florian schneider on Sat, 20 May 2006 12:32:41 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> dictionary of war

Dear nettimers,

may I take the liberty to invite you with a rather lengthy and detailled posting
to join a project we are currently setting up in the tradition of a series of
events that started with the makeworld festival in 2001
<http://www.makeworlds.org/1/index.html> went on with NEURO--networking europe in
2004 <http://neuro.kein.org> and also included last years

During the latter event in the old castle of the city of Tarifa in the very south
of Spain, at the Straits of Gibraltar, while meeting with about two hundred
artists, activists, theorists in a dedicated open space environment it happened
that we were realizing that although we might sort of share some basic beliefs,
convictions or attitudes there is a certain lack of understanding since specific
keywords or buzzwords were conceived in tremendously different ways and notions.

Not that I would consider this a bug or a problem one should fix and get rid of,
but sitting together and thinking about what is to be done next we thought that
there might appear an enormous potential for the creation of further and possibly
very productive understandings and/or misunderstandings: Spontaneously we
organized an almost six hour long session in which various different people
entered the stage and presented in alphabetical order one term or terminology that
seemed crucial to them.

It partly failed entirely and partly worked terrificly well. But in the following
weeks and months we tried to develop this rather off-handed performance idea
further on and decided to look for funding.

In two weeks from now, on June 2 and 3, 2006, the first edition of DICTIONARY OF
WAR will take place as a collaborative platform for creating concepts on the issue
of war. At four public, two-day events over the next few months in Frankfurt,
Munich, Graz and Berlin altogether 100 concepts will be invented, arranged and
presented by scientists, artists, theorists and activists.

The aim of DICTIONARY OF WAR is to make the creation or revaluation of concepts
transparent into more or less open processes in which we can and need to
intervene; at the same time, the aim is to develop models that redefine the
creation of concepts on the basis not of interdisciplinary but rather
undisciplined, not co-operative but rather collaborative processes.

Such platform is explicitely not meant as a sort of specialized wikipedia with a
focus on war. We are looking for concurrent versions, divergencies, critical
debate and discussions rather than identifying a common understanding and imposing
so called "definitions". There are no limits except a certain time frame for the
actual performances; every contributor or concept person is free to choose
whatever medium, format or genre in order to present the concept.

The DICTIONARY OF WAR is an experimental project and entirely under construction.
It will be generated at least on three levels: First of all it will be produced
concept by concept in alphabetical order during four performance sessions at
different places: an art school, a concert hall, a theatre and a museum. Every
contribution is going to be properly video recorded and then made available near
on real time on the website where it can get further elaborated, enriched with
additional material and discussed. After the first four sessions a book will be
published that collects 100 concepts.

Participation on this project is not limited to those who can actually make it to
one of the four events we are planning so far. You are invited to register at the
platform and use this customized multi-user weblog system (based on the excellent
code of drupal4.7) in order to participate, contribute a concept, compile your own
versions, pick up the RSS-feeds, remix them etc.


In times of war this mailinglist has repeatedly turned out as a very particular
and valuable communication channel: I remember the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999,
but also of course the subsequent debates after 9-11 or before and during the
latest Iraq war.

The "new war", "post-modern war", "global war" -- almost every major military
operation over the last years has evoked a new debate about the new character of
war and this discussion has not been restricted to a few specialists but heavily
affected political activists as well as cultural producers. Lastest after 2001
state of war has turned into a normality. Five years of global war have turned the
world upside down, in a way that the extent of the ongoing changes cannot be fully
conceived yet.

DICTIONARY OF WAR is about polemics in various respects: It seeks confrontation
with a reality that is characterised by the concealment of power relations the
more that one talks about war and peace. But it is also about finding out to what
extent war may function as an "analyzer of power relations" that constitutes
current changes.

Changes that have been producing ever new wordings and all sorts of labels that
indicate that the juridical model of sovereignty would seem to have had its day:
war as an armed confrontation between sovereign nation states is supposed to be a
thing of the past. While this still refers to conflict between different interest
groups that are defined by the degree of their intensity and extension, unlike in
the past war serves to regulate rather than destroy or renew existing power

War is a "constitutive form of a new order" (Negri et al.) that no longer
knows an inside or outside, that not only destroys but also produces life. In this
new world order there is no difference between war and non-war: war is perpetual,
everywhere and nowhere.

So like so many other things these days, war too seems to be subject to a de- and
re-regulation process that radically challenges old certainties and replaces them
with new premises that shall not be questioned. DICTIONARY OF WAR sets out to
oppose war and, at the same time, calls for "desertion" from a war of words in
which facts are created with such force in their communication and propaganda that
they can no longer be challenged.

"At least, when we create concepts, we are doing something." The = idea of
DICTIONARY OF WAR refers to the theory of creating concepts proposed by Gilles
Deleuze and Felix Guattari: Concepts do not fall from heaven but must be invented,
created, produced; concepts refer to problems without which they would be
meaningless. It is not about definitions, anecdotes, original opinions or
entertainment, but rather about developing the tools with which to attain new

The Frankfurt edition of DICTIONARY OF WAR features contributions by:

The artist group "Apsolutno" from Novi Sad; the sound artists "Battery Operated
from Montreal; the Taiwanese artist Shu Lea Cheang; the London based architect
Celine Condorelli; writer Dietmar Dath from "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung";
choreographers Kattrin Deufert & Thomas Plischke aka "Frankfurter K=FCche";
filmmaker Azza El-Hassan from Ramallah; = Berlin based curator Anselm Franke; the
swedish artist duo Carl Michael von Hausswolff and Thomas Nordanstad; the artist
group "International Festival" from Brussels and Stockholm; Beirut based media
activist Manse Jacobi; the austrian musician Christof Kurzmann; filmmaker Angela
Melitopolous from Cologne; military researcher Simon Naveh from Tel Aviv; DJ Hans
Nieswandt from Cologne; John Palmesino, co-founder of the "Multiplicity" group;
dutch theater director Jan Ritsema; art theorist Irit Rogoff, professor at
Goldsmith College London; Saskia Sassen, professor for sociology in Chicago and
London; author Nicolas Siepen from Berlin; Paris based filmmaker Eyal Sivan; Rob
Stone, London based therorist; the Frankfurt based philosopher Matthias Vogel; New
York based architect Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss; London based architect Eyal Weizman;
architect Ines Weizman from London; Berlin based writer Raul Zelik; filmmaker
Zelimir Zilnik from Novi Sad...

The concepts are introduced in alphabetical order by their conceptual personae in
half-hour long presentations or performances.

The event starts on Friday, June 2 at 4 p.m. in Staedelschule Frankfurt am Main,
Doererstrasse 10 and will be continued on Saturday from 3 p.m. on.

Stay tuned: http://www.dictionaryofwar.org

DICTIONARY OF WAR is a project by Multitude e.V. and Unfriendly
Takeover, supported by the Federal Culture Foundation, Germany.

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