Shani Strand <email@example.com> Wed, Mar 8, 2023 at 1:34 PM
To: Boz Garden <firstname.lastname@example.org>
So I've been thinking about what we should discuss and I'm curious as to where your head is at... what you're thinking about... what this prompt makes you think of?
I'm thinking of the libidinal economy - desire as anti-self preservation. I'm thinking about the deathdrive/lifedrive/pleasure. I'm thinking of the impossibility of dark forest theory at least on this planet - which makes me think about ownership/property that we've discussed.
Boz Garden <email@example.com> Wed, Mar 8, 2023 at 9:13 PM
To: Shani Strand <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I’m totally with you on these entry points for thinking Dark Forest Theory. I think broaching the question of preservation through psychoanalytic terms (death drive, pleasure, enjoyment, etc.) is really generative so thank you for opening this. I’m really excited to chop it up.
When I think of hiding, I think of repression which is less a hiding than it is a neurotic experimentation in how to announce the presence of something without saying it plainly, against our own will and especially, as you mention, our own good/preservation. Which is to say that even in its unknowability, it, which I think you and I would agree is blackness, is still extracted from; its being-hidden does not save it from the violence of knowledge production and World-making, in fact (as we know) it’s very concealment occasions its extraction.
So in (the impossible) terms of blackness, I think I move away from hiding understood as a politic of refusal but of compulsion and displacement or the compulsion to displace. However, I think repression as a protective operation is only afforded to the Human whereas for the Black, I believe it to be the object which is repressed and therefore endlessly desired by the Human. Although, I agree with Wilderson and Fanon in that I don’t think there is no such thing as a black psyche. Black psychic existence is always something to address as substantiative, but as Calvin Warren writes, borrowing Spillers’ use of the preposition, it is an existence for (the captor).
Put another way if the everyday black psychic experience is still on the table (that we do still repress, desire, sublimate, in the general sense), then what does repression and desire mean for us? Maybe the question that comes to mind is less ‘what is it to hide?’ and instead what is too difficult to say? Or rather what is the ‘dark forest’ we inevitably (or intentionally) reveal through what we decide to say instead?
Let me know if any of this resonates or if you disagree with any of it; really interested to hear your thoughts! <3
Until the End, Boz
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Shani Strand <email@example.com> Sat, Mar 18, 2023 at 10:43 AM
To: Boz Garden <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Hello again Boz,
Apologies for my delay as I'm working on maintaining my sanity :)
I'm really excited by your last question/comment:
Maybe the question that comes to mind is less ‘what is it to hide?’ and instead what is too difficult to say? Or rather what is the ‘dark forest’ we inevitably (or intentionally) reveal through what we decide to say instead?
Also Boz, you are beautifully articulate. Forgive me – I’m gonna be a tornado and think out loud.
There's always a performance - just an alternative performance - so what is revealed in the alternative performance - and what does this alternative performance say about the audience and the performer? what does it say about context, the context?
Repression for me says so much about the audience. Obviously personal repression is based in lying to yourself, tricking yourself, and ways that one hides from oneself. But it also a response to the outside, as it’s engaged with directly and indirectly furthermore it always results and is consumed by outward expressions – there’s no way to contain it to yourself. Once you’re begin repressing yourself it inevitably will impact how you engage in the world – repression, a compulsive responding to the world.
If one lies to oneself (but also not lies, just alternatives) as a response to the world then what does that make their continued expressions into the world because its not just lies that enter the world – its entire lives and constructions of the world on the basis of repression – a majority of the construction of the world can be though to be on the basis of repression. So these are lies, but they lose their relationship to the parameters of lies, they become “truth,” they become foundations or something.
Unknowability, being hidden – there is still so much to extract. Too much – At the point of being hidden, there is mostly only extraction.
Aka unknowability, being hidden isn’t going to save one from the production of violence, from the being used in the making of the world, the production of knowledge As you note, hiding increases the value of the extraction – a rarity But maybe even more interesting is the hiding in plain sight
That unknowability or hiding are not antithetical to being visible Me thinking through Boz: So then imagining hiding as a less of a politics of refusal and more as a compulsion, displacement of compulsion, compulsion to displace
Me thinking through Boz: if blackness is what is repressed then it is also what is infinitely desired More thinking through Boz: Black psyche exist for the captor Or at least any visibility of the black psyche does. I do have to believe that there is a black psyche for black people.
What happens when you repress the for – what happens when for is unavoidable and treated as neutral, net zero – does this throw blackness into perpetual motion?
"What is the dark forest we inevitabily or intentionally reveil in what we say instead” Do we have options? a performance of... a wall, a tick, a distraction, a metaphor, a parallel, absence but if I consider this list as it relates to blackness specifically then what is the dark forest and what is revealed? but I first want to say something about repression and desire in general and then repression and desire as it relates to blackness
desire as anti-self-preservation and maybe repression sounds like self-preservation but the things repressed, are they eventually lost? OCD OCD OCD OCD OCD OCD OCD OCD – finding the surface, a surface. Thinking through bataille (eroticism, desire, and death) – how are boundaries and transgressions necessary to control desire, constructed floodgates.
Drives are not satisfied, not meant to be satisfied, meant to be fire under your ass, forever.
When I think about drives and I think about immortality and excess and vampire, and utilizing death to avoid death and I think of whiteness and I think of blackness and I think of their parasitic relationship and I think of context. And the context becomes whiteness and blackness and their parasitic relationship. I imagine what whiteness think and wants to sustain, which is in the end whiteness not in any pure form, or else it wouldn’t parallel capitalism in its elasticity, but whiteness in its function mirrors capitalism. It necessitates a relationship between blackness and death to extract from, to produce its own life force, its own blood.
Death is structuring and enacting. Blackness is the fixation of whiteness, of civil society. The drive’s goal is not to reach its object but to reproduce its own circular motion, missing its object, sustaining its desire forever. Target must stay in tack, in tack, the condition of in tack does not imply good conditions. Never fully absorbed, never made extinct, maybe even an oscillation.
Absorption --(this line is a spring that following the laws of physics moves back and forth -- Extinction
Whiteness orbits blackness like a fence, maintaining a parameter, changing its boundaries as it finds necessary, porous one day, impenetrable next year. What does whiteness need to sustain itself? To sustain its extraction? Longing for, fixating on, objectifying, its precious. A dream differed. A fantasy prolonged!
I know these conversations are structured around lack and I want to structure them around excess. What is it to imagine the historical void or lack as instead and excess – the excess is constructed regardless – the excess need not be lack or excess – but I feel like the problem is its imagination as excess not as lack – lack feels like it has to much to do with the legitimizing the fantasy’s of whiteness, not because the fantasies of whiteness are not structural but because but because regardless of how much repression is also a response to the structures of the world, to projections, one is not repressing a lack, one is not extracting from the void. My body is being wrung out for honey, it doesn’t produce any honey, but it is too much.
I don’t know if excess is anymore useful, or just be being stubborn, but I enjoy it and its asymmetry. WHAT IS THE LINE BETWEEN DELUSION AND REALITY!?
************idk if this image is useful at all but see attached!! ************
Shani [Quoted text hidden]
Shani Strand <email@example.com> Sun, Mar 19, 2023 at 1:20 AM
To: Boz Garden <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Also on my comments about wanting to think through excess as opposed to void - I don't think that's true on my end - I want to think through them together. They feel inseparable to me. [Quoted text hidden]
Shani Strand <email@example.com> To: Boz Garden <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Nothingness & Infinity // The Void & Excess
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Boz Garden <email@example.com> Wed, Mar 22, 2023 at 1:45 AM To: Shani Strand <firstname.lastname@example.org>
No need to apologize for the tornado! It's such a release to follow up my perhaps repressed style of writing lol
You've brought up so many important points that I find super interesting and perhaps the most severe question: do we have options?
I'm really struck by your engagement with repression as I think it clarifies so much of what is oftentimes misunderstood about it. Thinking through you: the totality of the World is only made possible or thinkable through repression. I think this intervention necessarily moves us away from a language of personal shame, which the Subject may or may not be conscious of (as something like 'repression' might call forth) and toward a language of function or need. Repression is needed such that the World and the Subject can cohere and continuously adhere (the association of meanings; the chain of signification). It disciplines us as bodies and/or as 'imagos' into what discourse demands of us: the sacrifice and perpetual 'rediscovery' of a primary object which is principally different from the one the Subject ends up cathecting or investing in. This brings me to your question: the things repressed, are they eventually lost? I would argue that they are to the extent that, as you expound upon, desire precipitates repression. One represses precisely because they have been folded into a structure of desire which does not grant them the autonomy to access the longed-for primary object/event but instead prohibits them from ever rediscovering it–the destructive loop begins. If one rediscovers an object (an event, a sensation, etc), it is not the original object but a new one that has been chosen to convey or 'disclose' the intensities allegedly sourced from the original. In this way, we do not learn/know to repress 'event A' until 'event B' emerges wherein the associative link is officially made, meaning is produced, and one recognizes for the first time the authority 'event A' possesses over them if only as the total psychic occupation of 'event B'. 'Event A' almost becomes excessive or superfluous since the force of its authority cannot be attributed to a place in history, its authority is granted by the meaning it accretes in the rediscovery. This secondary event has taken up a new signifier by which to know (which is also to forget) its missing primary event. 'Event A' need not be an event at all...it may be the very fact that we come into a World in the first place; that is to say, a World which requires the death of Black being. We do not remember the trauma of entry and it is only when we recognize the Subject's negrophobogenesis that we realize what we are up against.
Put another way: the Subject always realizes too late that it has lost something...which can never be substituted but always re- discovered if only phantasmatically.
For the Black, by the time we realize we are the corporealization of death, it is indeed too late. And there is nothing that we have lost, nothing stolen insofar as we never constituted a Subjectivity capable of ownership.
And I find your emphasis on the repression of the audience super useful in terms of sublimation which even Lacan specifies is always determined by a social body, a socially accepted selection of, as you wonderfully put, "alternatives". If one cannot successfully substitute that which it has lost, they are doomed to continuously redirect these intensities unto new and new objects. One eventually 'loses the mother' but is still left with the impulse to 'suck' (Freud's paradigm of orality), sublimation allows for the Subject to de-invest in the breast and cathect newer objects with the power to partially satisfy the still-lingering desire to suck. For the simple reason that it would be socially abject to witness an adult still trying to withdraw milk from the breast of their parent in public. The audience, the crowd, the general socius becomes key–thinking through you: they produce and embody a context ... that must be obeyed. Thinking through you again, sublimation is perhaps an articulation of how we necessarily (and unevenly) respond to/are disciplined by 'the outside' and must make ourselves available to its consumption...its approval. But this process is generally invisible to the Subject, this is everyday life of civil society. Being-consumed/consumption for the Subject is not an obliteration of ontology, rather it is where its ontology goes for restoration. This is, of course, not the case for Blackness.
And the Black is not a Subject of course. The 'black matér' (black maternality), as Zakiyyah Iman Jackson terms it, might be what the (Human) Subject, which is also the audience or the World, has selected to partially satisfy the symbolic need of sucking following the loss of the mother's breast (?) Which is to say, Blackness is the grammar upon which, as you concisely worded it, 'dreams are deferred and fantasies are prolonged'.
If the original event of sucking represents the primal satisfaction of a vital function, a bodily need, then the sublimation of this, the (re)discovery of alternatives, which are [learning from you] meant to trick the Subject into a symbolic-affective continuation of the breast, represents the move into the auto-erotic: the process whereby the pleasure sourced from the satisfaction of vital functions no longer requires the presence of the (m)Other. The vital functions are bound up with the erotic and the Subject is, alone, able to link sexual impulses with every orifice and organ(ic function) in the body. The consequences of this for Blackness are brutal. If the Subject cedes the need for the historical event (of sucking) or 'event A' and depends upon the autonomy or castration of 'event B', then one need not even see a Black body in order to symbolically extract from Blackness (our point regarding the in/visibility of it). I think of a recent studio visit with a non-Black faculty member who told me the story of a recurring dream she had as a child of three muscular black men that stood between her a long painting that depicted a bucolic Western landscape. She clarified that she felt as though they were protecting her, from what she wasn't sure. Most importantly, however, she then told me that given the absence of Black people in her school/town and her delayed access to cable television at the time, she is unsure how her unconscious was able to figure them with such fidelity. She proceeded to apologize as if revealing something she shouldn't have. In many ways, I'm glad she did.
As you and I know, we cannot think of the sexual drive, the libidinal economy separate from the pornotroping of Blackness. Blackness is the vestibule and aim of every alternative, of every option for the sublimation of the Subject's or capitalism's sexual desires (?) If everything, for Freud, has been contaminated by the sexual, then we extend this and say that everything is sexual insofar as it renders Black flesh readily available for when the psyche of the Subject needs: all of the time. This is when sucking becomes parasitic, or, as you say, vampiric. Whiteness leaves no options for the Black precisely because Blackness can only ever be an option of many sides for capital, the Subject, the World.
And so, to wrap this one up (sorry for going on so long), if we think of 'event A' as lost insofar as it becomes surplus infrastructure for 'event B', which will find new signifiers upon which to 'achieve' the recurring process of sublimation that is almost uninterested in (if not terrified of) the primary event, then I think your proposal to think lack and excess together feels deeply imperative. Thinking through you one last time, it's the death of 'event A' which 'event B' attempts to avoid only by moving the Subject closer to death; closer to Blackness. Perhaps, then, it is the kiss of your diagram rather than the link (?) I could be wrong though!
But I'm wondering what you think of this. And curious what you make of this faculty member's dream.
Until the End,
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Boz Garden <email@example.com> Wed, Mar 22, 2023 at 2:41 AM To: Shani Strand <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Some follow up notes/corrections: Blackness shares ‘Event B’ with the Human insofar as the Human ‘rediscovers’ its long-lost surplus origin in Blackness
(negrophobogenesis) and Blackness ‘rediscovers’ its annihilation in the Human’s negrophobogenic enlightenment.
The ‘body’ is meant to be thought of here through the literal body and also as a metonym for the symbolic and the social. The sexual drive (for Blackness) can be/is attached to every function of civil society (much like every organ or orifice of the body). There is nowhere to hide.
When Blackness consumes/is consumed by ‘the outside’, it only rediscovers its own death which is too late to avoid.
Is the ‘move’ from event A-B an allegory for slavery to emancipation? From the spectacular brutalization of Death to the brutal incorporation of Death? Emancipation as the move into modernity which saw the ‘sustainability’ in repression as opposed to libertine displays of force. The move toward hiding antiblackness in plain sight (?) I make this distinction cautiously since I find the spectacular vs banal or the libertine vs the restrained binaries to fall apart quickly under antiblackness...but maybe there is something there. Curious what you think.
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Shani Strand <email@example.com> Mon, Apr 3, 2023 at 3:10 PM
To: Boz Garden <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Lol, at repressed style of writing – Boz you’re so eloquent, it’s dreamy and poetic.
It is also worth noting that the shame even when it transitions over to the function of need, repression is never really free of shame. Maybe the goal is no shame but that feels aligned with relating and moving through repression differently - but within repression I feel like even understanding the context and the reasoning never evades the presence of shame. Which has me thinking through you: "Repression is needed such that the World and the Subject can cohere and continuously adhere (the association of meanings; the chain of signification). It disciplines us as bodies and/or as ‘imagos’ into what discourse demands of us" - shame has everything to do with processing conditions on the basis of discipline
This though!!! Repression is a response to the disciplinary nature of the World, but also to the needs of the world. Produced from and by the World and the Subject it then becomes a need, in their sustenance/maintenance.
And being based upon the crafting and persuasion of these ‘imagos’ - Imagos of the self, the World’s self, the Subject’s self, and of Blackness. Imagos in my understanding being an unconscious idealized mental image – I'm obsessed with this word as it implies delusion, not just delusion but delusion that is acted upon, that shapes and dictates behaviors.
So in this framework, the imagos alongside repression is what is produced out of discipline, what is demanded out of us, these imagos are then an "idealized" form, a delusion, a site of repression or in that everything is, an expression of repression! It is this expression of repression as an idealized form that is invested in.
Obviously the word "idealized" here is so slippery because an idealized form of "Blackness" in the context of the World is degraded and debased. This 'imagos' of Blackness is ideal of course as the antagonism that the World and Subject will define themselves against.
But anyway, rewind to repression as a site of investment. More interested in what it means as something that is both for and against the preservation of Blackness and the co-existence of preservation and death-drive (Not death-drive in the. Freud/Lacan/Zizek sense --> that death drive has more to do with how Whiteness, the World, and the Subject operate. I mean death-drive in literally proximity of Blackness to death, in necropolitics, biopower, bare life type of way lol)?
This is then a breakdown of how desire via the manifestation (if you will lol) of imagos precipitates repression.
The needs of the World are the desires of the World.
If the World is also produced through imagos – signs and significations that are tangential to their subjects/objects – and this production is through disciplinary means then of course – there is no autonomy to access the primary object/event – the primary/object maintains structural presence whilst being erased, and erased via desire. Thinking through you: “instead prohibits them from ever rediscovering it – the destruction loop begins.” - I feel like this beginning of a perpetual destruction loop is the death drive/desire of Freud/Lacan/Zizek.
This erasure is particularly interesting because the primary object/event is foundational to the World, it is the crux of all this desire and repression, of all the trajectories toward it that evade it, and its forever erasure does make it so that it is lost – it almost consecrates it – but it is compositionally so diffused that it cannot be grasped/contained/made wholly visible.
I love “allegedly sourced from the original.” LMAO and fully accurate There is this forever production of a new object – one that is full of projections basically – and new objects are constantly produced to house these projections – new objects need to be made in this way forever also because projections because they need a certain distance to maintain their assertion.
As you beautifully outlined, Event B is bolstered by the absence of its primary event. It stands on this distance and erasure (requires the distance and erasure) to make claims with authority because the presence of Event A would in fact compromise the authority of Event B – which is a shame because it would not necessarily compromise the existence of Event B – but its authority.
So then I’m interested in how demanding that Event A is the production of Event B – even if Event B is where meaning is produced – allows us to acknowledge the production of negrophobogenesis as you said, or the site and necessity of the death of Black being as Event B (through Event Z, an infinitely repeating event of meaning production).
PHANTASMATICALLY but then I can’t help but think about how absences are material even if the recognition of their materiality is achieved through the discovery/rediscovery of their phantom – the materials are recognized, meaning is produced within the materials almost via visitation lmao. This feels like it has to do with sublimation as well – because I think the excitement of repression is the traces it bears to context that cannot be = the traces it bears to abjection and the production of abjection! Tehehe
Erasure must be maintained because it’s the everyday of civil society and because of how it has been aestheticized into the everyday of civil society – that mundanity is thought to not bear traces, at least not traces of any type of magnitude.
Oh yes, Blackness shares both event B and event A with the Human – in the sense that thinking through you: “the human rediscovers its surplus origin in Blackness and Blackness discovers its annihilation” but also in event A, in the sense that the Human facilitated Event A – from which it produces Event B, C, D, E, F, X, Y, Z infinitely (this proliferation is then the sustainability of Event B, the flexibility of event B)– the surplus origin is not only rediscovered but reinvented as a form of maintenance. I think you are right to avoid the spectacular vs. banal and other binaries because they do fall apart or they are false, even as a spectrum – how else do you explain the mundanity and regularity of the spectacular and how can the spectacular not be mundane even if sensorily it feels spectacular – that has more to do maybe with desensitization but if the sensational is routine than it does not replace the mundane – it simply is also the mundane – negation negation
And the body cannot evade the symbolic and the social so as you said “no where to hide” I think about “abolish the body” and I think about how there is no abolition of the body – only porosity of the body but that still has boundaries – not borders – but boundaries This distinction feels important to be because the desire to have boundaries vs. borders are different desires Event B is then used for the process of sublimation – co opting Event B is slippery (it's not really coopting though, it's having a different relationship to the repression, to event A) but somehow not as slippery as event A – the kiss is the slipperiness? Slippery in that it is a genealogical link but one that’s trace is under constant rhetorical erasure.
And it not the case for Blackness but it is in that same double bind way – in that Blackness cannot revert to what it was before it’s consumption – the whole moving through thing – bc of what you say about black maternal or black matter – blackness is the grammar it is the symbolic crux of the world – it is not where blackness goes for the restoration of its ontology, it can't be, instead it is where blackness is disciplined in restoration of its (non)ontology
Auto-erotic = this process of substitution = again projection = the removal of Blackness from Black people = Blackness as a resource that is perpetually extracted from Black people
Oh you need to tell me which faculty member said this bc girl, what?! I NEED TO KNOW! I can’t help but think – so okay this dream was clearly very substantial to her in that it was reoccurring
and therefore it is obviously imprinted on her in some serious way. I’m like I wonder what sign her 12th House is in and where that is in her chart... Wait – they stood between her and this painting!? Or within the painting? I want the composition, sorry. Ahh, protection – what a duty, what a role, what a relation, what a paid position, what a disciplinary position...
I too would like to know what they were protecting her from – that feels very important to me and her unsureness over what they’re protecting her from scares me, given that based on your recollection she seems sure that they were protecting her. Perhaps the absence of what from is perfect in and of itself because then we can deduce that they were simply protecting her, PERIOD. How faithful.
I’m also so curious about the fidelity in which she figured them. Fidelity in which way, in which figuration Boz you’re a better person than me. I am begging you to tell me how this arose out of your studio visit – like at least one sentence before this story entered the conversation.
Lol exits conversation barely... to begin conversation on the libidinal economy or the subservience of Black flesh. Everything runs full circle infinitely lol. Fetishes that fuels capital – fixation with exchange and use value – keeps the economy in circulation – driving the infinity principles of capitalism
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Boz Garden <email@example.com> Sun, Apr 9, 2023 at 9:58 PM To: Shani Strand <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sorry for delay! Since our time is coming to a close, I figure I can quickly engage with what you’ve offered here (which has been so incisive and explosive I’ve been struggling to even figure out how to follow up lol) and then let you have the final word and send us off? I wish we could keep going but alas, we operate within containers.
I love your affirmation of shame here, that one perhaps is inevitably shameful about what it is that they repress; shame perhaps is the regulator of what is repressed and what is conscious. Feeling shameful is perhaps indistinguishable, then, from being ethical (which is at the same, being anti-black).
I want to think with something you’ve surfaced as I find it endlessly interesting to consider: the materialities of absence, precisely because it broaches the antagonism between the authority of the “phantasmic" and “felt" qualities of experience/perception. How to negotiate materiality in the presence of a perceptive paradigm which can only grip the phantoms of matter until there is little difference? And with a concern for time, how to negotiate that phantoms linger? Like ash or oil. The ironic terror and misery of being an absence which cannot dissolve completely. In this way, as an aside, I don’t entertain the romantic discourse of ‘persistence’ to the extent that, as far as I’m concerned, the endurance of Blackness is an effect of the Subject’s demand for stabilizing repression. Or perhaps as Freud writes, “with the help of the symbol of negation, thinking frees itself from the restrictions of repression and enriches itself with material that is indispensable for its proper functioning.”
In other words we can argue that Blackness, the symbol of negation, makes it such that the Subject can utter a negative judgment; the capacity to exact “[X] is something which I should prefer to repress.” The articulation of that which is repressed, which is to say the spoken portrayal of it to the Ego (or the therapist), is only possible on the condition that it is negated through a “preference” to not embellish any further. Or put another way, the symbol of negation is that which “lifts” the repressed content [into consciousness] without a total acceptance or integration of this repression. Maybe through Calvin Warren, Blackness allows for the Human to lift what is repressed without accepting it completely: the Nothingness that is also, through our language, the abject excess of Event A. Blackness has been made to endlessly produce new objects to fill with projections which remind the Human not of Blackness as such but what Blackness has become analogous to (which is perhaps, or of course, no different from Blackness itself)– projections which do not emanate from a projector. And it would seem the Human is happy to have projections which emerge from Nothing, as it allows for, as you say, the pleasurable flexibility of Event B, the scene of "perpetual extraction”. Once again, we do not hide but rather we are that which allows the Subject to hide from itself. As you say, this is a paradigm of maintenance; maintenance for the Subject is the preservative-death of its object.
So to your tarrying with the materiality of absence, perhaps what needs to be addressed (by others) is a libidinal metaphysics of permanence. The lingering of difference, the hanging impulse to translate or re- discover the abyss in the materiality of the World (?) To maybe extend your indispensable line: the needs of the World are the desires of the World...and the desires of the World are the felt materialities of the World insofar as the World manufactures what it wishes to touch but cannot grasp: the flesh hidden beneath everything.
I’ll definitely talk to you more about the dream this faculty had IRL lmfao (and I’ll tell you the 12th house too) but a closing remark from me: I’m really so thankful for your thoughts across our brief exchange, it has been so useful in my thinking this past month and has really pushed me to map out these concepts. So thank you for being an incredible interlocutor, friend, and baddie.
Until the End, Boz
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Shani Strand <email@example.com> Fri, Apr 14, 2023 at 3:45 PM
To: Boz Garden <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Hey Boz, Next time we do this it's for forever babyyyyyyyyyyyy - even if that's just a marathon around said container.
You know how I feel about the phantasmic, so maybe I'm just gonna indulge in this last contact ;( Thinking through the imaginary, the spectral, the phantasmic, ghost, traces and materiality - their differences and their dependencies
As you noted on the materiality of absences, how these materials (ash, oil, almost all human constructions, and environments, and finally people in their most pristine forms and in ruination) broach that antagonism of authority between the imaginary and the material - our ways of experiencing and perceiving these things are all integrated and reliant on one another. There's never a clear distinction, instead the ways that we move through the materialities of life become our tracing of the abstract as reflection of the construction of the World and the Subject, History.
Time is the slippery integration of these things because even considering Event A or its absence alongside Event B, it's not linear, though the way we most commonly perceive it is - it's collapsed. Time is constantly collapsing.
Looping back in our emails I also think about the tracing of the phantasmic alongside the material as having everything to do with once again ocd, the compulsion to find what is hidden in plain sight (oil, ash).
Felt first, seen later, understood eventually. Infrastructure, structure, superstructure
Tracing negates anything as natural, everything becomes a construction, as we know it. The imaginary is a part of the organization of the World.
Boz said: Once again, we do not hide but rather we are that which allows the Subject to hide from itself
What is it to trace ghosts? Do you get to the center of the absence, the absence being an unnamable excess, a foundational and excessive absence - excluded for so long that despite being the parameters and the composition of the World (think dark matter) - it is also an absence in its unknowable nature (though in our consideration this repression is by design)
So tracing can feel like finding all the different trails and running up against all of the parameters of the foundation with no language to name each encounter, only recounting the tracing.
Forever tracing. Forever chasing ghosts. The best part about ghosts is perhaps the loss of singular subjectivity alongside their maintained locality.
Thinking of absences that cannot actually disappear leads me to thinking through spectral politics - socially death - blackness - living ghost - what is it to be haunted? What is it to haunt? Mostly haunting feels like a constant. Thinking about blackness as what is constantly being extracted from but what is also constantly producing through some sociality that the World and the Subject aim to contain.
In terms of the libidinal immortality desire driving the death drive. I keep speculating about it hitting its target (on accident) instead of its repeating intentional misaim - is it even capable of hitting the target if the target is the manufacturing of an absence? The misaim obviously the management of precarity to govern and to discipline, when does the pattern fail, glitch, but not actually glitch maybe just accumulate to the point of congestion, where there is not avoiding the black hole - idk but something about entropy has my brain rattling lol.
"If the libido behaves as if a loss has occurred although nothing has in fact been lost, this is because the libido stages a simulation where what cannot be lost because it has never been possessed appears as los, and what could never be possessed because it never perhaps existed may be appropriated insofar as it is lost." - Giorgio Agamben, Stanzas: Words and Phantasm in Western Culture
Again, blackness represents the ongoing failure to separate the material and the imaginary. The forced re-making of self through a lack of singularity, permanence, and security, through tracing. No exit. Haunt me.
To end quoting you quoting me, expanding the quotation: To maybe extend your indispensable line: the needs of the World are the desires of the World...and the desires of the World are the felt materialities of the World insofar as the World manufactures what it wishes to touch but cannot grasp: the flesh hidden beneath everything.
Lol, I'm going to come find you for storytime.
Boz, thank you so much for your time and attention. I'm really happy to have had this exchange with you and it has felt so anticipatory for me. You're so poetic and it's been exciting to see your points of connection and unfolding. Thank you, thank you, thank you for friendship, inspiration, and badness ;)