Hi Johannes,

I like the implications of plant studies and theatre.  After all, was not the original theater of ancient Greece part and parcel of the agora, the grove of trees, the place of philosophy, of walking, talking, and sitting?  Complex systems of flora and fauna are not unlike players and audiences.

Your expression "valuing of all lives" is also apropos.  Recently I've been working on a Hippocratic methodology for the theory and practice of networks.  I mean this not to blithely take a euphemistic Western bias, but in hopes of situating myself somewhat honestly and addressing accountability at least on one level of nomenclature.  (Does this count as blockchain? 🙂 )  Yet more seriously, if there is to be any sort of novel art historical adaptation in reply to the anthropocene might not a proportionate medical function be one ingredient of it?

Perhaps these ideas relate to the Treaty of Finsbury Park and The Hologram: Collective Health as a “Beautiful Art Work."  Maybe they don't, or maybe there is no way to know.  I do like tennis and gazebos, walks with plantings, and as we plant in my home city coneflowers for migratory monarchs.  

In any case, Hippocrates was a very famous contemporary of Sophocles and there is a lot of similarity in their work.

Best regards,

Max





From: NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces@lists.netbehaviour.org> on behalf of Johannes Birringer <Johannes.Birringer@brunel.ac.uk>
Sent: Monday, February 24, 2020 12:22 PM
To: netbehaviour@lists.netbehaviour.org <netbehaviour@lists.netbehaviour.org>
Subject: Re: [NetBehaviour] book ends black exits
 
dear all
hoping that others might feel comfortable joining in, and not letting this here slowly dissolve after an exhausted duologue, one of the ending questions in Max's post (before the poem), i propose, is worth repeating:

>>..given the difficult state of the planet does it make any sense to try to formulate a new theory and practice of the aesthetic to help compensate or ameliorate the crises, as has sometimes occurred for humanity in times of drastic change?  Or, would such attempts at "theories," "practices," "formulations," and "newness" all be ill-advised meddling in the natural flow of things and lives? >>

You say this at the end, after you began with a references to murderous time (and a murderous time we do live in), >>"Time's passing destroys opportunities -- doors that disappear forever, as in what is perhaps the most devastating line in Exit West " when we migrate we murder people from our lives.">>

the difficult state of our planet has not only provoked protests and extinction rebellion, and young people striking and taking time off school to demonstrate, it has also been driving other debates, i note, among students in my theatre groups, on race and inequality; some have objected to the attention awarded to Greta Thunberg, and proposed a "deblanchiment" of climate protest.

The term "blanchiment" I stumbled across when reading a shocking historical research article on Les Tirailleurs Sénégalais, black soldiers recruited from African colonies who served under french commanders for about a hundred years; the "Senegalese Tirailleurs" (this included other African servicemen) saw extensive service in West Africa, Italy, Corsica, then Germany during World War II, as well as in the liberation of southern France. In fact, these men were first used by the French in colonial wars (19th century), then in WW 1, and they fought in the second world war, and were a vital component of the army that deGaulle rebuilt (alongside the Résistance fighters) and then conjoined with Allied Forces.  they made up about 10 percent i think , in the end, of the french army. After the Liberation of France, the Tirailleurs concluded their service in Europe, being replaced with newly recruited French volunteers on the order of Charles de Gaulle - a process known as "blanchiment." The complicated process of discharge and repatriation of the Tirailleurs, coupled with the hardships faced in the winter of 1944–1945, led to several incidents of violence, most notably the Thiaroye massacre in 1944. French army opened fire on French army and killed hundreds.

I was going to mention new theories /aesthetics that have indeed cropped up, in CPS (Critical Plant Studies), but leave comments for later, just mentioning a call for contributions to a new issue of the journal "Performance Philosophy." I did not know about this new interdisciplinary field claiming that advances in botanical science, combined with increasingly urgent political concerns about the present and future conditions of plants and plant-human relationships, have resulted in a desire in and across scientific and arts/humanities communities to better understand, communicate, and value plant life and lives.
Valuing all lives, this is promising.. 

regards
Johannes Birringer







[Max schreibt]

Also now wondering if a book is a door, a door a book?  Both person-shaped, both networks and in time's network.  Network/book/door/person/time?


________________________________

Sent: Thursday, February 20, 2020 10:23 AM

Hi Johannes,

Sorry for this delayed reply but my laptop wasn't working for a couple of days.

The idea about past acquaintance is an interesting one.  I had that sense in 2017 about Calvino when I first read Six Memos, as if he had been a longtime colleague, even though I had never read any Calvino before then.  I also recently experienced this about Leonardo da Vinci, after visiting Florence last summer.  In both cases, there was something about mystery giving way to familiarity that characterized the change.  Once I felt like I "got" what they were trying to communicate, there was a sense that this connection "had been there all along."

I might venture to call this "the ambiguous benevolence of time," a phrase that occurred to me regarding Exit West.  Time's passing destroys opportunities -- doors that disappear forever, as in what is perhaps the most devastating line in Exit West "when we migrate we murder people from our lives."  However time can also bring new doors (a cliche) or allow a return to memory as Saeed's father did after his mother was killed.  Yet this pro/con aspect of new events is only the forward roll so to speak.

What if there is some kind of complexity that proliferates backward so to speak in time, not just forward, as time proceeds in complex network systems (like history, cities, people, a person)?  I don't mean this at all supernaturally.  As time goes forward, our map of the past -- an individual's or a group's -- might evolve in a way that reclaims, retains, or even in a sense creates the experience of past events.  Proust is the main example of this but I think there is more to it than just recollection plain and simple.  Perhaps I ought not even mention something I am so unclear about.  However vaguely it points for me to the nature of consciousness as temporal mapping, perhaps an example of what biologists sometimes call "anticipatory systems," and of a network sort.  History as the evolution of network intelligence.

My copy of Exit West just said Exit West, but the cover with the door seems a bit like a Magritte, with perhaps a mideast interior room about to exited into a European metropolis.  This could be read on different levels -- a consciousness moving from one library to another say, or "both sides of the coin" of the several transitions suggested.  For Calvino, cities and libraries were cognates, both encyclopedic, as he indeed argued each person is -- a net.  He argues that the novel form itself is a net, and by implication all of science, art, and history as influenced by literature.  I hope to convince my book club that part of the value of Six Memos is its relevance to fiction like Exit West and the material it addresses.

This does merge with an idea of net-behavior so to speak.  Long ago it occurred to me to think of art as a behavior, not so much objects, abstract processes, concepts, and the like.  This still makes sense to me though I more often then not forget it (hence my ongoing but flawed practice of meditation).  And if each person is a net, then what is human art but netbehavior with a small N?

The darkness quote that I read as something of a blazon is from page 8:

"The door to her closet was open.  Her room was bathed in the glow of her computer charger and wireless router, but the closet doorway was dark, darker than night, a rectangle of complete darkness--the heart of darkness.  And out of this darkness, a man was emerging."

Which brings me to the question, given the difficult state of the planet does it make any sense to try to formulate a new theory and practice of the aesthetic to help compensate or ameliorate the crises, as has sometimes occurred for humanity in times of drastic change?  Or, would such attempts at "theories," "practices," "formulations," and "newness" all be ill-advised meddling in the natural flow of things and lives?  I can see the argument for both sides so I try to listen to the two dialogue somewhat even if quietly, internally, indeed at times with an element of necessary dormancy.

Best regards,

Max

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