Category Archives: Critical Theory

Electric Kool Aid Turing Test slides

Yesterday I gave a conference talk; it was nominally about qualitative research on the use of psychedelic drugs and the implications this has for machine learning. But the issues here have as much to do with philosophical problems of induction and the narrow view of human intelligence which gets emphasized in AI. I’ve uploaded the slides for […]

opaque, fragile and performative selfhoods

Recently I’ve discovered some overlaps between various works of contemporary psychedelic scholarship. Over the summer I started reading Nicolas Langlitz’s book Neuropsychedelia and came across the work of Chris Letheby not long after (when he himself reached out to me after an introduction I made on a grad student listserv… +1 for email networking). Letheby co-authored a philosophical paper […]

not digging political art

Re-reading Walter Benjamin’s “The Work Of Art In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction” — good to remember this, from the epilogue, as fascist tendencies are again on the rise: “The growing proletarianization of modern man and the increasing formation of masses are two aspects of the same process. Fascism attempts to organize the newly created […]

digital culture: articles assigned on my syllabus

Putting the finishing touches on my Fall 2017 syllabus. I teach an overview of twentieth century comparative literature, with some forays into art history and media theory. An overarching theme of the course is the impact of technology on art and lit in the twentieth century. Our third and final unit specifically focuses on digital culture. Here are the […]

after life

…the invention of the Morse alphabet in 1837 was promptly followed by the tapping specters of spiritistic seances sending their messages from the realm of the dead. Promptly as well, photographic plates-even and especially those taken with the camera shutter closed-furnished reproductions of ghosts or specters, whose black-andwhite fuzziness only served to underscore the promise […]

Vita Obscura: Reclaiming Your Life Through Lies, Surgery and Performance

Here’s a little video I made. It’s a coda to a paper I’m working on titled Vita Obscura: Obfuscating Biopower. In the paper I talk about how obfuscation as an anti-surveillance strategy can be used to resist biopower (Michel Foucault’s formula for how command and control works in modern societies). The video has some imaginative examples of how this could […]

absence makes the heart

“Naming the ‘things that are absent’ is breaking the spell of the things that are; moreover, it is the ingression of a different order of things into the established one — ‘le commencement d’un monde.’ For the expression of this other order, which is transcendence within the one world, the poetic language depends on the […]