Notes to “Oscillation / Fashion”

Supplementary notes to twin essay "Oscillation / Fashion." 1. Fashion is important because it is in almost everything. Alfred H. Daniels (1951) 2. If by "fashion" I mean the sociocultural landscape at a given moment — the full topography of associations, connotations, endorsements, baggages, and significations attached to cultural objects and aesthetic decisions — then… Continue reading Notes to “Oscillation / Fashion”

Predictive Processing & Art as Cognitive Remodeling

Visual art — representational imagery — begins somewhere between fifty and one-hundred thousand years ago, overlapping with the Upper Paleolithic Transition. The period consists of rapid gains in tool technologies alongside the beginnings of modern symbolic thought, with human societies developing currency systems, dispersed social organizations, and increasingly sophisticated religious belief. To Alva Nöe, writing… Continue reading Predictive Processing & Art as Cognitive Remodeling

Art vs. Design, a follow-up

Pictured above, the Krebs Cycle of Creativity, just to toss another conceptual carving into the mix. * My post from earlier this week, "Art as the Antithesis of Design," received a fair amount of pushback. Eli Schiff: You reduce design and art into caricatures in the latest essay. Suspended Reason: I might agree, but can you expand… Continue reading Art vs. Design, a follow-up

Art as the Antithesis of Design

From the footnotes of an upcoming piece examining predictive processing and Alva Nöe's 2015 work on aesthetics, Strange Tools: Nöe makes [his] argument through exclusion: art practices which are not interrogative, which do not challenge existing structures and practices are not, technically speaking, art. Pop songs, to Nöe, aren't musical art, they're a first-level human practice (or “organized activity”)… Continue reading Art as the Antithesis of Design

On the Erotics of Interpretation

by Suspended Reason w/ James Wood In Antonioni's film L'eclisse, the luminous Monica Vitti visits the Rome stock exchange, where her fiance, played by Alain Delon, works. Delon points out a fat man who has just lost 50 million lire. Intrigued, she follows the man. He orders a drink at a bar, barely touches it,… Continue reading On the Erotics of Interpretation

Alva Noë & Baseball

I do not watch baseball, though many of my favorite passages and anecdotes are inspired by the sport. There is DeLillo, of course, in his prologue to the monumental Underworld, whose opening line — He speaks in your voice, American, and there's a shine in his eye that's halfway hopeful. — remains one of the best ever written.¹ And… Continue reading Alva Noë & Baseball

Excerpts from Alva Nöe’s Strange Tools

"Tools are useful only against the background of our needs and capacities. Let’s return to the doorknob. A simple bit of technology, yes, but one that presupposes a vast and remarkable social background. Doorknobs exist in the context of a whole form of life, a whole biology—the existence of doors, and buildings, and passages, the… Continue reading Excerpts from Alva Nöe’s Strange Tools