tell. the following is the text of my email:

important information 

what i am about to say will likely be shocking but i feel it necessary to say. it is hard for me to talk about so i will be very brief.

last spring, while living in kansas city, i was raped, the resulting trauma being not only psychological but physiological. the physical trauma that i endured may require surgery to repair. i do not want to talk further about this and will not answer any questions about this event. just know that i have a consultation with a surgeon on the 1st of february at the fontana kaiser. i will let you know what results from that consultation. i ask your assistance with transportation and the copay.

as a i recover both physically and psychologically from my past traumas, i ask a few things. 1) please, continue to try referring to me as taegen and using she/her pronouns. using preferred names to refer to trans people has been shown to drastically lower rates of severe depression and suicidal ideation. (you can read about that here: 2) I would like to schedule a consultation with Karen Atkinson, and artist and educator, to get feedback on my personal website and get advice for marketing my art. She may also be a good resource in the near future to help me as I apply for grants to support my art and projects. ( 3) Your continued financial support is appreciated. I have only briefly had treatment for my recent traumas and i am going to need a lot more time and treatment before i am fully able to work, or even fulfill past commissions. 4) Part of my recovery is making sure I don't stay isolated socially and physically. I need to continue to explore museums and meet with friends. I'd like to start visiting LA at least twice a month. It's important for me to develop a social network here again. 5) Overall I just want to make sure I can keep my time occupied with things I enjoy (books, coffee, art and art museums) and continue to pursue treatment. I see my art as being something that can support me, as it did for quite a few months. My primary goal in recovering is to make my art practice sustainable again and will appreciate your emotional support and encouragement through this process. Looking forward, I have a meeting with Andrew Culp tomorrow at 4pm in Pasadena. I will be taking the metrolink into LA tomorrow morning and riding the LA metro to pasadena after lunch with a good friend from Willamette. I have been building my personal webpage and already begun advertising my tutoring services again. You can visit my website here:

My current focus is to finish building my webpage, continue my readings, continue building my social network, continue building my projects, and find a suitable therapist. -- taegen

i’ve decided to try a challenge. i want to blog about a section of anti-oedipus every day. I’ve found that there are 31 subsections so i want to do a 30 day challenge through the whole text. i’ll likely read it a second time this year to write a longer text about it for the hyperzine. my ideas about the hyperzine are crystallizing. andrew culp and i are meeting for coffee tomorrow. i hope he won’t mind me talking about the hyperzine with him and working through some of the roadblocks i’ve come to.

next week i’ll be skyping with juliana huxtable for an interview. i’ll likely post an excerpt of it here so please be on the look out for that. i just finished the coming insurrection. likely will post today or tomorrow about the text. currently not listening to anything.


currently listening to I can feel you creep into my life by tune-yards. as a kid i didn’t want to be black. i wanted to live in a picturesque liberal utopia without race. i dreamt i’d go to an ivy league, study physics, be a STEM advocate, work for UNESCO, run for a senate seat in a liberal east coast state, and become the president, all while sporting a pacifist analytic philosophy worldview (particularly inspired by bertrand russell and stephen hawking). i listened to tune-yards and lake street dive. my nickname in middle school was whitewash. then i discovered ‘pure jazz’.

i had been playing trumpet some 4 years before i truly discovered jazz. initially, i wanted to play clarinet because i heard the sounds of benny goodman at a young age playing in the back yard of a family friend’s home. in third grade, i came home with the permission slit to rent an instrument so i could start practicing with my schoolmates only to be told by my stepfather that the clarinet was a feminine instrument and that i would only be allowed to play a masculine instrument (particularly trumpet or saxophone). i didn’t quite know what the sounds of a trumpet were, but i knew that i couldn’t stand the noise of a saxaphone, so i chose the former. come the time i started at my third middle school, my band instructor asked me if i wanted to play jazz. he challenged me to go on youtube and listen to some jazz trumpeters for inspiration. i’ll never forget my first time listening to freddie hubbard’s red clay. just as guattari describes being transported to another Universe by a single note of debussy, i experienced a whole new domain. my musical index soon grew tenfold, with my particular interests in jazz centering around a select few musicians: mingus, hubbard, ellington, armstrong, gillespie, and dolphy.

it was around this time i had also discovered the works of marx and started to accept the reality of class relations and the centralization of the means of production into the hands of the bourgeoisie. i was still young, only in 8th grade, so many of the more complex concepts went right over my head, but i knew that my true views aligned best with some form of socialism. after reading plenty of marx late in my ninth grade year (and finding particular intrest in his contribution to the critique of political economy) i discovered two theorists that forever changed my life: zizek and butler. butler’s gender trouble was the first text to challenge, and change, my conception of gender, especially of my own gender.

i had always known that i had an attraction to males, and being assigned male at birth i assumed that meant i was gay (for i still was quite unaware of bisexuality), but i never quite felt comfortable with such a label, particularly because it meant i was a man. i always struggled with the social and familial pressures of masculinity, always knowing that i never aligned with all that i associated with men, only interpreted my turn towards femininity as more verification that i was in fact gay. however, reading buter, particularly her bodies that matter, gave me a newfound vocabulary and index of what identity was, what the body was, what my body was, and led me down a rabbit hole that hasn’t quite ended. it was through butler that i discovered deleuze. through her portion of the film examined life.

it was through the sublime object of ideology that i first encountered lacan. through mapping ideology, a text edited by zizek, i first encountered althusser. finally, i thought, i’ve found a movement i feel as though i’m aligned with. structural marxism is the name of my new game. i was referred by a former english teacher of mine to an instructor at my former highschool (i had transfered to online school after my first hospitalization). dr. ryan derosa is his name. i came to him asking about althusser and marx, and he was the first person i ever spoke to, and who first encouraged me to read deleuze.

it was only through mingus’ original faubus fables and kanye west’s new slaves that i honestly first encountered my own blackness, and through xenia rubinos and empress of that i encountered forms of being latina i could relate to. until then i had been fairly sheltered by my liberal dream, which was only crushed by my growing marxism. maybe i’ll expand on this later.


i’ve been working on my website a bit more. updated the color palette, i’m sort of happy with it now. removed some clunky sentences. added a page to highlight my tutorials. next i’m going to keep working on the hyperzine, create a page on my website to highlight my art, try to work more on my art. i’m currently listening to a mix created for me by some algorithm over at tidal. trying to finish the coming insurrection. i honestly got a little bit bored around the fifth circle. wanted to just skip to the conclusion but i thought it’d be best to give it a chance and finish it in its entirety.

i need to find a way to deal with my anxiety better. i swear last night i was perfectly fine until around 8pm. i immediately decided that it was time for me to sleep, despite the fact i wasn’t tired. i took an olanzapine to force myself to sleep. there is this eerie anxiety that i’ve developed very recently, feeling as though i must conform to capitalist temporalization, keep a routine, sleep at 8pm nightly, wake at 7am. 11 hours of sleep nightly. i know it’s not for the best but i haven’t found a way to say calm and just wait until i’m naturally tired like i used to do. it’s possible the social pressures of living with my mother, seeing a psychiatrist, being required to follow a strict schedule by doctors to be considered stable. i’m still struggling so much with this concept of stability. i’m excited to turn to simondon to learn more about metastability.

i’m not really sure what this blog is for. i’m not sure what to write here. i’m not sure why anyone would read this. i’ve considered using this to present commentaries on texts i read, to post updates on projects, to keep someone informed on my daily life, but i’m just not sure who reads this, or who would read this. my follower count steadily grows, last month growing by 70 followers, 28 so far this month. i’m still stuck wondering why. at the same time it feels so slow. others can grow to 500 followers in a month, some 5k, some 50k. this whole game is so mundane, so absurd, so harmful. i feel like i shouldn’t even participate in these games. i should just focus on my work and pray it gets disseminated. but then again, i don’t know who would disseminate my work.

jazz/hip hop duality

currently listening to Room 25 by Noname. another great album that epitomizes the jazz/hip hop duality of hypergalactic music. i realize i’ve never quite frankly written about what exactly hypergalactic music is. there are a few characteristics of hypergalactic music that i’d like to talk about over time. we can begin with this charateristic of what is called “duality comprehension”. we can say of hypergalactic music that it exists on the plane of duality comprehension.

let us remember that sun ra made a movement from the interplanetary jazz of space music to intergalactic jazz. that is to say, from executed bridge words communicating between space and earth to a sound of the “outside realm of the future turning points of the impossible”. this movement can be best understood as a transversing from the plane of capital to the plane of composition, first by a deterritorialization of planetary refrains on the face of the earth, reterritorializing onto the void of the cosmos. i believe that ra made a second movement from the void of the cosmos onto the plane of duality comprehension. i find it hard to believe that the realm of the alter-destiny resides in the void of the cosmos, instead it should be argued that the outer unending darkness of the Universe is the material onto which destiny deterritorializes itself and reterritorializes as the alter-destiny, changing the material of the outer darkness into a propulsion towards new unheard refrains of atemporal galaxies.

to speak of a hypergalactic jazz, as opposed to the intergalactic jazz of sun ra, is that the index of hypergalactic jazz is composed solely of executed bridge words through “determination of the duality meaning”. for ra, “Jazz is based upon the spontaneous improvisation principle. Pure jazz is that which is without preconceived notion, or it is just being, and that’s really my definition of jazz.” what distinguishes intergalacticity and hypergalacticity is that intergalacticity functions by pure jazz alone whereas hypergalacticity employs this jazz/hip hop duality.

hip hop can only be understood as a deterritorializing force. sampling, interpolation, scat, ad libs, these are the tools through which the hip hop musician selects materials to deterritorialize sound onto. selection is only a tool to the hip hop musician, as selection necessitates a prior refrain (a preconcieved notion). ra underestimates the power of the prior refrain, writing it off while simultaneously employing it without notice. ra is not a pure jazz musician, if he were his productive capacity would never have reached the impossible. instead, ra, like Noname, is a hypergalactic jazz musician, selecting and recomposing prior refrains, while constantly producing difference with them. here would be a good place to mention the eternal return of Nietzsche, or the difference and repetition of deleuze. here i have come to understand hip hop as repeptition and pure jazz as difference. inseperable as they are, many musicians have attempted to bifurcate them and produce solely on the basis of one or the other. ra’s attempt failed, but for the better.

today was boring

half an acre of land and 3500 square feet of home and there’s nowhere comfortable to sit. the interior design of this home epitomizes everything wrong with the middle class lifestyle. i find it hard to believe the residents of this home actually do anything but watch tv, fuck, eat crappy canned food and take out, and sleep. such a miserable existence. i need to find somewhere i can live comfortably. i loved boise. miss my friends. too bad i can’t return any time soon. i’m trapped in socal until i can at least convince my doctors to put me on hormones, and even then i’ll have to stay within the range of kaiser if i want to stay on any of my meds. had to pay 1250$ when i was in boise to get a months worth of latuda, only cost 20$ when i get it through kaiser. still need to file all the paperwork with kaiser to get a reimbursement, i hope its not too late.

my anxiety overwhelmed me once more last night and i made myself sleep by 8, woke up and tried to sleep more three times. my dreams have been getting a bit weird, probably because i don’t have any weed to smoke and that sort of shit happens when you take a break (not that a tolerance break hurts). my mom said she’ll pick up some edibles for me the next time she goes to the dispensary. there’s one close to her job that she quite likes that has a lot of fun edibles.

i’ve got through about 25 pages of schizoanalytic cartographies. the F(Phi)TU schema is still hurting my head but i might text a few people and ask them to help clarify some things for me. i couldn’t concentrate while i was at starbucks today. the music was horrible as it always is and i couldn’t find anything mellow enough to listen to while i read. i walked to starbucks because my bank account is getting lower than i’m comfortable with and it costs 7.36$ to get an uber one way. i really shouldn’t have. it hurt my foot too much. took 45 minutes to get there. while at starbucks one of the baristas (assuming i was gone from the store) talked with another barista about me. she seemed to have thought i didn’t pick up my muffin and noted it 30 minutes after i bought it. i was sitting right infront of her eating my muffin so i don’t know what she was on about, wanted to say something but thought it’d be better to just be quiet. told my uber driver my day was uneventful. didn’t lie but that’s not quite truthful either. things happened, they just weren’t interesting. i need to start unfollowing people i really don’t care to see the tweets of, i just don’t want to be rude.

they called to confirm my appointment with my psychiatrist. i really dont want to go as he was horribly judgemental during my first session, but i don’t have much of a choice right now. everything in my life is currently centered around me getting ‘treatment’, whatever that means. i just want to return to a productive state, i don’t quite care about stability. i’m not quite sure i know what stability is, or that it really exists. they tell me “we need you to be stable before you can start hormones” but when i asked what stability is they said “you need to not have any psychotic hallucinations and have a place to live and a source of income and take your medications and be cooperative with your treatment”. sounds a lot like they just want me to be a good little capitalist girl and stop worrying so much about being self-productive, they just need me to be a passive producer-consumer. it makes me sick how much my experiences align with guattari’s analyses.

i was reminded of this great discussion recently. the moderator is horrible but i love butler and davis in this conversation. they bring up some very crucial points. butler’s been a central thinker in my personal theoretical development, she’s also 90% of the reason i got into deleuze (the other 10% being althusser). that’s all i got for now.