tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE
interviewed by Carolyn Smith on July 30, 2104 by email
for her blog APT.E14
bio: The idea here is that a person may or may not be interested in much of anything & their life & work manifests this. I find myself swimming in a sea of information & taking its plasticity to form yet-another-island with - only to then psychically begin to d compose it. In a world of garbage, I try to create something whose intellectual nourishment lasts by changing. Does that tell you anything? This is NOT a CV. I've long since pried open the Doors of Perception in an attempt to locate the Emergency Exit - only to discover that I have no intention of escaping because I want to define the emergency out of existence & to transform my present tense with my present intensity into a present of relaxation for those who want a vacation without becoming vacant.
tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE looking good on his 60th birthday, at Trundle Manor, September 4, 2013
Q1 Thinking of the divergence between the mimetic (in innovation thinking) and the paralogical (which Lyotard suggests is anti-systemic), do you see your own work as effecting a dislocation?
t,ac: When I read this question & its follow-up parts I'm struck by thinking that I both don't readily identify with it AND that it's really a very lovely question. Even my use of the word "lovely" here is a bit uncharacteristic of me because it's more feeling-evocative than it is descriptive of what I like about the sentence - but I'm feeling free to use the word with a vague, borderline, almost subconscious comfortability because it seems somehow appropriate in replying to a question from YOU in particular - as if, perhaps, I've read your use of the word in emails we've exchanged & somehow associate it with you, as if it might be a favorite casual word choice of yours.
Why is it a "lovely" question? Because it's peppered with concepts that too few people of my acquaintance use: "mimetic", "innovation thinking", "paralogical", "anti-systemic", "media reflexive", "paradox", "glitches", &, most importantly to me here, the LOVELY pun "t(h)inkering" - which you considerately footnote.
People "are what they eat" - if one is limited by a narrow nutritional range, one is also limited by a narrow vocabulary range. CONTROL, a subject long since cliché to me but still important anyway, manifests itself by the narrow nutrition of the vocabulary of its subject body. Bombard the populace with a small vocabulary & said populace will have a limited range of interpretive tools, a large private library can become "hoarding" rather than a sign of profound research. Rebels subvert the narrowness of vocabulary with meaning-reversals (bad = good), deliberate 'mispronunciations' that become signifiers of local difference (n'at), & puns.. AND, of course, a bigger, more personal, hand-picked, mind-picked vocabulary.
An essential part of not being subjugated by societal notions of what's mentally "normal" is to self-define rather than allow oneself to be defined by others with dubious motives. But that takes strength, perseverance, tenacity, imagination. It's hard to have those characteristics while one's being beaten down by the sheer force of 'medications' (which, fortunately, I'm not & never have been much of a user of - except for the admittedly harmful sugar & alcohol) &/or the psychic warfare of the-pressure's-on-to-conform (which everyone's subjected to). I SELF-DEFINE & my attempt to refresh this self-description at the moment is so complex because I've become a sort of extended self: my house, a large personal archive, is now 'me', to self-define, as a way of resisting being reduced to imbecility by hostile others who have no purpose for me other than as a servant, is to also incorporate the products of others that stimulate me into my 'aura', my extended self. My house, with its thousands of books & magazines & recordings & movies & musical instruments & tools in general, is my extended brain, my extended self. These are the 'others' that I extend hospitality to for my self-definition. I extend hospitality to the words of your question(s) - even if I don't incorporate them into my self-definition, I can agree to disagree with them - with a truly friendly smile.
Having gone through this perhaps overly verbose digression, your question, "Thinking of the divergence between the mimetic (in innovation thinking) and the paralogical (which Lyotard suggests is anti-systemic), do you see your own work as effecting a dislocation?" now makes more sense to me.
If the conventional use of the prefix "para-" is to define an ancillary to its root as "subsidiary to roles requiring more training, or of a higher status, on such models as paramedical, and paraprofessional; paralegal; paralibrarian; parapolice" ( http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/para- ) then the conventional meaning implies that "paralogic" is lesser than logic. Not having read much Lyotard, but deducing from your question, I hypothesize that "paralogic" is being used here in a conscious rebellious reversal: the logic it's 'lesser' than is implied to be a logic of oppression that does the lessening - a lesserness that's not intrinsic. Then, yes, any divergence from the mimesis of this logic is against the system that that logic serves - but does my own Guerrilla Playfair 'dislocate' this hypothetical domineering logic? Or does it relocate itself from a negative definition attempting imposition to a positive one that just tries to have a sense of humor about it all in order to both avoid psychotic implosion & to assert itself with the joy of inspiration?
Or is your work primarily critical?
t,ac: My Guerrilla Playfair is critical, self-critical (after all, criticizing others is only fair if one also criticizes oneself), & ACTIVE. I am a foreign body in both the 'progressive' & the 'conservative' body politics. How does one convince the anti-bodies of both that this mutation might turn out to be pretty interesting & valuable & has no intention of completely killing anything off? BAMN.
Or media reflexive?
t,ac: Again, By Any Means Necessary - but what's 'necessary'? Killing my 'enemies'? I'd rather have friends - by which I mean 'real' friends, people I find somehow interesting, people who find me somehow interesting. In other words, YES, it's "media reflexive" along with whatever else I can make it - these things aren't mutually exclusive.
How do you work with paradox, glitches, t(h)inkering, to shift systemic regulation or destabilise existing conditions?
t,ac: Paradoxes are like puns & I'm a homonymphonemiac, a person who 'gets off' on puns. Paradoxes allow 2 things to occupy the same space. Life might just be less crowded with their help.
Glitches are what I call "special effects": take what you can get & turn it into what you want it to be when you're capable of it.
T(h)inkering is an inspired coinage. I t(h)inker all the time. To the inspired person, flexibility abounds, everything can be a tool for making anything else something new & different. Collage has become completely banal as an art tool but it still exemplifies this t(h)inkering on an imagistic level. It's the imagistic level that's limiting. Why stop there?
Is my intention, through any means, "to shift systemic regulation or destabilise existing conditions"? Not exactly. Destabilization can have disastrous side-effects. Did Napoleon invade Spain & overthrow the Catholic Church? A clear oppressor of the 1st order? I don't know this history well at all so I'll leave that a question - but, in my vague 'understanding' which can serve as a metaphor if nothing else, the dethroning of the Catholic Church resulted in an even deeper impoverishment & starvation of the people that they'd made dependent on them. Beware of destabilization when people are dependent on the stability for good reason.
As I observed in a recent review of Trevor Blake's 2014 book Confessions of a Failed Egoist (full review:
Confessions of a Saturday Morning Emily Post-Left Anarchist - pt 1:
Confessions of a Saturday Morning Leftovers Anarchist - pt 2:
Confessions of Emily's Saturday Morning Leftover Post-Egoism - pt 3:
"People who're in prison are rarely or never the people who make the laws." I'm not in prison but I'm still not one of the people who make the laws. I don't WANT to make the laws, I want to work toward, always toward since such goals are as unreachable as unlimited financial growth & the American 'Dream', I want to work toward an increased social consciousness in which an injury to one is clearly an injury to all. Laws may strike many people as a reachable goal but I think their purpose is even more unreachable than what I work toward.
I do, however, make game rules & then recruit people to play along with me. Take my project HiTEC (Histrionic Thought Experiment Cooperative) for example: the idea was to follow procedures for generating collective thought experiments for the sake of enjoying & critiquing the results. It wasn't a matter of life & death. Such mad scientist experiments can be temporary consensual social relations - no need to feel like participants are bound to a contract.
Some anarchists support selective assassination under extreme conditions - death to a dictator in the hope of the least damage done to the most people. Laws can work in the opposite way & often do: the most damage to the most people while the few flourish. My way (& it's hardly the 'only' way!) to "shift systemic regulation or destabilise existing conditions" may be to nurture conditions in which even the people who're the most fearful of such shifts aren't so afraid anymore - not because they have total control - but because their happiness & security no longer depends on the oppression of others. Idealistic? Everything's potentially "idealistic" from some vantage point or another.
Perhaps the problem I have with this question is that we're talking in abstractions & abstractions can be easily co-opted every which way, they can be taken to support things their originator may not've intended at all. 'Oddly' enough, I can be a very practical person: I think more like this: I want to accomplish this specific thing - how do I do it with the means available to me? & then I do it. Usually, I succeed - but then my goals aren't exactly Earth-shattering.
For example, when the Affordable Health Care Act in the US required large employers to provide health care to any worker who works more than 30 hours a week, I found my own employer responding by cutting worker hours back to avoid compliance & decided to try to organize my coworkers into becoming a thorn-in-the-side of what I consider to be unethical practice. The result was Info Desk PGH (Pittsburgh). While I don't consider our activities to be a stunning success, we at least created a media presence that stimulated some increased consciousness over the issue. People can show support by filling out our online "Declaration of Rights": http://www.infodeskpgh.org/cultural-industry-workers-declaration-of-rights/ .
Such organizing, however, as I quickly learned, is not my forté. I often work best on a very small scale (but not always): often in a fairly extroverted way. These days, it's possible to do something on your own & to then expose the product from the action, if there is one, on an international scale. Something local can become global very quickly. In my case, I'm not trying to proselytize, I deplore such bullying, I'm just saying: 'Here's what I think, here's what I do about it.' If people witness the product & agree then maybe they're inspired - if they disagree with it maybe they're inspired too.
For example: My movie on effacing logos on one's clothing & my explanation of why I do this, "North Deface": http://youtu.be/r8Dre9tTEyE . I made the movie by myself, talking to the camera - but in the long run more people will see it online & it'll give them something to think about. Or on May 3, 2014, I give my 4th annual Soap Box Opera speech as part of the 5th annual Polish Hill May Day Parade: http://youtu.be/FUY9DwiE1Dk - the speech goes online & goes from being local to being closer to global (obviously, the internet doesn't reach everyone - nor should it). I don't claim to be the person with the ideas that're the most beneficial for the most life, I just seed with my ideas & let the e-wind (& other means of dissemination) blow them where it/they will. I don't preach but I do try to practice what I outreach - physician keep thyself healthy in the 1st place.
Q2 What does the analogy of the machine suggest to you?
t,ac: Do you mean "the analogy of the machine" in itself as a phrase? I seem to've immediately leapt to it as an undesirable descriptive of the human condition. One of my favorite words is "robopath", coined by Lewis Yablonsky. I've even made a movie that I've so far been unable to screen anywhere called "Robopaths": You can read my editing notes for it here: http://idioideo.pleintekst.nl/tENTroboNotes.html . I quote Yablonsky:
"Paradoxically, although it is increasingly a distinct possibility, the final outcome of people versus their technological robots may not be the total physical annihilation of people. People may in a subtle fashion become robot-like in their interaction and become human robots or robopaths. This more insidious conclusion to the present course of action would be the silent disappearance of human interaction. In another kind of death, social death, people would be oppressively locked into robot-like interaction in human groups that had become social machines. In this context, the apocalypse would come in the form of people mouthing ahuman, regimented platitudes on a meaningless dead stage.
"The relationship between potential social death and imminent megamachine wars that cause physical death is complex. A fact that can not be ignored is that it is after all the masses of people who ultimately permit their energies and financial resources to be heavily spent on ecologically suicidal technology and doomsday machines. If a majority of people in a society permit, or desire, this condition to exist they must be relatively devoid of compassion and humanistic values; or, to take a more charitable view, they have become so out of touch with reality, and have become so powerless, that they no longer exert any control over their elected acompassionate robopathic leaders.
"Whatever the reasons, the people in power are actually developing the technological machinery for "a world wired for death," and a majority of people in contemporary societies are socially dead, living a day-to-day robopathic existence."
- page xiii, Robopaths - People As Machines Preface, Lewis Yablonsky, 1972
But that may not be what you were getting at with your question at all. As an atheist, instead of saying "Thank God!", I say "Thank the holy ceiling light!" but I don't worship machines either. I do, however, believe that they exist. After all, I'm sitting here typing on my laptop (which is a machine) partially by the light of a desk-lamp (which is a machine) while (half-)listening to music being playing on a record player through an amplification system (which are machines) etc, etc.. I use machines, I'm thankful for what they enable me to do, I respect the imagination & the skill of the people who created them, but I don't worship them. Technology is great but my mind is even better & I'd rather be without the technology than without my mind if I had to choose - which, of course, I have no reason to want to have to do.
SO, what "analogy of the machine"? Your questions are carefully phrased, you're asking what a somewhat vague phrase "suggest"s to me & then waiting for me to 'flesh it out'. One machine could be analogous of another machine, I have no problem with that. I don't, however, want to self-define in machine-analogous terms: my brain, for example, is NOT a computer, it's not binary & its non-binary multiplicities are marvelously self-repairing & flexible. Both the machine & the biological can be harmed, even easily harmed - but there's no computer in the world that can match the robustness of my backyard temperate jungle, not even the internet.
Q3 Do you see any relation between intermedia practice and the status or positioning of the artist/anti-artist as interesse a being-in-between (an aspect of the sublime experience)?
t,ac: What about being between a rock & a hard place? There was a time when I strictly avoided metaphors because they were too easy to use to weasel [metaphor intended] out of a tight descriptive spot. I still agree with that criticism. Again, it's the practical person within me. If I'm going to try to say something accurate about something then I try to be unambiguous. On the other foot [metaphor intended], I remember being in my early 20s & philosophically struggling with the idea of which was better?: ambiguity or exactitude? It didn't take long to realize that both are useful. Metaphors are even useful for exactitude because many people understand evocative imagery better than technical description.
One of my ways of avoiding being 'imprisoned', even psychologically, is to not be medium-specific: I'm not exactly "in-between" or "holus bolus", I don't even consider myself to be in a space between artist & anti-artist, I haven't dislocated, I've relocated the measuring tools of the map to be more user-friendly: THIS USER-friendly - but also more user-friendly to people who feel similarly unallied with the pre-fabricated lifestyle choices. Calling this a "sublime experience" is probably too 'romantic' for me. Is giving birth a "sublime experience"? Obviously, some would argue that it is - I think it's probably more of a relief.
The simple answer is YES.
What systemic tensions or inconsistencies can the 'prescriptive illusion' or 'descriptive fact' of the work itself seek to neutralise?
t,ac: False Opposites.
Can you tell me anything about how you might go about such a neutralisation?
t,ac: It might be a False Positive for me to make the claim that anything I do accomplishes much of anything except keep me & a (very) few friends busy & stimulated. Your language, as always, is interesting - I realize it's an 'educated' language &, therefore, slightly suspect to me as one a little too impersonalized for such person-to-person communication - that said, you are very careful in the way you use it & the words you use are the words you want to use, you're not being sloppy or too cookie-cutter. Therefore, I take your question seriously:
Yes, I probably do try to neutralize "systemic tensions or inconsistencies" through the use of 'whatever' in the interest of de-escalating conflict without whitewashing or hiding its blackheart. Again, I reference my recent review of my friend's book. I like my friend, I like his book, we agree to disagree. In a chapter entitled "Triumph of the Wilt - How Weaklings, Whiners and Worriers Wreck the World" he writes:
"Feminist[s] fought for equal representation in education. Now women are the student majority in colleges in the USA. The budget for women's programs on campus only grows, never shrinks. Both in and before college, boys drop out far more than girls and boys are disciplined far more than girls. Feminists aren't fighting for equal representation any more now that they're the head of the class."
to which I (partially) reply: "I'm sure I know plenty of feminists who actually do fight for all sorts of things for men - that doesn't stop them from also being feminists. I'm sure there're also plenty of feminists who're only fighting to advance their already privileged positions. These, to me, are worthy targets - but they're not the only representatives of feminism. Legend has it that anarchist Emma Goldman disassociated herself from Suffragettes b/c she saw them as rich women trying to make themselves more powerful who weren't necessarily particularly concerned w/ women as a whole. Go Emma!"
This is a very straight-forward example, there's nuthin' hi-falutin' about it. One person says one thing, I disagree, I counter with another thing. In an environment of mutual respect, of civility, such a dialog can take place & people can acknowledge the validity of points on both sides. Is that the type of world we live in?! Not enough, from my POV. We live in a world where propaganda forces of all sorts, especially religious ones, work to reduce any possibilities of mutual respect because the ability to even conceive of such a thing is drained out of the brain with the brainwashing. Not only the baby is thrown out with the bathwater, the entire mature possibilities for the adult are flushed away too. All the people who create this situation need is the robotic shell. That'll do quite nicely for a slave.
So how does one go about neutralizing these "systemic tensions"?! Every little bit helps. Not killing other people helps & I've managed to avoid that for 60 years so far - but I'm not promising anything! I'm always promoting a sense of humor but there're times when more desperate measures are called for - doing whatever we can to reduce those times strikes me as a goal worth striving for - but, obviously, there're plenty of people who disagree with me. Do I represent the 'moderate' flipper of the Lunatic Fringe?!
Is it necessary to shift into an opposing or incommensurable language genre to challenge social/cultural normativity or systemic terror?
t,ac; No, but it's another strategy that might be effective under certain circumstances. I take a very straight-forward example from the "Epszi's Enigma" chapter of Paul Hoffman's book about Paul Erdös called The Man Who Only Loved Numbers:
"With anti-Semitism on the rise in the the early 1930s, Erdös, Vázaonyi, and a few other young Jewish mathematicians got together weekly to exchange gossip, talk politics, and, most important, do mathematics. On Sundays they'd go hiking in the hills outside Budapest. "These were long hikes," said Vázaonyi, "We used to meet at Berlin Place and take the trolley to Zugliget. There were usually four or five of us, but sometimes as many as twenty." The young mathematicians also liked to meet at a city park at a bench by the hooded bronze statue of Anonymous, a historian who chronicled twelfth-century Hungarian kings. "When we got together as a group," Vázaonyi recalled, "we were always concerned that the police would come and question us. Group meetings were prohibited during the Horthy dictatorship. We could not speak freely. We thought there were spies everywhere. That's when Erdös started developing his private language. Many of us were Communists in the sense of what it meant at that time: that we were against the Horthy regime." But it wasn't safe to use the word Communist out loud, so Erdös started referring to Communists as people "on the long wave-length," because in the electromagnetic spectrum the red waves were long. He said that Horthy supporters and other Fascist sympathizers were "on the short wavelength."" - pages 71-72
The interviewee on Anonymous's lap in 1997.
But maybe that's too literal or politically dramatic to be answering the broader implications of your question. I like to play, I like to play with language. Standard Operating Procedures for interacting through language become rituals that psychologically limited people need to enact in order to feel complete. If a person whose normative role in life is to say "I love you" to other people in certain categories (family, for example) it's expected to get an "I love you" in reply. No sincerity must be present, the purpose of the ritual is satisfied just by its enactment. A person who deviates from the ritual by actually doing what the ritual only purports to do, that is: by expressing an emotion, can be very threatening - even if the emotion's positive. For people wanting to restore emotional honesty this can be oppositional.
Being oppositional with language can be an effective tool for a show of force meant to discourage hypothetically 'democratic' regimes from going further in a now publicly unpopular & undemocratic direction. Any "opposing or incommensurable language" might automatically "challenge social/cultural normativity or systemic terror" with its Cognitive Dissidence - but there're many ways of avoiding having your cat friend skinned - some of them might be very commensurable language in which deeper values, long forgotten under lip-service usages, are brought in a friendly way to the fore. Maybe saying "I like you very much" would be more bonding than saying "I love you" when the latter is clearly not the case & the former is more possible.
In your work, where does the limit between the tolerable and the intolerable resonate?
t,ac: That strikes me as another somewhat specialized way of asking a question that I'd probably identify with more deeply if it were expressed in a different way. I'm fortunate enough to've been born a 'white' male in a sufficiently comfortable middle-class or lower middle-class family - even if it was completely dysfunctional. I've struggled my whole life & had much more hate directed at me than your average bare but I know of far more intolerable situations than the ones I've endured & I don't want to go there or enable the going-there of others. Hence I'm anti-war - even though war has been constant in my time, I've never accepted it as 'necessary' in the human condition.
So "where does the limit between the tolerable and the intolerable resonate" in my 'work'? Right where it does for most other folks, I suppose: When the going gets tough, the tough get going - but, to quote a saying I encountered through the Church of the SubGenius, "I don't get even, I get odd." That latter, in case it isn't obvious, means that instead of getting revenge, I do something unexpected - THAT's Guerrilla Playfair. Of course, I'm not talking about true horror here, I'm talking about lower-level suffering that might conventionally call for mild 'revenge' - I prefer Poetic Justice - but that's hard to pull off. In other words, I try to think in the long term: if I recognize an abhorrent act as systemic, I also recognize that retaliation against one person doesn't correct the system - so I work toward changing the system in ways that might not corner the 'rat', that might instead encourage it to go to its own doom unaided by me.
Q4 How would you advise a tracing of the edge?
t,ac: The edge of what? Do you mean 'How would I advise defining the limits of my personal tolerance?' &/or 'How do I advise setting one's own limits of what's tolerable?' I'll give another very straight-forward easy-to-understand non-dramatic example: Recently I was talking with a neighbor about the problems she was having with her roommate. They didn't seem like such a big deal to me but the neighbor was considering kicking the roommate out. When she was done, I asked "Have you had many roommates?" There was a slightly awkward moment. Then I told her some of MY roommate 'horror' stories - they helped put the matter nicely into perspective.
Q5 Turning now to the future anterior (in French, the future perfect the must have, will have been, going to, or would make) please consider this: Has 'art' practice (or anti-art/intermedia) supplanted the political as "the primary resistant and critical space" (Jones 2014)?
t,ac: Hardly! That's a ruling elite wet dream! I think that the majority of people probably prefer that art stay purely on the level of the symbolic - fiction is given credit for being imaginative while creative non-fiction is most appreciated when it's written more in a conventional fictional style - of course that's just my observation, not statistical analysis. As such, if "'art' practice (or anti-art/intermedia) supplant[s] the political as "the primary resistant and critical space"" then everything can move onto the symbolic level where there's no real threat to the REAL THREATS.
In my capacity as an A/V technician at one of my museum jobs I was asked to video a talk by an artist conducted as a tour in connection with the then-director of the museum. During this tour-talk the director made an astonishing statement to the effect that 'Museums are now the same as the outside world for political protest.' I later retorted to this online by asking something like 'Really? So artists in museums get maced, attacked by dogs, shot by TASERs, shot with rubber bullets, handcuffed, falsely imprisoned?' My point being that if those things actually happened in museums there might really be some challenge to the artwork that the status quo felt a need to suppress & most of these 'political' artists would then make themselves pretty scarce. For some artists it's good business to put forth a political pose, it's a good photo op - but don't expect them to embrace any real substantial change. I know a woman artist who's achieved quite a bit of success in the art world. I also know her to be completely venal - &, yet, when a feminist art exhibit in a museum came along suddenly she became contextualized as a feminist!
Keep in mind that art is a great investment - as long as the artists 'know their place' & know how to advance to a 'higher' one. On the other hand, there are many, MANY great artists whose work really does embrace, say, justice as a goal to be ardently pursued. Etta Cetera, Adrian Piper, Hans Haacke, GAAG, etc.. That said, I don't even necessarily include art that seems to be politically progressive in a category to be trusted - purely representational print art, for example, treads a thin line entirely too close to Socialist Realism for me.
What might the implications of this be for both practice and the political?
t,ac: Despite the above, I have mixed feelings about this issue. I remember seeing a documentary about a very war-torn African country in which traditional ways of conflict-resolution through symbolic battle were being attempted to de-escalate the terrors. If I had to choose between symbolic conflict & fatal conflict I'd choose the former - but I'd also opt for symbolic oppression over actual oppression - & that's less likely to be chosen by people calling the shots, figuratively & literally. Creative solutions don't come naturally to everyone & while artists might feel comfortable with them others might just prefer to beat your fucking head in.
Q6 How might a privation of understanding (in representatonal discourse, the figural, or screen image) contribute to a 'feeling' for catastrophe (I'm thinking here of conceptions of climate chaos, genocide, famine etc) and the ability to think out of or beyond such traumas.
t,ac: A "privation of understanding" is to be avoided. Books like Michael Crichton's State of Fear nurture it under the guise of counterbalancing it. See my review of that here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15860.State_of_Fear .
How should we address the 'meanwhile' or continuous present in such circumstances?
t,ac: Obviously, people see problems & try to correct them in their own way (if they care). There's no one way, all the ways aren't effective, your question would have to be more specific for me to attempt to give a practical answer. If you see a friend whose drinking is a problem, do you offer him or her a drink at a party? Or do you try to have social events that aren't alcohol-centric? My answer might seem to be banal but I'm trying to keep it simple here. As I'm fond of saying, 'I LOVE complexity but I prefer my love-life to be simple - which it never is.' The point being that if a catastrophe is correctly foreseen it's preferable that the prevention of it be easy - but it won't be. I recently witnessed Kathryn Bigelow's movie about the war in Iraq called "The Hurt Locker". I wasn't necessarily expecting to like it, & I could criticize myself for doing so, but I DID like it. The bomb squad protagonist is asked something like 'What's the best way to defuse a bomb?' to which he replied with something like 'The way where you don't get killed.'
As I wrote this, I realized I know nothing about Bigelow so I decided to look her up online. Check this out:
"Bigelow was born in San Carlos, California, the only child of Gertrude Kathryn (née Larson; 19171994), a librarian, and Ronald Elliot Bigelow (19151992), a paint factory manager. Her mother was of Norwegian descent. Bigelow's early creative endeavors were as a student of painting. She enrolled at San Francisco Art Institute in the fall of 1970 and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in December 1972. While enrolled at SFAI, she was accepted into the Whitney Museum of American Art's Independent Study Program in New York City. Bigelow's early work benefited from her apprenticeships with Vito Acconci, Richard Serra, and Lawrence Weiner.
"Also in her early days in Manhattan, Bigelow teamed up with Philip Glass on a real-estate venture in which the pair personally renovated distressed apartments downtown then sold them for a profit.
"Bigelow entered the graduate film program at Columbia University, where she studied theory and criticism and earned her master's degree. Her professors included Vito Acconci, Sylvère Lotringer and Susan Sontag, and she worked with the Art & Language collective and noted conceptualist Lawrence Weiner. She also taught at the California Institute of the Arts. While working with Art and Language, Bigelow began a short film, The Set-Up (1978), which found favor with director Milo? Forman, then teaching at Columbia University, and which Bigelow later submitted as part of her MFA at Columbia." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathryn_Bigelow
Holy humorous expletive! I wasn't expecting that! I'm in love!!
That is, the becoming-catastrophe. Is it, in fact, impossible for us to speak of impending collapse?
t,ac: It's as easy as not getting laid "to speak of impending collapse" - what's not easy is to be realistic about it from a non-human perspective. In Alan Davies's interview with me published by Otoliths online ( http://the-otolith.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/alan-davies-tentatively-interview.html ) we had the following exchange:
"Alan - If things were to have an-ending / what would it look like? / what would you be doing?
"tENT - Of course, yr question prompts my asking in turn: "What "things"?" Often, when works address this topic, 'the end' is imagined as the death of most or all people - more rarely it's the death of all living things on this planet, more rare still it's the annihilation of the planet - but how often does it go beyond that? Of my most immediate concern is the death of my closest friends & of myself.
"But let's imagine further: you ask about "an-ending" - not THE ending, not one-of-many-possible-endings, just an-ending. If we were to discuss "an-ending" that's THE ending, "would it look like" anything? Would I be "doing" anything? It wd be "an-end[ing]" to looking & doing, to me, to you, to this sentence, to this language, to this planet, to this solar system, to the possibility of this solar system, to the galaxy, to the universe, to the multiverse, to ways of measuring itself, to itself - [..]: it'd be not just an end to human scale but to ALL SCALE. PERIOD."
As a political activist, I've often been a prophet of doom-&-gloom. In 1984, I thought it was inevitable that there be a revolution in the United States: How could people NOT revolt against having such an obvious puppet president?! But it didn't happen. Humans may be the biggest source of dramatic climate change on the planet & this may have disastrous implications & we should be doing things to downsize these possibilities rather than downsizing people's abilities to survive within the economy but it doesn't strike me as likely YET that we'll blow the entire planet apart.
However, an ecological catastrophe may not be what you have in mind as much as a socio-political one. I can easily imagine the US going through an economic collapse, I can easily imagine it ceasing to be the World Cop. What I don't imagine is its not being replaced by another power just as nasty if not worse. It's like all established politics: a choice between 'evils'. Can we talk about it? Why not?! Can we be realistic about it?! A little harder, quite a bit harder - who has all the information needed for deep understanding? Not me. Can we improve upon it?! Yes - but don't expect it to happen because of some half-assed idea some 'prophet' has.
Q7 What is the influence or significance of technologies and their interplay in intermedia works?
t,ac: Ha ha! I've chosen to answer your questions somewhat on 'your' own terms - it's nice to break my own habits once in a while. I don't think of myself as an "intermedia" "artist" or "anti-artist" even if other people do. I think of myself as "a guy who does stuff". I'm sick of all the emphasis on technology - even if it 'makes perfect sense'. As such, I'd rather just change the subject here. Let's talk about how tenacious wild grape vines are & about the way crows harass hawks to discourage them from hunting small birds in their 'hood.
How disruptive do you think interdisciplinarity actually is to specialist cultures?
t,ac: I'm not personally interdisciplinary to be disruptive "to specialist cultures", I'm interdisciplinary because the specialization is an irrelevant artificial limit that would get in my way if I allowed it to. Then again, I'm probably a polymath - which most people aren't.
What advice would you offer to an aspiring disruptive practiitioner?
t,ac: Don't believe IT can't be done - & proceed to DO IT. But be thoughtful about what you disrupt, what happens next might be even worse.
- tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - July 31, 2014E.V. - idioideo at verizon dot net
1 Huhtamo, E. (2000), "T(h)inkering with Media: The Art of Paul DeMarinis". Resonant Messages: The Art of Paul DeMarinis. Pasadena: Art Center College of Design, 2000. in Prior, A. (2012), Glitching paralogy. PhD Noise Aesthetics. APRJA, blog, 20 November 2012, http://www.aprja.net/?p=456
2 Questions derived from a reading of Henk Oosterling, (undated), Philosophy,
Art and Politics as Interesse: Towards a Lyotardian post-Kantian aesthetics.
tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE
idioideo at verizon dot net
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE as Interviewer page
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE as Interviewee page
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE movie-making "Press: Criticism, Interviews, Reviews" home-page
to the "tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - Sprocket Scientist" home-page
to the "FLICKER" home-page for the alternative cinematic experience
to find out more about why the S.P.C.S.M.E.F. (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Sea Monkeys by Experimental Filmmakers) is so important
for A Mere Outline for One Aspect of a Book on Mystery Catalysts, Guerrilla Playfare, booed usic, Mad Scientist Didactions, Acts of As-Beenism, So-Called Whatevers, Psychopathfinding, Uncerts, Air Dressing, Practicing Promotextuality, Imp Activism, etc..
for info on tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's tape/CD publishing label: WIdémoUTH
to see an underdeveloped site re the N.A.A.M.C.P. (National Association for the Advancement of Multi-Colored Peoples)