Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bull in a china shop...

When fables, proverbs, and idioms come to life, it is a sign of an animal revolution in the making... they warned us these days would come:

"The animal escaped from an auction market next to GB Antiques Centre in Lancaster, Lancashire, on Monday and barged its way into the shop, which was packed with 200 people.

Police had to shoot the animal in order to save customers and stock - china and all. It was herded to an area of the centre and blocked in using two antique organs before a police marksman opened fire. A woman was treated in hospital for a bruised shoulder after the incident. 'Hundreds of items will have been destroyed, at a cost running into thousands of pounds,' Mr Blackburn said."

Really, the owner could have invited the bull for tea. Where is his hospitality? Is it reserved for humans alone, and only for select humans...not very hospitable then is it? The absurd idea of inviting the bull for tea once it is in the china shop is a figure for saying: what does the animal want and why don't we think of its desire, which is to say, why can we not be hospitable. Here think of Derrida on hospitality:

it [hospitality] already broaches an important question, that of the anthropological dimension of hospitality or the right to hospitality: what can be said of, indeed can one speak of, hospitality toward the non-human, the divine, for example, or the animal or vegetable; does one owe hospitality, and is that the right word when it is a question of welcoming – or being made welcome by – the other or the stranger as god, animal or plant?”

Friday, September 17, 2010

Vox Clamans in Deserto

Complete with animal voices--dogs barking, a donkey wandering across stage, all in Jean-Luc Nancy's essay/play meditation on body, voice, and speech.
"Voice has nothing to do with speech. Yes, there's no speech without voice, but there is such a thing as voice without speech. And not just for animals, but for us as well. There's voice before speech. Because I know you, I recognized your voice as you were coming toward me, long before I could make out what you were actually saying." (from Vox Clamans in Deserto by Nancy)

This links with David Clark's work on Derrida & Levinas where Clark claims the animal give voice (to pain) and so are moral subjects deserving recognition. What do aliens and animals say? How could we understand this foreign language? Bodies--the necessary component of voice--are the "exploit" (as Eugene Thacker would say). They are the way out of the hermeneutic circle of cultural meaning; they level us, take us away from speech (words, language), into a body (see Nancy's The Birth to Presence) that takes us elsewhere ... toward an animal revolution.

So, voice is a split decision, it splits between cultural speech) which does not need voice and the cultural obligation of moral rights to those who have a voice, those who can be heard.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Eugene Thacker's After Life

Thacker's book is out with Chicago UP in November 2010. Here is a bit from the introduction to entice those interested in the non-human world.