Issue #61 April 2023


There is a common notion of language, where it is supposed to render communicable what is there, where it is in that sense supposed to express the world as we find it and as we live it. The voice that speaks, then, is modeled after the finger that points to the things that appear in front of us. It is a model of perception that is primarily meant to copy, and in that sense to contemplate, the given order of things. It is curious that current calls for individualisation, for distinction from others, be it on the job market or in questions of style and personal preferences, is still based on this model, as what is given is the whole world of commodities that surround us. Just like we affirm the existence of things by pointing with our finger to them, so do we affirm the existence of commodities by buying them. Distinction is purely statistic, as in the myriads of choices as consumers, there will always be deviations, and the whole sphere of algorithms and ‘big data’ is merely meant to find certain patterns within these distinctions – which shows, that the question was never about individuality in the first place.

But is a voice, in the emphatic sense, not something that rather speaks of things in order to change them, that renders things visible in their transformation? We understand how the injunctions to “speak up”, to “say your piece”, to “make yourself heard” all refer to the power in language to divert courses, the change things, to throw them a-kilter, to introduce a little of the unforeseeable that emanates from ourselves as irreducible singularities. But how does this injunction work in tandem with an ever blossoming logic of commodities, machinically driven to identify and correlate even the most idiosyncratic of outbursts? And, after all, insofar as there is no private language, what would it mean to give voice to what is irreducibly singular in us, to, through means of language, no longer point at a given order but whisper or shout in a radically new one? Aren’t, then, our voices that is what is most public and ordered within us, leading to the bizarre conclusion that only the algorithms speak perfectly clearly and intelligibly?

Well, if that be the case, then all we can contribute to systemic correlationism of an algorithmic logic intent on making the singular general and foreseeable is our own personal idiocy, which must not be confused with stupidity. It is the tangled mark that we leave on our discourse – the crookedness in a finger that points, that carries coiled within it an entire unrepeatable history. An idiocy of scars and misadventures that presses as a shadow – rendering visible the singularity that composes each thing just before it is swallowed back up in an order that always precedes and succeeds us.

Cover illustration: Gustavo Ojeda (1958-1989), Untitled, (date unknown).


April 2023


Too Much or Never Enough: Excess, Success, and Happiness under Capitalism

by Jack Graveney

Unsaturated Entities and the Unity of Science

by Ermanno Bencivenga

Reading Cicero’s "De Amicitia" at 17

by Frank Breslin

Mad Utopias - Using Madness as Political Praxis

by Riley Clare Valentine

Deleuze's "The Logic of Sense", (Chapter 9, Ninth Series of the Problematic)