WeRLtd!: Bestiary 4Achieving Imitation Doxa
Dark Mountain Issue 11, Spring 2017. p146-155. Hardback book, 248 pages long, printed on FSC-certified paper.
More specifically, in attunement with neo-animist configurations of the ‘non-human turn’, this paper evokes a cosmology in which aesthetics is not limited to the sensual relations between human self and world but instead describes a synesthetic hyper-economy through which all selves inscribed or enfleshed, animal, vegetable or mineral, represent, translate and interact across the otherwise separate realities they inhabit. As anthropologist Eduardo Kohn argues, a subject, self or mind does not produce signs but is in fact an emergent product of semiosis, of the way it represents the world and is represented by others in the world. In other words a self is a “loci of enchantment”—the non-anthropological outcome of aesthetic processes. Thinking aesthetics in this way intervenes provocatively with the notion of ‘visual literacy’ since it requires a non-symbolic conception of representation as a “open whole” that cannot be confined within human linguistic frameworks.
The Confraternity pursues their speculative cosmology through their ongoing fascination with the enchanted iconicity of medieval sacramental practices such as body part relic-ing. The ritual elevation, translation and sometimes humiliation of ‘person-objects’ epitomizes the dynamic interrelations between corpus and textus, likeness and presence and confounds the hierarchical segregation of ‘representing subject’ from ‘represented thing’.
The A/V presentation takes the form of an alt-future parable, following the synesthetic adventures of an independent broker of sensual exchange. Part corporeal, part corporate and part commodity, Muller Ltd. is a journeying apprentice, or ‘Junior Solution Aligner’, who is pursuing the ultimate ambassadorial title of ‘Universal Travel Adaptor’ by immersing itself in increasingly ‘alien’ centers of experience. As the parable unfolds Muller Ltd’s ‘powers of feeling’ increase dramatically, but only at the terrifying cost of dissolving its own corporeal branding (its iconic ‘equity’) into the synesthetic matrix. The parable thus takes a speculative look at the precarious integrity of visual literacy as it expands its territory into the non-cognitive or ‘illiterate’ realm of the non-human sensorium.
10:00 Friday 30th September 2016 | Confraternity of Neoflagellants | Listaháskóli Íslands 11, Þverholt, Reykjavík, 105, Iceland
Neomedievalisms are cultural practices that breathe a bouquet of premoderns as permanent rehearsals of coming events. To the medievalist, medievalisms provide powerful indexes that reveal how post-medieval societies have variously imagined ‘little middle ages’ to suit current agendas. To the neomedievalist, however, medievalisms are theory-fictions that facilitate ludic speculation on non-modern futurities. Given its nonmodern condition, contemporary artistic practice has as much in common with the stasis of the middle ages as it does with the avant-garde of the 20th century. This lecture will present some of the ways in which The Confraternity have developed neomedieval materialisms with their own nonmodern lexicon, dense hypereconomic practices that combine production, transfer, consumption, humilitas and virtus.
The Confraternity will transfigure four scripts-into-flesh: When Transfiguration Became Commonplace, Thekarites, Mobilitas Loci (Muller Ltd.) and Let us know about anything wrong, or anything you don’t like about this review, and you could win a $50 Amazon voucher!
The Confraternity will also elaborate some of their curatorial projects (‘Thekaries’ / ‘Bokes’) and ways in which the quasi-neomedieval practices of their peers adopt ‘backward-thinking’ to develop possible premodern futures through a visceral, indulgent, lavish, liturgical and ludic materialism.
Day 3 – 23. September, 2016
Confraternity of Neoflagellants: Envisioning Future Premodern Materialisms
Performing Situated Knowledges: Space, Time, Vulnerability: 7th Annual Conference on the New Materialisms, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw.
Organized by: New Materialism: Networking European Scholarship on ‘How Matter Comes to Matter’, European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST), Action IS 1307
This conference is one of a series of new materialism conferences that together aim to explore, through both theoretical and practical multiple transversal methodologies and approaches, the notion that vibrant, agential “matter” matters and further, to investigate the ontological, political, ethical, esthetical, and sociological implications this may carry. This year, whilst acknowledging the fast approaching thirtieth anniversary of the publication of Donna Haraway’s groundbreaking essay on “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective” (1988), we invite participants to explore, perform anew, and enliven the concept of “situated knowledges”.
“If art can be said to reflect the conditions of the world in which it is made, art that engages with the vanguard technology of an era can perhaps be said to have a particular purchase on contemporaneous visions of the arc of the future.” Chris Wiley, Beginnings + Ends (post-net art), frieze, Issue 159, Nov-Dec 2013.
We will perform Mobilitas Loci (Muller Ltd.) a multimedia audio-visual work. As neomedievalist artists based in Scotland and Québec, our collaborative work is often fabricated mid-Atlantic in a cloud-workshop using freeware. Where much post-net art tends to rework the forward-thinking modern/postmodern collectives of the 1960s and ‘70s, neomedieval artistic practice adopts ‘backward-thinking’, to identify and develop possible ‘premodern futures’ through a visceral, indulgent, lavish, liturgical and ludic materialism. Given its non-modern condition, contemporary artistic practice has as much in common with the guilds of the middle ages as it does with the avant-garde of the 20th century.
Set in a contemporary passion park, Mobilitas Loci (Muller Ltd.) entangles a number of medieval sources (from the Bestiary of Philippe de Thaon to Foxe’s Book of Martyrs) with the work of living and fictitious artists, knowledge-architects, Ponzi schemers, and philosophers (e.g. Alexandr Petrovsky, Amanda Beech, Ray Brassier, Adam Toffler, www.bobsacamano.dr). The A/V work takes the form of a bestiary entry on the dog-head Muller Ltd., a quasi-human protagonist in our theory-fiction thN Lng Folk 2 Go: Investigating Future Premoderns™ (Punctum, 2013). It is performed in a mixture of middle and modern Scots and middle American mall talk and includes cover versions of electronic voice phenomena recordings of the medieval dead and moving images of Muller Ltd.
Unexpected Encounters with Deep Time: Enchantment
Thursday, 26th November 2015
Andrew Grant Lecture Theatre, Evolution House, West Port, Edinburgh College of Art
Organised by the Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network
Earlier this year the discovery of homo naledi propelled enchantment into a framework of deep time. The speculation is that early human ancestors, perhaps from as much as 4 million years ago, may have ritually buried their dead in the dark Rising Star caves. The questions of when, where and for whom the world first appeared as enchanted have abruptly shifted from the 200,000 or so years of homo sapiens into a much longer past. Elsewhere, the deep future of enchantment can be gleaned from discussions around the future of nuclear waste. Will future descendants still be enchanted by this ‘new immortal’? If so how do present humans protect them from their own curiosity when conventions of communication are so closely embedded within shallow time? Looking closely at the implications of these questions reveal cracks in the shell of human exceptionalism. After all the questions around nuclear waste are often accompanied by the caveat that these descendants we seek to protect may no longer be human. Yet enchantment is a concept tied to the core of the humanities. Stories of the loss of disenchantment remain central to definitions of modernity and the rise of secularism, and enchantment’s return, via claims of the rise of religious fundamentalism, is central to contemporary geopolitics. Within environmental literatures enchantment has been seen as a way of mobilising ethical responses on an increasingly damaged planet (e.g. Abram; Bennet) and critiqued for contributing to the forgetting of countless ‘unloved others’ (Rose & van Dooren).
Our series focus on ‘unexpected encounters with deep time’ emphasises the way that deep time is encountered in materiality of the everyday. Likewise Jane Bennet has stressed that enchantment arises, unanticipated, in the moment, in the “active engagement with objects of sensuous experience” (5).
The aim of this workshop is to explore what enchantment might become within a framework of deep time. We hope to explore questions such as:
4th BIENNIAL MEETING OF THE BABEL WORKING GROUP
Centre for Medieval Studies, Lillian Massey Building, 125 Queen’s Park, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
DAY 3: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 11
Un/Session 6. Mash Notes
Co-Organizers: Helen Burgess (North Carolina State University) + Craig J. Saper (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)
Flâneur: David Gersten
*This un/session will run all day Sunday, Oct. 11 in the Great Hall, Centre for Medieval Studies, The University of Toronto, Canada.
We have long participated in signed or anonymous declarations of love and desire. Adderall 30mg even in our neoliberal institutions, peculiarly bloodless forms remain: the corporate pitch meeting, the grant proposal warped by our understanding of what the other (funding agencies) “wants.” Screw that. As Roland Barthes declares, “What love lays bare in me is energy.” This will be an online/offline un-session conducted all day Sunday, Oct. 11 in the Great Hall, Centre for Medieval Studies, featuring participants entering into the lover’s discourse, with documents both electrical and tactile. Updates and online components of this session will be found HERE.
What would a bot do if it could write a mash note? Let’s ask it. This project will craft some handmade lovebots on Twitter, and pair them with a small thermal printer.
There is already a consensus in academia of the main values founding our Electric Press project in collaboration with punctum books. The scholarly (or creative) value is not determined by mode: printed on paper no longer the privileged mode of delivery. Major scholarly organizations and associations have constructed guidelines for peer-review and legitimacy of electronic and multimodal publications. Multimodal projects can also make available new tools, perspectives, and types of knowledge. Multimodal book-equivalents are still part of the history of the book and printing. Once we agree on these foundational values, then the next question is what specifically do we intend to publish. This paper will spend the majority of its time establishing the aspects of Electric Press’ focus. In general, that tentative focus of Electric Press has two general criteria. The works published will: engage in experimental research methods; explore the shift from print-literacy to electronic/Electracy rather than remediating the advantages of the printed-on-paper book in a pdf or other form that mimics and expands the book. The ethos of the Electric Press can be summarized by the revised slogan from The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (“Drop Out & Turn On”): “Drop In & Boot Up” . . . and to do so, you’ll need a TENT-a-tive vision.
I propose, as a labor of love, presenting my “paper” in podcast form. My dissertation considers the intimacies that arise at the intersection of human and animal death across pre-modern and contemporary literature. My podcast will tell the story behind the story, as it were; it will describe the emotional and tactile encounters I have had with animal vulnerability that underlie this project (an invasive insect I saved from being squished on the Metro; a fox that surprised me in a moment of contemplating my father’s illness; a baby mouse that died in my hand). Using the intimate medium of radio, I will tell these stories as a way of considering the fine line that divides the personal and the scholarly. A love letter to both radio storytelling and scholarship, my podcast will explore one possible, underutilized outlet for telling the stories — the sorrows and passions, the serendipitous encounters — that fuel our academic work.
The memories come and go. Sometimes they manifest in a distorted form. To deal with her mother’s memory loss and how their relationship is changing because of this, Leslie King combines the creation of a handmade book and a digital publication that deconstructs it. The three-dimensional book represents tangible memory. The book is formatted as an origami blizzard book, which holds in its pockets King’s miniature drypoint etchings, words, and event proof in the form of photographs, receipts, and other odds and ends. In the book’s two-dimensional digital representation, the subject becomes distorted through its flattened nature and eventual pixilation loss, like memory, as time goes by.
Thekarites is a theory-fictional account of the life and death of the artist Paul Thek and his ‘Technological Reliquaries’. In this re-telling, Thek continues to confound the contemporary art scene after his death. Though his processual rituals Thek enacts a dismantling, relic-ing and radical redistribution of the self that floods the sensual hyper-economy with tiny Thekarites — clusters of affective agency or desire. Thek’s radical little ‘me-machines’ then lead a revolution from within the ‘internet of things’ pathing the way for the West’s ecstatic embrace of an animist future.
Centre for Medieval Studies, Lillian Massey Building, 125 Queen’s Park, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
DAY 1: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 9
SESSIONS // 1:30pm – 3:00pm
Session 3. Hermeneutics 2.0
Organizer: Anna Wilson, University of Toronto
Room 301, Centre for Medieval Studies
The need for extra-institutional community between mobile academic and para-academic workers and the sudden prominence of the Digital Humanities means that a great deal of professional activity and community formation is happening in online spaces that nurture new hermeneutics, new ways of knowing and of sharing knowledge. Several recent articles have reflected on how Twitter has been shaping academic discourse in Medieval Studies in particular; scholars who live-tweet are exploring the new hermeneutics that emerge when a 20-min conference paper is translated into 140 characters with hashtags. Less explored are the ways other social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, blogs, Youtube, Vine, and many others shape the way their users present information, both through the formats they invite — the fanvid, the anonymous comment, best place to buy ambien online the emoticons, reaction gifs, lolcats, webcomics, image captioning — and through the norms of discourse and audience literacies that emerge from the communities that gather on these different platforms. This panel seeks to explore how academic work transforms, translates, mutates, or reframes itself when it emerges in the shape of an internet meme, a piece of fanfiction, a hover text. What is at stake in such a change, politically, professionally, emotionally, and academically? What are the affective currents surrounding these different hermeneutics and movement between them? Who reads, who benefits, and who is put off or ignored? What political aims may be served, or not, by embracing internet hermeneutics? Where are the limits and limitations of internet hermeneutics? Can we speak of an ‘internet hermeneutics’ at all? The five presenters will display, play, or read out something they have made that explores the conjunction of internet hermeneutics and academic scholarship. These will provide a jumping off point for an hour of discussion between panelists, moderator, and audience.
Let us know about anything wrong, or anything you don’t like about this review, and you could win a $50 Amazon voucher!
The Confraternity of Neoflagellants
As neomedievalists working in Scotland and Québec, our collaborative work is often fabricated mid-Atlantic in a cloud-workshop using freeware. Amazon is one of many labyrinthine online bazaars through which we have fabricated and distributed our work. Such platforms are ideal hosts for parasitic, para-artistic activities.
Since we were recognised in 2009, the Confraternity of Neoflagellants have persistently posted lavish and excessive reviews on amazon as an ongoing liturgical practice of person-object-veneration. The title of this project is Let us know about anything wrong, or anything you don’t like about this review, and you could win a £50 Amazon voucher! (2009-)
In Toronto we will perform one of many reviews that we have posted on amazon.ca Over-identifying with amazon.ca’s ethical values – a fluctuating mix of long-tail corporate-probes and subjectivity-surfing – we carefully elevate ‘item#s’ into neomedieval relics by scripting ‘object hagiographies’ in the form of marginalia, commentary and gloss. This is the neomedieval practice of relic-ing. An ever-expanding bestiary hosted by amazon.ca, Let us know about anything wrong, or anything you don’t like about this review, and you could win a $50 Amazon voucher! is an attempt to generate and embody a hypereconomic assemblage of practices, to become a hub that dissolves distinctions between production, transfer, consumption, humilitas and virtus.
Relic-ing: amazon is but one means of socially incubating person-objects via social networks. For us, this hypereconomic phenomenon closely resembles the pre-modern practice of ‘relic-ing’. The hypereconomy (Alexander Chislenko and Madan Ramakrishnan) emerged in the late 1990s as an attempt to quantify (and thus to subjugate) social capital as ‘situational’ knowledge: user-generated knowledge produced by prosumers for prosumers. In the booming Experience Economy of the 1990s, the virtus-value of goods and services would go up and down depending on the collective experience of their communities of users. Whether it be a free-range egg, a cordless power drill, a cluster of spa services, or an avatar’s high heels, the hypereconomic commodity was a relational hub in a network of inter-human (humilitas = the “human” downscaled) subjectivities.
Post-net art: Where much post-net art tends to rework the forward-thinking postmodern collectives of the 1960s and ‘70s, neomedieval artistic practice adopts ‘backward-thinking’, to identify and develop possible ‘premodern futures’ through a visceral, indulgent, lavish, liturgical and ludic materialism. Given its non-modern condition, contemporary artistic practice has as much in common with the middle ages as it does with the avant-garde of the 20th century.
La Confrérie de Neoflagellants
Montréal, Québec et Édimbourg, Écosse.
La Confrérie de Neoflagellants a été fondée en 2009 par le Sergent-At-Bras Hogg et rejoint par Gardien des Vêtements Mulholland. Il s’agit d’une confrérie laïque et l’égalité des chances lié par chorégraphe.