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<nettime> world design
brian carroll on Sun, 26 Jun 2005 11:50:06 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> world design


[this is a post i am submitting for nettime publication
not because it is to spread some mistaken notions and
beliefs, but to provoke discussions as it cover a wide
variety of views and it is a contribution towards any
advancements / clarifications / alternative views that
may be more insightful from the larger nettime. brian]

----
Date -- Sat Jun 25, 2005  3:12:14  PM US/Central
To -- open discussion   design-l.v2)(architexturez.net
Subject -- [design] re: world design


[this is an emptying of my brain of angst of the current
situations that i needed to let out, and it may be in-
comprehensible, it probably is, and yet i send it anyway...]

  hi Cheryl, you remind me of a friend who was an artist and teacher who 
opens things up and keeps imaginations moving and exploring ideas. very 
nice.

> about emerging art in china - present day artists - and my inital 
> impression from this art in america slick magazine article was that 
> freedom to be western artists was supposed to be a positive step 
> forward for them? my question is - is it just a matter of time before 
> this brilliant explosion of creativity mellows into the spiral of 
> western mundane?

  these are huge questions and i think worthwhile to enter into further 
as i think the .US reality-distortion mechanism is part of a doctrinal 
world-view that no longer reflects the situation accurately. 
culturally, China could probably swallow the world whole, compared to 
the .US which has grafted itself into infrastructures of other 
societies. yet China would also likely have to eject the world just as 
it swallowed it as no matter how big a nation-state gets and tries to 
become a world-state/the world-estate, it would likely have to survive 
and succeed beyond the same situations the .US finds itself in now, 
with a particularized universalist ('modern') rhetoric yet a finite 
view of what that is and a rigidity that does not scale as well as it 
is locally believed.

for instance, consider the .UN global organization that attempts to 
politically represent the world today. it is a type of consensus based 
on appointed bureaucrats (not elected) who mediate international, 
regional, and issue-based affairs and policies. yet whole segments of 
the world are outside of its current workings, the representation is 
modeled in a type of nationalism that is to become global consensus of 
competing views, when or if it can work. the idea of rhetoric is often 
of 'world community' that this .UN is said to represent or to call to. 
and yet, what 'united nations' are actually represented of the world as 
a community?  is the United Nation an organization that scales 
internationalism beyond specific states and into another scale of 
interactions, or does it reside operating within separated statehoods, 
a finite multidimensional chess games that gets stuck over time, and 
begins to wind-down in its ability to function, to represent 'nations' 
and instead 'nationalism' in the world-scale, ... the point being that 
there is a United Nation today and its name is the USA. not nations, 
nation. what the .UN is trying to do, the USA cannot do, and that is 
represent the World Community beyond competing nationalisms, as a 
cooperative and collaborative state based on shared principles. yet if 
looking at, say, .UN websites, much of the middle-east is not 
represented online in the way western countries are in the .UN 
structure.  if memory serves, Palestine does not even have an official 
website, other states lack them or choose to not represent themselves 
in this way, which reflects something amiss in the even distribution of 
such organization.

why are their ghettos and ghosttowns in .UN webspace, or wars in 
certain .UN districts while others play 3D Nukem games about killing 
everything and anything that moves while living in a hothouse suburban 
world theater complex.

the inability of the .UN to function beyond nationalism, considering 
the goals of the .UN to be some kind of ideal beyond the nation-state 
yet bounded by nation-states- yet the next level of evolution may have 
been solidified in its workings for the past 50 years, the constant aim 
of achieving 'world community' as a common reference/referent. world 
community as an idea begs for peace, common interests, shared policies. 
'united nations' begs for competition, war, leverage, ideological 
struggles of the centuries, and unshared assumptions and goals and 
issues of power, weak and strong, dominance and submission, etc.

with this in mind, the role of China's development in a broken .UN 
context would be a further reeling back of advances into a hyper 
competition, world war, machined ethics for automated state, and 
ideologies battling for the portrayal of the better of horribly worse 
situations as an extension of this decrepit situation of ill-governance 
which is pseudo-representative of the nation as world-state, with 
contenders, defenders, and issues of misguided empires, etc. it is hard 
to imagine anyone except hard-core extremists believe this as an 
appropriate pathway into new days rising. except, that is, if no other 
alternatives arrives to allow options for new world developments.

maybe the .EU (euro-union) could be seen in this (supra-) 
national-state organization, a larger organism in which to operate, 
seek leverage, compete, maneuver for goals. and the vote against the 
(social) .EU constitution could potentially be considered as a vote by 
its constituent parties against some institutional belief that this is 
the way to work through the unfolding future, that instead it is a 
failure of 'theory' that further bureaucratizes or even obfuscates the 
clarity that develops from the failures of institutions built around 
this level of scale: that is, that maybe there is something to not 
creating a supra-nationstate to compete with others as one of the major 
'united nations' - it may pay to be nimble instead to be able to adapt 
and not only be able to grow but to change and balance/sustain even if 
unstable, it may be worse to be rigid, unchangeable, -- i.e. the 
quickest way to defeat is certainty. the United Nations should function 
a certain way, but cannot. now what?

will the world community vote upon a sovereign state to speak for all 
in their name, to represent the new world order in a cultural 
diversity, by fiat of superpowerness? even a trillion dollar war 
machine can be stopped, by the world. that's powerful. China probably 
is taking notes on the .US' failures to determine world events by force 
and not diplomatic and other persuasion, the limits to the .US 
worldview, ... the mistaken belief of having .CN or all others having 
to 'conform' to .US cultural views (thank goodness they don't) - that's 
no longer the shared hallucination it seems. and if that is realized 
without a 'world-war' (of nuclear variety) the world will be lucky if 
the current situation stands down, regroups, reorganizes relations 
based not on this 'internalized' world-nationalism, the .US as .UN, and 
instead reestablishes a common and shared order in the world scale, 
developing an equitable world community, with new relations and 
limitations that prevents the attempts at future takeover and takedowns 
by internationalism's-at-war. the .UN as it is now is the .US as World 
Community, which obviously it is not. or that is how it operates with 
budgets, sanctions, and ideological turfbattles and toxic warfare where 
ideas cease to mediate situations and force and power instead are tools 
of leverage to make structural changes.

the .US is the united nation. whatever is the .un today is at its best 
the World Community, if it stands for decreasing poverty, humanitarian 
aid, health initiatives, and self-sustaining development goals. it 
should not be a tool of nationalism, nor to serve the purpose of 
reincarnating a specific brand of democracy - instead this architecture 
of laws, structures, organizations could be constituted around 
principles that are not in disagreement between places now at odd with 
issues as serious as genocide, nuclear weapons, terrorism, etc.

the reality outmatches the rhetoric of nation-state perspectives, of 
the .UN as it is constituted, it is instead bounded by the past, by the 
limits of vantage points, by subjectivities that never stop adding 
complexity and false progress and instead wind-down the watch, until 
the alarm rings and then goes silent. it has been silent for awhile 
now, and what is next and what happens when the nation-states try to 
one-up eachother even further into this enigmatic state of the 
suspended past? the twilight zone has arrived.

even issues with Iran, post-election, could be made to work on a level 
of world community, where rhetoric to date could still be reorganized 
to address a changed reality of oil consumption, global warming, 
development, autonomy of nation-state goals and cultural development, 
and cooperation and collaboration to move things in directions that 
mutually benefit core principles and check-and-balance others yet 
through other means than war, death, hatred, evil. the artifacts from 
Persia that are in the local fine-arts museum have especially captured 
my imagination as it seems there are different times/places that things 
correspond, certain beauties that overlap, and understandings that may 
be excavated with new perceptions. for me this has involved an 
archaeological view and greater appreciation of the stories of those 
who came before, and the great lineage of the past and the importance 
then and now of everyplace on earth, and yet someplaces in particular 
in relation to others. what if in a globally warmed/climate changed 
world- it gets hot as hell and the clothing of the middle east actually 
makes a lot more sense (maybe it is Arab dress in particular) with such 
materials made of UV protective advanced nanofabrics so that one can 
wear something that protects the skin and yet stay cool while outside 
and totally covered from the sunlight. what about these flows of desert 
cultures and benefiting (in fashion too) from them (especially Libya, 
Morocco too) in evolving to better solutions for such conditions. such 
a 'trade' or 'commerce' is intangible in the way things are with a 
model of a world as a united nation, through as a world community maybe 
there is some level where it is out of respect, to transmit this 
cultural (inter-civilization) information, to better the whole and also 
seed new ideas and ways to change things for the better, through design 
no less.

so too with China, which is why I am writing this (and apologies for 
lack of clarity, these thoughts are all related and i need to write 
some of the logic to make it make sense to myself, which is to get to 
the following point:)

the art of China represents something that is vital, probably unique 
for the booming developments, transformations of cultural 
consciousness, it is tangible in the works. and yet, so too are 
realities of China and other countries dealing with the issues of 
industrial development, paradoxes of governance, world relation, etc. 
lessons have been learned by others countries that came before and are 
today working through these (or not!) such as with pollution. if China 
were to follow the .US pattern as a future paradigm it would 
self-destruct most likely because of the issues are so important and 
scale so immense that there is no luxury to ignore pollution or energy 
efficiency in medium-term planning, it is assumed. maybe China is 
terraforming the earth in its own image, eventually, yet maybe most 
countries/societies/cultures do this in some way already in their 
existing, manifold. for instance, Africa never leaves us, from 
anthropology of human genesis to issues of neighbhorhoods, ethnicity, 
racial demographics and the reality of issues that are not unreal, 
irrelevant, and ignorable for the eternal present of these influences 
among peoples- outside the western euroamerican worldview (subsuming 
China, India, Africa, South America), this idea of 'lifestyles' as 
propagated in the gated continental commune that is the .US today.

what would be enlightened, imo, was if the .US made an unlikely call: 
to draw-down forces, stabilize the situation in Iraq by drawing down 
forces and forming a compact with regional allies and their forces to 
take their place, for the health and sanity of the Iraqis, to plug the 
whole in the dike and to reconfigure a grand strategy for world 
relations that reconsiders the questions of world community beyond the 
model of the united nations, and a global strategy that is not based on 
methods and models of the past, that a weak middle east is preferred, 
or other weaknesses, if some kind of architectural stability can be 
designed by collaboration/cooperation in the world scale, in the 
psychological disposition of states in relation in such a scale, within 
shared interest.

bogus, one might say. and who is stupid enough to believe it is 
possible anyway. one would have to be an ego-maniac to think the world 
should conform to such mandates dictated by nobodies. and that is 
exactly the point, that unless such changes occur, there is 
high-probability that only worst-cases (with nuclear aims/games) are 
predictable because there are limited outcomes and choices and the 
stakes are the highest -- nationalism in the united nations is using a 
particle accelerator to collide {particular nations together} and make 
enormous energies (in scale with those of the nearest star, the Sun). 
such energies released on Earth is not a model of ideal governance- it 
is an apocalyptic mess of the failure of ideologies to meet the 
foundations of a new world and new relations-- the ideas that are 
necessary to transcend that past have not yet existed in language, in 
logic, in psychological identity to make the changes possible, even an 
option- and there must be a better option than winding down the world, 
no?

for this to happen the .US both needs to save face and face humiliation 
for its failures to transcend an impossible condition of the historical 
fall from grace. everything is now transformed, the cards have been 
used up and the only choice is, beyond continuation and running down 
the physic machinery even further, is to allow the uncertain 
possibility of change, chance, potential, the improbable center, the 
paradox and transformation to exist as a viable movement that 
recontextualizes the present in a presence of ideas related to 
situations as they actually exist, or moreso than the pulp-fiction that 
is the national-movie played afar that is hard to differentiate except 
that people die in those explosions and human devastation versus 
Hollywood's normal fare. the true cost of this production in human 
lives, in economic, but also national and international devastation is 
well beyond survivable in terms of the status quo operations-- they are 
forever transformed, the .US lost the mantle of righteousness and now 
operates as if it were Gulliver's Travels, the giant, pinned down, is 
to be transformed.

a new relation, new respect, reorganization, fuzzy, superposition, 
complex, intricate, elegant, policy of the ideas which are to be held 
in common, served, could allow the world itself a chance to regroup, 
reconsider, and not continue the malfeasance of nation-states writ 
large upon the world, as if a game of capture the flag. if .CN does 
this the world would possibly end, that is a fear. though the world 
economy would disappear rather quickly and so would most inhabitants of 
the world as it reeled and shrunk, compacting and reconfiguring itself 
until relaunching another version of world survivalists.  if it was 
instead human beings, we the chinese, americans, euros, russians, south 
americans, indians, we may be able to function as a world community. if 
it is chinese, .us americans, russians, euros, etc. we may not live to 
know what happens, if war is going to be the only way towards a more 
shared evolution, shared principles, compromise, mutual interests, and 
aims of peace and prosperity.

if .CN is of the future, the .US is of the present, and all are past 
present future along with these, the .US may have added and will 
continue to add its intelligence and creativity and imaginations to be 
absorbed by the world organism, by the scales- i contend this influence 
is actually infrastructural, that that is the greatness of the .US 
contribution to architecture (in the western tradition, roads/baths of 
rome, bridges/aqueducts, etc). yet all of this is archaeological, so 
too was/is Iraq's, Egypt's, Russia's, Ecuador's, and others 
contributions, and to realize these, foster these inter-civilization 
transfers of knowledge, understanding, perception, culture, peace. yet 
also differentiate between the publicness of the world community, and 
the privateness (and also, internal /autonomous publicness) of the 
nation-states, and on and on (down to neighborhoods, city councils, 
etc.).

the first move would appear to be a change in consciousness for the .US 
to avert its total disaster, and an introspective look at its relation 
to itself and the world: to look in the world mirror, national mirror, 
local mirror, and take an accounting of the situation and make the 
necessary changes to achieve transformation. with such a move, China's 
relation to the .US in the world community may be beneficial, another 
steward of the whole yet in an impossible situation that may only be 
bounded, constrained by the world, and if or when it overreaches, to 
spit the world back out and stabilize a public world relationship 
rather than to try to privatize it with a too narrow/limited worldview 
that would lead to an insurgency of a group of 'united nations', as 
seems to be the case with the .US in .IQ, and maybe for as horrible as 
this situation is, it may help prevent worse events by forcing changes 
in 'superpowers' by requiring new concepts for a recontextualized state 
of affairs.

> ... (snip) re: dance performance of electromagnetic cosmology


> idiocy of slang, of
>> celebrity culture, and hierarchies, popularity contests, and
>> the embedded stupidities of the reigning cultural consumption.
>
> yes. its just like the other worlds we've had...condemed to repeat as 
> you mentioned in your earlier post today. the masters teach the 
> students to repeat themselves....maybe its the fault of defective 
> transmission of culture and aesthetics of progress and undefined 
> present as perspective for past and continuance. but what can we do to 
> change it? our audience is the elite who don't need to learn or who 
> refuse to learn. if those we teach become or are the elite and those 
> who are there but don't learn are the masses, which is the master?
> cheryl


  this is another huge question, which obviously you've pondered.
  and i do not know the answer for others, yet themes have arisen
  over decades and years of personal efforts that seems to focus
  upon the role of communication, language, freedom of thought,
  institutional structures, opportunities given or denied, etc.
  my approach is through architectural education, as outlined in
  a conversation never realized, the architecture of the .UN, at:

http://www.electronetwork.org/bc/    (2 .pdf files)

------
excerpt of original reference: Chinese Art exhibit...

must say i saw an exhibit today Contemporary Chinese Art-
the collection of Pat Hui, at the Katherene Nash gallery
at the University of Minnesota (west bank) and it was a
stunning display of 2d art from China. if you live in the
twin cities it is a must-see exhibit. some works were of
brilliant colors with Chinese characters/ideographs atop
them as if landscapes- the entire exhibit was as if all
landscape paintings/drawing in a merging of words/symbols
and colors which held great power and beauty to behold.
it was reinvigorating, the staleness of .US aesthetics
(aesthetic commerce) was inverted by life, living and
breathing colors, bright, in love, offerings of hope.
only one other exhibit here in the last years was of
similar interest (at the old walker) and it was also
of Chinese conceptual artists whose work astounded me.
no images online. http://artdept.umn.edu/art_dept/nash.html

brian

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