In Search of the Concrete: Experiments in Sound, Psychoanalysis and Feminist Process Philosophy
- the nature of something’s ingredients or constituents; the way in which a whole or mixture is made up.
- a thing composed of various elements: a theory is a composition of interrelated facts
- the action of putting things together; formation or construction: the composition of a new government was announced
This blog works on developing a queer, materialist and relational philosophy of process.
This blog is curious about the ways in which the conditions of contemporary life in a globalized capitalist society hold together. It is interested in the varied processes of composition through which this world and not others takes shape. What, it asks, binds us to a present and future of ecological catastrophe, skyrocketing economic inequality and systemic structural violence? What is the nature of the forces that tie our political, aesthetic and erotic imaginaries to the dead-ends of neoliberalism, patriarchy, heteronormative electro-pop and settler colonialism? To a world, in other words, with a very limited future, at least for most of those who inhabit this planet? And what strands within this ‘ weighted and reeling present’ (Kathleen Stewart, 2007) might lead to alternative organizations of thought and life?
In order to make some sense of these problematics, this blog analyzes the domains of sound, psychoanalysis and philosophy through the lens of feminist process philosophies. “Feminist process philosophies” is my name for a heterogeneous group of thinkers that conceptualize social, material and psychic life as an open-ended and historical process of becoming. This ‘school of thought’ includes thinkers such as Donna Haraway, Judith Butler, Nancy Tuana, Rosi Braidotti and Karen Barad. Although these thinkers are not united by discipline, doctrine or intellectual geneaology, all of them work to conceptualize ‘the world’ as an on-going, relational and emergent project. Importantly, their efforts are united by an ethical and political commitment to a re-organization of the material and symbolic conditions of life on Earth.
In addition to the thinkers referenced above, this blog works through the counter-modern process thought of Nietzsche, Latour, Deleuze and Guattari, Whitehead and Norman O. Brown. These theorists help me to reconceptualize ‘the concrete’ as an historical, contingent, material-semiotic and open-ended process of becoming.
To this end, this blog’s aims are critical: it seeks to understand the historical conditions through which this world takes shape, to denaturalize common-sense conceptions of what the world is, situating them as arising from said historical processes, to expose stupidity and cruelty wherever they are found. Understanding the nature of the worlds we are inheriting is crucial from unbinding our imaginaries and bodies from a violent and oppressive present.
This blog begins with the critical impulse, but offers these critiques in the spirit of affirmation: the affirmation that other worlds are not only possible but fully realizable. ‘Philosophy,’ as theorist Gilles Deleuze noted, ‘is at its most positive as critique,’ (Deleuze, 1970). Critique plies our imaginations from the strictures and demands of the present so that we may envision and enact an alternative organization of life on Earth. Affirming those strands of thread that might lead us to different futures is a critical necessity in the ‘dead time’ (Debord, 1994) of this reeling and disorderly present.
This blog is run by Katsy Pline, a white, genderqueer revolutionary communist residing in Berkeley, CA. Raised on hardcore punk, Bob Dylan and West Coast psychedelia before discovering continental philosophy and feminist/queer theory, they’re convinced that philosophy is the psychedelic dissolution and restructuring of our taken-for-granted conceptual schemas.
 To put it bluntly and perhaps a bit vulgarly. Obivously this is a gross oversimplification, but one that is useful for my purposes here.