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on an auspicious day some of the emperor’s closest friends mutter their suspicions

link here

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enomy

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stop the signing of the TPPA

The government doesn’t understand the TPPA just like you. The Prime Minister is not your representative, he is your friend and equal. A likeable guy. I pay him to be your friend, a likeable guy. You pay him too. He’s a nice guy. Tim Groser doesn’t need to know what’s in the TPPA. Smarter guys than him, experts from overseas, have put this deal together and as a country we’d be stupid not to sign it. I knew Tim as a kid. He was a likeable kid. I wonder what his mother would say. But as a country we are not signing it. Representatives New Zealanders have elected are signing it on Thursday. Have New Zealanders elected these representatives and have they elected them to sign the TPPA? Is the signing representative of a consensus? These are academic questions. If you object to something your government is doing, there are channels to get your voice heard. Just as if you object to something your neighbour is doing you can complain to the council, which is obliged to, I feel like repeating that, obliged to respond. The Right Honourable John Key does not respond to any individual complaint because he is not answerable to anyone. He is not Robert Muldoon: he is not his own man. He is a man who belongs to the memory of a likeable kid, like Tim Groser, who as an adult and as the Prime Minister of New Zealand has put in place strategies to ensure his ongoing likeability. He is a bully about this. He will not be remembered. He will be liked. We’d be stupid not to. Why wouldn’t we sign? Why wouldn’t we like him? He is like us, likeable, just richer. And the Prime Minister. Elected. Part of the government. Representative. Signing on our behalf. Signing on behalf of our better selves.

What I feel like doing at this juncture is nothing. Inaction. Not industrial action, striking. But nothing. Not declaring, not striking, not acting, not accusing, shaming, judging, educating, but stopping what I am doing, whether I am driving the bus, tending the aged, signing the deal, any deal, selling the house, writing the paper, reading the paper, writing the article, talking, walking, teaching, arresting, selling, buying… stopping.

Who is protecting your job if you stop too?

On this day, stop your car. By all means take your keys. Turn off your computer. Walk away from your desk. Stop believing in social media as a tool for social activism. Turn off your phone. Leave your phone alone. Everything that ties you to this world of action is also a link in the chain binding you to the actions of your elected representatives. Who will sign. Who think it is better to act. Stupid not to. Stop.

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National Scandal
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if hubris

is the spirit of tragedy, it is alive in statements like the following, from Ted Livingston, founder of Facebook competitor, Kik:

“This is a race to build an operating system for the world, period.”

– from here

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I wanted to check how you feel today?

less than 1

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the comprehension gap: why we don’t know what to say about the election – or what to do about the climate

…the wind is strong again today and gusty and blowing in from the West. Why mention the wind? because the climate is fucked-up-edly weird.

I was sorely tempted to vote for the Climate Change candidate on Election Day.

Everyone we know is running around saying not only is the climate wrong so is the vote! Flat-back-headed fker returned with an historic majority – last time this shit happened was in the twenties. People really don’t know what to say or what to think about this. Which is really interesting … to me. Because it means a lot of people are completely out of touch with … the majority!

There is also the complete disarray and political stupidity of the Labour party, the head honchos of which stood down the smart and logical candidate, David Shearer, eighteen months before the election, at which time they were polling at around 30%. Putting in Cunliffe (a name the spelling of which you don’t want to mess with) cut the vote for Labour by 10% immediately – and as Josie said on the TV3 panel on Saturday night (worth a look some time – on demand), if the party wants votes it needs to mean ‘labour’! the workers’ party! representing those who work against the managers and executives and bankers – people like John Key.

My theory is that a gap has opened between government and nation because public policy is now handled by private companies and organisations and institutions, privately owned, that is. Implementation of policy – even when it is in the public’s interest or that of a group inside society – is separated from government and government cannot be called to account for its poor or ineffective implementation. This happens – this gap opens – because of the insistence that every factor and element of public life, of political life, and maybe even of life itself, is run by a market. Schools and universities, for example, now report on learning ‘outcomes’ – this is exactly the same as productivity. The model in question is that of a competitive marketplace: schools and universities are allocated funding according to how competitive they are – measured and compared by how productive they are of ‘outcomes’. They are still funded, I hear you say, and that funding comes out of the public purse, from tax-payers. But now they have to compete for funding, they have to be run like businesses.

What has this got to do with the gap between the government and the governed? The neoliberal market-led model has been so successful that the governed don’t recognise that they are under the governance of markets because this is the way the government has constituted them, this is how the government deals with the governed – by making them into markets. School children constitute the market for education just like supermarket-shoppers constitute the market for Signature Range products.

Of course, the markets are in turn governed … not by public interest or national interest but by the interests of share-holders. This new abomination ‘stake-holders’ only appears to take the place of those with a financial interest in the ‘outcome’ – it really stands for ‘consumers’.

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just confiscate wealth, Robin Hood: “15% tax on capital, the 80% tax on high incomes, enforced transparency for all bank transactions, overt use of inflation to redistribute wealth downwards”

from

here

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profit and loss: Bruce Barber & Milo Moiré

Bruce Barber in his lecture yesterday, given as part of the Action and Delay conference hosted by AUT, raised for me the question – what is meant by performance in the ‘art world’, and in the institution in which I currently find myself? Why, indeed, would I want to align myself with it, if, as Bruce suggested, after Gregory Sholette, the vast pyramidal-base-sized majority of artists, those engaged in performance, he seemed to intimate, preeminently, are destined to become the ‘dark matter’, their efforts and their art invisible, that holds the Ponzi scheme together and keeps it from flying apart? While a few, as few as there are Russian oligarchs, profit from the existence of an art market, succeeding as artists, at the rarefied tip of the pyramid, they would hurtle off into non-existence without the infrastructural support of curators and managers, middle-men, critics, publications, research interest, courses and conferences that the vast and overwhelming mass of those who will never accede to such heights – or such success, failing inevitably – enables, the existence of which it feeds and feeds on, as an underwater milieu and vast sea-bottom.

What is at stake in ‘performance practice’ as used in this milieu? It seems on the face of it that performance practice is the last place to think about and reflect on performance or think through what it is. Even the documentation has a tendency to collapse into or onto the practice. Whatever thinking goes in to the practice occurs before the outcome which is generically the performance itself.

My understanding of a practice is however exactly the thinking through, about and reflection on the methods, beliefs and ideas that are brought to it, to itself think, and reflect on itself. The question, ‘how does performance think?’ seems to arise less in the milieu of performance than in theatre. The difference being that the performer thinks in theatre through the practice of performance – which is what is meant by technique, acting technique. While the performance artist expresses herself in acting, in an action, intervention, interaction, all the inter-s, she does not interrogate the practice except in research or theory – the technical practice being relegated to a position outside the performance.

The performance artist does not generally have the technical means to think in performance. The performance is an outcome of thought.

How the theatre actor thinks is in the technique of making transitions between states of being in performance, during performance. This insight is due to Esa Kirkkopelto.

Milo Moiré’s performance, PlopEgg #1, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKFZOIv5sS0 and at her website http://www.milomoire.com/ has the theatrical components of a technical mise-en-scène – the trestles and scaffold platforms, the canvas support for the finished Rorschach – and the strangley improvised modesty curtain behind which the performer inserts paint-filled eggs into her vagina. She has a stage-manager manoeuvre the latter at several intervals allowing her to refill. But the performance as performance according to the art-world milieu and the tenets of its self-understanding is not and could not be acted – there is only one state of being in the performance, between which the transitions are of low interest in technical terms: between Milo in performance and Milo preparing, backstage, behind the modesty curtain; between Milo pushing out eggs and Milo taking care of the business – albeit nude – of rolling and folding the paint squibs in a canvas. The canvas, it might be said, folds into the performance as its documentation. But the performance is the one repeatable action or operation of plopping eggs.

Where in this performance would there be room to think? As Bruce Barber pointed out, with the Paypal price for the uncensored version of the video at 4.99 Euros and the YouTube views at over 4 million, the thought is, how much money could Milo Moiré potentially make? The success or failure of this performance as performance rests on its reproducibility and functional iterability (this is PlopEgg #1) and statistical and quantitive considerations.

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infemmarie
porte-parole
representationalism
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passing the threshold of the middle class: capitalism’s unhaltable rise and culture’s unstoppable fall

culture now reaches lower and higher than ever before. Academic critical effort is continually levelled at annexing more and more of what was previously low culture, and klo culture, reaching lower and lower to capitalise at higher and higher societal echelons. In this sense it mirrors, or is instigated in its sense of pursuit by, mainline capitalist culture. Once we accept that the middle is disappearing with the eradication of social democracy and the middle class, the classic bourgeois being relegated to historic artifact, it’s possible to see that culture – as in the industry, aided and abbetted by fashion – is following in a way that fashion really shouldn’t if its destiny really were as promised, as hoped for, to fill the vacuum left by the former left avant-garde. Which shows nothing but that things can always get worse. And that with identitarian difference insisting that there be no longer highs nor lows but just difference – subsisting as a remainder of social justice – if a vacuum appear it is the mediocrity will rush to fill it, expanding as it arrives in order to hide the fact of the extinction of culture’s former enemy, who, with the exhaustion of the former proletariat, are now predated upon, the middle, the lukewarm God once vomited out. It turns out capitalism resembles God in this. Obvious really. And the values crisis we are happy to accept others saying we suffer now is no more than symptomatic of what is slipping from our grasp, we the middle class who rose and rose and rose, having our party in the total war that followed parts one through the series and living armageddon every day. Because the crisis in contemporary values is no more than a crisis in bourgeois values, the way for which was being prepared culturally over one hundred years ago. Meanwhile shit and trash, waste and anomie is celebrated with thousand dollar bottles of champagne, and the high and low meet as under and over on a circular bed surrounded by media mirrors in the cultural arena.

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Excerpts – the first, fractal time as evinced in the exhibition, Time and Motion, according to a review thereof; the second, Maria Vargas Llosa refuting the idea that poverty is anything other than the choice of those poor countries and something produced internally rather than evidence of their victimhood – evincing a strange twist on the master-slave trope native to neoliberalism

Time and Motion focuses primarily on a particular demographic of labourer (generally the global information worker), and paints the picture of a tertiary lifestyle which involves multitasking without control over a narrative of time use, and habitual fractured thinking – where non-stop interactivity (a digital version of Taylorist motion) is crack cocaine for the drones. For this category of workers, the workplace is everyplace – diffuse, unfamiliar, a zone of insecurity. We are left with a “thin democracy” in which people are disengaged from political activity except when jolted into consciousness by a shocking event or celebrity meltdown witnessed virally on Youtube during office hours. As more work and labour takes place outside the pre-determined workplace – in the hybrid environments of cafes, trains and across the domestic landscape – the very idea of a work/life balance seems like an alien ideal to aspire to.In an open tertiary society, the industrial model of time, and the bureaucratic time management of factories and office blocks, breaks down. There is no stable time structure and we are increasingly losing our grip on our own time. Time and Motion at FACT interrogates the impact of this fragmentation on the aesthetic forms of contemporary art, and contemplates how artists might offer a critique of our neo-Taylorist predicament.

– from here

It is not true that the rich countries are wealthy because other countries are poor and, inversely, that the misery of the Third World is the result of the abundance of the First World. This was true, relatively speaking, in the past. In the present, it is not. And nothing does more harm to underdeveloped and wretched countries of the planet as this false doctrine, that exonerates them from guilt relative to their condition and transfers all the responsibility for the hunger and helplessness that their poor suffer to the developed countries, those that would feed on them sucking their riches, like vampires do to their victims … The truth is that today poverty is produced, as is wealth, and that both are options available to any country. Many underdeveloped countries, due to the infinite corruption of their ruling classes, the demential dilapidation of their resources, and the unreasonable economic policies of their governments, have become very effective machines that produce the atrocious conditions in which people live.

– Maria Vargas Llosa, in Puerto Rico’s El Nuevo Día, 1994

…note also the timeline Maria Vargas Llosa alludes to of a past when it was true that poor nations were poor because rich nations are rich and of a present when this is no longer true – and is itself the great mistake bringing misfortune -, a present that presents an infinity of corruption. Perhaps these two excerpts do reflect on one another then, in so far as they both show scenes in which time is managed. In the first, time is unmanageable, auguring a new reality or fractal vision of ‘our’ workaday world; in the second, time, from past and present, opens onto an infinity that halts its progress, which manages, according to Llosa, to be its true meaning.

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The Hobbit: The Failure of Smaug and The Desolation of Commercial Entertainment

Perhaps art would add something to the experience. And in the addition, which itself might be obscure, there would be a clear if indistinct feeling of relief – a purely human quality consequent on the addition of a wholly inhuman quantity. The experience itself in turn might be neutral or it might be intensely stimulating and would not want for the addition – that is, it would be neutral in view of the addition, or at least could be. Which is only to say that the experience might not even appear lacking but what it lacked might only appear or occur later, on reflection. Reflection could reveal a capacity or a potentiality – purely human – that experience had not reached because it could not without involving another intensive quantity – wholly inhuman. And if the system were by design dissipative, there to provide an experience of social, political, erotic or artistic satisfaction, by relieving a purely human quality, the failure would be one of art, taking into account that this supplementary schema of dissipating what is human need not be, and perhaps were better from the start called, inhuman.

I am thinking of the thermodynamics of art and the energetics of commercial entertainment. Which trades in distraction and – for what reason? – seems to want to avoid adding anything to the closed system of its experience, however stimulating. So that the stimulation is the point? But doesn’t this make it worse? by raising a false expectation that it is this very human capacity that will be invoked, relieved, opened on to?

It is as if the closed energetic system of commercial entertainment excludes from the outset any prospect of relief, that its determined materialism is foreclosed from giving satisfaction. Marx was of course here before. He was right on the problem that capitalism ratchets up desire through the illusion of increasing production – which is resource exhaustion – through a continuous addition of factored-in cost, resulting in a boom-bust cycle, the constant in which is that the producer cannot afford what is produced. What the producer can afford is expectation and disappointment: the call to put more and more energy into a system which offers monstrously disproportionate reward. And little relief. The solution of at least one Marxism is the producer’s ownership and it is assumed control of the means of production. How to re-own ownership of what is given? and of what is the given of capitalism? i.e., the gift.

That something essential is missing occurred to me after seeing the second installment of The Hobbit, The Desolation of Smaug. Not that I am missing or I am being missed – as in I am not the target. Market. Not that I am missing for being excluded from the means of production. And not that I am missing it, or, the point. I was highly productive of laughter, fear and trembling, awe, and kinetic exhaustion, throughout the hyperkinetic HFR 3D experience. It was exhausting. But it left me with regret rather than grateful for having seen it. Not grateful to the massive corporation that made it, delivered it to me, and to the machine of the industry – for which the NZ government in the name of the people is bending over so low to accommodate. Regretful that some supplementary dimension is missing – by design. As if all this artistry were in vain, the artistry of hundreds of artists, from texture artists to actors. Albeit that Peter Jackson has not learnt to direct actors. All those resources and all I had to show for it was an experience from which something was missing. And really it’s not a question of the resources. I saw Frances Ha, a little movie, a character actress vehicle, and it unequally – because it was not so physically involving – failed, failed to acknowledge that anything was missing from it. ‘Relief’ therefore is not the right word. Because the addition is all about acknowledging the problem of art, perhaps, as a barely human defeat in the face of the wholly inhuman.

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