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Decay Modernism
03 Feb 2012

Internet contingencies allowing, I will be giving a short talk via skype on Decay Modernism for SPECTRAL: Festival for Adventurous Music & Related Arts hosted by The Wire (Berlin, February 4, 17:00pm). Anyone who is in Berlin and interested in attending, can download the slides here: http://tinyurl.com/6lhj8pc

In his recent book Passages of Proteus written in 2011, Colombian mathematician Fernando Zalamea identifies the process of decay as an expression of a profound continuity in nature through which “creativity expands without brake”. The emphasis of this talk will be on a non-romantic conception of decay as a building process whose chemico-mathematical truth constitutes the very kernel of the dialectic of the abstract and the concrete in art and a formalism based not on obstruction (i.e. various modes of singularity such as the novel, the ideal and the sublime) but on acceleration, or ‘creativity without brake’. The underlying logic of decay is presented as a mode of synchronization or modernization of the living with and according to the dead. Far from moderating the tension between the living and the dead by embarking upon a speculative justice program (Meillassoux) or overcoming such tension through a quasi-mystic anti-modernist impulse, Decay Modernism brings about the possibility of thinking the dead outside of the culture of reconciliation and understanding culture as an epistemological vanishing point of different parallel orientations of nature for the modern subject.

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