Imago Mundi

Watching what appears to be the final act in the ethnic cleansing of Gaza, I was struck again by the need for an aesthetic resistance, the development of skills needed to deconstruct the Empire. There are narratives that instantly smell like State Department creations. They arrive fully made, and carry with them a sort of Conde Nast vibe -- meaning they have a carefully crafted shiny wholeness about them. There are no dark shadows, no ambivilence, no warts or moral ambiguity. The sense of actual history is missing, leaving a strange sense of vertigo in the viewer. These are characters in a pre-formed story-line, and the anitromic feeling almost leaves a hole in the image, the photo … [Read more...]

Role of a Lifetime

It's all the same, just a little bit different. Jean Luc Godard There seem a whole host of issues this week that are coalescing for me in terms related to my interest in aesthetic effort to deconstruct aspects of the cutural production of Empire, for lack of a better description. The sense of social hypocricy was formed, as we understand it today, in the 18th century. The idea of acting one's role in daily life pervaded the culture of that time. The viewer or audience and his or her relationship to the performance, or artwork was solidified, in a sense, around the time of Diderot and Goya. Theatre came to focus a good deal on social hypocrisy, and one's private or … [Read more...]

Interview, Molly Klein talks to John Steppling /Theatre, part 1 … [Read more...]

A Story of Capital

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The great electoral spectacle is over. I have been trying to analyse just why so many, at least outwardly, intelligent people I know seem to suspend critical judgement when it comes to things like elections. In particular though, the Presidential elections. When you think about it, Obama is clearly a war criminal, a mass murderer, and a shill for wall street. I mean this is obvious, and yet people will wring their hands and cluck nervously about how scary the idea of Romney is. What actually is worse than signing away the rule of law? What is worse than terrorizing a population with … [Read more...]

And the Bodies Piled Up

There is a continuing sense of life in the United States, in particular, being experienced as a film or TV show. This is obvious. The question is really to map where the far reaches of this hyper-reality extend. To listen to a large class of the U.S. public is to listen to recycled television and film dialogue. Someone said this week, or wrote actually, during an argument with friends, "I am a fan of drone warfare". He later explained this by saying he felt it protected American lives, and was a more accurate way to kill "terrorists". Of course the now viral Joe Klein comment, echos the same … [Read more...]

Cop Stories

The film and TV world are useful studies because of exactly how they both reflect social reality, and at the same time, create social reality. But it's not that simple. Let me just make a few observations, or really, just ask questions. How do films that cost fifteen million dollars get made? How do films that cost eighty million get made? Is is the same process? How do films that cost one hundred and sixty million get made? How do one million dollar films get made? When I was last in Los Angeles, I made the rounds of studio's new micro budget divisions. I found them run by the same morons who run any division at a studio. Same people. Same gold rolexs, same myopic world view, same … [Read more...]

The Shadow of the Shadow/ Colonizing Consciousness, part 2

I remember Geoffrey O Brien wrote once, I forget where, about just the sheer volume of film and TV screened since its invention. I dont recall the figure, but it was suitably staggering. I think about this volume sometimes, and how obviously it affects all of us in the West. In the developed world. Of course there is no shortage of TV in under-developed worlds. One has to reach the far perimeter of non development to find no electronic media. . The corporate media is changing all the time, but always sort of behind the curve. But then network TV is mostly obsolete. But think back over fifty years of network programming. How much that has informed the cultural dialogue of most U.S. … [Read more...]

Colonizing Consciousness

Jerry Mander wrote a book many years ago, in 1977, called Four Arguments for the Elimination of Televsion. He worked in marketing for years before that. He recently wrote a piece for Monthly Review... This is, obviously, a topic I come back to from many angles all the time. The colonizing of consciousness. Now, Mander is right, but he doesn't take this nearly far enough, for their are structural elements that mediate experience on even deeper levels than he suggests. From an interview on globalization with Mander and Scott London: London: I was working in the north of Norway in the mid-1980s. At the … [Read more...]