Jody Berland on 3 Aug 2000 14:33:43 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> con.troll

nicely put.

-----Original Message-----
From: jen Hui Bon Hoa <>
To: <>
Date: July 31, 2000 11:38 AM
Subject: Re: <nettime> con.troll

> writes:
>> We are dissolved.
>well yes.  this is not new.
>Now there is an aestheticised experience of historicity available in the
>technological centre of the dominant order: a safe, tightly framed
>experience of flux that we see/experience alone.  Unable to peer through
>the screen to see the wires and pipes that must form the infrastructure,
>we collapse back onto ourselves and think "my... how like this I am, how
>like an image..." we shiver at the insight: absent any vision of the
>infrastructure or framework for thinking in oppositional terms, we can
>only deal with this insight by abandoning ourselves to it, imitating its
>modalities: perhaps we engage in acts of worship to this electroflux,
>making little electro-selves that we float out into this new aether like
>candles on paper boats that we watch dissolve before our eyes. Little
>machines that show how we have processed what we have read, how we
>understand that we are simply performing interstices, how this performance
>lets us produce new needs and and new desires.  We imagine that a space of
>freedom is to be found in this production of models that recapitulate the
>profile developed by advertisers because we stand at a slight remove and
>rehearse the logic of the order.  so it does not emcompass us.  See, we
>repeat it.  then we push the copies out into electrospace and maybe watch
>the website counter to see the number of hits and thrill at the image of
>ourselves being consumed. Maybe this is what hesiod meant.
>in the end it is all about the self, the individual and the flux, the
>dance that we trace through the flux, alone.
>Capitalism wouldn’t have it any other way.
>We do what we are supposed to, but misrecognise it.
>Perhaps we are have always in a sense been dissolved. What has changed is
>that the horizons against which we imagine what is possible have
>collapsed.  Unable to deal with this—to describe it, to think it, to start
>to build from the field of debris--we are sent packing by the
>pseudo-politics of the academy to a space of collapsed horizons that
>leaves us only the dominant order to shape our horizons, and narcissism to
>fill our attention.  We confuse repetition and critique.
>I consume.  I recycle.  But I don’t mean it.  I am an Artist.  My shopping
>is subversive.
>is your worldview informed by the accidental thatecherism of academic doxa
>in the wake of deconstruction?  Suspicion of any political argument, any
>social category, because they are "totalising" and we all know that
>totalising and totalitarian share a first syllable?
> writes:
>>spread my hopes thin
>>>Craig Brozefsky "<> wrote:
>>>"jen Hui Bon Hoa" "<> writes:
>>spare my scars again
>>> My question: Is the formula really ‘patent or be patented’?
>>> Could your work really be copyrighted by someone else? Perhaps this
>>> is why ted byfield copyrights his texts (is that right, ted?). This
>>> is why I would consider copyrighting my own production.
>>this is why we should/would consider consuming ourselves again, all my
>>publications are savory
>>stitch up my smiles again
>>close down my sales again
>>we are rising so
>>we are alarming
>>on screen
>>we see
>>the terrorific pleasures of our own consumption
>>kno(c)ontroling the konversations
>>all channels open
>>laid down bare wires and life lines
>>calling out reaching empires of [kno]
>>your enemies
>>(is that alright?)
>Beyond the pseudo-soundgarden poetry, there is a conflation of opposition
>and commodification.
>I write:
>I do not want my work to be
>>> appropriated by and for causes to which I am personally in
>>> ideological opposition.
>star.power reads:
>> all the bodyminds gathered here agree to be in limited opposition to
>> undersigned idealouge
>Limited opposition because all opposition is appropriated as it circulates
>in commodity form?  Then opposition is a content — there being no clear
>distinction form/content, you would think that oppositional content would
>inflect form.  But maybe not.  For personal reasons, political reasons, it
>matters to me that what I produce involves some level of critical
>engagement with the social order under which I find myself.  It is
>frustrating that consumption and/or appropriation, partly as a function of
>commodification, partly as a function of their persistence across time and
>the fact that this persistence opens them to multiple contextualisations,
>mostly as a function of the range of social or interpretive practices
>shaped by this order and its primary mechanisms of cultural reproduction
>tends to wear this critical engagement away. It is not clear to me that
>irony and capitulation are the answer.
>I believe that political action is possible and that an alternative to
>this social order is desirable. I think that the dominant context that
>shapes the possibilities of political action is the implosion of the
>marxist imaginary. Effectively, this collapse provides a historical
>experience of a particular type of oppositional politics, and a void that
>can be occupied by a new type of oppositional politics. I believe that
>such a politics is desirable, and that it should be instituted around the
>notion of autonomy, around the normative idea of direct democracy.  I
>therefore think that grappling with questions of politics and political
>strategy are worthwhile.  - I do not see how these questions necessarily
>blur into fantasies of control.  But perhaps you do.  I would perhaps be
>interested in seeing how you worked out this linkage, this rationale for
>hiding in the private space of irony, if you have worked it out.
>there are an infinite number of ways to rationalise checking out.  The
>dance of commodities and the devices that frame them advance these reasons
>continually.  It is more difficult to resist them than it is to give in
>and then hide behind a world-weariness, a boredom, with the vague hint of
>"I am more radical than you" as a rhetoric of legitimation.
>Want the logic again?
>Appropriation of oppositional work by the dominant order silences the
>oppositionality of the work. there is what marcuse called repressive
>tolerance, which has been rediscovered and renamed repeatedly by theorists
>in different domains (museumification and so forth).
>This is what I’m talking about:
>Has not this society, glutted with aetheticism, already integrated former
>romanticisms, surrealism, existentialism and even Marxism up to a point?
>It has, indeed, through trade, in the form of commodities. That which
>yesterday was reviled today becomes cultural consumer-goods, consumption
>thus engulfs what was intended to give meaning and direction.’
>                   – Lefebvre, _Everyday Life in the Modern World_.
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