Thursday, March 20, 2008

At Least I Got To See Vegas

In the neuroverse (William Gibson)
plug in my
brain pan
in a white noise source
with seizure salad
my eyes are flying windows
scream saver
brain waves with both hands
going bye byte
digitally rendered limb from limb
in the neuroverse

All artwork in this post is published with the courtesy of Raymond Pettibon

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Toilet

For those that pay attention to details, especially those that pay close attention to the culture of toilets, I have found the explanation why toilets differ from country to country. Zizek explains us why French toilets flush differently then German ones. He argues that there is a certain embedded social rationality in the way toilets function.

"Hegel was among the first to see in the geographical triad of Germany, France and England an expression of three different existential attitudes: reflective thoroughness (German), revolutionary hastiness (French), utilitarian pragmatism (English). In political terms, this triad can be read as German conservatism, French revolutionary radicalism and English liberalism....

In a traditional German toilet, the hole into which shit disappears after we flush is right at the front, so that shit is first laid out for us to sniff and inspect for traces of illness. In the typical French toilet, on the contrary, the hole is at the back, i.e. shit is supposed to disappear as quickly as possible. Finally, the American (Anglo-Saxon) toilet presents a synthesis, a mediation between these opposites: the toilet basin is full of water, so that the shit floats in it, visible, but not to be inspected" (source).

The master of toilet philosophy, of course, Luis Buñuel. If you get the chance, I recommend you to watch his Phantom of Liberty. However if you are more interested in the 'The Political Economy of Defecation', please click here.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Revolutionary Love

I always believed that love as a political instrument is a vastly under-researched concept in both journalism and among academics. I hate to sound like a hippie, but I reckon that with a reconceptionalised experience of love and what it is (and perhaps what love should be), the world could be a better, i.e. more democratic and equal, place.

Love as immanence so to say. Like in a poem of Pessoa:

I'm nothing.
I'll allways be nothing.
I can't even wish to be something.
Aside from that, I've got all the world's dream inside me.

I think this is what Hardt is arguing (or what he tends to argue) for in the uploaded video files below. I am sorry I should explain who that is. Hardt is a neo-Marxian theorist, who wrote together with Negri the manifesto for the anti-globalisation movement: "Empire". If you are up for it, you can find your free copy here.

Enjoy the lecture (about 30 mins)

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Post-Modern through the eyes of Marx

I promised in my previous post to upload another analytical 'post-modern' video clip. This one is a talk by Frederic Jameson at the University of Toronto on the the late capitalist features of what has been labelled as a 'global post-modernity'. Jameson is one of the last great philosophical Marxists, one who proved to be a worthy student in the Frankfurt School tradition. His analysis are said to be as much grounded in contemporary modern culture as they are historically constructed in the social relations of the modes of production.


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The post-modern

Don't hate me for freshing up your intellectual skills today! Its time for some post-modernism. I found two movies of two academics that work in this theory/ concept and whose opinions and critiques I hold very high. The first is a real 'postie' and writes on the simulacra and the experience of images and forms, Jean Baudrillard! The second (Frederic Jameson) I will post later today or otherwise tomorrow.

BTW: enjoy watching the American elections today!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Monday, March 03, 2008

Puppy Love

The US army feels bored of killing Iraqis and has started to cleanse other potential 'terrorists'.

They want War

While Venezuela is on the verge of a war with Colombia, Burma finds its support in Rambo (and the world looks away), Israel bombs Gaza naked (100 Taed so far), Kenya is desperate for stability (though killing remains a popular thing), Kosovo's independence splits the world in two, Armenia is thinking about a civil war, it has just been said that Russia's elections have been a total scam (what a surprise!).

European observers this morning condemned Russia's presidential election, won overwhelmingly by Dmitry Medvedev, as "not fair" and a denial of the "democratic potential" of the country's voters (Guardian).

Wake-up call for the 'peoples of the press', Russia has never been democratic not in the last 800 years. Did anybody seriously think different when Mr. Dmitry Medvedev received 70 (!) percent of the votes yesterday? Of course, it it a 'Farce', Mr. Kasporov (the greatest Chess player just behind Fischer), but what can we do? Go to war? Isolate Russia? Come on, seriously now, what can we do?

Oh before closing, tomorrow is big day for the Yanks. Obama or Clinton? Well does not really matter, neither one will 'change' the world or even the US for that matter.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Medvedev, Russia's new President

Russia has a new President, say hello to the new Putin. More of the same (?) ... 'Dmitry Medvedev'. The legality of the electoral voting is already disputed or perhaps better "When everything is clear from the start, the story is not very sexy":
Mr. Medvedev declined to debate his opponents, and his campaign was conducted largely through staged public events that were widely broadcast on the Kremlin-controlled television networks. His three rivals on the ballot received far less coverage, and they rarely if ever attacked either Mr. Putin or Mr. Medvedev by name, as if they had been warned about how far they could go (NYT).

Israel-Palestinian Art

I normally refrain from posting messages on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Why? Well, its a bit like putting your heard in a bag of razor-sharp needles. Everybody seems to have a opinion about the conflict, which is exactly one of the obstacles for resolving it in the first place. It is not just an arena of hate (a matter which in many instances, I believe, comes forth from pure ignorance), but also of continuous judgment of what is considered to be 'Good' and what is deemed to be 'Evil'. A lot of Europeans wearing Palestinian scarfs believe that their (fashionable) resistance, which matches the rest of their trendy clothing, can actually be justified on the basis of the knowledge they receive from their televisions or from what their friends say. However, the moment when those same people are confronted with the Other in its direct form, they shiver and are anxious to be robbed from what they define as the "Freedom Expression'.

Yes, I have been to the West Bank, and no, that does not make me more of a specialist (or more knowledgeable) than the people actually living on either side of the borders. Should we remain passive? I don't think so, but blaming the conflict on one side would be downright foolish and ignorant of the historical and social inheritance of the country at hand. What to do then to bring both sides back to the negotiation tables? To make sure that brighter days are coming. I can think of a couple of solutions, a powerful one is bringing the two sides together through a cooperation in the arts.

Progressive poster for the 40th birthday of Israel; morphing Herzl into Arafat

Distance from childhood memories in the form of dust which is to change into a storm.

*Pictures with the courtesy of the Um El fahem Gallery and Liberation Graphics - both of which are well worth a visit and a bit of your time.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

God sucks (in the Netherlands)

*cartoon appeared after one of the Dutch public TV stations decided to broadcast the soft-porn movie "Deep Throat".

Who needs Mohammad in the West? After all we have our own Savior to publish and ridicule about in our newspapers (NRC). What the cartoon says? "We are certain that God will interfere in his own miraculous ways, Amen".

Seems that the post-Nietzschean Left is finally waking up to confront all (read not only the Islam bashing) religions. To the barracks!

* picture with the courtesy of