a philosophy podcast from zero books
Zero Squared #45: Psychology or Progress?
November 19, 2015 11:39 AM PSTAshley Frawley is the author of the Semiotics of Happiness from Bloomsbury, a Lecturer in Sociology and Social Policy at Swansea University, and a reader for Zero Books. She recently debated Zero Books author Mark Fisher on the subject of the importance of personal psychology to left organizing and spoke about the immigration crisis at the Battle of Ideas. Topics covered in our conversation include the pessimism of the left, revitalizing the Enlightenment, and left-wing attitudes towards Islam. The back of the jacket copy from her first book includes the following paragraph: Emerging from the analysis is the observation that, while apparently positive and light-hearted, the concern with happiness implicitly affirms a 'vulnerability' model of human functioning, encourages a morality of low expectations, and in spite of the radical language used to describe it, is ultimately conservative and ideally suited to an era of 'no alternative' (to capitalism). In this episode you’ll hear a collage of pop music from 1970-2010 that took me three hours to assemble to what I must admit might be a less than fully realized result, the Tinkler's “The Future is Not as Good as it Used to Be,” Charles Manson's advice on how to get out a tough stain, Dan Lett's “Gravy,” and a bunch of other noise and clips. Zero Squared #44: COINTELPRO and American Maoism in the 60s
November 11, 2015 07:20 PM PST
Aaron Leonard is a writer and historian. He is a regular contributor to Truthout, Rabble.ca, the History News Network, PhysicsWorld, and Canadian Dimension magazine. His book Heavy Radicals was published by Zero Books in February of this year and he returns to the podcast to talk about COINTELPRO and American Maoism.
Joshua Moufawad-Paul reviewed the book in Marx & Philosophy Review of Books this way: Leonard and Gallagher’s historiography reads as a grand political tragedy: it is the story of an organization that, despite significant state interference, temporarily became the primary force of revolution in the United States, and then, also despite state interference, imploded and became a marginal grouplet. Apprehending this tragedy should provide the contemporary left with several useful lessons. Joshua Moufawad-Paul, Marx & Philosophy Review of Books
In this episode you’ll hear a cut up of a documentary on Mao, a songified speech from Bob Avakian, and Andrew Kliman and Raya Dunayevskaya explaining the negation of the negation. Right now you’re listening to the March of the Volunteers but in just a moment you’ll be listening to Aaron Leonard and I discuss the history of some heavy radicals.Zero Squared #42: The Truth About Art
November 01, 2015 09:48 AM PSTPatrick Doorly is an art historian specializing in Renaissance Italy. He divides his time between writing and teaching art history in the Department for Continuing Education, Oxford University, where he was acting director of studies for art history in 2001–02. Previously he was Head of Critical and Theoretical Studies at the School of Art & Design, Croydon College. Today we'll discuss his book The Truth About Art which was published by Zero Books in August of 2013. His book: Traces the multiple meanings of art back to their historical roots, and equips the reader to choose between them. Art with a capital A turns out to be an invention of German Romantic philosophers, who endowed their creation with the attributes of genius, originality, rule breaking, and self-expression, directed by the spirit of the age. Recovering the problems that these attributes were devised to solve dispels many of the obscurities and contradictions that accompany them. What artists have always sought is excellence, and they become artists in so far as they achieve it. Quality was the supreme value in Renaissance Italy, and in early Greece it offered mortals glimpses of the divine. Today art historians avoid references to beauty or Quality, since neither is objective or definable. In this episode you’ll hear some excerpts from Pierre Grimes, Robert Hughes, John Cage, Joseph Beuys and George Plimpton on Good Morning Mister Orwell, a BBC interview with Marcel Duchamp, and the theme from the 1968 film “Je t'aime, je t'aime,” and something called “Phased Floyd.” Zero Squared #41: Echo
October 21, 2015 11:32 AM PDTFiamma Montezemolo is both a Cultural Anthropologist (PhD University Orientale of Naples) and an artist (MFA San Francisco Art Institute). She has taught for many years in Mexico, Italy and USA and she is currently teaching at the California College of the Arts. Her film Echo will be exhibited at an event organized by the Zero Books author Mike Watson entitled The Elephant in the Room?: Talk and Screenings on Social Inequality, Meritocracy and Art' and slated to occur some time in December. Echo is set in the border between Mexico and USA and it is an ethnographic research on the after life and “echoes” of 9 art works that have been part of the two-decade old public art event called inSite. It highlights the procedures of intrusion at work in such a site as the US-Mexico border as well as the now canonical deployment of the emblematic figure of fieldwork. It teaches us that intrusion is an ontological dimension of intervention, at once anthropological, curatorial, and artistic. By revisiting the scenes of these curatorial and artistic interventions, “echo” emerges both as a concept and a practice that assembles the futures of art works beyond its expected ruins and remains. In this episode you’ll hear some excerpts from Laurie Anderson, an explanation of the liberatory potential of nonracist “racist” jokes from Slavoj Zizek, an excerpt from the audiobook “Tales from Ovid” read by Ted Hughes, Steve Reich's Clapping Music, and Steve Reich's Drumming. Zero Squared #40: Poor But Sexy
October 14, 2015 09:13 PM PDTAgata Pyzik is a Polish journalist who divides her time between Warsaw and London, where she has already established herself as a writer on art, politics, music and culture for various magazines, including The Wire, Guardian, New Statesman, New Humanist, Afterall and Frieze. Her book, Poor but Sexy, was published last year by Zero Books. Daniel Trilling, author of Bloody Nasty People blurbed her book this way “A necessary corrective to the paper-thin portrayal of Eastern Europe by Western media. Pyzik's writing is clear, direct, knowledgeable - and partisan, in the best sense of the word.” In this episode you’ll hear an excerpt from Dezerter's Ask the Policeman, XTC's Are You Receiving Me, and Weird Nun by Stride machine. You'll also hear a McDonald's Ad, Claire's theme from the 1991 film Until the End of the World, and Kraftwerk's Electric Cafe at 45 RPM. Zero Squared #39: Land of Hunger
October 07, 2015 04:01 PM PDTPlease take a moment this week to fill out a very short survey. Zero Books is working on offering a book club and we'd like to get your input. Wayne Holloway is a writer director, working in commercials and movies in London and in LA. His first book, Land of Hunger, is out from Zero Books and is the subject of our conversation this week. Land of Hunger is a collection of short stories, that interconnect, loop and return upon each other despite their seemingly disparate subject matter. Fragments that resonate across time and place, from the Ukraine during the Russian Civil War, to the miners' strike, to the world of animal rights protestors. It's Wednesday, the 7th of October, 2015 and I'm Douglas Lain the publisher of Zero Books and the host of this podcast. In this episode you’ll hear an excerpt of a cover of the Beatles' Sexy Sadie by Joe Goldmark, a monologue from My Dinner With Andre, archival clips of advertising from the year 2000, the '84 Miner's Strike, the Bolshevik revolution, and Cyndi Lauper's cover of John Lennon's hit Working Class Hero. The music you're listening to right now is an astro funk hit by the Earons. This is The Land of Hunger and in just a moment you'll hear Wayne Holloway and I discuss his book by the same name. Zero Squared #38: Dangerous Literature (pt 2)
September 30, 2015 10:22 AM PDTTom Sperlinger is the author of Romeo and Juliet in Palestine and he returns this week for the second half of a conversation about teaching Dangerous Literature. This week we talk about Kafka's unfinished novel The Trial, the failings of Doris Lessing, unfinished novels, and Judy Blume. Sperlinger recently taught a course on “Dangerous Books.” Here's an excerpt from the course description: Can works of literature only reflect society, or might they be a catalyst for reform? If a book has an urgent political message, can it also become a lasting work of art? Why might a work of literature be considered dangerous? In what circumstances are books banned? And conversely, what does this tell us about the power of literature, including in consciousness-raising or as a form of protest or resistance? In this episode you’ll hear the voice of Orson Welles' reading Before the Law as lifted from his film version of the Trial, an bit of JM Bernstein lecturing on Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, an excerpt from Todd Machover's Opera version of Philip K. Dick's Valis, and the jazz band Kafka performing Kafka's Theme on Brownswood Bubblers Four compiled by Gilles Peterson. Zero Squared #37: Dangerous Literature
September 23, 2015 11:13 AM PDTTom Sperlinger is the author of Romeo and Juliet in Palestine and he returns this week to discuss teaching Dangerous Literature. This is part one of a two part conversation. This week we focus on the question of polemics in fiction and modernism, and next week we'll take a close look at Kafka's unfinished novel The Trial. Sperlinger recently taught a course on “Dangerous Books.” Here's an excerpt from the course description: Can works of literature only reflect society, or might they be a catalyst for reform? If a book has an urgent political message, can it also become a lasting work of art? Why might a work of literature be considered dangerous? In what circumstances are books banned? And conversely, what does this tell us about the power of literature, including in consciousness-raising or as a form of protest or resistance? In this episode you’ll hear the voice of Norman Mailer again, a reading of Philip K. Dick's letter warning the FBI about the conspiracy of Stanislaw Lem, the music of John Cage, the voice of BS Johnson, the music of the X-Ray Spex, an excerpt from Negativland's 1980 album entitled Negativland, and Sad Cat Walk by Dan Lett. Zero Squared #36: Superstructural Berlin
September 16, 2015 12:34 AM PDTNicolas Hausdorf is an independent artist and writer living in Berlin. He writes for Vice Berlin and his book Superstructural Berlin is due out on September 25th from Zero Books. Superstructural Berlin is an experimental sociology of the city of Berlin. A mix of pamphlet-polemic, cultural critique, and weird colourful mapping enterprise. It tries to investigate the city as a series of infrastructures: drugs, nightclubs, arts, new economy and tourism. In this episode you’ll hear from Slavoj Zizek, They Might Be Giants, the Krautrock band Can, Norman Mailer, Marshall McLuhan, Terence McKenna, Kid606, and the BBC. Here are the links to an article of the CIA's connection to Abstract Expressionism, an essay in French entitled “Secret Warfare in France,” and a link to Cobra res. Zero Squared #35: Nuclear Power and Climate Change
September 09, 2015 01:25 PM PDTLeigh Phillips is a science writer and EU affairs journalist. His writing has appeared in Nature, the Guardian, Scientific American, and the Daily Telegraph and this week we continue our conversation about his book Austerity Ecology and the Collapse Porn Addicts which is coming from Zero Books in October. According to Phillips: modernity is not the cause of climate change and the wider biocrisis, rather it's the solution. There is no uncorrupted nature to return to and instead of shutting down and retreating into the brush we need to rethink and revise the basis for our own development. In combative and puckish style, science journalist Leigh Phillips marshals evidence from climate science, ecology, paleoanthropology, agronomy, microbiology, psychology, history, the philosophy of mathematics, and heterodox economics to argue that progressives must rediscover their historic, Promethean ambitions and counter this reactionary neo-Malthusian ideology that not only retards human flourishing, but won't save the planet anyway. In this episode you’ll hear from Tim and Eric, Charles Manson, National Lampoon, Doctor Roger Summons, the youtube star Walter Jahn, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and Neil deGrasse Tyson. You'll also hear music of Dan Lett.
Zero Squaredis a philosophy podcast from Zero Books. Zero publishes radical philosophy, aesthetics, film theory, experimental fiction, and anything else that smells faintly of the avant-garde. Our books aim not only to demonstrate how philosophical ideas are relevant to every day life, but also to change the terms of it. Douglas Lain is the host of this podcast and the publisher of Zero Books. He hosted the Diet Soap podcast out of this feed for five years. Jasun Horsley is a regular contributor to Zero Squared providing audio commentaries from his "liminalist corner." Zero Squared will continue the tradition of Diet Soap while giving Zero Books authors a chance to talk about their work.
Douglas Lain is the publisher of zero books. He is also a novelist and podcaster. His novel “Billy Moon” tells the story of Christopher Robin Milne’s fictional involvement with the French general strike in May of 1968, and was published by Tor Books in 2013.
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