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Urbanomic / Mono Series

Found in Music
Irreversible Noise by Inigo Wilkins
Available on (03-14-23)

Irreversible Noise

Book 5
Paperback $29.95

Urbanomic / Mono Series : Titles in Order

Book 12
Neorationalism as a distinctive philosophical trajectory, exploring the outermost possibilities of Prometheanism, Inhumanism, and Enlightenment.

What is the fate of Reason in the twenty-first century? Today more than ever, in the face of disinformation, memetic plagues, and neuroactive media, if we are to resist not just the continual solicitation of our cognitive reflexes, but also the unearned authority of endless everyman rationalists and self-appointed secular priests of rationality, then we have no choice but to mobilize Reason to continually dissect the responsibilities they shirk, and to embrace the future demands of thought. Peter Wolfendale has long been dedicated to this philosophical task, and The Revenge of Reason lays out his vision for Neorationalism as a distinctive philosophical trajectory, exploring the outermost possibilities of Prometheanism, Inhumanism, and Enlightenment.
This volume collects interviews and writings on various philosophical figures and topics, addressing the deepest questions of Physis, Logos, and Ethos—all with exemplary clarity and pedagogical generosity. Against those who would chain the fate of humanity to its animal nature, Wolfendale’s work makes the case for unbinding our rationality from every petty naturalism and every fixed image of thought, heralding an inhuman destiny unleashed by the revenge of Reason.
Book 10
An argument that by amplifying alienation in performance, we can shift the emphasis from the sonic to the social.Works in sound studies continue to seek out sound “itself”—but, today, when the aesthetic can claim no autonomy and the agency of both artist and audience is socially constituted, why not explore the social mediation already present within our experience of the sonorous? In this work, artist, musician, performer, and theorist Mattin sets out an understanding of alienation as a constitutive part of subjectivity and as an enabling condition for exploring social dissonance—the discrepancy between our individual narcissism and our social capacity.Mattin’s theoretical investigation is intertwined with documentation of a concrete experiment in the form of an instructional score (performed at documenta 14, 2017, in Athens and Kassel) which explores these conceptual connotations in practice, as players use members of the audience as instruments, who then hear themselves and reflect on their own conception and self-presentation. Social Dissonance claims that, by amplifying alienation in performance and participation in order to understand how we are constructed through various forms of mediation, we can shift the emphasis from the sonic to the social, and in doing so, discover for ourselves that social dissonance is the territory within which we already find ourselves, the condition we inhabit.
Book 9
A disturbing portrait of a society deliriously dreaming itself as eternal, instantaneous, and infinite.At least for the time being, we humans are still finite and mortal—but death isn’t what it used to be. As the body is technologically extended in space and time, we are split between our finitude and our doubled presence in a limitless web of signs, an “immortal” world of information.After Death offers a penetrating philosophical diagnosis of our contemporary condition, describing not only an anesthesia, but an amnesia in which the compulsions of a hyper-present colonize both past and future, prevailing over any sense of duration, becoming, or appreciation of the “thickness of the real.”Are we living in a kind of counterfeit eternity in which we are effectively already dead? Against the anxiety of the constant present, how can we hope to return to the experience of being in time and facing death?After Death is a disturbing portrait of a society deliriously dreaming itself as eternal, instantaneous, and infinite.
Book 8
A philosophical exploration of pop music that reveals a rich, self-reflexive art form with unsuspected depths.In the first major philosophical treatise on the subject, Agnès Gayraud explores all the paradoxes of pop—its inauthentic authenticity, its mass production of emotion and personal resonance, its repetitive novelty, its precision engineering of seduction—and calls for pop (in its broadest sense, encompassing all genres of popular recorded music) to be recognized as a modern, technologically mediated art form to rank alongside cinema and photography.In a thoroughgoing engagement with Adorno’s fierce critique of “standardized light popular music,” Dialectic of Pop tracks the transformations of the pop form and its audience over the course of the twentieth century, from Hillbilly to Beyoncé, from Lead Belly to Drake. Inseparable from the materiality of its technical media, indifferent and intractable to the perspectives of high culture, pop subverts notions of authenticity and inauthenticity, original and copy, aura and commodity, medium and message. Gayraud demonstrates that, far from being the artless and trivial mass-produced pabulum denigrated by Adorno, pop is a rich, self-reflexive artform that recognises its own contradictions, incorporates its own productive negativity, and often flourishes by thinking “against itself.”Dialectic of Pop sings the praises of pop as a constitutively impure form resulting from the encounter between industrial production and the human predilection for song, and diagnoses the prospects for twenty-first century pop as it continues to adapt to ever-changing technological mediations.
Book 7
The historical continuity of spinal catastrophism, traced across multiform encounters between philosophy, psychology, biology, and geology.Drawing on cryptic intimations in the work of J. G. Ballard, Georges Bataille, William Burroughs, André Leroi-Gourhan, Elaine Morgan, and Friedrich Nietzsche, in the late twentieth century Daniel Barker formulated the axioms of spinal catastrophism: If human morphology, upright posture, and the possibility of language are the ramified accidents of natural history, then psychic ailments are ultimately afflictions of the spine, which itself is a scale model of biogenetic trauma, a portable map of the catastrophic events that shaped that atrocity exhibition of evolutionary traumata, the sick orthograde talking mammal.Tracing its provenance through the biological notions of phylogeny and “organic memory” that fueled early psychoanalysis, back into idealism, nature philosophy, and romanticism, and across multiform encounters between philosophy, psychology, biology, and geology, Thomas Moynihan reveals the historical continuity of spinal catastrophism. From psychoanalysis and myth to geology and neuroanatomy, from bioanalysis to chronopathy, from spinal colonies of proto-minds to the retroparasitism of the CNS, from “railway spine” to Elizabeth Taylor’s lost gill-slits, this extravagantly comprehensive philosophical adventure uses the spinal cord as a guiding thread to rediscover forgotten pathways in modern thought.
Moynihan demonstrates that, far from being an fanciful notion rendered obsolete by advances in biology, spinal catastrophism dramatizes fundamental philosophical problematics of time, identity, continuity, and the transcendental that remain central to any attempt to reconcile human experience with natural history.
Book 5
A detailed critical examination of the concept of noise, its significance in scientific disciplines, and its use and misuse in the humanities and sonic arts.In this wide-ranging inquiry, Inigo Wilkins elaborates the theoretical and practical significance of the concept of noise with regard to current debates concerning realism, materialism, and rationality. Drawing on contemporary scientific thinking, Wilkins develops a multilevel analysis of noise, exploring the associated notions of randomness and unpredictability across different disciplinary contexts. Wilkins articulates noise within a functionalist-computationalist philosophical framework that follows Wilfrid Sellars’s inferentialist account of reason through his commentaries on Hume and Kant. Outlining the significance of noise to information theory and cybernetics, its relation to thermodynamics, dynamic systems theory, evolutionary biology, and complexity theory, and to recent theories in cognitive science and AI, he goes on to examine how randomness and noise are pertinent to political economy and contemporary finance. Finally, Wilkins explores noise in its specifically sonic guise, looking in particular at the phenomenology of listening and neurophenomenological models of auditory cognition, and situating the use of noise in experimental and popular music within a deep historical account of its evolutionary development. The central aim of this pioneering critical work is to demystify noise—to counter the neoliberal politics of self-organizing systems and the tendency to fetishize indeterminacy in contemporary art—by showing how constrained randomness is intrinsic to the functional organization of complex hierarchically nested systems, including higher cognition, and how the navigation of noise is a necessary condition of reason and consequently of freedom.
Book 4
Traversing philosophy and the human sciences, literature, cinema, and the visual arts, this book maps out a history where all is chaos, maelstrom, and fog.If perception and language objectivate the world, if imagination structures it, if knowledge orders it, then how can we describe, name, or even apprehend that which comes to pass when language is absent, when perception vacillates, and when knowledge eludes us? How can we say, show, or make known that which undermines and refutes the order of things, the supposedly immutable real, and the administration of the sensible?This book takes us on a quest that traverses philosophy and the human sciences, but also literature, cinema, and the visual arts. Not content with analysing the ordering power of our representations, in The Infra-World François J. Bonnet also interrogates the works of artists who have experienced and experimented with those moments when they crack open, giving way to anguish and vertigo.If perception is a sieve, what can be said of that which slips through its net, how does one speak of what escapes? What remains of unqualified perceptions, of vanishing sensations? Where do the indescribable, nocturnal fears hide, the horrors lurking behind closed eyes? What of the world beneath language and objectivated sensation? What of the infra-world?
Book 3
A systematic historical survey of Chinese thought is followed by an investigation of the historical-metaphysical questions of modern technology, asking how Chinese thought might contribute to a renewed questioning of globalized technics.Heidegger’s critique of modern technology and its relation to metaphysics has been widely accepted in the East. Yet the conception that there is only one—originally Greek—type of technics has been an obstacle to any original critical thinking of technology in modern Chinese thought.Yuk Hui argues for the urgency of imagining a specifically Chinese philosophy of technology capable of responding to Heidegger’s challenge, while problematizing the affirmation of technics and technologies as anthropologically universal.This investigation of the historical-metaphysical question of technology, drawing on Lyotard, Simondon, and Stiegler, and introducing a history of modern Eastern philosophical thinking largely unknown to Western readers, including philosophers such as Feng Youlan, Mou Zongsan, and Keiji Nishitani, sheds new light on the obscurity of the question of technology in China. Why was technics never thematized in Chinese thought? Why has time never been a real question for Chinese philosophy? How was the traditional concept of Qi transformed in its relation to Dao as China welcomed technological modernity and westernization?In The Question Concerning Technology in China, a systematic historical survey of the major concepts of traditional Chinese thinking is followed by a startlingly original investigation of these questions, in order to ask how Chinese thought might today contribute to a renewed, cosmotechnical questioning of globalized technics.
Book 2
This study of the subtlety, complexity, and variety of modes of hearing maps out a “sonorous archipelago”—a heterogeneous set of shifting sonic territories shaped by the vicissitudes of desire and discourse.Profoundly intimate yet immediately giving onto distant spaces, both an “organ of fear” and an echo chamber of anticipated pleasures, an uncontrollable flow subject to unconscious selection and augmentation, the subtlety, complexity, and variety of modes of hearing has meant that sound has rarely received the same philosophical attention as the visual.In The Order of Sounds, François J. Bonnet makes a compelling case for the irreducible heterogeneity of “sound,” navigating between the physical models constructed by psychophysics and refined through recording technologies, and the synthetic production of what is heard. From primitive vigilance and sonic mythologies to digital sampling and sound installations, he examines the ways in which we make sound speak to us, in an analysis of listening as a plurivocal phenomenon drawing on Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari, Barthes, Nancy, Adorno, and de Certeau, and experimental pioneers such as Tesla, Bell, and Raudive. Stringent critiques of the “soundscape” and “reduced listening” demonstrate that univocal ontologies of sound are always partial and politicized; for listening is always a selective fetishism, a hallucination of sound filtered by desire and convention, territorialized by discourse and its authorities.Bonnet proposes neither a disciplined listening that targets sound “itself,” nor an “ocean of sound” in which we might lose ourselves, but instead maps out a sonorous archipelago—a heterogeneous set of shifting sonic territories shaped and aggregated by the vicissitudes of desire and discourse.
Book 1
A remarkably clear explication of the tenets of Object-Oriented Philosophy and an acute critique of the movement’s ramifications for philosophy today.How does the patience and rigour of philosophical explanation fare when confronted with an irrepressible desire to commune with the object and to escape the subjective perplexities of reference, meaning, and sense?Moving beyond the hype and the inflated claims made for “Object-Oriented” thought, Peter Wolfendale considers its emergence in the light of the intertwined legacies of twentieth-century analytic and Continental traditions.Both a remarkably clear explication of the tenets of OOP and an acute critique of the movement’s ramifications for philosophy today, Object-Oriented Philosophy is a major engagement with one of the most prevalent trends in recent philosophy.

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