Monthly Archives: February 2010


Finally rediscovered after some dream encounter with the phalanstery, a figure to add to the refrain of Wilhelm Reich, Otto Muehl, Guy Debord, Charles Fourier, …

Fourier is not only a critic, his imperturbably serene nature makes him a satirist, and assuredly one of the greatest satirists of all time. He depicts, with equal power and charm, the swindling speculations that blossomed out upon the downfall of the Revolution, and the shopkeeping spirit prevalent in, and characteristic of, French commerce at that time. Still more masterly is his criticism of the bourgeois form of the relations between sexes, and the position of woman in bourgeois society. He was the first to declare that in any given society the degree of woman’s emancipation is the natural measure of the general emancipation.

But Fourier is at his greatest in his conception of the history of society. He divides its whole course, thus far, into four stages of evolution – savagery, barbarism, the patriarchate, civilization. This last is identical with the so-called civil, or bourgeois, society of today – i.e., with the social order that came in with the 16th century. He proves “that the civilized stage raises every vice practiced by barbarism in a simple fashion into a form of existence, complex, ambiguous, equivocal, hypocritical” – that civilization moves “in a vicious circle”, in contradictions which it constantly reproduces without being able to solve them; hence it constantly arrives at the very opposite to that which it wants to attain, or pretends to want to attain, so that, e.g., “under civilization poverty is born of superabundance itself”.

—Engels, Frederick. 1880. The Development of Utopian Socialism. Socialism: Utopian and Scientific.

Peter Doig painted l’Unite d’Habitation designed by Le Corbusier inspired by Fourier’s phalanstère:


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missed dara birnbaum‘s absence from the screening of her 70’s mashup video work. technology/transformation: wonder woman, 1978-79 sunk its teeth into me in an UG art/marxist course and still blows me away.

hit counter-cartographies collective @ biblioteca popular:

  1. geographic information system,, openlayers, jumpUgis, quantumgis, comma separated values, openstreetmap, walkingpapers, food atlas
  2. missing = qualitative maps
  3. image/word, visibility/sayability, content/expression, geographer/geometer, map/proposition, extensive/intensive, state/indigenous
  4. business omnipresence –> generalized real estate agents
  5. UIC grad program in urban planning
  6. dennis wood: making maps
  7. capillary form of power; biopower: police enforcing zoe/bios
  8. data imposes racial categories deeply: do you speak x? do you have shoes?
  9. qualitative –> types :

hit the pink line:
intoxication/delirium is a prohibited means. look at all those busy humans. what are you doing to better humanity? adding to a greater future? saving lives? you are all creatures of enjoyment. this is the meaning of work = leisure. all your busyness is really modulated pleasure, bodies encrusted with medals.

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pedagogy of the periphery @ threewalls 2010/02/10

  1. exhausted teachers, if not emotionally and physically, at least intellectually and spiritually, i.e. overworked, ineffective, uncreative
  2. degrading art objects in favor of non-art modifications of neighborhood environment, forgetting that the art object is almost nothing but its connections and relations with the currently fetishized ‘outside’; it’s as if crossing the threshold to the architectural exterior is diving into some social phlogiston, ether, aura
  3. the creative teacher and class will be the student’s favorite and most educating, not poems about lincoln i.e. not canned creativity, which is oxymoronic
  4. history of aesthetic ideas planted early on and regularly also sabotages art, why not ask the student: ‘if you were taken away to rot in gitmo what would you miss most? what do you value? how do you deal, when protecting your values ensures the perpetuation of a dysfunctional situation?’ art ed –> value ethics
  5. disavowal that education is social engineering, instrumentalization with a neglect of techincal problem-solving
  6. teachers have no control over student homelife, curriculum reqs, budget, … go as far as one can imagine e.g. controlling birth rates etc. do teachers know anything about totalitarianism? bogey-word –> closed book
  7. why not coming clean to the students about the institution’s powerlessness, presented in a thorough and compelling contract, as an openly collaborative project not one veiled by disciplinary bluffs
  8. teachers consume their time under the radar of their superiors privately, ignoring the potential to self-organize outside of the parallel bureaucracy of school system and teachers’ union, comparisons to past attempts fail to consider potential of the internet, cellphones, and their conjunction; teacher population may be technologically illiterate relative to student population
  9. ‘uneducated’ student population is possibly more creative than the ‘learned’ teacher population, in dealing with peers and social competition, precarious character development, balancing schoolwork and excessive extracurricular leisure activities, and adoption of cellphone and networking technologies
  10. jean-joseph jacotot apparently taught a language he did not know himself
  11. no teacher discourse on utopian education, social reproduction, big picture models negotiated and commitment to realization, teachers’ journals –who reads/writes them? why not letters, pamphlets, substantive periodicals? à la “the strength to build becomes paralyzed; the courage to make plans that encompass the distant future is discouraged; those with a genius for organization become scarce …” —Nietzsche. The Gay Science, V. 1887.
  12. from daniel smith’s lecture deleuze and the subject of politics day 3b q&a:

. . . somewhere deleuze says the difference between the left and the right is not a difference that’s there [along a continuum], it’s a fundamental difference in nature. because the right is by definition associated with law and order, with the structures that be. the left is precisely at the level of problems, that aren’t resolved. it’s not the way things are and therefore it requires thinking, it requires working through these problems, which is not clear, nothing is known in advance, so there’s not at least the same kind of unity, because you’re at the level of problems, and you need to think not just fall back on these solutions that we already have and that we want to preserve and maintain and control. if there’s a difference between the left and the right, that’s one way of thinking about it, and that’s why they would be on the left. there’s a point where deleuze is complaining, in france about the educational system and some reforms that were being done –he goes, you can’t even get the numbers, of how many students are doing x, y, and z at these universities because there’s no… because it’s a right-wing government, there are no functionaries out there garnering the information you could get to resolve the problem because they’re just not interested in that. this on-the-ground problematizing is where the left is on its own rather than the right.

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