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Showing posts from May, 2014

Ontological turning and (queer) gender bending

Been reading Jordana Rosenberg's essay on recent waves of molecularization of politics that deploys Marxism and queer theory against the ontological turn. It seems to me that the problems Jordana sees in turning ontological lie on the insistence that social mediation ought to be more pervasive than anything ontological. I rather think that it is ontology itself that needs to be queerized (as I defended in my recent Bodies in Clinamina ). As I was writing in facebook, Jordana's is a beautiful essay. But I think that there is a blind spot towards heavily politicized non-human elements of environment (that makes mediation be indifferent to ecological constrictions, pictures society as the ultimately withdrawing agent that is ultimately detached from the non-human, presents history as being imposed on a planet rather than negotiated with its layers). Queer is not only aleatory, but this ought to be an invitation to queerize the elements that have served to quench capitalist dete

Mendieta's territories

Been to Mendieta's retrospective in the Der Moderne in Salzburg. The exhibition presents most of her phases and is successful in making her stuff dialogue with a collection of Viennese actionism in another floor. The contrast is interesting because while most of the actionist work (including the amazing stuff of Valie Export and Peter Weibel, and the inspiring stuff of Herman Nitsch) has a ring of body art that attempts to flee from bodily constraints, Mendieta's stuff seems to be always negotiating with the hidden territorial demands of the body. It is as if she is looking for a territory in the most veiled chambers of the body and the earth. It is a reterritorializing attempt, even if the underground of the territory has to be captured by excavating layers and layers of imaginals. Anarcheology, ananatomy, the hurry for origins, for the quale of groundedness. She is constantly looking down, and making up a territory that was not and could not be given. I think the contrast bet

Doubts and determinations

It was nice to visit Cris (Borgoni) and her new department at Graz. I gave a talk on the ontology of doubts as I am beginning to work on chapter 4 of my book which approaches contingency not to facticity but to the absence of facts (see slides in the last post). Mariam David has brought up precisely the issue of the two ways to understand the absence of fact: i. the Quine/Hartry Field sense in which there are no facts but the snow is white, the grass is green, 4 is the smallest non-prime etc and ii. my sense in which the quarrel is not really with the ontological status of things like snow is white, I'm happy to consider that they would be facts if they were true, but none of them are. To be sure, there are two strengths of ontology of doubts. The one that takes facts to be non-existent (hinge propositions could then be a façon de parler , or a useful fiction so that they don't have to be true to be good. This is the strong one, anti-realist about facts. It is, by contrast, rea

Social arts

Last week I was working on my sponsorship account of truth - an article submitted to Speculations VI, which I called "Immanence and Maintenance". Now I'm back to the book. Been working on a comparison between composing in a language and the monadology of fragments. In both cases, to use Quine's nice phrase, we deal with social arts. That reminded me of a talk I gave with Manuel years back in Nottingham, which had the apt title of "A linguistic turn of 360 degrees". I decided to make it more public here .

Talking about the güeros

Last week in Papantla and yesterday here in Xalapa I gave talks about the güeros. Well, it was a resource I found to talk about those who believe they are moderns. Find the presentations here . My güero here is Vanderlei Costa.

Who is the anthropologist of the moderns?

Yesterday I was in CIESAS-Golfo talking about what Latour intends to do in AIME. The context was interesting, a dialogue between the notions of Mode of Existence in Latour and Language Game in Wittgenstein. Differences are less remarkable as similarities: pluralism, indispensability of incommensurabilities, a normative character associated to each mode/game. In both cases, the descriptive is always external while an internal involvement - as much as an internal criticism - entails already a norm (and a judgement). In terms of Latour, a value. To describe practices (or modes of existence) in external terms is to be indifferent to the values that make them make sense. This is why Latour associates to the modes different a mini-transcendence, as much as a regime of norm. I pointed out that Latour has at his advantage the concept of construction and his elaboration of it through the book (“Parce que c’est bien construit, c’est peut-être bien vrai”). This gives him resources to bring in sci