.Matrix multitudes in Japan // reality-bleed or corporate performance?

[deconstructed.thoughts on Matrix "fans" re-enacting scenes from Reloaded in Japan]-

Readers of William Gibson's Pattern Recognition will immediately recognise the ambiguity of The Matrix: Reloaded fan "performances" in Japan. If you haven't seen the videos of hundreds of Japanese dressed up as Agent Smiths and as Trinity, Morpheus, and Neo, battling it out on the streets, you can do so here .

The question is how to view the performance of this fandom--

Were these series of enactments in fact staged by the ad-world? It would be the kind of trick one would find in Blue Ant's repetoire from Pattern--a kind of social meme developed to look "natural," engineered to foster & breed a slavish relation to a brand ... like hiring socialites to chat-up products in bars. But consider this--that these performances were the result of social constructions, whether brought on by advertising or not, these are the repercussions of the Matrix machine and its marketing that have resolved into a praxis, exhibited in the real. If these performances were products of a fan-collective, then all the relations involved are given to a complexity, an abstraction of the political, of pop / microculture relations, of praxis and of the properly passive role of the consumer.

On the one channel, a multiple Smith-Matrix performance demonstrates a fanatic display of fervour to corporate media, a commercial patriotism brought to the limit of praxis (and in this, it exceeds the passive consumer--does it not?). On the other channel, there is a demonstration of the potential inherent to The Matrix. Hollywood is a weird place, & the film and its creators are enough of a black sheep that something other to the film's advertising is straining through its filters. Perhaps this was there already--we are, after all, seeing a film with references to Baudrillard and Lacan. But that was the first version; and the second part of the Matrix trilogy is anything but an extension of the first. It's a new aesthetic, as others have commented before me on Nettime . Perhaps The Matrix's attempts to remix philosophy and film to a pure videogame aesthetic are resulting in a bleed from celluloid to the real; or more accurately, this bleed occurs not from the film itself but from its violent translation of narrative, story and plot to the purely videogame aesthetic. In the loss of the plot and narrative, the event in and of itself becomes the primary pleasure.

[Side note: any criticism of the film must take into account the way in which it has rewritten the critieria by which "films" are to be considered. Whether this fundamental shift in "film" can be considered positive is the nut of the matter.]

The bleed travels odd paths--perhaps even from the Columbine Massacre to Matrix performances... as we fall into a decrepit society, our representational fantasies hold more reality than the mundane life outside. We'd much rather have the violence of a distopian cybersociety than the realities of the present. Utopia is back--or at least it's swarming the streets in Japan.

But the event-as-pleasure has another philosophical connection-- to the Temporary Autonomous Zone of Hakim Bey & thus to its earlier theorisations in Deleuze and Guattari . These events in Japan were networked. If not a controlled, corporate production (like a modern day morality play that praises the King), then they are the calling card of an "inducted micro.culture"--a culture networked through tele.technologies, one that can have immense power in its ability to reconfigure the reality of the present, but still bound to doing so within the confines of capital. As long as this reality remains attuned to representational re-enactments of Hollywood films, no matter how revolutionary, the enactment remains the derivative of a consumerist pleasure-cycle...

A phase-shift from re-enactment to a positive expression--ie, from pleasure to desire--would be the calling card of a transductive micro.culture, one in which the network potentials of global capital are turned towards what Derrida calls "ex-appropriation," which is a heavy way of saying that transductive micro.cultures fuck with the system by crossing strains--like cells sampling & remixing their DNA with other cells--thus dismantling the schematic as it stands, and, at the same time, like generative art, bleeding strains of reality that are expressions of their own but are heterogenous offspring -- bastard offspring of The Matrix would be a crowd of queer Agent Smiths staging massive blow-ins on opening night ... Of their own: of their own lives, not of someone else's Matrix fantasies... In other words: bring the themeatic of The Matrix to the limit--escape the Matrix: fuck with it, make it something else--abuse the tele-networks--& shift from the reproduction of capital to the positive production of desire.

posted. Fri - June 27, 2003 @ 01:34 PM           |