In this lecture on "heretical computing" we explore the outer limits of technics through forms of hypertrophic digitality and exotic analogicity. Inspired by Shane Denson's book Discorrelated Images, I embark on a series of studies in superlative discorrelation. Is it possible to degrow the digital into something else entirely?
Video. 49 minutes
In this keynote lecture for the VLC Forum, I revisit the topic of protocols as they exist in 2020. Themes include the sexual and racial politics of computation, as viewed through a series of historical and archival examples focusing on textiles and looms.
Video. 89 minutes
What happens when the old prescription for critical and cultural theory, "always historicize," changes into a new mandate, "always deterritorialize"? Engaging with the work of Gilles Deleuze and Catherine Malabou, this lecture reflects on new materialism and questions of becoming within the contemporary landscape.
Video. 66 minutes
In episode two of the Critical Inquiry podcast, I speak with Patrick Jagoda about a number of different things, including digitality, software, philosophy, and theory. Originally recorded in Chicago in April 2018.
MP3 audio file. 42 minutes
On digitality and philosophy in the work of Alain Badiou. Presented at the École normale supérieure in Paris, France on June 10, 2017.
"'Since its very origins,' Badiou wrote in Being and Event, 'philosophy has interrogated the abyss which separates numerical discretization from the geometrical continuum. [...] from Plato to Husserl, passing by the magnificent developments of Hegel's Logic, the strictly inexhaustible theme of the dialectic of the discontinuous and the continuous occurs time and time again.'"
MP3 audio file. 33 minutes.
On the late Deleuze, his relation to computers, the Superfold, and digital versus analogue philosophy. Presented at UMass Amherst on December 2, 2011.
"Could it be that Deleuze's most lasting legacy will consist of 2,300 words from 1990? Such a strange little text, this 'Postscript on Control Societies.' It asserts so trenchantly that things are not getting any better. Computers are a curse not a panacea. Planetary neoliberalism is a boondoggle not a deliverance. Deleuze was always good at drawing lines in the sand. Here the complaint is articulated in terms of control, communication, and the 'harshest confinement' wrought by 'the new monster' of information society. Deleuze credits the term to William Burroughs, but the true source for 'control' is no mystery. So why not call Deleuze's adversary by its true name: the enemy is cybernetics..."
Video. 51 minutes.
On cybernetics, black boxes, Tiqqun, and what it means to have "no demands." Presented at the New School in New York on April 12, 2010.
"Where are we now? In an essay from 2001, the French collective Tiqqun describes what they call the cybernetic hypothesis. They speak of things like panic, noise, and interference. They propose counterstrategies of hypertrophy and repetition. Yet there is always a strategic obscurantism in their proscriptions, what Tiqqun calls 'invisible revolt.' Invisibility is not a new concept within political theory. But what I would like to explore here is a specific kind of invisibility, a specific kind of blackness that has begun to permeate cybernetic societies, and further that this blackness is not simply an effect of cybernetic societies but is in fact a necessary precondition for them..."
MP3 audio file. 40 minutes.
On Malabou, Hegel, and the challenges of perpetual plasticity. Presented at the Public School New York on October 25, 2010.
"The essential transformation in the work of Catherine Malabou is this: the universality of plasticity. What is plasticity? And what would it mean to say that the plastic is also the universal? For, the concept of the plastic--which she defines using the vivid image of plastic explosive as the capacity to give form and the capacity to take form--refers to mutability, change, exchange, morphing, metamorphosis, and transformation. It is a fundamental concept for Malabou, a concept with a concourse at the direct level of being. Yet the universal is something else. It can mean a transcendental quality, an essence that remains, something relatively fixed for all time and in all places. So the irony is clear: the plastic as the universal. The thing most associated with change is the thing that does not change..."
MP3 audio file. 50 minutes.