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<nettime> the strange mess of paul's global hip-hop eulogy digest [butt,
Paul D. Miller on Mon, 13 Jan 2003 02:31:07 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> the strange mess of paul's global hip-hop eulogy digest [butt, townsend, mcgee]

Hello All - what I find fascinating with this discussion is that there'e
no mention about how other ethnic groups face the same "totalizing"
structures of American media culture. Are ALL aboriginals dream painters?
Are ALL Basques nationalists? Are ALL Ibo tribes in NIgeria Sunni or Shia
Muslim? etc etc the paradoxes are thick. The main thing it to point out
the fracture points in the perceptual terrain. And to celebrate them.
There's a piece I just did with Julian Laverdiere (one of the designers of
the two beams of light memorial for the world trade center tragedy), and
it, essentially focused on how time is used as a standardization device to
create military structure in a world that's full of these kinds of
paradoxes (the New York Times review of the piecce is viewable at

  Again, that Gibson phrase "the future is already here, it's just
unevenly distributed..." rings through the soundsystem on this one as
well... W.E.B. Dubois said that the "colorline" would be the place of the
most intense conflict in the 21st century, Hegel declared art dead and
displaced by science in the 19th century, and then Guy Debord came along
and said that all of contemporary society was just one situationist
spectacle driven by our commodtity festishism (exactly why Hegel and Kant
felt that Africans couldn't make art - because for these European
"Rationalists" - Africans switched "fetishes" too much and thus were
outside of the "world historical peoples" etc etc I guess we're all
Africans now, eh?). These are issues I've been thinking about alot. Forget
the "digital divide,"  forget the moralizing over almost all aspects of
the "American Dream"  as it manifests in African American art and
culture... forget the impact of Nietzsche's "death of god" on Europe and
America's sense of "Manifest Destiny." All of that is dispersed. Think of
a literature of panhumanism. Think of how people can simply sit down and
communicate. This isn't John Perry Barlowe's Declaration of the indepence
of cyberspace from Davos, Switzerland in 1996. This is now, and all of
that has come home to roost. Rootless philosophies of the antiquated
future-tense sweep the dust of yesterday out the door. A different portal
opens, and basically, it's a really boring world if you think like an
American about identity. It's all much more complex and mixed than that.
My Marcel Duchamp project at L.A. MOCA (viewable at
http://www.moca.org/museum/dg_detail.php?dgDetail=pmiller )

hints at this (ironically) in the fact that we manipulate the grid of
rhythm and reason through chance operations... one of the best metphors I
can think of as I type here in mid-town NYC is something like Edwin
Abbotts 1884 "romance of many dimensions" - "Flatland"  applied to
contemporary America's turbulent social landscape and well... press play.
The "net condition" is a "sliding signifier" of this kind of stuff,
because yes, you can map one metaphor onto another with the same esae that
I'd edit a sample. I guess that's why I think of contemporary net culture
as a big "social sculpture" in the same way the Buey's would way back in
the day, or for that matter, how Afrika Bambaata would create his social
functions as a kind of total theater... I guess America is one of the only
cultures in this hemisphere without "carnival" (except maybe Halloween,
and, of course, that's about death, eh?) - and the web is just an eruption
of all the paradoxes that have driven the narrative over here for a while.
Linus Torvald as industrial poet of the codes of contemporary global info
culture? Tim Berners Lee as M.C. HTML? James Earl Jones as black
essentialism drifting out of your telephone "hello, this is At&t - an echo
of Darth Vader (his voice was the perfect choice...)  etc etc the
metaphors are there to be mapped. How you guide yourself through the
terrain is another question all together. Hopefully this response is
elusive enough to spark other threads...


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