Lately this space has been edging toward the goings-on of the daily, a kind of digital mash-up of the everyday, if Certeau was a coffee and a bagel byte.

As the thesis takes precedence I imagine this space might lean a little toward Anne Galloway's--a compendium of research, notes, archives, meanderings and thoughts. If so I need to evaluate a design change so this blog looks a little more friendly on that PC crowd.

Speaking of Anne, she passed along a wonderful story (from her friend, Liz) about a graduate student and his insane research into espionage, Venice, history, and footchases. Read it. I'd hire the man in a second if I ran a Department. I wonder if the issues he is having with 'academic respect' will not also haunt me as well. Square peg, no holes at all these days.

Checking out Liz's blog, I discover that Chris Hackett, of the Madasgascar Institute, was injured building a confetti gun for the launching of the Idiotarod. He's alright, but the fuzz discovered his gun collection, and he's been charged with illegal possession of firearms, and it looks like he doesn't have medical insurance. You can donate from the Madasgascar site. Textually, what is fascinating here is how both stories (on Hackett and the Idiotarod) focus on the fact that the Madasgascar Institute are not terrorists, and that apparently they are also, in the words of journalist Howard O. Stier, "Neither confrontational nor subversive but driven by a counter-consumer urge and a sensibility for fun that involves elaborate props." The level of tactics the simple pyro-artist must achieve these days in media representation is astonishing. Even the punks were acknowledged in mainstream media as 'subversive'--evils to society that nonetheless did not carry a 'threat to national security' level of paranoia. Subversiveness was recognised in a long tradition of such--the artist, the avant-garde, the counterculture. Being subversive today is somewhat of a crime; the countercultural influence has all but drained from North American society. Or, conversely, the new subversive is the secret and unsubversive, given that the old subversive was recognised as such (traditionally, historically). In the NYT article:

' Richard Nelson, 15, found the response of the authorities understandable, if a bit overblown. 'They're making something big out of nothing," he said. Then he thought for a moment. "I guess we are at high alert." '

.. & who is this 'we' at 'high alert' in the US? In Canada, when we do remember to badly mouth our national anthem, we chant in apparent fervour to 'our' territory: "We stand on Guard for thee". I can just imagine, even the slumkids in Brooklyn, growing up in the dregs of America, schooled in violence, on the bad end of the stick in the ever increasing gap between rich and poor, are ready to fight for 'their' country. What country is this, kid? What is it about the toxic wasteland that is Brooklyn that deserves defence? Every argument Marx ever made (or was said to have made) about the growing revolutionary consciousness of the working class is blown to a whimper. The manufacturing of war frightens the populace into believing they are always at the imminent level of attack. Crisis management becomes the de rigeur state of policy. Police presence becomes normative, and the State becomes associated with protection and security.

And this is the way the blogword works -- links to ideas, ideas to links.

I'm listening to the new Mokira album on Type records, appropriately titled album. Ambient goodness. At times it drones on a little long in its repetition (a general critique of Tilliander), but I'm enjoying the reflective piece and Tilliander's drift from the glitch cult.

posted. Thu - January 29, 2004 @ 12:54 PM           |