User Profile

Fionnáin

fionnain@bookwyrm.social

Joined 2 years, 7 months ago

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

I use words 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.

Also on Mastodon.

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Fionnáin's books

Currently Reading (View all 11)

Patrick Freyne: OK, Let's Do Your Stupid Idea (2021, Penguin Books, Limited) 4 stars

A sock and buskin memoir

4 stars

There are few writers like Patrick Freyne that can make me laugh until tears roll from my eyes and I drop the book on the floor. Even fewer can force me to expel a whimper a few sentences later with a punch-in-the-gut moment of care or grief. And as a journalist, he does this every week with The Irish Times.

This is a book of memoir essays, not my favourite writing form but one that fits Freyne's style. He meanders between comedy and tragedy easily, including hilarious anecdotes of his childhood, his pirate radio misadventures and his band tours (I loved the NPB before he was ever a writer and really enjoyed reading those stories) interspersed with deep, thoughtful essays of his work in a care home or as a journalist. While I loved the laughs, the more touching chapters were the ones that will stay with me. I am …

Mike McCormack: This Plague of Souls (Paperback, 2023, Tramp Press) 3 stars

Released from jail, Nealon returns to the family home but finds himself alone in an …

Falling apart around us

3 stars

I love Mike McCormack's prose and imagination. This Plague of Souls is of his more sinister canon, trailing out a mystery of a protagonist who has arrived home from prison to an empty house, void of his wife and child, and where he receives continuous phone-calls from an unnamed caller who seems obsessed with how he got out of a prison sentence. In the final section, this mystery unspools into another, broader mystery.

While some of the imaginative ideas are rich, such as the backstory of the protagonist and his wife's first living together in rural Ireland, the book failed to form any sense of intrigue. It felt a little like a short story that had been stretched out like an elastic band, that lacked any more content to become whole as a novel. The prose is good throughout, and the book has merit in its involved portrayal of a …

Stefano Harney, Fred Moten, Zun Lee: All Incomplete (Paperback, 2021, Minor Compositions) 5 stars

Building on the ideas Harney and Moten developed in The Undercommons, All Incomplete extends the …

Decolonising me

5 stars

Moten & Harney are well known for their brilliant 2013 book The Undercommons that mostly explores colonial practices in university systems. In All Incomplete they extend these ideas beyond the university, and into a broad discourse on embedded colonialism and philosophy of logistics. They also extend the collaboration to include the photographer Zun Lee, who completes this book with extraordinary street photography and a thoughtful concluding chapter.

Moten & Harney write poetic-academic, and it is not initially easy reading. The content is heavy enough, but as part of their practice of decolonising they also refuse to waste or misuse the English language, and this is a strength. Once I found a rhythm, I loved every paragraph (and reread most of them). So deep is their research, and so rich is the perspective that they present, that no word is wasted in a deceptively short book. The focus is on showing …

The Invisible Committee: To Our Friends (EBook, 2015, Semiotext(e)) 4 stars

PDF version from The Anarchist Library

A reflection on, and an extension of, the ideas …

Wry, far-reaching, loud

3 stars

This book is a response to the Invisible Committee's previous work, The Coming Insurrection. It revisits some of that book, which I have not read and don't fully understand the links. However, as a standalone work, this is interesting if often overly dogmatic. Laying out the entanglements between political, technological and social power with a pantagruelist humour throughout. Not really eye-opening but it draws some interesting connections, the most interesting being the presentation of crisis as a political tool, something that feels increasingly relevant.

The Invisible Committee: To Our Friends (EBook, 2015, Semiotext(e)) 4 stars

PDF version from The Anarchist Library

A reflection on, and an extension of, the ideas …

On the one hand, the iPhone concentrates all the possible accesses to the world and to others in a single object. It is the lamp and the camera, the mason’s level and the musician’s recording device, the TV and the compass, the tourist guide and the means of communication; on the other, it is the prosthesis that bars any openness to what is there and places me in a regime of constant, convenient semi-presence, retaining a part of my being-there in its grip.

To Our Friends by  (Page 15)

Stefano Harney, Fred Moten, Zun Lee: All Incomplete (Paperback, 2021, Minor Compositions) 5 stars

Building on the ideas Harney and Moten developed in The Undercommons, All Incomplete extends the …

The plantation is the First Bank of the United States. The plantation is the Federal Reserve. The good debt that is never paid off is opposed to the bad debt that is never paid, only ever partially remitted and only in name, gesturally, appositionally, tragicomically, in the rich, deadpan austerity of our refusal of austerity. We be barbecuing in the park, roasting these beautiful chestnuts all over the agora.

All Incomplete by , , (Page 85)

El Putnam: Livestreaming (EBook, 2024, University of Minnesota Press) 4 stars

Livestreaming is ubiquitous in our Covid-19-inflected era. In this book, EL Putnam takes up the …

Concise yet broad review of livestreamed performance art

4 stars

This short book covers more ground than it ought to. In six chapters, Putnam draws connections between photographic media, camgirls, streamed acts of political resistance and COVID-19 performance artworks through online media. It is a breadth of information and interesting connections, underpinned by the socio-technological philosophy of Gilbert Simondon.

Putnam is a thoughtful author, and leaves scope for different readings and space for different bodies to understand this book. The relationship between artist->camera->transfer infrastructure->screen->audience as it has unfolded over the past 30 years is taken into consideration and leaves lots of room for thought. As a research project, it is comprehensive and clear, and an enjoyable read.