Imagine the infinitely tiny size of an atom. Focus on the size of this microscopic particle in relation to your own human body. Now scale up to the size of the planets, galaxies, to the solar system as a whole. The weight of your body exists between these vastly different scales. Here Comes Trouble, An Inquiry into Art, Magic and Madness as Deviant Knowledge, is not about thermodynamics, negative feedback or refrigerators. Neither have I written a book about geology, black holes or migration, yet each of these material systems offer insights into the slippery topic of deviancy. So what is deviancy? What forms does it take historically and what, as it were, does it do? Read more below...
Outline In this work, I have tried to analyse the way in which deviancy has been historically ascribed and how the treatment of those bearing its title has been legitimised. Parallel to this, I have offered the reader a series of reflections upon a pressing, European, socio-political arena, within which the traits, fears and repressive violence which historically contextualise the ascription of deviancy, have begun to increase. The methodology I have used sought to identify two or more ‘stable states’ and an area of transition between these two spatio-temporal, or political fixities. Between the feudal and capitalist systems of organisation I have argued, as others have before me, a process of violent political consolidation occurred across Europe. The evidence for this is written into the very language we use, such as in the word faggot, as well as in state/public, citizen, and cultural records.
Furthermore, the repression and servitude installed within the human psyche during this period, haunts many of us in the continuing bourgeois economic, colonial relation of master and slave, abstracted for the West in the form of the debt fuelled working day. Where credit or money performs as the ‘intercalary element’ (in place of dialogue, questioning and material communication), these pitiless labour relations, that would drive you and me to the slave-master relation given the slightest opportunity, can only worsen. Yet, there is always the potential to do things differently, providing a meaningful space exists into which new, deviant forms may proliferate. Spatialising Deviance ‘Searching for music is like searching for God. They’re very similar, there’s an effort to reclaim the unmentionable, the unsayable, the unseeable, the unspeakable. All those things come into being a composer and writing music; searching for notes, and pieces of musical information that don’t exist.’David Bowie, Verbatim, Archive in 4, BBC Radio 4, 2016 My opening claim for this paper constitutes a scale shift between the behaviour of social entities and thermodynamic activity, involving entropy (measured as the disorder or ’chaos’ of a body of molecules). This measurement of chaos is equivalent, in the scientific study of the universe, with a lack of information when determining the rate of entropy within a given thermodynamic system. Having made my leap of faith into the world of physics, I have correlated this (so far) non-qualifiable (or absence of) data within classical thermodynamics with the naming, fear-of and subsequent attempt to control the unknown. In Here Comes Trouble I have speculated that in order to re-organise a social body the ‘unknown’ has been both ‘edited out’ of socio-economic society proper (as shown by Michel Foucault) and used to instil fear and a culture of violence within a revolutionary populous (as outlined by Silvia Federici). In physics, one form of ‘known unknowns’ is ‘dark matter.’ Science knows it is there from the way it affects other elements. However, as the information used to decipher dark matter is measured in terms of light, its absence is documented as a shadow upon human endeavour1. Dark matter sounds, to me, rather ominous, but there are other, less demonic sounding, physical events that occur at the very edge of human scientific knowledge. In fact, what has been historically spatialised as deviancy, i.e locked up and persecuted, I would argue, is actually difference exiled in the name of deviance. What I argue for, in the end, is to stop the exile and to open up a space for deviancy: a space for the unknown, a space for the lack of information and the possibility of chaos, a space for dark matter to be understood despite its seeming antagonism to our current human capabilities. Like Bowie, I am also sympathetic to the idea that the really deviant doesn’t exist (yet), but that we search after it nonetheless… and that we might find hints of it in the space of our creations.
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Launch Presentation of Here Comes Trouble
Introduced by artist and urbanist Anna Kostreva, this opening lecture attempts to explore the core themes of my book Here Comes Trouble an Inquiry into Art, Magic & Madness as Deviant Knowledge. Published by and delivered at ZK/U - Center of Art and Urbanistic, the book employs modelling from the fields of physics, geology, historical analysis and activism to propose answers to the question 'what is deviant knowledge?'
Thanks to Gustavo Sanromán for filming the event.
Here Comes Trouble presented to the Refugee Club Impulse RCI Berlin-Moabit!
Roni Efrin Yezidi Ma
Alex Head ZK/U Press, Berlin Editor: Anna Kostreva Layout: Philipp Koller Illustrations of paper collage and plants by the author Printer: Laserline Berlin
Fonts: Deviancy, Suisse Works, Suisse International ISBN: 978-3-945659-04-5
First edition of 150 - May 2016 Second edition of 500 - September 2016
Additinal research & conceptualisation: Anna Kostreva Cover image: Garden of Ronald, in memory of the late Ronald Harper, 1925-2015 Published by ZK/U PRESS, 2016
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