As I wander again through the woods, the ground now covered in an inch or more of snow, I reflect upon the brief history of gardens recounted by Federico Campagna in his book Technic and Magic. The root of “paradise” arrives into Greek and Roman thought by way of ancient Persian gardens. “A Persian garden,” writes Campagna, “was a Paradeisos, to follow Xenophon’s first Greek transliteration of the original Persian term Pairidaeza” (175). For ancients, gardens functioned as living pictures of the cosmos. “This same structure surfaced again in Italy at the time of the Renaissance,” he adds, “when gardens were designed as miniature cosmoi (plural of cosmos, the universe)” (176). Let this history be a guide for our garden-making in the year ahead.
Tag: Federico Campagna
Tuesday December 8, 2020
Esoteric speech, says Federico Campagna, is speech among friends. Campagna is a brilliant Sicilian anarchist philosopher. He’s the author of Technic and Magic: The Reconstruction of Reality. Campagna’s thought explores world-making. We make worlds voluntarily with others, he says. These are anarchist cells. Campagna’s thought draws upon Platonism and Neoplatonism, Heidegger, anarchists like Max Stirner and Colin Ward, mystics like Simone Weil and Henry Corbin, Iranian Islamic philosophers of the 12th century. And somehow Campagna is now himself a Catholic, as he declared on a recent podcast. His next book, slated for publication early next year, is called Prophetic Culture: Recreation for Adolescents. By speaking esoterically, we admit other dimensions of reality — parts that can’t be spoken given the language we speak. Descriptive language alone is not enough. Make of speech instead an event, a happening, like multidimensional correspondence chess. Build a device — equal parts database, memex, and volvelle, inspired by Philip Pullman’s Golden Compass and Ted Nelson’s Xanadu.
Sunday April 22, 2018
Punch buggy (grey? beige? needs a new paint-job?) turns a corner as I sit in my car paused at a light. The sight of it fills me with an inexplicable sense of cosmic benevolence. Spotify plays me “The Lemon of Pink” by The Books as the shadow of a hawk, wings outstretched, floats across the surface of the parkway in front of me.
When I return home, I recline in my yard and listen to Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through The Secret Life of Plants surrounded by a perfect atmosphere of birds, trees, air, and sunlight. Stephen Holden savaged the album in “The Last Flower Child,” his review for the Village Voice. Despite its many dips into schmaltz, however, Journey more than compensates, whether with the intricate mythology of “Same Old Song” or with the sleek proto-Brainfeeder future funk of tracks like “Race Babbling.”
Shifting to the couch in the living room, I snack on potato chips and check Twitter. Marc Masters points me to International Harvester; Byron Coley points me to several new releases on Feeding Tube Records: Weeping Bong Band and Delphine Dora & Sophie Cooper’s Divine Ekstasys.
A friend texts me about a book I need to read: Federico Campagna’s Technic and Magic. The universe inflates, appears as a vast hippie modernist inflatable, like the ones assembled and promoted by groups like Ant Farm. The feeding tube grows in two opposite directions at once: attracted or pulled, take your pick, both by gravity and levity. One part of me snacks on Caramel Delights, while another part receives the gift of Joe Henderson’s “Earth,” my pick for the greatest soul-jazz track of all time.
“Earth” announces itself again, a refrain throughout the day, the second time in the form of an 11-minute video from Adult Swim. Melting, morphing screens, mirrored surfaces, cut-screens between dimensions. All this and more is ours to explore when we blow the realm of necessity to pieces (as in the Alice Cooper song) and flee to the realm of freedom.