reverse engineering perspective & some new media rotating Mutek

==== some new words rotating around Mutek:

Bridges: knowledge, ideas and their interpretations- interview by Irena Piekute
Irena Piekute from the Lithuanian media arts web journal Rut Rut asks me a few questions about music and culture with a focus on Mutek. Also translated into Lithuanian. The language barrier is evident here, but the attempt at a cultural discourse is admirable and I hope it continues. As the last question is a bit confusing and my response appears highly slanted, I should make clear that I asked Irena about the question, and she clarified that what she wanted to know was more about myself--i.e., how I (apparently, but not really) do a lot of things at once.

Lost in Flow + Words Sounds Views - remix of quotations by Irena Piekute
Irena remixes various bits of Mutek coverage by Malcom Levy and myself, mainly from the Dusted piece and ZeD. Part of the same Rut Rut issue.

MUTEKINTRO - footage by Malcolm Levy et al [.mpg]
I get sampled from the Mutek Digital Cultures panel for the MutekIntro.


amsterdam and media spin-outs

The sun has returned to Amsterdam after a few days of rain, and I've lumbered off the couch. I leave tomorrow for Montreal, and home. I've been dozing away a few weeks in Western Europe, and I feel like I've come to settle into a few comfortable perspectives here. The incorporative liberalism of the Netherlands (every protest is incorporated into society--squatting, drugs, etc.), the passion of Catalonia and Spain (the public displays of joy), the grandeur and beauty of the French and their relation to time (the grand architecture of Paris and the wines of Bordeaux are all homages to the delicacies of time)--these are all dear to me. I am lucky to find their remnants in Canada, or at least, find an environment in which one can nurture a good life.

From this side of the planet, the United States seems ever so strange and foreign. The pan-Euro perspective on the US is generally one of mild amusement and barely concealed loathing. For example, check out the recent moves by the FCC to ban profanity and indecency from the air, to the point where local news is censored (thanks to free103 newsroom). Fines have multiplied tenfold for saying "fuck." I mean, fuck.

And not only fuck, but joking around about stuff like Sphincterine on the Howard Stern show.

The pan-Euros look upon such things with wonder and amazement.

Although, to be sure, often the European system incorporates similar repressive elements--the Netherlands, for example, is in a constant state of turmoil over its drug and squatting laws. Things are by no means peaceful and sometimes the State's assent yields the squashing of dissent. Yet there's something in the air here. People don't work 80 hours a week. They take three day weekends. They take one or two months off in the summer. The average European lives a much happier existence than most North Americans I know.

Imagine that the US is a couch slob, viewing the world as a giant TV, trying to actually revert its timepiece back to a nostalgic & manufactured collection of ancient centuries through the miniscule finger-movements of channel surfing. For the Europeans, it's not a full television show--at least not yet. Debord's theorisation of the enroaching spectacle (image-value overtaking exchange-value--Anselm Jappe's reading) can be slightly countered insofar as the specter of fascism is all too real and painful in Europe. Affect remains.

From this vantage point, one can watch as strategic moves are being made to implement a degree of control over the US media (and a media already very much self-regulated, subject to pressure, control, embedded name it). But this is not a conspiracy: it's an internal and fractured information war taking place in transit and through the porous borders of the United States. A new slogan: "The actions of the United States are less than United." The "State" often even fails to act per se. The movements are confusing, paradoxical and at points illogical. While its military invades and conquers with haunting aspects of imperialism, US corporations advance toward a post-nation state battleground. And internally, it is an authoritarian--which does not entail essentially capitalist--logic that comes to dominate two areas which, at least for awhile, were pronounced dead objects: ideology and religion. The combination of all these factors leads one to the observation that various tensions, like pressure valves, must either be incorporated or fought out. This is not a dialectical logic leading anywhere in particular, save for possible ecological disaster and extensive planetary destruction (I thought about this for awhile, -and I can't see any other eventual conclusion: either things change, or the planet will kindly remove us from its skin). It doesn't entail revolution. We've dissolved into a meshed topology with little vantage point. Chaos politics has come home to roost.

This process is multidirectional, if not multidimensional (think of all the different times people are trying to impose over others: medieval temporalities, puritan throwbacks, religious alpha-omega times, apocalyptic times, times of paranoia and fear and dread, immanent times of forgetfulness....). Paul Virilio identified an aspect of this particular breed of self-cannibalization as endocolonization--when a State colonizes and exploits its own territories and peoples. Some would say this is the founding moment of the State itself, although Virilio identified it, at least in the climate of the late '70s, as a post-Imperialist strategy (once the world is sucked dry: turn on your own people). I think we are experiencing all of this at once, which is why a few debates in political theory become valid on both sides: we are in a world of both post-national corporations and imperial dictatorships. It is probably too inclusive and too easy to say that this is both Empire and a possibly authoritarian nation-state, but it is tempting. I've been thinking that perhaps a better way to analyse the convoluted topology of the political would be to consider it in terms of temporal pockets.

Anyways, we've been chatting about this stuff here in the late night walks and dinners. There's several ex-pat Americans who are moving back to the new world--and preparing for the shock of the past.

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posted. Mon - July 5, 2004 @ 12:51 PM           |