Round in Circles

Posted on October 4, 2008 in Agamben

It is most often (inevitably one would say) that there are levels of accountability in society and levels of un-accountability. Since these apparently economic concepts arise through concepts and constructions of ‘credit’ or credulousness or investment in certain plans of reality (yes, not inappropriate to call all this ‘theological’ as Agamben and others have noted), any alternative accounts of reality seem ‘bankrupt’ — and in a most literal sense. What previously were thought of as ‘signs from the heavens’ are always thought of, sociologically, as symptoms of cultural and social pressures, tensions and dislocations. The ‘economy’ as we have come to love and hate it, is always fenced round with baton wielding angels, ministerial enforcers of P.O.V. for the great Treasury To Come. Pursuit of any unacounted-for (and un-wanted) signs will surely lead to a sort of moral bankruptcy.

Is it any wonder then that the resurgence of the ‘paranomal’ (other than its perennial ebb and flow) seems tied to the free-floating economy of the web, where credit, either in its citational form or its monetized form, seems to be undergoing a phase shift into some other sort of creature (recent national and global events would attest to this also)?

I recently curated and wrote a catalog entry for a show called ‘Crop Circles, Cosmograms, Psychogeographies’. You can find the result of that over at FORT!da? books or just off of the Public Domain site. Of course it could also be the case that I have ‘symptomatized’ something here also. In the distancing of this theorizing about it, it is all be inevitable.

It will be interesting to see the reactions of folks to the show itself which opens in a couple of weeks at eyedrum art and music gallery.

Unfortunately, one thing which I planned but did not have time to work into the show was tattooing and psychogeography and the ‘talking object’ and diagram as is now being discussed in certain art theory circles.

here was the original call for the show:

Crop Circles, Cosmograms, Psychogeographies

If nothing else, perhaps it can be said that modernity is about diagrams,
schematics, blueprints, Rorschalk cards, flow charts, maps, floorplans and
all the other graphic devices designed to simplify and link the real,
material world with the abstract world of thought and feeling. The same
thing might be said of the visual arts in general.

The infamous crop circles started mysteriously appearing in the fields of
England in the mid-Seventies. Over the past thirty plus years, they have
become the source of much speculation, wonderment, hoaxing: were they made
by artists? By aliens? By intelligent plasmas? Unknown terrestrial forces?
Covert military operations? As with everything, your answers depended on
your proclivities and stations in life. At the very least, they were
beautiful and ‘artistic’ and SEEMED to be some form of cosmograms, in the
same league with mandalas, Mayan city constructions, Egyptian
mega-constructions, archaic native American pictographs and other nativistic
schematics which seemed to link an astronomical world above with the
terrestrial world below . and to imbue those diagrams with a purported
spiritual power.

All these types of ‘ground-based’ diagrams also have in common implicit
psychological connections with the land even to the point of creating those
connections ex nihilio. The term ‘psychogeography’ was coined some years
ago to account for the feeling that the ‘beach under the pavement’ somehow makes
itself felt in ideas, feelings, and ‘spirits’.

The visual arts show at eyedrum art and music gallery will explore these
connections and forms: What are these forms? Do they have effects and
affects or is ‘aesthetic’ sufficient? Can they be created anew? Does
technology facilitate these ‘cosmic figures’ and give them new voice or
does it kill them off in paving them over and leave us with a dead schematic …
which nevertheless still tries to speak?