Archive for January, 2010

based upon “When the Jaguar Lies Down With the Lamb” by Roy Ascott

Scientists are optimists. With stars in their eyes, and “the-sky’s-the-limit” mentalities, they forge on their merry way, analyzing and dissecting the physical aspects and forces of nature of the world around us, like the courtiers in the old Chinese fable who would de-construct the mechanical songbird, but find it too difficult to put the original back together. Yet it is the hope, of the idealistic reconstruction of reality, that drives scientists to deconstruct the fabric of the universe, and accord humans a new place in it.

Puts forth Roy Ascott:

Just as globalisation means that not only are we are all connected, but that our ideas, institutions, even our own identities are constantly in flux, so too will moistmedia bridge the artificial and natural domains, transforming the relationship between consciousness and the material world.

Through advanced technologies we are evolving a double consciousness which allows us to perceive simultaneously the inward dynamic of things and their outward show……The crossovers between art, science, technology and mythology will mean that increasingly we live in the context of mixed reality…rubric of an emergent technology that deals concurrently with the virtual synthesized world…It creates environments that integrate both real and virtual worlds quite seamlessly.

Hold it right there. Doesn’t anyone remember the “Borg” on Star Trek the Next Generation? The “cybernetically enhanced” humanoid drones connected through wires and plasma membranes to the physical structure of their spaceship? Although the character Data demonstrated that intelligent androids could serve humans loyally–if programmed to–what about the robots who come to rule earth in “the Terminator”? Did the scientists who manufactured the first cyborg components at ‘Cyberdyne’ regret later what they thought of as progress?
size-medium wp-image-680″ />As human consciousness expands with access to an expanding and shared database and cultural immersion in technology, at what point do humans retain their physical integrity as entities apart from a “Matrix”? Gene Rodenberry and Harlan Ellison seemed to remain skeptical of some scientific encounters with the future of human integration with technology.

But Roy Ascott remains a perpetual optimist:

Just as telematic art celebrates the telenoia of world-wide connectivity (opposing the paranoia of the old industrial society), so moistmedia will provide new systems and structures to the emergent forms of planetary art, redefining the dynamic space of interaction and collaboration between artists of East and West, North and South, indeed of all regions of the world, however remote and hitherto unknown to each other. Poetry will always finally outlast oppression…Moistmedia is set to create a whole new post-biological universe, quite unlike the world as legislated on high in its authorised version with its apparently immutable laws.

I guess my skepticism that all “advancements” are unquestionably beneficial, makes me part of the “paranoia of the old industrial society”. That “Poetry will always finally outlast oppression”…well now that’s a nice thought, but the cybernetic drones upon the Borg might think otherwise.

Read Full Post »

art pages

Gene Matras pen and ink illustration work

Aphelion Art scratchboard works by Cathy Sheeter

3Kicks Fine Art Studios by Matt Marchant

“morning drawings” by Gabriela Vainsencher

“One hundred awesome paintings in one year” by Anna Judd

Julia Sverchuk’s line drawings

Read Full Post »

Shhhh…everyone be quiet, listen up; the POTUS is on deck. But for some reason, that is not reassuring to me.

As I listened to Obama, I couldn’t help but make the analogy to a preacher at the pulpit. And as I observed the congressional representatives rising and clapping, I could almost imagine them with pom poms, jumping like elated cheerleaders at a football rally. No matter what their man said, they would support him. And Joe Biden, on the dais behind Obama, smiling and nodding his “amen”. Did I imagine it, or did Susan Pelosi the Speaker of the House seem as though she was going to cry?

But for me, Obama’s words rang empty. He seems to say what people want to hear, and present himself as a strong leader, but seems hollow to me. I don’t think he grasps with his heart the context of the history of the US constitution. Because he has a motivation to be an equalizer of the people of the country, he may be undermining the legality of the existing structure of the government of the country and why certain laws are in place in our system of checks and balances. Briefly he mentioned that if certain bills he suggests are not to his specifications, he would use the power of veto. Which is within his powers, true. But it seems he is more interested in throwing his weight around than in letting economic principles take their course…

There seems to be some confusion as to the economic route to take, the difference between Hayekian and Keynesian philosophies–whether to let capitalism and a free market regulate itself with possibility of choppy waters, or whether to engage in selective bailouts and government aid with increasing possibility of government at the helm. But ironically, he would as easily slap fees or taxes on the banks bailed out, to effect repayment of their loans. And although he said “it was hard to do”, the trillion dollar “economic stimulus package” was as easy as signing a paper, at the same time promising the burden would not be passed on to future generations of American citizens.

Where does the money come from? Obama continued to promise (paraphrased) that “in a country as great as America, no citizens should go without access to higher education, and availability of Pell grants would be increased to assist students, as well as tax relief.” Is education to be guaranteed then, for everyone? What are the other “rights” of American citizenship? He briefly glossed over any responsibilities associated with those ‘rights’. Is there a difference between a ‘right’ and an ‘opportunity’?
Similarly, can we regard healthcare as a ‘right’ of citizenship, or is it merely a priviledge accorded those who can afford it?

And arguing that those who have incomes below $250,000 would have no higher taxes, was laughable. Persons living (subsisting) on one tenth that income at the $25,000 level of teachers and minimum wage employees, should rest assured that they would not pay more tax than someone earning ten times as much?

The trouble with Obama’s hopes of equalizing the disparities between the US’s citizens, is that in providing equality, rather than “opportunity of access”, creates a conflict of the motivation of capitalism. Like it or not, Obama’s goals smack of socialism, the only drawback of levelling the playing field.

According to socialist thought, the inherent problems of capitalism lie in ” monopoly, business cycles, unemployment, unequally distributed wealth, and the economic exploitation of workers.” Unfortunately, what “made America great” was due in part to these very things. JP Morgan wouldn’t have invested in building America’s railroads if he didn’t think he could profit by it. Nor Andrew Carnegie have invested in steel production if environmental restrictions had been in effect to hinder him. In capitalism and the practice of free enterprise, the benefit to America is in the long run, and sometimes results are not obtained immediately with palliative short term fixes.

The benefit of socialism, is security for the citizenry. But the price paid for security is the loss of freedom to seize opportunity to profit for oneself. Whether this is moral or environmentally correct, profit is the reward for effort in capitalism, and it is the profits which have provided the benefits which have made America the great nation we claim it to be. Profit and freedom of opportunity are the reasons people come from foreign countries to make a new start in ours. And the lack of these opportunities in more restrictive governments is not as attractive.

The more America adopts restrictions and increases government involvement in enterprise, the more we move away from capitalist economics.

Economically, socialism denotes an economic system of state ownership and/or worker ownership of the means of production and distribution. In the Soviet Union, state ownership of the means of production was combined with central planning, in relation to which goods and services to make and provide, how they were to be produced, the quantities, and the sale prices.”

Centralized government control and regulation. Were we only joking that for a moment it looked as though Obama made himself the head of GM while he fired the ceo? Did we watch the government bailout Chrysler and several banks as though it were playing Father Knows Best? Is it really Obama’s place to “fix it” for us? Scary.

Scarier, is that

A December 2008 Rasmussen poll found that when asked whether Americans supported a state-managed economy or a free-market economy, 70% preferred free-market capitalism, with only 15% preferring a state-managed economy.[83] An April 2009 Rasmussen Reports poll, conducted during the Financial crisis of 2007–2010, suggested that there had been a growth of support for socialism in the United States. The poll results stated that 53% of American adults thought capitalism was better than socialism, and that “Adults under 30 are essentially evenly divided: 37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided”.

Looks like we’re forgetting exactly what makes America great.

Read Full Post »

recent reads and links I liked:

“Blues, booze & bbq’s” great photo-essay on the heart of soul, Burn magazine.
New York Photo Festival website and comprehensive blogroll.
Joshua Tree Music Festival past lineup
Buko.net a northwest music source
World Wide Words Michael Quinion check out “weird words”
Himalayan Art
Sound Remedies tuning forks to tame brainwaves with “biosonics”.
strange new design ideas no joke.
Art Majeur.com hosting
Helen Mirren as Sofya Tolstoy on MPR.com
Six Unspeakable Bad Films from Good Directors (review) Philly Weekly
Book of Eli reviewedphilly Weekly; Huffington Post; NPR
Should We Fear the E-Book? NPR opinion
full body scanner fails to detect bomb parts Huffington Post
England’s Security Risk “High”
Photographers Protest Over Police Search Powers London 12/23/2010
LABoral: new Mediateca Expandida
Louise Bourgeois; Ernesto Neto; c-monster.net
corporate “personhood” SCOTUS blog; Citizens united decision Huffington Post

Be sure to check out my new “LINKS” page where all these are saved.

Read Full Post »

New term. Not as morbid as it sounds, and not to be confused with a “memento mori” an “exquisite corpse”or “cadavre exquis” is an activity in which several people contirbute portions of a final work of art. Similar to a game called Consequences, in which players write in turn on a sheet of paper, fold it to conceal the previous part, and then pass it on for a further contribution. Each participant, then is responsible for part of the “body” or “corpus.”

In a sense, the term exquisite corpse applies to any collaberative effort, even a musical jam session. But usually the composite result is a documented artifact, such as a picture, poem or story, or cartoon or video. (The technique is not the same as the non-linear cut-up style of Brion Gysin, in which pre-existing words and phrases are sliced up, edited and arranged, as used in Naked Lunch by William burroughs’ and by other Beat poets’–such as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg at various times.)

The stage production Hedwig and the Angry Inch and its film adaptation heavily utilize the exquisite corpse format as a symbol. Near the end of the play/film, as the already bizarre story reaches its most surreal point, Hedwig begins reminiscing about all the relationships and events in her life that have made her feel “cut…up into parts”, with pieces going to various important people. The following song asserts that now, however, she has “sewn up” or reconstructed herself, recovered, and become whole, though as a patchwork of sorts (“tornado body and a hand grenade head, and the legs are two lovers entwined”).

In another example,

In the Montreal World Film Festival of 2006, from an original idea by Adrien Lorion, David Etienne and Michel Laroche, a group of ten film directors, scriptwriters and professional musicians took the concept to a new level with the fusion of the art of film-making and song-writing: Cadavre Exquis première édition.

Surrealists, such as Yves Tanguy, Marcel Duchamp, Jacques Prévert, Benjamin Peret, Pierre Reverdy, and André Breton, played a form of this game. And it can be adapted to any media, allowing each artist a portion of the whole, in his own styling. the methodology is open to adaptation. The original item may be modified by one person at a time, chronologically, passed hand to hand or even sent like a chain-mail. Or each artist may contribute individually to a designated block of the whole, like a quilt, grid or checkerboard, or a body-map. A bit like Frankenstein, actually.


Read Full Post »

A corporation having the right to vote as a person? Why not just let CITIES vote, too??? They are INcorporated entities. Should these “people”, get a representative quantity in legislature too? Senators for the corporations of Indiana….Senators for the corporations of California…??? On the other hand, if corporations had their own senators, it might mean that the citizen’s senators would be less influenced by corruption.


Allright, correction needed. Corporations were not given the right to vote as individuals in today’s Supreme Court decision in “Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.” They were only to be counted as persons who have the right to exercize freedom of speech through contributing as much as they like to political campaigns. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/21/the-supreme-courts-citize_n_432127.html .

But I’m not sure now, which is worse. To let businesses buy influence through campaign contributions, or to give them an honest chance to vote outright as individuals. Businesses and corporations have expression through political lobbies now, but this is indirectly influential. Financial influence through large donations is too easily corruptible, and is why limits have been legalized in the past. Perhaps businesses should be able to vote, as they are currently to be taxed as individual ‘persons.’

Why does giving corporations a legitimate representative voice in Congress, smack of the same complexities as legalizing marijuana..? As always, it seems as though the best choices are merely choosing between the better of two evils. At least America isn’t socialist yet, though.

Read Full Post »

Specifically Avatar, for all its fabulous effects, would not interest me at all, except to enjoy the effects. But the 3D experience itself, like most carnival rides, tends to leave me feeling nauseous instead of entertained. I’m a little leary of the “immersive” audience experience. I like reality the way it is. These things remind me more and more of what life might be inside “the Matrix”.

It reminds me that many action movies these days seem to be filmed indoors, on a soundstage in an atmosphere of claustrophobic darkness and what is meant to be mist, but seems to be blue smoke. Batman Returns, all the Vampire series, anything ‘inner city’, leave me with the feeling I’ve been immersed in a subteranean environment too long, and I leave the theatre eagerly to enjoy fresh air and daylight!

It makes me wonder if what we mean by “entertainment” these days is instead immersive conditioning to an alternate environment. But I like reality the way it is — outside the movie theatre.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »