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Joined 10 months, 1 week ago

I arrange things together into art, including paint, wood, plastic, raspberry pi, people, words, dialogues, arduino, sensors, web tech, light and code.

I use things other people have written to help guide these projects, so I read as often as I can. Most of what I read is literature (fiction) or nonfiction on philosophy, art theory, ethics and technology.

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Second-Hand Time (2016) No rating

Reading between the lines

5 stars

Svetlana Alexievich is a curator of stories. She is neither strictly an oral historian nor a writer, but somehow straddles both of these worlds. In this fashion, Second-Hand Time is a remarkable catalogue of tales, parables and musings by people from the former Soviet Union, all documented from interviews between 1991 and 2012.

The result is a portrait of a population. Somehow in the multitude of voices that include everything from young to old, from wealthy gentry to starving immigrant, from the islands, Georgia, Belarus, Ukraine, Siberia there is an honest reflection of a complex people. In our current climate, this book also served as a timely warning (unheeded).

Second-Hand Time (2016) No rating

We're accustomed to thinking that while our future is a mystery, the past is something that we can explain. It either happened or it didn't... For me, everything came into question... what if none of it had ever really happened? Like it was all just a film reel turning and then it stopped... I can pinpoint the moments in my life that feel like they never happened.

Second-Hand Time by  (Page 559)

The beautiful words of a young man who has fallen in love. This is from the second half of his story. The first half is about his more miserable time as a recruit in the Russian army in the early 2000s. The change in tone, and in language, is impressive from misery to joy, and this becomes a heartening tale.

Second-Hand Time (2016) No rating

Content warning CW: abstractly references Stalinist purges and executions

Living As a Bird (Paperback, 2021, Polity Press) No rating

Territory is a place where everything becomes rhythm, melodic landscape, motifs and counterpoints, matters of expression. Territory is the result of art. Territory creates and therefore insists that our thinking be guided by new relationships.

Living As a Bird by , (Page 94)

Continuing an analysis of territory in a chapter that draws from observations of bird behaviour and writing about birds, in tandem with philosophical writing (particularly that of Deleuze and Guattari, whose concept of deterritorialization as a dis-assembly of space has a strong influence on this section)

Living As a Bird (Paperback, 2021, Polity Press) No rating

On the contrary in fact, from start to finish, this book [A Thousand Plateaus by Deleuze and Guattari] sets out to make us think. And it was precisely for that reason that I needed to learn how to read it, letting myself be guided not by the words, but by its gestures, its rhythms, its pauses, by its stammering, its spluttering, its emotions. I needed to abandon my customary way of approaching the reading of scientific articles, which consisted in gleaning information, identifying facts and knowledge. I had almost forgotten that the task ~~ of philosophy is not to inform but, instead, to slow down, to slip out of tune, to hesitate.

Living As a Bird by , (Page 91)

After ~~ is p92

Despret here explains very well something how to read dense philosophy like Deleuze and Guattari without being overwhelmed.

Second-Hand Time (2016) No rating

You should know thay the birds helped us too... When a magpie hears a stranger coming it will always squawk. Give out a warning signal. They'd gotten used to us; the Germans smelled different: they wore cologne, washed with scented soap, smoked cigarettes [...] We'd strip their dead down to their underwear! Our dogs would eat their hands and faces. Even the animals got sucked into the war.

Second-Hand Time by  (Page 304)

The [...] is where I skipped some sentences. The other ... are printed like this in the text.

Second-Hand Time (2016) No rating

I was fourteen... I didn't understand a thing... All I could do was try to remember it. And now, I told you the story... I don't like the word 'hero'. There are no heroes in war... As soon as someone picks up a weapon they can no longer be good. They won't be able to.

Second-Hand Time by  (Page 303)

The end of a harrowing story from a man, half-Jewish, who survived World War II and ended up a cobbler's assistant in the Soviet partisan army. Nobody comes off well in this story, including the teller.

Living As a Bird (Paperback, 2021, Polity Press) No rating

Competition as a way of thinking also becomes all the more imperative given that territory is defined by the quality of its food resources. The calculation is therefore almost sown up in advance: if population density increases, the food supply diminishes – or, in other words, animals have no choice but to compete with one another. And that rules out an observation which, given the potential for distancing that territories primarily seem to provide, had at a very early stage left some researchers somewhat puzzled: the fact that, paradoxically, territorial animals seem to seek out the presence of others.

Living As a Bird by , (Page 68)

In the next paragraph after this quote, hammering home the same point.

Living As a Bird (Paperback, 2021, Polity Press) No rating

It is, for example, much easier to count the number of fights in which a bird gets involved than to measure the effects neighbours might have on the capacity of that same bird to detect or eject an intruder who might represent a threat.

Living As a Bird by , (Page 67)

A summary section considering how scientific research is influenced by overriding biases and prejudices in a given society – for example here on how territory is considered based on what can be quantified and measured, to fit with post-WWII western economic theory.

Living As a Bird (Paperback, 2021, Polity Press) No rating

If there are territories that are bound by song, or, more precisely, territories which insist on being sung, if there are territories which are bound by the power of a simulacrum of presence, territories which become bodies and bodies which expand to become living spaces, if there are living spaces which become songs or songs which create a space, if there are forces of sound and forces of smell, there are undoubtedly many other ways of being, many other ways of inhabiting a territory, all of which may give rise to many different worlds. What verbs could we find to evoke these forces? Might there be danced territories (the power of dance to bring together)? Loved territories (territories bound by love? The power of love), disputed territories (bound by contention), shared, conquered, marked, known, recognized, appropriated, familiar territories? How many verbs might there be and which verbs constitute a territory? And what practices will enable these verbs to proliferate? I am convinced, along with Haraway and many others, that this multiplication of worlds can make our own world a better place to live in. Creating such worlds means learning how to respect different ways of inhabiting a given space, identifying and itemizing what animals do and ~~ how each of them has developed its own way of being.

Living As a Bird by , (Page 28)

From~~ quote moves to p29

In a chapter analysing the previous one's of territories and how there are so many types we can observe in animals and birds. She emphasises the temporality of territory, and how it can change at different moments of the day, such as when a cat has just passed by and marks a territory versus later that day when the scent of the mark has faded.