Listened to this podcast about The Book of Probes; thinking about, as the hosts discuss, Deleuze and McLuhan as philosophers of the background.

A lot of people are like that — not just famous thinkers. Constantly pondering the frame, directing attention to the stage and curtain rather than themselves as players. Any assumption that another person occupies the same ground that we do feels like a violent imposition on the other.

Of course those assumptions are also the basis for intimacy. Frame-ponderers are lonely people.

Ambient music is the music of backgrounds. That’s the simplest thing you can say about it, and the observation checks out with Brian Eno’s lyrics, since they accommodate endless interpretation. If his solo work is about anything, it’s the desire to dissolve into a frame rather than emerge in positive relief from it.

I stand on the beach
giving out descriptions
different for everyone I see

Oblique Strategies is a lot like The Book of Probes. A form that started with the Tao Te Ching. It’s a cool break from the declarative writing that constitutes academia’s “game of competing utterances” (to quote the podcast again).





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