Revisiting – some ideas

The notion of coming back presumes that we have gone forward somehow. It implies looking from a distance. This distance may be physical, temporal, cultural, emotional or imagined. What are the reasons that drive us to look back: nostalgia, melancholia, loss or dissatisfaction with the present? Can we revisit unknown places, or can we only revisit where we once belonged? And what happens when the physical place is no longer there?

There is an impulse to reconstruct the past, to understand the journey. What is the meaning and purpose of revisiting in relation to a virtual context, as opposed to a real, physical one?

We can never look at the same place, event, photo or text in exactly the same way. Every time we will bring, consciously or unconsciously, something new to our reading. Every time is an attempt to reconstruct or deconstruct the original. To visit derives from the latin word visitare (‘go to see’) and this in turn from visare (‘to view’) and videre (‘to see’). To re-visit is then to look back, or again, to re-encounter, connecting the present with the past, to build a whole from the fragments, suggesting narratives, filling the gaps.

What are the objects and images that we take on our journey, and which are the ones left behind? What is our relationship with these objects that constantly invite us to revisit some long lost place or to lose ourselves in an imaginary landscape, beyond our scale and time, an echo of home or perhaps a romanticised idea of a utopian ‘unknown’?

The section on re-visiting invites words and images that revolve around notions of displacement, longing, repetition, the meaning of home, the fragment, the archive, individual and collective notions of native and foreignness, of departure and arrival.

Format: please send your submissions (which can consist of or include photographs, drawings, etc; if text, max 1000 words) to before the 31st of August.

The copy – some ideas

Copying has long been seen as the inferior partner in the binary original/copy.  How do we rethink this relationship productively?

The copy as transitional act: When something is copied a change is effected within the action. Can copying then become a generative rather than a derivative act?

‘The copy (is) the underlying condition of originality’ (Rosalind Krauss The Originality of the Avant-Guard and Other Modernist Myths)

Is Krauss right?  If so was the post-modern turn to simulacra the return of the repressed of all that the historic avant-garde was founded on but denied?

The copy is only a problem when it comes into conflict with capital. Only when proliferation undermines profit does the copy become a subversive act. Discuss.

The conceptual copy: to steal the idea but not the form. Kraftwerk were huge Beach Boys fans and decided to copy them. Not by apeing them formally, but by trying to embody/capture the environment in which they lived. For the Beach Boys this was the surf and drag racing culture of South California. For Kraftwerk this was the reconstruction of industrial Germany.  What of the opposite – to steal the form but not the content? Consider artists like Blinky Palmero, who uses the forms of Rothko/Newman high modernism but rejects the metaphysical/existential content.

Parody/Irony- the copy as critique

Are there copies that are better than the originals? John Coltrane’s version of My Favourite Things surely beats Rodgers and Hammerstein’s.

Walter Benjamin- please, not The Work of Art essay –  let’s have  ‘the new as the ever the same’

Mark E Smith: ‘All I learnt at school where the three R’s: Repetition, repetition, repetition’      Quentin Crisp: ‘The young always have the same problem – how to rebel and conform at the same time. They have now solved this by defying their parents and copying one another’.   What is the relationship between originality and copying in the formation of subjectivity?

The doppelganger, the clone and other doubles: Is the obsession with the human copy a permanent feature of the human imagination or is the uncanny double a social historic concept? Do we need to have reached an era of technical reproducibility for it to appear?  Science fiction and psychoanalysis are contemporaries. How does technological progress effect how we depict our doubles?

Scientists tell us something about cloning! Lawyers tell us something about copyright! It will counter our tendency to artistic and metaphysical excess.

In Kale Iasn ‘originality is dead’ . In the contemporary era only the copy remains.  The market’s need for novelty could be seen as condemning modernity to creativity – to its ceaseless production of ism’s.  If so, what was the relationship between the market and the postmodern turn to repetition? Is there a relationship between the market and copying that goes deeper then copyright issues?

There are two distinct but interrelated discourses of the copy.  On the one hand there is the copy as metaphysical conundrum, a trans-historical debate of essence and appearance that has dogged philosophy since its birth in ancient Greece, whilst on the other there are historically specific arguments over who controls the copy. From the Church and State’s attempts to control printing – the birth of copyright law- through to today’s debates about the internet, the copy is connected to the needs and interests of capitalism.  Control of the copy is also the control of wealth and information.   What is the relationship between these two levels of discourses?

For further information on this section: Simon Marginson (

Foam – some ideas

(The Radical Potential of) Foam

“All individuals are living in a specific bubble within a communicating foam.”
Peter Sloterdijk

Bubbles break away or stay, make new paths, re-allign, remain adjoined.
Inside, we are simultaneously immunised and isolated, yet connected to a perpetually reconfiguring and drifting foam of social and political being.

“The systemization of social relations, the standardization of temporality and the intrusion of quantifiable exchange value into every facet of human life generates a series of urban threats which the city dweller must shield themselves against in order to maintain the integrity and equilibrium of their psychic inner world.”
Adrian Lahoud –

How do we open up (do we need to), take a chance on our “psychic inner worlds” being re-coded and entrained, as we move to de-immunise ourselves and re-engage with the public space we were once convinced no longer belonged to us?

“To inhabit both the real and virtual worlds at one and the same time, and to be both here and potentially everywhere else at the same time, is giving us a new sense of self, new ways of thinking and perceiving which extend what we have believed to be our natural, genetic capabilities.” Roy Ascott – The Architecture of Cyberception

What are the possibilities for inter-spatial (virtual and actual) interaction and organisation in a post-biological world?


1. a collection of minute bubbles formed on the surface of a liquid by agitation, fermentation, etc.: foam on a glass of beer.
the froth of perspiration, caused by great exertion, formed on the skin of a horse or other animal.
froth formed from saliva in the mouth, as in epilepsy and rabies.


afoam, bubbling, effervescent, frothy, nappy, sparkling, spumescent, spumous, vaporous

1.​(of a liquid or gas) to carry along (drops of liquid, bubbles, etc), as in certain distillations
2.​to disperse (air bubbles) through concrete in order to increase its resistance to frost
3.​zoology to adjust (an internal rhythm of an organism) so that it synchronizes with an external cycle, such as that of light and dark

For more information on this section, please contact Adam Denton (

dis/con/sensus – some ideas


Politics is litigious. It is a deviation from the normal order of things. It is a denaturalising gesture, a rupture and an interruption. (See Jacques Rancière, Dissensus)

Politics is dissensus.

Consensus is the loss of thought. It is politics understood as the affair of government.

The futility of noisy protests that everyone agrees with…? (That leads to more consensus.)

Art as a means of disclosing the ‘necessary’ and ‘inevitable’ as contingent? (See Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism, p. 16). The denaturalising function of art.

What constitutes consensus and dissent today? In what forms are they practised? What kinds of sociality do they entail?

Doing is a torrent against all enclosure. Our power to do things differently, our power to create a different world, is a flow that exerts a growing force against the walls that hem us in, a constant breaching of these walls. Capital runs around mending these breaches (granting land reforms, redefining the norms of sexuality, for example), but the flow of our power will not be contained, simply because our collective life depends on it. (John Holloway, Crack Capitalism, p. 261)

What are the links between art and politics? Is art (and can it be) political? Does it do?

What is the place of the university? Is the university a consenting or dissenting institution?

dissent (vb): early 15c., from L. dissentire “differ in sentiments, disagree, be at odds, contradict, quarrel,” from dis- “differently” (see dis-) + sentire “to feel, think” (seesense). Related: Dissented; dissenting.

dissension (n): early 14c., from O.Fr. dissension (12c.) and directly from L. dissensionem (nom. dissensio) “disagreement, difference of opinion, discord, strife,” noun of action from pp. stem of dissentire “disagree”

consensus (n): 1854 as a term in physiology; 1861 of persons; from L. consensus “agreement, accord,” pp. of consentire (see consent). There is an isolated instance of the word from 1633.

For more information on this section, contact Amanda Crawley Jackson (

Animality – some ideas

If you’d like to contribute a piece that responds to the Animality theme in the forthcoming occursus books, you may find the following useful…

“The question of the living and of the living animal … will always have been the most important and decisive question.” (Jaques Derrida, ‘The Animal That Therefore I Am’)

We are asking for contemporary responses to the question of ‘the living and the living animal’ and how this might impact upon our current, anthropocentric, world view.

What is the nature of the human/animal distinction? Is this distinction actually still valid?

Bearing in mind the diversity of species, how does this singular term ‘Animal’ function as an overall category? What do we mean when we use the word ‘Animal’?

Donna Haraway has written of human nature as an interspecies relationship, operating on many interconnected levels. We tend to see other ‘creatures’ as figures within a plexus of complex natural ecologies but ourselves as somehow outside of these networks. Is this a valid perspective?

For further info on this section, please contact Paul Evans (

occursus books

In September, occursus will publish a collection of 6 chapbooks on the themes of:

  • the spandrel 
  • re-visiting
  • dis/con/sensus
  • animality
  • copying
  • foam

The themes have emerged from Reading Loop, details of which can be found by clicking on the Reading Loop tab above.

If you would like to contribute to any of these volumes, please contact the relevant editor with your text or a brief (50-100 words) proposal. We’re looking for images and texts of all kinds (limited only by word length – 1000 words max, please).

  • the spandrel: Christine Arnold & Laurence Piercy ( &
  • re-visiting: Hondartza Fraga (
  • dis/con/sensus: Amanda Crawley Jackson (
  • animality: Paul Evans (
  • copying: Simon Marginson (
  • foam: Adam Denton (