Ravirer A digital garden about disrupting status quo

Hello, my name is Ariane Beaudin.
I am an anticapitalist writer and eternal generalist.

Welcome to Ravirer, my digital garden.

But what is a digital garden? Joel Hooks describes it as

a metaphor for thinking about writing and creating that focuses less on the resulting “showpiece” and more on the process, care, and craft it takes to get there.

If you want to know more about me or what I’m doing, you can jump to the /about page or the /now page. I also write poetry.

problems bigger than states

I am currently reading many wonderful books, among them The Communism of Love by Richard Gilman-Opalsky. In there the author does brilliant work at summarizing the theory of so many interesting people and I would like to mention one of them right now. It is nobody else than Bernard Stiegler’s ideas that sparked something in me today. As he tries to theorize the “societies of control” we live in today, he acknowledges that people in power

seem incapable of confronting —or unwilling to confront— the fact that things may be “uncontrollable” precisely because they are really beyond our control. Societies of control resist thinking about the category of the “uncontrollables,” so they try to control everything —terrorism, drug abuse, and borders— and they often fail to notice that their efforts are met with measurable increases of behaviors they aim to diminish. (p.196)

That was said in the chapter Love as Praxis : Critical Theory and Psychoanalysis where was examined the loneliness epidemic and the general lack of meaning and sense of self many people experience nowadays. Later, the author adds :

Stiegler confesses his fear. He is worried about his children and their futures, and he knows that the problems we face are beyond the control of the apparatuses of established power today, if they ever were under control at all. The only thing Stiegler can think to do is to return in the end to the subject of love: “Our epoch does not love itself. And a world that does not love itself is a world that does not believe in the world: we can believe only in what we love.” (p.197, my emphasis)

This frame opened my eyes in new ways and somewhat resonated with ideas from Zizek’s recent book on the pandemic, where he stresses the importance of a strong relations of trust between states and their people to maybe establish some new form of disaster communism in face of the rise of barbarism. The precise passage that came in mind was the following :

Carlo Ginzburg proposed the notion that being ashamed of one’s country, not love of it, may be the true mark of belonging to it. (p.43)

When I read this the first time, it made me laugh as I thought “wow I really belong here then”. And since then I often daydream about formulating a theory of some form of anti-nationalism from this starting point, but that is somewhat unrelated to Spiegler. In this moment, I don’t think Ginzburg’s proposition can apply to Spiegler’s concern. Because I feel that there’s a lot of apathy involved in the “disliking of the world” that would somewhat diluted the shame.

But yeah, it’s still food for thought. It might sounds like a weird detour, but Spiegler’s affirmation that “the problems we face are beyond the control of the apparatuses of established power” also sounds like some kind of relief from my activist mind? As in since it is beyond everything/everybody’s control, it is so very normal that we are all struggling to make this world a better place, and also if “we are falling apart” despite our collective efforts, like we shouldn’t feel too much guilty about it maybe? Like let’s just try and try and accept there will never be perfect solutions. Or in Keller Easterling’s words in Medium Design : Knowing How to Work on the World :

Instead of seeking solutions alone, you can address dilemmas with responses that do not always work. Multiplying problems can be helpful. Messiness is smarter than newness. Obligations are more empowering than freedom. (p.19)

to organise one's knowledge

I’m a such nerd, but I feel like, in order to be a good nerd, I should organise my knowledge a bit more. The universe seems to point in this direction too since I have encountered many synchronicities (found in newsletters, facebook comments, conversation with friends) about it in the recent past.

Furthermore, it’s been a while I want to somewhat reorganize this digital garden by categories. I just always have been too lazy to implement the feature. Afterall, in the first place, what I liked the most about digital gardens was that it was not like a blog in the way the content was organised. And yet my very own digital garden only showcase my notes in chronological order. Therefore I am in reflexion about if my urge to organize my knowledge should be partly a makeover of Ravirer or if it should be something apart this project.

So far I use Zotero to store what I’m reading. My library is public, but I don’t think it’s relevant to anybody to really dive through it since it’s such a mess. Even I go rarely see older pieces that lives there. I used Obsidian, a graph-based note-taking software, for a little time to organize my ideas (after that Roam Research became a paid application) but didn’t create any workflow whatsoever on it.

At the moment, if I’m not thinking about how realistic it is for me to code and write such a thing, my ideal way of organizing everything would be to have an index page with all the categories of subject I’m covering. On the main page of the subject would be a selective bibliography on the topic and maybe some comments to contextualise the discipline. I would like to have a search bar that would allow me (and/or people) to search through all the entries. I’d like to let myself be messy a little with those bibliographies but also have a page where I showcase bibliographies of which I am proud, in a sense that I find them very complete or original.

But parrallely, I am thinking that this selective bibliographies project could be remote of this garen, because this way it would be easier to make it collaborative. And if I want to make something collaborative, I wish I could still use GitHub, but I don’t know how much this technology is accessible to people not from the tech-world.

But at the end of the day, my concerns still go to the idea of contextualisation. This newsletter issue sparked my interest on the topic. In it, Sari Azout says very wisely that

[…]thus far, the conversation around “curation” has been too focused on the content – “what should I read?” – and not enough on the structure – “how do we collect, store, and contextualize the information we consume?” We seem to have forgotten that the goal is not to consume more information. The goal is to think better, so we can achieve our goals.

Therefore, she points out that

Three intersecting problems remain unsolved:

  1. Our feed-based information architecture is obsessed with the present.
  2. We consume information recreationally, not as a way to achieve our goals.
  3. Curation has been too focused on the information and not enough on architecture; how we collect, store, augment, and utilize what’s already in our minds.

So yeah, that’s good food for thought. And to go back to my particular situation, I feel like I would be very willing to invest energy in order to “fix those issues” but at the same time, I realise that it might “not be that worth it” because I have almost no visibility with my digital garden. Therefore, I was thinking that I maybe do need to start a newsletter and stuff.

Another thing that really motivates me is that (unfortunately) my university sucks lol. My classes, and the reading that needs to be done for those, are so very pointless and not up to date in my opinion and it makes me kind of angry because there is relevant stuff to teach people who wants to work in cultural animation, and yet this relevant stuff isn’t at the agenda. Therefore, I would like to build an alternate cursus to build the gap.

So many projects and direction I could take, it’s a bit overwhelming. But at the same time, I am very grateful because this whole situation exists namely because I had the chance to read and listen to so many interesting things these last years. I’ll meditate on that.

zizec and the covid-19 pandemic

Here’s some notes from my reading of PANDEMIC!: COVID-19 Shakes The World where Zizec argues that there will be no back to normal, hence we need to establish a new form of communism or else we’ll see some barbarism “with a human face” takes place.

  • We never learn from history, this pandemic will not necessarily make us wiser or anything
  • Idea that if China would value free speech there would be no pandemic OR we should extend our fights for human rights accross the globe to prevent new catastrophes
  • We not only need strong states to fight what is to come, but also need a trusting relationship between states and their people (especially in this age of prolifering fake news)
  • Some wants to see the pandemic as punishement from nature, but the crisis doesn’t necessarily have a meaning, and it will probably be long
  • Chapter 2 covers the idea of the self-exploited worker, where creative and intellectuals now “own” the mean of their production, nonetheless the division in type of workers (the intellectual/creative, the caregiver, the manufacturor) and how the caregiving jobs were somewhat downplayed didn’t resonate with me but anyway, those three types of workers experience different kind of fatigue respectively to their category of work was Zizek’s point
  • Concept of capitalism animisn is interesting, i.e “treating social phenomenona such as markets or financial capitals as living entities” (p.33)
  • Metaphor from kung-fu move Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique to illustrate that, once the pandemic will be over, Europe (and probably the world) will probably turns into shambles
  • The conclusion of the book is that maybe we are already seeing the emergence of this new form of communism he is advocating for, namely through pandemic relief measures, this new form communism he suggests we could call “disaster communism” to echo Naomi Klein’s disaster capitalism

magic and activism

(little piece from my zine-in-progress Witchcraft Is Social Change)


There’s two ways to define witchcraft or magic that intertwine. The first one is to play it safe. It’s when you define magic as a a way to change reality in order to attain some results. In this context, everything is magic. Seduction can be magic. Coding can be magic. There’s in my opinion nothing wrong with that, except that it can also allow the interpretation of a rationalized magic that would eventually deny the real magic.

The second definition of magic would be the one that specifically in describe this magic we believed in when we were children. The magic of the unexplained. The magic of nature’s mysteries not yet discovered (or even impossible to discover/apprehend). The magic behind a shaman levitating, behind your first birth chard reading that illuminates so many things of your life.

I will – of course – not stop myself at the first definition and rather extend to and englobe the second when I will talk about magic or witchcraft here. I do use magic and witchcraft interchangeably, but I do recognize a little nuance in the two. Magic is everywhere, naturally. Witchcraft involves human interventions. But at the same time, I recognize that magic is a human concept and that, maybe, we just label magic things we cannot explain since the beginning of time, that maybe, at the end of the day, what we are doing when we are practicing magic are acts that are less supernatural than we could think.

What does witchcraft means in the context of social change? What does witchcraft looks like as a political tool? Well, if we look at our first definition, we could dare to say that activism, or any kind of attempt to alter status quo, is witchcraft. But this does not satisfy me. It would be a ‘‘play if safe’’ answer. For me, to use witchcraft as a political tool is :

  • an answer to Audre Lorde famous words saying that ‘‘we cannot unbuild the masters’ house with the masters tools’’
  • to acknowledge the importance of the symbolic and engage in fight on symbolic ground (and therefore acknowledge that the “battle of the imagination” is not frivolous)
  • in the spirit of diversity of tactics, to leave the realm of the purely rational and include the poetic and the magical in our arsenal
  • to follow emergent strategies that mimics the wisdom of nature
  • to use divination tools to better guide and strategize our actions and movements
  • to reclaim personal power and agency
  • to allow the bigger forces of the universe to help us in our quest for social justice and to recognize the relational nature of all things
  • to cherish our intuition as our intuition is our strongest tool to keep us in satefy while we march toward the tommorow we seek (because the world is now too complex to be apprehended in its entirety by the mind alone)

cultural premonition

When I was studying in International relations, I fell in love with constructivism. Because in international relations theory there is few proeminent intellectual currents, namely the realist school, who are just a bunch of pessimists folks who seek war, and the liberalists, which are a bit better but never convinced me. Well, I fell in love with my idea of constructivism because when I looked back into the definition of it in the context of international relations, I realize it didn’t meant what I thought it meant.

The realists would say that wars are inevitable. The liberalists would say that they can be avoided if states are strongly interdependant. The real constructivists would say that it depends on how the states perceive themselves, or something like that.

Maybe in my misunderstanding I was foreshadowing my future, now current, anarchist view of the world (in the political sense, not the international relations sense). Because in my understanding of constructivism, it wasn’t about ‘‘states self-perception’‘…. like states don’t have consciousness, they merely exist since they are afterall just abstract concept (something that people don’t stress hard enough in my opinion). No, my understanding of constructivism was that international relations were, at the end of the day, shaped by the perceptions of real people. Like not only politicians and diplomats, but the regular people too.

With this in mind, my constructivist take on wars would be ‘‘if the people think war is legitimate, then war will happen, but if the people think it’s illegitimate, then it won’t’’.

Even if I don’t study international relations much anymore, it doesn’t interest me much, this constructivist thinking stayed with me in my new fields of study. Well, I’m still having a hard time drawing the lines about what my current fields of study are but let’s say that I’m all about how to shape the future. I wouldn’t say it’s futurism in and on itself, but I guess I could say that I’m doing some very transdisciplinary futurism.

My constructivist take on shaping the futures is all about narratives and the collective unconscious in some way. I’m a big fan of Jung and even if I sometimes forget about him for a while, he’s always there in my heart. Therefore, I am guilty, just like all the other academics, to bring Jung to the table to feel credible when I talk about esoteric matters hehe.

Remember when I mention capitalist realism in my It always goes back to ambitopia post? Well this idea of “it’s easier to envision the end of the world than the end of capitalism” is very anchored in my constructivist story. (Just to mention that I am starting to be very more critic of the term “end of the world” or apocalypse but I won’t dive into this here.) The Youtube channel Some More News recently put online their Some More News : The Movie video and it really helped me connect the dot. This 2 hours “movie” is in fact more like a homemade documentary about american apocalyptic science-fiction and pop culture. They look at sci-fi movies from the 70s to ours days and the constat is quite clear : since the 70s, American cinema is selling us the idea of the end of the world, the idea that we are doomed, that nobody will act upon the upcoming crisis and that the new generations’ aims must simply be survival. One great example of this is how people born in the 1990 grew up with what seemed innocent back-then The Land Before Time (or Petit pied in French) which follow a bunch of dinosaur kids who are trying to survive extinctions (the only adult, the mother of the main charachter, dies at the beginning of the movie.)

A few days after watching this video, I remembered a podcast I listened to when I used to live in Rosemont and had to walk on Beaubien in 2019. I managed to find it back, it was an episode of Occulture, more precisely the Sync or Swim episode with synchromystic Chris Knowles. The guest, Knowles, is blogging about how pop culture can predict the future (he also wrote a book about the matter). He is especially into comics and superheroes if I remember correctly. And this idea of pop culture premonition very resonate with my understanding of the collective unconscious. It also fits well my narratives-centered approach to futurism.

I recently started to dive more deep into africanfuturism. I must say I am mesmerized by the Black imagination and I am ashamed I haven’t started reading Black authors earlier in my life. Of course, since I just started to discover this universe, I feel like I’m seeing it everywhere now. I mean, for sure, it’s partly in my head, but also I haven’t hallucinated the ampleur of the movement Black Lives Matter. The stories in Black SF are incredibly realist but also incredibly hopeful quite often. They don’t simply offer entertainment, most of the time they offer creative way to counter-attack oppressive forces. And this brings a lot of joy and excitement to me. And… you know where I’m getting… If this become the mainstream (or at least, reach the mainstream), and if to be in the mainstream = to be a premonition in some way, it gives us such a more fertile future.

EDIT 31/01/2021 : I am a bit more critical of Jung since I wrote that, thanks to an enlightning conversation with a friend. I feel noob navigating the academic world sometimes, and I often have a hard times make it work with my decolonial approach, but hey, that’s the journey. The ideas in this text still stand though.