Transfer Phenomena & Two-Person Languages

“Spotted: a dirty brown bag crushed under a tennis shoe. Looks like someone won’t be eating dinner tonight. XOXO… Gossip Girl.”

The thing about voices is they are contagious.  I can’t do accents, but spend a week watching TV re-runs and I can GPT-3 an essay in the narrator’s delivery.

Year In Review

Bla bla bla, 2020 was a big year for me. I started off doing philosophy of language and ended up at “strategic interaction.” For the uninitiated, think game theory meets microsociology, or check out a slide deck. Add a side plate of institutional theory, debt, and philosophy of science. Though our press, Not Nothing, was…… Continue reading Year In Review

Wait, what? Sense-breaking in contemporary art

x-post from Carcinisation In a recent paper, my collaborator Tom Rutten and I advanced a tentative theory of how contemporary visual artworks might interact with a predictive error minimization (or “predictive processing”) system in human viewers. The predictive processing model of cognition is a relatively recent figuration of the age-old problem of inference (how humans…… Continue reading Wait, what? Sense-breaking in contemporary art

Panic in Central Park: Predictive Hermeneutics in Girls S5E6

Dez & Marnie are sitting on their marital bed. She has headphones in, sitting cross-legged staring intently into her Macbook; he’s got puka shells around his neck and strums an acoustic guitar, bobbing his head at her, raising his brow, trying to get a look. It’s harmless but needy, like a puppy who deep down…… Continue reading Panic in Central Park: Predictive Hermeneutics in Girls S5E6

Predictive Hermeneutics

A preprint of “A Bayesian hermeneutic” — the cogsci paper Thomas Rutten & I worked on last summer in Mexico City — is available at Research Gate here. It aims to introduce a new subfield of hermeneutics we term “predictive hermeneutics.” In layman’s terms, we argue that contemporary art (fr. modernism to conceptualism & beyond)…… Continue reading Predictive Hermeneutics

Schematic Disruption

Cognitive poetics is one of the most exciting literary-theoretic subfields I’ve stumbled upon. So far as I can tell, Peter Stockwell, whose paper on resonance I’ve cited previously, is one of cognitive poetics’ primary authorities, and has written an introduction to the discipline (Cognitive Poetics: An Introduction, 2002). Stockwell summarizes “schema theory,” a composite of different theorists’…… Continue reading Schematic Disruption

The Mind-Expanding Ideas of Andy Clark

The New Yorker finally got around to predictive processing with Larissa MacFarquhar’s profile of Andy Clark. Clark is the author of Surfing Uncertainty, the canonical and most comprehensive book on the subject. Perception did not, then, simply work from the bottom up; it worked first from the top down. What you saw was not just a signal…… Continue reading The Mind-Expanding Ideas of Andy Clark

New Fiction is Psychic Occupation

Fiction—or more generally, longform narrative text—has long been the handyman of culture, serving whatever functions are most urgently needed at a historical moment. The Greek oral tradition, famously, functioned in part to preserve cultural histories and customs—hence the sprawling lists of names and figures, or lengthy descriptions of hospitality, in Homer. Arabic maqamas synthesized and…… Continue reading New Fiction is Psychic Occupation

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

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

Valencia/Rectify/Film/Television/Literature

I. James Nulick’s Valencia opens with an HIV diagnosis. Nulick, protagonist, is dying. He has traveled to the southern coast of Spain to stay at the hotel which gives the novel its name. He has traveled there to hasten his death, to preempt the prolonged and painful corporal vulnerability which immunodeficiency entails. He has brought with him…… Continue reading Valencia/Rectify/Film/Television/Literature

Maps, Chords, and Effect Ideas

“A dramatic presentation should be an act of initiation during which the spectator will be awed and even terrified… During that experience of terror or frenzy… the spectator will be in a position to understand a new set of truths, superhuman in quality.” (Wallace Fowlie on Artaud’s “Theater of Cruelty”) Gabe Duquette, writing at Liposuction,…… Continue reading Maps, Chords, and Effect Ideas