books, books, books

[to be sung to the tune of Motley Crue’s “Girls, Girls, Girls”]

So I met up with Ann and we went along to the launch of the Niall Lucy and Steve Mickler tome War On Democracy: Conservative Opinion in the Australian Press last night. It was launched by Niall’s sister the comedian Judith Lucy. I had to explain the marvelous J. Lucy to Ann through the local (glabally spatial) but global (locally cultural) phenomenon of celebrities famous in a local national context. What Bro Town called “World Famous in New Zealand”. J. Lucy was on fire. Most of the humour belonged to an appreciation of the Australian politico-media terrain so Ann didn’t get much. However, everyone else was having a grand old knee-slapping time, and as Adorno might say, I think Ann enjoyed the enjoyment of others. When the recording is uploaded I’ll post a link. It is one of the funniest launches I have so far attended.

EDIT: AUDIO IS ONLINE. Now I am not sure how this works exactly as it is not the same as the previous recordings (still experimenting with the nature of the file and access). Open this up in a new window and it should would I think, but I haven’t yet tried it (I am at work now, where they don’t have any computers with speakers!!!!)

EDIT: Yep, it opens an embedded player. Sweet.

I bought the book and another one of N. Lucy’s books Beyond Semiotics to get my Derrida hit. I also asked him if it was true that his PhD was marked by Derrida, and to finally put that urban myth of Australian cultural studies to bed (solely circulated by me it seems, contrary to my best intentions), he in fact did not have his PhD dissertation marked by Derrida. Beyond Semiotics (or BS for short, I love a good book about BS) was in the remainders at Gleebooks and I had it signed with the remainders sticker still attached. Lucy signed it with the comment “Were did you find this book?” I also met the mysterious ‘Rob’ who sometimes comments here. Plus I am convinced more than ever that I need to get a black leather jacket to properly signify belonging to that particular social milieau. I’ll have to buy one for Canberra.

N. Lucy read a few pages out and I read a few pages last night. When combined with Charles Firth’s recent American Hoax, it seems as if there is a weird inversion happening between academia and satire. The passage that N. Lucy read was about Miranda Devine as a brilliant satirist of neo-cons. Firth ackowledged that satire has become almost impossible when what would’ve been a joke a week ago has become government policy somewhere in the world. This is folded like origamy. Pomo irony of a post-ironic performative irony. I’m sure Baudrillard would’ve written something deadly serious about this, that, if quoted, would be fucking hilarious right now. See what I mean? Academia has become the punchline, and the joke’s on everyone else.

Hmmm. I’m glad I’ve got good timing, but I need to work on my delivery a little.

My copy of Guattari’s Molecular Revolution arrived yesterday. It is the most expensive book I have ever bought, especially one that is 22 years old. I got a reasonably cheap paperback copy. I am stoked!

I finished Latour’s Reassembling the Social and I have a post in the works about it. Everyone who reads this blog should read that book. There is no other higher recommendation. Simple as that. Read it. (However, it is not Cultural Studies!)

10 replies on “books, books, books”

  1. If I recall you were very down on black leather jackets at one stage. Of course, I only found this out after we met in Canberra and I wore mine.

    I have placed Latour’s “Reassembling” on hold at the library here. ๐Ÿ™‚ Though lately I am reading more STS-directed phenomenology.

    Finally, I am hanging out to hear the recording of the launch.

  2. yes yes, leather jackets. it is love hate relationship. of course they are ‘cool as’, how could it be otherwise? i just baulk at this obviousness. i am so getting one!! but i’ll still hate myself, arrrrrrrrgh!

    maybe you’ll like my following post!

  3. how about the poor man’s leather jacket, the dark corduroy jacket? (leather elbow patches optional). It’s boheme enough for me. I’m told that it’s not a good look with the camo_pants tho. Must remember that for future reference. oy.

    Speaking of Guattari, do you reckon you could point me to a somewhat definitive source for the transversal stuff? I have the D&G collab texts, and Guattari’s “Chaosmosis” and “three ecologies”, but I haven’t seen Molecular Revolution.. maybe it’s the missing link?

    … I’m trying to negotiate the differences between “transductions” [MacKenzie (and others), following Simondon] and “transversals”. I read one of Andrew Murphie’s papers on the topic and he uses the terms almost interchangably – which does not surprise me in some ways… so be it, but I will get to the bottom of this ๐Ÿ™‚

    Finally… re: finding cool books, at the start of the year I found Bateson’s “…ecology of mind” (not a revised printing, however) for $3! I cheered quietly and hoped it really was meant to be in the cheap bin. Score! Book!Nerds Rejoice. huzzah!


  4. yo,

    the single most useful text on transversality is probably genosko’s _felix guattari: an aberrant introduction_. Guattari mentions that FOucault also worked with a ‘diagonal line’ or something like that in a paper from _A Guattari Reader_. Indeed the first chapter of _molecular revolution_ is “transversality”!!

    The concept of transversality underwent a transition from early guattari to late guattari. INitially it was a way to appraoch the problem of transference in institutional group therapy. Then it became a concept more concept of ontology. Genosko focuses on the movement of transersality through the psychoanalytical concept of the ‘partial object’:

    “The partial object survived Guattari’s turn against his own analyst and was generalized into an ethico-aesthetic theory of the subjectification that escaped the shackles of personological, familial, and structural linguistic models; not just an object a, but b, c, d, … There is a more or less direct link between the militant’s ability to modify the institutional objects and conditions toward their new initiatic acceptance and the production of a kind of subjectivity that is not stunted by institutions under the sway of capital, for instance, which produces serial and elitist forms of subjectivity. Partial subjectivation became a key part of a transversalist, singularizing conception of the relation between, to adopt the language of Hjelmslevian glossematics as Guattari understood it, expression and content planes; the transversal relation at the level of form is between the phonemic system and semantic unities. But this initial relation was still too linguistic for Guattari. This struggle against linguistic imperialism was felt in many fields. Guattari then envisaged a critique of the formation of matter into semiotic substance such that the substance would be shattered with the transversal relation between enunciative substances of a linguistic nature and non-semiotically formed matter; between, then, the linguistic and the machinic orders, whose relation would constitute machinic assemblages of enunciation. His guiding idea was to describe form-matter relations that skirted the category of substance, on both the planes of expression and content, and christen these a-signifying semiotics, as a way out of glottocentric semiology, and a move towards the urging along and mapping-out of these creative subjectifications as they appear, embodying themselves in existential territories as they, to quote Guattari (Chs 28), `extract complex forms from chaotic material’. The critique of linguistics was the handmaiden of the larger effort to expose social relations in which subjectivity was formed in a way that was massified, infantilized and desingularized (i.e., the production of subjectivity is not only a matter of speech).” (102)

    Transduction is something else, I think, much closer to ‘becoming’ but not the same, ie an ‘individuation’. However, I think there is some crossover when we get to individuation of living entities and the complications of ‘information’. From Mackenzie:

    “Non-living individuation, while transductive, always occurs on the surfaces or boundary between the individuating entity and its milieu. The planes on which the crystal grows are always on those surfaces of the crystal in contact with a liquid. Life is transductive too, but involves temporal and topological complications. The living encounters information, understood strictly as the unpredictability of forms or signals, as a problem. It resolves the problem through constant temporal and spatial restructuring of itself and its milieus. It develops and adapts, it remembers and anticipates. Unlike a crystal, life can individuate (that is, develop in its specificity out of a domain of unresolved tensions and potentials) to a greater or lesser extent by becoming information for itself. It possesses interior milieus. It is as if a crystal could become a medium for its own further growth. Simondon calls that process a `recurrence of the future on the present’ (1989a, 144).” (17)

    The relation effects of folds of interiority and exteriority are one of the primary concerns of Deleuze in _The FOld_ and more recently by Latour in _Reassembling the Social_ (where the only D&G book latour quotes is _The FOld_ which is extremely pertinent to understanding Latour’s leibneizian influence (spelt?), yet Latour uses phrases like “the map is not the territory” and others which are not referenced but almost directly lifted from _ATP_!!!!! bloody frenchies!). Anyway, Guattari’s vocabularly and tools he developed are useful for understanding this transductive process to a much greater specificity for the human situation. I am going to be trying to do the same thing with ‘media’ (ie a transversal media event).

    What andrew murphie paper!!?!!?

    yeah, working in a book store has been a nerd-tastic delight, lol. I just ordered AN Whitehead’s three main texts yesterday. They shall be a xmas pressie to myself. bateson’s text is quite a find!

  5. I’ll take a minute to read this a bit later … but quickly, the Murphie paper I have that discusses transversality and transduction briefly is:

    Murphie, A. (2004) The World as Clock: The Network Society and Experimental Ecologies. IN Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, . 117รขโ‚ฌโ€œ139.

  6. I’m “‘mysterious'”?

    Jude was hilarious (as ever), though one of her best gags — the crack about Pearson and his Scissors Sisters CDs — went over the heads of 95% of the crowd.

  7. rob, very. you didn’t want to reveal your identity to just anyone!

    hey adam do you have a pdf version you could email me? ๐Ÿ™‚ my library only has access to the 2001-2003 issues.

  8. Glen, in these “postmodern” times (or in the space of virtuality, at least), surely you appreciate that “one” does not have “an” identity, but rather many “indentities”. Mysteriousness, in this context, is merely an effect of the desire to maintain a multiplicity.

  9. ๐Ÿ™‚

    indeed! i appreciate your constellation of singularities!!! agamben wrote something about this, the mystery of multiplicity compared to the infinite series of pornography and advertising. He didn’t call it ‘mystery’ though, but he talked about the uncovering that covers (or something like that, maybe revealing that does something, fuck i can’t remember!!!) in Debord’s films. I need to read that essay again…

  10. > hey adam do you have a pdf version you could email me? ๐Ÿ™‚ my library only has access to the 2001-2003 issues.

    Unfortunately I don’t have a PDF of it! I got it by document request, they sent me this 20-something-page photocopy (it came from Monash) where each page was blown up to full A4. Not even a double page photocopy. And you know, I went and looked to see if I could scan in the relevant excerpts (a handful of pars directly on transversality) but there’s sections which are contextual… blah blah. So the answer is: fuck it, maybe get your library to order it on doc request for you! they get paid to do it! they don’t have a phd to complete… ๐Ÿ™‚ In the new year, if you still want it, I’ll be more than happy to scan it in.. (like in that TiSM song “i might be a cunt.. but i’m not a fucking cunt…”). ๐Ÿ™‚

    I still haven’t looked at the transduction stuff again, too many other things going on. but I did get “Molecular Revolution” out to have a look at it. I read the first chapter on transversality and it didn’t seem to add anything to the sense I got from the Three Ecologies (that sense of movement across domains, rather than ‘between’ domains).

    urgh. frenchies indeed. bah!

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