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Re: <eyebeam><blast> images as ecriture

Paul D. Miller a.k.a. Dj Spooky that Subliminal Kid

I guess this is a two part response, partially regarding Franklin
Sirmans response to the museums on the move issue, and partially
regarding Marina's ideas about contemporary Japan.
        Back in the 1920's one of my favorite artists, Raoul Hausmann,
one of the "founders" of the Dada movement, had a phrase that he used to
trot out whenever he felt that there was a stalemate within the
progressive movement in the art scene we have come to call" dada". He
said, simply "if academies petrify a language, it will take refuge in
children and madmen."  These days, with the world changing in various
ways beyond and above almost all of the theories that the universities
and theorists come up with, his phrase gives me a sense of premonition.
yes, the web and its attendant ideologies of malleable identity and
distributable creative acts is a reflection of a paradigm of extreme
flux. Yes, there are societies where the "architecture" of the
contemporary visualization of societal mores (architecture is always
tied into the economic structures undergirding its existence - form
follows function, but these days, my moto is "form follows fiction
following facts" i.e. for a better, real life description of the above
principal see Primary Colors or any of the press revolving around the
really inane Presidential (d)alliances of Clinton...). But anyway, does
anyone ever get the sense that whatever city you're in, if you are high
up, the sense of extreme density, lights marching away in rows and
vectors to the horizon (Mexico City, Lagos, Sao Paulo, NYC when you're
landing at JFK, etc etc).... all of this highlights the networked
systems of computer culture as a visual metaphor more powerful than any
argument most of us can come up with. The loops are pretty intense:
after, if you think about it, "paradox" comes from "para-doxa" circular
reasoning. What breaks the cycle?
         To me the two engines driving technology are entertainment and
warfare. Everything flows from their interaction. The web and the
internet, as we always tend to forget, came out of military systems
research, and most of the clothes, machines, and other accoutrements of
"civilization" flow from similar equations. Taylorization: money is
time, but time is not money. The urban landscape as crucible for these
new networked narratives. No street remains unlinked to the network, no
image exists in a vacuum. If this seems to be a kind incidental drift, a
working through of parallel ideas, I guess I have to admit: it is.
Almost every image that we see is a composite of social narratives
acting beneath the surface of what is visible. Images, and ideas have
always been composite. Nothing exists without a supporting spectrum of
incidences and occurrences. "Fragment clings to fragment" Lucretius said
a long time ago, "thus the universe is born." Japan and Brazil, for me,
are almost perfect examples of cultures moving into the matrix of these
cultural flows becoming mainstream norms: karaoke is one of the biggest
industries in Japan, and in Brazil, you can't go a block in any major
city with seeing or hearing fragments of all sorts of languages
coexisting in the narratives around you: borrowed architecture,
languages, codes, etc etc: the mega-metropolis is a sphinx asking us
questions that will be crucial to 21st century existence:
enivironmental, psychological, economic, and technological existence -
sometimes nurture and nature seem so intertwined as to be almost part of
some sort linked thought pattern. The city, with its pathways, patterns
of movement, etc etc is where so much of what we're discussing arises
from. From Aquinas to Hegel to Xenakis's "vertical cities" made of
"streets as algorithms" to Lebbeus Woods and Donna Harraway, there is a
strange continuum, enforced, perhaps by the very medium (all puns
intended) that they... Maybe the web and its sense of massive cultural
nomadism is giving us the answers to move beyond the limited options of
20th century mono (Euro) culture, beyond Kant and his "synthetic
reason," beyond Nietzsche, beyond the limited options of Heidegger, etc.
etc. etc. Even Heidegger noticed this. You'll find him being quoted by
the contemporary Japanese philosopher, Kojin Karatani (regretfully part
of the "Edo School" [sort of]), in Karatani's treatise on architecture
and contemporary philosophy "Architecture as Metaphor: Language, Number,
Money:" Karatani focused on Heidegger's essay "The End of Philosophy and
the Task of Thinking." Heidegger wrote "No prophecy is necessary to
recognize that the sciences now establishing themselves will soon be
determined and steered by the new fundamental science which is called
cybernetics. This science corresponds to the determination of man as an
acting social being. For it is the theory of the steering of the
possible planning and arrangement of human labor. Cybernetics transforms
language into an exchange of news. The arts become regulated-regulating
instruments of information. The development of philosophy into the
independent sciences which, however,  interdependently communicate among
themselves ever more markedly, is the legitimate completion of
philosophy. Philosophy is ending in the present age."
       The things that are part and parcel of the fabric of
"web-culture" seem so caught up in Euro culture, that you wonder if
people can get over it all and move into dynamic positions of praxis -
action, movement, exchange. These are questions the urban landscape,
like the web, asks. This posting, like the urban landscape I always
refer to, is utterly subjective. NO claims to universality here, but a
willingness to engage different rhythm patterns, an openess to
diversity. Anything else, is well, boring.
On that note, there's a pretty intense Ars Electronica symposium
building up that asks alot of these kind of questions. Anyone going to
that? I'm giving a lecture there over the next couple of weeks, it'd be
cool to hook up with some of the "Eyebeam crew." Let me know. During the
interim, here's the Ars Electronica info stuff if anyone is interested.
It's on (of course) warfare and information:


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