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Showing posts from April 2, 2017

a suggestion for art forum

I read Carol Vogel’s piece about the new Damien Hirst exhibit in the NYT today, and found it interesting in a repulsive way. Just to check, I read a number of reviews and previews of art openings in the 60s and 70s in the New Yorker, and I did not find one that even mentioned the price of the pieces. Vogel’s whole article is devoted to the price of Hirst’s work. For good reason. The work, of course, is absolute shit. One dimentional one offs which don’t deserve a second of ey etime. But the prices – ah, the prices are in a sense sublime. Unfortunately, the article was illustrated with pictures of Hirst’s pieces, instead of pictures of checks, piles of Euros, dollars. The 750 thousand Euros that one of his pieces apparently sod for is a complex object, with many dimensions of dread and bloodshed, and nicely printed. The art world of which Hirst is a sort of master example no longer produces anything as interesting as the prices that are paid for the pieces circulating within it. I think

fondane 2: silence is out there

2 There’s a long dispute in the philosophy of science about the ontological status of probability. The dispute goes back to the founder of modern probability theory, Laplace. Laplace – with some help from the man who edited a posthumous paper by Bayes outlining one way of thinking about narrowing down probabilities – came up with equations to help us through the jungle of chance. There’s a good book by Sharon McGregor on the subject. McGregor, in keeping with the current trend, is a Bayesian. Laplace, famously, had no place in his hypotheses for God. But he did have a place for what one might call a God Point. From the God Point, held, Laplace imagined, by a genius calculator, the universe would be revealed in its certainty. For this viewpoint, there would be no probabilities. Where we see, for instance, a raindrop, which splashes on our nose, the divine calculator would see the entire course of causes from which that raindrop issued. It would see the water evaporating from the

Goodbye filibuster. Don't let the door hit you on the ass as you leave

The GOP has decided to blow up the filibuster, but just this once. Standard rightwing talk - that's how the supremes elevated the knownothing from Texas into the white house in a nice little coup, noting that their decision should never ever serve as a precedent for any other suit - an absurd clause that marked the decision as coming from a country club junta. In many ways, I think the 2000 decision marks a symbolic decision that America has not gotten over. A sort of last ki ck against the corpse of democracy. But the GOP is, I think, unleashing an ultimately benevolent monster. After all, the bad parts of Obamacare are there precisely in order to reach the 60 senator mark. Abolishing the 60 senator mark means that legislation only needs 51 senators. In a senate composed of reactionaries, this means that a lot of shit will be coming our way. But the only way that the GOP will be reduced to the minority status it deserves is if GOP voters get full in the face what they voted for. A

Destructive destruction and Benjamin Fondane

La cinéma parlant est là pour remplacer le film muet, et toutes nos protestation ne feraient rien contre. – Benjamin Fondane, 1930. As we are carried forward in great lunging steps by money and technology, we are assured on all sides thaat this is what we want. A magical vocabulary has sprung up to explain it all to us, where the abracadabra is “disruption” or “creative destruction” or the old standby, “progress’. That the destruction could be vast and negative – destructive destruction – doesn’t enter the picture. Nobody, in the late nineteenth century, voted to obliterate the night sky. It just happened, electrical lights just happened, it was all very exciting. There was no discussion of the fact that ever since we were lemurs on the floor of the jungle, we have always had the night sky. It was simply taken away, and replaced with a new paler version. That this act might have untold consequences on our collective circadian rhythm wasn’t even on the ledger, under costs. It j