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Copenhagen travel snaps 3 – 4 July, featuring Bron Broen & graduate works from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts

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Stockholm 2 – 3 July

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Stockholm 27 June – 1 July

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Tokyo-Stockholm

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other colours

hearing Orhan Pamuk talking to Robert Harrison (link to audio) – Pamuk, the Nobel Laureate, self-confessedly conservative and superficial – superficial enough that winning the Nobel makes him happy – conservative in wanting to keep the language of Turkey ‘as it is’ – the ‘dictionary of the streets’ – and not turkify or alter it to fulfil any sort of social or political agenda – but to use the language of his mother, his grandmother, which is the same, in fact, as that you hear on the streets – I felt both let down – was it Thoreau who said writers are the worst company because they never have anything to say for themselves? – and you invite them to parties – particularly those writers who are so witty and interesting – to parties where you expect them to entertain and perform for your guests – so as, I expect, you can claim some sort of glory by association – but they sit glumly – or worse start drinking, smoking, taking drugs, behave scandalously, seduce the hostess, and the host, the children – or worse, they sit glumly – as if they’ve forgotten their scripts – as if the only words they know are written ones which they do not in fact speak – as if speech is a foreign language – company a foreign concept – perhaps they only accept your invitation because they are so lonely – or worse to perform like rutting monkeys, like smoking misanthropes, like opiated invertebrates, like inebriate self-advertisers, appetitive inverted anuses, both sucking and blowing – to act up, act out, in short – according to the major clichés and minor vices – would sitting glumly be worse? – I felt both strangely let down listening to Orhan Pamuk and more strangely slightly incensed he could call himself, his Istanbul, provincial – that Robert Harrison should accept this without question – the capital of the Ottoman empire provincial? But I then considered, after, without any consideration, being put in mind of the provincialism particular to the colonies – the torturous ennui and cultural self-deprecation – when it is not wildly self-affirmative, enhanced by social and political agenda – the horrific critical void – of New Zealand – I considered, as Pamuk suggested I should, as he did, Moscow – the capital of the glorious defunct Soviet Socialist Republic. I wondered if there is a provincialism particular to fading glory? a memorial provincialism? However it could not possibly contend – if there could ever be such a contention – with the colonial provincialism of our own green ghetto, which, contraindicatively lies in the suburbs and not in the provinces of memory. The consideration of … Moscow – can it be said of London? – of Rome? – then why especially Istanbul? – proceeded from a lower-level – a baser – resonance with Orhan’s description of the provincial experience: the cultural avidity – a need to know and find out – to extend feelers and find out what is really happening in the rest of the world – that is really happening because it is happening elsewhere: the greed for news. Music, art, magazines, criticism. But Pamuk’s provincialism is not so much a provincialism of geopolitical dimensions but of sentiment, of the dusk, of the black-and-white city, settling into winter, with long winter nights, of ruins, where little Orhan played football, in the Ottoman ruins, the wooden houses that within ten years were burnt and razed. The provincialism is of the city since the city Pamuk loves is not the one which has made his love provincial, provincialising his spirit. And I suspect this is the reason Pamuk applauded the analogy obsequious pill of a host, Harrison, made, when he said that in the piece of Orhan’s writing he liked best, which he of course had to admit, it is as if Istanbul is the writer and Nobel Laureate’s second mother, usurping the voice and role of the first, whose language, as said, Orhan wants to conserve. It is a maternal provincialism. Or perhaps the mother is always like this, a province removed from the centre – of culture, of art, of enlightened politics and social democracy? Orhan’s memorialised city or mother is in the process of rejecting exactly what it is about it, about her, Pamuk loves, of rejecting its black-and-white post-empire despondency and pushing it out to … the provinces, out onto the hem of her skirts, cutting apron-strings. The memory of baking. And he wanted to be a painter, between the years eleven to twenty-two, was it? And now it has come out, his brilliant work, a bricolage of autobiographical fragments and essays – which he had hoped one day would be in a proper work of fiction – called Other Colours. Its title testifies to the provincialism foisted on him of being mere monochrome. It reclaims the technicolour to ironic purpose – it also claims it as property – while I remember the grey Wellington of my youth, which had Models, Crafts and Hobbies and Kirkcaldies’s lights, open late only Friday nights, as puddles of colour in the wind-driven drizzle – now Istanbul and Wellington both put on – performing – like those writers earlier – acting up, acting out, simply – the economic good news in lurid technicolour smiles – the other colours, as Harrison with his practised and efficacious literalism points out, of toothpaste commercials.

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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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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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to present this material can seem to be the result of having gone looking for proofs naturalising a Jewish – or Zionist – anti-democratic and anti-liberal proclivity – particularly if one is to extrapolate to the dominance of neoliberalism by “social and economic categories” – and subtract the centrality of the Shoah from historical understanding as itself historically emerging and contingent – but here we can see Deleuze’s definition of the event as emergence or emergency from an anumeric mutliplicity of potentials

democracy was a catastrophe for Jews, who thrived in liberal autocracies: notably in the window that opened up between the eighteenth-century Austrian Empire under Joseph II and its curious apotheosis in the long reign of Emperor Franz Joseph II, from 1848 to 1916, an era of ongoing political constraint but cultural and economic liberation. Mass society posed new and dangerous challenges: not only were Jews now a serviceable political target, but they were losing the increasingly ineffectual protection of the royal or imperial figurehead. In order to survive this turbulent transition, European Jews had either to disappear altogether or else change the rules of the political game.

Hence the emerging Jewish proclivity, in the early decades of the twentieth century, for non-democrativ forms of radical change with an accompanying insistence upon the irrelevance of religion, language or ethnicity and a primacy attached to social and economic categories in their place; hence too the much-remarked presence of Jews in the first generation of left-wing authoritarian regimes that emerged from the revolutionary upheavals of the age. Looking forward from 1918, or back from the present day, this seems to me perfectly comprehensible: short of an active commitment to Zionism or else departure for other continents, the only hope for the Jews of Europe was either perpetuation of the imperial status quo or else radical, transformative opposition to the nation-states that succeeded it.

– Tony Judt with Timothy Snyder, Thinking the Twentieth Century, Vintage, London, 2013, pp. 19-20

we cannot, if we wish to give a fair account of the recent past, read back into it our own ethical or communitarian priorities. The harsh reality is that Jews, Jewish suffering and Jewish extermination were not matters of overwhelming concern to most Europeans (Jews and Nazis aside) of that time. The centrality we now assign the Holocaust, both as Jews and as humanitarians, is something that only emerged decades later.

– Ibid., p. 22

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sculpted from time, memory and human bone

small corners, tricks of light and sound; odours that find recess in me, a cup to sit in for a second or two; enough to weigh down an indentation, an impression; the echo of a memory that is not there, or should not be.

a gin that projected light, chopped into pieces to coincide with blinks, so that an impression of movement was achieved. Always the same movement, endless. The same woman on the same stairwell, taking the same three steps, continuously; a horse running to nowhere; a naked patriarch, swinging an axe. He says that the more one watches, the more their time becomes real, and the watcher’s time leaks out, becoming insignificant, the same as watching the water for too long.

– B. Catling, The Vorrh, Honest Publishing, Croydon, 2012, pp. 187-9

A prayer almost found its way to his lips. It began in the icy fear of his heart, the ventricles white with the frost of anticipation, and travelled outwards to become a pressure, like wind against the meat sails of his lungs. Funnelling up, it passed like a shadow through the rehearsal of his vocal cords, up into his mouth, tongue and lips, before being garrotted by the thin, taut wire of his mind.

– Ibid., p. 217

A huge, brown cow stood next to the bed. It wobbled, balanced comically on train tracks made of meat jelly, as the doctor sat below it, pulling at its udders; streams of hissing tea jetting into his white enamel pail. He filled his syringe from the steaming fluid. It misted the glass tube of the instrument, filling the room with its moist, bovine vapour. The cow smiled through the fog with the most natural expression of quiet delight.

– Ibid., p. 282

The vibration passed through them, through the turning ball of life, through the furniture and the floors, and all the way down to the well, where its harmony increased and spun, igniting tiny engines that ignited tiny engines that ignited tiny engines.

– Ibid., p. 449

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Social Swarm Spam

Subject: Invitation to the Social Swarm

Dear fellow people from the Internet.

We know that social network services changed the way  we handle information and relationships.

But we also know that social network services create certain problems that come with storing  large amounts of personal information.

We are concerned about our privacy on those services. The centralized nature of current social networks forces users to trust third parties that are not trustworthy.

We do not have to surrender to technology as it is.

We have to shape technology in a way that is suited  to human nature.

This is why the goal should be to create a network that enables all of its users to communicate freely.

They must be able to use it in the way they want to, without being hindered by restrictions like censorship or the risk of losing control of their own content.

It is not about creating an alternative to existing social network services – it is about creating something even better.

There are different approaches to bringing this about, and they all have different up- and downsides. You are working on them. We are working on them.

So we ask you to join forces, with us and with each other, to create what we all are hoping for, what is driving us and what we need: A free and secure means of communication for everybody and everything.

To achieve this, we think the social network must satisfy these requirements:

1. Free software.

2. Good usability.

3. Decentralization.

4. End-to-end encryption.

5. Mandatory privacy: no plaintext data stored on servers.

6. Scalability.

7. Innovation over standards.

8. Better than what we currently have.

We would love to see you on our mailinglist:

https://mail.foebud.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/socialswarm-dev

To have a closer look at the project, go to our wiki:

http://socialswarm.net

Best wishes,

the folks of Social Swarm

 

Dear Social Swarm owner,

The following message under the subject heading “ignored options” was blocked twice when I tried to send it.

I have removed my hypertext link to squarewhiteworld – so let’s see if it’s that.

I don’t think it is spam. But perhaps you know better.

Best,

Dear Social Swarmers,

I find it strange that no option other than “earnest and honest privacy,” as Klaus Schleisiek put it, is being considered. What about open and public discussion and social intercourse with optional anonymity?

I am inspired by the idea of the listserv – and the Wiki – since these forms of interaction are subject- or theme-led and to an extent non-identitarian.

I am negatively inspired by the existing social media: but more for reasons of profiling and boxing of people into homogeneous blocs than for impinging on privacy; my objection is politico-aesthetic, not moral.

I’ve been working since March this year on a website based on these ignored ideas. Unfortunately, where I am in the world, New Zealand, makes it necessary for me to seek private sector funding to build a demonstration model and proof of concept, which is the task I am currently involved in – raising funds, validating need -, rather than public funding.

An irony. Since the idea has to be tangibly realised, needs to have gained sufficient commercial momentum in order that it is tangibly realised, before I can make it open source.

Another aspect of my idea that might interest discussants is that it is determinedly non-anglocentric. It enables multiple languages to be addressed, viewed, engaged with in the same view or browser window.

If you are interested, please contact me.

Best,

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