Noise Walls Have Become Small

23 October 2013 xdementia One Comment




By clemon09

Noise walls have become small, and on it there hoppeth the last man who maketh everything small. His species is inexterminable like that of the ground-flea; the last man liveth longest.

“We have discovered happiness”- say the last men, and blink thereby…

Everything is intrinsically meaningless, but things can be extrinsically more or less meaningless, if not absolutely so. I call this their noisiness.

Social Drift’s somewhat bold idea is that nosiness has become a quality of the culture industry and so has been subsumed by the thing’s exchange value. With no way to now hear noise without perceiving its exchange value, there is now no way to perceive something functionless.

I call this frustration the smallness of noise. I will argue that there is no way to understand the smallness of noise. I think that the absence of functionless noise points to the fact that the mode of production must be overturned before the working class is ruined, just as the concept of useful capitalism has been superseded.

The point of this short pamphlet is to sketch a program in response to this.

Its conclusion is that authenticity is now bunk.

But first, noise.

No-one can listen to formless sound without standardization – without anticipating changes that we have been conditioned to expect. This problematizes “formless” sound, because no genuinely new forms of composition can be developed from it. Social Drift looks forward to a time when new forms of music can be developed from material that is utterly without form, thereby providing the impetus to art that starts fresh and is not asphyxiated by history.

After the social revolution, it will be poetry that frees noise from its standardization. Poetry will release the potential of noise by itself becoming – like all art – free from the need to be what it is now. I see two ways of making sure this is not completely without historical parallel.

1. Constructing a virtual artistic negation in noise, by grasping the movement of its own urgency. It is unclear how Social Drift could attempt do this, but commercially successful noise may be one way to symbolize part of that process.

2. Creating a virtual freedom from the law of form in poetry, by writing verse that’s technique cannot become sedimented – cannot be drawn upon in future poetics. I believe that such poetry could be so by expressing the crisis in noise.

It will be a poetry that’s lines should be analysed into relative stresses and feet, but which – being driven by the expressivity of noise rhythms – does not genuinely work on the forms it uses and so gives up on creating anything new that can be handed over. Representing the crisis of noise can be configured in poetry as the concept of the person having already died.

But how can the concept of an annihilated self be relevant to anything/have enough currency to be expressed in poetry? It seems to me that no-one can imagine their own future death. If the world cannot be thought “without remainder”, then there is an excess of both thought and world. There is no way to go from finite internal time to real eternal time: any remainder of infinite lapse is everything. Husserl states in Ideas I that we cannot phenomenologically intuit anything actual which does not have a duration, and so also a future. We cannot understand our future death from the “inside”, and if we are to understand it with any inside at all then we have to apply real time to the pure ego.

Then in what way can we understand the intersubjective significance of our death? One possible argument that we cannot could perhaps be based on Levinas: that other people are lived in our fecund, and unreal, temporal relations to them. There may also be other folk argumentation available against the would-be mortal sinceritist.

So although no-one can authentically doubt their mortality in its place in humanity, death as such can only be imagined via the belief that we are finite. What is this, if we cannot study what it is like to be dead, what not being like anything is? I begin to make sense of finitude by thinking about what it is to stop e.g. tasting something, without being conscious that I have done so. I then imagine that the present moment contains nothing of that past, and then, bracketing the existence of real time, relate that past and the present in it. The resulting cognition is of an empty present, one in which my existence right now has no antecedent but is still in flux, so that from the first person perspective there is no subsisting me. I can be toward death – orient my internal life to its external event.

I am (partly) arguing for poetry that likewise represents this slightly absurd difficulty. The question itself would be represented by drawing attention to the superficial nature of individual experience, by writing about the self in an affected way. The urge for a solution is represented via conceits on faith. The first person would be represented via a restatement of the genuinely current ways of experiencing the world that have been written by the poets.

Early Social Drift was based on noise being like art music, and failed on the grounds that it isn’t. The tempo of music, which noise lacks, is how the listener reconciles expressive-dynamic and rhythmic-spatial listening modes whilst the two can still co-exist. Without a musical tempo, noise cannot exemplify both. So Adorno’s criticisms of these listening modes only fails if noise also isn’t like popular music.

In this pamphlet, I take the further steps and say that Adorno’s insults terms ”schmaltz” and “mechanical” do not apply to noise, which does mean that noise isn’t substitutable. Given the assumption that there is now no way to perceive anything functionless, to hear noise we listen to its active function. I will return to this in my conclusion.

Is barbarism the collapse of civilized values, or simply a historical process where the exploited class remain a footnote, cannot prove the this-sidedness of their thought?

And lately, did I hear him say these words: “God is dead: of his pity for the last man hath God died.”

These few pages of reflection began with a statement that the smallness of noise means that the meaninglessness of things is always frustrated; like value by death.

Depending on the closeness of this, to not see the smallness of noise is to be Heidegger’s das man.

If noise was functionless we could understand the organic inorganically; if it were not so perhaps we could understand its function.

For more information check out the Short Noise Wall compilation or visit Social Drift on Facebook.

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