A Reading List (instructions for reading)

Preparation for a reading list:
1. Steal a cat, preferably your neighbour’s
2. Place said cat on the comfiest sofa, placated with one of your old shoelaces
3. Make tea; make it the whitest white man tea with PG-Tips (splash of milk, no sugar), toasted shortbread and post-colonialist irony
4.  Settle with cat, sofa and biscuits balanced with books; say the last line very quickly without tripping over your tongue twenty times. (enjoy the run-on plosives.)
5. aim to be an educated personage
6. open the first page

A reading list (with suggested <rhythms>):

1. Flusser – Towards a Philosophy of  The Black Box Photography

2. Heidegger – Essays on Art and Technology

3. Hans-Ulrich Obrist –  Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Curating But Were Afraid to Ask

<here, take that mental break you wanted –
take a piss,
read some tabloids,
watch a youtube video

4. Beuys – What is Art?

5. A favourite book from your childhood; the one you went to when no one was at home; the one you were always wanted to be in <eat a biscuit contemplatively>

6. Do a multiple-choice on futures:
a) genius children who play at war and games? <enders game – orson scott>
b) a vocaloid, 7/11 and a microwave into cyberspace? <idoru; virtual light – gibson>
c) republican-missouri took over america? <a handmaid’s tale – atwood>
d) everything made, ever more, ever many, ever much? <midas’ touch – pohl>

<take a shower. think of the filth, the glory, the dirge, the ever-rising crescendo of humanity; the heat of bodies, crowded and compressed; a population of 6.8 million; wasteful and beautiful and childishly cruel and wash them off>

7. A book with beautiful pictures; the one you feel closest to visual pornography; so beautiful it makes your eyes dry and heart ache to look at it <to restore your faith in humanity>

8. Benjamin – The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction <you have read it a million times as an undergraduate, perhaps a bit more. his words are as soothing and real as any coffee-stained lullaby>

9.  Deleuze – Desert Islands <jump> Society of Control <jump> Difference & Repetition: Introduction

< all that jumping has made you tired; your mind swirls like a rhizome, lines explode into butterflies, a chaos only controlled by a fisherman in his net; art is an organisation of things… you fall into a nap >

10. write a blog post. read it. re-read it. edit yourself to become a critical work. edit more, become a work in progress. edit until you have nothing left and repeat the process again and again and again again again again again again

A reading

here: http://www.mediafire.com/?2z1guaqbg6aq64u

A reason for reading

Flusser’s Towards a Philosophy of Photography covers what I think are the 3 main questions of technology today. The first ‘chapter’ (use the term loosely, it doesn’t really have any real chaptering system) deals with the hallucinatory effects of the spectacle and the ‘idolatry’ of images and I think – most importantly, he tries to go beyond the concept of ‘representation’ (Bergers) and ‘spectacle’ (Debord) which imho, are really tired and overused concepts.

The 2nd chapter deals with the apparatus or ‘black box’. Interesting the original translation of the title (written in Portuguese is ‘towards a philosophy of a black box’). This brief but amazing chapter covers the basics of the politics of platform and distribution – the mystery of ‘black box’, how it affects production and ownership and output, the nature of abstraction (beautiful metaphor of a camera being an abstraction of the eye) and introduces the idea that objects can be actants affecting situations. The final and 3rd chapter explores the idea of game theory within the apparatus, the field of possibilities that is both impossible to complete yet finite.

It’s also one of my favourite essays ever, I read it years ago and even today it blows my mind with new stuff every time I re-read it.

And the cliff notes for those with tl;dr issues

ch 1:  worship of images
ch 2:  politics, power and control of apparatus
ch 3:  gaming and possibilities of apparatus


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