Some Notes on Epistemology

Decolonisation as the Horizon of Political Action (e-flux)
Irmgard Emmelhainz 

"If it has been acknowledged that capitalist exploitation depends on the organization of scientific objectivity and reason, why do we continue to uncritically uphold the ways in which we organise knowledge? We must explore forms of knowledge that we ignored by modernity and use non-Western epistemologies to question the disciplinary boundaries imposed by modern science, along with the isolation of political struggles it has led to."

"The majority of aboriginal people have epistemologies based on embodied knowledge–meaning is found in individual and collective presence, and in order to access meaning, it is necessary to live in a way that achieve physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual balance. This implies that aboriginal intellect has no limits and that meaning emerges from context and process instead of from content."

  • Art is a form of knowledge that critically questions the ways in which knowledge is generated and organised today in order to generate new knowledge and methodologies. 
  • Language structures the way in which knowledge is generated.

On Being Present Where You Wish to Disappear (e-flux)
Nana Adusei-Poku 

"theorist Sylvia Wynter stated in an open letter to her colleagues that the epistemological foundations of dominant forms of thought are one key source of the "chronic day-to-day violence" Clark spoke of. Intellectuals and scientists, argued Wynter, reproduce the epistemological foundations for this violence by treating these foundations as objective and universals." 

  • Art questions these epistemological foundations, argues against the universals for a proliferation of the particular experience.  


Modelling (3) Platypus

What is a platypus? 

"We are motivated, after failed and betrayed attempts at emancipation, and in light of their inadequate self-understanding, to re-appropriate this history in the service of possibilities for emancipatory struggle in the present – and the future.

Towards such ends, we might begin (perhaps provocatively) with the list of names that indicate the thoughts and problems issuing from events that still speak to us in the present: Marx, Lenin, Luxemburg, Trotsky, Adorno." 



Primary Marxist Reading Group

I. What is the "Left?" -- What is "Marxism?"


II. Introduction to revolutionary Marxism

Summer Reading Group


Marxism and Identity [identity politics]


The Politics of Work 

What is the #Occupy Movement? 

Capital in History: Marxism and the Modern Philosophy of Freedom

Marx's Critique of Political Economy: Proletarian Socialism Continuing the Bourgeois Revolution?


Modelling (2) GSA MFA

Tutor Sarah Tripp's text-based group discussion, Bearing Witness:
On my visit, “Bearing Witness” gathered eleven students to the JD Kelly’s “crit space” to discuss the text “You Make Me Feel Mighty Real: On the Risk of Bearing Witness and the Art of Affective Labour” by the Berlin-based writer and critic Jan Verwoert. Prior to the two-hour session, students were instructed to read and annotate the text, and “choose a quotation which opposes, critiques or extends a section from the Verwoert essay.” They were also asked to choose an artwork that responded to the piece and prepare a short statement describing what the work “witnesses” and how. “Participation by everyone is built into the [discussion’s] structure,” Tripp explained. Seated around two pulled-together tables in the small but high-ceilinged, whitewashed room, most of the students expressed frustration with the text due to its roving, circuitous style. The artworks selected in response to Verwoert’s essay were as diverse as the students: a video of Trisha Brown’s A Man Walking Down the Side of a Building, a scene from Peter Greenaway’s film The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, works by Pierre Huyghe and Michel Houellebecq. After a tentative start, a wide-ranging conversation around the nature and role of contemporary art in a broader sense and the notion of art-making as affective labor developed, and accents from around the world filled the room. At the discussion’s end, Tripp invited the students to email her with suggestions of texts for future meetings.
On justification: 
Graham Ramsay has witnessed many changes and developments in the program, first as a student from 1995–97 when he was taught by Sam Ainsley and Calcutt, and then as a tutor. He stresses the need for the students to be able to “contextualize their work in a way that’s appropriate to their practice. None of us would be happy with vague talk about intuition; we want them to be able to identify what’s peculiar to their practice in as precise terms as possible. We are relatively analytic and forensic in wanting them to clarify in terms that are important to them.”

Modelling (1) 16 Beaver


About 16 Beaver
16 Beaver is the address of a space initiated/run by artists since 1999. Since that time, it has served as place where those involved in art, politics, education, as well as a multiplicity of other contexts and fields of activity could discover and develop a common place to share research, questions, understandings, concerns, and struggles. Thus, it has been an open place to share, present, produce, and discuss a variety of artistic/cultural/economic/political projects. It has also been a site where discussions can lead to actions and action can be discussed and rethought.

Since 1999, the Reading Group at 16Beaver has organized presentations, readings, discussions, screenings, and panels with/by artists, curators, thinkers, writers, and activists.
Monday nights have been an evening to share time and generate discussions, links, ideas. Meetings usually begin at 7pm and the location is almost always at 16Beaver Street, 4th Floor.
Of course after 4 or 5 years, Monday became Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday or any day which seemed appropriate. And events, seminars, walks, activities have also been organized in different cities. The initiative for all events comes from people who become involved in the space and from friends or people we are interested in, who are visiting the city.

Common(s)Course: http://16beavergroup.org/mondays/2013/11/18/monday-11-18-13-money-needed-to-abolish-itself-commons-course-week-10/
- Speculations on how to exit the logic of money
- "We were excited by the large group which came at such short notice and humbled by the generosity everyone showed to enter a speculative space of thought and debate in the midst of our attempts to invent new forms of political resistance and common(s) life."


Why I enjoy reading groups?

Why I believe in groupness?

In isolation, our subjectivity becomes a product we consume; an echo chamber of sorts. There is really little possibility of dispersing and challenging these subjectivities on anything beside yourself. I enjoy the prospect of a reading group in the opportunity it presents towards responding to a text within multiple voices. That you aren't just confirming your biases, or being in a loop but a disjuncture.


∞venns∞ ConCon2

Some Container 
No 5, ConCon 2 \ Concepts of Capitalism

_ ConCon2

What exactly is capitalism? How can we better understand the mechanics of the system? Can it be comprehended on terms of economics alone, what about additional specificities like morality, politics and history? In ConCon, we explore the concept of capitalism. 

In ConCon1, we explore capitalism through a Marxist slant, which we will continue this exploration in ConCon2

_ ExAnnotations

This is comparative note-taking exercise that explores how notes are made and organised by situating each individual's sensitivities within a larger network. 

≠ Complete Capital Volume One, Part II. The Transformation of Money into Capital Notes

_ Syllabus

(Karl Marx \ ed. Robert C. Tucker) Capital, Volume One, p. 361 - 376 

(Nancy Fraser) Behind Marx's Hidden Abode: For an Expanded Conception of Capitalism, video (link)

(Wolfgang Streeck) The Crises of Democratic Capitalism

(Duncan Foley) Understanding Capital, chapter 1 - 2 


The Labour of Art: What Drives?

"I cringe at the idea of the hardworking artists. Firstly, I'm not at all diligent, I just have nothing else better to do. The sound of art being hard work just isn't attractive at all.

The idea of being diligent and overcompensating on the effort spent on making art, feels to me a desire to expect something in exchange from art labour. It could be an exchange for the feeling of physical and mental tiredness just to get a sense of a day completely utilized. I do not feel a need of deriving usefulness and value from art. It marks my life, turns it into a story, but that's about all I need from art."

Chun Kai Qun

When making art do you believe in rigour or hard work? 
What drives and motivates a practice?  

In making art, I believe in rigour and hard work. I am aware that this belief might emanate from the conditioning of capitalism and its prevalent hunger for productivity and ceaseless growth; a transactional mode of exchange where an anticipated outcome, profit or product is desired from the labour of art. Admittedly, anxiety often precedes over me, prompting a sense of uneasiness in 'wasting' the day away or a appetite to feel that the day has been shrewdly made use of. I want to resist all of that, but I also believe that while capitalism has defined and consumed much of the discussion around productivity, we not should bastardise the term. Creativity is a productive force, not measured in economic output, but on terms of artistic integrity.

As much as I would like to resist the velocity of capitalism or being absorbed into its rhythm in order to come into one's own pulsation, I also don't want to adopt a position of 'own-time-own-target'. I feel a strong sense of human capacity for proliferation and propagation that is derived from the struggle and challenges in working against one's comfort zone and this may or may not coincide with the deadlines, precariousness or anxiety of contemporary life. This is not a position of flowing with capital nor simply being reactionary against it, but being in constant negotiation with the conditions one is present in. I believe in some sort of oblique usefulness and value in art, something non-quantitative, a sense that art is a process that can take you to some form of higher order and in that search I require myself to have rigour, to work hard.

The question of drive is pertinent. What motivates an art practice? What drives a person to aspire towards certain ideas, where do ambition stem from?