Transmediale 09: Up the Deep North Without a Paddle – XLt analysis Part 2+3

[ art by Draenia, Mx ]

Transmediale: Up the Deep North Without a Paddle – XLt analysis Part 2

Aside from the disturbing lack of direction and/or provocation of where to actually go BEFORE the “Deep North” fully plunders all the common ground beneath us and sows its seeds of irreversible chaos/new order, there were incredible insights to be gained at this year’s Transmediale into the vicious loops that continue navigating us into the uninhabitable. As one of the presenters Madina Tlostanova wrote back to us the other day, “Theory nowadays lags a bit behind real life”. Which leads to an unsettling thought that a Blue-Plate Combo Special awaits us at the end of the future ueber-highway, where Theoretical Art (+ technology) turns itself into a thin wafer mint at the end of meaning.

And then J.Hopkins who we bumped into a few times on the IRC during the festival, recently stated on an IDC forum: re: [iDC] A Reflection on the Activist Strategies in the Web 2.0 Era: “As the son of a military-industrial operations analyst, personally, I believe that the time for analysis is over. The thinking patterns of analysis brought us to this very problematic here/now. We, as humans, know what has to be done, it is to live and live fully, completely in the moment…”

We agree in part. Our arguments for, and praxis towards, re-embodiment will continue to be a compass and vessel for full engagements, absolutely. But desires will need to be re-formatted to sustainable and co-habitable dreams and wavelengths. And if we happen to be living out habitually asocial + necrophilic + genocidal patterns it would not be unwise or rash to commit ourselves or be committed to some sort of psychoanalysis/therapy before proceeding any further on that path of endangering our neighbors… and our own environments.

i.e. Contary to mass-medium- Obama’s prepared statement upon his rise to the power elite that “We will not apologize for our way of life.”… Obama may himself fail to see that his very new figurehead/avatar existence is some ambiguous and flailing attempt of an Irreality Regime – the 1st culture to “successfully” migrate to virtual reality – to do exactly that, apologize (presumably to preempt the guillotines being rolled out by the third world majority). But without changing anything of the basic operating system errors that he rode in on… the very system that pits the survival of the many against the bankrolled and cush-bunkered few, who fancy idioticly waving all sorts of flags and “culturally-superior menus”, technologies, strip-tease consumerisms, wars and financial bailouts in our faces … as they suck the meat off the last bones. (We are of course thinking heavily about that 2ND 800 billion planned giveaway to Wall Street, Gaza, Neo-con appointees and all the other spiralling little-shop-of-horror re-runs and continuities, take your pick!).

It also brings to mind Marko Peljhan’s talk which laid bare the industrial + militarized societies disgraceful history ( vast amounts unrecorded) of disregard for Inuit and indigenous lives.

The title -Deep North- which for us had much less to do with Saskia Sassen’s quick summation of the title’s cleverness of “a dislocation of place”, but a not-entirely-unintended reference to the fact that some of us know exactly where we are: We are geo-politically speaking, historically-speaking, and in general, in Deep SHit.

With all due respects there were great minds assembled for TM 09, but it seems when you put them into the career spotlight and into the panoptic01 network of pomp+academic spectres + spectacles+ digital effluvium, the artworld reflex- and its double- is clearly to pussyfoot it into a seemingly investible Non-Stop Future, the one that shows all the signs of being a soon-to-be-discontinued product. ( Non-Stop Future btw is the title of the new book from Viennese Public Netbase (t0) and Kuda in Novi Sad documenting some deep thinking interventionism from 1994-2006, but as u might guess we have some issues with the spectrum of new media practices, but we’ll get to that in Part 4 .?.)

You see, not only is analysis a lagging rotting stinking dangling corpse ( XLt included, though with some delusional and irrational momentum “psychomedia analysis” + praxis is aiming for next levels… and back doors), but to paraphrase Edward Abbey, the business of perception + sentiment packaging (i.e. p-modern Art) Without ACTION is like tying the titanic anatomy of a 3-ring belly-button industry to the elephant in the room… this time somewhere in the middle of that now romanticly dark + decorated Arctic Sea.

But lets not waste more of our time waxing (a-)poetically or crying hysterically into our pillows or downloading another plug-in to stream another episode of the systemic cannibalism… there Can be found critical information to be shared in order to empower our communities, especially those who are most under siege.

OK give us a moment to assemble; It’s a mouthful…

Part 3: Open-Source Connections To The Downward Spiral Will Be Free

[ Telephone Trottoire at TM 09 ]

“In The Telematic Age, my work disintegrated into trifling operations…

The brighter the projections of the dream-machine, the darker the shadows they cast.

How could we ever have believed that, in designing the world as a network, we could inhabit that network as if it were a world ? “

Excerpt from Caroline Martel’s The Phantom of the Operator ( 2007, Ca )

What exactly does the prize-winner of this year’s TM festival wish to tell us ?! Telephone Trottoire, a social telephony installation which by way of a long-winded subtext aside reveals that people in the Congo utilize the technology as a means to navigate some crumbs of liberation ( relaying news to each other) in the midst of the oppressive onslaught brought about by the resource wars required by the very industry to deliver its version of profit-making progress to the world. A Darwinian Nightmare illuminated by a glittering clicking juxtaposition of old + new technologies as an intertwined and perhaps fetishized wiretap into the Faustian brainfuck with upgrades.

“Since August 1998 there have been 3.9 million deaths in the “coltan wars” and there are currently over 35,000 Congolese refugees in the UK alone. Coltan ore is mined for the metal tantalum – an essential component of mobile phones and other communication devices that is now coveted by dozens of international mining companies and warring local militias.”

During the XLterrestrials tour last summer ( Transmigration of The Telepresent – part 2 ) we utilized both Caroline Martel’s haunting film and a molitov poem by Gil Scott-Heron called “whitey on the moon” in order to point out some instructional that reads something like this: Passengers, crews… and VICTIMS of the Titanic Technotopia will not know better the iceberg follies by building a bigger or faster ship, nor will it move on sustainably by purchasing a ticket to the latest DiCapprio/Winslet tragic love story in the upper or lower deck THx cinema, but by simply getting off the fucking ship !

Only now it’s become an infinitely complex issue constructing the exits for such huge numbers trapped in the hull of a slaveship … technologies will provide some solutions, will indeed connect communities, but for the moment we might be asking: Is a festival for digital culture (and the artists who present straight-faced and career-wise therein) … more likely to be in the business of redressing the marquee, directing yet another film without tactics, extracting knowledge for the brutal market exploitation, testing yet another vessel’s response to some new simulations and variants of the ice factor ?

The revolution ( or lets just call it : real social innovation ) Was Not Televised, and as sure as yur corporatized screens still aren’t breathing, it Will Not Be Virtualized. And so long as your party is sponsored by Culture Inc., you can assume it Won’t Be Festivalized !

tbc…

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