Children Of Teufelsberg, The Epilogue

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{ still from Securiotic – via Films For Action }

work-in-progress !

Last week, the XLterresrials presented our 30th episode of CiTiZEN KiNO – a tactical media format whereby we put the media onto the examination table, and analyze the messages ( and Hot current topics )  together with the audience. Our theme for the evening was “Data Spooks and The Children of Teufelsberg” – that is the surveillance state in the digital era. i.e. Teufelsberg 2.0. – Stasi 2.0 – Cold War 2.0…

[ Teufelsberg in West Berlin was one of the NSA's primary surveillance/listening stations during the Cold War. ]

We had a fantastic, sharp, full-house audience, which challenged us in all the right ways !

We also had a unique special education group in the house – a ‘Volkshochschule’ from Denmark – and we are still processing some great feedback from them.  Namely, that we lost alot of them, because we hadn’t given enough backround to get into the material, and we weren’t very clear about why citizens should be so alarmed.  Not to mention that, well, understandably, a young crowd doesn’t want to spend a Thursday night ‘downloading’ difficult media + dystopias when there’s a ‘new’ buzzing city Out There to be explored.

We were pretty playful and surreal with the combination of the media to keep it interesting for those who follow these issues closely already, but we also included a couple very well-made PSAs ( i.e. Stop Watching Us ) that explain the situation pretty pointedly, but granted are a little Amero-centric… So while some discussions amongst the more seasoned viewers were great, some things went wrong.

Let’s examine…

Attention Spans and Tactical Dramaturgy…

These are not new challenges for media activists in general, and not new for the XLterrestrials having presented C-Kino and underground media for nearly 3 years now… ( other experiences ranging from event production, doc making , doc festival programming, and a long arts+media trail on 3 continents and several planets ;)

To engage citizens w/ the most pressing issues of our time, we can no longer rely on the mere sharing of information. We must push the medium to its breaking point. And we must put ideas for actions on the table for debate and for moving forward! And we must present in a form for all to (re-)embody the incoming data…

In short, the material must scream … cleverly…

CiTiZEN KiNO is designed to communicate, and to some extent entertain, and to awaken ‘the inner activist’ in us all, through the codes of popular media without getting too invested in the language of film and inputs for the eye. In fact, one of our favorite and more satisfying tacts is to lampoon The Spectacle – i.e. take apart the capturing of our sensorial experiences into code. To deconstruct the game ! ( See: Debord ) And we encourage participants to think through solutions on-the-spot. But we are experimenting with  The 4th Wall of the cinema/theater (providing interactive elements) , and we are aware that there must be a Next Level… of co-creating, co-navigation …

It’s also crucial to remember that we are All over-saturated with media and the Spectacle-code. Mass Media – including The Net – appears to be working best as an escapist trance medium, as the ultimate flickering opiate. And its value as a communication tool has been diminished by its sheer ubiquity, dominance… and frequent irrelevance ( as say, to the subjects IN an immediate war zone or crisis ). And so we strive to take the cinema – and the screens – to the next level, as they need to be excised from the 2-dimensional planes and put on the stage like the simulated heart that it has become, cut out from that chest of technological tricks. Throbbing, gasping, dying in 3-d before our very eyes. And more importantly we must give our audiences the intimate and empowered feeling, that thrill of wielding (the hacker’s) knife !

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{ from Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan, a children’s book w/ soundtrack by Sxip Shirey }

Multi-dimensional Hacking

Speaking of hackerdom, we generally do not spend alot of time on perspectives and training in the technical skills arena for media self-defense. We are open and supportive of this entirely necessary and pragmatic response to the surveillance state…. And we continue to invite people from organizations like Tactical Tech Collective, Telekommunisten, Chaos Computer Club, EFF, La Quadrature Du Net, Tor project, 2600, C-base, etc… And do hope to have them as featured guests in the future…

But we also wish to illuminate some flaws that exist in a techno-centric and technotopian culture. Evgeney Morozov ( Net Delusion and Click Here To Save Everything ) for one has skillfully critiqued the internet-centric mindset. And the XLterrestrials have long ago taken the position that current “crisis of civilization” is a symptom of believing+investing so heavily in the driving progress of the technological landscape over human-scale evolution. In 2 simple analogies, perhaps the bicycle is a more intelligent + sustainable creation for humanity than the automobile, and perhaps living mentors+memory are more valuable than a flattened + decontextualized (digital/data) archive.

We  have seen our society and culture overtaken, manipulated, instrumentalized and locked-in by the colonizing and predatory nature of the Tech Industries and the Military Complex, and the new digital Spectacle advances. We don’t believe that a revolution of consciousness – nor social upgrades – will necessarily come from these tools.

And as we fight to liberate with these tools, we have only immersed ourselves deeper into the technology by which we’re being non-collectively shaped and steered. [ Note: Cybernetics derives from the greek word ??????? (kyvernó?) meaning 'to steer', and it doesn't appear to facilitate a moral compass nor an engine of self-autonomy for lifeforms, unless you're in the CEO/huckster's driver seat .]   When we build our path to community with these tools, we are strengthening the infrastructures by which we’re being controlled. A few adept computer hackers have pointed this out themselves ( i.e. CCC – 2005 + 2010? ).

Perhaps if there were no abusing entity things could be different, but to ignore the unlevel playing fields is to court disaster. The splitting of the atoms ( as used by Energy Corporations and Military interests ) is an apt comparison here.

And so we are currently more focused on hacking behaviors and paradigms, mixed with a little neuro-politique ( a’ la Leary ), as a means to evacuate that ill-fated high-tech and highly-volatile ship – which is not the direct connections to that territory of the biosphere, organisms and the collective consciousness.

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CiTiZEN KiNO #30 – reviewed

So we began the evening w/ trailers, cause as Marshall McLuhan once said the advertising is usually better-made than the regular programming – or in this age of drowning-in-media, we might consider trimming down the ‘cinematic commute’ time, and cutting-to-the-chase ! And above all, getting to higher-ground as the media + data floods rise !

So we began with the Disney / Dreamworks propaganda production for The 5th Estate – the tales + actions of Wikileaks formatted as a dim-witted Hollywood Soap.

work-in-progress !

to be cont.

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