[NetBehaviour] Do we still engage?

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Sat Jun 22 05:41:57 CEST 2013


dear Mark and Alan and all:

I appreciate the responses, I was not sure how to engage the philosophical texts,
and Mark's extremely valuable response left me reeling. I realize a few things, also
about reference points. and i do agree with Alan of course, surfaces are not cool.

And Bishop Zareh suggests philosophy is nor relevant any more.
I am not sure in agree. (and i don't care about facebood). I wonder what is read
and what is practiced, or how we teach. and in terms of political organization, my question about the protesters in Turkey or Brasil
was to some extent rhetorical, what makes someone stand still in a public square, for a few moments, when
on the previous night, the others or her/him have been shot at by water cannons and tear gas guns?
Alan, this is not a good question either, i know. 

You cannot stand still. (yes you can protest by doing so, momentarily). Mark said it quite vigorously. 
I agree with everything he says, and it cuts to the bone.  I admire what you say.
I wonder how it pans out for you as a director of an independent arts organization, you are promoting
and supporting independent work. 
you scold (me) for refering to artists I might admire.

>>
One of the issues I find constantly infuriating - personally, is how 
certain writers on media art culture, tend to reflect a repetitive set 
of hierarchical that more relates to their careers, rather than trying 
to engage genuinely in creating possibilities with others whom are 
actively dealing with such questions as we are asking here, in our 
practice and infrastructures. One example, is how many academics are too 
easily diverted to reference not only the same names over and over 
again, but also referencing an art context as if it only happens in the 
main institutions. This is not a true representation of the dynamic 
culture that I am part of, and many on this list. And, for me this part 
of the larger problem where people fall into mannerisms that reflects a 
submission and dedication towards power rather than 'real' social change.


can we discuss this?


Mark, I feel you are aiming at a larger issue, and i completely agree with you. at my institution, where  I am employed,
we are undergoing what the management calls "restructuring for success" and it is obviously a corporate maneuver
to streamline education for economic profit and new goals determined by the economy and changes in the "sector."
It is also going to result in cuts and redundancies and changes that affect our teaching and research autonomy,
it will affect morale and it will condemn cooperation or comradeship, as competition (about research income)
will be prevalent, and impact (on social and economic levels) will have to be proven by the arts. my colleagues at the university
seem to be very guarded, afraid....

My reference to Pina Bausch was strategic, as it has to do with historical references to the post war era in which
grew up. Tre citation was not funny.  I did not laugh when i heard it.   But you are obviously right in regard to how researchers and teachers create a continuous reference
system that might be exclusive or elitist, less able to encompass a range of many alternative projects and
activities, like the ones you support at furtherfield or that others here support. i also have a research student
at this moment who is pondering quitting as she cannot conduct her artistic research due to lack of support,
and the support systems are failing and the institutions are failing them. that may imply,  I am failing them too,
and so my reference to Istanbul or São Paulo is defensive, I know full well that i need to speak and articulate
my objections to restructuring for success. I did and I objected to the process as I thought it was authoritarian
and untransparent, and I requested democratic procedure and consultation with everyone, and was told 
"this is not a country" (but, I guess, they mean, i am in a corporation). 

see 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-22976409

".. today capitalism is becoming identified with the rule of unaccountable elites, lack of effective democratic accountability, and repressive policing."


quite so, and where does this leave engagement with philosophy?
i guess nowhere and everywhere, depending on 'Zivilcourage,' and  how we stand up and object, to be told we don't live in a country, but in a corporation.

(I also refered to art and art that makes images of water cannons shooting at protesters, to be exhibited in galleries and sold to collectors)


wth regards
Johannes Birringer



+++++

Hi Johannes & all,

Thanks for making the time to share your thoughts…

 > Tell me about the standing still, and what are these young women and 
men inspired by to resist
 > the banality of authoritarian power? And are you/we asking the right 
questions?

I think what you propose is a necessary question in itself. Especially 
in light of the various anti-corruption protests across the world. It's 
kicking off, and I think everyone has a part to play in this; in respect 
of our own personal attributes which include asking questions and 
enacting upon them according to situational, circumstances and skills.

Not everyone has the desire to go out in the streets and demand change, 
but not everyone needs to -- I think that critical acts against the 
neoliberal takeover of our public lives can be challenged in different 
ways. In the work place, on the streets, in our family relations and 
friends, on the Internet, in publications, everywhere in fact.

Trying to find ways to challenge this 'banality of authoritarian power', 
which I see as a form of corporate totalitarianism, is one of those 
choices we have to make if we are 'seriously' concerned in creating 
alternative ways of living with others, that serve to bring about 
something that includes a 'commons or shared values', which are not 
'given' or 'scripted' by a hegemony controlling our general behaviours 
through the interfaces, platforms and different media we use.

Neoliberalist strategies have successfully dismantled collective 
institutions, once able to challenge the effects of its global 
dominance; especially the organisations sharing values associated with 
social needs in the public realm. It is a term rarely discussed in 
traditional broadcasting and printed news media, but we are all affected 
by its dominating ideologies. It is the situation where governments have 
handed over their public responsibilities for companies to manage 
instead in the form of privatisation. Noreena Hertz, an advocate for 
market systems, who set up Russia’s first stock exchange, in her book 
The Silent Takeover, says “We are all in the midst of a corporate 
takeover, and no gated communities of six-figured salaries will protect 
us from its impact.” Noreena Hertz. The Silent Takeover: Global 
Capitalism and The Death of Democracy. Published by William Heinemann.

In Power Systems Noam Chomsky discusses political and economic forms of 
power in democracy, and that it is no longer in the hands of merchants 
and manufacturers. Instead, most of the power now rests in the hands of 
financial institutions and multi-nationals.

One of my questions (out of too many) is, how can artists and artists’ 
groups maintain control over their own imaginative ideas, and fulfil 
their individual and collective intentions, whilst maintaining critical 
positions; within the context of a globalised culture where prevailing 
attitudes fashioned on austerity measures and the economic crisis are 
now part of our everyday lives?

If artists are not in some form of expression dealing with these 
questions, whether it be through the medium itself, or in their 
intentions, and their ideas etc, then I do not see how artists are 
relevant anymore other than as small-minded careerists feeding their 
immediate and myopic desires, which is a kind of falling into a generic 
default or type. And yes, artists are going to be able to do this on 
their own -- academics, galleries, arts organisations, imaginative 
thinkers, and entrepreneurs, need to be brave build these questions into 
their own everyday experience, social and public interfaces.

Something as damaging as corporations controlling our 'supposed' 
democracies is one of the main issues that needs to be part of wider and 
varied critique that is not just hidden in 'clever' books but also on 
the lips of all people at all times, in all forms and in all languages.

One of the issues I find constantly infuriating - personally, is how 
certain writers on media art culture, tend to reflect a repetitive set 
of hierarchical that more relates to their careers, rather than trying 
to engage genuinely in creating possibilities with others whom are 
actively dealing with such questions as we are asking here, in our 
practice and infrastructures. One example, is how many academics are too 
easily diverted to reference not only the same names over and over 
again, but also referencing an art context as if it only happens in the 
main institutions. This is not a true representation of the dynamic 
culture that I am part of, and many on this list. And, for me this part 
of the larger problem where people fall into mannerisms that reflects a 
submission and dedication towards power rather than 'real' social change.

Wishing you well.

Marc


________________________________________
From: netbehaviour-bounces at netbehaviour.org [netbehaviour-bounces at netbehaviour.org] On Behalf Of Alan Sondheim [sondheim at panix.com]
Sent: Friday, June 21, 2013 6:37 AM
To: NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity
Subject: Re: [NetBehaviour] Do we still engage?

Are any questions the right questions? When I read Wired Magazine, and I
keep coming back to this, I feel that evil has been banished; it has no
place in Californian technophilia: as a concrete example, a couple of
years ago a full page diagrammatic article on how diamond mining was
carried out in Africa - the wonders of making the mine environmentally
ok for miners. The current issue shows a mouse with a large contraption
attached to its head for monitoring neurons and an article on using pig
manure in a compound to replace asphalt. The facts the mouse might be
uncomfortable, that the manure is from pigs on the way to the slaughter-
house - these are irrelevant, we'll have new brain-mappings and better
roads. For me, there's evil in factory farming, an evil like the evil of
attacks on civilians, that I can't define, that doesn't play well into
techno-fantasy, just as digital technology is to blood technology as
diamonds are to blood diamonds. Which is where Arendt, Sartre, Celan, for
example, come in; I'm not necessarily even arguing against the _use_ of
animals (although I am, through a back door), just suggesting that there's
not even discussions of such. I remember - and wrote about it somewhere
recently (maybe Fb not sure) that for so many people outside the circuit,
the Arab Spring was characterized by the cellphone and social media - as
if these sparkling stars could somehow encompass a long legacy of
colonialism, racism, class/economic inequalities, foreign wars, etc. etc
in the region. (This is why I like nettime, for example, where analyses do
run deep - what I'm talking about here is the vast majority of people, who
probably never paid much attention to philosophy anyway, so this whole
convoluted reply is somewhat of a red herring...)
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