Brian Holmes on Thu, 31 Jul 2008 14:02:25 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Between Tracking and Formulating

Hello Jordan,

Greetings. Thanks for your response on nettime. I am glad you understood 
the point of my message and also that it is not an attack or something 
like that. I found the text totally brilliant. I think there is a lot of 
value in generating such knowledge, it has certainly helped me over the 
years, I could never have developed my own work without the insights 
yours has given me. I think I made that clear. I was just struck by this 
question of address and implication, so I thought I would be 
provocative! But also: this is a time when priorities could potentially 
be revised, when the US elects a new president and people look back over 
the last 8 years and realize it did not have to be that way. And it's so 
damn important that some of the major, underlying trends be seriously 
revised, it could be a turning point or it could also come to nothing. 
You know, I don't have anything at all against creative and open-minded 
people being what I called "part of the establishment." It's a very good 
thing, otherwise what happens to the everyday environment? Look at the 
places where all you have is neocons in there and the answer is crystal 
clear. What I mean is that since the breakthrough days of the 90s, 
artists and critics like yourself you have deservedly moved into top 
positions in the university and art systems, and it would be interesting 
to do something on the level of deep cultural politics right now. It's 
not just about a stance or a show of resistance. I think you have very 
much revealed the force of statistical population management devices and 
how they connect to the psyche and the erotics of the prosumer middle 
classes. What would it take to actually inflect that vast machinery of 
conviction and desire? Of course the logic of it is that there is no 
inflection, trends are supported, everywhere and in detail, by 
distributed means, in accord with scientific study and on the basis of 
commercial and military strategy. But how could people buck such trends? 
On what subjective and even erotic basis? In connection to which 
machines and discourses and habits of being? I think it's the question 
that has to be asked at the very level of work like yours, where it's 
serious and connected to the really existing landscape. Now I forget the 
intricate details of the text, but anyway I'd say the tracking of the 
overall situation has been pretty effective, it's time to formulate!

best, Brian

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