Eduardo Navas on Sun, 20 Apr 2003 12:28:04 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> the matrix returns - Re: nettime-l-digest V1 #1134

----- Original Message -----
From: "Andrew Jones" <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, April 18, 2003 11:14 PM
Subject: RE: <nettime> the matrix returns - Re: nettime-l-digest V1 #1134

> Was I the only person who thought The Matrix was going
> to be William Gibson like, and discovered it to be a mostly
> boring action film? Hadn't really thought about how the world
> of the matrix takes in all these different philosophies, but
> is knowing Baudrillard really that much of an achievement
> in this day and age? And for that matter sucking the life out
> of Baudrillard isn't a bad thing to do, and to some extent
> neither is it with Neitzsche. While both thinkers of great
> weight, perhaps their reception into popular culture will
> help spur some new thoughts.

My comment was a response to Francis Wang's rhetorical question:

 "Certainly, if you're teaching an Intro to Philosophy course you'd do well
to draw The Matrix into your class discussion -- above all, keep your
students' attention -- but does the film truly reward such analysis?"

Many cultural producers watch several movies throughout the years because
films are one of the main resources to develop new material.  So, yes, new
ideas can come out of commercial practice.  I will add that new concepts,
hopefully, will be written with a political understanding.  A problem that
the essays that started this thread all share, which can also be found as a
book by the way
5?vi=glance) is that, much like modernism, the philosophers writing on The
Matrix tend to suspend the political role of appropriation.  This omits the
possibility for discussions where students can relate the complex theories
not only to a 'cool' movie, but also to how relocating previous ideas
functions in contemporary culture at large.  It is up to each educator to
point to a wider contextualization. At least the few comments made available
on Amazon expose philosophical platforms using The Matrix as a fictional
stage, much like a pedestal a la Gabo, instead of a politically/culturally
aware art work a la Tatlin.  (Gabo isolated his sculptures in an ideal space
while Tatlin always incorporated these to the actual architecture of the
building: see Russian Constructivism)

So, yes The Matrix should be taught in classrooms, but not with a suspended
depoliticized approach, but rather with the aim to create cultural
awareness.  And hopefully new ideas will develop, both inside and outside
popular culture.  Unfortunately, depoliticization usually dominates pop
culture due to its mass appeal.


Eduardo Navas

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