In the last group we took a quick dive into the field of 'Object Oriented Ontologies' with a text by Graham Harman, and a response text by Nathan Brown. The conversation moved between close and technical readings as well as broader reflections upon the text and our encounters with the artwork and projects being undertaken under the banner of the theories of speculative realism within the arts of the moment. We revisited Heidegger's Tool Theory as an entrance into grasping the shifts that are undertaken within the text, and towards grasping the relational object posited in the text. We discussed the figure-ground relation that is theorised and the limits of a project of horizontal ontologies where all entities become figures as 'vacuum sealed' entities. We noted the repeated appeal within the text to 'democracy', and reflected upon the conditions in which this philosophical turn arises in; the challenges of climate chance and the evacuation of ideology as motive force of the political.
For our next reading group we are taking a turn towards the final 6 groups before the end of Edition programme that If I Can't Dance will present in November 2014.
In preparation we will be revisiting some strands within the programme as well as building readings that link with the overall thematic of 'Appropriation and Dedication'.
For the first of these we will return to Foucault's theorisation of 'life' (bios) as the possible material for art, as drawn upon within the Performance in Research project of Grant Watson. We return to this text with the insight from Marx's 1844 Manuscripts:
Communism as the positive transcendence of private property as human self-estrangement, and therefore as the real appropriation of the human essence by and for man; communism therefore as the complete return of man to himself as a social (i.e., human) being – a return accomplished consciously and embracing the entire wealth of previous development.
We will read two texts. The first Foucault's 'Techniques of the Self'.
Accompanying this we will commence a closer reading of Fred Moten's 'In the Break'. A book that will take us into the politics of object-hood and subject-hood, voicing, breath, corporeality and poetics that arise from a study of the Black Radical Tradition.