Kaye Cain-Nielsen

Publishere-flux2017
Indentured to the past, we drag our inherited identities through a forest of networks bursting with mysterious intellectual fruit. We’re not sure which concepts are poisonous and which are safe. History is like a mistranslated phrasebook full of old-fashioned illustrations which everyone makes fun of on the internet. Attempts at organization feel fanciful and absurd: eclectic inventories of apocalypse-kitsch. In “A Palace of Unsaids,” Rob Goyanes considers the work of mourning under twenty-first century conditions. Does it matter if we show up to the wrong shift at the memorial-factory as long as we do our time? Those that insist on mourning ...

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Publishere-flux2017
The modern arrives when the boundaries dividing old and new become sites of struggle in the way that the divide between the sacred and the profane was previously. These distinctions—old/new, sacred/profane—are strategic: they refer to one embedded position in the life-world relative to another. In the October 2017 issue of e-flux journal, Noemi Smolik shows how, within Russia, the deployment of modernizing iconoclasm against the belief systems of Russia’s rural poor confounded distinctions between old and new, sacred and profane, even before the October Revolution and the Russian avant-garde. Aleksandra Shatskikh diagnoses a contemporary symptom of this misrecognition in the attribution ...

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Publishere-flux2017
Imagine a big roll call. Names of nations, creeds, and genders are called out. Everyone is supposed to join their kin. Several hours later the crowd is all divided up into groups and subgroups, all neatly arranged on a large grid. There is just one person left. And this person says, “Sorry guys, I’m with the universe. Where do I go?” The universe? It does not figure on the grid. Today, the most important question is not what belongs to whom but who belongs to what—as in what kind of group. Sameness trumps equality. Similarity beats solidarity. Reality is a battlefield. ...

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Publishere-flux2017
Revolutionaries are people who need to run around in circles. Revolution is a cycle of toppling and replacing, of killing God and building a Church, as Camus says. It is nothing if not intense. In “The Intense Life,” Tristan Garcia presents intensity as an ethical ideal peculiar to modernity. The pursuit of intensity moves through stages, from variation, to acceleration, to what Garcia calls “primaverism,” or the obsession with first experiences. In “Notes on Blacceleration,” Aria Dean locates an absence in the text of accelerationism: a decided failure to come to grips with the first experiences of accumulation, and in particular with ...

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Publishere-flux2018
Some time around 1882, God was pronounced dead. For certain Russian thinkers of the era, this loss provided a building opportunity: where the place of one god closes, space for another one opens. Unlike most established schools of thought, Russian cosmism does not present a singular vision, a consistent epistemology, or a unified theory. On the contrary: the ideas of its nineteenth- to early-twentieth-century protagonists are often so divergent and contradictory that they appear incoherent, paradoxical, or delirious. Russian cosmism’s known scientists, philosophers, and writers have been understood to include figures ranging from Nikolai Fedorov, the nineteenth-century librarian who aimed to ...

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Publishere-flux2018
In Ursula Le Guin’s 1971 novel The Lathe of Heaven, a seemingly unassuming young white male begins effective dreaming. Desperate to stop altering realities by night, George Orr borrows other people’s pharmacy cards (the world is overpopulated, resources heavily rationed) to obtain more than his share of dexedrine and barbiturates. Landing himself in the hands of an oneirologist, he becomes a tool—a proxy to make the doctor’s megalomaniacal utilitarian fantasies real. The doctor suggests, and George dreams. “This was the way he had to go; he had no choice. He had never had any choice. He was only a dreamer.” Whose ...

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Publishere-flux2018
In opening the book The White Possessive: Property, Power, and Indigenous Sovereignty (2015), Aileen Moreton-Robinson leads with an epigraph: “The problem with white people is they think and believe that they own everything.” In terms of a critique of the seven-centuries-long rollout and contestation of European dispossessive power, this citation is the alpha and the omega. It is incredibly hard to add anything that isn’t captured within its succinct analysis. Nevertheless, this special issue of e-flux journal goes to work amid the breadth of this statement—seeking greater insight into its truth and the counter-tactics therein through aesthetic study in particular. The essays, ...

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