Life and Humanity in Covid Times with Reference to Ivan Illich and Giorgio Agamben

[This piece accompanies an earlier text, ‘The Politics of Care: Rethinking Collective Being in the Wake of COVID-19’. Both texts were written for my friends at the Workers’ University/Front Slobode in Tuzla, Bosnia, funded by the Rosa Luxemburg Society]

All photographs are mine, taken during the last 18 months

Continue reading “Life and Humanity in Covid Times with Reference to Ivan Illich and Giorgio Agamben”

Everything that is Happening

Some recent audio/visual output…and future plans.

A talk a gave for the Royal Musical Association’s Music & Philosophy Working Group entitled Music as Philosophy can be seen here

A podcast I did for Contain on the work of angelicism01 with Buum, Janie, Paul (from bible), Pool Boy, Eris Fendo is here (it’s one of the most sublime and humbling things I’ve ever been part of). Relatedly, I got a call from Wet Brain

The Illich course is in full swing. Recent videos I did with Justin Murphy include an interview with L M Sacasas of The Frailest Thing which can be seen here

We also spoke with the great David Cayley, the video of which can be seen here

I’m continuing to teach a course on The Philosophy of Angels at MSCP, which is wonderful (I highly recommend their courses which are both incredible and affordable).

You can still get hold of limited editions of my paean to unrequited love, Platforms here and there’s even now a t-shirt too!

My book with Penguin, What Do Men Want? is out in January.

I’m doing a weekly podcast with Helen Rollins and Benjamin Studebaker called The Lack which you can subscribe to here – this is a highly enjoyable exercise where we look at a film, text, poem etc. and analyse it from our relative perspectives – psychoanalytic, philosophical, political. There’s also a ‘B’ side for patrons where we get…even freer.

I continue to write for The Telegraph (paywall) and I have a Substack for prose/poems here.

In January I’ll be teaching two courses, one on The Philosophy of Beauty for Mary Ward Centre (you can sign up here, no qualifications needed). The second is on Simone Weil’s The Need for Roots for the GCAS Philosophy Certificate programme (information here).

If anyone would like to hire me for tutorials/to write a poem etc./teach please email ninapower[at]gmail[dot]com

With pagan love, Nina

New Work

Miro-esque in Burgess Park, Summer 2020

I have a new book coming out in January 2022 with Penguin called What Do Men Want? which examines the discussion about (and by) men in recent years. It’s an attempt, among other things, to understand both male resentment and female anger `(and vice versa).

I’ve set up a Substack, which reminds me of some of the more exciting aspects of the blog-era (which, for me, at least was 2004-2011).

I’ve joined a weekly podcast with filmmaker Helen Rollins and political theorist Benjamin Studebaker called ‘The Lack’. You can subscribe to that here.

Other recent things include a discussion on men for The Stoa, a Manifesto for an International University, organised by Jason Barker for Kyung Hee University (they have an excellent website here). I’ve written some more piece for The Telegraph [paywall], and I’m speaking at a free, public event on dance this weekend.

Reflections on 2020

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Photograph taken in Burgess Park, Summer 2020

Weak mortals, chained to the earth, creatures of clay as frail as the foliage of the woods, you unfortunate race, whose life is but darkness, as unreal as a shadow, the illusion of a dream, hearken to us, who are immortal beings, ethereal, ever young and occupied with eternal thoughts, for we shall teach you about all celestial matters; you shall know thoroughly what is the nature of the birds, what the origin of the gods, of the rivers, of Erebus, and Chaos; thanks to us, even Prodicus will envy you your knowledge – Aristophanes, The Birds

Hope resides in the trees…2020 did not see the third summer of love, although I spoke to someone who felt that the connections people had made this year, the decisions about who and what they valued, did in fact constitute a revivified mode of being – and after all, why should 2020 or 2021 look like 1967 or 1989? Perhaps our collective gatherings will no longer take place in fields and parks and outside, although I can’t really imagine that there are other ways of being together that could possibly be as meaningful. But, after all, there were raves aplenty in 2020, and some protests were ideologically sanctioned, while others were not. Nature and the outside were increasingly contentious: the anti-nature ideologies of our age were translated into further material contestation, further policing. Dystopian technophilia from both the left and the right (although after a certain point of madness this political distinction stops mattering), promises us to rid us of our own nature, our own history, our own relation to tragedy and comedy, even as it also claims to be able to solve all the problems it created in the first place…just a bit more…progress…please! But ‘online’ is not the solution: the internet disembodies, it saddens, it creates sad affects, even as it ‘connects’ us. Whatever modes of being-together it permits, it cannot replace them. We are proximate creatures. While there are beautiful forms of solitude, isolation, loneliness and atomisation are devastating, looping into a hyper-individualistic rumination that creates not heightened being but absolute ruination of the self.

they swear that everything can be controlled technically, that there is no need for either a new god or a new sky, only prohibitions, experts and doctors – Agamben, ‘When The House is On Fire’

Continue reading “Reflections on 2020”

On-going Writing/Talking

Image, Karolina Grzelak (2019)

You can find my recent writing on art, culture, politics and philosophy at The Telegraph, The Spectator and ArtReview.

I have recently given a four-part lecture series for The Stoa on love, sex, marriage and the future of the relationship between men and women (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4).

There are a few limited edition versions of my short autofiction delirium, Platforms, left. Available at Morbid Books.

I am currently finishing a book on men, and writing more poetry and fiction into 2021. If you would like me to write or speak for you (or to you), email me at ninapower[at]gmail[dot]com.

Piece on Flags for Mercy Pictures

Note: This was the text written on request to accompany Mercy Pictures’ show ‘People of Colour’, Auckland, October 16th – November 7th, 2020. I had no role in the conception or production of the show, but I fully support the artists of Mercy Pictures, and defend the right of all artists everywhere to make work freely. Without freedom of expression we are lost.

A flag is a piece of material, stuck to a wall, hoisted on a flag-pole. From a scientific standpoint, a flag, any flag, is nothing, just a scrap of cloth. In this sense, then, flags are silly. To care about flags is to expose oneself as vulnerable to a certain symbolic dominance. To pledge allegiance to a flag, any flag, unless done under duress, out of a cultural habit, is a strange move in a world shimmering, exploding with floating signifiers. What differentiates a McDonalds sign from the Stars and Stripes? Why not kneel outside a Dunkin’ Donuts instead? What is capitalism’s flag – all of the banners flapping outside consumer huts strewn across the world, perhaps?

Continue reading “Piece on Flags for Mercy Pictures”

The Politics of Care: Rethinking Collective Being in the Wake of COVID-19

September 2020

Text originally written for Workers’ University / Front Slobode Tuzla, Bosnia, funded by Rosa Luxemburg Society

[All photographs taken by Nina Power in lockdown in Madrid & London between March-September 2020]

Introduction: The Social Framework

In the light of the global pandemic of 2020 and the various governmental and collective responses to it, we are better able to discuss certain material realities that were previously obscured by the everyday machinations of global capitalism. The pandemic and the question of health, risk and responsibility, and where any of these things really lie, came into unadorned focus during the many months of the spread of the disease and the various political reactions, from the state on down, to it.

The virus poses questions about who cares, how this work is remunerated (if it is remunerated), and what we value more broadly individually and collectively. Now is a good a time as any to think carefully about ‘the politics of care’ so that we might be better able to make more central this most obscured, but utterly necessary, area of thought and being, particularly in its collective dimensions.

Continue reading “The Politics of Care: Rethinking Collective Being in the Wake of COVID-19”