Sunday, January 7, 2007

moved blogs

just in case you missed the previous announcement I have moved blogs:

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

NEW BLOG, byebye old blog







(I shall be doing a retrospective on what has transpired on this blog over on the new blog as one of my first posts. Going through almost 2 years of blog posts will certainly trigger a very strong response!)

There will be no more posts to this blog. I shall shut down comments very soon.



Friday, July 28, 2006

Blow Up Your Microwave

So when a microwave blows up it is a bit like when a car engine blows up. I have been driving two separate cars as their engines have pretty much blown up. One was on a new engine in a 240 Volvo and which had a faulty casting of the nozzle for the oil return line (snapped off, dropped all the oil). That was smoky but wasn't loud or immediate, so it didn't really blow up. The other was my XD Falcon, sitting on 100km/h on the freeway and one of the cylinder linings broke away from the block.

aRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRL BOOM! chunka chunka...

When a microwave blows up, as I found out tonight, it is a lot more like the XD Falcon's engine letting go at 100km/h than the Volvo's whimper. I was half expecting something like this to happen, because my microwave made some nasty sounds anyway. It had made 'broken' sounds ever since I bought it. I just assumed it was meant to make those sounds cause it was a cheap ass microwave? When my brother came over he tried to use it once when I was out and when I came back he was all sheepish looking and apologetic cause he thought he had broken it. Think about that for a second, something that sounds broken when it is working. Is this not evidence of theway technologies shape our perceptions? I had to explain to him that it always sounded like this.


I was looking forward to watching one of my favourite movies of all time, 28 Days Later, on the telly tonight. It was an opportunity to get a few hundred more words on the screen before it came on as the 11pm late movie. I did my writing (Mad Max!), so I walked down to the corner shop before it closed and bought some popcorn, you know, the kind you cook yourself in the microwave. It wasn't the first time I had used the microwave tonight. Ealier, I had reheated tonight's dinner from last night's left overs (beef stir fry, rice), and I actually had two bowls cause it was very nice and I was hungry.

Sitting down in my special chair and getting excited about the movie and some nice hot popcorn, my microwave started making its cooking sound and building up even more anticipation....




OH MY GOD! The microwave! IS ON FIRE! and yet...

NERRRwaaaahooooo clunka chunka



I leapt from my special chair and my whole fire fighting life flashed before my eyes. Hmmm. None of this information helped me, so I ripped out the power cord! The tragic microwave allowed its glass plate to rotate half way round one last time and then the terrible sound ceased. A wave of dread accompanied the silence as I realised...


I looked on through the now-smokey reinforced plate-glass of the microwave's front door. The embers of the electrical fire slowly reduced to a dull glow. They were the remains of a funeral fire lit by my little microwave. A tribute of self-combustion in its last dieing efforts to serve me some piping hot butter-flavoured microwave popcorn. Oh, my good little commodity!! My gaze was heavy, full of sadness. It was one of the first things I bought in Sydney. Its sound although horrendous and not unlike a couple of Darleks talking dirty while copulating (ok, one Darlek masturbating) made it rather unique. It was a familiar sound, something that defined where home was for now. Poor microwave! Sometimes it was the only noise I'd hear all day made by something else besides me. Well, that is a lie, my computer beeps at me, too.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Like a cannibal spices a baby

Zlomislic has a written a massive A-to-Z polemic against Lacan and Zizek. I have not read it all, I have to write the diss, but I'll return to it later. Here is a little below that draws on Mad Max (actually the sequel, Mad Max: The Road Warrior).

When will the Void be revealed for what it is? Does Lacan or Schelling actually lift the veil so that the truth can finally be seen? Does R.D. Laing come closer to the truth when he asks, “How do you plug a void plugging a void? How to inject nothing into fuck all?” Is the Real really unformed ghastly matter so that there is something in God that is not-yet-God, not yet fully constituted reality? Such speculation can lead into a discussion of Mad Max. God does not send his avenging angels to destroy the evil people who happen to enjoy fast cars, free apocalyptic gasoline, leather and a little pillaging. God does not send his angels to help the people dressed in white, guarding their oil, decked out in hockey gear armor. God sends Mad Max his other son. Perhaps Nietzsche announces it best when he writes, “there is much filth in the world; so much is true. But the world itself is not yet a filthy monster”. Didn’t Max come to realize this point? He wanted some gasoline and in the process gets turned inside out. His trials do not make him angry. He can smile even as he realizes the absurdity of his situation. He drives a truck whose great tanker is filled with sand. He thinks its filled with gasoline. The veil is lifted. The truth is known. It’s only sand that pours out; the sand of time keeps flowing. The sun keeps shining perhaps telling us that its never too late to learn to live and how to be human. But Max does not get on the bus where the gasoline is stored safely away. He knows to beware of the Magic Bus and its Leninist driver who tells his passengers that he has a map to the promised land and that he knows the way there because he has a stack of post-card images and bolshevik trading-cards.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I am writing the section of my Street Machining chapter on the emergence of Street Machining and I am currently discussing Panel Vanning. It is going to be a killer section of my thesis and I am having a hard time writing it. Besides the straight history element it also serves as a wonderful opportunity to play out what Deleuze and Guattari call the 'profound opposition' between Saussurian linguistics and Hjelmslevian linguistics. This opportunity has presented itself because of John Fiske's 1983 work on the semiotics of the beach where he briefly discusses panel vans, which contrasts with Sheaver's 1983 work on 'custom street vans' where she offers a very brief discussion of the aesthetics of van art in terms of the event.

In the section of Anti-Oedipus where Deleuze and Guattari talk about this 'profound opposition' between Saussurian and Hjelmslevian linguistics they do this with a series of sentences that begin with 'because'. I am not sure who the translator had to edit the book, but isn't it a little bit silly having 10 sentences in a row that start with 'because'? It could be some wierd French thing that doesn't translate into English very well? I am tempted to approach their text by distilling the 10 sentences into a couple of points and baricading the distilled 'becauses' with references to other texts. From ATP:
"Signs are not signs of a thing; they are signs of deterritorialization and reterritorialization, they mark a certain threshold in the course of these movements..."
Territorialization is basically the affective field of desire as it flows, couples and connects (desire in the immanent productive sense, not the negative, lack sense). A sign then is a tipping point (singularity) for the formalization of a particular configuration of content and expression on two separate planes of de/reterritorialisation. Flows of desire and affective relations are crucial, and so is their stratification (capture) through the continual repetition and contraction into habit.

Often when a new style or cultural form erupts into a scene, what erupts is not the desire that produce a field of the various elements in an assemblage, or the event of the affects that bind these elements into pre-personal relations, but the ability of a particular discursive weapon to intervene into these flows, perhaps simply through the power of repetition, affective relations are habitualised and a given population is cultivated. The task then would be to ask what are the flows (of desire), what are the elements (of the assemblage), what are the affects (of a territory), what are the repetitions (of statements), and, lastly, what is the population?

The kicker, and this really is a kicker, is that the discursive apparatus must not repeat the coordinates of various sign-expressions in the same way, lest the productive capacity of desire wonder off like a virus out of quarantine. Repetition of the same only produces homogeneity and system death: flatline. Therefore, the actual event is of feedback-to-feedback, the shifting coordinates between actuality and virtually that capture desire through the differential repetition of the sign-expression with the content of affective relations.

Capitalism does this very well, it heads off in pursuit of desire like a looney tunes cat after a mouse. It is in the interests of capital to make sure that populations exist in a state of post-scarcity so they can be deterritorialised from previous assemblages of necessity. If you are starving then you won't give a shit about buying a new mobile phone, you may wish you could give a shit though. If desire is not resuscitated to its full productive potential then capitalism will not be able to reterritorialise it into new surplus-value producing assemblages; ther you go capitalists, a reason to help people. It is in my interests to with hold not only my labour power, but the restless productive capacity of desire and the disjunctive gap between it and my interests (cars, academia, etc).

ok, drifting, back to work.


OK, not anymore, but I had let my driver's license lapse since the third of July. That could have been catastrophic as NSW has massive fines for driving without a license. Plus if I had had a crash and someone had been injured I would've been fubar'd as third party injury insurance is tied up with one's license. Anyway, so I rode a couple of suburbs over and got it renewed for three years.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Power of Simulacra

EDIT: 2 August 2006: I have moved blogs to This post is here on the new blog.

Digitalisation has had a profound impact here too; text and image are no longer ontologically separated but have become expressions of similar codes. The hyperreality of digital codes is that there is no possibility of ascertaining authenticity – editing of images and texts is an ongoing process.
Joost van Loon over @ Space and Culture has published 4 of Seven Theses on Terror. The above is from the fourth. I agree with much of what Joost is writing however the two lines above are problematic as it inverts the logic of the rest of the Fourth Thesis. The Fourth Thesis is pertinent to my work as Joost shifts gears to look at popular culture.

First line: 'Digitalisation' is presented as an onto-epistemological discursive mode by Joost, yet this mode existed for a long time before being used online or with computers. I have also looked at the ontological relation between Text and Image, not because of the WoT, but because of car enthusiast magazines. The images and text must work in concert to capture the particular affects of the enthusiasm. This is one of my main points of my dissertation. Cars are 'tough' and represented in images to accentuate the 'toughness' and the text normally revolves around an axiomatic truth in the first paragraph that reinscribes the subject-object relations of an enthusiasm on an affective level in a particular way. However, diferent magazines had different discursive modes. So, for example, there is a difference between the massifying Street Machine magazine and the old 1980s Supercar magazine. Street Machine treated readers as individual enthusiasts and sought to connect readers directly with the affects of events and cars. Supercar magazine mediated reports on events through the structured and habitualised heirarchical affects of car clubs. When did this ontological link between image and text emerge? I am not sure but going by my genealogy of car enthusiast magazines it was sometime in the late 1970s.

Second line: I'll assume Joost is implicitly using the Baudrillard argument about the non-events of media simulacrum; that is, of representations refering to representations refering to representations and so on with no 'originary' link. I tend to think of this as feedback to feedback with only a provisional locus of stability. However, Baudrillard's semiotics is still caught up in what D&G call the despotic signifier. The 'despotic signifer' captures the assymetrical relation between signified and signifier in pre-capitalist semiotics. (D&G are unclear in other writings, particularly Guattari, when they talk about 'archaisms' returning. Does that mean with the return of these archaic social movements that there is a return to the despotic signifier? Isn't this precisely what is happening?) The simulacrum is used as an endocolonising power, which what I understand the rest of what the Fourth Thesis is about. The ontological link between text and image of this media simulacra captures the affects of particular enthusiasms. Here 'enthusiasm' is meant in the broader Kantian sense as the universal of being enthused that can be recognised on the face of others! (Yes, I have been reading;) Replace 'universal' with 'singularity' and 'face' with 'faciality' and now you're cooking. The ontological link between text and image captures a particular mobilising constellation of affects, ie faciality (cf. Deleuze's affect-image of Cinema 1).

The truth of the hyperreality is irrelevant when the power of the simulacrum does not rely on truth! The truth of the simulcra is determined by the affective resonance of the image, by what it does, not by what it represents. 'Truth' is a heavily reinscribed simulcrum, it has an affective gravity that previously dwarfed other 'truths'. The truth may or may not set you free, but it is certainly what captures you. Also Weber's comments on Charismatic leadership are relevant, not the stuff about actual leaders, but the short sections where Weber discusses what happens in organisations between leaders. Membership to this charismatically organised population is facilitated through tests of belonging that are carried out by the lesser members. Enter yellow ribbons and national flags...

The ongoing editing is not because of the impossible slippery link between signifier and signified but merely the technical means for the ongoing affective modulation and attunement of populations. Media is thus a biopolitical problem, not a problem of representation.

I've got another post in the works written partially in response to Joost's excellent posts at Space and Culture, but also in reply to the America - Civilization 3 chapter of McKenzie Wark's GAM3R 7H30RY and the absence of what is called the 'fog of war'. It directly relates to the above as the 'fog of war' produces an event horizon that introduces chance into the determinations of the algorithm, thus makes gaming exciting, but on an 'allegorithmic' level reproduces docile populations for the warmongering machinations of current state-of-emergency governmental modes.