Saturday, April 9, 2011

Tropic Farming

We mustn't believe we are living the realization of some evil utopia -- we are living the realization of utopia, period. That is to say, its collapse into the real (Baudrillard, Fatal Strategies).

Instructions for the tale of our CATTt come from Rob Kovitz, Pig City Model Farm.  Kovitz exemplifies appropriation, collage composition to produce a trope.  The elements collected in the composition include documentation (text and image) of the following domains:  1) Model farming in general, and pig farming in Canada in particular.  The documents express scientific best practices for humane and efficient production of meat for market; 2) Utopian theory in general and Charles Fourier in particular:  principles for improving and perfecting human social and cultural life through regulation of all conduct; 3) Citations from a library of literature, serving as a commentary on the urge or drive for perfection and its disappointment; 4) Some autobiographical statements, alluding to employment in a meat-packing plant; 5) Citations and references to vanguard arts practices, Dali's Paranoid-Critical Activity, and Marcel Duchamp's Large Glass.

Demonstrating what Deleuze called the logic of sense, Kovitz's brings two semantic domains together, two chains of signs sharing one property:  the shape of a particular architectural design used in farm buildings (the original disciplinary context for the work is architecture).  Placed roughly at  the center of  the composition, the famous image of the train entrance to Auschwitz-Birkenau triggers the turn, producing the metaleptic leap back, reconfiguring the previous documentation on model farming as commentary on national socialist ideology of perfecting the race.  Preparing pigs for market transfers to concentration camps, with the aura of butchering meat evoking human genocide.

Kovitz's structure is that of a basic figure:  pig farming is the vehicle; utopian socialism is the tenor.  The instruction is to treat documents of our accident event as the vehicle, as a trope, to exploit its aura for commentary on some tenor.  There are several candidates for tenor in our scenes, but whichever one we choose, the instruction is to enter it as documentation, juxtaposed and intercut (montage editing) with the vehicle.


  1. before fatally collapsing into your site, Critchley gave a seminar at EGS 2009 The Return of Utopianism, of May 68. This collapses into the multifarious real to the point of heterotopias as Foucault would have it or is it a bunch of bulldust and milkweed blowing across the mediterranean again and again - in a adriatic revolution degree zero.

    A question of actor-network-system and imho an eco-liberation of sorts.

    Keep the metaleptic work up, what ever that means!! cheers.

  2. Metalepsis, a classic trope, and took me a while to get a feel for it. Harold Bloom is the expert on it, regarding how a belated poet appropriates a tradition, in order to seem to be its origin. We experience it in a way in any arabesque, or in a song, a refrain, when we turn about. It promotes ellipsis, omitting the metonymic chain that got us to this moment.