June 26, 2011

"Kill the Workers!" by Janice Kerbel

" . . . is a continuation of Kerbel’s interest in theatrical performance. There are no actors or sets; the dramaturgy and plot are portrayed solely through the various intensities, colours, light beams and directions of the stage lighting. The protagonist of the play is a spotlight that goes on an epic odyssey to abandon its serving role and be seen as a light in its own right instead."

Part of an exhibition of Kerbel's work July 1 – September 11 at Badischer Kunstverein in Karlsruhe, Germany.

June 25, 2011

The Dymaxion

First built in 1934, Buckminster Fuller's aerodynamically efficient vehicle could transport 11 passengers at 36 mpg.

Norman Foster, who worked with Fuller before the latter's death and recently rebuilt the car, writes, “ . . . Fuller drew attention to the ecological issues of today when he referred to ‘spaceship earth’ and the fragility of the planet; as such, his work and observations are even more important now than they were in his lifetime.”

More photos and info at gizmag here and here (thanks, Ben!)

June 24, 2011

Final 5 for Pogomix's "Mellowbrick" Video Competition

You can see the final 5 and vote here. My 2 faves are neck-and-neck at the top. Here's one of them:

Telecomix and We Rebuild

Telecomix seems perhaps to be a subset of We Rebuild, or a term associated with certain news and other functions? Among other efforts, Telecomix worked to provide alternate communication channels during the Mubarek regime's shut-down of Egyptian internet access (see Egypt/Main Page).

We Rebuild describes itself:

We Rebuild is a decentralized cluster of net activists who have joined forces to collaborate on issues concerning access to a free Internet without intrusive surveillance. . . . There are no leaders, nor members. We Rebuild is simply an international chaotic event, and our actions can not be predicted in detail. We are a flow of passions, and we sometimes refer to our driving force as “data-love”.

. . . . The We Rebuild initiative promotes and participates in building the Internet to be accessible for everyone everywhere, enabling true freedom of speech. This is something which can not be guaranteed by states or corporations, but requires the polyvocal voice of the Internet. You will run in to us when you least expect it, especially if you are making decisions about the Internet. But since our strategies are based in the passionate sharing of ideas, you will most likely be happy to see us.

More at the WeRebuild wiki and the Telecomix News Agency; see also Datalove.

June 21, 2011

Happy Solstice

To celebrate, here's some video of our galaxy edge-on, shot by a farmer/photographer in S. Dakota:

June 20, 2011

SCOPE Basel 2011 Catalogue

Here's their embed-able, virtual version; roll over one of the bottom corners to take it to full-screen:

June 19, 2011

Artists Interview Assange

. . . at length, at e-flux here and here.

(Image: "Proposal for a Multi-Jurisdictional Logo: Can a visual presence be created, and dismantled, based on domains based in different jurisdictions, switching on and off? Courtesy of Metahaven.")

An excerpt:

Censorship is not only a helpful economic signal [i.e., if an organization is expending resources to suppress info, then it may be surmised that the org fears that the info might reduce its power and therefore that, out of the very large domain of info in the world, such suppressed info might be expected to be among the most useful in bringing about change; thus, censorship is always also] an opportunity, because it reveals a fear of reform. And if an organization is expressing a fear of reform, it is also expressing the fact that it can be reformed. So, when you see the Chinese government engaging in all sorts of economic work to suppress information passing in and out of China on the internet, the Chinese government is also expressing a belief that it can be reformed by information flows, which is hopeful but easily understandable because China is still a political society. It is not yet a fiscalized society in the way that the United States is, for example. The basic power relationships of the United States and other Western countries are described by formal fiscal relationships, for example one organization has a contract with another organization, or it has a bank account, or is engaged in a hedge. Those relationships cannot be changed by moderate political shifts. The shift needs to be large enough to turn contracts into paper, or change money flows.

HUO: And that’s why you mentioned when we last spoke that you’re optimistic about China?

JA: Correct, and optimistic about any organization, or any country, that engages in censorship. We see now that the US State Department is trying to censor us. We can also look at it in the following way. The birds and the bees, and other things that can’t actually change human power relationships, are free. They’re left unmolested by human beings because they don’t matter. In places where speech is free, and where censorship does not exist or is not obvious, the society is so sewn up—so depoliticized, so fiscalized in its basic power relationships—that it doesn’t matter what you say. And it doesn’t matter what information is published. It’s not going to change who owns what or who controls what. And the power structure of a society is by definition its control structure. So in the United States, because of the extraordinary fiscalization of relationships in that country, it matters little who wins office. You’re not going to suddenly empty a powerful individual’s bank account. Their money will stay there. Their stockholdings are going to stay there, bar a revolution strong enough to void contracts.
. . . there is an idea that these great American companies, Facebook and Twitter, gave the Egyptian people this revolution and liberated Egypt. But the most popular guide for the revolutionaries was a document that spread throughout the soccer clubs in Egypt, which themselves were the most significant revolutionary community groups. If you read this document, you see that on the first page it says to be careful not to use Twitter and Facebook as they are being monitored. On the last page: do not use Twitter or Facebook. That is the most popular guide for the Egyptian revolution. And then we see Hillary Clinton trying to say that this was a revolution by Twitter and Facebook.
Much more at the links above.

B.t.w., there's a new website providing clear, helpful info about the status of the legal proceedings against Assange, at swedenversusassange.com.

A Secular Humanist Declaration

Just came across this:

A Secular Humanist Declaration
Issued in 1980 by the
Council for Democratic and Secular Humanism
(now the Council for Secular Humanism)

* * * * *
Secular humanism is not a dogma or a creed. There are wide differences of opinion among secular humanists on many issues. Nevertheless, there is a loose consensus with respect to several propositions. We are apprehensive that modern civilization is threatened by forces antithetical to reason, democracy, and freedom.

* * * * *
We are nevertheless surrounded by doomsday prophets of disaster, always wishing to turn the clock back - they are anti science, anti freedom, anti human. In contrast, the secular humanistic outlook is basically melioristic, looking forward with hope rather than backward with despair. We are committed to extending the ideals of reason, freedom, individual and collective opportunity, and democracy throughout the world community. The problems that humankind will face in the future, as in the past, will no doubt be complex and difficult. However, if it is to prevail, it can only do so by enlisting resourcefulness and courage. Secular humanism places trust in human intelligence rather than in divine guidance. Skeptical of theories of redemption, damnation, and reincarnation, secular humanists attempt to approach the human situation in realistic terms: human beings are responsible for their own destinies. We believe that it is possible to bring about a more humane world, one based upon the methods of reason and the principles of tolerance, compromise, and the negotiations of difference.

* * * * *
The secular humanist recognizes the central role of morality in human life; indeed, ethics was developed as a branch of human knowledge long before religionists proclaimed their moral systems based upon divine authority. The field of ethics has had a distinguished list of thinkers contributing to its development: from Socrates, Democritus, Aristotle, Epicurus, and Epictetus, to Spinoza, Erasmus, Hume, Voltaire, Kant, Bentham, Mill, G.E. Moore, Bertrand Russell, John Dewey, and others. There is an influential philosophical tradition that maintains that ethics is an autonomous field of inquiry, that ethical judgments can be formulated independently of revealed religion, and that human beings can cultivate practical reason and wisdom and, by its application, achieve lives of virtue and excellence. Moreover, philosophers have emphasized the need to cultivate an appreciation for the requirements of social justice and for an individual's obligations and responsibilities toward others. Thus, secularists deny that morality needs to be deduced from religious belief or that those who do not espouse a religious doctrine are immoral. For secular humanists, ethical conduct is, or should be, judged by critical reason, and their goal is to develop autonomous and responsible individuals, capable of making their own choices in life based upon an understanding of human behavior. Morality that is not God-based need not be antisocial, subjective, or promiscuous, nor need it lead to the breakdown of moral standards. Although we believe in tolerating diverse lifestyles and social manners, we do not think they are immune to criticism. Nor do we believe that any one church should impose its views of moral virtue and sin, sexual conduct, marriage, divorce, birth control, or abortion, or legislate them for the rest of society. . . . Secular humanist ethics maintains that it is possible for human beings to lead meaningful and wholesome lives for themselves and in service to their fellow human beings without the need of religious commandments or the benefit of clergy.

* * * * *
We recognize the need for intellectual modesty and the willingness to revise beliefs in the light of criticism. Thus consensus is sometimes attainable. While emotions are important, we need not resort to the panaceas of salvation, to escape through illusion, or to some desperate leap toward passion and violence. We deplore the growth of intolerant sectarian creeds that foster hatred. In a world engulfed by obscurantism and irrationalism it is vital that the ideals of the secular city not be lost.
Full text at the Council for Secular Humanism (image by eli maaravi). Says it was endorsed by Isaac Asimov, Arthur Danto, Richard Kostelanetz, B. F. Skinner, et al.; I endorse it, too.

June 18, 2011

Mark Von Schlegell Talk

at the ArtCenter (possibly the Art Center College in Pasadena, CA?), in a series of videos uploaded to YouTube in April, 2007.

In the 4th vidi, the excerpt he reads from his first published article, "The Next Revolution and the Great Two-Faced American," referring to Pres. Lincoln, prompted me to wonder, do we not recognize some Machiavels because they happen to have been successfully benevolent? I hate hypocrisy, deception, manipulation, etc. when they're used, e.g., to lie us into war; but I want to forgive them when they're used, as Lincoln did, to end slavery. Could there be "good" psychopaths – people unimpeded by empathy or remorse, but who happen to get their jollies from creating rather than exploiting and destroying?

Oh, yeah; they're called artists.

June 17, 2011

Riot Kissers

"She had actually been injured," [said the father of the male kisser]. A riot police officer had knocked her down with a shield, he said. "He lay down next to her to comfort her. She was crying, and he just kissed her to calm her down."

Details at CNN.

June 14, 2011

"Anthony Wiener:

. . . Taking the sex out of sex scandals." (Thanks, Pryderi!)

So, what did Weiner do that's so intolerable?

Did he break any laws? No.

Did he broadcast lewd images to minors? No.

Did he cheat on his wife? Not unless you count flirting with other women and likely wacking off while fantasizing about them, things most other politicians have doubtless done.

Is it that he was vain? Surely, again, other politicians are equally guilty.

Is it that he got caught and lied about it? Maybe; but the behavior he got caught in had nothing to do with his job performance, and i.m.h.o., was none of our dam' business. (It's not like Weiner lied, e.g., to get the U.S. into an unnecessary war.) (And if it is our dam' business, by all means, let's get ALL our Congresscritters on the record re- their masturbatory habits, and see if we can catch any more fibbers.)

Is it that he spoke out for liberal positions and made most other Dems look like wusses?

June 12, 2011

Boone Needs Dental Surgery!

Mostly recently seen on the cover of Glamourpuss, Boone first achieved stardom as the "Narcoleptic Cat":

Unfortunately, he's apparently enjoyed a few too many bonbons. My friend and Boone's human, Julie, writes,

[Boone] was recently diagnosed with Feline Oral Resorptive Lesions on his two lower canine teeth, which is very painful and makes it difficult for him to close his mouth all the way. His vet prescribed some pricey pain pills to last a week or so, but he will have to undergo surgery to take care of the problem. This means he'll have to be put under anesthesia and have those teeth removed and the roots drilled.

We have positive expectations that the surgery will be successful and he'll be able to enjoy life again, but the estimated cost is in the hundreds. Although Kitty Wigs enjoys a lot of press, we are a very small (1 person/1 cat) home business.

Several of Boone's fans and friends suggested that we stage a fundraiser to help defray the cost of surgery, so here it is. We chose to use this site so we can provide complete transparency about the costs and how much money we have raised.
You can donate or find more info here.

June 10, 2011

AUDiNT: Dead Record Office at Art in General

. . . (NYC). This sounds really interesting; wish I could go. "The artists [Jon Cohrs, Toby Heys and Steve Goodman] relay the evolution of the project as follows:

For the past 60 years, AUDiNT have been conducting research, rituals, and experiments into the opening of the 3rd ear, a dimension that is opened when sound, ultrasound, and infrasound are simultaneously deployed in a precise schema of sequencing, duration, and amplification. The 3rd ear forms a conduit for the channeling of voices and frequencies allowing communication between the living and the dead, sanity and insanity and between disparate locations in space and time.

Ever since AUDiNT's defection from the U.S. military at the end of WWII, our mission has been to submerge the frequency-based phenomenon that had been accidentally discovered by the Ghost Army (when they deployed 3 turntables to fabricate deceptive soundscapes intended to deceive the Nazis as to the true numbers and whereabouts of the allied forces). Wishing to keep this powerful sonic weapon out of government and military hands, AUDiNT's founding members smashed the original battlefield discs, and split the waveformed content of the original master recordings into small packages of sound which were then discretely embedded into sound effects and stereo fidelity records.

Throughout the following decades AUDiNT were responsible for the mass production of the test tone record and special effects vinyl—a collection that ended up in flea markets, thrift stores and church bazaars, forming what is known as The Dead Record Network. It was through the Dead Record Network that we distributed these encrypted recordings as an open secret, ensuring that, in the future, the vital bits of analogue information concerning the ultimate vibrational weapon discovered during WWII would remain in a fragmented social circulation.

Adapting to the tactical battlefields of the 21st century networks, capitalizing on the viral dynamics of digital networks, we are systematically uploading our research archive that has been compiled throughout the past 60 years (while probing the hauntological power of sonic weaponry). This ritualized uploading of the spectral archive aims to create a prospective archive of waveformed affect that is propagated throughout the living dead networks of our communication systems. This tactical shift - to open up our archive to the public - relates to our new mandate of arming the mass populace with the efficacy of sonic weaponry so that it does not become the sole preserve of the military-entertainment complex. With its dark science and sonically dissonant content, AUDiNT's Dead Record Office is the enshrined location from which this viral transfer begins.

(Emphasis supplied. In an interesting line from Macbeth (Act iv, scene i), the eponymous protagonist exclaims to the three witches, "Had I three ears, I'ld hear thee.")

The installation will be on view June 17–July 23, 2011, at Art in General, 79 Walker St., with an opening reception Fri., 6/17 6-8pm and a special program, "The Martial Arts of Sonic Hauntology," on Mon., 6/13, 7-8:30pm.

June 7, 2011

Opportunity Cost: What the US Gave Up for 10 Years of Tax Cuts

"ThinkProgress, using data on various social spending projects from the National Priorities Project – which does these calculations for the cost of the Iraq and Afghan wars – has estimated ten other possible policies we could’ve paid for at the same $2.5 trillion price of the Bush tax cuts. . . . For the same price as the Bush tax cuts, which did little to help the economy, we could’ve sent tens of millions of students to college, retrofitted every household in America with the capacity to generate alternative energy, hired millions of firefighters and police officers, effectively ended our national shame of having kids who lack health care coverage, or put millions of more teachers into classrooms. . . . " Details here.

Inside View

More here. (Thanks, Ben!)

June 4, 2011

Bloomsday at The Reading Room

"Bloomsday" is celebrated annually in Dublin, New York, and elsewhere on June 16, the day on which James Joyce's Ulysses takes place. Bloomsday celebrations sometimes feature a walking itinerary reproducing that of the book's main character, Leopold Bloom, as well as readings from the novel, which has been acclaimed by some critics as the greatest ever written.

Per Wikipedia, an unabridged reading in 1982 ran nearly 30 hours; but Bloomsday Dallas will last just a few. The celebration will begin at 6 PM with a screening of Harrell Fletcher's video art piece, Blot Out the Sun (wrangled by moi), which was included in the 2004 Whitney Biennial. In Fletcher's video, service station employees and patrons read lines from the novel concerning death, love, social inequality, and the relationship between individuals and the universe. This will be followed by readings from the novel by Jeff Whittington, Charles Dee Mitchell, and Diane Orr.

In addition, Jennie Ottinger's "book" sculpture, Ulysses, will be on view, courtesy of Conduit Gallery. The work is part of her larger library project, which was shown at the 2011 Volta Art Fair in NYC.

Bloomsday Dallas will take place on Thurs., June 16 at The Reading Room, 3715 Parry Ave. (between Exposition and Commerce), from 6 - 10PM.

More at The Reading Room.

UPDATE: Below is scholar Frank Delaney's rap tribute to Joyce (thanks, Karen!):

June 3, 2011

New Work by Mark Leckey

The trailer for his new show, See We Assemble, at Serpentine:

Leckey won the Turner Prize in 2008. Below is what I believe to be all of his Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (1999). All this should give you plenty to enjoy and digest; but if you want more, size your browser window so you can see both Fiorucci and Cassini Mission in the previous post below, keep Fiorucci on full volume, reduce the Cassini volume to one bar, and start both from the beginning, so they're running at the same time. Re-start Cassini as desired.)

More Leckey on his myspace page or on YouTube.

"Cassini Mission"

By Chris Abbas, using NASA footage.

(Thanks, JP!)