[NetBehaviour] Do we still engage?

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Wed Jun 26 23:08:24 CEST 2013

I was talking about K12 education primarily but the same applies; in K12, 
the arts, music, etc. are being eliminated, which means the students have 
no preparation for critical thought or even a kind of fundamental 
creativity later on. Everything's STEM. But there's an energy nonetheless 
that's increasing - think of Burning Man, SXSW and its offshoots, Make and 
Maker culture including Makerbots (down the street from me here in Bklyn) 
and so forth - everyone seems to be hacking into the system. The diff. is 
that the shadow of the corporation falls across these venues and is often 
accepted uncritically except by marginal artists just like we use smart- 
phones and other blood tech -

On Wed, 26 Jun 2013, Johannes Birringer wrote:

> thanks Alan, and Suzon and Mark for the recent replies,
> and your latest response resonates of course, in many ways,
> with what I felt i was saying about the political economy
> (and you speak of the corporate world here and of the
> increasingly prevalent computerized decision-making),
> but you also address government and Higher Education
> policy making, and the evaporation of critical studies
> and of critique that could contest those impositions on autonomous
> values of teaching and research (e.g. in the arts and humanities)
> that are mentioned here (and were brought into focus again by Marc's
> post).
> I wonder how this is experienced by many of you out there,
> in possibly many different locations, and whether this is
> the case generally ("... results are students who are less and less interested in self-
> critique or criticality, and more and more concerned with the technologi-
> cal workplace and money") and how you act against it?
> At the place where I teach we encourage criticality even though we are
> being told by management that it's now going to be all about student
> employability. Most of the students in the arts that I know are
> not pursuing performance or new media art because of the
> technological workplace or money; yet forms of critical engagement
> (and a critical conversation amongst all) are harder to locate,
> and where I once perhaps knew where alternative galleries or
> fora were, I find it more difficult to know where they are now
> yet again maverick energies exist everywhere and I do see people doing
> and carrying out what they want to do, can think of several projects
> happening this summer, outside the surveillance apparatus...
> Such activities cannot be irrelevant?
> regards
> Johannes
> ________________________________________
> From: netbehaviour-bounces at netbehaviour.org [netbehaviour-bounces at netbehaviour.org] On Behalf Of Alan Sondheim [sondheim at panix.com]
> Sent: Monday, June 24, 2013 5:35 PM
> To: NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity
> Subject: Re: [NetBehaviour] Do we still engage?
> Somewhere here I have Everett's original thesis publication, and Brian
> Greene does a good job describing the potential for multiverses from a
> number of angles. Most I think would be probably worse.
> To me, everything flounders on enclaving, compartmentalization as well;
> whatever goes on, on the street, in neoliberalism, is deeply irrelevant in
> relation what goes on in the office buildings casting their shadows. And
> what goes on _there_ is irrelevant in relation to computerized decision-
> making, which is becoming increasingly prevalent and invisible. In the US,
> we live within the transparency of an espionage industry reaching into the
> millions, with guns within or on the other side of the very thin wall. I'd
> hope for protests here re: Turkey, Brazil, but I think they'd turn into
> massacres anywhere other than a few coastal cities.
> In any case, as you know the US is effectively conducting a war on
> education and in particular a war on liberal or humanities or arts- and
> culture-oriented education, even phys ed. Everything's replaced by tests,
> so the traditional teacher/student relationship is disappearing, along
> with the criticality and self-critique that can engender. The results are
> unbeievably bad schools, acting-out in k-12, and low morale. At the other
> end, the results are students who are less and less interested in self-
> critique or criticality, and more and more concerned with the technologi-
> cal workplace and money. So the roots of all of this go deep, and the
> careful critique you might find in more traditional critical studies is
> disappearing or becoming marginalized. It's a different population and a
> different world here as the 'American Empire' continues collapsing.
> - Alan
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