• michel foucault answers two questions on march 17, 1976


    At the end of the final lecture of Michel Foucault’s fascinating 1976 Collège de France course entitled «Il faut défendre la société» [“Society must be defended”], he responds to two questions asked by an audience member. Normally there were no question sessions following the lectures, and in this case Foucault sounds like he doesn’t much want to respond. His replies were not included the published transcripts, but the audio of the courses has now been made available online at Free Foucault by some good Samaritan pirates (finally!). In the final lecture, Foucault introduces the idea of biopolitics as a new regime of state power that he sees emerging in the late 19th century, which surpasses and reconfigures both the old logic of classical sovereignty as well as more recent (since the 18th century) disciplinary regimes. It also subsumes and transforms the radical historical discourse that Foucault has been studying throughout the course, that of a war of the races.

    Biopower, Foucault explains, makes people live and lets them die, rather than letting them live and making them die, as classical sovereignty had. Death goes from being a matter of open and well-nigh universally observed public spectacle to almost a matter of indifference to the state, which instead concentrates on manufacturing and optimizing the life of its subjects. Foucault returns to the historical discourse of a war of the races that he earlier elaborated in intriguing detail, attempting to explain how the transition to a biopolitical regime through the French Revolution and its aftermaths more or less amounted to the effacement of such a war and the essentially partisan perspective it implies. At the same time such a transition triggers and necessitates the emergence of a novel kind of biologically-constructed racism as an essential instrument of state power. This new kind of racism doesn’t focus on an external enemy that must be defeated as in the old discourse of warring races or nations, as that mode of war has been eclipsed. Instead it is organized around the preservation and advance of the race and the nation (both now in the singular) through its purification and management at the level of the population. Within the parameters of the new biopolitical regime, Foucault argues, racism is the sole means by which states can now exercise their sovereign right over the death of their subjects, and as such it becomes a fundamental technology or mechanism of the biopolitical state.


  • undays

    well, what have we, nothing much. slow days, random open time days obsession with useless crap days. some work days, not much essay days, a break from essay days, no writing days, no reading days, no solving my flight refund from huge collapsing airline days, they don’t even answer days, they don’t even let you wait for hours on the phone for them days, i didn’t really really finish my essay days, it was shit anyway days, will i fix what i know i should fix in it days, avoiding doing much days, a few notes days but never edit them days, it’s kinda like just pissing in the dirt days, foucault days though actually, so there are those, foucault war and the origins of feudalism + the origins of modern nationalism days, russian hackers signing up to my server days, and i don’t even have a privacy policy which makes it technically illegal in germany days, and i probably shouldn’t risk it days, i deleted all these packages coz i didn’t think i needed them days, got obsessed with slimming it down days, then realized it was stupid to risk bugging up my shit up days, and restored them all contritely days, what were they even days, were they even days?, slow libidoless days, writinglessness days, uncaring about my ongoing failingness days, nonce days, indifferent to indifference days, breathtakingly beautiful tropical autumn days, but we can’t live them days, because we are fucking stuck up here in this tower days, our snake left its tree and never came back but all the birds came back days, they sit and sing on the branches the snake used to live on days, ive seen nothing else but this ancient mountain face world outside our window for months days, unmoving days, unmoved days, the days are all the same days, and its kinda my own fault too days, mildly drinking days, flattened to really flat days, shortened days, cropped days, will i ever leave this apartment and will i ever cross the atlantic again days, fuck the fucking atlantic give me the pacific and the fucking southern ocean any day days, i never was one for the atlantic days, at least not the european side of it ive seen days, it was like a bathtub days, but from rio i have respect for its power days, not that i’ve seen it in months even though i’m staying only 5 blocks away days, feeling old and boring days, sapped days, eating endless piles of vegetables out of boredom days, roasting or frying the shit out of them days, kefir days, green tea days, cancer food and drink days, amazingly amazing salted bacalhau days, tropical fruit just days, cashew juice days, cramped limbs days, lame stretching attempts days, am i getting even skinnier days, no haircut for months days, strained eyes days, rsi arms days, solving problems that don’t exist days, streaming half a film until the computer conks out and we still don’t know why maybe its overheating days, the solution recommended in the online forum worked for someone else but not for you days, your mileage may vary days, why did you copy some random commands posted online ten years ago and execute them on your system you idiot days, but at least you read it days, you might as well not even bother days, console days, terminal days, command line interface days, side-by-side but not really together days, in that we are all similar to items in an archive days, wholly engrossed in something not at all urgent because that’s all i can do rn days, what else am i gonna do days, what do you expect me to do or be days, pyjama days, letting it all go days, doing it all and not letting it or anything else go because what else days, the same old albums days, and same overwhelming memories days, keep neurotically switching fonts days, trying to be interested days, trying to remember how to move days, trying to be around days, unable to be anything else than around days, everyone robotting days, except the wonderful bots days, liberal imprisonment days, same old hideous aqua glass table days, awful interior decoration days, plastic fake wood grain days, undays and undays and undays.

  • made redundant


    i guess this is a kind of draft write-up of a tirade i wrote on christmas day last year. why not share a tirade. you can also read the pdf version of this text.

    null beginning

    Nothing is happening, but you are not where you are. You are emptied and filled, tied down and thrown overboard. You go to move closer to where you are, but where you are moves as you do. Is it a kite in the wind strung to your waist, is it straining to elude you or indifferent to your straining. You are continually ‘acting’, in both senses of the word, you have to, yet you are also a kind of atmosphere or field through which broken scraps and threads of thought continually flow, and these needn’t have any necessary link to any of your actions or acting. You go to seize them as they flow out of and across you, but you are not where you are and nor are they. You go to fix one, as a garment to a table for trimming, but it frays and the threads wriggle away to combine anew or miraculously multiply to become other flowing scraps of thought. They flow through your atmosphere, obscuring the massive, implacable rack-work of logic it is also home to. It seems like anything could be constructed with and upon this rack-work, even an upturned world. Yet in this atmosphere it moves through anything, the scraps flow right through it, it cannot net them, cannot be recruited for your project of pinning them down to tailor something. It is organization itself, but for its own sake: it is completely useless for the actual practice of organizing something in particular, least of all your own self. You dream, you are dream, you are so filled it seems a miracle, so filled it hurts too, it hurts to be this filled openness, and so exposed. You are filled and falling, you are far, far below a sentence, a proposition, you see it as a possibility as one sees a scene from underwater, blindingly bright yet impossibly contorted, unattainable even as inner vision. And you see it far, far below you too, like a stone glimpsed by a flying eagle, a stone in a pile of stones. And yet reams of language bottleneck inside you, you’re awash with it, riddled with it, with both its ethereal flow and the pitiless density of its arms, arms that sometimes reveal they have the power to split (and fuse) anything. This power, does it come from the scraps, does the rack-work secrete it, does it make the scraps and the rack-work. Do they have anything in common at all. Would you maybe know the answer to these questions if you were where you are, or can that power maybe help you get there. Is it the way or the goal. Has anyone ever known anything of all this in a way other than you are straining to now, which is to say, other than this not-knowing-shit-about-the-lot-of-it, the lot of it that you are and are also failing to be.


  • suns

    we know that if we are kings we are supposed to be the sun, everyone from akhnaten to louis xiv thought that, it is a staple of vitalist power to pretend (in both senses) to be the generative principle itself, the very possibility of growth. and ever since popular sovereignty we have been supposed to be kings (emphasis on supposed).

    but i was walking around in the mountain prairies the other year gawking at the fields teeming with amazing flowers, and i realized something else about us<—>the sun: that maybe we are all also like suns in that everything happens, and in happening it can be happening for our eyes; our eyes are like backward suns, receptacles for the generative principle itself.

    the sun sends light to plants, and plants strive upward back toward the sun and its infinite light, in the direction of what feeds them. but in doing so they also swatch open into the spaces where everything and one is, and this opening out and filling out of the spaces we happen to inhabit, it is just that it is hard not to say that this is also a striving into the infinite darkness of our eyes, not merely a performance for eyes, but a raw and visceral driving at them, into them, whether or not the eyes or their owners realize it.

    this is not meant in a egomaniacal way (the eye is impersonal), nor in an anthropocentric way (there are other eyes), and the feeling that happened to me on the prairie was not at all akin to the usual self-interested leering of anthropos, it was a wholly depersonalized experience, and i experienced it as a stepping back out of ‘my’ vision to ‘see’ these interactions independently of individual agents and their positions. maybe it would be better to say that our eyes are usurping and backward suns. the black disc intervenes to capture the light being bounced back to the sun, intercepts it. it absorbs all, which it then processes into knowledges and informations and evaluations such that it can then pretend (in both senses) to be the generative principle itself.

    so imagine you are a sun, negative or positive or both, you are a sun, and there is no longer any earth time, which depends on that tiny planet’s rotation as it orbits you. there are no days, no nights, no lunar months, no seasons, no years and no possibility of eclipse, of blinking, there is only burning without measure, and absorbing without measure, neither of which now occupy a point, but an indefinite field. you face in all directions, and stay the (non-existent) course.

  • mkv-this

    i recently wrote a small text generation programme called mkv-this. it’s really just a wrapper for the markovify python library (which is what powers all your favorite twitter bots), a way of passing the options it provides to an end user.

    you can feed it text files, a directory (tree) of text files, URLs or PDFs, or a combination of these, and it will output new texts depending on the options you select.

    i have been feeding it my journal, my dream diary, my email sent folder, my notes and scrapbooks, as well as books by other ppl, etc. the types of juxtpositions, derailings and re-threadings it comes up with can sometimes resemble haruspicy, and often also utter trash, which is also great.

    the code (which is very bad but i’m slowly getting better), as well as details on how to install and use the progamme, are available at

  • february

    i made a forth month poem, february.

  • january

    i made a third month poem, january.

  • hangar

    picture yrself in a great hall, a hangar, built of alien alloys. picture your friends, families, loved ones, dear ones, communities, comrades, kin, your ppl and their ppl and their ppl and so on going about their livings, their daily commerce with small lime green plants and yellow grains and seeds from the outside, picture their handy creations kocked up from wood or clay or metal. picture their stories and theatres and histories and astrophyisicses. now picture an immense black form, a kind of solid matte box or crate that is the exact form of the hangars interior, now picture it filling the hangar, now picture vertical ppl celebrating something inside it.

  • metadata as history

    my thought today1 upon waking: will metadata, which is a waste product of machine—machine interactions, become the historical record, ie externalised or technical human ‘memory’. ie will it (functionally if not literally) replace the library/archive: this person was here, that person was there, said this to this person, did that to that person, manipulated this, re-coded that, exploited these people, screwed those ones, invented this new value-extraction-from-living-flesh app which saved us all, ergo made civilization, programmed this satellite community’s shoddy air system, modified x gene in their lab-grown meat, sent the ppl in that other satellite to their deaths in space in the name of fearless technological progress but actually for the insurance money, etc… and this info wouldn’t be in a library, in the sense of a funcionally separated/localised institution, it would just be backed up in the logs on the machines running whatever different kinds of infrastructure.

    1. it wasn’t really today, but i’m changing the historical record. it was today when i wrote the word ‘today’. 


  • another month poem

    i made another month poem, december.

  • store visit

    i was walking away from a polluted urban stream lined by peppercorn trees or willows and into a fairly large and empty urban distribution centre car park. and although outside, and although i just walked out of a polluted urban stream, i’m carrying a purple helium-filled merchandise balloon from a store, holding it by the knot. and then i walk ‘into’ another ‘store’, but its all outdoors, in a car park, there are no products on display, no walls, no cash registers, just a single uniformed shop assistant. i get nervous because she will see me as i try to climb over the thief-proof exit, which is one of those electic detectors you see at the exits of media stores, but this one is also fitted with a 7ft. high pane of plexiglass blocking the gap between the two detectors (which i guess means no one may exit the store legitimately because all customers are theives?), and this person-sized transparent wall is surrounded by nothing, no other obstacle, its just there out in the open of the car park, blocking only the footpath. i try to climb it, but as i near the top i realise it is too precarious atop it to shunt myself over, there are no footholds, just smooth plastic. i know ill lose my balance and the single shop assistant will notice me if i struggle. so i ease myself down and explain i bought the purple helium-filled merchandise balloon from another outlet, and the woman escorts me away in some direction toward something else.

  • okay k hole

    friday was a really tough day, and/but then it turned into such a big and broad and full one. i’ve been manic and depressed at once, too tired and vague in the day to do or think anything, too frantic at night to sleep. i tried to organize my mess of thoughts and files and systems, failed, suffered, gave up trying to make any essay plans again coz it was just too hard and the weight of it was pressing me down into a collapsed hole. so went walking in the gloom and rain, walking in the park where the cops were searching the garden beds used by the dealers to bury their stashes. they didn’t look very confident of finding anything. it wasn’t really a raid, no sirens, no theatrical arrests. just stop the van quietly, get out and start scrounging around in the bushes, movements not unlike the dealers.


  • november

    here’s a new text i made: november. laid out in LaTeX for kicks.

  • sunday

    when i just can’t bare anything any more, when everything is pressing into that space just behind/above the backs of my eyes and when my face is exhausted from being scoured with pollutants, when i can’t rly breathe properly because the state stuck a wrench in my chest and put a bounty on tightening it, i hunch down in a filthy wet gutter and read sam langer’s untitled book and let the quiet laser or quiet lightning or quiet white noise bolt through my pores.

  • doing fine

    doing fine. yeah leave it with me and ill get back to you.