Everything will be better in Chicago

Posted on | November 1, 2012 | No Comments

I’m in Chicago this week and next to speak as part of this wonderful series organised by Lauren Berlant and colleagues.

My paper is an overview of ideas coming out of the intimacy course I’ve been teaching for the past few years at Sydney – and will also draw on some ongoing projects that consider tech panics in different ways. I have been obsessed with telegraphs and early telco history lately, as this panel at U-Mass last week makes clear! So there may be some archival stuff too.

To get in the mood for the trip I am posting below some notes (impressions, keywords really) from the opening conversation between Lauren Berlant and Kathleen Stewart at the Berlin ICI earlier this year. Just looking this up now, I’m delighted to see that video of this talk is now online. Watch it!! It’s one of my favourite things to ever come true.

Thanks, Lauren and Katie, for hosting me this month.



World making: what will hold me

How to think simultaneously
– the world is in crisis
– the world is not unpredictable enough

Being with (proximity) rather than belonging
(which is way too far down the line)

what form can we imagine infrastructures for

belonging is not the condition of political commons

political subjectivity is incoherent
projected fantasy

continuity of the ordinary → contiguity of the ordinary (non-likeness)

post-normative impasse emerging

Tracking the potential becoming of an event: is this an event or an instant? Is it an incident? Or a dent?

Critical theory’s work is to enable a more capacious ordinary flourishing


Why aesthetic?
– mediation
– the proliferation of form
– capacities for attention

genre is an affectively invested form


Attachments: how we compose and attend to them
Training in attention and care
Accrual, accretion of concepts
Different model of communication a flickering between subject/objects
Political produces attachments
‘things’ throw themselves together (Heidegger)
when people get tense
Donna Haraway “Love Kills” (the animal) – talking about innocence

Proliferation of little worlds
Tweaking on forms
Dog owners, a cancer type : incommensurable worlds
Not inventive or flighty
Weighted. Can be hard to get out of even if they add no value
He had become homeless (sensory material register)
A neighbourhood of a drug addict in NYC
A nursing home – losing senses but not forms of attachment e.g. lights, people who talk too much
Economy, state, environment: genres of catastrophic attachment
Rhythms of attachment and detachment
Addiction and cushioning
Hyperactive smudging
Attunements to social as workable efficiences, sustaining some & curtailing others
Kinds of attention
Hands-on intensification (getting a handle on your hoarding problem)
The spectacle

politics of compensation
politics of competence
energies of cushioning intensification

Weight matters – the problem of labour. Turning yourself into something.


Leave a Reply

  • @melgregg

    RT @CAMEo_UoL We'll be sharing extracts from .@melgregg's issue of #CAMEoCuts throughout the day. Here's the first snippet! pic.twitter.com/nzv1…

    About 16 hours ago · reply · retweet · favorite

  • Currently reading

    I Hate the Internet
  • Goodbye Islave