:: Interviews archive ( click for A-Z index)

Ray Johnson: fort-da published 08/08/2014


I keep climbing down the rabbit hole of that 102 Moticos poem which you, Andrew, use as an example of Johnson’s spiraling negativities. Perhaps because I’m a novelist, or a biographer, but something in me wants to decode the poem in such a way that the key to RJ’s heart would click, twirl and open… I know it’s about the materiality of language and the power of the numeric–it’s like a Vito Acconci poem in that way–and yet there’s something alive that keeps bouncing, like a firefly in a jar, against its cold transparent shell and almost reaching the human.

Andrew Blackley interviews Kevin Killian to discuss the art and poetry of Ray Johnson.

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queer theology and sexchatology published

Saying we all have a sexuality doesn’t mean we are all being sexual, in the way we usually use that shorthand, all the time. Sexuality is about our creativity, our generativity, the energy through which and in which we interact with the world – so a person who’s temporarily or permanently celibate doesn’t stop being sexual just because they’re not being genital with anyone else. Sexuality is about far more than orientation.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Susannah Cornwall.

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Foucault’s freedom published 01/08/2014

Practices of state violence are not just instruments for upholding sovereignty and for enforcing the law. They have increasingly got their own internal ends that legitimize them and law is used simply as a particular tactic for the achievement of these ends. The deployment of law thus becomes strategic: it functions as means to predetermined policy ends and not as the ground of their legitimacy.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Johanna Oksala.

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Wounding published 29/07/2014

From a craft point of view, third person provides a critical distance to examine and describe without sentiment that a first person point of view could need. I give the husband a voice, partly because it is a performance, so both characters ‘perform’ but in slightly different ways, but also, of course the male voice is still privileged in our society. He isn’t named though, you might have noticed, so he isn’t pinned in place by naming. I think Mallarmé wrote about the lack of a name allows a poetic freedom … it keeps them in opposition too, playing out the supposed binary opposition between the genders.

Sara Upstone talks to Heidi James about her novel Wounding.

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A Strange Elevation published 26/07/2014

The Models were staged; they were trying to be punk rock. But the Heartbreakers were so real. I met Thunders through a girl called Karine, who I’d met in Paris in 1977, and who used to score drugs for Thunders occasionally. He was an affable and accommodating guy, kind of like the guys you used to meet on the street who wanted to sell you drugs. I’d met Karine at the same party where I met Yves St Laurent, Bianca Jigger and Warhol — who really did only say ‘gee’. I’d gone with a guy called Bernard, who ran the Gibus Club, and a writer friend called Alain Pacadis — I stayed at his flat and was impressed with the fact that he had a little picture that Iggy had drawn for him. I’d met Pacadis in a café near the Gare du Nord in 1977, on the way back from a job I had in Switzerland. They were wearing leather trousers and were the closest thing you had to punks in Paris at the time. I got into a conversation with them, and we were off on a party that lasted for two weeks.

Richard Cabut interviews Gary Asquith of Rema-Rema fame.

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truth, success and frank ramsey published 25/07/2014

Philosophy was then very popular in France, but not in the present day sense of people going to philosophical cafés or festivals, and of the success of lousy books on happiness and wisdom. Philosophy was a political subject, which made a difference to our lives. The intellectual atmosphere was electric, and just after 1968 we had a sense that something was happening, although nobody knew what it was. Sartre was still very active in leftist politics, as well as Deleuze and Foucault. They were our stars, and everyone was discussing Freud, Lacan, Marx, Mao. We dreamt – but only dreamt – of being street fighting men.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Pascal Engel.

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towards hope published 18/07/2014

I regard love as a more decisive focus of meaning than death. In terms of Heidegger’s argument, this is because I think he misdescribes the importance of the deaths of others and focuses exclusively on my relation to my own death. But, in reality, the deaths of others have a more urgent and immediate impact on our lives than the purely notional knowledge that I too will one day die.Ethics arises in the recognition of our obligation to care for others as beings, like us, exposed to mortality—that is, beings who need our help. Buddhism, not wrongly, extends this to ‘all sentient beings’.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews George Pattison.

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talking to all the smartest people in the world published 14/07/2014

In “I thought I saw the whole universe (Scarlett Johansson in Versace)”, the actress’s sequined torso is refigured in oil on canvas as the night sky. This piece is both Blake’s world in a grain of sand and Doctor Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who. We stand in front of it together and gaze at the black and white, star-like surface, the thin arms, the incandescence that emanates from within the paint itself.

Joanna Pocock interviews Margaux Williamson‘s talking to all the smartest people in the world.

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on cognitive artifacts published 11/07/2014

Two of the main characteristics of human cognition are the ability for tool using (though that’s not something that is unique to humans), and processes of cultural accumulation of knowledge (also not unique to humans strictly speaking, but much less pronounced in non-human animals). So in a sense, when it comes to cognition (and other matters), the nature vs. nurture dichotomy is deeply mistaken: our biological nature is precisely that of being cultural animals!

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Catarina Dutilh Novaes .

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dreams of reason published 07/07/2014

First, there is Hume’s engagement with scepticism, which is the most thoroughgoing such engagement of all modern philosophers. (Descartes was just using scepticism as a stage device to frighten conventional thinkers into the arms of his own new system.)What I like is Hume’s refusal to accept any easy answers, combined with an equally resolute refusal to say something bonkers (ie, that we don’t in fact know anything). We could all do with more of Hume’s moderate scepticism, especially in science. This is one thing that years of science journalism taught me.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Anthony Gottlieb.

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