Sunday, August 29, 2010

the fist, the paw

Frank Cieciorka is attributed with the first creation of the modern fist of protest--a hand devoid of body--clenched in defiance and anger. Lincoln Cushing gives a brief history of the image. An adjacent philosophical concept beginning with Martin Heidegger is the hand, a concept explicated by Jacques Derrida in Geschlecht II. Heidegger designates the human hand as different from animal claw and paw. The animal hand can only grasp, only take. The human hand can extend in giving and in the giving that is thinking, opening up to "the open" (a clearing where humans let beings be).

If there is to be an animal revolution, what will be the Frank Cieciorka image equivalent for the animals? And how to undo Heidegger's anthropocentric writing of the hand? Can a paw mark be a giving and an openness (what H calls an openness to the open of which we have no concept because we are stuck being human)?

Addendum 8/31/10: Mark Lussier handed me the Aug. 16, 2010 Time Magazine. Note this on Heidegger's comment that only the human hand can open, can give, can open onto the open: "A 2008 study by primatologists Frans de Waal and others at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlant ashowed that when capuchin monkeys wre offered a choice between two tkenes--one that would buy two slice of apple and one that would buy one slice each for them and a partner money--they chose the generous option, provide the partner was a relative or at least familiar. The Yerkes team believes that part of the capuchins' behavior was due to a simple sense of pleasure they experience in giving, an idea consistent with studies of the human brain that reveal activity in the reward centers after subjects give to charity." (43).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

So, the question of politics becomes the question of survival of fireflies, which begin to disappear from Europe in the 1950s. For fireflies disappear along with collective ideologies. They disappear along with pollution and the collapse of the political imagination. Fireflies are tiny markers of resistance, the suicide bombers of the insect world. If Lyotard’s ‘RĂ©sistance’ were ever to be brought into being, it would have to involve fireflies. Lots of them. It would be a posthumous show about something that no longer exists or is disappearing. Or about something that does not yet exist.

In his movie, Zidane, Philippe Parreno & Douglas Gordon keep coming back to images of moths, flying transfixed in the stadium floodlight. Indifferent to human display, they seem to support neither Villareal nor Real Madrid. They seek only their destruction in a tiny blaze of heat and light.

From Critchley in Art & Research, 3.2

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Radioactive Boars, a return of the repressed

Yeah, we forgot all about Chernobyl. We just up and abandoned the site but animals haven't. They inhabit our disasters and return them to us in new strange fur and teeth forms. Wild boars in southern Germany have been feeding off the plant life and roots deep in the ground that have absorbed radiation. These boars then take to the countryside and city looking for food and generally causing a ruckus. They are not only vicious, they are radioactive! Techne and animality return to foil the human.

If, as Nietzche claims, our strength is our ability to forget (or as Freud might say, our ability to repress), then these boars leverage against our strength. We've forgotten the radioactivity while they absorb it and live it only to return it to us. Super-boars for the comic books?

More info from Spiegel online and NPR.