God’s Shadow

"What is most unfortunate about this development is that the data body not only claims to have ontological privilege, but actually has it. What your data body says about you is more real than what you say about yourself. The data body is the body by which you are judged in society, and the body which dictates your status in the world. What we are witnessing at this point in time is the triumph of representation over being." Critical Art Ensemble “Avarice is a ruinous thing. It dulls the vision and the hearing, and renders men more inhuman than wild beasts. It does not permit in any way the development of friendship, of fellowship, of the salvation of the soul itself. " John Chrysostom; … [Read more...]

The Mechanical Goat

"What developed in the South was a theology carefully tailored to meet the needs of a slave state. Biblical emphasis on social justice was rendered miraculously invisible. A book constructed around the central metaphor of slaves finding their freedom was reinterpreted. Messages which might have questioned the inherent superiority of the white race, constrained the authority of property owners, or inspired some interest in the poor or less fortunate could not be taught from a pulpit. ( ) Stripped of its compassion and integrity, little remained of the Christian message. What survived was a perverse emphasis on sexual purity as the sole expression of righteousness, along with a creepy … [Read more...]

Little Big Man

"It is self-evident that nothing concerning art is self-evident anymore, not its inner life, not its relation to the world, not even its right to exist. The forfeiture of what could be done spontaneously or unproblematically has not been compensated for by the open infinitude of new possibilities that reflection confronts. In many regards, expansion appears as contraction." Adorno (Aesthetic Theory) "In explicitly subverting the masses’ ability to experience truth and pleasure unmediated by centralized authority, fascist propaganda openly expresses the totalitarianism implicit in the true power relations of “late industrial society.” In this regard, it is even more “objectively … [Read more...]

The Goldfish Look Up, part two

"Ironically, however, certain sections of affluent Western society have refined their growing obsession with cleanliness and hygiene to such an extent that it threatens to become outrightly unnatural and unhealthy. In North America in particular, germs are reviled and attacked with the kind of vigilant disgust and aggression which older eras reserved for their religious or racial enemies. The children of middle-class parents will have their mouths habitually swabbed with antiseptic wipes, or be forcibly prevented from sharing drinking cups. So thoroughly oversanitised is the general environment of many modern infants that they lack even the bare minimum of dirt needed to develop an efficient … [Read more...]

A Figure in the Landscape

"A return of the most violent aspects of primitive accumulation has accompanied every phase of capitalist globalization, including the present one, demonstrating that the continuous expulsion of farmers from the land, war and plunder on a world scale, and the degradation of women are necessary conditions for the existence for capitalism in all times." Sylvia Federici "Man was never certain that he was not dreaming, and never sure that he was not mad: 'do we not often feel ourselves to be in contradiction with our own better judgement?'" Michel Foucault "The introduction of the concept of error into pathology is a fact of great importance as much in terms of the change it reveals in … [Read more...]

The Goldfish Look Up (part one)

"When premessage expectations are disconfirmed (as in the case of a person or a software product admitting a bias or a shortcoming), the receiver of the message (in this case, the user) perceives the sender (in this case, the software) as unbiased (discussed in Stiff 1994, p. 96), which is a key contributor to credibility..." B.J. Fogg "The vulgar crowd always is taken by appearances, and the world consists chiefly of the vulgar.” Niccolò Machiavelli "In 1977, state district judge, Jack Love, noticed two items in a local Albuquerque, New Mexico, newspaper. The first was an article about an electronic identification tag, invented at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. The tag was … [Read more...]

Two Films and a TV Show, or…The Eminence of Our Decay

"The dominant feature of psychological realism is its determination to be anti-bourgeois." Francois Truffaut "...the human skin of things, the epidermis of reality, that is the primary raw material of cinema." Artaud "Through style one infuses a film with a soul, and that is what makes it art..." Carl Theodore Dreyer I find that with the ubiquitous presence of screen media today, the paradoxical and ambiguous nature of acting and performance to be worth examining. And this ties in with questions of taste I posted about last time. Martin McDonagh's latest film, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri was released over the holidays. It is McDonagh's third film (feature length … [Read more...]

I See You Thinking

"I wonder if it is possible to give an intelligible explanation to the passage from principles to action without employing myths." George Sorel "Well, a lot of art has become a version of show business entertainment, so what strikes me as significant is that you have the Whitney giving a show to Jeff Koons, you have Damien Hirst as the star of it all, the man who says he has no integrity, explicitly. You have two pseudo gurus, Marina Abramovic, who I think is very dangerous, and Yoko Ono at the Museum of Modern Art. So you have what you might call celebrity art. To me it’s “non-art..." Donald Kuspit "Pen in hand, he wasn't a had fellow; but he was not, and could never heve been, even … [Read more...]