Sunday, 14 November 2010

14th November 2010

We might ask ourselves “when do our memories and the contents of what make up our perspective become obsessive?”. Such a question assumes that memories become distilled into a unified object. If there can be nothing differentiated as memory – as opposed to science for example – memory can be considered objectified as a particular arena for analysis. Do we decide to study science, history and memory, art, design, politics, engineering? Perhaps at some point we are confronted with the value of choosing which studies to undertake. Do we want to become and engineer, a mechanic, an office worker, a manual labourer? What of the question itself – the base paradox that we have a choice?

Is it scary to consider choice? Does it strike fear into a theorist that searches for pure interpretations? A fear borne from a dichotomy that the everyday is of no value and that there is something to be sought that is “higher”, of grander value. What compelled the theorist to neglect the everyday, especially considering that it was the everyday that brought them to the question of the “higher truth” in the first place. Is the positing of the question enough to render the importance of the everyday – to highlight it? How to withdraw from labyrinthine interpretation, to contemplate my desires, my relationship with time, texture, rhythm, presence?

What is compulsion – a focus of intensity or a cultural pattern reinforced by the contents of my surroundings? Cultural norms do not exist – so how can they be studied? Do cultural studies provide a thoroughfare for contemplating values that we neglect ourselves? Can it provide alternatives? Or can it highlight (v-effekt) the norms we associate with, and provide us with freedom of movement – an awareness of choice?

Tomorrow is Monday and I will be returning to my desk. From the first minute I will be craving the last of the week. I will be dodging as much labour as possible, and as much responsibility. I will hate the work, yet I have done it for so long that I can render a buffer between it and my mind. I must do this work to be with my girlfriend and to study next year. I must do it. There is the overwhelming feeling that there is no alternative. I must pursue a career as a lecturer and researcher so that I may engage with what I value to a far higher degree. I must engage with this act and this lie. Some might say that it is bad for you to live a life as a liar – that it takes its toll. I don’t care because I must be with my girlfriend and I must be with her soon. If it causes me problems down the line – if I turn into a compulsive liar – so be it. The only thing I can do right now is try to be with her. I won’t think in any other way.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

The Intertwining of Remembering

and Forgetting in Walter Benjamin

Amresh Sinha

The concept of aging in Walter Benjamin's essay on "The Image of Proust" as the interweaving or intertwining (verschränkte) of remembrance and forgetting reveals the similarity between them which must not be mistaken for identity.[1] Even the confusion that results when something is remembered as forgotten should not lead us to equate the two. Yet to view them as purely antithetical or oppositional categories is also a mistake. A close reading of Benjamin's essay directs us to the difference between remembering and forgetting specifically as the discrepancy between the presence and the absence of the self.


Friday, 5 November 2010

When I go through the draws of my desk and I find the one with my birth certificate why do I get an urge to rip it apart?

Adorno on 60s Protest Music

Thursday, 28 October 2010

She closed herself off to him

Moving closer to her he who had filled her thoughts for years without being seen nor heard nor felt
Only aged photos
A smile across his face, arms outstretched
Not the first to be held, nor the last (of a heirarchy of attention)
The smile not lost, getting wider and the panic reaching her skin
Ignore him
Ignore him all night long
Thoughts of the future, forget the present, can't make sense of the present, can only control the future, only the future can be open
Ignore him all night long, even to the point of condescension
It's better that way

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Dialectical Images and UK Governmental Cuts; What do I do?

When I walk with my cameras I often use the idea of the dialectical image spoken of by Walter Benjamin to guide me.

To me dialectics, though I understand it as being interpreted differently by others, suggests the potential for considering my situation in a different - or differing - light. The basis for this lays with the idea that a uni-quivical interpretation of my situation is a fabrication, disconnected from the antagonisms of my thoughts and memory. How can there I lock myself into ideological maxims based on my past when memories and history remain in the future?

As such my idea of politics is one based on the potential for thinking antagonistically (though, I hope, not being an awkward bugger). The difficulty I have, and the reason why I am writing this, is the problem I felt about an hour or so ago. I came home from work and my parents mentioned the government cuts that are everywhere right now.

My mum said to me that the Conservative government has said that people living in social housing "should not expect to live in it forever". That means us. At first my blood boils. My parents have lived in this place for 27 years this month, five months after I was born. It was originally given to them when my Dad worked at a factory that included rented housing. Now that my parents are retired they live here with financial support that renders this place "social housing".

I walk around with my cameras, I do my writing, "I think politically" and I read Benjamin, Adorno and Marcuse. I remember reading a quote from Benjamin that revolution is like putting the breaks on the train of history. But when people such as those wish to attack our lives I feel impotent.

These people in government - it doesn't matter who they are, Labour or ConDem, have power over that which I have power, and I have no means of arguing against it. I am powerless. Unlike France the majority of this country believe that these cuts are right. The government can do what they like with me, and I never even voted for them. My voice was cancelled out because of all places I live in the constitutency of the prime minister. My vote and voice is forgotten through first past the post. Of the 30 odd percent of the country that voted, 80 percent are like mine, wasted votes. Of those votes that do count, 30 odd percent constitutes the government. But that's almost irrelevant.

The descendents of those in government have always had power of my descendents and the reason they have power over me now is contributed to by this. But this is surely also irrelevant.

The powerlessness I feel is a component of the situation, an aspect of my memory that I need to politicise - to argue with. I said that this is unlike France, that nothing will ever happen, but to hold that as a truth is to render pessimistic ideal.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Tough choices

On BBC Radio 1 today the newsbeats on the half hours often headlined "young people are ready to make tough choices”, after the show conducted a poll that came up with the following results; ‘… three-quarters (76%) of 18-24-year-olds thought unemployment payments should be cut and 68% said housing benefit needs to be reduced‘. The broadcasts communicated opionions of 18-24 year olds on the streets, with varying severity. The broadcast, in keeping with the BBC’s commodity of "balance", presented comments by a single mother, recently unemployed, that was struggling with the benefits she currently receives.

I wonder if the comments of these people are referred to as “tough choices” due to the following framework; British 18-24 years olds can be understood as liberal, moral types who do not like to impose their will on others (-liberal), but in return do not want others to impose their will on them by forcing them to pay taxes. If this is the case then there exists a philosophy among those that resent paying taxes for the benefit of others that the benefits they receive have been earned by themselves alone and that they have needed to rely on no one in their lives. The “tough choices” are just a verbal projection that accompanies the need to cover up pretensions to moral, vindictive comments.

I find myself descending into vengeance, how can they possibly not recognize the hypocrisy of their accusations – do they not know the benefit they receive from the pain of others in the form of their electronics and fashions produced by others and the debt they enjoy that has been loaned by states (such as China) due to the pittance earned by those same workers?

But whenever my temper flares up I feel like I’m falling. My seeking moral superiority is absolutely no different to the vindictive attitudes towards those on benefits that seem so prevalent.

I need to disconnect from the finality of moral superiority. I don’t want to live in that environment. However, does that mean I shouldn’t campaign on behalf of others? On the contrary, I don’t see why campaigning for others should be qualified through morals. Are there memories at risk that I myself cherish - not just from the broad emphasis on moral superiority - but also the implementation of them on specific memories themselves? However, if I try to seek out moral superiority in all my works of life I also fear I will descend into a paranoid witch-hunt. In contrast I think I just have to remember what is important to me.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Sunday, 21 February 2010

List 1. Study into the Division of Labour

This began on 15/02/2010 and after a lot of newbie-blogger faffing I deleted, tried it in a new format and re-posted on 21/02. Rather than produce different blog posts I'm using one blog post and updating it all the time. Just like memory I'll keep modifying it - even the old posts - because who rights lists upside down like a blog?


Bristol City Centre Christian Street Preachers &
interaction with Photographer, shot 13/02/2010
Shonagen wasn't solely concerned with lists that quicken the heart. Lists can often be (necessarily) tragic too. The first list I want to begin compiling studies the Division of Labour. This list does not want to refer to the Division of Labour in order to reify solidarity or class consciousness but it does want to investigate the disconnections between labourers (in the broadest possible conception of labour) that seems so utterly tragic. Can the concept of the Division of Labour help?


We went to Clifton in Bristol, first stop Clifton "Village". We wanted to get a place up there because of the gorge but the cost was a joke.

Maybe there's another way of getting around the cost.


Empire by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, 2001: 335

In geographical regions such as the Southern cone of Latin America or Southeast Asia, all levels of production can exist simultaneously and side by side, from the highest levels of technology, productivity and accumulation to the lowest, with a complex social mechanism maintaining their differentiation and interaction. In the metropolises, too, labor spans the continuum from the heights to the depths of capitalist production: the sweatshops of New York and Paris can rival those of Hong Kong and Manila. If the First World and the Third World, center and periphery, North and South were ever really separated along national lines, today they clearly infuse one another, distributing inequalities and barriers along multiple and fractured lines. This is not to say that the United States and Brazil, Britain and India are now identical territories in terms of capitalist production and circulation, but rather that between them are no differences of nature, only differences of degree. The various nations and regions contain different proportions of what was thought of as First World and Third, center and periphery, North and South.


Where does the division of labour come into force in this "article"? Is it where tax payers want to tell public sector workers how to work and get paid? Is it when they say they should feel grateful for any wage in a recession? Is it when they think that we are only given work by some governmental, entrepreneurial deity?

I don't agree with a lot of what Chairman Mao said, did and how he has been worshipped for destraction - I've never been able to bring myself to wearing that Mao shirt I bought in Guangdong after I was told about the Great leap Forward the very same day. But mass famine, a population explosion and a single-child policy aside, surely there's some value to the idea in some context that many hands make light work, afterall who gets to define how many hands?

by Chris Price Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Taxpayers in Kent are venting their anger at county council staff poised to ballot for strike action over a one per cent pay offer.

There are calls for council staff to "live in the real world" as many private sector workers fear for their jobs.

Our users feel council staff should be glad to have jobs during the economic downturn and be grateful for any pay rise offered.

Someone who left their name as Disgruntled Tax Payer from Kent said: "I must be in the wrong job. We are in a recession.

"Like most people I don’t know when my employer will be cutting back on staff. Who in their right mind asks for a pay rise when they are lucky to have a job?"

Ian from Maidstone said: "Public sector salaries are more than those for comparable jobs in the private sector and the private sector does not even have the benefit of copper-bottomed pensions.

"They should try living in the real world where liquidations occur all the time. When was the last time a public sector employee lost their job through insolvency?"

But Allan Macdonald, a KCC employee from Whitstable, wrote: "I am on below the average wage and expected to work my 7.4 hours between 7am and 10pm seven days a week as the need arises.

"I get no overtime payment for any extra hours I do, just time in lieu, which I am not allowed to build up.

"But on a good note, our KCC bosses and executives are helping the cause by forgoing their bonuses this year. Wow."

The news of the potential strike action has provoked resentment from the TaxPayers' Alliance.

Its campaign manager Susie Squire said: "Many ordinary taxpayers who work in the private sector are facing redundancy and pay cuts.

"It is unfair for them to be shouldered with an ever heavier financial burden to sustain a bloated public sector."