Prelude to Transmediale 2014: The Eternal Dying of The Digital…


{ XLt remix }

This year the XLterrestrials + CiTiZEN KiNO declined to participate in  Transmediale ( p2p Vorspiel ). There are a number of complex reasons, but most important is that increasingly we have no faith in Festivals (for digital culture) to adequately take on the struggles inherent in a colonial situation. No optimism that a radical position can be formed, when a cultural enterprise, with expectations – and obligations – to entertain the masses AND please the digi-cult industry, is at stake.

But there are certainly many artists, speakers and contributors whose insights we value and/or can learn from, so XLt analysts will be investigating….

And deep respects to those who ARE pushing the envelopes as far as humanly possible !

< 29.01- 02.02 > Transmediale Festival – Afterglow, Haus Der Kulturen – Berlin

< 17.01- 1.02 > P2p Vorspiel, a program of distributed partner events, various venues in Berlin

< 24-25.01 > Einbruch Der Dunkelheit, International Conference w/ Evgeny Morozov, Eleanor Saitta, Bruce Sterling, Jacob Applebaum, and many more… at Volksbuehne, Berlin

< Feb > CiTiZEN KiNO is preparing an unauthorized ‘Nachspiel’, an afterword, critical analysis, retorts, calls to action … in Feb., TBA. Dissidents and malcontents welcome to get in touch ;) …



more to come…


The Eternal Dying Of the Digital … or … an Indigenous Awakening !

To begin:

Early on, the XLterrestrials were beginning to sense that Transmediale (2014) was on a very soft + fuzzy track to deal with the current media environments and the social crises being exacerbated by the developments in the digital colonies.

We went to a number of TM’s extended Re:Source events and meetings -  throughout the year ( and the year before that ) and were getting discouraged by the focus on the term Post-Digital and the concepts of Afterglow. (Among other problems.) *

“Post-Media” is a term arising out of the work of Felix Guattari. [ Its origins provided here by the Leuphana University team and Mute. ] “Post-digital” is the extensions made by its ‘followers’ on the lunar surfaces of white european academia.

As much as we feel affinities and nostalgia for the ‘orgasms of history’ (Yves Fremion – i.e. 1968) … we are not exactly students of these labyrinthian theories. If we take just this particular Guattari text, we can see some value in its language and certainly meaningful in (radical) media history context, but we now see little value in the linear and academic progression of a disconnected and privileged position, nor in its acceptance as a primary situation. [ Or should we look at it simply as a terrible miscalculation in light of the 'recent' militarization of the net ?! ] **

Ask the Congolese digging in the copper and titanium mines or the Nigerians on the banks of an oil spill about “Post-Media”. Ask the mothers in Chiapas about “the production of immaterial reality”. Ask the 12 year-old kid recently relocated from Fukushima province and living in a gymnasium w/ cardboard separation walls w/o the ability to return to his home forever about the “delirious universe of mass-media subjectivity”.  Ask the indigenous tribes, the Xingu in the Amazon likely headed for extinction, or even those in Canada fighting against the fracking and pipeline invasions, and the risks to their rivers, their drinking + fishing waters about “the beginning of a post-media era of collective-individual reappropriation and an interactive use of machines of information, communication, intelligence, art and culture.”

Ask us, the XLterrestrials – all of the above – and/or us writing this on the precarious edges of Btropolis, now concerned with keeping up w/ rents, and livelihood evaporations and traversing other volatile neo-liberal shifts, concerned with stepping too far out of the calm, ordinary and obedient in the post-Snowden era… Ask us about “Post-Digital” – we will not kindly point you to all the signs of a digital deportation disgrace !

And then ask: should we really be spending time searching for a means of “renewal in the excess, overflow and waste products of the digital afterglow?” ( text from this year’s theme )

The disconnection has been serious business which is not going gently into that good black night… its re-location plans are far from completed. Its methods and objectives of control are in full swing, because the power players aren’t Total idiots. They know a lot about the coming days and nights, about the systems wreaking devastation to our habitat, and they are turning their backs on any possibilities to co-exist.

There will be massive unrest if we continue in this direction of Techno-Fantasia ! There IS massive unrest ! The path of the digital is getting harder and harder to differentiate from Techno-Fascism, and the further dependent we are upon its infrastructures, the further we are from sustainable living and a bottom-up social revolution.

Technotopian Revolution is indeed over! ( Been testing + dropping that news for years ) Not even the Silicon Valley Kings truly believe their latest wild pitches, but perhaps they perceive it as a last-ditch castle moat between them and the inevitable crash of their ever-westward exploits and empire-grabbing addictions.

One might have noticed the Google Boys who for some time now fly in and out of military bases, recently purchased a fighter jet to go with their fleet – sorta like a self-decorating star on their civi-lapels, and how they partner with the all-scooping secret state.

We ain’t gonna bother digging in the military industrial complex waste bins or the consumer landfills to see what we can find to boost our standing in the industry 2day, nor to feed ourselves 2morw.

We are far more curious about how autonomous town hall meetings will replace digital culture and IT ‘festivities’, its enclosures, its brandings … and all those unpaid hours of online mining for a little golden bit-prize.

New Social Praxis will replace the show n tells, the galerie objects, the products, the data flows and narcissistic e-plunges. And we are no longer entertained by the word jazz lectures from inflated campus egos and salaried perspectives. We in the streets know enough about the mass media and internet agendas and where they landed us. We don’t need a performance or a concert or cute and/or dire song of bleak robotic westerns, don’t need to reach for some glimmers of hope in the latest tech trends and cyborg-fetishes, often game-like hacklab innovations/interventions, digital libraries nor sermons on technological salvation. Nor even more presentations in the vein of our own tales of electro-Disney-dystopia uber alles. ( Hence another reason for declining to produce another show for the art tourists ).

We aren’t mourning over a lost digital revolution !

We are standing tall on tangible common grounds and common struggles. Concerned for clean drinking water, untainted foods, stemming forced evictions and parasitic land-owners. Keeping the corporate lunacy in check and looking for tools to topple all those unaccountable shell games.

And we are ready to dream of the transitions to basic incomes and replacing unsustainable work forces w/ meaningful community interactions, communications, consensus-democracy building and resource sharing. ***


And for sure we believe INDIGENOUS SOLIDARITY is on the rise ! And paradigm shifts and rapid awakenings are absolutely inevitable !

These won’t be coming with long-winded terms and contracts written by profiteers and their lawyerbots (on the back of packages and/or downloads). And the way to get off this toxic cloud, could be local step by local step, not by the reckless industrial and technological puppet shows of big power – nor little brother start-ups – making clean sweeps on all our locally inhabited territories.


* | ** |***


* We should mention, we are no strangers to the festival, and have analyzed and written about its successes and disappointments for several years now. We are still optimistic about the growing network of Re:source and the p2p Vorspiel which began last year. But our own desire – and tactical analysis – would be to see it take on a more durable and confrontational life outside of showtime/event scenarios. And perhaps an unlikely scenario, but interesting to consider what it would look like if the festival organization shifted its priorities (+funding) toward these kinds of local seedings, rather than the short-term ‘big circus tent’ symposiums. ]

** A perfect 101 crash course in Deleuze and Guattari – clearly from another portal in time that doesn’t appear to resonate with the crises of 2014:

“… What would Deleuze and Guattari have made of this domestication – this perversion – of their arguments? It seems that the further their ideas have travelled from their roots on the far left, the more they have been incorporated by the system they opposed. Indeed, the language of desire, multiplicity and all the rest is no longer the language of revolution. It is the language of cyberspace, and of neoliberal capitalism. Deleuze and Guattari’s desiring machines, constantly seeking out new sensations, look a lot like today’s permanently distracted consumers and websurfers. François Dosse is keen to portray his subjects as visionaries, but they anticipated a future neither of them would have wanted to live in.” @adamshatz

This is not any definitive conclusion to our interest in Deleuze+Guattari, but it certainly gives us some orientation to the strange and misaligned attractions of the high-art media festivals today.

*** a quick reference to a recent Jacobin article on re-imagining work, as some small bit of sun light, and as a possible direction (?) from here :

XLt xtra note : It is possible to improve your mood after this article by listening to MIA’s Matangi album ( esp. title track ) at high volume !

( possibly still listen-able here )

to be cont.

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