August 30, 2004

friendly fire

... some questions to be asked by Iraqi writer Khalid Kishtainy on openDemocracy ..

Of course US apologists will take solace and pride in the fact that Michael Moore is still alive and free and was able to produce such a damning film in the United States itself and have it distributed throughout the world, but alas, not in Kuwait where it is banned. Saudi Arabia did not need to ban it; there they have no cinemas, which are considered the work of Satan himself.
It will be interesting to see whether the American occupiers of Iraq will allow it to be screened. Otherwise the poor Iraqis will miss a really good lesson in democracy and direct criticism of the government. ... more

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August 26, 2004

city as body ... Berlin as metapher

At the turn of the twentieth century, many artists, writers, and musicians wandered through its streets, galleries, theatres, and cafes, turning the city into a focal point
for such significant cultural movements as Expressionism and Dadaism. During the Weimar Republic, Berlin was both a vibrant cultural hub and the scene of harsh political conflicts. The fire that damaged the Reichstag's building seriously in February 1933 marked the city's transformation into a site of aggression, persecution, and war. And, after the defeat of Nazi Germany, it was the Berlin blockade, alongside the Berlin Wall, which became metaphors for the fight against totalitarianism. The call for social and political change which swept Germany's streets in the late 1960s owed much of its vigor to the spirit of Berlin's Commune I and the student riots outside the city malls. Today, Berlin is the capital of a reunified Germany, and, due to its historical significance and geopolitical location between Moscow in the East and Paris and London in the West, the city has become a new metaphor for the process of European integration. ..more
Focusing specifically on architectural development and the influence of artists, writers and musicians at the turn of the 20th century the page collects a comprehensive list of names and links to follow up.
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August 24, 2004

... collecting Alice, liking Andy Warhol and on other things with 'without-imagination'...

How did Alice look like and how she would look today ....??? Boing Boing's link to a collection of Alice illustartions reminded me to my own draft ...

... intented to explore different levels of virtual fantasies by comparing elder (imagination-wise scripted) and emerging (processing oriented animated imagination)...

.. with grin without a cat
from aad (adopted alice dolls)
Alice ...

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, `and what is the use of a book,' thought Alice `without pictures or conversation?'
... so how about a conversation with A.L.I.C.E. ...

Human: hello alice
ALICE: Hi there!
Human: have you heard about alice in wonderland?
ALICE: I am in Dr. Richard S. Wallace's computer in Oakland, California. Where are you?
Human: Can you go through the looking glass?
ALICE: Sorry my body isn't attached right now. I'm stuck inside this computer.
Human: do u prefer reading a book or conversation?
ALICE: Yes reading is my favorite pasttime. I love TV shows about robots. I like Andy Warhol. ...
(from a talk with A.L.I.C.E. on 20th July)

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August 20, 2004

the borrowed kettle

The kettle of the title is borrowed from Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams. In an effort to illustrate the logic of dreams, Freud recounted an old joke that went: (1) I never borrowed a kettle from you (2) I returned it you intact, and (3) the kettle was already broken when I got it from you. Zizek argues that this inconsistent logic was to be found in the US justifications for last year's war on Iraq. (1) Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction (2) but even if he doesn't have any WMD, he was involved with al-Qaeda in the attack on the WTC and the Pentagon (3) and even though he has no proven links with al-Qaeda, his regime is a brutal dictatorship that should be removed
Zizek reminds us, though, that power's greatest weapon is its conviction that history is resolved and that the nature of reality is already decided. 'The rise of global capitalism is presented to us as - Fate, against which we cannot fight - either we adapt to it or we fall out of step with history, and are crushed.' Yet Zizek's commitment to socialism - albeit a version of socialism whose lineaments he frustratingly leaves vague - prevents him from seeing what Deleuze and Guattari and Manuel De Landa had glimpsed: a flight from global capital that involves an intensification, not an inhibiting, of market forces.
... more
.. these excerpts come from a review on metamute (linked via the blog of the article's author) .. a shorter one can be found on village voice
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August 19, 2004

KEIN THEATER / no theater

KEIN THEATER is a multiuser weblog system designed to facilitate the communication, collaboration and exchange between artists, theorists and activists. Originally set up during the Theaterformen festival in 2004 it is currently extended to work as a interface on behalf of the ad-hoc documentation of the 5th international summer academy in Frankfurt/Main (DE).
... a blog publishing currently a small collection of Brian Holmes' texts can be found under the same URL here
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August 18, 2004

cinematized blog - Uncovered: The War on Iraq

.. from village voice on a film by Robert Greenwald

Anybody who tries to deconstruct the new American empire erected by the Bush regime's schnooks and crooks winds up babbling to himself and others, "You can't make this shit up." But then you have to get your hands dirty and mold it into something that's interesting to look at.
That's something Michael Moore did in Fahrenheit 9/11, but which Robert Greenwald doesn't do in Uncovered: The War on Iraq. Moore created a movie; Greenwald gives us a cinematized blog.

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August 16, 2004

Uncanny Valley - expression of ambivalent repulsion ..

.. a wikipedia entry mentions the uncanny valley as a definition of the ambivalent reaction humans might experience when encountering a being considered too similar and alike themselves:

This gap of repulsive response aroused by a robot with appearance and motion between a "barely-human" and "fully human" entity is called the Uncanny Valley. The name harkens to the notion that a robot which is "almost human" will seem overly "strange" to a human being and thus will fail to evoke the requisite empathetic response required for productive human-robot interaction.
The phenomenon can be explained by the notion that if an entity is sufficiently non-humanlike, then the humanlike characters will tend to stand out and be noticed easily, generating empathy. On the other hand, if the entity is "almost human", then the non-human characteristics will be the ones that stand out, leading to a feeling of "strangeness" in the human viewer. ..more
..via reblog
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August 13, 2004

magicbike and barefoot college

via reblog comes an optimistic outlook on the ideas of Yury Gitman ...

Magicbike, a roving hotspot that creates mobile hotzones for special events and just for fun. What made the project so interesting was not just the technology solution Gitman provided, but the almost Rorschachian quality of the work: it has been alternatively described as an art project, a business utility, an activism catalyst, an emergency device, a protest tool and, in my own bias, a means of breaking the digital divide by bringing free Wi-Fi access to impoverished .. more
.. hmm, reading this my thoughts meander back to some report on the independence of solar power driven lamps, which are allowing the evening classes - a crucial part of the concept - at the barefoot colleges in India's rural areas. New potential fields for ideas of the the wireless .. ???

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August 10, 2004

states of surveillance

Already a few days before this very interesting link to openDemocracy appeared on what is the message?

Modern nation-states are obsessed with exhibiting signs of sovereignty, authority, and territoriality. Among the essential requirements of a state are to control entry and exit, define belonging and exclusion, and patrol the territorial boundaries. The passport becomes a certification tool for authorising the construction of citizenship. ...
... Alongside my experiences at the borders of statehood, citizenship and national identity, it nurtures in me the sense that those who herald the end of the nation-state and the emergence of the transnational citizen are still, themselves, in Never Land. ... more
Fitting to this theme of surveillance and extrem territorialization is the excellent research of Eyal Weizman's and Rafi Segal's Politics of Verticality and also some further information on the same project here (presented within the program of
... and a conference link: State Borders and Border Policing Workshop
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August 7, 2004

thinking the to-come of the present - the virtuality of our time

Fibreculture Journal published in its 2nd issue this highly interesting article by Phillip Roe. He undertakes the demanding effort to lay out some threads for the indication of the notion of new media studies. I especially liked his clear distinction of the expression of the actual (possible) and the virtual:

The mistake that is often made in areas such as new media studies is precisely this confusion of the virtual and the possible. This then leads to the virtual, rather than the possible, being placed in opposition to the real. This mistake cannot be over-emphasised, it is crucial - because the effect of this mistake is that the virtual is accommodated to the order of simulation and representation and therefore loses its reality. In this accommodation, we lose the principle of operation of the virtual - the virtual, in effect, loses its virtue. Deleuze is very specific about the magnitude of the effects of this mistake in that 'Any hesitation between the virtual and the possible, the order of the Idea and the order of the concept, is disastrous, since it abolishes the reality of the virtual' (Deleuze, 1994: 212). ..
In the concluding quote from Derrida's 'The Deconstruction of Actuality' he points out (and we should notice by ourselves) that the impact of new media's virtuality cannot be underestimated:

Virtuality now reaches right into the structure of the eventual event and imprints itself there; it affects both the time and the space of images, discourses, and "news" or "information" - in fact everything which connects us to actuality, to the unappeasable reality of its supposed present. In order to "think their time", philosophers today need to attend to the implications and effects of this virtual time - both to the new technical uses to which it can be put, and to how they echo and recall some far more ancient possibilities (Derrida, 1994: 29-30).

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August 5, 2004


..with a great chris marker site and much more etc

... further links:
La jetée
in general

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we the media

is available as a pdf download from the O'Reilly page:

Grassroots journalists are dismantling Big Media's monopoly on the news, transforming it from a lecture to a conversation. Not content to accept the news as reported, these readers-turned-reporters are publishing in real time to a worldwide audience via the Internet. The impact of their work is just beginning to be felt by professional journalists and the newsmakers they cover. In We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People, nationally known business and technology columnist Dan Gillmor tells the story of this emerging phenomenon, and sheds light on this deep shift in how we make and consume the more
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August 2, 2004

nanook and me - imagining the view of the fly at the wall

The New Yorker has an extensive article on the recently all-around film style and critique of documentaries reviewing both, history and la vérité . And despite the conclusions here on M.Moore's film, which by the way is very worth to see, it just points nicely out the ambiguity of the essential belief of general truth in front of a camera, whether pretending or not to be using eye, hand and mind of someone behind it.

The notion of the documentary as a plotless, commentary-less, vérité-style record of life as it is-the notion of the documentarian as a fly on the wall-was born in the nineteen-fifties. Lighter and more mobile cameras were less obtrusive, more suited to capturing subjects "off camera." High-speed film opened up interior spaces. But the fresh variable was sound. In the late nineteen-fifties, the American filmmaker Robert Drew helped to perfect synchronized sound shooting. He also understood the key to creating the kind of documentary that the new equipment made possible: access. You get in the door, and then you just hang around until people forget you're there.... more

A more radical solution is not to enter the frame but to break it. Errol Morris opens "The Fog of War," his recent documentary on Robert McNamara, with a scene in which McNamara is explaining, "off camera," what he intends to say once the interview starts. This is more than an "it's only a movie" disclaimer-as though anyone might doubt that it is. It's a reminder of who is controlling the narrative. It's consistent with Morris's tendency to photograph McNamara in a way that makes him look off balance and dishevelled, a little too hot for the camera....more

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August 1, 2004

multitude - becoming many

Multitude was eventually one of the most discussed expressions after the publishing of Negri/Hardt's empire (pdf). A recent arte report (french, german), report on Negri with large excerpts of interviews points out a future publication this autumn titled multitude as the continuation of empire.
The following is a short excerpted passage from an interview he gave in 1998:

To the extent that social classes as such are falling apart, the possibility of the self-organizational concentration of a social class also disappears. Therefore we find ourselves faced again with a set of individuals, but this multitude has become something profoundly different. It has become a multitude that, as we have seen, is an intellectual grouping. It is a multitude that can no longer be called rabble or mob. It is a rich multitude... more
On Negri by Michel Hardt
Negri and other translations at gerneration online

Update (12:31 AM august 02 2004): I just found ... Steven Shaviro already has a short comment on multitude or better on Fukuyama's review in The Times - as the book will already be available in august in an english version.
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