Note: I'm slowly trying to build an index to categorize my channels. Key is incomplete!
* class resources
↔ internet history
◘ archives, libraries, collections
■ technology studies and spaces
◙ technology bias and modifications
Some etymologists speculate that the word “canon” (as in “canonical”) is related to the Arabic word “qanun,” or law in the binding, legalistic sense of that word. But that is only one rather restrictive meaning. The other is a musical one, canon as a contrapuntal form employing numerous voices usually in strict imitation of each other, a form, in other words, expressing motion, playfulness, discovery, and, in the rhetorical sense, invention. Viewed this way, the canonical humanities, far from being a rigid tablet of fixed rules and monuments bullying us from the past…will always remain open to changing combinations of sense and signification; every reading and interpretation of a canonical work reanimates it in the present, furnishes an occasion for rereading, allows the modern and the new to be situated together in a broad historical field whose usefulness is that it shows us history as an agonistic process still being made, rather than finished and settled once and for all.”
This is a form of important research that’s not bound by having access to an institution—something that often prevents people from doing research. You don’t have a university login or you don’t have the right permissions to get into a particular archive or you don’t even have the cultural capital to understand how to get into these things. I’m interested in validating all forms of research, whether it’s questioning a neighbor or looking at an institutional archive or creating your own archive and then sharing that with people.
To deprogram oneself necessitates keeping to very specific schedules, which are what Foucault, once again, described as techniques of the self, echoing Seneca. Holidays are a moment to practice such programmes. Myself, I use relaxation as a form of deprogramming. When I go on holiday, I work early and write all morning. Then, I swim, a lot, until that state when physical exertion stimulates a rush—because the brain produces a lot of endorphins. Swimming thus becomes a journey within oneself, during the course of which I run back through my memory of everything I wrote several hours earlier. Then I lie in the sun, drained, and I let my mind empty, since this is how unlikely thoughts can arise: a programming emerges from all of this. Then I return to writing: I note all that has arisen — first in the water, then in the sun — all through rereading and annotating what I wrote in the morning.
Under the sun, I sense that this mass of hydrogen that has been combusting for several billion years is a cosmic programme that intervenes in my physiological programmes — muscles, brain, various organs — and which, in this intervention, produces a difference, a change of programme which allows me to write another kind of programme: a book in which I comment generally on other books.
Books, when they are good, are thus deprogramming programmes, unlikely programmes, like poems, in which there must be, wrote Paul Claudel, “a number that prevents counting”.