[Audible Dwelling 0.2]
Learning Site together with Jaime Stapleton (writer) and Viggo Wichmann
At 3.00 am, The Parkinglot outside Tensta Konsthall, Tensta, Stockholm, 2013
Audible Dwelling 0.2 at a parkinglot in Tensta, Sweden.
At 3.00 am, The Swedish version performed by Iwar Wiklander
Read the UK-version below
Learning Site’s Audible Dwelling 0.2 is live-in amplifying and broadcast system that has been designed in technical collaboration with Viggo Wichmann to explore the speaking architecture of public places. For The Society Without Qualities Learning Site commisioned a sound piece, 3.00 am, by Jaime Stapleton, a writer on the political economy of law and culture. 1 The monologue is interpreted and performed by Iwar Wiklander. Learning Site and Jaime Stapleton would like to thank Iwar Wiklander for his interpretation and performance og the monolouge.
The character in 3.00 am does not identify himself. He speaks to himself and simultaneously to all. Though he somehow embodies the consciousness of many, he is no longer sure whether that many is society, a collection of individuals, or some kind of intermediate grouping. He is aware his consciousness and capacity for self-reflection is a product of a belief that is ebbing away. As a result he is both lucid and confused. In defending himself he also claims to defend the interests of many, but is also aware that this entails certain problems. It would appear therefore that he is some kind of spiritual embodiment of the welfare state.
The character talks to the Swedish experience, but communes with the digitally mediated world in English – the language of the globalised individual libertarianism that is loosening the ties of locality and nation on which his consciousness is predicated. His call to ‘look around’, to address where you are, is an extension of this political situatedness.
In one sense, his ruminations are a plea for the potential of intrinsic moral value – our desires about how the world could and should be. He specifically identifies threats posed by the conjunction of political and cultural theory, taking aim at the ‘science’ of value established by Carl Menger, the founder of the rightwing Austrian School Economics and its cultural counterpart semiotics, which together have persuaded the many that all meaning derives from the free market theory of prices.2 He therefore quotes both Menger’s dictum that “today everything touches everything else” – the notion that all values derive from market exchanges – and Margaret Thatcher’s claim that the is “no such thing as society”. In the course of his ramblings, he touches on the ‘Problem of the One and the Many’; classical conceptions of the state; sorties problems; the qualitative judgements on behalf of others necessary to welfarism; the benefits and dangers of attempts to perfect social form; theories of value, alienation and history; the horizontal relationality common to neo-classical economics, neo-liberalism and semiotics and to the crash of financial models that are first cousins to semiotics in 2008. At the end of his ruminations the character can be heard appealing to Gunnar Myrdal, the welfare economist, to help him understand what is happening to him.
1 In a Society Without Qualities a given part has no interior quality or determination, its character is determined quantitatively
in relation to all other parts that are each determined by their relation to each other and the given part. Arguments for the
dialogue were taken from extensive treatments in J. Stapleton, Visions in Copyright: The Political Economy of Composition, Ashgate, 2013.
2 Carl Menger was a neo-classical economist and founder of the ‘Austrian School of Economics’, which provided the critical impetus for the ‘Chicago School’. The anti Marxism of neo-classicalism encompassed later economists Ludwig Von Mises, and Friedrich von Hayek, Milton Friedman and Fritz Machlup at the Chicago School. The Austrian & Chicago Schools were the primary intellectual influence on the Mont Perelin Society, the crucible of neo-liberal thought. More radical strands of Austrian thinking were developed by Murray Rothbard and David Friedman who bought anarchism into line with free market capitalism, influencing a range of digital theorists including, Alvin Tofler, Richard Stallman, Louis Rosetto, Howard Rheingold, Stewart Brand, Kevin Kelly and Chris Anderson. Menger’s ‘scientific’ method was adopted by Ferdinand De Saussure who applied price theory to language, bringing the Austrian approach to value into considerations of culture through waves of semiotics, structuralism, poststruturalism, deconstruction and post-modernism.
Audible Dwelling0.2, here as mono, performing "At 3.00 am"
At 3.00 am, The Swedish version performed by Iwar Wiklander - 16 minutes
At 3.00 am - UK version:
It’s only at three in the morning I can tell the truth. I tell you, this is not how it was supposed to be. I’m not interested in justifications. Only in understanding. Its funny how an apple looks fine on the surface when it’s rotten inside. Perhaps that’s how it was for Eve …
How did we, yeah, we, because you’re in it up to your fucking neck too, its not my self-pity… how did we get here?
You could blame the cold war. You could blame Marx. You could blame the economists. You could blame those silver-tongued linguists for this … mess.
Well, while I’ve still got a grain of spirit left in me, a spit of moral integrity, a splintering crumb of substance, I’ll give it to you straight. Because tomorrow, I might not be here…
We’re empty… close to it anyway. And, while I’ve enough of myself left to think with, let me survey the rot.
… Oh, I know you can’t hear me. But I’m gonna tell you… ... Because, in some way, I am you, you can feel what I say.
They used to say in the beginning there was a perfect sphere that held love and strife in equal measures. Strife punctured the surface of sphere, mingled with love, and all the things in the universe were created by the chaos of their combination and separation. Well, maybe. But I tell you, today there’s no beginning and there’s nothing inside. It’s all surface ….
How did you make me this empty… this pointless, airless void? What you do to me, you do to yourself. Remember that. Now, I know you want to blame me for all this…
But need I remind you, you used to trust me. After you killed Him off… … I was all you fucking had. That’s why you loved me so much. You knew if no one else would look out for you, I would. At least I cared … Sure, sure. I know I did some bad things … … … I’m sorry. Guilty as charged … Sorry OK?
You might think I went too far but, be honest, weren’t you a little outta hand? And how could I go too far? I’m what you make me, aren’t I? I’m you. And, I did what I did out of love. I’m not evil.
Well, was it words or prices that killed us? …. It’s your call. Tell me. After all didn’t start it? It really isn’t my fault, this mess. You made a noose for your neck and walked in – you made a trap for your mind… no, no you made a fucking bed up in there for yourself. You laid down. Did you have to make yourself so at fucking home?
You know the truth of this … when you say “everything touches everything else”; that we’re all nodes in a network related to other nodes … that all parts create all others … you know what you’re saying… …a decentred subject. Dis-fucking-aggregated-every-fucking-thing. You know what you’re saying. I know you fucking know. Don’t play dumb! “There’s no such thing as society”. Just a collection of individuals. A collection of parts. A heap. And each part has no inside and takes its character form the others, and none is important, because its just a heap, and there’s isn’t such a thing as class and no society… … …
Don’t pretend you don’t know what you’ve been up to. You know full well!
We’re as insubstantial as scum on bath water… nothing but surface. The Word never breathed existence into matter … there is no cause, only words. And words are parts and parts, just a heap. And each is empty and none more important than another, and each valuable only in relation to others… and value assigned by the heap; and heaps don’t amount to anything but a collection, and history, like philology, is meaningless crap…
And I know who told you to think that. And he knew better. He knew about value.
And it scared the fuck from him.
… …. … when you say you don’t him, I know you’re a fucking liar.
He understood things had to change – Marx taught him that. If we have an inside, we have value, and that means we might have values in common, and that, friends, has fucking consequences … History!
If things we give life to have value because we have value, there’s no fucking justice. Markets lie. Prices are a fucking lie. And, because they are, things must change! And that’s where this started isn’t it? With your friend Carl, and friend Ferdy, trying to stop the change.
“Today, everything touches everything else”. One price is a function of all others. And others are a function of that price. And value is price and any other value … is, irrelevant. So, forget history. Forget culture, religion, God, people, family, society … think unit inputs and outputs across the surface of a flat, horizontal whole, with no time to corrupt its perfect harmony. Each part nothing but its others – in eternal equilibrium. Each an affect that effects; without a cause or origin in the earth. Without time. Each a substitute for each. All decisions reversible. Every part deterritorialised. Nothing but prices – as far as the eye can see. And nothing but words as far as we can hear … just empty units, their price given by all others at any given moment, in a horizontal world with no time, no history and no fucking society.
Take that look off your face. If you hate me its because it’s the truth. You radicals got yer Karls mixed up. Worse. You said people were like words. You might have had the honesty to say prices. But then they might have understood … when you told them resistance was horizontal, they’d have seen your lie … …
Anyway, I can’t blame you. You are ‘them’, and I am you, and what you do to yourself, you do to me. And, no, that isn’t the same thing. Not at all … …
Look what happened. Doesn’t it tell you anything? In 2008 you’d have starved if I hadn’t stepped in. Millions at the bottom of your hierarchy – yes yours – have died. I’m not exaggerating. And you say I’m a killer, a threat to freedom! You keep banging on about linguistics, nodes, decentred subjects, deterritorialisation and horizontal resistance… the very fucking ground you’re standing on is fraud, you multitudinous multiplicity-fuck. That’s why it collapsed dumby. And you lecture me: I’m overblown, I’ve overspent, I’m too big, I’m evil, I’ve gotta be cut, I mustn’t do anything to make you comfortable … ….What species of nonsense is this? What delusion is this?
You talk and talk and talk about freedom. Freedom! But what freedom? To be like a corporation? To travel business class, to be everywhere and nowhere, to keep all you make, to be left alone, to do what you want just because everyone tells you to want, to be a fucking node, with all the other nodes. Do you really think that is possible, your free, flat, fatuous Facebook world? No dust, no decay, no rot, no sickness, just shiny- shiny surfaces forever and ever. Look around you. Look at this fucking place! Beneath your feet… see, I tried. And, when I am ill, you feel it. Horizontality may be your lover, but you belong to me. You’re here.
Oh don’t you tell me I’m sick … I am, and I am dusty … I’m decaying… to be honest, I feel like I’m already gone … but you’ve got a choice. It’s us, or it’ll get nasty. You know what I mean? … Oh yeah, sure, we can all be free fucking contracting individuals. But what ya gonna do, enforce freedom and contract with a shotgun? How free is that? You really think that kinda freedom isn’t despotism? How’s that compared to the way I look after you?
You said a lot about how nasty I can be. Look around here. I tried. I really fucking tried. But this rot is down to you. If you want change, really want it, look to your feet. Where are you? Not spread like fucking jam across a digital network. You’re flesh and blood, and you’re here. In this place. This moment. This history. This square. With me. Change starts from us … in places, born in speech … that’s what free means. This voice, this person … and this person tied to this, and them to another, in this place… and… and more: accept what we don’t share, speak up, and if nobody beats you, we are free.
Nothing comes from a consciousness shattered and splattered across a trillion billion bytes. I tell you this: What they fear is collectivity not sharing. What you share … that inane chatter, those gillion, gazillion terabytes every second … means nothing… They fear what you don’t have to share: your lack of difference, what’s common in you, that depth – which is why they want you believe it isn’t there …
Be honest, isn’t that what I am?
The principle from which you lecture me is … what? That you are nodes in a disaggregated network of individuals, and networks make nodes, and all values relate to all others, and values are prices, and prices are relative … … that history is bunk and there’s no society … and I … phemmm…
Your principle, your single, fucking idea on which this is all based disintegrated before your eyes in 2008! But the delusions you built on fiction didn’t, did they? You just carried on connecting one thing to another, knitting prices and words, like nothing happened. How dumb are you?
How could it ever have worked, your surfaces, your total system … ? … your quantitative exchanges, your hollow people without qualities … how could it even amount resistance, let alone an alternative, when it grew from a theory designed to annihilate criticism not capitalism? … How?
Don’t look so sad. I’m telling you the truth because I love you. I’m not evil.
You really want me dead? Were you just a little honest … … don’t you still love me, a little? I know I can be a monster… but that’s really your fault isn’t it? That came from inside you, you can’t blame me for that – admit that at least. And conflicted is better than empty… because emptying yourself like this won’t save you from conflict.
You know I am nothing without you. You made me. And you are my children. And, for all my faults, can’t I still sooth you? Do you really think you’re better off as an effect without a cause? A nothing, an absence among absence itself?
It’s not too late, y’know. Not yet, at least. But you’ll have to stand up for yourselves!
You’ll have to admit history to your calculations. You’ll have to remember who you were; who we are … … and … it might not be pleasant. You might be less or more
… and more nasty than beautiful, but at least you won’t just be a variable affect, a hollow nothing, a price among prices, a multiplicity… at least you might be common, ordinary …
Even if it’s not me you want… to see you destroy yourself is more than I can bear.
Oh, its late, I know, and I’m so tired. But I do love you. That is the truth. Without you
… its pointless … I know you can hear me. I know you can hear me.
Gunnar, what are they doing to me … ?
Learning Poster #010-A about the Audible Dwelling 0.2 in relation to its use of titanium white, how to build with a puzzel-system, the inspiration by Prouvé among other stuff.
The exterior of Audible Dwelling 0.2 is coloured titanium white, also known as Titanium dioxide. The first paint formula using titanium white was registered in 1919 in Norway. The mining industry - including the extraction of titanium oxide - is an important part of the Norwegian landscape.The latter is used for producing the Noxite roofing of Audible Dwelling which neutralises Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) particles when UV particles meet the surface. Noxite roofing is patented by Icopal. There is currently speculation that the Swedish government is planning a law to make all new roofs titanium white. Titanium dioxide is the world’s primary pigment for providing whiteness, brightness and opacity.
Form, Colour, Materials and Techniques
In the mid 20th century, the selftaught architect and designer, Jean Prouvé pioneered prefabrication techniques that allowed for efficient, inexpensive construction of buildings while retaining quality and individuality.
The “full roof” form of Audible Dwelling is inspired by Meridian Hall, with Prouvé’s air-ventilations exchanged by speaker units. The angle of the roof-wall has been changed to 70 degrees to allow docking with other Learning Site dwellings. Swedish building regulations require houses to have a minimum 90 centimeter of wall before the roof begins. This regulation is marked by the colouring of the door that leads into the transmission-line compartment. Like Prouvés Youth Center, the inner surface of the Audible Dwelling is plywood. Similarly Audible Dwelling’s “ship-doors” have raised thresholds and the insulation is a sandwich construction.
Audible Dwelling 0.2 is constructed like a reinforced pipe, with 4mm birchwood ply strengthened by verticle ribs. Each 15mm rib has “jigsaw” tenons to ease assembly. The ribs are double-spaced at the end of the speaker and all cavities are dampened with cellulose insulation.
Learning Poster #010-C tells about "Making Houses for Speaking".
2013: Audible Dwelling 0.2 will travel to the new science park EES in Lund and the transnational harbor CMP in Malmö later this year.
Learning Book #004: Audible Dwelling
[Audible Dwelling, 1.0] placed at one of many parking lots in Columbus, 2009
Thanks to Tensta Konsthall / The Society Without Qualities, The Danish Arts Council and Konstnärsnämnden, Sweden