Hand/s off!

Posted on June 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

[….] the more mysterious the source of the trace, the more persistent the feeling that something is really there. This is the point at which speculative thought seeks a foothold. As if in mockery of the dispassionate, scientific reflections of phenomenology, the speculative thinker sets out in search of the ineffable, feeling his way experimentally towards an interpretation.
Bloch’s Traces, The Philosophy of Kitsch. T. Adorno 

Kitsch (and kipple) are infecting even the highest levels of the public/political sphere now. Perhaps this designates a new relationship between the host and the para-site which seeks to transform the whole modernist apparatus as we move more fully into the anthropocene. For sure, everything that was not/is not solid anymore (which is everything now) is beginning to float and vibrate with increased intensity, as all anchoring become suspect. At times there seems to be no way ‘forward’ because the very concept of forward (progress, happiness) is viewed with suspicion as just more of the same. The very idea of ‘handing’ off the baton to the future seems fraught with debris and triviality…and while the band plays on. The idea of the acheiropieta –really, the myth of an invisible inhuman hand working its way through history–does not carry the emblem of materialism emblazoned across any working or efficacy (the beginning of Agamben’s inoperativeness?).

It has long been held that ‘the critical mind’ is one that shows the hands of humans at work everywhere so as to slaughter the sanctity of religion, the belief in fetishes, the worship of transcendent heaven sent icons, the strength of ideologies. The more the human hand can be seen as having worked an image, the weaker is the image’s claim to offer truth. But this is only true to the myth of the acheiropoieta: that which is made without hands. Both science and religion are desirous of the state of the acheiropoieta icon, but the fetish subverts the aesthetic: fetishes have to be made. Human hands cannot stop toiling producing images, pictures of all sorts, to still generate, welcome, and collect objectivity, beauty, and divinities, exactly as in the –now forbidden–repressed, obliterated old days. The acceptance of this cheiropoiesis is the recognition of a new angelic collective with hands, not wings, simultaneously concealing (making occcult) and revealing(making) the face of God. 
Magical Thinking: History Possibility and the Idea of the Occult, Stuart McWilliams