t byfield on Mon, 14 Jul 2008 22:29:24 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Soviet Antarctica: Ice, Ice, baby...

anansi1@earthlink.net (Sat 07/12/08 at 08:45 PM +0100):

> 2) Yes, I know Stanislaw (or sometimes, it's spelled Stanislav) Lem was
> Polish. I specifically said Soviet - Poland, after all was a member of
> the Warsaw Pact - it doesn't necessarily talk about ethnicity. Soviet
> could have been Turks, Uighurs, Kazakhs, Ukranians, Kurds, Georgians,
> etc. 
> Boris and Arkady Strugatsky were Russian. Stalin, for example, was
> Georgian. There's a difference.

Thanks for the info. Wikipedia's pretty awesome, isn't it?

By your logic quite a few nettimers were Soviets because, for example, 
the governments to which they were formerly subject were members of a 
military pact. I'm sure they'll be pleased to learn that -- just as 
you'll no doubt be pleased to learn that your work is properly seen 
through the lens of NATO. 

On a certain level, that argument -- which is yours -- is transparently 
silly. But in a very particular way, one that privileges national- and 
international-scale ideology over the ambiguity of creative work in more
immediate social and political contexts. That's no stretch: your argument
is, plainly and explicitly, that Lem was a Soviet because Poland was a 
member of the Warsaw Pact. There *are* people who'd agree with you about
that kind of thing -- John Birchers, for example. And then there are those
who'd see your work (and that of many others, of course) as, at best, the
benign bagatelles of Western militarism -- in your case worse, probably,
since you do lots of ~theorizing. Those kinds of ultraist, reductionist 
analyses are disastrous, IMO; but it's worth thinking them through in a 
serious way because they can show the hidden logic of how even 'pop' pap 
can promote creepier political agendas. 

> 1) No, I don't support oppressive Communist regimes. The issue for me
> was that many European (and some non European - like Imperial Japan,
> South Africa, Argentina, the U.S., Chile, China etc) regimes throughout
> the last couple of centuries have projected various competitive
> political, economic, and ideological agendas onto Antarctica. My film
> explores these issues - as a scripted response to the fictional claims
> of territory various "great powers" made on Antarctic territories. The
> Soviet Union did this too! But it doesn't exist anymore, so I thought
> it was a great metaphor for the ever shifting geopolitical landscape
> the ice responds to. Think: territorial claims of a vanished nation
> state. It's kind of like the poem "Ozymandias."

Did anyone suggest you support oppressive Communist regimes? I didn't
think so. I *did* ask you about "old school Soviet propaganda fonts," 
because it suggested that you might not be very clear on the concept,
maybe on several (you've cleared up any doubt on that point).

Funny, I actually have thought about the territorial claims of states 
like the USSR. "Fiction" and "metaphor" aren't the first thing that 
come to mind. 

> Before commenting further, you might want to check out the trailer:
> http://www.djspooky.com/art/terra_nova.php

I did. Ozymandias didn't come to mind. 



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