Ignore advice & Be less sensible

I have sometimes been told that I am not making wise choices. When I went to spend a month in Cambodia followed by 3 months in India was such a time: “That’s not sensible. What about your career.?”

Q: What is sensible? In life, in love, in career?

In Cambodia I met Roger Ballen, one of the most inspiring (if perhaps disturbing to some) photographers out there.

In India I met many people I could only wish I would have an opportunity to speak with elsewhere more ‘sensible’ in the world. Principal dancer of an American-German Choreographer’s modern dance company that I admired and ended up writing both my undergraduate and postgraduate dissertation about (in part), just another example.

Or in Thailand where I met THE dancer of THE exact Butoh company who performed in the tiny local theatre back in Liverpool, UK, the city that was home for so long. I ran into THE one and only woman Butoh dancer, student of Kazuo Ohno, whom I was too shy to speak with after the Liverpool performance; and was by utter chance in a position to help her out in a northern town in Thailand, resulting in spending the entire day together, sharing dinner, exchanging creative process experience, including the painful and humbling kind, a true connection if I ever made one. I only realised whom I was speaking with at the very end of that day, at dinner!

Experiential evidence of : The good, no, the great things that can happen when we do totally not sensible things.

Is this the lesson I was meant to learn?:
“Do more of the not sensible things? Make more un-wise decisions, be less worried about great decisions because great things will happen when you make decisions that satisfy the soul, no matter how unsensible at the face of it.”

I fell off the edge of the world …

… and I am back again. Don’t ask me what it was like after I disappeared off the edge, I am here now. That’s what counts.

For those seeking: a more easy on the eye arrangement of Birgit Deubner’s Art portfolio is behind this link not currently on this page.

 

While I was away somebody hacked my youtube account (not the one of the video above). It had 88.000+ views and a laughable 25 subscribers. It’s what happens when you pick stupidly easy to guess passwords and forget to change them when you know fully well that this is leaving you very open to getting hacked and losing basically your identity. Good that I always lie about my age when I create accounts. I wonder if I did that in 2006 when I opened that account.. Hopefully.

I have a propensity for using double and triple dots. I know that they are grammatically incorrect and express doubtfulness and uncertainty. The way I use them I mean them to symbolise trailing thoughts. I’ll try and curtail my love for dots……

I am in the process of uploading my now ancient art archive to my second youtube channel, which thankfully I had the sense to give my actual name to. I also have a third and several more channels but they are of no interest right now.

Really I just dropped by to say: Hi, I am here, kind of back, but making no promises. And here is one of the archive videos, which isn’t as entertaining as pop culture youtube videos, so you are excused if your attention span can only endure 15 seconds, but if you would please let my entire playlist of videos run then that would be fabulous. I intend to profiteer from your view.

How: I am merely 3980 hours view hours & 988 subscribers short of being able to monetise my channel. Once I get the go ahead (probably never) I will earn a peanut for every 100 views, maybe a walnut for every 1000 views. Seriously though, all the small things help. If over time there could be a few currency values trickling into my life and mean a once yearly run to an art supply store or a bulk buy of baked beans then that would be great.

Go on, it doesn’t cost you anything. CLICK on that video and subscribe to my channel because it helps me and costs you all of about a few seconds. If you then also let my playlists run through once in a while then you would have done a philanthropic deed and nothing will change in your life, but I’ll one day buy myself a cup of tea with the proceeds…

general notes and what not to do..:

stay awake till 4.30am (trying to write) expecting to be alert the following day..

This is the work of Jeffrey Robb, a graduate of the RCA. In the description of the work the emphasis is on it’s beauty. I find both the emphasis and the manifestation a little bland. However, this artist seems to be doing well, or I hope he is. The work is flawless and yes it is very nice to look at. But it is too nice for me. There is so much potential to do something with a black background, which I don’t thing the artist really fully made use of (for this public body of work, he likely has other ideas, too).

What differentiates his work from mine is I think: intention. Jeff follows a lineage of photographing (predominately) female nudes of the most beautiful kind. If I had the equipment I would like to develop my project and photograph nudes of the not-generally-classified-as-beautiful type. I would like to work as Peter Greenaway did, as the Dutch tulip painters and the italian and spanish saint painters did. I’d like to evoke something of the Raft of the Medusa without it being more than a reference, without too much easy beauty.

What would I need? A camera, a good camera, I could work with a Canon 4D Mark I  but of course the real with is for the Mark II and a traditional large format, too. But for now digital would be fine. I could work with this. And a studio flashlight. That’s it. That’s all I’d need to begin. THEN I have the problem of not having a calibrate-able screen to colour correct work on and a basic printing budget would need to be found, even if just for test strips and a small 1/4 scale edition to get started. All in all the funds required are: £ several times a fortune.

I am not sure I can work with the Nikon D70s that I have. It regularly creates stripes of severe colour distortion across the image files and at other times with no warning deletes work. puff, gone. HALT of course I can try and find out if it is possible to hook up the camera straight to the laptop. THAT may work. I did this in Ivan Coleman’s photostudio at Goldsmiths university. What a blessing to have had access to that space and Ivan’s knowledge.

More texture is what’s needed.

dissertation notes: Violence and Art and the puzzled looks I get…

.. So what do you study? An MFA in Fine Art.

so what is your dissertation about? (Here I think the person asking expects something like: “Paintings by women in the Romatic Era” or colour and structuralism .. When I answer “Violence and dehumanization” I see disorientated expressions. Social Sciences, Humanism, Societal interest, perhaps even political science is NOT what they thought had anything to do with art. THEN what has? There lingers this idea (within the Arts and surrounding it) that art concerns art. But IF that was the case or the interest then whatever did we do when we stopped painting patterns? And even those had other meaning than the one located within art within art within art within itself…

Violence and Art go way back. Cave paintings must have depicted murder, if it didn’t then it nevertheless showed hunting scenes and for those you need weapons which are no strangers to violent acts..

Where to begin, or where to look, or rather where not to look for clues of violence and art. I am not saying art that inflicts violent, I am not interested in the volatile moods of artists either, not even in the speculations that the horrible man from Bodyworlds has people contract killed for his pseudo scientific pseudo artistic manipulations of human flesh, involving a plasticizing compound that renders flesh plastic and preserved.. Not even this is object of my investigation if you can call a journey into the unknown by someone unqualified that.

Why Violence? I must ask why not? The world we live in is carefully composed to exhibit violence as a money spinner in movies while we shut our conscience to any understanding at all that the luxuries that nourish our throw-away-yesterday’s-fashion, dispose-off-half-the-gone-off-groceries-in-the-fridge and  i-pad totting lifestyles are won on the broken backs of sweat and bonded labour. To make a point: sweat labour is molly cuddling the actual reality. People’s ignorance is phenomenal in it’s scale, the understanding that minerals necessary to make an android-phone work include Coltrane, some 80% of which is mined in the Congo, the trade of which fuels the militia who fuel the prolific rapes of anyone with an orifice to rape, in the process of which countless thousands of internal organs get ruptured, limbs torn, broken, severed… No anesthetics used.

Why Violence? Why would one not want to know how the world functions and try to search for some sense or hope in the madness?

For centuries artists depicted Violence, principally War and the threats of Hell. Suffering has always been blockbuster business.

What I am finding is that I am only ever skirting the outskirts of the subject violence. I can’t actually take much more than a distant view of the centre of subject. What stops me from traveling further inwards are fear or trauma, a supervisor would be fantastic. Someone to guide me where I need to be. You might feel the urge to argue that I should find my own way and if I am interested then why shy away from certain areas. I think the primary answer to that is because it is too hard to bear too much reality without a strong guide. Perhaps that is what Virgil was for Dante through their journey through Purgatory and Hell (of Dante’s Divine Comedy). Without my personal atheist poet I can only find the going tough and foggy.

Speaking of Dante, a prime example of Violence and Art. Not visual, not fine art, but literary Art.

And here is like I could never put it, a most wonderful example of WHAT has ART got to do with Violence?  

I also want to make a quick note of intention: Quoting from the following link I want to change the term and notion of racism for sexism

http://iheartthreadbared.wordpress.com/2011/09/12/unintentional-eating/

so here goes it somewhat bumpy to begin with:

It is instead a generalized exotica, an experience of vague sensuousness. But do racist acts require intentionality? And what are the implications of Renn’s deracialization of a practice that was so clearly racist to so many people? “Eating the Other” Renn’s understanding of this “transformation” is reflective of a broader cultural logic in the mainstream fashion industry that has historically viewed and engaged with racial difference as a depoliticized and dehistoricized aesthetic. Racial difference, evacuated of its history and politics, becomes a set of design elements and sartorial flourishes (a kente pattern here, a frog closure there, a Native headdress on the weekend – why not?) that are absent of meaning and context. Fashion’s depoliticization of ethnicity and race rely on and reproduce what Nirmal Puwar calls “the amnesia of celebration.”

Bodily transcendence through sartorial and cosmetic play is enacted by the consumption of otherness – a “courageous consumption,” in hooks’ words – because it is about “conquering the fear [of racial difference] and acknowledging power. It is by eating the Other,” hooks explains, “that one asserts power and privilege.”

But Renn wasn’t “even think[ing] about [race] on the shoot . . . it didn’t even cross [her] mind.”

Here, I want to return to my earlier question: do racist acts require intentionality? The obvious answer is no. A well-intentioned compliment about how well I speak English or a clumsy flirtation that begins with a deep bow like I’m the Dalai Lama (both have happened to me) are meant to be friendly gestures that close the gap of racial difference. (“Don’t worry – I’m culturally sensitive.”) Yet, these examples are clearly born of racist ideologies about what “real” Americans look like and what are “real” Asian cultural practices. Racism is so deeply entrenched and pervasive in many societies (the U.S. context is not exempt but neither is it exceptional) that everyday racism, the kind of racism that is experienced in civic life (through social relationships, media, interpersonal workplace dynamics, etc.) is often unintentional. On the other hand, what is always intentional is anti-racism. The struggle against racism resists the pervasive ideologies and practices that explicitly and invisibly structure our daily lives (albeit in very different ways that are stratified by race, gender, class, and sexuality).  Anti-racism requires intentionality because it’s an act of conscience. 

This kind of post-racial consumption of race in which the historical violence of racial difference makes no difference at all denies the ongoing reality of racism in the age of postracism. It is conditioned by the many privileges of whiteness (first and foremost among these privileges, a racially unmarked body).

[not for dissertation BUT careful with future projects: “It is precisely because white female bodies occupy the universal empty point which remains racially unmarked that they can play with the assigned particularity of ethnicized female bodies.”]

[It is about consuming Otherness, it’s about making racial difference commodifiable and palatable through whiteness, it’s about reproducing and securing white privilege. To quote hooks again, “eating the other” – hooks’ term for the consumption of difference – offers:]

Rich Benjamin:

“Americans love to reduce racial politics to feelings and etiquette. It’s the personal and dramatic aspects of race that obsess us, not the deeply rooted and currently active political inequalities. That’s our predicament: Racial debate, in public and private, is trapped in the sinkhole of therapeutics.” {from Searching For Whitopia, Rich Benjamin’s book about the recent waves of white flight from diverse cities and neighbourhoods into [segre]gated communities.}

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“Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto”. “I am a human being and nothing human can be alien to me.”  

…. “global economy, in it for self”… “pleasure designed to take over your mind” … (2:03) Lauryn Hill

information finding addict

ARE WE HUMAN?

DIANA:

to begin with a quote:

“The world capital of rape is eastern Congo. Militias have discovered that the most cost-effective way to terrorize civilian populations is to conduct rapes of stunning brutality. Dina was 17 years old, one of six children living with her parents in the town of Kindu. One day, Dina cut short her work in the bean field and headed back to town well before sunset. As she was walking home, five Hutu militia members surrounded her with guns and knives, and forced her to the ground. One was carrying a stick. They all raped her, then held her down as someone drove the stick inside her. Her family came looking for her and found her half-dead in the grass. A foreign-funded hospital that could cure her was hundreds of miles away…”(source: http://www.halftheskymovement.org/stories , Half the Sky)

So this is the  kind of event that I try and keep in mind when I read for example Judith Butler’s article in Hanna Arendt and the Banality of evil. I try and think of the above example or any of the millions just like it to try and keep a perspective of REALITY to what I am trying to follow and understand philosophically, conceptually. It is hard enough to read a text and understand what it means, follow each sentence and understand enough to be alert to the moments when I should have an opinion, not missing the opportunities to affirm, agree or disagree. But if I am not careful I can easily get drawn into a very soft understanding rather than the understanding that goes deeper and hits reality on the head. The reality written about, thought about, which is cruel, brutal and disturbs the image one has of being human.
Judith Butler’s article: http://www.thenewsignificance.com/2011/08/31/judith-butler-hannah-arendts-challenge-to-adolf-eichmann/

below some passages chosen because I related, or felt I understood something:

I had thought of notion of dehumanizing primarily in relation to direct and visible violence, a conversation with a friend just reminded me that of course principally dehumanization is a tool to control and to make people compliant. This in Japan expresses itself in the docile, uniform wearing daily routine of uniform life. She observes that Japan this dehumanized compliance of the population means that people do not demonstrate against nuclear power-stations and for their radioactive free environment when they should.

Dehumanizing is not just the experience of being a recipient of welfare benefits but also being the office clerk, cog in the wheel, with no real expertise, real say, real authority or autonomy to make a decision. The decade of ‘I am not responsible, someone else is’ is sucking the voice out of people, sucking the thinking out of them. The more cloned, uniform and compliant the better. So much so that this appears to have become an engrained culture of non-responsibility, of unquestioning acceptance of the statements made by the propaganda/media/government oracles.

I am not sure I am writing in the ‘right’ way, I think I may be writing more of an option piece than an academic article, but maybe it’s a necessary rant about the state of things that I know from experience to be my truth and I think everyone would not just talk about but yell at the top of their voices just like the soap box preachers do as they announce the will of god (although my personal interpretation of god would not go down very well with any of them and I do think if there was a god as they imagine then that god might do a good service to the remaining members of society to give the soap-box preachers a sore throat and some loss of voice to experience the truly divine bliss of silence…).. Instead people who should speak and yell ARE silent listening to the wrong soap boxes, primarily the ones placed by their sofas, defending this ‘right of proximity to the soap box’ with more adamance than any common sense should allow. But then it is exactly this common sense that I am worried about.

The common sense that would be free thinking and that would prevent the ‘uniformizing’, the dehumanizing of swathes of societies..

It’s when we lose the fully human that is not a natural right but a right earned that we really should worry. What worries me is that the common sense is missing that would allow people to see their loss and respond accordingly. Instead life becomes a kind of farce, at times comical in it’s ridiculousness at other times distressing and ranging to the cruel and brutal. I realize that much more rigorous thought here would be appropriate, but I’ll continue my train of thought for now:

The absence of common sense is the gateway to human disaster. Nothing less than that. Referring to Hannah Arendt as written about by Judith Butler I am quoting from the web article by Judith Butler: ”

So if a crime against humanity had become in some sense “banal” it was precisely because it was committed in a daily way, systematically, without being adequately named and opposed.

….What had become banal – and astonishingly so – was the failure to think

….Indeed, her indictment of Eichmann reached beyond the man to the historical world in which true thinking was vanishing and, as a result, crimes against humanity became increasingly “thinkable”. The degradation of thinking worked hand in hand with the systematic destruction of populations. 

…./..but for Arendt the consequence of non-thinking is genocidal, or certainly can be.

….Kant (…) to him every man was a legislator the moment he started to act; by using his ‘practical reason’ man found the principles that could and should be the principles of law.”

All this refers of course to the Eichman trial in Israel and to Germany, the Nazis and the Holocaust. But you can see that I am equating common sense with ‘thinking’ with critical thought, with the notion that it is every human’s responsibility to ‘think’ and to act responsibly.
I understand that I have a problem in this line of my thinking, to think is not necessarily to make choices that are non-oppressive, non-violent, non-conformist.. In fact the result of that thinking can be the conclusion that it is indeed profitable to be a swine or violator or cog in the machine, for reasons of comfort, wealth and power.
How can I direct my argument and thinking towards a middle way? A path of responsible and frugal living within means, living that does not exploit the natural resources, wildlife or human life? Can I make my arguments on this precipice at the edge of the safe world? Humanitarian? Maybe we need a new term to describe the holistic living on the planet among each other.
Am I a complete hypocrite? Even my poverty is relative wealth, in fact it is incredible wealth. And this is afforded because of others who have none as well as because of others who make an incredible amount of profit.
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It is hard forming an understanding of the world and the many issues that we face when “we have moved from a solid to a fluid phase of modernity, in which nothing keeps its shape, and social forms are constantly changing at great speed, radically transforming the experience of being human.” (Zygmunt Bauman’s thesis in Liquid Modernity) [http://www.culturewars.org.uk/2004-02/identity.htm] The motions of dehumanization might be easier described initially as devaluation of humans. In a similar sense to how a woman is not fully human (quote all the big thinkers from my notes) and may need her womb coaxing into place to calm her, in a similar way as ‘Others’ are not fully human, Others have always been also those of the lower classes, the lower the less fully realized human. Today broad swathes of society fall off the wagon (as Zygmunt Bauman) says, and as ‘progess’ increases speed, jumping back on becomes night impossible. People once unemployed are easily rendered redundant in the full meaning of the word that resigns them to the same heap of Waste as our collective consumer goods packaging and half eating weekly grocery purchases.. (pick a corresponding quote from Wasted Lives, Zygmunt Bauman)

dissertation notes

Experts said: ‘just a defoliant’

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http://www.chemistry-inthinking.co.uk/blog-post/10648/bodyscanners.htm

“The violence thing: I am continuously bewildered at the absolute stupidity of man. In man’s far too abundant procreating, Man’s idea that economic growth can be ongoing (try expanding a balloon indefinitely… were these people never children? balloons explode eventually, nothing NOT even the universe can accommodate eternal growth) ” –

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/11/vintage-shoe-fitting-x-ray-machines-will-zap-your-feet/

“Shoe-Fitting Fluoroscope”

http://news.slashdot.org/story/11/09/01/1958204/EPIC-Uncovers-Mobile-Scanners-Not-Certified-People-Scanners

Rapiscan by Rapiscan

Bodyscanners : (from http://www.chemistry-inthinking.co.uk/blog-post/10648/bodyscanners.htm)

In topic 2.3 the Assessment statement is “Describe the electromagnetic spectrum”. To make this more relevant to students you could describe briefly how body scanners work as there are in fact two main methods in use which use very different regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. One uses ‘back scatter X-rays’. These provide a two-dimensional image by detecting the scatter patterns of the ionising radiation reflected from the body. In airport scanners one image is taken of the front of the passenger and one of the back. The use of image enhancing software enables airport security staff to see a virtual image of the passenger beneath their clothing with the hope that objects such as weapons, explosives and drugs are revealed. Although X-rays are used it is claimed that the dose received by the passenger is less than that received during two minutes of flying and is virtually harmless.

The second type of body scanner uses even less harmful rays. These are known as millimetre wavescanners and may be passive or active. Both use radiation in the radio frequency (just below the tetrahertz region where the wavelength is between 0.10 mm and 1.0 mm). Passive scanners record only the raw energy that is emitted from the body (or concealed objects) and direct no energy at the passenger. In active scanners the radiation is transmitted from two antennae as they rotate around the body. This is the system in use at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam and some other EU airports. Like the back scatter X-ray system it allows screeners to see the surface of the skin beneath the clothing. Some individuals and organisations have complained that it is a breach of privacy and in the case of passengers under the age of 18 there is concern that it could contravening the UK Children’s Act by producing indecent images of minors.

beginning a journey

I like to read a little before I go, but in a non-commited way. I did read Alan’s blog on Ashtanga and life in Mysore. http://www.alanlittle.org/yoga/mysorediary.html

Now I feel nostalgic about those days where you could just arrive and that was ok.

I did just that, perhaps in the last few months when that was possible. My plane touched down in Chennai, I had NO idea how I was going to get to Mysore except I did see a rail line on a map, so I igured: if there’s a train then I’ll just get on it. NOTHING is as easy as one might think and it was very interesting how incredibly difficult buying a train ticket can be and how many windows and offices I had to go to, and stairs needed climbing with a phenomenal amount of luggage. Traveling light? Not me.. It was like moving a mountain each time I had to go to another window, and they sent me back and forth and my did I need the toilet…

Eventually I got my ticket (just as I thought perhaps I should book into a hotel and try with an emptier bladder and lighter load). I sat among a crowd of people who found me blowing my nose incredibly fascinating. I have never been watched so intently, for 3 hours. If the cow really stood among the crowd I can not say with certainty now, but I think it did.

India.

As soon as I found my spot on the train a second or 3rd tier bunk, inches from the ceiling I had just about enough time to marvel at the ‘air conditioning system’ (a flock of metal ventilators attached at all angles to the ceiling) before falling into a very deep slumber.

When I woke we were barely 2 hours from arriving in Mysore. I still had all my luggage which I had chained with the cheapest little lock to something and then fell asleep on top of it. The view outside disappointed me, so many plastic bags.. how could that be? The scent of Mysore Train station met me unprepared. I got out of there as fast as I could.

Then a rickshaw, to Gokulam. With no idea whatsoever if we were driving in circles or going straight there. In retrospect I now know the rickshaw driver was super helpful and drove the most direct route. He drove me up and down streets and I was tired and weary. And eventually I was dropped at Tina’s breakfast place. About which I had read in the not so high brow ‘Yoga School Dropout’. It didn’t take 6 hours and I had been taken under the wings by Agnius, who passed on his scooter, introduced me to Shiva, who arranged a place for me for less than I expected to pay.

In the afternoon I went to the shala, told Sharath that I spoke to Guruji on the phone and he had said “you come” and that was that.

By the end of the first day I had friends, a bed and was enrolled at the shala.

Overall I like to have a rough idea, but I do like to arrive and just trust that everything will be just right. I frequently show up in cities and countries without the faintest idea where I will sleep. I like it that way, but one does need to be prepared to be very tired, too. I once arrived in London and just trusted the world. It was 4am before someone took me in. On reflection THAT was not the very best idea..

But it worked fine and well in Morocco, Thailand, Spain, Cambodia and India.

interesting guy, am sometimes not sure if I agree or disagree (various you tube clips)  but feel I can get my teeth into this, follow his arguments sufficiently to have thoughts in response or against.

I feel like this dissertation is like a puzzle for which I haven’t got the picture to work with and to add to the difficulty there are pieces missing, a lot of pieces..

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democracy- kind of idol. .. torture to defend … principle to be invoked.. doesn’t matter if invoked on behalf of democracy or religion = wrong

democracy, diplomacy…..  ‘most people are neither good nor bad, they try and survive..’

 Immigrants as Scapegoats / Alain Touraine.   Anti-immigrant attitude was equal before the war etc… ~3.00

memories of night-time

a scene for a play, and a drama was had all the way.. When I look back now 3-4 years later I am aware of my incredible luck. This and any number of places could have been the scene of murder. But that night, when I took this photographs I was fighting with my reality and someone else’s. I was lucky to keep hold of mine; only just. [sept 3rd 2011]

 

 

dissertation notes:

‘democracy’ is not just an empty word. It seems that democracy lost its meaning, became empty. Empty because it was so much taken for granted. Taking for granted a reality that populations had to work hard, if not fight hard to establish is a mistake. I forgot where I read this, but if you have to fight for it then it is no natural right. This goes just the same for the equality of women and women’s rights, feminism. These are tired words to many, but if we let the words slip into emptyness we lose what they support.

Ryszard Kapuscinski says on page 40-41: “At the same moment the Cold War was ending, the division of the planet into opposing blocs was ending, and a new world was taking shape, more mobile and open than before.” This is an optimism that I remember well, it is bewildering how the world changed from such an optimistic and fertile future to where we are now, an age where little got better and much worse.

Kapuscinski continues:” Two factors were especially conductive too all this mobility and freedom. The first was the rebirth of the spirit of democracy, which started at the close of the past century. The era of military coups and military regimes was ending, and so was the era of dictators, one-party systems, economic autarky, censorship and borders fenced with barbed wire.”[except that within 15-20 new fences with barbed wire would be build with little opposition. Israel and America established firm ‘blocks’ of impenetrable power when they put up their fences and walls, which are patrolled heavily.. The era of military coups may have been ending but it is today replaced with an era of American supremacy towering ever higher of the western perception and in dominance over a wide number of countries. The military coups are not gone, they have changed appearance and they are also often still instigated as before by American government. One just needs to look at any selection of John Pilger documentaries and it becomes clear that military coups that have been are not gone. ‘Deplacement’ of secular governments continues (see Noam Chomsky on Humanism on You Tube, 2nd video?).

Toppling of regimes that don’t play ball continues. It is so widely practiced, how do we live witht he lies that our countries go to war over? I believe in shared responsibility. It is not enough to say ‘but what can little I do? I have no say’. It simply is not enough to not be informed, I feel that to at least be a witness is a minimum responsibility of any citizen, especially us who are privilged with the luxuries that 1/3 of the world population dreams of. “Human kind can not bear very much reality” wrote T.s Eliot in Burnt Norton/Four Quartets.

http://vimeo.com/26412969

But it is a reality human kind creates and therefor of utter importance that it sees what it does. I believe in seeing is the seed of changing. Seeing, condemning, judging, speaking up and out. A million small voices are not invisible nor inaudible to the world. I believe that small but continuous actions are important. Awareness that we CAN bear, activity that we CAN maintain. A lot of small steps regularly make for more gain in the long term than one big step each. This is my approach to environmental awareness, to slave labor, to human rights. I maintain a 10% effort to actively do something about my rubbish & it’s recycling. I avoid packaging, but not in the way that is unsustainable and impossible to keep up without changing life entirely to hippy living in the local park and living of other people’s refuse. But a 10% or 20% effort in avoiding wrapped goods and choosing unwrapped goods first can be maintained easily. It also becomes habit and ceases to be an effort. That is making the change I want to see.. “BE the change you want to see” Gandhi.

The practice goes for the type of products I consume. A house rule is: Buy no coffee unless it is fair trade. Buy no bananas unless they are fair trade and if possible also organic or at least one or the other. Buy no chocolate unless it is fair trade. This is my voice. The action of consuming is my voice for the world to hear. I am financially very restricted but I made a vow that luxury items chocolate and coffee should not be my luxury on the expense of child labour, bonded labour, misery and slavery. Bananas, I decided to simply not even look at the price of cheaper bananas, it is my responsibility in the world to act as I know gives me the strongest voice, gives change for better the strongest voice. I am under no illusion that the banana, coffee or chocolate trade will change significantly from my or the collective purchase of these fair-goods. But what will be made clear will be our collective support, at the annual bookkeeping events of calculating how much was spent on fairness they will see how strongly we feel about justice. Some of this does positively affect the farmers and producers and I am sure some won’t. But being defeatist and not supporting the chance of change would be not only cynical but just incredibly hopeless behavior. People have changed their realities, women got the vote, slave labor in the cotton fields of America was abolished. That women lose their lives over being sold into slavery, that 27 million people  today are in bonded labour and in slavery does not change that what has in the past been thought impossible by many has become possible and serves as a beacon of light to the future in which we can make the impossibility of abolishing women and children sold into the sex-trade possible. We can make labor fair, but only if we all choose to support out words and ideal with actions.

Kapuscinski continues:”Democracy was becoming fashionable, no one objected to it, and even the most undemocratic parties had the adjective ‘democratic’ in their names.

This pro-democratic atmosphere has been enormously conductive to human mobility. The world is in motion on an unprecedented scale. People o the most varied races and cultures are meeting each other all over this more and more populated planet. If formerly, traditionally, in saying “Others’ we simply meant non-Europeans, now these relations are as extensive and varied as they can be, on a never-ending scale of possibilities covering all races and cultures – for the Chinese Others will be Malaysians and Indians, for the Arabs they will be Latin Americans and Congolese – the number of combinations is huge. A new Other has been born: a non-European who is Other in relation to another non-European…”

on a different note (the one about the chicken):

Nun wir wissen ja was wir machen müssen, wenn schon nicht vegetarisch/vegan, dann doch wenigstens biologisch und auf freiem Hof gehaltene Hühner kaufen. Ganz einfach. Vom Markt kaufen. Auch das GANZE Huhn kaufen hilft insgesammt sehr. Der Verkauf von dem Resthuhn was nach Brust und Keule übrigbleibt macht nämlich echt Hühnerfarmern in Entwicklungsländern zu schaffen, die verlieren ihr Einkommen wegen unserm luxus-konsum-verhalten. Das Resthuhn wird in große Blocks geforen dort dann am Markt vom Eisblock abgehackt zum super billigpreis verkauft. Der Handel mit Ortsnahem Huhn von der Farm nebenan wird unterboten und somit verlieren viele ihre Lebenserhatungsmöglichkeiten! ALSO nochmal: Öko Huhn kaufen oder langsam auf vegan/vegetarisch umschulen.. 😉

and now in english:

Now but we know what we can do. If not changing over to vegetarian/vegan then at least purchasing organic and free-range chicken is very easy. Buy from a local farmers market. And also buy WHOLE chicken when possible. After our luxury-consumption of just the breast and drumsticks: the sale of the remaining chicken wrecks havoc with the local economy in developing countries. The income potential of local farmers and sales merchants there is dangerously impacted. WHy? Our chicken-remainders are frozen into big blocks and those shipped then sold at far away markets. Vendors chip off the required amounts and the prices of the secondary grade chicken are so low no local producers can keep up. This is not good news as it destabilized local economies. People lose their livelihoods, successful businesses crumble. All on the back of our consumption preferences. SO: buy the ORGANIC chicken or at very least free range and be very sceptic about the free range label, buy from local sources try to avoid the supermarket. WIth the organic chicken you also don’t get the chemicals, growth hormones and medicines that can be fed to free-range. Be the change…..

dissertation notes: after the break

5 Rhythm Dance with Gabriella Roth

“The question what on earth are you actually writing your dissertation on?” would be particularly appropriate..

Is it Tarantism, 5 Rhythm Dancing, Sufi dance? Pina Bausch, Butoh, what’s with all that dance by the way? The physical, something to do with the physical. Oh yes I did do Physical Theatre, a fantastic experience I may add, learning about a body in space and how that body can be very high status or equally entirely infintissimally irrelevant.

Violence, nightmares, children’s stories that I call Fairy tales then Folk tales, the next minute I’m at Mythology and Myths and Greek Tragedy.

To be fair I am always interested in the traumatic, the inhuman, the power against weakness, the exhaustion of the body to limits of fragile clinging on, violence, the wronging of others, the chorus, the herd, the threat of the group, the unseen, the Other. The richer, the stronger, the male, the dominant.

I am still at loss how to make more formal all these strands that pop in and out of the picture. Human rights violations, enslavement, genocide, torture, abuse, violence, threat..

 

dissertation: trying to remember what the point was

Originally I had the view that what was present with respect to human nature, human imagination of cruelty, within fairy tales was also present in the real lived lives of people. If it was imaginable then it was also happening, applied to past present and future of mankind.

I have been asked what interests me in Fairy Tales and Myths. And Folk Tales. I have at last come up with a definition for myself of fairy and folk tales. That is that I think of Folk Tales as the origin with Fairy tales the softer children’s version. I may be very wrong in this, but to be honest I can’t be bothered going in circles with this anymore, so I’ll stick to my definition until someone enlightens me otherwise.

Myths, very similar to Folk Tales in many ways but I think they also have a religious relationship. And then there is Greek Tragedy, my primary focus has been for many years: Antigone.

I have been getting stuck at the beginning of my dissertation for weeks now. I keep returning to the start unable to proceed to the middle or maybe end. And I have lost the ‘point’ along the way, aware that I didn’t have a point as such at all, but a barely tangible idea..

I think a journey into trying to understand human nature while also having strong preconceived as well as experienced ideas about it.

 

artist whose website and name I lost              Yoga Asana

 

photographer: Phil Hargreaves                                                    Yoga Asana

 

from a horror movie   (three extremes)                                      Pillobolus Dance Company (yoga)

 

Matthew Stone ‘Children of the gods’                                   from a Butoh performance on

…………………………………………………………………………………..dailymotion: “Dance of Darkness,

…………………………………………………………………………………..A Documentary on Butoh”

artist: Emma Critchley

artist: Emma Critchley

 

 

 

     

The first image is the least relevant, the remaining 5 images kind of do make you look twice, where does the rock end, the body begin, what is happening here, how is it composed and put together. I find these images very aesthetic but it’s not what I was looking for with my work. Beauty was not the idea, even if I did slip into beauty. Or maybe beauty was the idea. I seem to have forgotten, but these black and white works by Bill Brandt don’t quite express it. I think what is useful in looking at these works is that they bring a little clarity with them about purpose and intention. My personal intention is often muddled, large and contradictory, which gives work a lot of room to not work. This work of Bill Brandt seems quite cool, quite formal, quite sober. Is it expressive? Using the body in abstraction is something that interests me, it is an approach that messes with the humanity of the body depicted. Where are the boundaries between the human form and the human content?

My second set of photographs that I developed myself and shot to a brief at Foundation Studies was on the theme of abstractions and fragments. I have a set of photos that remind me strongly of Bill Brandt. The cropping a tool to abstract. But I feel it is an easy-way-out tool. I want to do everything I can, everything possible with the camera and with the lens and the body without tricks, without cropping, without post-production planned at production stage. I want to do all that before I then allow the tricks. I am not sure where this puritan approach comes from or even what it’s use is, why not after all take the smoother route, why struggle. Does that make the image work better? I am not sure but it might have something to do with a potentially false sense of honesty of the image.

I want to make something that really could be like the way you see it on a photograph, if you saw it as a performance/live event you would see the same. Maybe it is this performance information that influences how I make my images.

What was Bill BRandt’s background? How did he make images?

This question of “who were you” in order to understand who you are has only recently really moved to the foreground of my research. It surely is basic and should have been there all along, but one can be so swamped in ‘the New’ where it is hard to absorb and take in all this amazing new information, it can be hard to be appropriately critical and have all the basic questions in mind.

But now a coffee break. I’ve been on this machine for 5 hours, my eyes are square. But it’s been  good to start bringing in the still images that I had half forgotten about. This helps give a little structure to the thoughts. Not that I could claim that they are functioning thoughts, they are more like empty balloons… full of potential to take off but for now a bit flat.

notes on Supermax prisons, scatterback scanners and dehumanizing ‘others’

actually: first just a loooong list of URL so I don’t lose them:

Giorgio Agamben. From Guantanamo to Auschwitz. 2005

http://prisonphotography.wordpress.com/pete-brook/

http://newphotographics.org/

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1405303500/prison-photography-on-the-road-stories-behind-the

http://www.wideyed.org/index.htm

http://blindboys.org/

a bit of a sidestep and not dissertation material..

http://www.wimpywombat.net/rickroderick/mp3/3%20Self%20Under%20Siege%20-%20Philosophy%20in%20the%2020th%20Century/Rick%20Roderick%20-%20Self%20Under%20Siege%20(Philosophy%20in%20the%2020th%20Century)%20-%2005%20-%20Habermas%20And%20The%20Fragile%20Dignity%20Of%20Humanity.mp3

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/08/201185145425908206.html

http://holdthisspace.org.au/zizek-prisons-justice-and-investment/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/aug/24/tough-luck-in-riot-crackdown

http://www.globalpolicyjournal.com/

Badiou on Truth

http://www.criticalglobalisation.com/Issue4/138_146_POLITICAL_SEMANTICS_JCGS4.pdf

Derrida / Stanford
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/derrida/

Baudrillard at EGS
http://www.egs.edu/faculty/jean-baudrillard/bibliography/

Zizke and Violence
http://www.lacan.com/zizfrance.htm
Some Politically Incorrect Reflections on Violence in France & Related Matters •
1. Violence, Irrational and Rational

Bauman: Riots
http://www.social-europe.eu/2011/08/the-london-riots-on-consumerism-coming-home-to-roost/

Soliary Watch / Supermax Prisons
http://solitarywatch.com/2011/08/10/supermax-prisons-21st-century-asylums/

Jan Stürman – social photography
http://www.albinocrow.com/projects/miracle-portraits/miracle-portraits.html

Butoh / Ghosts of premodernity
http://utexas.academia.edu/ShannonMoore/Papers/760927/Ghosts_of_Premodernity_Butoh_and_the_Avant-Garde

Erich Fromm
http://www.sterneck.net/utopia/funk-fromm/index.php

The trouble with being human these days, Zygmunt Bauman
http://www.culturewars.org.uk/2004-02/identity.htm

The New Significance
http://www.thenewsignificance.com/
About
“The New Significance” was set up to explore possibilities for revolutionary change in the 21st Century. This effort rests on some underlaying propositions. For example:…”

Article on Hannah Arendt ‘Banality of Evil’ may be useful for dissertation:
http://www.thenewsignificance.com/2011/08/31/judith-butler-hannah-arendts-challenge-to-adolf-eichmann/

Free the Slaves
https://www.freetheslaves.net/SSLPage.aspx?pid=309

Freedom and Beyond – Documentary
http://www.freetheslaves.net/Page.aspx?pid=317

dehumanizing all those who don’t fit the bill, adieu to you Homo Sacer

today I listened to an article on NPR about spiritual warfare, in it disturbing news of very widely spread evangelical ‘apostles’ who speak about the 7 mountains that they will conquer and free from demons, the mountains are the Arts, Gay Rights/homosexuality, business…. No tolerance to tolerance and repenting the sin of having been previously tolerant… Muslims have to be freed from the demon that stops them from converting to christianity, Sarah Palin has to be protected from witchcraft… the list of horrifically backward thinking, re-awoken and presented live in the 21st century is long.

The hope that we may live in a balanced and tolerant society sometime soon is shrinking, I can not quite comprehend how such utterly ridiculous fanatical, fundamentalist boogey story style thinking can penetrate any educated and thinking person’s mind. It feels like the advances science and critical thinking have made are going to be cast down in favour of a culture that will be frighteningly like that of the 17th century where Women in the western world were accused of having angry wombs that had to be pacified with enforced sex.

I want to believe in a world of mutual tolerance and relative understanding, a world in which we think rationally (or as rational as religious thought will allow at least, moderate religious thought.. I had not accounted for the possibility of religious fundamentalism growing into such proportions that I see a chance that it will affect my day to day life in adverse ways).

It is just too unbelievable. The stupidity and greed for power of those promoting this absolute disgrace is limitless..
This makes it even more important to read more, educate oneself better to be prepared and armed against indoctrinations in the future. I don’t think the general complacency of population that ‘this is too mad and therefor will not cause a problem’ is well placed. I think it is careless and negligent, hard won democracies, freedoms of speech, freedoms of expressions and lifestyles have to be protected and upheld.

I see economic misery playing right in the hand of religious extremists of all denominations. After all the ‘reasonable’ are less likely to play dirty tricks and much less likely to rule by sensationalism.. However this age of reason was also the age in which we praised idiocy and stupidity over knowledge. Big Brother just the biggest dollop in that case..

——–

In the face of such rhetoric it is incredibly hard to try and follow the line of thought I was working on, about the dehumanization of individuals & groups. I wish I had the ability to articulate so well that the madmen of the world had no more arguments, but it seems that an incredible number of individuals are very happy to follow the most ridiculous of ideologies. What makes them accept obviously ridiculous propositions as truth worth supporting and living by? How stupid are people? Is it a matter of education? It appears even the educated join these groups.

I seek refuge in the wisdom of Amartya Sen, yet he doesn’t offer solutions, I have visions of Zizek being hung, drawn and quartered would he cross the path of these self proclaimed Evangelical apostles.

I worry about the future of the society of relative reason that I grew up in and I worry more that the threat to reason is not obvious enough to people. It will be like irreversible changes in welfare system, nobody will speak up until it is too late. What concerns me is the proximity to leadership that these ‘nutcases’ have. Protecting Sarah palin from witchcraft.. She must have agreed to this or else would surely have told the particular priest/pastor to take his hands of her head. What if an American president, with america’s international policies being as invasive as they are, was to believe in this utter nonsense? How would that affect the world?

Why is religious warfare still alive and vibrant? Why has it not yet been relegated to the past? I am fearsome of violence induced by fanaticism, it is not something to reason or argue with. Send Zizek to America, I would feel better if he had a word….

————-

Today I was approached by a man with a questionnaire about 2-D versus 3-D cinema. I wanted to throw it at him and ask him if he really thinks that anyone cares and had he perhaps noticed what state the world is currently in? It now makes me angry when people live in their fluffy worlds ignorant of the rising economical, societal, environmental problems and ignoring all signs and calls to wake up. Who really gives a monkeys about 3-D cinema, who needs an MA with pretend specialist understanding of it? The questions were as always with tick boxes that allowed you to select agree and disagree on a scale of 5. And I can not even begin to understand why we are still ticking boxes.. I have never come across one of these questionnaire that asked me something relevant and allowed me to also answer in a relevant way.

I think this is a soft subject MA not really worth the time it will take to complete. Reality removed. Or maybe I concede: it depends what reality we choose to live in, the one that protects out fantasy privileges or the one that is rooted in fantasy but does nothing to protect this terrain…

notes 26 August 2011

Kohl said that the fast changing world and it’s insecurities are not excuse for Germany not knowing where it wants to be- this is with regards to Germany’s foreign policies and the recent visit of Obama to Euope in wich he did not visit German. In the past it would have been unthinkable that an American president passes on a visit to germany when in Europe. This Kohl suggests bodes very unwell for Germany’s future, he suggests the country will lose it’s international standing if it continues to be unclear about it’s foreign policies.

“Wir müssen wieder für andere erkennbar und deutlich machen, wo wir stehen und wo wir hin wollen” http://www.zeit.de/politik/deutschland/2011-08/interview-kohl-kritik

I have to admit I was uncomfortably surprised that an American president would not visit Germany, I took it for granted that Germany has an important position, one which is close to America the big ‘friend’. (Then I also remember that it is not 1990 and I have since learnt all manner of truths about the big ‘friend’ who is more akin to a big tyrant.). I do wonder if this ‘disinterest’ of the American president has something to do with Germany staying relatively low key in current international war mongering (not that I am unaware of it’s flourishing arms sales..).

It surprises me that I take light offense (indignation) at Obama not making a visit to Germany.
As a German I feel snubbed. Now this is doubly strange: “I as a German” this is not a description that I associate with or place in the forefront of who I am, normally I am human and a citizen of the world or at least Europe. It is revealing how easily my certainty of who I am and who I am not and how I define these is scratched and revealed are aspects of myself that I am surprised by. I have somehow inherited a some motherland-pride, a pride in what I think is good about Germany, and also it’s akin to family-pride. You might not like them very much, you might not speak fondly of them, but you’ll know where you stand when someone offends that family..

So here is identity. I am German, I am a woman, I am Birgit. I used to think of myself as Birgit who is a human, for whom a sense of justice is paramount, who is an artist, who cares about the environment, who loves books and owns many of them, who likes cats, cycles and doesn’t walk, buys organic and fair trade when possible, doesn’t eat animals although she is inconsistent in this claim and eats fish. Birgit used to paint her walls yellow and once gold and likes to learn about far away places and is an escapist in a world that doesn’t leave much room for escaping. Now Birgit is confronted with national pride or something like that; and it surprises her. Is this quantitatively speaking a large part of her? This question is important because how far would this identification with this identity go? In the case of Birgit possibly not so far, but it becomes imaginable how people identifying with being German may respond differently than those who are German but who identify so strongly with their professions, vocations or ideals that their participation in being German is reduced. ..

I am trying to get at the idea of warfare, racism, pitching one against the other, internal rifts that create hard to bridge class-gulfs.

I like…

Edin Velez

I like his style, butI have an niggle with that there is this disjointed fashion at the moment. Choppy, dislocated, fractured, ruptured.. A few people are doing well out of it. But it is appearing quite a trend..
But then: she’s good at it.

And I unreservedly love this woman’s work, colleague from Goldsmiths:
Noam Edry

dissertation notes in clips and images

lectures:

short talks and definitions:

C. G. Jung about the insanity of living without myth

C.G. Jung : Reinvesting in the Inner Life

The World Within: C.G. Jung In His Own Words Part 2 of 6


Erich Fromm Interview Excerpt 2
he also speaks about John Stuart Mill : http://www.constitution.org/jsm/women.htm


‘You can’t be a sweet cucumber in a Vinegar Barrel’ A Talk with Philip Zimardo

lovely magazine
“Social Europe” (Zygmunt Bauman writes for them regularly)
http://www.social-europe.eu/

essay: Zizek on riots in Londone Review of Books

article:

time for a brain-break: Bubblegum for children:
Spuki das Schloßgespenst

Now to some Butoh:

BUTOH: A SEETHING CAULDRON / Lesley Eleanora Boyce-Wilkinson

Butoh Bibliography

Perception in Butoh Dance / Toshiharu Kasai and Kate Parsons

Butoh / neuer Japanischer Ausdruckstanz

Butoh Film

Butoh Hintergrund

Towards The Bowels of the Earth
Butoh Writhing in Perspective

Ghosts of Premodernity

The Japanese Artistry of Butoh – Dance

dissertation notes: about Chorus / in vain I will away (12/2010)

Birgit R. Deubner
Chorus / in vain I will away

medium: c-type photographic print
size: full and half size editions are available

More information:
Primary concerns within this work are the artist’s long-term involvement in working with the body in unconventional ways; a conversation with classical painting; a keen interest in political / societal concerns developed from an engagement with folk tales, mythology and religious parables.

To me the work is politically informed, the value of being human, the ease with which humanity is lost, dehumanizing takes place all too easily, and normality is in state of flux in which loss of identity of another easily occurs un-noticed, un-objected. My personal fear is fed when I perceive the fragility of an individual in society but I live with an undercurrent of optimism with which I believe in the strength of the potentially same individuals.

Another political position of the work is its engagement with the female body searching for ways of claiming it as universally significant body not representative of female concerns but universally human concerns. Attempting to distance a female body from the; easily falling into narrow enclosures of; feminist discourse is generally a problematic endeavor, but I am searching for ways to speak about humanity without falling into league with a gender camp. Of course feminism is in this time of recession a concern of refreshed urgency.

This project is trying to address a universal aspect of timeless and also very contemporary human condition.
Be it the literary journey of Dante through purgatory and the circles of hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy or parallels in contemporary life, the ugly and the beauty of human experience and capability.
I don’t think I propose answers or fixed positions in my work, rather questions, observations, sometimes serious, at other times with elements of humor. I search and I always find more question which lead to further searches. I work at highest possible quality across a spectrum of mediums, incorporating drawing, film, photography, installation, light, ambience. I locate my practice in concerns rather than a particular medium.

Dissertation notes 22/08

Dissertation Notes August 22nd 2011

Images of violence precipitating art (precipitate is not the right word)
1. Abu Ghraib
2. Botoh
Death by a 1000 cuts
I am critical of Botero’s project of painting and drawing of the Abu Ghraib spectacle. The effect of illustrating
It is seductive, the work reads like a pornography of violence // Botero’s voluptuous curvy figurative painting style sits ill with the severity of the subject matter. On opening the book I am (as intended) repulsed by the images’ content, yet I am attracted to the orgy of sensuality that is Botero’s style. This problematizes the work.

[ previously I also thought that beauty may attract an audience to a subject that otherwise they may shut their eyes to.]

It is more beautiful and attractive than it ought to be, given it’s intention to be sided with anti-torture and Pro-human rights positions. What the work offers instead is diluted and trivialized. This work is rather imaginable on the walls of an abuse-fetishist, a radically xenophobic, pro-westerner for whom these drawings and paintings could fill the gap that the Abu Ghraib photographs left void: they were trophy photographs but not objects of beauty. I see Botero’s work naively falling into a field of promoting Abu Ghraib and its wider implications, not as intended condemning it.
This standpoint creates problems for myself. My own work, too falls into the ‘trap’ of being just a little too beautiful which dilutes it’s strengths of expression. I thought; until the moment of opening Botero’s book; that it was a good thing to work with images that emerge from Abu Ghraib and other abusive and violent events. I have in the past used newspaper photographs and created charcoal drawings, I thought this was really good work. The moment I opened Botero’s book changed all that, I don’t know how we can today use those images without falling prey to those interpretations that will see this as a glorification of the events. How can work respond, be memorial but not be promotional tool? How not to feed the propaganda we oppose? Botero’s succulent depictions of abuse, humiliation and torture are shocking but remain in the field of voyeurism.
Copying an image in the artist’s own signature style does not criticize the image, even if that is the intention. [the intention has to be clear not just intended] Without a foreword, which expresses a firm stance against the abuses at Abu Ghraib I could just as easily assume this work is in favour. What is assumed by the artist is my (the viewer’s) moral / ethical standpoint, but this is influenced by culture, accessibility to neutral and varied knowledge and propaganda. If I was to take the position that those ‘detainees’; who are not prisoners and therefore not enough to fall under the Geneva convention; they are indeed deserving of everything they get, are less human, more bestial and worthy of my loathing THEN I could see Botero’s work as a victory affirming my position. Showing violence alone does not criticize it sufficiently.

Now I have a problem. Up until the moment I considered Botero’s work I did think that showing violence was criticising violence. However this us assuming shared moral values. However if for some the images of violence are as the sights of the chopped of heads of the crussades and religious inquisitions were to those righteously claiming that they were indeed acting in the interest of ‘god’ THEN there is a problem. Those were almost unarguable actions, argue against them and your head was next. For the crussaders these heads were the confirmation of triumph.

Chapman Project Zygotic:
I have a passionate dislike and loathing for the Chapman brothers but admit an admiration for their tenacity, however I wish they would apply themselves to something less gory and sensational. I include thoughts I first had when I first saw this work in 1997 or -98 and loathed it intensely. I would like to revisit that sense of anger and see if I can add to my previous essay.

Dins says in a youtube video:” ..if you enter the train of making art, the presupposition is that a work of art however nasty it is that ultimately it must serve some morally profound ambition. It still must be attached to the notion of progress, enlightenment, goodness and all nice things. What happens if you make a work of art where you might say ‘no’ it’s only nasty.”

[HUNT FOR THAT ESSAY!]

Dissertation notes 20/08

Dissertation notes August 20th 2011

Why I took away your face, my face, their face…
It begins with the feeling of being invisible, the insignificance of self in the context of the wider world. Of course there are times when I am very much aware and knowing that for the universe to be each and every particle is essential.
Then there comes the time of realization that my voice is denied. Wrong class, wrong gender, wrong age, wrong dialect… My humanity denied as I am sent through the machine that inspects every part of my physical body. Only my thoughts and soul remain for now inscrutable, invisible and wholly mine, but my physical body no longer belongs to me when it is examined, judged and scanned as any anonymous lump of meat, as object. This process implies that my body is a commodity and therefore desired yet also an implied carrier of danger and threat (or else it needn’t be scanned) and therefore despised, perhaps feared , certainly hated.

The exercises of making compliant vast numbers of individuals and in the process emitting a homogenous mass of aligned willing particles is disturbing to me but what is the method’s real aim, what are we primed to participate in?
I do not feel that my individuality is desired, praised or rewarded by ‘society’ .
[a point that I was reminded about : Zygmunt Bauman and Amartya Sen’s different backgrounds resulting in different takes and understanding on contemporary concerns and their histories and futures..]

I feel that increasingly individuals around me fit smoothly into the compliant porridge of people, who hear, see & say nothing, who can be fed ‘new news’ weekly – no matter how contradictory the content and show no sign of distress – which should be a prominent reaction and much less a sign of involvement or action. (odd wording – re-word)
The society we have become; fed on a steady diet of comforting TV-papp, consuming non-information and non-essential items in great capacities; until very recently was all about the “I” but not “I”- the independent individual- but I the serial consumer whose every whim and appetite that “I” had a right to sate.

I think a separation within the term “individual” took place. Separating independent thought, removing the impulse to make decisions independently, but leaving behind the empty shell with un-satiable appetite for consuming, comfort and pleasure.. [with this I am distributing the responsibility of loss of human/turn to commodity also to the consenting consumer]
Critical thinking is an un-pleasurable activity as it requires discipline and involvement unpractised by a population that enjoys surface entertainment that does not penetrate and does not require a lot of attention / engagement discipline. Our thinking capacities are collectively diluted and reduced. The average citizen is non-responsible and lazy in perception. The question ‘what causes this’ has to be asked as the symptom is not expression of generic, genetic inheritance but instead an inheritance of learnt culture. A culture of disengagement. Disengagement rewarded with material gain, engagement not necessarily punished but not rewarded either. (???)

What is then manifest is a mass of disconnected individuals; joined by superficial synaptic connections of the superficial pleasures (i.e shopping, drinking/intoxicating spending, sex, consuming). This is a mass of disconnected (entmündigt ) individuals

A certain Disorientation is only now setting in, years of ‘I am not responsible, someone else is’ are taking their toll. This kind of thinking is not trained to respond. Just a short time ago there was much talk about the de-politicised youth culture. I thought it was much worse and the general population’s culture was de-politicised and disinterested, political engagement un-cool as priority was placed on consuming and owning, owning was and remains the cool option; if one does not have then one is not as worthy as those who do have. From a you tube video interview with Erich Fromm this quote he read from Marx: “The less you are, the less you express your life, the more you have and the greater is your alienated life. Everything the economist takes from you in the way of life and humanity he restores to you in the form of money and wealth.” (Erich Fromm, To have or to Be) Erich Fromm asks the question: “ What is superior? To have or to be?” As long as shopping was unobstructed questions did not arise and the population remained asleep.

Years of little engagement beyond watching the drizzle of pleasure TV-papp, leave people helpless and powerless to participate in which way their society, country and future is going. Their greatest ambitions were all based on pleasure and accumulation and the manufacture of all aids to this end. Of course this is no training for living.
Worse, the pleasure culture and financial gains culture lost sight of essentials. One of the most important sources of power: knowledge, is eroded. Journalism for example is a profession that has been abused, cut and slashed employment positions, worldwide; Newsagencies across the country, but also across the globe, vanishing like the Dodo. The majority of our news are no longer news, they are now unchecked public services announcements, private company announcements, police and government announcements, which are then tweeted, copy and pasted around the globe at breakneck speed: almost all unchecked; who could check them with diminishing resources and the idea that full time, highly trained journalists now are not needed (when they are needed more than ever) and the reporting and sporadic checking down to individuals who are not necessarily unbiased, or are likely to not understand wider implications, are not trained to spot and question problems, inconsistencies etc..
(for this ‘Flat Earth’ author, journalist: Nick Davies you tube lecture is very informative: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbd3RQBkprw)

How secure is our status of human, of individual in a climate that relies on non-information for information? Who defends citizen against the erosion of their individuality and against their commodification? Where are the big ideas that save us from being led to the conveyor belt, sprayed down, scanned, ready for dispatch? For now we chose to travel for joyful reasons, holidays, further education and such. Many people around the world already have little choice but to choose to be dispatched for work, removed from their homes in order to survive or facilitate the survival and prospects of their families. Others still have no choice at all and are forcibly removed and dispatched for labour, for ‘use’ in other places, often places of which they do not speak the language and become very disempowered, losing ownership over their choices. Choices reduced to hope and non-hope.. [Future implications for the host countries also not taken into account, unless you return your labour batch they will potentially become a ‘problem’ in the future but that is not the focus of this text. Last point on this matter: I picture the potential future problems similar to the line of problems caused by colonization, Christianizing non-christians and therefore creating minority groups that now 200 years later are vulnerable to prosecution i.e. the Karen minority in Burma, the imported labour forces in India and Sri Lanka which over time caused great problems and violent frictions.. incomplete train of thought – not entirely relevant but kind of..]
Human Trafficking

The international movement of people and jobs, calling the less worthy ‘Other’ to do the job the indigenous population (we) would not want to exhaust, bore or dirty ourselves with. Let ‘them’ endure these working conditions, ‘they’ are used to it, or glad to do it. Bodies as commodities. In the process of ‘shipping’ they lose ownership of themselves, lose control over their conditions. Return to the point of origin, return home, with only limited possibilities (limited chance of returning home). Here I am thinking about the Dubay workers imported from Bangladesh, promised opportunities, but eventually exploited, left without pay, passport removed from them, without which they have no choice but to stay and endure sever hardship, while their families suffer yet more hardship than that which originally drove these workers to migrate and accept the job in unfamiliar and hostile to them location. (http://www.vbs.tv/en-gb/watch/vbs-news/the-slaves-of-dubai)
I am particularly interested in those workers who if they do not accept the conditions are faced with the threat of hunger, malnourishment, sickness or violence (to themselves and/or their families). Those workers who are held hostage in other locations, often not able to secure wages promised and their passport taken, which in such a situation renders anyone non-human as individuality and it’s basic rights are tightly linked to the ability to prove ones identity. These individuals lose their option to return to their point of departure. These humans are not deemed worthy of respect or rights, non-human, resigned to ‘thing’ for a purpose, which is to be used and then when redundant left to rot. Objects of use (desire) but disposed of they become despised (hated).

The trafficking of women: The using of bodies of desire, the shells desired, projection of desire onto these shells while the individual inside remains suppressed and loathed. Only a position of hate could allow a man to abuse and misuse the body of a woman in this way. The phenomenon of international ‘shipping’ of female bodies for sale, consumption and use by men is another example of the darkest and worst of what is part of being human. The trade of babies for sexual use, the rape of toddlers, children, women and ancient women, the forced gang rapes of countless brutal men who rupture orifices and organs, dislocate hips of the elderly and younger, cut off body parts to express power and hate. Humans are capable of worse than the worst that I have read about. The rape of Nankin, The rapes of women in Congo (fuelled by western love affair with mobile phone and gadget technology which need minerals found in Congo, the sale of which fuels the militia and their brutal reign, our direct involvement and condoning of violence palpable/tangible but most choose to close their eyes to these atrocities that fuel our luxuries. How dreadful it would be to not have all these toys that make out lives bearable, for we might have to wake and engage meaningfully would be not have playstations and i-pads and the latest i=phone…)..

T.s Eliot: ‘humans can not bear very much reality’ (Four Quartets)
Being human is not defined by being humane as I once thought, being human is defined by everything humans do and they do awful things as well as good. Globally I believe we are a species set to self destruct, the expressions of violence too frequent, too horrific. Death in the 1980’s seemed a clean affair. A shot with a bullet, never In the back, a slash with a knife, never the torturous, slow end by a thousand cuts, never the absolute darkest expressions of violence. This image nothing more than a testament to ignorance and to silence surrounding the rape of Berlin women by the Russians, the Khmer Rouge invasion of Pnohm Penh, the killing and poisoning of Vietnamese civilians (for decades to come) by America, Hiroshima where nothing was left to witness except absence…

The endemic and enduring legacy of hostility towards women in the origins of western thought (Aristotle, Kant, Rousseau….)
Humans turning on themselves, when there is no other discernible ‘Other’ then they will go out of their way to ‘other’ individuals/groups from within the ranks. This will never stop. (wome, hair colour, spiritual choices, facial features, all manner of ‘difference’ can be enough to endanger belonging and therefore security)

Removing the face & voice from people removes a lot of their human status, seeing them as bodies limited to status: object/thing is facilitated. Prisoners through the ages have had their heads covered their eyes bound blind. This is also reminiscent of those nightmares where the evil is unseen or can’t really be seen but is seen paradocically everywhere we turn.

[I am thinking of Henry Fuseli’s nightmare/incubus]
[Butoh – nightmare – de-human…]

1994 words

Dissertation notes 11/08

Dissertation notes August 11th 2011

Violence in its many forms accompanies many through life in nightmares, personal relationships, the experience of being a citizen when you see civil liberties and previously taken as certain rights of privacy and healthcare, security and movement. Violence begins with Coyote’s killing of the Road Runner http://www.metacafe.com/watch/2610460/coyote_kill_road_runner/, nightmares of unnamable threats, often in the shape of forest bandits or wild and deformed animals, the knowledge about the violence of the division of my home country http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nch5MbnvTqY, the expanding knowledge about the Holocaust, which as a child felt very long ago and I now know was still very fresh and recent, beginning to see violence in the actions of people in my surroundings, principally an encounter with twin brothers who without provocation pushed my throat shut with a firm grip, an event I found entirely bewildering. The stories of lurking danger from the darkness of unnamed strangers became more belivable , more fearsome from then on.
So one grows up, into a combination made-up reality of pretend-security and comfort instilled by Heidi, justice just as cowboy-s honour depicts it where nobody ever gets shot in the back and honesty held weight and won the day with it’s nonsensical flipside being the ever possible threat of the stranger who could be of danger, the realization that doing the right thing doesn’t stop others from attacking you.
Violence and Fear. Still for a long time one believes that dialogue and diplomacy can win the day, until one day you wonder if that really is so, because the evidence seems to be pointing into other directions, seems to contest this idea, which maybe is a phantasy.
Growing up I felt excluded from any conversation about the Holocaust, it felt to me that all I could be permitted to say was: ‘it was unjust, it was bad, it was criminal of Germany’. It felt like there was nothing to say, especially as I was German. The question of how did this happen was raised but it remained in my awareness on a superficial level, until I visited the Angkor Wat Photography festival in Cambodia. This festival presents a large number of documentary photography projects from around the world. I learn to see, accept and ask differently. Some years after this I arrived in Goldsmiths and with the question “Why are you interested in Folk Tales/Fairy tales/Mythological Tales?” And the ‘this work is whimsical” re-awoke my search for more understanding and a departure from the intuitive and the superficial understanding. I am not sure how deep I got, it seems to me that what I did was scratch the surface, cover a lot of ground looking at a wide range of violence issues. What interested me in the Tales was their root in reality, their root in present as past realities of life. The intrinsic range and truth of human nature, the human condition which I still can not understand how it can be contested but I am still searching for the understanding. I began on a quest to see what unites humans and with respect to security, status, strength, health, individual future found much that divides them.
I read about child torture, witchhunts that happen in Nigeria (?) and India, the excorcism of evil or witchcraft in children resident in the UK – just when I thought that witchhunts were a horror of the past and fabric of fairy tales I would find them right here in the UK and at least in India and Nigeria(?).
I read about interrogation techniques, about torture of political prisoners, of detainees who have not even the status of prisoner and fall outside the Geneva Convention, their status as human protected by nobody. I read about political events around the world, tried to understand their mechanisms, tried to understand their repercussions. One exceptionally violent repercussion of an apparently enlightening event: the fall of the Soviet Union, is the incredible boom in human trade. Specifically the trading of women for sale for sex. The further I dug the more I fell under the impression that we stopped living in under the umbrella of the 21st century and regressed to live in not the Middle Ages but the Dark Ages with the modern day addition of all manner of pc related gadgetry and i-pads, i-pods, i-macs, i=phones, which incidentally contain an ingredient which fuels the militia in Congo, who in turn gang rape babies, children and women of all ages right into their 80s, rupturing their bodies, dislocating their hips as so many militia force themselves upon them.. The images of Dante’s hell are no longer strong enough to capture the living hell, the hell that is today in many minds, places, homes, cities and countries.
When the evil step-mother is placed into a barrel which has sharp nails hammered into it so that when the barrel, containing the evil step-mother, is rolled down the hill she will be punctured with a thousand excruciating pricks, her flesh tenderized, then this reflects not merely the imagination of humans but also their ability to act out that same imagination. This particular punishment reminds me of the Japanese death by a thousand cuts, the slow and torturous death of an accused, a prisoner a victim. When in Fairy tales we read how an evil person is torturously punished then this reflects a past and present reality of a person’s tortured suffering, note the absence of evil.
Past and present / ts eliot
Evil is a conveniently emotive word, an amplification of emotion useful to motivate and make compliant the “enacters” of punishments, invasions, racist actions. Evil rarely is actually evil, like the word sublime it is very rarely used in it’s correct sense.

Human kind can not bear very much reality / ts eliot

and age where humans lose their spirit entirely

dissertation notes

SO what made me look at Hip Hop / Rap?

Really it happened somewhat by chance but was long overdue. I spend my time wishing the world was a better place, specifically that humans were a lot less flawed than they are. I am always feeling that surely it all much be blindingly obvious: we had the Easter Islands (ecologically speaking) and in a micro way saw what happens to a society when we don’t do our logical calculations: we run out of vital resources to allow our survival. A bit like shooting oneself in the head really. So 30 years I ago I worked it out: treat others at least reasonably ok and the environment ditto and well all be ok. Easy I thought age 5. Actually it took some thinking back then. But nevertheless I thought: Great, I worked it out, that must mean everyone older than me already has. Surely they are more wise.. I also thought that my contemporaries would catch up any day ‘now’.. HAD I realized… I’d have started a movement when I found my first conspirators around age 7-8. I though it was all such common sense there’d be nothing to worry about. We just had to do a bit of labouring, thinking, and explaning to some strays and voila: World = ok.

NOT so easy! Now I am looking for the solutions! There ought to be some. And I sometimes sit like a great mathematician, hoping for the Muse to strike and give me that moment of knowing HOW…

‘How’ is unlikely to come. Americans are speeding the exact opposite of ok’s arrival. What is the master plan, I am beginning to half accept genocide if it is for the survival of all people in mind, at least there’d be some greater good considered. HOWEVER. NO Genocide is acceptable, even less so as one can not trust the greater number of people in power as their mental capacities appear somewhat regressed into fight mode and nothing but fight mode.

How else can it be that be fuck up the planet where we can?

Ah I am digressing: How did I come to look at Hip Hop, I who has never in her life made any Attempt to engage with it before?

I think if not the Muse then Common sense struck me. And I by chance came accross Janelle Monae and

Ice Cube: Gangsta Rap made me Do It

Outkast: Rosa Parks

Killer Mike Feat Ice Cube: Pressure (embredding disabled):

Paris: The Devil made me do it

Immortal Technique: The Poverty of Philosophy

Dead Prez: They School

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one from way back when.

Public Enemy: Fight the Power

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Realized that something I was looking at this evening for ages (thinking I was frittering time) is possibly entirely relevant! I was looking at this cool indie/pop/Hip Hop video and realized the woman was quite political in a few ways, spoken and unspoken (wasn’t half naked for a change, that’s these days a political statement! seriously.).. Anyhow started googling, and found a list of top political hip hop songs and ha! Am on to something. It’ll probably only constitute 100 words or something silly like that but HEY these might be the otherwise 100 missing words! Not bad and feel more open minded in the process. Quite sad how closed we can be to things we don’t give time to, and they turn out important. The top song of the top 11 list: I heard when I didn’t even speak English that well, but I got the message even back then, only I actually DIDN’t get the message. And THAT was a shame. Although, it was due to me thinking the world was a better place, so I thought why are these singers so angry… doh! (that was a Bart Simpson doh sound), now I get it.. Ok, I must sleep. Oh and the hungry cat is back.. B. x ❤