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RE: <eyebeam><blast> Other

Maybe I can try and draw a few strands together here. Adnan makes a good
point: these days, the Others are inside the "system"--ie the global
market, which I think is connected to the internet (the one could not
exist without the other) in lots of very interesting ways--in very
concrete fashion, and their "difference" often makes them marketable
commodities. To take a concrete example suggested by Adnan's post:
Talvin Singh, a DJ/producer who has gained some notoriety by fusing
South East Asian sounds and textures with "Western" dance beats (I put
quotes around Western because the beats in question, known usually as
jungle or drum'n'bass, are themselves a product of cultural migration
along the West Indies-America-UK route which has been called the Black
Atlantic). What is enabling this fusion is digital technology, in this
instance the sampler, which allows musicians to manipulate global sounds
in the same way we can cut-and-paste material from any website. Now, I
personally don't see anything particularly "Indian" about Singh's
music--its ironic that, for example, white middle-class Brits have been
sampling "exotic" Eastern flavors for years, although not very well --
but he's garnered lots of media attention on the basis of his
post-national, representative-of-our-new-global-culture identity. And
he's appealing to a similarly displaced audience of cultural migrants,
giving them a form which relates to their own experience in very
obvious, but also I think quite simplistic, ways.

    The question I raise is how this diasporic music form relates to the
global marketplace which has created it; someone else mentioned
Burrough's Interzone, and I think one of things that often goes missing
in utopian evocations of the delerious flux of it all is the recognition
that it is a marketplace (Burroughs usually located his Interzone in
Moroccan bazaars). Gilane Tawadros raised the questions of whether
anyone has anything worth saying, and whether anyone is listening, and I
think its a good one: the kind of art that Singh represents, and the
kind of experience we often get from the Web, all too often makes a
virtue out of not saying anything, out of being post-symbolic, fleeting,
open-ended, sensory, evanescent, processual. And in doing that, I think
it misses the contradictions of its position and often becomes nothing
more than a representation of the high-speed data transactions of the
global marketplace. I say this not to demonize the marketplace, but to
point out that, well, its flux is channeled through particular routes,
and people, and corporations, and some of them extract transaction fees,
and some of them are simply empty vessels, and some of them serve the
network. People have been talking about the internet as some kind of
Other, an idea which I think rests on a rather traditional idea of
Otherness as chaos, formlessness; personally, I think Otherness these
days, if it exists anywhere, lies precisely outside the internet, in
those places that are not hooked into the global network, or which take
a subordinate role within it--not all networks are equal. Anyway, who
knows how many people had enough time to get this far, so I'll stop
here. The larger point I want to make is that digital tech tempts us to
equate all networks as one;  I think we should be alive to the
contradictions and the irregularities between and within individual and
different networks, and not just the exchanges and analagous

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