Talking Art: Conceptual Art

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Conceptual art is the subject Miriam and I discuss as I try to work on my novel and create a podcast at one and the same time.

We start with John Baldessari’s “A painting by Pat Nelson” and with the ideology of the polaroid camera, where the goal was to eliminate the barrier between the photographer and his subject so that all that was left was the simple decision. This is the ideology of art that is on display in these paintings. The artist is the man pointing, and in fact John took polaroids (or at least photographs) of his artist friend pointing at things that interested him enough to point at them. But what we’re given isn’t a series of these photographs, but a series of paintings. What John did was take the photos to different “sunday painters” who were then given the instruction to realistically paint what they saw in the photos. They were told not to embellish or make art, but just to render the photos in paint. What we were left with is an erasure of the act of painting (because what makes these paintings interesting isn’t the painterliness of the painting) and also the erasure of that immediate act of decision (the subject matter isn’t interesting either) and instead we have paintings of what polaroid wants to ignore. The mediating step. But what John wants to give us is that mediating step in itself and without mediation. He wants to make it transparently apparent. Paradoxically what he has to do in order to make the mediation of our experience of his work apparent is to create an aesthetic of irony rather than no aesthetic at all.

Soap Zero #1: Film Stills and Unreality

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Zero Books will be the focus of this new new line of Diet Soap specials. Which means this is episode 218 for Diet Soap but it is also episode one of Soap Zero, a podcast dedicated books published by Zero Books. The guest this week is Nicholas Rombes and we discuss his book 10/40/70. The premise of the book is that one can learn about a film by analyzing stills from it,specifically stills lifted from the ten, forty, and seventy minute mark. We take a close look at the Cronenberg’s 1999 film eXistenZ.

I’d like to urge regular listeners to the podcast to find the paypal buttons at dietsoap.podomatic.com. Also, the podcast is available via iTunes and I urge people who enjoy this show to consider leaving a review of at iTunes in lieu of a donation.

Music and sound clips on this episode include Otto Luening’s “Low Speed” circa 1952, Delia Derbyshire’s “Love Without Sound,” clips from eXistenZ, and a lecture about Deleuze’s Film Theory set to the song Skokiaan as played in the film Slacker.

Diet Soap Podcast #217: What’s missing from psychoanalysis?

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Psychoanalysis and Lacan are the subjects this week and Joshua Cohen is the guest. We specifically discuss the object relation theory of the psychoanalyst Melanie Klein and the knotty theories of Jacque Lacan. Psychoanalytic terms such as splitting, psychic destitution, and the big Other are tossed around as Joshua Cohen is a therapist working in Seattle with training in Kleinian therapeutic techniques, and an interest in Lacan.

I’d like to urge regular listeners to the Diet Soap podcast to find the paypal buttons at dietsoap.podomatic.com. Also, the podcast is available via iTunes and I urge people who enjoy this show to consider leaving a review of at iTunes in lieu of a donation.

The music is this episode includesMozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (a work Freud claimed to enjoy despite being, in his own words, “completely unmusical”) as performed by Babette Dorn. Also included are clips of Zizek discussing coffee and cream, Annette Hanshaw singing “You’re the Cream in my Coffee,” a clip from The History of Philosophy without any Gaps, Louis CK on Parmenides and Parenting, and Mister Rogers autotuned.

Diet Soap Podcast #216: Capitalism, Neoliberalism, and Class War

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Andrew Kliman is the guest this week as we discuss back and forth exchange of essays written by Andrew Kliman and Sam Gindin for Jacobin and The New Left Project and I give Kliman a chance to refute the prevailing mythology of wage suppression under neoliberalism once again. More importantly we discuss the need for metanarratives, the failure of leftist ambition, and what we mean when we say the words “class” and “war.” Andrew Kliman is the author of “The Failure of Capitalist Production.”

You’ll notice that about a quarter of the way into the interview the sound quality for Andrew’s side of the conversation declines. Unfortunately what happened was that his Skype connection started to break up and so we had to continue on his landline.

I’d like to urge regular listeners to the Diet Soap podcast to find the paypal buttons at dietsoap.podomatic.com. Also, the podcast is available via iTunes and I urge people who enjoy this show to consider leaving a review of at iTunes in lieu of a donation.

The music in this episode includes Boris Tihomirov’s Electronic Alarm-Clock and Delia Derbyshire’s Love Without Sound.