I’m trying to decide whether this reaction is proceeding along an E2 or an SN2 pathway. There is plenty of “elimination”, and also plenty of “substitution” – there is a liferaft here because there is now a floating rock out there – but some of the things I really have to consider are: is there a strong nucleophile involved? Does the rock have a primary moiety? Does the liferaft have a tertiary, allylic, or benzylic structure? Is either one sterically hindered? Are the transition states of these buoyant objects relatively stable? Is the solvent (seawater) or the inverse solvent (spacetime) highly protic? Once I figure these things out, I can move on to stereochemistry, kinetics, and NIHIL.
ANARCHY OF FORM / two parts, no resolve
productive disillusionment (side A)
Streets can burn, governments too
We’re gonna riot we’re gonna see it through
We’re gonna smash your thin blue line
We’re doing ok, we’re doing fine.
— The Oppressed. Riot, 1984
It is somewhat known that one of the most important distinctions between Marxism and Anarchism was between Marx himself and Mikhail Bakunin regarding the function of the state on the path toward emancipation — the common end goal of both. While Marxism presently seems to satisfy neoliberal sensibilities (whether read aloud at a biennial or assigned on a syllabus) — that should come as no surprise given its early anarchist critique: Marxist emancipation was through an eradication of capitalism while maintaining the “State”. Anarchist emancipation wanted to dissolve the “State” entirely and saw it as inextricable to all forms of oppression. Bakunin called Marx out on his bullshit. We should really fucking care about that right now.
“I began to speak. Words I had never heard myself utter before came pouring forth, faster and faster. They came with passionate intensity; they painted images of the heroic men on the gallows, their glowing vision of an ideal life, rich with comfort and beauty: men and women radiant in freedom, children transformed by joy and affection. The audience had vanished, the hall itself had disappeared; I was conscious only of my own words, of my ecstatic song.” — Emma Goldman. Living My Life, 1931
As a point of immediate departure, there are some moments in the social history of art during divergent postwar periods in the industrialized west in which the notion of “formal experimentation” is often lauded for its provocation of extant categories. Some easy examples this reductive timeline includes are Picasso’s early “still life” collage works and Stein’s textual “portraits” (she was friends with Picasso and much more interesting). And for all the so-called experimentation, we have yet to see much beyond quick ripples, subtle re-routings, empty promises (of emptier gestures) all for the establishment of hardly new tendencies in the production of art.
Sometimes we embarrass ourselves without even knowing it.
But on any measure, these experimentations were less about dissolving forms entirely (because they do that anyway) and more about manipulating them in the interest of control so as to prevent their and our inevitable dissolution.
“It seems to come as a surprise to some scholars that ‘primitive’ peoples could have developed any degree of mathematical sophistication, as though this reflected unfavorably on their own scientific achievements. Yet the symbolic mathematics resulting from astronomical observation now seems to have begun some 17,000 years ago — sufficient time to amass and test a substantial amount of knowledge. Keith Critchlow suggests that the history of mathematics needs rewriting. Studying the enigmatic tetrahedral stone spheres found in Scottish Neolithic graves, he discovered that they illustrate the regular mathematical symmetries of all Platonic solids, ‘yet appear to be at least a thousands years before the time of either Pythagoras or Plato.’ Like the circles and rows, these symbolic objects were made of stone for permanence. The more complex…” — Lucy R. Lippard. The Forms of Time: Earth and Sky, Words and Numbers, 1983
A stone is an anxious investment in permanence. Unless you throw it into an ocean to see if it comes back again.
total dissolution (side B)
To understand impermanence is to grasp temporality and to accept that you are temporary — life’s radical poetic. “The theme concerns dissolution. Dispersion. He is disappearing, sublating into the atmosphere.” — Gregg Bordowitz. Which is More Powerful: The Word or the Idea?, 2000
I really like what Robert Smithson wrote in 1968 about the establishment (and less what the establishment had to say about him). He postulates it as a state of mind, a deranged one with its own seismic pulse, “[The Establishment] contains a strange mixture of politics and madness that resembles a nightmare let loose in the time and space of everyday reality.”
Permanence is a pipedream meant to quell the Establishment in our minds. To experiment with form isn’t enough.
“Like an endless river, so broad that its banks were below the horizons, it flowed steadily toward him, a vast course of time that spread outward to fill the sky and the universe, enveloping everything within them. Moving slowly, the forward direction of its majestic current was imperceptible, and Powers knew that its source was the source of the cosmos itself. As it passed him, he felt its massive magnetic pull, let himself be drawn into it, borne gently on its powerful back. Quietly it carried him away, and he rotated slowly, facing the direction of the tide.” — JG Ballard. The Voices of Time, 1960
A rock in the ocean, a raft on land, you are here, I’m gone, and then it starts again.
a few notes from antiterra: k. thompson
anarchy of form: melinda guillen
defensive indifference: kathryn miller print design: seth ferris
defensive indifference So there’s a woman sitting on a boat, right? And to her right she is fucking a large stuffed panda, right? And to her left she is fucking an anaconda?