What is capital? It is a store of writings. The old standard of precious metal, having become banal, tends to disappear. What remains is the number, the register of the individual (or of the society) to which a certain amount of legal tender is attributed. It is a question of elec­tronic…

About Herbet Spencer (First Principles 1911)

From the work of Herbert Spencer we may extract the antithetical concepts of indefinite , incoherent homogeneity’ and 'definite, coherent heterogeneity’. We may consider these to be ideal types, the two poles are each end of the continuum  describing  social organisation… (Peter Mann in 1964)

smoke, a curve…

Standing outside in a moonlight night, smoking a cigerette in the dark on the boundary of a property, the edge of the road. From the distence we are an incandescent rythmic dot on the landscape; we stand talking about the day, the political, the death of community, the sound of cicadas, i cannot remember now, the cigerette arcs away a glowing curve away bouncing as it hits the concrete road surface. The still burning singularity is also in the cross-hairs, lingering too long here is to invite the fates to intervene, struck down by a high velocity round - though as in Big Time it will look like an unlikly accident, a small asteroid, a hit and run driver, a lightening strike or a passing hornet and to fall to the ground like an innocent bystander shotdown at random by a sniper. Though its never really random. The glowing curve it produces is not simply a singularity but the erasure of it… drawing the line onto the landscape, tracing a fading line onto the dark. In that fading curve it evades the bullet from the rifle and vanishes away leaving no trace, only the curve remains. It’s only desire is to produce the curve across the face of the dark, the antithesis of the full stop (under erasure). Becoming something between a fading red dwarf star and an incandescent light bulb being switched off and fading, fading. A desire, want rather than a target, the touch of desire of an angels wing, to seek it out is to watch it fade like an avant-garde version of Green Dolphin Street, which six months later is as dated as Mel Torme singing, just after he throws his cigerette in an arc onto the ground and stepping forward… Then when an old friend ducks out through the back of cafe, through the allay past the rubbish bins, over the low wall and running, down the street without paying, transformed into a glowing arc of escape, round the block to the Paris Pullman Cinema to watch a forgotton film, whilst the waiter on noticing his vanishing is famously green…


Every morning, getting up and after a shower, shave etc, with a glass of juice taking blood pressure medication as prescribed by the doctor, looking out of the kitchen window to the north. Turning on the radio and becoming an astonished unbelieving witness to the spectacle of the morning media discourse. Half listening to the bourgeois voices explaining little or nothing of the world, by turns obsequious and aggressive depending on the amount of fear the person interviewed or the subject generates. The pressure in the pavoni  builds up, the bread toasts, the ashtray is emptied (P… had been round smoking a cigar last night), the wine glasses placed in the dishwasher, the crystal shot glasses rinsed beneath the hot water cascading from the tap. The empty wine bottle unmoved besides the now half empty bottle of Belvedere standing on the flat of the table….

Why Constructivism…?

It is perhaps not the least important function of constructivist epistemology(ies) to make society irritatingly aware of the fact that it produces science… Luhmann

economic manuscripts - Grundrisse

As long as the means of labour remains a means of labour in the proper sense of the term, such as it is directly, historically, adopted by capital and included in its realization process, it undergoes a merely formal modification, by appearing now as a means of labour not only in regard to its material side, but also at the same time as a particular mode of the presence of capital, determined by its total process — as fixed capital. But, once adopted into the production process of capital, the means of labour passes through different metamorphoses, whose culmination is the machine, or rather, an automatic system of machinery (system of machinery: the automatic one is merely its most complete, most adequate form, and alone transforms machinery into a system), set in motion by an automaton, a moving power that moves itself; this automaton consisting of numerous mechanical and intellectual organs, so that the workers themselves are cast merely as its conscious linkages. In the machine, and even more in machinery as an automatic system, the use value, i.e. the material quality of the means of labour, is transformed into an existence adequate to fixed capital and to capital as such; and the form in which it was adopted into the production process of capital, the direct means of labour, is superseded by a form posited by capital itself and corresponding to it. In no way does the machine appear as the individual worker’s means of labour. Its distinguishing characteristic is not in the least, as with the means of labour, to transmit the worker’s activity to the object; this activity, rather, is posited in such a way that it merely transmits the machine’s work, the machine’s action, on to the raw material — supervises it and guards against interruptions. Not as with the instrument, which the worker animates and makes into his organ with his skill and strength, and whose handling therefore depends on his virtuosity. Rather, it is the machine which possesses skill and strength in place of the worker, is itself the virtuoso, with a soul of its own in the mechanical laws acting through it; and it consumes coal, oil etc. (matières instrumentales), just as the worker consumes food, to keep up its perpetual motion. The worker’s activity, reduced to a mere abstraction of activity, is determined and regulated on all sides by the movement of the machinery, and not the opposite. The science which compels the inanimate limbs of the machinery, by their construction, to act purposefully, as an automaton, does not exist in the worker’s consciousness, but rather acts upon him through the machine as an alien power, as the power of the machine itself. The appropriation of living labour by objectified labour — of the power or activity which creates value by value existing for-itself — which lies in the concept of capital, is posited, in production resting on machinery, as the character of the production process itself, including its material elements and its material motion. The production process has ceased to be a labour process in the sense of a process dominated by labour as its governing unity. Labour appears, rather, merely as a conscious organ, scattered among the individual living workers at numerous points of the mechanical system; subsumed under the total process of the machinery itself, as itself only a link of the system, whose unity exists not in the living workers, but rather in the living (active) machinery, which confronts his individual, insignificant doings as a mighty organism. In machinery, objectified labour confronts living labour within the labour process itself as the power which rules it; a power which, as the appropriation of living labour, is the form of capital. The transformation of the means of labour into machinery, and of living labour into a mere living accessory of this machinery, as the means of its action, also posits the absorption of the labour process in its material character as a mere moment of the realization process of capital. The increase of the productive force of labour and the greatest possible negation of necessary labour is the necessary tendency of capital, as we have seen. The transformation of the means of labour into machinery is the realization of this tendency. In machinery, objectified labour materially confronts living labour as a ruling power and as an active subsumption of the latter under itself, not only by appropriating it, but in the real production process itself; the relation of capital as value which appropriates value-creating activity is, in fixed capital existing as machinery, posited at the same time as the relation of the use value of capital to the use value of labour capacity; further, the value objectified in machinery appears as a presupposition against which the value-creating power of the individual labour capacity is an infinitesimal, vanishing magnitude; the production in enormous mass quantities which is posited with machinery destroys every connection of the product with the direct need of the producer, and hence with direct use value; it is already posited in the form of the product’s production and in the relations in which it is produced that it is produced only as a conveyor of value, and its use value only as condition to that end. In machinery, objectified labour itself appears not only in the form of product or of the product employed as means of labour, but in the form of the force of production itself. The development of the means of labour into machinery is not an accidental moment of capital, but is rather the historical reshaping of the traditional, inherited means of labour into a form adequate to capital. The accumulation of knowledge and of skill, of the general productive forces of the social brain, is thus absorbed into capital, as opposed to labour, and hence appears as an attribute of capital, and more specifically of fixed capital, in so far as it enters into the production process as a means of production proper. Machinery appears, then, as the most adequate form of fixed capital, and fixed capital, in so far as capital’s relations with itself are concerned, appears as the most adequate form of capital as such. In another respect, however, in so far as fixed capital is condemned to an existence within the confines of a specific use value, it does not correspond to the concept of capital, which, as value, is indifferent to every specific form of use value, and can adopt or shed any of them as equivalent incarnations. In this respect, as regards capital’s external relations, it is circulating capital which appears as the adequate form of capital, and not fixed capital.

Further, in so far as machinery develops with the accumulation of society’s science, of productive force generally, general social labour presents itself not in labour but in capital. The productive force of society is measured in fixed capital, exists there in its objective form; and, inversely, the productive force of capital grows with this general progress, which capital appropriates free of charge. This is not the place to go into the development of machinery in detail; rather only in its general aspect; in so far as the means of labour, as a physical thing, loses its direct form, becomes fixed capital, and confronts the worker physically as capital. In machinery, knowledge appears as alien, external to him; and living labour [as] subsumed under self-activating objectified labour. The worker appears as superfluous to the extent that his action is not determined by [capital’s] requirements. [Marx Grundrisse]

In the gallery…

we feel a a specific solidarity to the coat rack, with its fine painted nakedness under the check derby hat and camel hair coat that have been left on one hook.

A restaurant on the outskirts of town….

A restaurant on the outskirts of town, in the suburbs at the end of the last century. Standing in the doorway, beneath the awning looking at the white tablecloths, we can taste the sharpness of polish vodka, the subtly of white wine in tall flute glasses. We enter and are taken to our table in the corner, disguised we sit beneath the green eyes of bast, the heaviness of our dark coats on our bodies and the lightness of time and places.  She drinks a perfect margarita, eats olives and pieces of squid, a few chips. 

economic manuscripts - grundrisse

'Division of machines into (1) machines employed to produce power; (2) machines whose purpose is simply to transmit power and to perform the work.' (Babbage, Notebook, p. 10.) 

'Factory signifies the cooperation of several classes of workers, adults and non-adults, watching attentively and assiduously over a system of productive mechanisms, continually kept in action by a central force … excludes any workshop whose mechanism does not form a continuous system, or which does not depend on a single source of power. Examples of this latter class among textile factories, copper foundries etc…. In its most rigorous sense, this term conveys the idea of a vast automaton, composed of numerous mechanical and intellectual organs operating in concert and without interruption, towards one and the same aim, all these organs being subordinated to a motive force which moves itself.’ (Ure, 13.)

(Notes from economic manuscripts - )

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