XLT Guide to TM19 v.2 : Incarcerating Technologies

February 4th, 2019

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XLT Guide to #Tm19

( and if you’re just tuning in, see the XLt Soft and Fuzzy Intro v.1 )

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We don’t have a lot of time for a thorough review, so let’s cut-to-the-chase and start by analyzing the closing round:

“What Moves You?” with Donatella Della Ratta, Geert Lovink, Fernanda Monteiro, Carolina García Cataño, Sumugan Sivanesan.

>> The present political moment is marked by the two global phenomena of neoliberalism and neo-nationalism, co-existing in a tension that sees both convergences and conflicts. There seems to be little room for the formulation of radical alternatives outside of these powerful forces as the liberal and progressive middles alike have lost their faces to financialization and austerity politics.
This closing discussion of transmediale 2019 focuses on new impetuses for transversal organization and political mobilisation, picking up on the thematic threads of the festival on affect and politics. The participants will present and discuss initiatives and practices, interlinking social, affective and technical capacities that articulate a politics of making society matter again.
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Transmediale ( wikipedia ) – the festival – began in 1988 as a new media arts event  ( primarily video art, that Berlinale film fest wasn’t covering ) + naturally migrated into the broader digital culture as it exploded and now ripples into ( and penetrates ) every part of our lives, which is exactly what makes TM such a pertinent annual event to investigate and analyze. And the TM team assembles an incredible arsenal of sharp minds to investigate our times through the frames and personas of … primarily… we-the-transmediated…  society and culture as it is being shaped by these new technologies. In the end, it often becomes a little predictable, unsatisfying and myopic in that its prescriptions for the paths ahead are MORE media, MORE tech, MORE Data, MORE digital culture…

We fully respect the work of all who spoke on this panel… their work on the ongoing tactical tech developments and crucial battles of resistance ( to corporate infrastructures ) is invaluable ! But we cannot help but perceive that most of their closing remarks revealed a kind of undying faith in a digital culture expansionism … open source /free software, alt. data accumulation, alt A.i, alt. networked cultures… were all in the advocated mix.

THIS (expansionism), at a time when our planetary habitat is already getting baked by the detached operating systems, with us, the dim users and consumers deeply immersed or trapped inside its burning house. ( See Greta Thunberg: she makes the environmental challenges a quick and easy read… and unavoidable !)

THIS, (expansionism), at a time when our investments in the “datasphere” have bleakly, gruesomely unfolded as gargantuan windfalls for corporate power over our lives and livelihoods ?! A short recap of the history of the digital + the netz if you’re just tuning in : Some very few reap billions ( harvesting the lion’s share of net value ) and maintain total overseer control, while we get to amuse ourselves with cat videos.

In many aspects, it’s very much as though we lost the war, and are in denial. ( Yes, even us who scream about it daily, even as we enter our blog rants to an online community.) And in fact this grave, unfathomable loss has been claimed, reluctantly yet multiple times,… i.e. in the hacker scenes such as Chaos Congresses, and even last year at TM ( Rasmus Fleischer : ” This is what you get when the digital revolution has failed” ).

When Carolina García Cataño states that Technologies WILL BE what shapes us and our future, and of course that currently rings very ( sadly ) true…  it is easy to forget in the midst of a Transmediale weekend platform, that there are OTHER technologies than digital culture and those (d)evolutions of the machine-to-screen ( or vice versa ) cultures. ( Agriculture, Energy, perhaps even our own Biologies are a few that come to mind first … )

And from an XLterrestrials orientation, we immediately began to question this general assumption about our tech + destiny… And perhaps it will be more positive and more human+planet-friendly to say it SHOULD BE our passions, our creativity and our responsibilities that WILL BE what shapes our future… and naturally technologies will play A PART in that. And then it is also essential to remember that there is an infinitely wider palette to shaping the worlds we inhabit, than to imagine it just unfolding from within these narrow, abstracted, alien and reductionist cybernetic / coded landscapes which have so occupied our visions of what is possible and what is to come, and what has so-dominated the market of ideas for the last couple decades.

Even more strange to notice:  This all felt in contradiction or a paradox regarding the deep and lengthier discourses that played out during the weekend… which included astounding moments like Jackie Wang’s extremely heart-baring and gut-wrenching testimonies of “Carceral Capitalism” ( MIT Press ). She also managed to be the FIRST keynote speaker at HKW ( Haus Der Kulturen ) in the decade(s) we have been attending to FINALLY address “TECHNO-FASCISM”, though only in relation to Nick Bostrom’s outlines for a PRESCRIBED technodystopian scenario, whereas we have been arguing that it is already a political+krapitalist nightmare expanding all around us ! If you have any doubts about this, just check any region that is engaged in the resource wars and the widespread exploitation required for your 24/7 instant access to that wondrous churning Webz. In any case, truly impressive work on complex political economy issues, the new indentured servitude, prison industrial complex and other themes? ( book, not yet researched ) from an author still in their twenties ! But perhaps more on her work later.

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( these pics are not slides used in architect Andreas Rumpfhuber’s presentation, we picked out our own ( for added humor ) … but he made his own stark analogy to carceral developments in the new housing trends, but juxtaposing the new start-up culture dormitory designs to prison cells, and connecting it to the cybernetic-driven socio-political disruptions, designs and objectives. )

OR, let’s examine these Incarcerating Technologies – and (their symptomatic? ) Economies – from another angle, as in the afternoon discussion on: How To Disrupt Yourself: Life in the Entrepreneurial Home session, just prior to the close of the festival …

>> Airbnb, Uber, Taskrabbit, and many other platform-based companies build their marketing narratives on the notions of sharing, community, and human empowerment. These terms are also pivotal in a new iteration of a platform: “the entrepreneurial home”; an evolved co-working space where one can carry on an entire life without leaving the house—sleep, work, network, and explore oneself 24/7. This event invites a selection of entrepreneurs and scholars from, among others, the fields of sociology, anthropology, architecture theory, and political science to converse on key notions concerning the Entrepreneurial Home.The discussion will be structured according to scenes from Marta Dauliute’s and Viktorija Šiaulyte’s documentary film and research project Good Life. In it, the filmmakers present a case study of a collective house for entrepreneurs, established by a real-estate startup in Stockholm, Sweden. Here corporate culture and community building make an extraordinary match, while algorithmic management techniques accompany programs of self-improvement and spaces of collective belonging. With: Edoardo Archetti, Patrick Hoffmann, Travis Hollingsworth <<<

This presented in its oddly imbalanced way ( no precarious/evicted tenants nor housing activists on the panel ) the battles over physical space in urban living. And yet it revealed a territory that should be at the center of our liberation and resistance movements: Fighting for Physical Space + Social Spaces …and Fighting Against Displacement and Krapitalist Disruption…  and nevermind sure, free open source software, but what about FREE! HOUSING !? Or at the very least, HOUSING FOR ALL and HOUSING AS A HUMAN RIGHT ! And nevermind a ubiquitously data-sucking netz ( and its endless surfability – and new forms of unpaid labors ) what about (returning to) a dream of embodied and shared luxurious communalism ?!

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( pic: 10,00o homeless, on the opening day of Tm19, a flashmob of housing activists and eviction defense groups… occupied the new East Side Mall in Friedrichshain to protest displacement and the shitty Btropolis politics that promotes and subsidizes a wide range of endless krapitalist expansion, but lacks any solutions for affordable housing )

Let’s be honest, when it comes to the essential needs of living in this world, and living with any quality and dignity: Food and shelter are at the core, primary, prerequisites. The infrastructures for the future of food and shelter will provide the only means to any achievable, co-liveable peace. But we seem way too busy catching up with latest tools + rapidly shifting tech landscapes – and all their demands upon our attention – to manage these essential priorities, and to do so on OUR COMMUNITY TERMS that will provide full, or at least increased, autonomy.

Digital culture, on the other Other hand, has become that extremely metastisized evil-appendage roommate that moved in like a Cronenbergian artificial limb, which grows its own brain, and then takes over your entire living quarters. You, your being, your full body, your relationships, your neighborhood, your real nourishment have all been sucked dry and hollowed out, vacuum-packed + sealed, and jammed into a tiny cupboard. The world transmigrated into urban evil pod designs / couture from which you must now serve this Digital Master of your Incredible Shrinking Habitat; Within which we become a ghost machine of our former multi-faceted selves. How they manage to make these new automated, plundering and ecocidal land+space+time-lords appear to be the hip new thing will probably remain a mysterious puzzle for the historians centuries from now, that is, if any are left alive.

( Btw, check out PKD’s The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, for similar intra-neo-colonial and/or neural-hijacking scenarios ).

To its credit, TM often goes way beyond its own established parameters ( and specialty ) to explore our current predicaments. This 3-hour session on “affect” and “space” was curated and constructed by two scandanavian filmmakers – Marta Dauliute & Viktorija Šiaulyte – working on a document about this new “Entreprenurial Home” ( better called a neoliberal House of (t)Errors ) … and thus far is an essay doc focused on the “co-living” market-phenomenon.

They took a big risk and invited into the HKW some unexpected participants, to be handled by anthropologist gloves ( Judith Albrecht, Thomas Stodulka ) and then left to their own devices to be sweetly mauled by an inquiring (housing crisis’d) public. Three business players who have recently landed in Berlin to capitalize on the housing market/ crisis and the new trends. The results could have been far more volatile than they were, but as it was, a bloody mouthful of indigestable material was spit out onto the circle carpet. And that was a good thing !

to be cont.

to be added:

- Sumugan Sivanesan’s own critique that the festival hardly provides enough critique of the plunder and exploitation that the whole of our technological landscape requires to perform for the global north’s high-tech-driven culture, industries, profits. Impacts on indigenous lives and other cultures.

- the local story, the forced eviction of the 40-year old jugendzentrum / an autonomous social center for youth…  #potse + #drugstore … 40 years of FREE SHOWS FOR ALL being replaced by an international transplant – Rent24’s co-live/working spaces business. And they think they are a part of solving the housing crisis ?!!

- co-living – this is not new, this is what we do in cities. we co-habit… and there were many other such co-living experiments that were NOT driven by krapitalism in Berlin, and the ones that have survived entail far more evolved practices of co-creating a way forward into the future.

- Kiez sovereignty, the Berlin model.  Barcelona’s model for peoples’ sovereignty. Rebel cities, Solidarity cities, Sanctuary cities, etc.

- XLTerrestrials are not advocating “returning to the caves” and not giving up our computers or the web, we are proposing a scaling down, and using less. And returning? to a dream of pragmatic luxury communalism and the city as a commons. This is not going backwards, this is the only non-delusional forwards. And tactical tech will definitely be a necessary part of that. Clarify the real significance of Ludditism as a rational defense against the exploitation of labor and livelihoods. We must regulate the tech domains in order to protect livelihoods. We will likely have to do that as direct action and direct democracy. A parallel politics ( i.e Zapatista ), so long as the technofascists and the corporates rule the rotten and festering necropolitque of all our krapitalist govts.

- Scorched earth policies: The more the neoliberal agenda destroys our habitats, the more it forces us into the DIGITAL + VIRTUAL REALITY CAVES. Digital culture and A.I. as a new ( installed ) religion ( see: Lanier  + other resources to be added). The worst versions of digital cult come out of a desperation in the situations of our decimated social space… all those places for face-to-face and on-the-ground community building. The current predatory monopolizing digital is built upon Atomization, Cubicle-ization, Separation, Alienation, imposed Finacialization.

- the affect theme… is it an outdated Deluzian concept ? that does not fit the predicaments of today’s advanced stage of technologically-induced dementia ( research required ).

- Donatella Della Ratta, while expressing what sounded to us like an unlikely route out of surveillance krapitalism by suggesting alt. A.I. and alt open data accumulations… DID mention a shift from Global to Local engagements… And triggered our counterpoint that if indeed we returned to the local struggles and defending our access to local material non-krapitalized spaces… then we would probably be more free to withdraw from the neo-colonial infrastructures of the tech world, we would need less digital. And that would help us to begin decreasing the abuses occurring in digital culture industries… creating more possibilities to liberate ourselves form the incarcerating technologies !

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foto: project Kunstblock projecting in solidarity with Potse and Drugstore ( social space being evicted / displaced )  on the walls of the Rotes Rathaus in January.

Please come back and check for updates, edits, additional links, more deconstructions of net growth and digital cult expansionism ? … or not. We are FAR from done ranting and strategizing…

Added resources:

” There’s a saying: When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Computers are our hammers. It’s time to stop rushing blindly into the digital future and start making better, more thoughtful decisions about when and why to use technology.” – via Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World by Meredith Broussard (The MIT Press)

… a quote which came our way via Librarian Shipwreck’s reading picks from 2018, a wordpress blog that does a crack job at analyzing the technological mess we’ve gotten in way above our heads.

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LIFE SUPPORT ! IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE A CONTRIBUTOR to THE XLTERRESTRIALS and OUR PROJECTS (i.E. the CiTiZEN KiNO series )…. CONTACT US, and ASK US HOW !

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The XLT Guide to A Soft and Fuzzy and Out-Of-Focus Transmediale 2019 ?!

January 31st, 2019

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So Transmediale 2019 looks about as tedious this year as reading through a manual for some new corporate gadget that helps you generate a 3-D map of all your MINOR personal, societal and technical problems in a WORLD ON (obvious) FIRE… We know there’s great minds and great people around… but this is going to be a rough one to navigate and have enough patience to try to pull out any concrete upgrades + actions for our troubled times … in Btropolis … and everywhere else ! … “Have we become hopeless cynical bastards ?” asks the XLT ( of itself ) ….

Btw, YOUR program tips welcome ! … and see you there…. in the ( arty academic ) fog. We haven’t had much to preview it this year.

Btw, we have to say: we REALLY DO kinda like the “fuzzy dice” muppety-elmo-like totem this year … but not sure how this will address the problems mentioned above…

… or as Zippy might ask: ” Are You Affected Yet ? “

( looking for that meme of dog in fire looking at the program and deciding which workshop to take )

ANd for our brief report from this year’s Vorspiel…

READ HERE ! A CALL TO LOCAL ARTISTS ( + ACTIVISTS ) TO DEMAND MORE !

UPDATES:

So we finally found some time to have a closer look…

IT IS VERY GOOD NEWS that #TM19 has added a platform called Study Circles ( Uneasy Alliances ) to the festival to engage real community feedback and responses and strategizing … but we might say what is lacking here is some stepping-up leadership from the festival organizers themselves to put the hard-hitting topics more front and center in the program. This is afterall a symposium for (and critical approach to ) digital culture, and where’s the call to arms !? … How many years does it take to grasp the steady rise of techno-fascism, the cybernetic regime and the now completely entrenched “surveillance krapitalism” horrorshows, and signal the alarms FOR REAL !!?

Ja We feel INFEcTED !

A few trusted names we might recommend, but of course there is no doubt lots of participants and stuff we have no idea about… So again , feel free to alert us to your tactical highlights…

Jennifer Bennett ( kunstblock ), Ewa Majewska ( Razem ), Claudio Agosti (tracking.exposed), Seda Gürses, Geert Lovink, !Mediengruppe Bitnik, Joana Moll, Felix Stalder ( tho we have our hesitations re: his technotopian hopes and technocratic orientations  ), Rasmus Fleischer ….

And finally. remember it is up To YOU to push the festival into deeper engagements… do not sit back passively absorbing… challenge us and them !

And let’s try to find ways to build alliances that carry the most solid, vociferous,  ideas forward into the situations, beyond the festival/entertainment bubble weekend !

to be cont.?

The Goo in the Btropolis v.2 : Surveillance Krapitalism (resources)

January 28th, 2019

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The XLT Guide To…

The Goo in the Btropolis v.2 : Surveillance Krapitalism

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recommended Research / Analysis / Books / Pamphlets

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism – Shoshana Zuboff / New Dark Age – James Bridle / Efficiency and Madness – Tactical Tech Collective / The Ends of The Internet – Boris Beaude / Surveillance Valley – Yasha Levine / The Dawn of The New Everything – Jaron Lanier / the Digital Condition-  Felix Stadler (Polity Press), Team Human – Douglas Rushkoff / The Ethics of Invention – Sheila Jasanoff  …. more coming….

+ please send us recommendations of what you’re reading on the topic !

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To begin, we are flying through tons of info every day… none of this is a deep study, unfortunately … we are just trying to give profound but quick perspective, and trying to pick out what is useful in the midst of the current battles on the ground, and for all of us beneath those gathering mega-storm clouds.

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The struggles for autonomy in the local Kiez and against a globalized technodystopian industry are essentially a connected double-sided effort.

But grabbing a Goliath by its local tail or by its global headquarters are not exactly realistic options at any given moment. For example, local organizing currently has little chance of influencing the financial banking structures that allow such a transnational criminal operator like Google from stashing its billions in an offshore account. But affecting its operations in various cities where it must have bases of operation is entirely within the reach of grassroots organizing.

To understand what we are up against will require a deeper understanding of industry forces, trends and the strategies of the various entities which are shaping technologies to amass their profits and consolidate their powers.

Publishing houses and bookshops shelves are exploding with authors attempting to ride this rising need / demand to understand our rapidly shifting cyberneticly-entangled and digitally-drowning world, and the urgency to know one’s new shape-shifting corporate enemies. A few of these books are mind-boggling astute at analyzing the new treacherous territories,  the new threats. Others are just soft-peddling various tech agendas + painting the new ( disturbing ) trends as the unstoppable inevitable tide of technological progress… and others may just be way too soft on an actual praxis and/or fury against the brazen plunderers.

We will try and pick a few authors that will inspire the appropriate ACTION !

1. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism – Shoshana Zuboff

Though we’ve only glimpsed its 660 pages, Shoshana Zuboff’s latest book strikes us as one of the hottest investigations ( researched over a decade) to examine one of society’s greatest new challenges ( perhaps alongside climate breakdown and the various unfolding threats of globalized fascism). She’s named the problem: SURVEILLANCE CAPITALISM.

But it’s not without its flaws and weakenesses.

Important to note already, she has a not-so-radical Harvard business school backround that seems to imagine that surveillance capitalism is some entirely new aberrant species which she calls a “rogue” capitalism.  There are some compelling pictures she paints as it DOES pose specific new threats and is a game-changing horrorshow, but ultimately she imagines the tech beasts can be reigned in through government reforms (? still analyzing). We remain skeptical, and thus open to entirely different courses of strategy that will not come from Public Affairs type publishers ( a subsidiary of Perseus Books in NYC) .

In the first chapter she makes an interesting mention of both Ford and Edison as people who understood how their industries would transform capitalist production, and does so in such a way that holds all punches, all expletives and all due ripping critique for their hand in some of the 20th century’s most glaring and abominable failures. This already reveals some kind of dirty compromise with dirty day-to-day krapitalism.

Note: We don’t expect all deep-thinking and seriously-strategizing authors and comrades to take on all controversies and socio-economic complexities to get their points across in various fields… i.e. XLterrestrials have developed a short-cut technique to make some odd distinction between capitalism and krapitalism… thus not subjecting ourselves to the all-or-nothing risks that often leave a small radical and fringe left out on their own “remote chance” islands, while everything else ploughs fwd in a steady realtime mainstream flood of gruesome expansionism and domination. The XLT DO consider reformist tactics, in many cases, as viable and necessary efforts to prevent the worst and most unhinged abuses of power.

So in short, Zuboff’s approach should make us wonder if she really has many significant strategy cards to play in such a soft ride through the recent history of economic and techological and industry-enhanced terror platforms. Nevertheless the analysis of the digital calamity unfolding appears mostly solid, and her use of language and method of conveying the message is extremely compelling !

And in the first chapter, she does not hesitate to point at GOOGLE as the harbingers of this new invasive species !

HERE’s a quick easy intro/review of Zuboff’s book in the Guardian ( which mind you is currently pro-Venezeula coup by the usual imperialist aggressors), for what it’s worth, cause life is short, and activists have to do MORE than reading 600+ page books all day ;)…

to be cont.

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+ + Standby for a glimpse of the more DIY reading batch ! + +

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Rumors are there is an 8,000 print run of Shitstorm #3 currently flooding the streets of the Btropolis… which could become an essential antidote to the Karuna Compass “streetsheet” newspaper – one of the Goo’s new “social project” underling experiments, spreading its propaganda / PR / poison. A disgraceful act, a new ” charity” low, using the homeless to distribute its own advertising rag !

Google in Berlin, the extended tiny grabbing hands of Trumpland ?! v.1

January 23rd, 2019

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Süddeutsche Zeitung, and maybe a few others outlets, report about 70 protesters coming for a unwelcoming ( or fuck off ! ) party at Google’s grand opening for their new Berlin project that is NOT a Campus. Please don’t say “Campus”, because the big black eye that the company got in Kreuzberg for trying to plant a start-up incubator + accelerator campus is still an open festering wound for their image and future plans in Germany and the EU. And it might lead people to think, regardless of all the corporate media schmoozefest, that the residents and citizens of Berlin still don’t want this Silicon Suck-it-All Valley tech company drilling for digital oil and tech worker talents in our backyards! And certainly not in the Mitte district, near the Regierungsviertal ( government center ), EITHER !

Let’s start investigating a little deeper what the Google Non-Campus will be doing, shall we !!! All of YOUR research and investigative help appreciated… it’s going to be a big task to keep an eye on these slippery tech-snatchers.

But first let’s take a look at how the media handled their high-profile launch, with Merkel, burgermeister Mueller, Sundar Pichai, Dorothee Bär (CSU – Staatsministerin für Digitalisierung,), etc…

https://www.sueddeutsche.de/news/service/internet—berlin-proteste-bei-eroeffnung-von-google-buero-in-berlin-dpa.urn-newsml-dpa-com-20090101-190122-99-676610

http://www.taz.de/!5564179/

( mostly a good critical read, but they did NOT report on the protest, and said their wasn’t one )

https://www.morgenpost.de/bezirke/mitte/article216267135/Google-eroeffnet-neues-Buero-in-Berlin.html

https://www.zeit.de/digital/mobil/2019-01/google-berlin-buero-eroeffnung-arbeitsplatz-hype

https://www.berliner-kurier.de/berlin/kiez—stadt/google-in-mitte-gefunden-haupstadt-buero-jetzt-nahe-regierungsviertel-31919726?dmcid=f_feed_Berliner+Kurier

https://www.tag24.de/nachrichten/berlin-google-protest-eroefnnung-der-google-zukunftswerkstatt-kreuzberg-museumsinsel-mitte-945874

AND in case you’re feeling a little lost, in all the daily barrage of shitty news and complicated explanations of our techsploitation world…. Here’s Nearly ALL of the major players of Suck-it-All Valley meeting in TRUMP TOWER with Trump, Iwanka + Jared, Don Jr., etc… and Peter Thiel… just after #45 prez was elected. It was all very cozy, and no one spoke up about what a disgraceful and dangerous time it has become in the land of Tiny Hands. A reminder :

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The tech companies with no shame !

#FuckoffGAFAM

to be cont….

The Goo, Gropius and “Uncompromising Modernity”

January 19th, 2019

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“We have never been modern.” Bruno Latour ***

” And all the biggest assholes are on the future steering committee ! “ XLt analyst

Goo, Gropius and “Uncompromising Modernity”

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The planet’s largest krapitalist enterprise, Alphabet / Google recently ( November ) was forced to back down from opening their “Campus” project in Berlin, after local residents mobilized to stop them !

No one imagines these struggles to have gone away. And all of the initiatives which have been organizing over the last 1 to 2 years to defend the Kiez from Google’s tentacled interests are watching closely what will happen now with re-drawn and reformatted “social project” for the Umspannwerk building in Kreuzberg. Better Place and Karuna are the two entities which Google Inc. ( which retains control of the lease and steers the next moves ) has chosen instead to provide the neighborhood with another kind of service. But of course, once again, these are not plans that the local community has participated in, and no one trusts a data-sponging, tax-dodging monopoly colossus to suddenly play nice. Many are calling it a white-washing gambit. Research is being gathered on what the new angles and relationships really mean, beyond their own syrupy PR. ( Sold as a charity device, they’ve created a new homeless street-sheet paper called “Karuna Compass” to distro some thick propaganda. But more on that later. )

Meanwhile Google has also quietly been preparing another ambitious office project in Mitte in Tucholskystrasse 2. Part of a giant mixed-use project called the Forum an der MuseumsInsel, which includes high-end residencies with office lofts, retail space, high-tech research and digital+media industries.

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While this has not been in secret, it was operating very low key, and little ( or non-existent ) press…. and has not received as much attention or scrutiny as the Umpsannwerk from locals, because Mitte is already seen as a mostly “lost territory” to gentrification. This is an area where there was once the thriving, creative “wonderland-berlin” subculture in the 90s and into the aughts… But after the squatted Tacheles Haus in Ornanienburgerstr finally fell to big money interests around 2011 (?)… and the wilder arts + culture pioneers had already mostly migrated to more viable and supportive districts… Mitte is now considered mostly a tourist zone, and a sleepy one at that… and the slick and cannibalized gallery district is left to do its art biz routines.

Ironically this new little monster vision of “uncompromising modernity” with its sharpened high-tech claws is plundering both Humboldt University and historic Deutsche Post properties. Incredible city assets which Klaus Wowereit’s SPD Regierung had sold off in some mad maneuvers  to juggle the books in the “poor but sexy” heydays.

Google ( and a variety of sub-companies and partners ) will actually be moving into a former Women’s Clinic ( HU ), which was designed by Martin Gropius, the renowned Bauhaus architect. One could say, a REAL SOCIAL project… ( We would have to investigate more the history of the period and Bauhaus. )

While we let the gravity of THAT neo-liberal and privatizing horror-show sink in…

Note: Here we will have to say much much more about how the neo-colonization and krapitalist expansionism into our inner lives and all our public and privatesphere communications ( and public resources ) is the ANTITHESIS of the SOCIAL, and increasingly damaging to any hopes for – to be specific – Socialist infrastructures and governance. It must not be forgotten that this frenzied Panopticon Industry is uniquely intertwined with the military industrial complex building up the internet as a war+spy ( + agenda-uploading ) machine combined with the rabid neo-liberal and digitized financial markets. It becomes an entirely new form of financialization of every portion of our being + identities, and speculating on our individual and community futures. Surveillance Valley, Surveillance Krapitalism, as it has been named by various authors ( Zuboff, Levine and others ) … This is the Suck-It-All-Valley method of betting on our futures ( for entirely their gain ) and fucking up society, in myriad ways we are all very late to fully analyze and concretely react to.

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Added: Some news about Google’s projects in The Tagesspiegel from Sunday (DE only ):

Pläne für einen KI-Campus in Berlin gescheitert by Sonja Álvarez , Oliver Voß

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It’s an incredibly odd coincidence that HKW is hosting a conference this weekend ( and more in March ) about the Bauhaus movement… mixed with panels drawing on the challenges that were being addressed and debated in the 1920+30s ( i.e. Wohnungsfrage via Engels ) … and are clearly re-emerging as another global-scale crisis.

< Jan 19 > How political is the Bauhaus? at HKW – An all-day symposium

More notes on this coming soon… But a quick glimpse: it is important to know that the 100 years of Bauhaus Jubiläum is definitely being instrumentalized for that ongoing Technotopian-Globalization project in 2019. I.e. ‘radical’ – or more likely FANATICAL – re-design of what it is to be human, and the disruption plans ( read: economic game ) does not, by any means, look pretty and sleek like the highly-branded design cult it advertises itself as. Rather this image is one that attempts to obscure the Form + Function as apolitical, when in fact its implementations are a massive invasion of vested interests, and a bypassing or over-riding of all that 1919 revolutionary history, sentiment, revolt and jarring confrontational reality… resurfacing in realtime from below.

Profs. Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley gave dramatic and impressive presentations – The Perversions of Bauhaus + The Bauhaus Virus -  that revealed the dark sides ( and maybe the only sides ) of Bauhaus, then and now. A memorable line from Wigley: That smooth design of that device in your pockets, conceals the fact that ( companies like ) Apple have YOU in THEIR pocket. And pointed out that Steve Jobs was a devotee of that Weimar-era design school, and all those industrializing + modernizing gifts that keep on … taking.

It was an ingenious eye-opener  … at the onset of the big Bauhaus party year … that is about to be installed.

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We’ll have to come back and make the NECESSARY LINKS for the current struggles and strategies !

STAY TUNE !

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*** Footbytes ***

We have very mixed feelings about Latour ! We bring him up as a joke, and as a set-up for our XLt analyst quote/punchline, and alluding to something akin to R.Luxemburg’s “barbarianism or socialism”.  Her quote is now newly added here below to avoid being too vague.

Entweder Übergang zum Sozialismus oder Rückfall in die Barbarei ” Rosa Luxemburg (1915)

We do not intend to promote Latour’s theories from We Have Never Been Modern (1991 ).  His notions of a “Parliament of Things” – ( how ironic to contextualize this with “Internet of things” 30 years later )  become increasingly dubious when one reflects how it helps pave the way for “2nd Nature enthusiasts”… the outrageous hubris of the  technotopians + anthropocene-actuers that are selling our species and the planet down river … and the terrifying potentials for an unfolding Techno-Fascism… and the points of no return ! Without drastic intervention, perhaps similar to a Marshall Plan, climate breakdown and the 6th mass extinction appear inevitable !  So, contrary to Latour’s ( and Haraway ) lite dance with anthropological and philosophy of science perspectives, the current predicaments probably DO expose a nature / culture duality, separation or polarization; One that many indigenous cultures have perhaps never perceived so naively or conveniently as western academics who, wittingly or not, become lobbyists for Future Krapitalist-driven Designs.

Latour may have turned a corner, and become far more alarmist in Facing Gaia (2017 ) and Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime (2018 ) … Das Terrestriches Manifest in German. But we’ll have to analyze that another day.

The Foreplay Tease of The Art Biz / Vorspiel + Transmediale

January 19th, 2019

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It’s that time of year again in the Btropolis … Transmediale and the Vorspiel…

We’ll have to come back and share a little orientation and history on that, but for now … the matters at hand:

Dear artist colleagues, PLEASE READ IN FULL >

This will be the 7th year of Transmediale’s VORSPIEL program… a distributed program of over 60 Berlin-based initiatives and venues… As far as we know, this remains a HUGE LABOR PROBLEM that Transmediale team has NOT RESOLVED….

NO portion of the Transmediale’s roughly 2+million euro budget is used to SUPPORT the LOCAL ARTISTS with any actual FEES… They have had a longtime to figure this out, and nothing will be done about it, until artists DEMAND MORE from them AND the FUNDING INSTITUTIONS that abuse our LIVELIHOODS ! Crowd-sourcing an extended festival IS NOT OK ! And we’ve spoken to them about it before, but they continue to ignore the problem !

Discontently yours, The XLterrestrials

to be cont.

On the XLt Radar: the winter must not exist without music !

January 17th, 2019

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Pretty safe to say there are not many people on planet earth who have travelled through more unchartered musical waters than Fred Frith

< 17.01 > Fred Frith live and Step Across the Border ( 1990 ) – the film at Babylon Kino Mitte … one ticket for both ( 20euros )

( FB Invite )

19.30 Uhr
Cut Up the Border
Konzert
Mit Fred Frith (Gitarre), Nicolas Humbert und Marc Parisotto (Sound-Collage)

21 Uhr
Step Across the Border
Film von Nicolas Humbert und Werner Penzel

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STILL one of the few films that comes so close to the languages of music, the 1990 doc Step Across The Border comes back around for a one night screening and a special live “Cut Up The Border” set with Fred Frith, together with one of the 2 filmmakers N. Humbert and Marc Parisotto, a composer from Marseille, followed by the classic eye+earful feature on Frith’s pioneering musical journeys and global collaborations.

AND Today is ART’s BIRTHDAY !!

“Today art is 1 million 56 years old !!! It was born when someone dropped
a dry sponge into a bucket full of water (as it is already well known ). ”

What better way than to spend it than with Fred and the makers of the doc at Babylon Kino TONITE. We have it too good in the Btropolis sometimes

Thx to Arturo for reminding us about the BIRTHDAY. Check for celebrations around the globe HERE.

:::

PLUS Frith and Bill Laswell will be doing a series of shows with a whole bunch of incredible guests in San Francisco in Feb. at The Chapel in the Mission District  … More about that coming…

Fred’s blog and list of upcoming dates + collaborations

Added: The XLT review:

” THat was the most brilliant Art Birthday ever ! … it must feel good to be 1,000,056 years old ! … and Fred Frith is still like a troublemaking prodigy kid in an ungovernable and timeless candy shop. ” XLt analyst

….

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< 15.02 > Frith’s Live Set : Cut Up The Border broadcast again on Deutschland Funk Kultur… More here:

https://www.deutschlandfunkkultur.de/remix-eines-kultfilms-ueber-fred-frith-cut-up-the-border.3685.de.html?dram%3Aarticle_id=433791&fbclid=IwAR2MNjfIeq-Na48ih7WNIew0q8OWMwHHrtRx8JkB83H_EnVwE603w-qmcXY

to be cont. … perhaps.

Rosa Luxemburg Revisited, Kiez Notes Expanded

January 15th, 2019

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Rosa Lux Revisited, Kiez Notes Expanded

When a left political actor is murdered, it usually marks some incredible territory of politics that had reached an extremely effective level of strategies, which threatens those in power.

Fast fwd to today:

via  Xavi Ruiz ????? @xruiztru : “Citizens of Gdansk gathered to commemorate their Mayor @AdamowiczPawel, murdered last night at a charity event. He was a big supporter of LGTB, migrants and refugees’ rights during a period of rising anti-migrant sentiment.”

The XLT are working on a piece about Rosa Lux, which takes ALOT of research to do her incredible history(ies) justice AND put them into the highly relevant contexts for our current dangerous times … including things like the murder/assassination of the liberal mayor of Gdansk just yesterday …

In the meantime some tiny glimpse of what happened at the memorial on Sunday in Berlin…

Germany remembers Rosa Luxemburg 100 years after her murder ( via Guardian )

Note: if you would like to support us, please ask us how you can donate.

work-in-progress

XLt ((2019)) Radar v.3 : Take Back the ( Rosa ) Kiez !

January 8th, 2019

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< 09.01 > “Indoor” by Lau Feldstain – Premiere film about LIEBIG34 -the 28-year-old self-organised, anarcha-queer feminist house-project threatened with eviction ! … … w/ special guest Prof. Dr. Margit Mayer ( in eng w/ de translation available ) … at SO36, 19h

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100 YEARS of Rosa’s Todestag and REvolution – 1919-2019

< 10.01 > Luxemburg’s Interventionist Thought w/ Lea Ypi and Paul Mason at Volksbühne, 20h ( Fb invite )

< 10-15.01 > RLStiftung Reihe «Hommage an Rosa Luxemburg. Wir betrauern nicht ihre Leiche, wir feiern ihr Leben.» Vom 10. bis 15. Januar 2019 finden im Rahmen der Reihe Veranstaltungen an mehreren Orten in Berlin statt.
Weitere Informationen: https://www.rosalux.de/news/id/39722/

< 13.o1 > Rosa Luxemburg – Liebknecht March – the annual 4Km walk from Frankfurter Tor to their burial place in Friedrichsfelde, begins 10h

< 12.01 > “” Ich lebe am fröhlichsten im Sturm“” – full day program – at Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, 1 PM – 11:55 PM

Eine Hommage an Rosa Luxemburg zum 100. Todestag- with Dagmar Enkelmann (Vorstandsvorsitzende der Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung), Klaus Lederer (Kultur- und Europasenator von Berlin), Kathrin Röggla (Schriftstellerin, Stellvertretene Präsidentin der Akademie der Künste), Florian Weis (Geschäftsführendes Vorstandsmitglied der Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung) Moderation: Britta Steffenhagen (Journalistin) … and many more … concert finale with Bernadette La Hengst, Pastor Leumund and Dota Kehr, etc.

( FB invite )

< 15.o1 > Rosa Luxemburg by Margarethe Von Trotta with Barbara Sukowa at Moviemento, 18h

EXTRA xtra : Check out the new jan/feb EXBerliner issue for some informative articles, dates, perspectives and map related to Rosa. A respectable, and not superficial INTRO, if you’re just getting acquainted with her genius, courage, radical social vision … and tragic assassination !

Added:

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< 12. 01 > Demonstration „Gegen den Ausverkauf der Stadt“ statt… Max-Taut-Aula Fischerstr.36 Schlichtallee 24, 10317 Berlin

( Fb invite )

Rummelsburger Bucht bleibt!
Potse & Drugstore bleiben!
Rigaer bleibt!
Hafen bleibt!
Syndikat bleibt!
Meuterei bleibt!
Liebig34 bleibt!
RAW bleibt!
Jugendschiff bleibt!

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< 12-13.01 > Happy Habitat Finnisage, Neurotitan – B Mitte

( Fb invite )

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stencil by Marycula

Other bits coming: Neurotitan’s Happy Habitat exhibition finnisage, HKW’s The New Alphabet, A Bowie Celebration, NoGoogleCampus reports, upcoming actions + demos against the selling off of our Btropolis, Dr.Pong in Prenzlauer is closing its doors – final weekend! …  etc…

KIEZ NOTES:

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The “Indoor” film premiere was a strange mix ! On one hand, it was great to see a full house supporting Liebig34, yet another +20years house project in Btropolis which is threatened with eviction by real-estate sharks ( Christoph Görner und Padovicz ).  On the other, the film is an odd experiment which attempts to bring together an honest glimpse into the lives of the anarcho-feminist residents there,  with the housing crisis + the struggles for autonomy and squatter culture. But it falls flat as any tactical media document in the midst of a city-wide ( and global-scale ) WAR on the poor, renters + housing rights.

For us, there was far too much personal freak flag-waving… identity politics kram … and sexual (fetish-culture ) liberation  … at a moment when we are all getting crushed in an escalating neo-liberal bloodbath ! So many dangers are imminent, and we were anticipating something a little more seriously engaged in solidarity culture ! On its own, in the context of some Kino fest experience, this might be a fun peephole into an adventurous fringe world of a very experimental co-living environment, perhaps more for those who have never experienced it.

But programmed into a night that wants to grapple with any current social nightmares and massive societal breakdown … it doesn’t offer any potent kicks to envision, nor enact, how+what we are really going to do to go about reclaiming our cities under an increasingly brutal, and frequently fascist, siege ( for migrants in particular ) !

Prof. Dr. Margit Mayer ( formerly at FU, now at TU ) DID give us an excellent quick overview of squatter and house project history in Berlin ( and Europe ) over the last 3-to-4 decades… putting the current situations of all our threatened sub-cultural resources into the larger political context … and we’ll try to come back to report more on that ( and/or provide a link ) .

(( resources via Margit : Squatting Europe Kollektiv )) :

http://sqek.squat.net/resources/ +

https://www.jfki.fu-berlin.de/faculty/politicalscience/team/alumni/mayer/index.html

The screening event also raises big questions about how we go about mixing arts and activism… what works… and what possibly doesn’t … Timing factors, etc. So, while we felt frustrated by the event, we also welcome the challenge to analyze the experience to perhaps sharpen our tools and skills in all our resistance cultures. And we certainly don’t need to agree  ( about our “aesthetics of protest” ) … a number of people we spoke with enjoyed the film and all its in-the-open strangeness…

And a diversity of tactics will always remain essential !

to be cont.

XLt ((2019)) Radar: Defend the Future of the Kiez ! v.2

January 4th, 2019

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THe 2019 XLt RADAR:

< 1st Fridays >  Noise Against The Goo (gle) ! Every 1st friday at the Umpsannwerk at the Ohlauerbrücke in Kberg/ Neukoelln, 18-19h

Rumors are that it will not remain stationary at this location, but around 18:30h will head to another location site that requires our immediate attention… such as the planned hostel project at mariannenstr/skalitzer ( Hafiz owners ) …or the former postal building on skalitzer ( Samwer brothers )… or the old robben und wientjes lot at ritterstr, where a new big start-up co-working project  ( Pandion ) is being “installed”.

< 05.01 >  German premiere “Olhar Instigado” & Talk about Pixação at Kino Central / Neurotitan, B-Mitte at 18h… ( FB invite )

< 04.01 > Datacide Discussion and videos, at Vetomat, 20h

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Kiez Notes + Beyond :

The Potse ( jugendzentrum / verein ) remains occupied… and for current news, perhaps their twitter account is the best up-to-date news… More links here

The XLt were at an extraordinary meeting last nite to discuss the inauguration of Bozonaro and the emerging new dangers of the Brasil situation, for all of us on Planet Burning Toast… but especially to indigenous people and the ( environmental ) activists there …

A quick reportback for now…  There will be a regular 1st THURSDAYS to meet-up in Btropolis and discuss how activists can organize solidarity actions from here. PM us, if you would like more info.

The Amazon is, as one activist said, the lungs of planet earth ! We will ALL be affected if new ecological protections and regulations are not in place to prevent further destruction of the rain forests. And Bozonaro has already signaled that he will do exactly the opposite, and will oversee the plunder of the region for its natural resources… and will not defend the rights of the indigenous in those areas.

And on an extra creepy note… In 2018, about 800 activists were murdered, and about 400 of them were in Brasil  !

And in other creepy madness… Nikki Haley the former warmongering US ambassador to the UN … wholeheartedly welcomed the new planetfucker-in-chief ! Showing the usual signs that any asshole who plays puppet for US interests will get a hug from the imperial Trumplands.

We will have to mobilize locally and globally to put pressures on govts. and various economic / trade partners everywhere to ostracize and sanction Bozonaro’s blatantly fascist regime.

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tbc…