Fall Semester

PublisherFall Semester2014
Clouds It was the year 1954 when the “Department of Tropical Architecture“ was founded at the Architectural Association (AA) London, by Maxwell Fry, Jane Drew and their colleague James Cubbitt. Tropical architecture had been a topic before the study programs foundation, large conferences like the “Conference on tropical architecture” March 1953 at University College, London or two years before in Venezuela had established the issue internationally. The AA Tropical Architecture study program ran till 1971 and was afterwards transferred to the University of London and proceeded there as the “Development Planning Unit” that is active till today. The AA program included lectures ...

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PublisherFall Semester2016
We have been forced to live together. We have been kindly invited to be with one another, side by side, mutually observing each other. I think we know the motives too, and recognize the consequences which have derived from forcing this collective, planetary understanding of what we are expected to be. Even so, we haven`t lost the desire to live together. To bring about this obligation, modernity led the individual to be engaged with his own identity and his own consciousness, and simultaneously, with a control of foreign powers. What we are looking at here, isn’t just the decisive disengagement with these forms ...

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PublisherFall Semester2014
The Stack we have means: borderlines are rewritten, dashed, curved, erased, automated; algorithms count as continental divides; the opposition of chthonic versus geometric territory is collapsed by computation; interfaces upon interfaces accumulate into networks, which accumulate into territories, which accumulate into geoscapes (territories comprising territories, made and so entered into, not entered into and so made); the embedded is mobilized and the liquid is tethered down into shelter and infrastructure; the flat, looping planes of jurisdiction multiply and overlap into towered, interwoven stacks; the opaque is transcribed and the transparent is staged, dramatized, and artificialized; irregular allegiances are formalized (the enclave and ...

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PublisherFall Semester2014
In this brief essay I reflect on the interactions between the real and the unreal, with a particular emphasis on comics and the city. Comics originate in the emerging city of modernity, and are shot through with both actual cities (in their sites of production and, often, consumption) and virtual ones. Further, few media are as useful for considering the role of the unreal, the held back, the around-the-corner-but-never-in-view, as comics. This reticence is productive, not only of narratives but also of the subjects who read them. Practices of reading comics, when applied to the city itself, highlight the unreal ...

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PublisherFall Semester2016
1. BODY The fact that what we call life does not include dead material can’t conceal the fact that it proliferates within the living, as if death mushroomed within life, which led Friedrich Kittler to speak of the “fathomless depths of the body.” Agamben is right—he riffs here on a statement from Derrida’s Spectres de Marx—that the question of life—What is life?— plunges the thinking of “our culture” (that is, western culture) at least into the greatest of dif culties. Maybe this question is exemplary of the aporetic condition of all thought that abandons empirical description as well as formal logical deduction in order to turn ...

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PublisherFall Semester2016
Prelude What does it mean to be a “little off”? To not be lining up with the world in ways you are accustomed to? What kind of thoughts might follow that misalignment? What kind of writing? It’s probably true that we, those of us who are fortunate enough to get to think in public, want to present ourselves as competent…convincing even…Maybe contribute something that makes us stand out from the thicket of thoughts and aesthetic nuance. But surely thoughts that are “a little off” must have merit of some sort, seeing as many of us whether we want to or not embody ...

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PublisherFall Semester2016
The drawings in this publication refer to the written essays by visiting and online contributors of Fall Semester 2016, the second iteration of public lectures and open forums. The pamphlets are available during the event and posted online for further free access at http://www.fallsemester.org Lisa Marie Blackman: “Loving The Alien”, (p. 2, 3, 5) Allison Schifani and David Lyttle: “Magick, Capital, Identity: Embodied Ritual and Technologies of the Resistant Self (Or: how we stopped worrying and learned to love the occult).” (p.4,6) Dora García: “The Right to be Unhappy”, (p. 7, 33) Victoria Ivanova: “On the Ineffable Allure of Achieving Systemic Agency”, (p. 8) Ramón Salas ...

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PublisherFall Semester2016
Prologue to the Exhibition Upon entering the exhibition—any imagined example will suf ce for the time being—we enter on the loaded grounds of the exhibition space: a cultural eld of inter-human energy exchange. A space charged with relations between different actors—artists, curators, staff members, and visitors, among others—each with their different aims, ambitions and intentionalities, and what we might call objects of interrogation, reflection and interaction that have been brought forward and put on display. As an exhibition visitor, we move around in white spaces, roam through repurposed warehouses and grey hangars, and wander in and out of black boxes to have a lived experience ...

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Founded in Miami in Summer 2013, Fall Semester brings together a diverse group of theorists, critics, researchers, and interested individuals to engage in multifaceted discourse on contemporary society and culture available across multiple platforms. Fall Semester is the project of artists Felice Grodin, Odalis Valdivieso, Angela Valella, Marcos Valella, and Antonia Wright. Collectively they have developed an organizational strategy to unite the contributors’ discussions into a cohesive program providing a platform for both speakers and attendees. The project arose from their concerns with global issues which have influenced their individual practice and research. Testing what can be achieved in a sped-up production ...

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PublisherFall Semester2016
I. Free Will As Sci-Fi predictions are realized, and we begin to countenance serving under, living with – and even loving – robots, discussion turns to what constitutes “artificial intelligence” and to what extent we are sentient beings or just programmed automatons ourselves. Though we are now completely reliant on machines and have wrought a world where we are helpless without them, we still feel superior to them in that we have “free will”; Meanwhile, the computers, appliances, and gadgets upon which we depend are programmed by those of our creed (i.e. humans). “Free will” would be defined as the ability to choose; what ...

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PublisherFall Semester2016
1. Artworks and situations Pierre Huyghe, Untilled, 2012 Pierre Huyghe’s contribution to dOCUMENTA (13) required some effort in order to be discovered at all. It was not just that Huyghe had chosen a decidedly decentered exhibition site: a composting facility located in the Aue-Park. Even after one had located the site, it was anything but obvious that it was art. One found oneself in a kind of overgrown lot: a pile of compost, sprouting growth, through which a walkway led—at times really just a beaten path, with algae- covered puddles. The hills were overgrown with plants and weeds. Off to one side, paving slabs ...

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PublisherFall Semester2016
I have a seventeen-month-old son. Since becoming a mother, my day in Shanghai, where we are based, will start with turning on a computer, checking Shanghai’s air quality index and then decide how to continue a day with my kid. On a regular day, the air quality pollution index in Shanghai is usually around 150 PM 2.5 which is not recommended for taking such a small kid outdoors. Since the end of July this year air quality has been noticeably better so that we can actually see the clouds in the sky when we look out of a window. Maybe this ...

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PublisherFall Semester2016
“no more sensations; nothing but memories” E.M. Cioran I make copies on the English Department xerox machine and pass them out to my students. “Civil Disobedience” by Thoreau, “Self-Reliance” by Emerson. Of course, the students can nd the same texts on the internet, but I prefer not to allow cellphones in class. I prefer not to. I can see you texting in the back of the room, under your desk, while pretending to pay attention, and sometimes, even though it says “cellphones are forbidden during class” on the syllabus, you take out your phone, right in front of me, in broad daylight, so ...

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PublisherFall Semester2016
What kind of image is the filmic image? The standard answer is: a “moving image”. What is a moving image? The standard answer is: a) an image that has movement in it, and b) an image that is moving. The filmic image has both, it shows movement and it is moving. The specific case of the filmic image is that despite the kind of movement it entails it is expanded in time and we perceive and see it in the full sense of the word as an image of movement and not only as a moving image. The moving image of ...

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PublisherFall Semester2014
We are well aware of the limited strength of the left today. Trade unions have been decimated, working class solidarity torn apart, political parties mutated into neoliberal puppets, and social movements channelled into innocuous forms. An entire battery of tactics has been employed to put the left in this position of weakness: legal alterations, increased precarity, global competition, and so on. Yet class power can come from a variety of sources, and a main argument of this paper is that the current weakness of the left is not simply due to a lack of class consciousness, a breakdown of solidarity, or ...

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PublisherFall Semester2016
Esposito points out, “for life to remain as such, it must submit itself to an alien force that, if not entirely hostile, at least inhibits its development” (Esposito 2011: 8) In this essay I will explore the ambivalent position of the alien within the context of one of the themes for this workshop: “Intimacy with the Cosmos”, in order to re ect upon the question of whether there is a place for a non-body politic? The theme invites reflection on scales beyond the grasp of the human – the micro and the macro and the proliferation thereof considered not as a ...

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PublisherFall Semester2016
“Magick is a culture.” So writes Alan Chapman in his Advanced Magick for Beginners. What follows is an effort to take such a claim seriously, and to imagine what the political affordances of magick might be, and what kinds of things those magicians already among us might be doing. The contemporary practice of magick (of the Western esoteric tradition) may be, we will argue, a creative technology of the self. It can work to counter the mandates of the reigning biopolitical regime, of capital’s investment in identity and identity politics, even as some of magick’s instantiations mirror certain instrumental tendencies of capital. ...

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PublisherFall Semester2014
Consider a shifte focus from architectural objects and silhouettes to the matrix in which these objects are suspended. Look at the places where we live: the parking places, skyscrapers, turning radii, garages, street lights, driveways, airport lounges, highway exits, big boxes, strip malls, shopping malls, small boxes, free zones, casinos, retail, fast food restaurants, hotels, cash machines, tract housing, container ports, industrial parks, call centers, golf courses, suburbs, of ce buildings, business parks, resorts. The retinal afterglow is of a soupy matrix of details and repeatable formulas that make most of the space in the world whether—what we might call matrix ...

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PublisherFall Semester2016
A super-computational grid overlaying the earth’s surface, an all-seeing, oating ecosystem, an Uber-planet, an internet of things in which the things are us, is recording and storing our every movement. We subscribe to it—willingly providing it with our data. By the same token, our immersion in the permanence of the informational mayhem is flooding us with fictions. On the one hand, theoretically, the permanent input channel of billions of facts per second—GPS coordinates, heartbeats, selfies, currency fluctuations, etc.— into the super-computational megastructure, is always pushing for a transparent world. In that world “truth” would cease to be a word because there would be ...

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PublisherFall Semester2016
Disclaimer: What follows is an attempt to think through a praxis that is directed towards transformative impact on the basis of existing potentialities. The choice of fields that are woven into this strategy brief — finance, human rights and contemporary art — is a product of this author’s direct or tangential involvement in these spheres as a practitioner and researcher. The aim of this strategy brief is to use the mechanics of DIY-theory to engineer an actionable framework…

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PublisherFall Semester2016
I begin writing in response to a question I am asked: whether the “self” of the artist can be emancipatory. My first instinct is to assert that we need to dispel any idea of “the self of the artist” entirely. As it is well known, every new generation of artists is faced with the task of creating work that is uncommodifiable, knowing that it will not remain so for long. It is the song, the dance, the lie of the avant-garde. To believe that the ‘self of the artist’ exists through opposition or exception is a fallacy. To believe that the ...

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PublisherFall Semester2014
What makes a city urban? In a way this is a primary question of the political. Given that polis means “city”, literally speaking, the term political designates matters that pertain to life in town. Etymology is no substitute for actual experience of such matters. But it might open up a path to some of the experiences that a term got charged with in (what may have been) its original context of use. So if we accentuate the presence of polis in political and amp up its resonances, the question “how is this political?” will start to resonate with questions like “how ...

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PublisherFall Semester2016
1. Identity. Any inquiry into identity must start at the beginning and continue until the end. Because identity is a contemporary issue, yet as ancient as thought itself, given that we can only (attempt to) know that which is the same as oneself. This logical evidence is based on an ontological fundamental: since everything changes and is perishable we think (and think ourselves obliged to believe) that something permanent must exist. Metaphysics has been dedicated from its beginnings to think this fundamental, that which gives (identical) being to things that appear. Its rst approach was so radical as to be innocuous: for Parmenides, what we see ...

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PublisherFall Semester2014
As the Israeli bombs stop raining on Gaza and, with them, the outrage that this recent chapter of the continuous siege on this small land of Palestinian territory triggered, the last thing that we should wish is that things “go back to normal.” The normal is unacceptable, since it is made of the same violence than the bombings, only in a less spectacular manner. Throughout this text, I propose to use the oxymoronic phrase of “normal violence” in order to describe the (infra)structural subjection imposed on the Gaza inhabitants.

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PublisherFall Semester2014
The idea of collective mind is as old as the most ancient forms of spirituality and political philosophy — before Asimov, in 1982, nally decided to send it to govern planet Gaia. The concept of ‘cognitive capitalism’ is evolving too, in face of the new machines of augmented intelligence and the new cults of Arti cial Intelligence. This concept was useful to push a cognitive turn within political economy around 2000, when postmodern philosophy was still attracted by and discovering the linguistic turn of knowledge society…

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