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field recordings 2013:09:08 17:12:46 – 2013:10:19 14:22:30

Riverhead at the end filled me with a sense of anomie. But not quite. The ugliness of it truly sub urban, and the ugliness of its continuation through developments designed in batches – designed for the market rather than for people to live in, resting on scarifications of an architectural scale and quality: the true architecture of landscape despoliation. And the sound of machines. And trees falling with a vicious crack echoing in the brown armpit of the valley, almost encircled by the eponymous river. And hee-hawing or strafing of men aggressively laughing. The neighbour.

You know, I think of that song lyric – “when I was dead / in Riverhead” – and a corner of sentiment sneaks in. Because Riverhead gave us a lifestyle – and something to hate, which as the Italians are said to say is as important as having something, or someone, to love. So that revisiting these images, there is a strength of purpose in the capture of them – real feeling – which is unlikely to be recaptured in the same way. Somehow John Campbell’s marvelous mouth shining like a solar anus fits – the crack that the light gets in, it really does. Get in.

Riverhead topographically is dominated by the rugby fields. Field recording are also felt. The grounds glowing nightly Soylent green under floodlights. Floodlights that were horrendously expensive to put in and are equally expensive to run. No expense spared. And in the mist maybe a kid is practicing his dodges, duck, dive, and a grown man is stretching his hammies.

Riverhead. Years ago submissions were being solicited – pre-Draft Unitary Plan – for the future development of the town. We all put together some ideas. Dad drew some pictures. We were not optimistic. But down at the 100 year-old hall it was a chance to meet some more locals. Talk about what others envisaged as a vision for the place. Like Auckland itself – which it in fact precedes as the initially projected site for the city – the town turns its back on its natural asset: the river. In Auckland’s case, this is of course the harbour. Was every watery space somehow associated in the colonist planner’s mind with an open sewer? Anyway, the plan we presented was to turn the town to face the river, opening up public walkways along its looping length with shops and eateries and a riverside culture.

It therefore whispers the words ‘another missed opportunity‘ when I see the suburbs tumescent breaking through the skin of the historic town: the dormitory vision of a sleeping skirt for citizens to cling in to. Waiting for their own cancers. Because there has been a slew of cancers recently in the nor’west of Auckland, centring on Kumeu, Huapai, Riverhead. The doctors at the medical centre talk about it.

Anomie. And a sadness that if not altogether sweet is not altogether painful.

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society speaks – celebrity roast busters –

and contrary to Margaret Thatcher’s assertion that society does not exist, something seems to have stirred the ashes and provoked a moralising media Hydra. It is a monster that invokes its own monstrosity in naming those it condemns: who are horrible monsters, who leave us crying with rage, who are condemned for crimes without proof of guilt or of innocence apart from that aroused by consensus in the media. They are of course simulacral crimes waving their wands over the waste, simulacral but not fake crimes, crimes the punishment for which insists most fervidly on silencing the perpetrators, in other words, removing them from the consensus they seem to have created and erred against, banning them from participation in the society they gratify by bolstering it in its sodality as contra, as pure shared revenge, resentment, as sharing and liking sharing itself – sharing, that is, its lust to see itself in its own lights as good and just, moral and true. What happens when the monsters speak? but the monsters are chattering now all at once!

Giovanni Tiso, fellow blogger, I salute you! Psychology lecturer, Neville Robertson – who can find boys guilty of rape by intention and then aberrantly claim that outrage at the behaviour is understandable but should also be directed at “the social conditions which helped create it.” [here]

The appearance of the ministers has its wistfully ironic overtones: Police Minister Anna Tolley and Justice Minister Judith Collins simper from under their slap urging “the young female victims of the Roast Busters sex gang to find the courage to come forward and give evidence.” [here] Why? So that justice with the requisite police enforcement – and allocation of resources – can be seen to be done.

They went into it wanting fame. Now the police are advising them on their own safety. Safety from whom? well, from society, of course!

Do I hate that these young people have become a “teen rape group”? [here] No. I think there ought to be a pussy riot.

The cost of morality is however counted as the value of advertising to Radio Live (to quote in full because it fills me with hope for a backlash or a front to backlash or front lash with ermine trim – because where, after all, have shame and taste gone? – and, since I find myself in this heady parenthesis, cui bono? the girls whose honour is in question? What, in fact, about their shame? the erstwhile left whose pusillanimous outpourings have them sound more like the moral majority? What does Giovanni Tiso gain? What do I?):

ANZ, Yellow and Freeview have confirmed they are cancelling their ads on the show, and AA Insurance has indicated the same.

It came after blogger Giovanni Tiso contacted around 30 companies which advertised on the Willie and JT Show yesterday, asking them if they would reconsider their support of the programme.

He has so far received four responses, only one of which, from Countdown, said they were retaining their contract with the station.

here

I would like to end by asking Roast Busters? ‘Roasts’ are allegedly those naughty parties exaggerated and problematised online – or otherwise ‘busted’ [here] I am aware of another kind of roast, called the Celebrity Roast.

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on the art of undoing: knots, illustrated with some beautiful works by Julien Spianti

It must seem confusing. I’ve been advocating, advocating by the most simple means, the means of naming, which cannot these days be anything but an ironic take on branding, or on meme creation, undoing. But I’ve hashed undoing. I’ve hashed it by calling it by that tag, that could not these days be seen as anything but ironic and therefore transparent and therefore self-…something, and by then accusing Creative New Zealand, acting in complicity, with all sorts of complicities, major and minor, from the government to the individual artist, of undoing an institution, Downstage, a venerable institution, an institution almost fifty years old.

And now we must ask what is the difference?

Then I was listening to Bill Calahan singing about his apocalypse, making all sorts of connections, major and minor, from the government to the individual artist, and I decided it was tentacles. Or maybe strands. Or better, braids, if we think of a river. A river running over the shingle, across the plains. The Waimakariri. Did you know, briefly, when I checked the spelling, it was known as the Courtenay River? Now that I have the spelling right, it is again the Waimakariri. But it would have been spoken. Not spelled. As Lorde sings, So there.

Of course, again, I think of Courtney Place. The view out onto the twin domes of the old public toilet, the Taj Mahal, onto Kent Terrace. Or course, I think again of James K. sleeping on the draughty open slats of the bus stop bench.

What do you do if you undo but separate the strands? the streams? of which the river is braided? And even when there is no shingle basin, no separation, no plain to see them single silver snaking blending weaving down there, undoing the river would still mean to find each water in the waters, each flow in the act of blending and weaving, and separate each current, in its process.

What if the moutain withdrew its tentacles? It would draw up the waters of the Waimakariri. You would see them all, in all their colours.

I found the apron straps had formed a knot. And a knot, as Wyndham Lewis tells us, is a form of energy. The form of energy. An energetic form: the forms of martial arts are the same; they sculpt the air. Henri Gaudier-Brzeska saw this too. Sculpting expresses the energy already present in the medium.

We have a front-load washing-machine. It knots the apron straps into a ball. How do you undo a knot?

We could stop. Appreciate the knot. Try different media. Submit them to the front-load washing-machine. Knot them up. Admire the washing-machinic expression.

I have no doubt they would each be different and each one in its way would be worthy of admiration. Different passages of parallelisms, interlacings, bifurcatings, crossings, inversions, subversions, perversions. Transversalities.

But consider, just consider, we want to undo. Do we need to know, as I mistakenly suggested in a previous post, invoking Michel Foucault talking, if I recall, about Romanticism, was it? Do we need to know how a thing is made to unmake it?

No. We don’t even have to follow each complicity, from the complicities of government to those of individual artists; or, in the case of the Southern Alps and its Waimakariri, we don’t need to retrace every braid, each stream in the current to its source in melt-offs, run-offs, mountain streams, each tributary, major or minor. This would in any case be misleading: the river is braided by the rocks in its course, not from the summit of its source. Similarly, the intentions of government and individual artists do not need to be eked out for us to know there is a flow of eventuation, finding its summary energetic expression in a knot.

Destruction would already look different. I’ve considered before detaching the straps from the aprons before submitting them to the wash and washing them separately. Perhaps we use velcro. But the straps themselves need cleaning. They’d knot up worse on their own without the opening out of the aprons themselves, which in some way breaks the flows of energies and makes for serial and not singular knots.

My mother sat in the sun patiently undoing the strands of apron straps, picking at them with her fingers, and her mother’s fingers. At some point or other she gave up. Then she’d simply sit. In the sun. Have a gin. Smile more or less benignly. J., however, said just pull randomly at the knots with your fingers. Randomly. Without thinking about what goes or weaves in where. I don’t have the energy, said my mother.

Pulling randomly works. The strands loosen; the energetic form weakens; the straps separate: the knots undo. A certain tentacular emancipation is effectuated. To each apron two straps. When before the braid, the confusion.

So I think undoing is like this. It is like what Michel Foucault did with discourse. The reading, the analysis is random but inclusive. Pulling now here now there at the energetic form. You have to have the energy for this. Because it is not immediate. First one line will work its way loose: one contributor, one kind of complicity, one agent of knottiness. Name him. Name her. Then progress.

One is never enough. For anything like a knot to occur there have to be at least two.

What happens in a case like the destruction of Downstage is like a vengeance. A revenge killing. All those tentacles, some were good, some bad, sure, all lopped off, some wriggling on the carpet, escaping down the easy stairs of sentiment, Such a shame! … some long dead dead ends … some outright castrations … some cuttings-off merciful … some stupid … but taken in sum, to shut down every flow, to sever the root or plug the spring – a drought may still be a flow – but fracking the earth, killing the spring. No. There is something different in destruction than undoing.

 

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Creative New Zealand under Stephen Wainwright finally succeeds in destroying Downstage after nearly 50 years trying

This is a picture of Stephen Wainwright, Chief Executive (Pou Whakahaere) of Creative New Zealand. Here is his statement:

“As a young nation at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean our arts help to illustrate our lives with new layers of meaning and fresh perspectives… life is personal and experiencing great art makes life better.”

[link]

He probably does not know what he is doing because he is at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

Why would Creative New Zealand destroy Downstage? This is really the topic of my doctoral research. Along the way I will be interested in and my research will intersect with the stories that we as New Zealanders tell ourselves and others. Here are a few:

  1. to tell our own stories in our own words is a cultural and artistic objective;
  2. New Zealand is a young nation;
  3. losing things like your memory is probably beneficial in the long term – if you were meant to keep your memory you’d remember;
  4. loss – like Downstage closing – is natural and inevitable;
  5. from the kind of loss that is inevitable comes the new – this is how nature works;
  6. the principle of competition is also natural;
  7. sport and business and art are all natural activities in so far as they are competitive;
  8. politics is an exception to competition, because it is based on PR, therefore opportunism, expediency and lies;
  9. you pour water into a cracked vessel because you too are a cracked vessel – a cracked vessel does not constitute a threat;
  10. one day New Zealand will finally be able to take its place on the world stage;
  11. you can only contribute to society by success;
  12. wearing a red poppy on Armistice Day (11 November) is part of our national identity – not to promote tall poppy syndrome, or its effects.

Of course, Wellington City Council ought also to be held accountable for the closure of Downstage as a crime against the city. Auckland City Council is accountable for the desuetude of the St. James, which is equally a crime against the city. Although the loss of Downstage is the greater as much for the lies about it being inevitable, necessary, a product of the times as for the fact that theatre was still being made there.

Do their mouths taste of ashes, those who look forward to a phoenix? Do they destroy just to be able to say that out of the ruins something new will come? What is this resurrectionist nightmare?

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it’s worse how wonderful things get

Disney discovers 以心伝心 – if that is even legible – and, of course, copyrights the it out of it. Here

The Terrible Terrible Terrible Terrible Terrible Terrible truth about Syria. Here – the most pertinent point of which is that if Syria constitutes an humanitarian crisis perhaps forego the cost of sending a missile – and the geopolitical surgery, however pinhole – and spend the money helping two million refugees.

… a question, prompted by the froth pouring out of independent anti-surveillance pro-encryption online collectivities: is personal encryption the apotheosis of bourgeois individualism? i.e. my ‘nothing to hide’ is worth more than the ‘something to hide’ of the nation? – one ‘solution’ here

And what we have been waiting for from poor Alan Turing’s poisoned apple: the Turing Normalising Machine. Here – I wonder why Apple was called Apple? an original absence of sin, Alan Garner’s account here.

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Turks young and old (and a Kurd or two) – a brilliant doco illuminating the “secular compromise” post Ataturk, Turkey’s turn to the Arab world and why the latter is not turning Turkey, here illustrated by Halil Altindere – click on an image

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just because I repeat it and repeat it don’t make it not true

I wish you weren’t using fb as a medium. It seems hypocritical to do so. This forum is a private enterprise profiting from unpaid public labour – in the guise of being a public good. Of course, Ggle and the browserscape similarly exploit – some predict its extinction – the middle class to benefit the rich corpocrats. But the web despite the spin put on it by these interested parties retains greater end-to-end neutrality – disinterestedness – than any of the social racketeers and initiatives of corpocracy. I am suggesting therefore that this material and its intentions and the causes here promoted would be better served by being on a website – clearly placarded as independent.

to where Bryan Bruce posted the ‘extras’ to his documentary – which it is important to see – Mind the Gap, dealing with the neoliberal legacy of 1984, once lightly, a little too moralisingly and with some questionable zombie action.

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moving on from a discussion of the attractions of the Weimar, Tony Judt says and Timothy Snyder records:

The notion that what is wrong with bourgeois democracy is the adjective rather than the noun was a brilliant innovation on the part of Marxist rhetoricians. If the problem with western democracies is that they are bourgeois (whatever that means), then internal critics constrained to live in such places may offer criticism risk-free: taking your distance from bourgeois democracy costs you little and hardly threatens the institution itself.

– Tony Judt with Timothy Snyder, Thinking the Twentieth Century, Vintage, London, 2013, p. 53

… could one say equally the notion that what is wrong with capitalist democracy is the adjective rather than the noun is a brilliant innovation on the part of its critics? costing them little should they be constrained to live in such places: taking one’s distance from capitalist democracy hardly threatens the institution itself. Whereas the problem and risks of standing up against democracy in a post-communist world constitute for the Left its fatal genetic flaw and are as risks to be avoided where the problem is more easily denied.

… in which regard, laterally, check out David Kimelman and Earl Dax’s Weimar New York, in video:

… and in photos:

– Julie Atlas Muz and Mat Fraser perform at Weimar New York for Obama, by David Kimelman

Street Fight, Otto Dix, 1927

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fight the amended Interception Capability and Security Bill giving Government Communications Security Bureau more power to spy on the usual pretext of safeguarding national telecommunications infrastructure and industry by placing citizens under surveillance

of course Microsoft and Google don’t like it…

but that doesn’t mean it’s good: here

 

and here

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“A documentary that challenges former Indonesian death squad leaders to reenact their real-life mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.”

The Act of Killing

explain

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