“Speculative Realist (Found) Object Intervention” at “Welcome to MIT Playtest” at MIT List Visual Arts Center on May 16 succeeded in bring a post-subjective dialectic simultaneously into the American art museum & the academy at the start of “MIT Media in Transition +10: Democracy in Digital Media” — where the Mother of all academic panels took place under Sultan Sharrief’s visionary art process.
The introduction to the conference in the rarified space of the MIT List Arts Center was an interactive/participatory Event delivering the new paradigm art that I have been exalting as a critic for two decades!
At the entrance was preconference organizer Sultan Sharrief’s invitation to participate in his VR multimedia project-in-process: “Ancestral Holograms.” Encountering his ancestor in VR had a haunting effect after I met his brother in the food line and experienced his mother’s powerful presence on the integrated panel offering valuable insights about authentic collaboration arising from the heart — with examples in the local community.
By way of this rooted authenticity, the ancestral tradition leaps from locality to the national stage of the art museum!
“Welcome to MIT Playtest” on May 16, 2019 was an invitation to conference participants bring projects for open discussion…
“Speculative Realist (Found) Objects & the Ontology of Desire: Montreal, Cyprus and Berlin” found there way into the art museum by way of “Welcome to MIT Playtest” on May 16, 2019.
Valerie Giovanini (EGS 2017) hands a participant a card about her “Handmaiden’s Tale” panel with a photo depicting the use of the speculative object of the Eros uniform in civil disobedience.
I discuss a new dialectic of Eros in the academy with Sasha, a theater student deconstructing the character of Blanche in “Streetcar named Desire” for the local Fringe Festival.
After my first participation in an authentic incorporation of VR as an interactive medium into a paradigm leap as the organizer’s prompt into “Welcome to MIT Playtest”…participants were led through a makeshift labyrinth in the basement of the building…
Dr. Lisa Paul Streitfeld at the MIT List Arts Center in Cambridge on May 17, 2019.
CLICK HERE for the video of Dr. Streitfeld’s presentation.
Web 3.0 and the (R)evolution of Desire: The Quantum Leap from #MeToo to #WeToo
Dr. Lisa Paul Streitfeld
Kulturindustrie theorist Dr. Lisa Paul Streitfeld has been a pioneer of realtime online New Media collaborative practice since 2006. Her 2014 project designated to open online social network space for Web 3.0 collaboration made her a target of binary opposition when the #MeToo media firestorm arising from celebrity cult power structures hit home turf. Her paper is the outcome of a 2018 Web 3.0 collaboration assessing the impact of social media movements: “From #MeToo to #WeToo”.
#MeToo shaking up entrenched power structures and collapsing the hierarchies of celebrity cults in government, the academy and the entertainment industry is viewed from a quantum Web 3.0 perspective freeing desire from the oppression of the Web 2.0 “Like.” Producing the phenomenology of a media firestorm surrounding a Web 3.0 initiative to deconstruct the hidden power structures surrounding Critical Theory celebrity cults in the American academy, this paper utilizes hermeneutics as apparatus to investigate the historical nature of cult and its relation to the occult as the alternative to the patriarchal literary canon. Dr. Streitfeld’s philosophical archeology of #MeToo investigates institutional control over feminine desire against the contemporary mythology of a Reality TV twittering Oval Office bypassing governmental hierarchies to demonstrate a transparency of power transcending Clinton’s scandalous affair in the literal seat of power under the similar circumstances of a government shutdown. From the cultural upheaval, the emergence of a universal 21st century icon of gender balance is apprehended by means of tracing the hermeneutics of desire in the academy — from the academic repression following the landmark 1992 Jane Gallop sexual harassment case up to the 2018 #MeToo disclosure of the gender-bending digital phenomenology of institutionalized erotic coercion in Reitman vs. Ronell debated endlessly through social media. This paper is the outcome of the author’s twelve-year social media experiment — from the psychological domination of Eros via the Web 2.0 “Like” into the liberating quantum leap of the Web 3.0 #WeToo collaboration across the social network.
Schopenhauer had it easy; he simply had to write his elegant prose to make philosophy and science indistinguishable with literary insights drawn from an inkwell. This is perhaps the reason why he was unknown in his time but had everlasting fame as the philosopher of genius.
Today, reviving the humanities means connecting these separate disciplines to form a holistic human model capable of meeting the challenges of the 21st century. A 30-year correspondence between C.G. Jung and Wolfgang Pauli, the father of modern science, resulted in a mutual prophecy of the 21st century icon, the Hieros Gamos, revealing an emergent holism of the psyche. Yet their joint project failed to meet the stated mission of marrying psychology and science (Roth, 2012).
Now this vision finds success in Jung’s Switzerland. Vincenzo Di Nicola, a Canadian psychiatrist, had a breakthrough while working on his Ph.D. with the French philosopher Alain Badiou in the final years of the Schirmacher laboratory European Graduate School in Saas-Fee.
Di Nicola’s entanglement with Badiou was sourced in the merging of their separate notions of event (philosophy) and trauma (psychiatry). “I decided to examine nothing less than the history of modern psychiatry and its relationship to philosophy by investigating trauma,” he writes in a two-part paper in the American Philosophical Association blog. “During my seminars with Alain Badiou (2005, 2009a), I was struck by the symmetry between his description of the event as an opening and my emerging understanding of trauma as a rupture. When I consulted him, Badiou immediately recognized trauma/event as a fresh and innovative pairing” (Di Nicola, 2017).
Di Nicola’s Trauma and Event throws the symptom-based DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) and methodological EBM (Evidence-Based Medicine) out the window. It essentially flattens the patriarchal hierarchical model of psychotherapy, which he sums up as hermetically sealed, into mutual observation, a collaboration between patient and healer. “The face-to-face encounter that Levinas described can never be altogether symmetrical but we identify the asymmetry as much as possible and negotiate the differences,” Di Nicola explains. “Psychoanalysis is being conceived more and more as a ‘bipersonal field’ and so much work is going on in this field that Werner Bohleber (2010) refers to an intersubjective turn (Di Nicola, 2017).
This new practice identifies the Di Nicola “orphan” in-between diagnostic categories signaling an unexpected “event” by means of the rupture preceding trauma. The psychiatrist explains the process as one of psychic reorganization following profound insight, or what physicists qualify as a quantum leap. Di Nicola writes about how James Joyce, who was influenced by Freud through the first Italian psychoanalyst, Edoardo Weiss, called this an epiphany: “Joyce’s epiphany is Freud’s insight and may be understood as something that occurs in the eventual site, which I call a predicament. The epiphany or insight is a response to the predicament. We could go so far as to say that the predicament, the eventual site, is a necessary condition for insight. Only a cut, a tear in the world can create the acute sense of a rupture that requires a response. Once the analysand has her epiphany, thoughts, actions and feelings are at first interpreted, and later experienced, differently. For this translation from interpretation to insight to new experience to occur, a deep fidelity must accompany the procedure” (Di Nicola, 2017).
Fidelity fits with the French philosopher’s view of psychoanalysis as love, which means interrelationship, energy flowing from the heart, as opposed to solely from mind. Crossing the border from psychoanalysis to philosophy, we pick up on Badiou’s language for the Event through the psychiatrist’s interpretation: “In my reading of Badiou, the three conditions for an event are: to encounter an event (which is a purely contingent encounter), to give it a name, and to be faithful to it. The subject emerges through the event. By naming it and maintaining fidelity to the event, the subject emerges as a subject to its truth…‘Being there,’ as subjective phenomenology would have it, is not enough” (Di Nicola, 2017).
In other words, pro-activity remains essential for an event to sustain itself as a self-contained entity. This suggests that a quantum leap culminating with Di Nicola receiving his doctorate in 2012 set the stage for an Event in Saas-Fee two years later, when four philosophers (Hardt/Negri, Harman and Lovink) followed the French philosopher’s Monday evening talk on the Event (“An Arrow into the world”) by announcing a quantum leap into the Third in their respective fields (Streitfeld, 2014).
Marie-Louise von Franz, disciple of Carl Jung and collaborator with the Nobel Laurette physicist Wolfgang Pauli, interpreted the triad moving towards the quaternity as the pursuit of the Self, made evident in divination techniques and synchronicities:
The great question is whether the field of the collective unconscious is such an arbitrary random pattern of archetypes, a field in which the excited points are archetypes or does it have some order? Jung has already pointed out that among the different archetypes, there is one which encompasses and regulates all the others and that is the archetype of the Self….Let us say it is an active ordering centre which regulates the relationships of all other archetypes and gives to the field of the collective unconscious a definite mathematical order….In China the dynamic processes are represented by groups of threes and the result is represented by a quaternio….The triads always point to dynamism and therefore to action in a situation, while the quaternios always point to, or describe, the whole situation….So we can now go on with our definition and say the collective unconscious is a field of psychic energy, the excited points of which are the archetypes, and that field has an ordered aspect which is dominated by the number rhythms of the Self, which as you will see are triads and quaternios. With the number oracles and divination techniques one tries to define the process of the Self archetype….Jung points out that the Self is in an eternal process of constant rejuvenation. He compares it to the carbon-nitrogen cycle of the sun, where certain particles are split off and others attracted, giving finally a rejuvenated atom of the same form. It is as though the atom split off particles and attracted others, thus restoring its own form in constant self-renewal (Von Franz, 1980, pp. 65-66).
Synchronicities leading to self-generating perpetual renewal originating in a holistic mathematics of autonomous number (Streitfeld, 2018) point the way to a new modernism in which the Self is a central organizing principle. For Badiouean philosophy originating in mathematics to recognize Jungian psychology culminating with mathematics by way of a cluster of breakthroughs in the humanities reflects a history of scientific inventions arising in clusters:
In honest histories of science one may find such an observation, namely that strangely enough there is a tendency for certain ideas and inventions to crop up in different places at the same time. From a psychological point of view that is not such a miraculous thing. In the spirit of time, so to speak, certain questions and psychological problems are constellated. Then several intelligent people have the same question in mind, chase along the same alley and come to the same results, and that is due to the constellation of an archetype in the collective unconscious (Von Franz, 1980, pp. 71-72).
Di Nicola maintains his consistency with the triad by listing his Saas Fee influences as a triumvirate: Badiou, Foucault and Agamben (Di Nicola, 2017). Badiou’s predilection for organising thoughts in thirds as a phenomenology was made evident in his paper on Marcel Duchamp and the number three (Streitfeld 2018); Di Nicola follows this creative path by declaring that Badiou “offers three profound things to psychiatry: a theory of the subject; a theory of how philosophy works; and a theory of change based on the event.” Furthermore, he clarifies psychiatry’s central task in thirds: a general psychology as a science of human being; a coherent theory of psychiatry as a discipline; and because it proposes to help people, it needs a theory of change (Di Nicola, 2017).
Within the Third space, the in-between realm of Di Nicola’s “orphan,” a correct diagnosis may be made from the 360-perspective of Kairos, or the Aha Moment. With entanglement, the phenomenon of two physically separate particles sharing the same existence and time is revealed through the process of observation of the quantum state for the whole system. In this manner, the new science marrying philosophy and psychiatry catalyzing the 2012-2014 culmination of the Saas-Fee laboratory may also be evident in a therapist/patient observation making a simultaneous quantum leap from the “bipersonal field” to the Third.
Von Franz presents the Chinese method of writing history to “obtain a real picture of the archetypal situation existing at that time” (Von Franz, 1980 p. 71) which she noted “gives the idea of a field”:
The events, one could say, are shown in an ordered time field, and that is the way in which the Chinese use number. Number gives information about the time-bound ensemble of events. In each moment there is another ensemble, and number gives information as to the qualitative structure of the time-bound clusters of events…number is an archetypal representation or idea which contains a quantitative and a qualitative aspect. Therefore, before we can touch the whole problem of divination, we have to revise our view of number and of mathematics. From there we can probably approach certain other factors, which until now we could only confess we could not measure but could only approach with the feeling function (Von Franz, 1980, pp. 71-72).
Di Nicola, familiar with how the quantum leap changes one’s life course, reveals the process through his own experience integrating thought and feeling. This integration was made evident in this analysis of the synchronistic use of the triad in his writing with his mentor, who brought mathematics into continental philosophy: “Deep into my philosophical investigations, Badiou offered this crucial assessment and challenge: ‘You are at a crossroads, either you will abandon psychiatry as such or announce a new, perhaps, evental psychiatry.’ It was an accurate philosophical diagnosis!” (Di Nicola, 2017)
Bringing exiled Jungian post binary thinking into the fold of continental theory, Von Franz’s exploration of synchronicity through ancient methods of divination underscores Di Nicola’s declaration sourced in his infans solaris birthed out of the Third with the great living French philosopher: “What could be more critically relevant to a21stcenturyscience of the mindand of human relationsthan a return to metaphysics?” (Di Nicola, 2017).
Streitfeld, Lisa (2014). Hermeneutics of New Modernism. New York/Leipzig: Atropos Press.
Streitfeld, Lisa (2018). “The Third Mind: Badiou, Duchamp and the Autonomy of Number as the Phenomenology of a New Modernism”. Hermeneutics of New Modernism. http:hermeneuticsofnewmodernism.wordpress.com.
Roth, Remo (2012). The Return of the World Soul: Wolfgang Pauli, C.G. Jung and the Challenge of Psychophysical Reality. Pari, Italy/Pari Publishing.
Von Franz, Marie Louise (1980). On Divination and Synchronicity: The Psychology of Meaningful Chance Studies in Jungian Psychology. Toronto/Inner City Books.
Eclipses have powerful effects that can take years to manifest. So experiencing a life-altering Red Moon Lunar Eclipse conjunct Mars Retrograde on my Aquarian Sun in an Algarve campground wasn’t to be illuminated until a quarter turn of the annual solar cycle…at least!
I was still on crutches recovering from my injury in s hammock and overwhelmed by the feeling of having no idea where the cosmos would carry me under such precipitous connections…
Red Moon rising in the Algarve…
I only know that I could never have imagined Helio de Jesus Perera Maestre, who approached me in full ritual regalia complete with his seed bag dangling from the belt of his skin colored shorts just before dawn. He startled me as he made a beeline towards me with an intensity I had only known…in myself!
I was sitting on a bench at the port of Faro where I spent the night before my plane to Berlin. He charmed me with his physical grace and Scottish rogue accent. It didn’t take long to recognize a soulmate in him and I accepted his invitation to breakfast at his family home.
Helio performing under the effects of the Leo on the beach on the Praia on Isla de Faro.
The final Solar Eclipse in Leo on August 11 found me in Faro, Portugal, invited by my soul brother, Helio de Jesus (yes that is his given name!) the most unexpected and breathtaking manifestation of a Hieros Gamos partner that has manifested in full-physical form under my cosmic and world travels circumnavigating the globe and the galactic center.
Preparing the Seeds inside the Faro Medicine Wheel outside the castle.
Due to Helio’s invitation, I missed my flight to Berlin in August 6. He found me an apartment and I fell in love with Faro. I just knew that I wanted to live there when I first arrived.
Demonstrating a love for Faro.
But fate drew me away from my heart’s desire, for I suddenly received funds to return to NYC, which I did on September 20, after spending exactly three months in Spain and Portugal.
Helio gave me a handmade bag with seeds that I attached to my purse.
But how could I have anticipated that a new love would draw me to Montreal on September 26 where I did a seed planting ritual in Little Portugal with the seeds from my pear and his bag…
Venus & the Sun merge before the eight Apostles, representing the eight “gates” of Venus journey to and from the aunderworld.
…and it happened!
The opening night festivity to FOME took place in the walled castle of Faro originally built by the Moors in the 11th century via the “newest and most complex” performance by S.A. Marionettes.
What a sight!
This was a stunning work of alchemical theatre about the mythology of Venus, her passage through the eight gates, represented by the eight apostles, and her disappearance into the Underworld where she meets her partner, the Sun, in the mystical conjunctio. The music was so enthralling that I could really feel the pain of her departure as she turns from the union to complete her Underworld journey, from which she rises on the other side of the Sun as the Morning Star.
The performance was an embodiment of the mystical union, complete with the demonstration of the heart opening.
Scroll down to see the light…knowledge of this ancient mythology explaining the disappearance of the brightest star in the sky when she unites with the Sun!
It is rare, anywhere in the world, to experience the delight of an art exhibition so fully integrated into the environment that the visitor is confounded as to distinguish art from artefact, and architectural decay from nature.
Playing on such uncertainty transforming observer into participant is the sheer brilliance of “289”, a multimedia exhibition of 80 artists organised by the invited guest curator, Pedro Cabrita Reis, at the home of the local artists’ collective on the outskirts of Faro.
“289” is the area code for Faro, the capitol of the Algarve, the southernmost region of Portugal. This is not a limiting title but an inclusive gesture, because Cabrita Reis brilliantly integrates the art of the locals with better known Lisbon artists to create a national dialogue.
The image text hanging from the balconies like tapestries references the elitism of this former headquarters of the commandos who attempted to preserve Portugal’s colonial empire while the entrance is marked by a pair of clocks…
Pedro Cabral Santo’s “Featuring Félix González-Torres (the Red Hour)” striped of all but the second hand.
The visitor transforms into participant by virtue of the duality of time: Cronus, chronological time, eradicated by the removal from the clocks of all but the seconds hands, and the cyclical time of Kairos. The paradigm leap into the cycle of life/death/rebirth is provided by other clues outside the entrance: a poster size takeaway manifesto and the curator’s signature offering…
“289” adds up to one….The Red Hour.
One indicates new beginnings. The pitchfork apparatus renews the role of curator — to serve as the contemporary reaching beyond the light of the present to access ancient wisdom. This makes “289”, guest-curated by the Portuguese art star, a snapshot of his nation’s offering to the global art scene during the crucial summer of 2018.
“Memórias do Barrocal” by Vasco Marum Nascimento: a Portuguese pagan ritual offering.
Foremost is magic that renders process inexplicable: how did the curator manage to find works to superbly fit the nooks and crannies of this colonial estate? Or were works made for the spaces, indicating the exhibition as a unique exercise in collaboration?
Next is the archeology indicated by strategically placed clues indicating death. Outside is an inert figure in the garden and a kind of incinerator. Inside there is Ana Rostron’s installation of broken tombstones…
Ana Rostron’s “Untitled (2018)”
…strategically placed between Paulo Serra’s “Auto-retrato” (self-portrait) as death mask opposite Pedro Barateiros’ black mask…
…a personal/universal narrative of death leading to the skull in the final gallery…
This opposes Maria José Oliveira’s uncanny “The Adventurer”, a three part image/text installation reviving the signifier of the fisherman integral to the Portuguese economy.
Tania Simões’ sensual photo of a female body in nature in a light box titled “Sacred Sex” leads the eye to the next gallery where Rui Toscano’s ancient artefact of a drummer is mirrored in a light box.
In another corner, a key work by a local street artist GAT.UNO is also the most political. It is a crude table with a place setting with a candle at the center.
“Prato del Dia” by GAT.UNO
“Prato do Dia (Plate of the Day)” sums up the plight of Portugal being integrated into the E.U and the Euro: the plate of the day at a local cost attracting tourists raising prices beyond what locals can afford.
The cannibalism of a former empire eating its own is reflected in Jorge Neve Rubene Palma Ramos’ “Interiores”, a relic of the opening night feast offering facsimiles of human body parts as entrees.
Paradoxically, Portugal is a nation once-removed from the international art world, yet with a unique geography — on the edge of Europe and gateway to Africa and the Americas— that makes it a crucial contemporary multicultural mecca between three continents. The feeling of being an explorer into a unique world of the archaic may be a rare delight for an art exhibition, yet it is a typical adventure for the traveler in Portugal.
On the roof, Fátima Mendonça’s wall drawing revives the spiral, ancient symbol of life, to signify the transformation into the Third, the archetype of the hierosgamos.
The inherent talent of the Portuguese artist to transfer an indigenous fisherman economy into an art practice of inner penetration into the archetypes is what makes “289”, with its peering simultaneously into the past and future through the Kairos leap of present, a valuable international marker indicating the timing of a new modernism.