the Myth of the Underground

May 24th, 2010 | 1 comment

in the darkness the shapes of the light (thx to JBurke for this photo)

Excerpt from an unpublished missive — the mythus of the underground.

The outsider, insubordinate, and risk-laden character of dance, legitimated in this sense through its criminalization, provides participants with an outlaw or rebel identity forged in an ambiguous relationship with the law. — Graham St John, Technomad@20

The underground resonates with flights from the drudgery of everyday life into realms of secrecy and substance, where liberated encampments of rebel fugitives revel in the immediatism of autonomous existence…

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    Canadian Colonialism — Conservative Style.

    May 8th, 2010 | 3 comments

    Canada's theocolonialist base gains new supporters from the South.

    As Harper’s Conservatives spearhead a G8 initiative on maternal health in impoverished countries, the government refuses to include funding for abortion (despite the obvious need for it — see this 2006 report). Perspectives of power:

    a/ Withholding abortion as a colonial weapon: Canada sets the 21C precedent in dictating the biotechnics of population control — and gender equality. In impoverished and poorly educated countries, patriarchal relations often restrict the use of contraception. No abortion, no choice, no knowledge, no change. Canada supports theopatriarchal systems of control, ignorance and governance.

    b/ What happens abroad is a fantasy for the homeland. Denying abortion to others is a display of power among the powerless, and nothing satisfies the theocolonialist base more than enjoying the spectacle of their leader wielding the primitive tool of phallogocentric power over the weak. (Withholding abortion is phallogocentrism at is height: the yield of the phallus must prevail at its most transcendental moment, when sperm are signified by the sacred.) Of course, political power games trump true beneficence — we could say the Hippocratic Oath with strings attached yields hypocritical health. This charitable gift from Canada is theocolonialism by any other name; it bears historical precedence from handing out blankets infected with smallpox to First Nations.

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      WANTED./ unfiltered & unrepentant.

      April 20th, 2010 | 3 comments

      WANTED — soulphiction collective — libidinal let-loose lounge — counternorm committee — black-tie dinner & mud wrestling.

      cut it up & start again

      Hi there — you nose down in your gizmo — status updated — you & your busyness ontology — sorry to hear — about your  bits & bytes of existential banality — interconnected — your life.

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        Unmalleable Mob Mentality: the technical exclusion of politics

        March 29th, 2010 | 11 comments

        576 members of a political mini-mob, save for one: the Tennis Court Oath of 1789

        Over on Scobleizer, Robert Scoble is throwing down some analysis on malleable social graphs and mini-mobs after witnessing the social media infiltration of SXSW. He is primarily interested in check-in locative services such as Foursquare and Gowalla that recommend to the mobile user useful services and businesses based upon aggregated social metrics. To the Web 2.0 economics crowd, Scoble suggests that Facebook has the potential to sweep the locative market based upon its infodemographic storehouse. Facebook’s accumulated social metrics of associations, networks, fan clubs, likes and dislikes can form locative-informed “malleable social graphs.” For example, if I want to go see Off Broadway theater in NYC, I check-in to FB’s locative service and it puts me in touch with friends (or friends-of-friends) with similar interests in the area (along with businesses, locations, services, and so on). Point being, through localized search criteria I see what I want to see based upon the service already knowing the aggregates of my interests and indexing that to my location (as revealed through social metrics I have given such services and from which such social metrics algorithms have deduced — i.e. Amazon’s “you might also like…” suggestions).

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          Cities of Rhythm & Revolution

          March 8th, 2010 | 3 comments

          Voilà.! Some 5 years in the making, Circulation & the City.

          With appropriate fanfare & deep bows, Will Straw & Alexandra Boutro’s edited volume entitled Circulation and the City: Essays on Urban Culture (McGill Queen’s UP, 2010) now graces the shelves. This book has been quite a few years in the works. The earliest drafts I have of work for the volume date back to 2005, and by the time we went to press, the final chapter I submitted on Henri Lefebre, rhythm, and revolution in the city had been transformed entirely from the words originally writ on rave culture and rhythm (funny thing: the new article I am finishing for Dancecult picks up on these earlier themes  – sometimes work must encounter different sets of theoretical concepts, and years of reflection, for the excavation of the intellect to yield its bounty). The book forms the third in a trilogy of publications from the Culture of Cities Project, a multi-university research endeavour that sought to unearth “the mix of universal and local influences in the everyday life of cities,” with research concentrated in Toronto, Berlin, Dublin and Montréal, and with researchers across Canada and the Continent. So, with the intent of lurking y’all into picking this up (or perhaps unwittingly scaring you off), I offer the introduction to my chapter “Cities of Rhythm & Revolution.”

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            patriotism & the consumption of carnival

            March 2nd, 2010 | 14 comments

            “From Abbotsford to Afghanistan, Canadians are celebrating” – this is how the CTV News opened on the evening of Sunday, February 28th, 2010. Abbotsford is a small town just east of Vancouver in the Fraser Valley – once known for agriculture, it is better now known for its organised crime as home of the Bacon brothers. As for Afghanistan, this wartorn country is still a theater of operations for Canada’s NATO military mission.

            Gorilla celebrations in Whistler while Canadian forces battle guerillas in Kandahar. photo: tobias c. van Veen

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              social media & its discontents

              February 24th, 2010 | 31 comments

              Compared to Turin, and even Beijing, the Vancouver 2010 Olympicon is perhaps the first major sporting spectacle to bear witness to the rise in social media. Compared to the ’90s advent of Indymedia, social media is a very different beast. Indymedia came about as the convergence of traditional alternative media (such as college & campus radio, ‘zines, underground newspapers and pamphlets) with emerging internet technologies of self-publishing. When Indymedia saw its first introduction at APEC in 1997, going on to become a full-fledged, independently developed technical web platform for contributors with a centralized media hub at the Seattle ’99 WTO convergence, it provided effective coverage not only because it aired the footage of, and granted time to, perspectives that mainstream network-based television was either unable or unwilling to provide, but because it did so from a concentration of independent, alternative journalists who, though they may have differed as to the precise orientation of their political convictions, all agreed upon the common need for an alternative media network to represent the unheard side of the story.

              cameras out as the spectacle slides by. photo: tobias c. van Veen

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                après moi, le deluge — & the Olympicon

                February 15th, 2010 | 1 comment

                eye-in-the-sky security blimp over the Callaghan as the crowds press on toward a logistics nightmare

                I am currently living in the midst of the Olympic maelstrom. For some reason I thought I might find myself frantically blogging the madness, but for the most part I find myself uninterested in doing so. Organised indie media such as the Vancouver Media Coop have kept it under control, and the damage is flying so fast & furious — see Democracy Now’s coverage of Olympic resistance to CBC on VANOC’s bad logistics & lack of venue foresight — that keeping up on Twitter seems to be the way to roll. So instead of daily blogging, I’ve been tweeting impressions & links [ @fugitivephilo ]. Anyway, first came the torch, and for that I have a video, ambivalence & beer included:

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                  mauvais foi (Psychodrama Demons)

                  January 24th, 2010 | 7 comments

                  Yet another bloodsucker dressing-up to play the Glamour game.

                  I think the motto of recent living for me could be DOWN WITH THE TROLLS & GREY VAMPIRES, BUT ABOVE ALL, DOWN WITH THE PSYCHODRAMA DEMONS. What’s these here Grey Vampires and Trolls? K-punk outlines the concepts:

                  Grey Vampires are creatures who disguise their moth-greyness in iridescent brightness, all the colours of attractive sociability. Like moths, they are drawn by the light of energetic commitment, but unable to themselves commit. Unlike the Toll, the Grey Vampire’s mode is not aggressive, at least not actively so; the Grey Vampire is a moth-like only on the inside. On the outside, they are bright, humorous, positive – everyone likes them. But they are possessed by a a deep, implacable sadness. They feed on the energy of those who are devoted, but they cannot devote themselves to anything. (K-Punk)

                  Psychodrama Demons are somewhere in-between a Grey Vampire and a Troll. A Grey Vampire appears somewhat romantic at times, caught in a melancholia, only able to live vicariously through others, even as their mode-of-being sucks away at the marrow of life, draining those around them. A Troll is more outright aggressive. As K-Punk writes, a Troll “above all wants to waste time, its libido involves a banal sadism, the dull malice of snatching people’s toys away from them” (K-Punk).

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                    managing language (with extreme prejudice)

                    January 11th, 2010 | 14 comments

                    the pyramid of corporate cognitive labour

                    I recently came across a rather awesome analysis on Ribbonfarm that adds some much-needed complexity to the basic dichotomy between vertical and horizontal models of corporate control. These fantastic and well-writ posts (The Gervais Principle I and II) have been hit up on Slashdot and have circulated far & wide for good reason. Like Christian Marazzi’s work that deftly summarizes the significance of language to capital – the way language informs the fluctuations of the stock market and global economy (see Capital and Language) – Venkat analyses the way in which language is ab/used by particular players in corporate organisations. He deploys his deft analysis to unravel bureaucratic power principles as well as propose a theory of microclass. And he accomplishes this all by taking as his primary example the hit TV series The Office — Ricky Gervais’ brilliant satire of water cooler politics and management mediocrity. Venkat’s analysis, informed by his research into theories of corporate management, complements Marazzi’s observation that

                    In the post-Fordist context, in which language has become in every respect an instrument of the production of commodities and, therefore, the material condition of our very lives, the loss of the ability to speak, of the “language capacity,” means the loss of belonging in the world as such, the loss of what “communifies” the many who constitute the community. (Marazzi, Capital and Language: 131).

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