What is Hollywood, you ask, dear children? A quorum of whores babbling endlessly on about fucking while the bordello is razed for a penny arcade -- Paul Bern

Thursday, December 1, 2011

HE WAS NO NICHOLAS WINDING REFN

Lamentations. Vladek Sheybal and Oliver Reed in The Debussy Film


Too late to go to the mattresses for dear Ken all you johnny-come-latelies and amnesiacs! Just think of him wistfully when you are condemned to watch shitty, soulless movies for the rest of your lives.

What Pere Ubu was to the theatre and to pop music, Russell will be for the Cinema.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

WORLD ON A WIRE


But the debate about tools like Twitter Trends is, I believe, a debate we will be having more and more often. As more and more of our online public discourse takes place on a select set of private content platforms and communication networks, and these providers turn to complex algorithms to manage, curate, and organize these massive collections, there is an important tension emerging between what we expect these algorithms to be, and what they in fact are. Not only must we recognize that these algorithms are not neutral, and that they encode political choices, and that they frame information in a particular way. We must also understand what it means that we are coming to rely on these algorithms, that we want them to be neutral, we want them to be reliable, we want them to be the effective ways in which we come to know what is most important.

Twitter Trends is only the most visible of these tools. The search engine itself, whether Google or the search bar on your favorite content site (often the same engine, under the hood), is an algorithm that promises to provide a logical set of results in response to a query, but is in fact the result of an algorithm designed to take a range of criteria into account so as to serve up results that satisfy, not just the user, but the aims of the provider, their vision of relevance or newsworthiness or public import, and the particular demands of their business model. As James Grimmelmann observed, “Search engines pride themselves on being automated, except when they aren’t.” When Amazon, or YouTube, or Facebook, offer to algorithmically and in real time report on what is “most popular” or “liked” or “most viewed” or “best selling” or “most commented” or “highest rated,” it is curating a list whose legitimacy is based on the presumption that it has not been curated. And we want them to feel that way, even to the point that we are unwilling to ask about the choices and implications of the algorithms we use every day.


CIVIC INFORMATION: an epistemological model (in this case, an algorithm) is also a polity. That is, it does to information what the city or the village does to the individual human -- makes it behave according to its noble vision of the citizen. In no way can it be allowed to be unruly.

The above lament is an almost perfect illustration of the modern gap: we want information to be perfectly MACHINED, that is godlike, free of human interference, so that we can better worship it, and at the same time we recognize that it is but a social creation and thus tainted by our sinful human culpability in shaping it and thus its magic crumbles before our eyes.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

LE SYSTEME DE LAW, PART DEUX


Let me get this straight...Madoff is in jail for running what in Europe would be called a European Financial Stability Facility, or Euro Rescue Vehicle? Could we get a Nobel Prize winning economist to explain the no-doubt subtle but important differences to us numbnuts, please? We'd really like to invest in this stuff...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

THE NEW APOCALYPTISTS IN SEARCH OF A WEIMAR TO CALL THEIR OWN



1932. During a lull in the battle of Washington, General Douglas MacArthur, Army Chief of Staff, orders "really mean" 140 character messages to be spammed to the twitter accounts of the Bonus Army.
How the late Apocalyptists love mouthing out all about the Gold and the Silver and the Cinnamon of evil Babylon! How they want them all! How they envy Babylon her splendour, envy, envy! How they love destroying it all! The Harlot sits magnificent with her golden cup of the wine of sensual pleasure in her hand. How the Apocalyptists would have loved to drink out of her cup!
And since they couldn't: How they loved smashing it!

Ivan Krastev: The rise of populism and the mistrust of the elites have reduced European politics to a clash between the anti-corruption rhetoric of the public and the anti-populist rhetoric of the establishment. There is no new collective utopia to capture the public’s imagination. Simply, a majority of people tend to view all that governments do as corrupt, while governments tend to respond to any demand for policy change with accusations of populism. Instead of bringing new life to the political left or the political right, the current economic crisis has challenged the very notion of the left-right structure of democratic politics. Europe and the world have gone populist. But it is a strange version of populism – people revolt not to enact a clear vision of what they want to change, but to exact revenge and punishment. The rebels of today do not oppose the status quo of yesterday – they seek to preserve it. This pro-status quo radicalism can best be seen on the streets of Paris, where last year students protested against an increase in the pension age, even though the pension age in France was one of lowest in Europe. One has the feeling that Europe is populated only by immigrants and current or future pensioners. What most people fear is not the status quo; what they fear is change. The situation is 1968 in reverse. In 1968 students on the streets of Europe declared their desire to live in a world different from that of their parents; now students are on the street to declare their desire to live in the world of their parents.

This is only a little disingenuous...the protesters correctly understand that they will be the great losers in the scale of globalized "change". They aren't insurrectionists but watchers of their own fates. They naturally want a televised record of their noble rancor and defeat. When the collective ego is undercapitalized, its narcissisms must be sustained like the terminal stages of a boom, and require perpetual bailouts of media attention.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

REBELS ARE WE, ETC






Where are the anthropologists? The Cargo Cult of Real Income is in full flower! We need insight into this primitive, innocent society ruled by an enigmatic priest figure  
known as the C.P.A...

The overrated hit the stage
Overpaid and over here
And their idea of counter-culture's
Momma's charge account at Sears
And they're wondering why we can't connect
With the ritual of the trashed guitar
One more paltry empty gesture
The ashes of a burned out star
Yes here they come, both old and young
A contact low or high

The gathering of the tribes descending
Vultures from a caustic sky
The rotting carcass of July
An ugly sun hung out to dry

Your gorgeous hippy dreams are dying
Your frazzled brains are putrifying
Repackaged, sold and sanitized
The devil's music exorcised
You live, you die, you lie, you lie, you die
Perpetuate the lie
Just to perpetuate the lie
Yes yes yes it's the summer Autumn festival
The truly detestable
Summer Autumn Festival

Thursday, October 6, 2011

LARS AND THE REAL WORLD



VEVEY, SUISSE -- Charles Chaplin was questioned by Swiss authorities today concerning a serious violation of French Law, on a possible charge of trivializing and encouraging representations of genocide not directed by Claude Lanzmann. The aging comic, known for playing Adenoid Hynkel, a thinly veiled caricature of Danish auteur Lars Von Trier, commented that he knows how Von Trier feels and that he now has empathy for him.

For his part, Von Trier had this to say: "I can heartily recommend the Gestapo to anyone." He then took his German Shepherd, Petain, for a long walk in the woods. The faithful dog was discovered with the still warm corpse.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

AT THE BACK OF THE NORTH WIND



We love them
We mourn for them
Unlucky boys of Red

I wish I'd gone down

Gone down with them
To where Mother Nature makes their bed

We miss them

Every night we kiss them
Their faces fixed in our heads

I wish I'd gone down

Gone down with them
To where Mother Nature makes their bed

They can't hurt you

Their style will never desert you
Because they're all safely dead


I wish I'd gone down

Gone down with them


No, it's not a scene from Sokurov's re-boot of Rollerball, it was the fantastic, phantasmic, memorial to the "tragic" Lokomotiv Yaroslavl: The living players shooting on the empty goal, the dead transmuted into sandwich boards, or hygienic pyramids, the crowds looking on the ghosts with a wistful envy -- truly we live in a golden era of permanent funerary mobilisation! The civic religion is in great health. We are so frantic in our grief we can hardly recall what it was we lost. A minor point. What Warhol ought to have said was...
in the future everyone will be dead, and therefore, politically useful, for 15 minutes!

Time's up.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

SOFT ICONOCLASM

The entirety of the para-cinematic network, that is, the public, the industry, DVD’s, amateur filmmaking software, academic & pop criticism, youtube and television, etc… is actively engaged in the practice of image-demystification – in latourian terminology, these elemental forces are working hard and overtime at denying that the fetish object they do/don’t worship, is in fact, a god. The god of cinema once had only two places to hide – in the material of the celluloid made of images that, themselves, remembered prior images, or in the mis-memory or dream of the audience. This Bergsonian metaphysic of the mnemonic (the image-remembrance) gave the cinema much of its power. Now, with its oneiric qualities outsourced and diluted to the ends of the electronic earth, can any art survive such a ruthless demystification?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR VERSUS THE MATRIARCHY





“I do not approve of the super-liberal, matriarchal upbringing as it completely lacked discipline and has contributed to feminising me to a certain degree."
– Andrew Berwick, Knight Templar, Crusader, and eternal guest of his mother.


In Klossowski’s The Baphomet, the ghost consciousness of the Templars along with their Grand Master, Friedrich Nietzsche, ritually perform the transgressive dionysian acts for which they were burned at the stake, including the worship of an idol, Baphomet (a fantastical corruption of the name Mohammed)

European handwringing and fatalism about Islamic non-assimilation has a fundamental(ist) blind spot. The openness of society has evolved way beyond state sponsored multi-culturalism into elective tribalism. That is, that ALL people, not just radicalized and alienated Jihadists, can now live lives only nominally bound to society and derive much of the pleasure and meaning in them through a dedicated psychotic or resistant non-engagement with a socialized reality, which is inevitably unsatisfying and restrictive. The networked psychosis. And who better to illustrate the concept of elective tribalism, but our ultimate Facebook friend, Anders Breivik. Where we normally think of the psychotic as someone who is completely isolated in his mental terrain, the proverbial loner, it’s now clear that the internet facilitates a colonization of a variety of network actors into the fantasy life isolated from social reality; it’s interactivity is soothing. Breivik becomes the mirror image of the Jihadist sleeper agent – mimetic desire truly fills his life with meaning, and he carries out the terrorist act, unconsciously, in the name of his double, the emasculated Muslim male of dubious status, who must prove his potency though action.  As with any true mimetic act, he must be completely unaware of the source of his desire.


Breivik's thought betrays an analogy between his monocultural nationalism and his veneration of a certain type of "warrior" masculinity, an analogy that revolves – as his manifesto's title implies – around the ideal of masculine independence. The "feminisation" of the European male corresponds to the "feminisation" of Europe itself. Our cultural purity is threatened by invasion from outside. Once proud, virile, and impregnable, Europe has been turned – Breivik suggests in Section 2.89 – into a woman, one who has submitted to rape rather than "risk serious injuries while resisting".




Breivik: I was out with Peter and Didrik today. We had some drinks at Peter’s bachelor pad near Bogstadveien, probably the most prestigious place to live for bachelors in Oslo and not far from where I used to live when I was still in the "game". We then went on to a nearby restaurant, had an incredible meal, drank some more and met Peter’s girlfriend and her friends. We had a few beers and talked, very cosy<3 I remember telling Christine about my career as a writer, telling her that I wasn't planning on actually selling the book but rather to distribute it freely in order to more efficiently propagate our cause to a broader audience (they were all cultural conservative btw). Christine told me that she believed I was driven by idealism, which is of course true, but that I actually lived my dream. While I didn't want to start to argue that particular factor, as I don't like appearing like a pooper or to risk blowing my cover, it got me thinking. Are, we, the reactionary revolutionary conservatives really living our dream or are we making a sacrifice? To be honest, if I felt that other people could do my job I would not do what I do, that I can guarantee you. I don't want to do what I do, I would rather focus on starting a family and focus on my career again. But I can't do that as long as I feel like a person caught in a burning spaceship with nowhere to go. If you see the ship is burning you don't ignore it and start cooking noodles do you? You put out the fire even if it endangers your life. You don't enjoy putting out the fire but it is your duty to yourself and your fellow crewmen. And let's say your crewmen have been infected with a rare virus that shuts down their rational senses and they try to stop you from putting out the fire. You can't really allow yourself to be stopped by any of them as it will lead to your collective death. You will do anything to put out that fire despite of the fact that they are trying to stop you. Anything else would be illogical.

But sacrificing yourself for others who probably detest you for it doesn't necessarily have to be a miserable experience. After all, we have the truth and logic on our side and we will learn to find rewards and comfort in our actions. After all, sometimes being uncompassionate is the most compassionate thing you can do.

Anyway, back to email farming on Facebook, aaaaarrrrggh:/ It's driving me nuts, lol. I'm currently working on French leads/FB groups. An extremely tedious and boring task - preparing quality contacts from scouring patriotic Facebook groups and sending out 100 select invitations per day (from 2 FB accounts). I've been doing this for 60 days straight now, 3-4 hours per day. FB networking isn't all that bad though as you do meet a lot of interesting, like minded people. This is the main reason why my book has been delayed. I just feel that I must send my book to at least 10 000 primary nationalists in the European world and I'm currently at 6000 email addresses. Good vocal trance music makes this task a lot less boring;). My funds are depleting gradually though; currently at 50 000 Euro + 30 000 Euro in credit limits (12 credit cards ftw), which will force me into the next phase of the operation soon. A usual day for me involves email farming, writing, sharing "moderate" resources from my book on debate groups to coach fellow cultural conservatives, smoking, eating chocolate lol, taking a daily 1 hour walk/motivational meditation and doing some occasional battlegrounds in WoW on my badass Horde resto druid. I just completed Dragon Age Origins not long ago. A brilliant game!:D It's important to have fun a few hours every day. I regret to admit that I've become a notorious downloader of pirated movies, series and games etc. but have noticed that an increasing number of sites have been closed down lately. Stealing is bad, I admit, but then again, when you have devoted your entire life to a good cause you can allow yourself some naughtiness especially if it can contribute to conserve your funds, cough;). Yes, yes, no ones perfect:P


Breivik, following the logic of the mediatic sphere to the letter, sees his terrorist acts as the essential marketing step in getting his manifesto (that is, his ego) out – he speaks of sacrifice or martyrdom – he wants to be the sacrificial victim that will restore the senses of his stupefied fellow passengers on the burning spaceship, but this is a martyrdom operation as masochist performance art. He wants to be Jan Palach, the immolating Czech national hero of resistance. It is only this, or Islamic re-colonization, that will confirm the fundamental reality of the networked psychosis. But the weak, feminized Norwegian state won’t ever punish him sufficiently. It can only love him to death and wave flowers. 

Favorite Cologne: Chanel Platinum Egoiste
 

Monday, July 25, 2011

FAUX PROLETARIANS OF THE WORLD UNITE!



As with most things, Pappy did it first. But let's note that his sartorial sensibility was impeccable. He was a genius with clothes, particularly his own. And a complete varietist when it came to headgear. Beret, Cowboy Hat, Fedora, Overseas Cap, Admiral's Visor hat, and of course, the baseball cap. But Bull Feeney was, perhaps, an authentic proletarian, and a jock at Portland High to boot. Esquire Man avant la lettre. What today's fashionable gringo movie director (with the notable and admirable exception of Peter Bogdanovich) says with a melancholic affectation of casualness, is: "I wish I made as much money this fiscal year as a baseball player does." And: "I'm exactly like you, dear comic-conista denizen, except I live in Malibu. Yeah, sure, come over -- anytime."

Saturday, July 23, 2011

IMAMURA/PECKINPAH



Stills, those interlopers in the cinema, break up not just the flow of time, but the "natural" linkage of sound and image, and shock us into a parallel diegesis, and --- as a bonus, the gap, the ellipsis goes straight into our dreams. Our dreams are this cutting room killing floor.

WARNING: The video BELOW contains images of sadistic, unjustified domestic violence to domestic Chickens, and to humans too, but in that case it is justified.

Friday, July 22, 2011

PERIPETIAL REPLAY




The textual richness of the “event” which unleashed a veritable ninja-tsunami of sublime racist cliches about The Murdoch’s Guoanbu Controller, Dame Wendi Murdoch (I’m kidding, kidding! Or am I?) needs to be unpacked. Everyone agrees, I think, that its spectacular interest is high. Why?

1. The men of the clan, so focused on projecting their defensive alpha authority in the frontal mode, that is toward the camera, that they are vulnerable to attack from the periphery. This is perhaps a cognitive occupational blindness of media workers, the fatal assumption that the periphery doesn’t exist. Not only does it exist, but that is where things happen. A debordian rule: Always Look Where the Camera is Not.

2. The image-fact that The Murdoch is both in need of defense, and defensible, inevitably humanizes him. That his defender is a Chinese woman is beautifully metaphoric, something that sino-atavists are naturally not taking lightly. A subtle prismatic inflection of the master image, that is, of the Fall of Murdoch, has occurred. If it were a corporate goon slapping aside the intruder – we’d think, sure, business as usual. In that case we could perhaps with justice speak of “ninja reflexes” – but in this case it is a capitalization on an opportunity that always exists in potential, something that people versed in the languages of strategy and power should always be on the lookout for: the convertible event, the event that can be turned or crystallized. That husband and wife should be equals and peers should surprise no one, but in this case, strangely, it does. 



3. The discussion of mediated events inevitably takes on the phenomenology of the sporting event – an idiotic instant replay style of criticism that amounts to a minimal sort of aesthetic appreciation for the beauty of the move, and did it work or was it a noble failure in the accounting. Did it result in a win, etc? Did it lead in a linear way to the next circumstance recorded by the Spectacle? But there are at least Seven Beauties hidden in any mediated event, each more profound and interesting than the efficient discussion. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

BORDER DANCE


The modern operation, according to Latour:

1. Set up a border, with steep & dangerous abysses, fiercely guarded, with flaming swords against impurities.

2. With deliberate schizoid intent, set up an elaborate smuggling network to traffic in the impure, the clandestine.

3. Force everyone to choose freely between being a Border Guard and a Passeur, and then make them forget their assigned role.

Friday, July 8, 2011

THAT FIRE WHICH REFINES THEM


SERGE DANEY: And at some point, I got scared, scared for me, I told myself I was developing a ridiculous sense of superiority in relation to television. TV doesn't care about being superior or inferior to me, I'm not in its world, I only exist because I put myself there by force, I said: "Well, I enlighten myself every day, it amuses me, it amuses people like me." After that... It's not even understood. Beyond that.

REGIS DEBRAY: Which is to say that you can't criticize television –

SERGE DANEY: No.

REGIS DEBRAY: - without criticizing the public it's targeting?

SERGE DANEY: There. I think I'd always doubted, I'd always balked at that because I didn't like it, the idea that you have to criticize the public. But I think that today we have to because of the recent evolution of television.

Who is targeting who? When a mob, with its inevitable ENTHUSEMIASMIC or ideological burden, takes up or seizes -- inhabits -- an IMAGE, rather than a post office or a barricade -- we are dealing with a specific sort of Ellulian crystallization -- a mutual discharge happens -- the Fascist Event is conveyed into its image, which swells and shimmers because it has a material force which cannot be any longer questioned, but at the same time the self-same image becomes more reflexive too, it is no longer "mere image" that is, the image scorned, theoretical, unseen or ideal, but this Latourian hybrid: the lived-in image-crowd, which in turn can be spectacle and attractant, drawing even further discharges into itself.

To refuse to throw oneself under the Juggernaut of Our Noble Whatever is downright prufrockian. And so...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

WHY DRUGS ARE BAD



Sorry, can't resist...
Movie critics tend to fall in the "assaultive," camp, but Foundas again puts Bay in context of recognized auteurs. "There's a lot of directors historically who like to move the camera a lot. They just tend to do it in one take instead of these short edits," he says. "But maybe he's kind of like Marcel Ophuls on methamphetamine."

Scott Foundas was so skullfucked by Transformers Trois that he a) is spewing meaningless absurdities like Serge Daney on GHB concerning Bay's style, and b) has confused the son with the father.

He's right though, I did detect a little hommage in the Clermont-Ferrand sequence of the first Transformers. now, Everybody get to rehab!

Friday, June 24, 2011

MORE FATWAS FROM BADIOU



Ok , amigos. Here are some helpful and practical aesthetic counsels from the Yoda of his generation (with my helpful parenthetical explanations)

9. The only maxim of contemporary art is not to be imperial. This also means: it does not have to be democratic, if democracy implies conformity with the imperial idea of political liberty. (OK, this means Socialist Realism is back, thank God!; also you can also enjoy Jew Suss and the Triumph of the Will (in the comfort of your home, of course.)
10. Non-imperial art is necessarily abstract art, in this sense : it abstracts itself from all particularity, and formalizes this gesture of abstraction. (Good news for Windham Hill, screensavers, and Ambient Black Metal.)
11. The abstraction of non-imperial art is not concerned with any particular public or audience. Non-imperial art is related to a kind of aristocratic-proletarian ethic : Alone, it does what it says, without distinguishing between kinds of people. (Don't worry about starving to death. Some of my ideas can be quite nourishing.)
12. Non-imperial art must be as rigorous as a mathematical demonstration, as surprising as an ambush in the night, and as elevated as a star. (Don't rock the drunken boat, Arthur Rimbaud, or we will all drown...)
13. Today art can only be made from the starting point of that which, as far as Empire is concerned, doesn't exist. Through its abstraction, art renders this inexistence visible. This is what governs the formal principle of every art : the effort to render visible to everyone that which for Empire (and so by extension for everyone, though from a different point of view), doesn't exist. (So, let me check with Empire for a list of approved objects, which is everything imaged, then I make art about the inexistent. But then must it go on the list of approved objects? And then I get confused. Heisenberg? Any light on this?)
14. Since it is sure of its ability to control the entire domain of the visible and the audible via the laws governing commercial circulation and democratic communication, Empire no longer censures anything. All art, and all thought, is ruined when we accept this permission to consume, to communicate and to enjoy. We should become the pitiless censors of ourselves. (OK, what the Imam is saying is that my thought is ruined by thinking it -- because I can only think things that the Empire has pre-thought for me. But if I do my own censoring, I am free.) 
15. It is better to do nothing than to contribute to the invention of formal ways of rendering visible that which Empire already recognizes as existent. (So, relax, and don't worry about the Empire. There is nothing you can do. Except keep buying my books. These aren't the droids you're looking for.)

Seems easy enough, right? Not just another crazy pied piper of Hamelin Adorno Bullshit Aesthetics wishlist! 
In other news, Badiou orders all babies to be hygienically disposed of along with their brackish bathwater.

ANCIENT ASTRONAUTS


Dominique Strauss-Kahn: The first book you’ve chosen isn’t about economics at all; it’s a work of science-fiction, Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy. But was it part of what inspired you to become an economist?

Paul Krugman: Yes. This is a very unusual set of novels from Isaac Asimov, but a classic. It’s not about gadgets. Although it’s supposed to be about a galactic civilization, the technology is virtually invisible and it’s not about space battles or anything like that. The story is about these people, psychohistorians, who are mathematical social scientists and have a theory about how society works. The theory tells them that the galactic empire is failing, and they then use that knowledge to save civilization. It’s a great image!! I was probably 16 when I read it and I thought, “I want to be one of those guys!” Unfortunately we don’t have anything like that and economics is the closest I could get.
We don't? You are too modest, comrade. To some of our cadres, you are, verily, an intergalactic savant. Please keep saving us. Thanks.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

LESTER BANGS IS (STILL) DEAD


Ok, so there is this "musikant" out there that goes by the name of Spiagge Sporche or something like that. HE'S A GENIUS. Allow me to emphasize this. Genius, in that modern, loosey way we speak of genius, that is to say, he managed to get some attention for something fundamentally mediocre.

It's a simulacra of Suicide -- y'know that old funk band that Rev and Vega used to have. But not really, not at all, actually -- something has eluded the artist -- because Suicide, if they had anything, had ENERGY. This fellow has fervently copied the programming, (what do I know, he probably majored in post-punk at julliard, specialised in analog sequencers) but S.S. has apparently given him/herself some sort of date-rape drug in the art process. And so we finally get to the interesting part -- it's as if he is date-raping his muse (Suicide) & his own mediocre talent at the same time. This seems like usual practice these days -- anxiety of influence has dropped to anemic levels. Whose fault is that? Yours for listening. Lester Bangs, for being dead.

It's time to take back the NIGHT from these weasels!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

OEDIPUS ON THE ROAD





If someone copying a prototypical icon is unable to experience in himself that which he depicts, if while following the original he fails to make contact with the reality of it, then (being honest) he will try as precisely as possible to reproduce in his copy the prototype’s outward features; but it almost always happens that, in such a case, he will not comprehend the icon as an opening, and so, lost in copying the fine lines and brushstrokes, he will interpret unclearly the icon’s essence.

But if, on the other hand, through the prototype he is opened up into the spiritual reality depicted on it, and thereby comes to see it clearly (if secondarily) he will – because he posseses the living reality of his own aliveness – manifest his own viewpoint, and thus swerve from a strict calligraphic adherence to the original. In a manuscript you write describing a country someone else has previously described in an earlier manuscript, you will see your own words and phrases in your own handwriting; But the living basis of your manuscript is assuredly identical with that of the earlier one: the description of the country. Thus, the variations arising between successive copies of a prototypical icon indicate neither the illusory subjectivity of what is being depicted nor the arbitrariness of the iconpainting process but exactly the opposite: the living reality, which remaining itself, nevertheless will appear with those variations that correspond to the spiritual life of the iconpainter who seeks to comprehend that living reality.

Thus (ignoring mere servile reproduction) the difference between a prototypical icon and its iconic copy can approximate quite precisely that between an explorer’s account of a newly discovered country and a later journeyer’s narrative who visits that country because of the first explorer’s account; no matter the importance of the first account, the latter narrative may well be more exact and complete. Just so in iconpainting: sometimes an iconic copy can become particularly precious, one whose extraordinary indications confirm both its spiritual truth and it’s supreme correspondence to the spiritual reality it depicts. 
-- Fr. Pavel Florensky, Iconostasis


Super 8 was never intended as an homage to any films in particular. Before we were shooting I told our cinematographer, Larry Fong—who I met at 12 making Super-8 films—that I didn’t want the film to look like it was made in 1979, but I wanted it to look the way we remember films looking from 1979. That is to say, it needed to be its own thing, with visual and rhythmic motifs that allude to a different era of moviemaking, but made using tools and techniques of today. I sort of wanted to build a bridge between then and now." – J.J. Abrams.


It is clear that modern commercial filmmaking is fetish oriented. But what is being Fetishized exactly? Is it “wonder” flitered through the filmmaker’s own set of nostalgic values? Is it the feeling of being overwhelmed, completely possessed by a prior image? It seems that this nostalgia is already oddly misplaced – that audiences no longer even connect with this religious or fetish power of the image at its most concentrated. They no longer believe in hollywood über alles. They are adherents of another, more diffuse, religion. This is no longer popular filmmaking, but cultish. Mystical communication between adept and master. Whispers.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

THEY GOT GAME


According to a new study conducted recently by Saatchi & Saatchi S entitled “Engagement Unleashed: Gamification for Business, Brands and Loyalty,” approximately half of working Americans are engaging in online social gaming during a typical work day. But more importantly, 55% of Americans want to work for a company that utilizes gamification to increase productivity.
The most surprising result is that younger Americans, (read as Lady Gaga fans) which is also one of the demographics more largely out of work these days, are willing to be paid less to work for a company that is socially-minded. Thus, social interaction and the workplace culture are becoming more important than more money these days - at least to some people - even with a struggling economy.

Well, naturally.

The people have spoken. They want their serfdom to be fun and engaging. Yet, it is an undeniably brilliant move by the beneficent overlords to mirror-shift the honor culture of achievement/merit/humiliation from money and actual tangible goods to game performance. Ludic merit means more for everybody. Nobody's self-esteem suffers.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

THE VIRTUAL TRANSNATIONALIST




"For many national citizens, the practicalities of residence and the ideologies of home, soil and roots are often disjunct, so that the territorial referents of civic loyalty are increasingly divided for many persons among difference spatial horizons: work loyalties, residential loyalties, and religious loyalties may create disjunct registers of affiliation."


A few more thoughts on OBL before he vanishes again into the ahistorical.

Impure spaces. Capital no longer requires the “technology” of the nation-state. Why, after all, should power be made to flow through the ancient and constricted aqueducts of the fabled Hegelian state?  There are now many contenders for the post-statist impure political space, but the paradigmatic community of this sort is the internet, i.e. the real home of Bin Laden, the virtual culture-hero. 

So what sort of rhetorical battle was Bin Laden fighting? Was it the old anti-colonial/anti-imperialist battle of 1945-1989? Was he a political fighter, or a peculiar type of baudrillardean image specialist? A creature of western security agencies? Or a Dostoyevskian nihilist? All of the above. He’s a baffling nowhere man:  a rich Saudi playboy fighting his family’s chief benefactors, the Sauds, living most of his adult life in exile by launching an apparently quijotic war against the ghostly spirit of the United States, which no longer exists in a certain place, in any case. A titanic battle between virtualities.

At its most utopian, Islam preaches a sort of “withering away of the state” through a perfectibility of human action, an ideal community without need of either despots or ulama: the ummah. That utopian sense was lost in the chaotic maze (from the outsider’s perspective, naturally) of Islamic jurisprudence, which was perhaps a necessary conservative move to protect Islam from its human tendency to fragment and schism along tribal lines.

Mirrors: labile terrorism imitates airmobile capital; It is inconceivable without it. Mammon too has his utopian ummah, which exists above and beyond its political and financial structures.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A HERO FOR OUR TIME


With the new conditions that now predominate in the society crushed under the iron heel of the spectacle, one knows, for example, that a political assassination finds itself placed in another light; can in a sense be sifted. Everywhere the mad are more numerous than before, but what is infinitely more convenient is that they can be talked about madly. And it is not some kind of reign of terror that imposes such mediatic explanations. On the contrary, it is the peaceful existence of such explanations which should cause terror.  -- Debord, Commentaires

This doesn't happen every day: It's mythic. A Nobelist for Peace kills the arch-terrorist with a stroke of a pen. From here on out, convinced Salafists can be identified as those odd people staring wistfully out to sea. And Nothing is too good for the man who shot Liberty Valance, etc.

Melville: But as in landlessness alone resides the highest truth, shoreless, indefinite as God -- so, better is it to perish in that howling infinite, than be ingloriously dashed upon the lee, even if that were safety! For worm-like, then, oh! who would craven crawl to land! Terrors of the terrible! is all this agony so vain? Take heart, take heart, O Bulkington! Bear thee grimly demigod! Up from the spray of thy ocean-perishing- straight up, leaps thy apotheosis.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

DFW: LUI AND MOI, CORSICAN TWINS



A tragic note, pregnant with lost possibility, found among the effects of one David Foster Wallace, American academic and secondary Nabokov character.

(Redacted)
Random House
1745 Broadway
New York, NY 10019.

Dear Dave, (if we may...)

We love it! Your brilliant 666 pp. proposal for a humorous novelization of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, strikes us not at all as (as you put it in your own inimitable yet humble way) "a solid tie-in that also may resolutely fulgurate my writer's block while zinging the average reader-wretch to the next level of consciousness..." but rather as the next great chapter in the building of your household cult. We're firing up the hecatombs with our crack pipes. Enclosed is a check. Get cracking!

BLONDE ON BLONDE


Imperium is an intelligible sphere whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.

Right now, as Pan-Europe and China inaugurate a new humanitarian era of post-modern ipod colonialism, to look at Denis' film as a post-colonial treatise is not so interesting. After all, Denis, like Duras before her, is one of those cosmic colons. The psychological mestizo. On its surface, White Material just seems the usual meme about "Africa" -- Conrad, Casement, Kurtz, Camus, and Kapuscinski.

But no...some kind of allegory about Madonna and the kids from Malawi. But also a bit like Winchester 73, a dream version but with several rifles flying at once. Some fundamental lyric balance between the persons in the drama. Like Jancso in Cameroon. The power never has a center or a color. It flows, Bressonian, from person to thing and back. The blonde hair (Denis' own, let's remember) -- the immune system of the various bodies reject it. The mother's perverse and fixed dedication to the land, identification with the land, like in Duras, only points up the fleeting mobility, the insouciance of the other agents. Only Capital makes the land visible, and lovable.

At the end of the film, the surprise after many red herrings is that she, despite herself, must become the toxic Dostoyevskian avenger. La Prisionniere du Desert. Rather ambiguous stuff, this.

Besides -- who is not a colonized subject these days...? To compete for the honor of most colonized, or most abject seems beside the point -- one of those classic nasty + pointless fights for low stakes.Let us pass over it in silence.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

HOW TO HIDE BEHIND AN EMPTY SIGN





Alt.corporate rocker Patti Smith, her myth already swirling about her, letting us know that all desire is mimetic.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

OZU GENTLY CONFOUNDS THE KULESHOV EFFECT



 “Vespas dressed her hair…”

"Eisenstein's montage was linear, like a chain. Distance montage creates a magnetic field around the film... Sometimes I don't call my method "montage". I'm involved in a process of creating unity. In a sense I've eliminated montage: by creating the film through montage, I have destroyed montage. In the totality, in the wholeness of one of my films, there is no montage, no collision, so as a result montage has been destroyed. In Eisenstein every element means something. For me the individual fragments don't mean anything anymore. Only the whole film has the meaning." -- Peleshian


This astonishing and crucial four minute sequence in Only Son  where Ozu almost too casually draws in a lusty Austrian operetta into his surgical theatre of connotation becomes the most daring auteurist gesture of Burchian de-centering – as if to say: Watch! anything can be in, even outside, my story and still be my story.  And the crucial thing with Ozu is how that art of connotation, montage of spirit, can be kept intact, and even strengthened, like Peleshian’s films, mysteriously, over some distance.

The sequence, a musical whole that is perfect by itself, but also indivisible from the rest of the film, begins with the ghost infection of the prior one. They have just visited the beloved schoolmaster played by Chishu Ryu, the implicit cause of all the “trouble” in the diegesis, poignantly and embarrasingly reduced to selling pork chops – the banner let fly for an unseemly amount of time, almost mockingly. The schoolmaster loaned our hero a charm to keep the baby asleep and without tears. It works too well. The charm ritually displayed upside down on the wall pulls us back to the pain of the schoolmasters smile. Then, Ozu gives us the shot of the hero’s wife sewing alone in the house. The shot reverses, we see her back and a different sort of charm on the wall: Joan Crawford. One vamp leads to the other, one blonde face to another, and we are cut directly into the operetta. It is only after a healthy bit of song that we see that our hero has taken his mother to the movies, the yowling of which that she obviously finds incomprehensible. When he pulls himself out of reverie to notice her disquiet, he explains, with the full force of Ozu’s comic effect, that “it“ is called a talkie. The fraulein keeps singing, and then when Ozu cuts back to the mother, she is looking at her bedazzled son with a look of contempt. At this point, we realize, along with her, that the mother’s visit has not been the mild irritation he has suggested to others, but he has usurped it as a selfish holiday for himself.

The film within the film goes into an erotic crescendo, as the leading man, overcome by his own swooning emotion, moves to kiss the fraulein’s hands in close up. This risqué moment prompts our hero to worriedly check his mother’s reaction. Of course, she is dozing. And then he looks over to check to see if his neighbors have noticed this breach of excitement from his bumpkin of a mother. And then we see his own exasperated contempt at her for having his narcissistic pillow ungently ruffled. The mother wakes up, smiling sheepishly, indicating that he too can return to his preferred dreamscape. Meanwhile the Fraulein has run into a field, and the camera tracks with her coy and halfhearted escape from her suitor. Now we see that this is the secret reason for the “appropriation” – in the clash of dynamism (economic and/or social) versus stillness, in the "willing" girl who wants to be pleasantly trapped by erotic circumstance – this both formally and connotatively fingers our protagonist’s metaphysical problem: his swoony fatalism. It is this problem, this moral failing in her son, that the mother diagnoses in the movie theatre, even while asleep.

Look over these images again. The part is utterly the whole.

Monday, April 11, 2011

HOW THE WAR STARTED ON MY FEUDAL NEO-LIBERAL BEACH



For months, Croatian citizens of various stripes have been protesting their government's heroic attempts to refashion the homeland as a combination industrial/sex tourism park for enlightened, discerning Pan-Europeans. (Among the possible rehabilitation slogans: Croatia, Not Just Mass Graves!) Of course, because they are protesting world historical progress, the show isn't playing very far. Perhaps they can manage to attract Lady Gaga or something. For now they are content to mildly burn EU flags, that beautiful technocratic simulacra of The Crown of Thorns. This is no laughing matter, kids...the Croatian revolts need your "likes" on Facebook.

(Update from Lady Gaga's publicist...."Croatia, though a great and totally fun nation, is just not sexy or upbeat enough for global media exposure yet.")

Saturday, April 9, 2011

BACK TO BATAAN


Although the Algerian government has repeatedly been accused of exploiting extremist violence and even staging gruesome attacks and blaming them on extremists, it has been widely assumed that Xavier Beauvois’ film is based on true events – the kidnap and beheading of seven French Trappist monks from the monastery of Tibhirine in 1996. Despite the financing and production of the film coinciding with increased doubt about the assumed role of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) and the revelation of the Algerian army’s possible involvement in the incident, the film’s narrative leaves no ambiguities as to who killed the monks. In 2009, the retired French general Francois Buchwalter, who was the military attaché in Algeria at the time, testified that the monks had been killed accidentally from an Algerian military helicopter during an attack on a guerrilla position and then beheaded after their death to make it appear as though the GIA had executed them. Although President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged to release vital documents, key papers deemed to be vital to state security have remained classified. However, with increasing public pressure and a request by investigative magistrate Marc Trévidic earlier this month, a French judge has agreed to reopen the investigation into the murders.
IDEOLOGY:

The heads of the monks of the Atlas were found, but not the bodies. Curious.

Interesting: This film was an unlikely hit in France. The values of cinematic humanism (read Republicanism) in the clash of civilizations come to depend on a band of explicitly Christian heroes. The "free" men against the "slaves" of Islam. Like Tay Garnett's Bataan or the many iterations of The Lost Patrol. Is this the bunker mentality of secular, existentialist humanism, lapsing as usual into martyrology and self-idealization? Also, if islamization is the post-colonial return of the repressed, (also, from the side of islamic culture, the de-repression of the paradise of Al-Andalus) then it also comes inevitably with a nostalgia for all things colonial.

STRUCTURE

Beauvois's film is interesting in that it is a musical, basically. And that its form is an orgone accumulator for certain conventional ideas, a mystique, concerning the West. And the most finely set contradiction of the film is that it champions a mild Christian fraternity over more noxious forms of religious ecstasy. But here is my warning... what defines the west is not Christianity, Humanism, or Rationalism, or Rousseau, or any of the other million fuzzy-headed candidates; what defines the West is its constant sublimation and subversion of tribal impulses. This rejection of the tribal can only maintain itself along with a blindness to the ways in which the West remains fundamentally a tribe, more vicious and adamant than others, the tribe that insists, as Latour says, that there shall be no tribes.

IL GRAN LUMET E MORTO









Prince of the City and Find Me Guilty respectively.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

MISSPENT DOTAGE



In his clever infomercial about how his films are as terrifyingly important as the other historical objects in the re-mix, Godard wants us to believe the image is history. Or, perhaps, that history graves herself on la PELI.

But history is an oath (that is, a word-act) upon the temporal and the eternal. As unsigned, be-winged avatars of the science fictional, images are at best contrapuntal to history, or more precisely, the inversion of history. In their brute insistence on THIS and NOT THAT, and in the barely noticed echoic reference to the invisible, they can't help but falsify, the poor things. And that is their virtue.

JLG thinks he's making Peguy's amende honorable, that this work somehow satisfies his debt to cinema, cinema's debt to history, purifies cinema from all it did not show. A chain of absurdities. He ain't understood nothing, it seems.

So it's rather convenient that the end of cinema has arrived to seal JLG in his mausoleum, his own private cathedral of erotic misery.

Monday, April 4, 2011

CANNIBAL FEROX

On the surface of the image, in principle a scenario that seems easy to mock. The bride, for a remarriage ceremony, has commissioned a fetish cake of herself. But the more you think about it, the more gossamer & mysterious and perhaps witchy the act becomes. The bride is forcing the celebrants to consume HER IMAGE, leaving the real person, triumphant and protected, and in more than one way, dominant over the social action. It's like something a schizophrenic would conjure for a poetic defense against the world. Eat yer heart out, Marina Abramovic!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

VENEERS OF HEGEMONY, VOL. I


Those who fear systematically tend to disobey written rules while at the same time adhering to unwritten, so-called natural norms.
The lawless anarchist out-of-doors, the inner sycophant riding herd. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

THE HIPPIE EISENSTEIN

Look, so she likes smashing images together like rocks. She's not afraid of the blunt, the obvious, the over-reach. This is rare. Sam Fuller with art-ball Meyerholdian chops. But like him, that doesn't mean there aren't subtle or interesting things happening in her movies. Also, tedious bits. But one day, probably a masterpiece, or a Bezhin Meadow.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

HISTORIES OF THE SUPPOSEDLY EXIGENT


And it is interesting to see that the same mind and temper which induced the first act of self-aggrandizement tend quickly to lead to another one, which is unobtrusive, indefinite, unavowed. The assertiveness which in the first place claimed the prerogatives of eternal justice now proceeds by a similar logic to a more subtle form of encroachment; for the whig historians have shown a propensity to heighten the colouring of their historical narrations by laying hold on some difference of opinion or some conflict of policies and claiming this as a moral issue. And indeed it is a propensity which requires great self-discipline in any of us to resist. It must be remembered that there are some things in the past which the whig is very anxious to condemn, and some of his views have a way of turning themselves into something like a moral code. There is at least a change that the real burden of his indignation may fall on things which are anathema only to the whigs. It is not an accident that he has shown a disinclination to see moral judgements removed from history.
And from the future, of course. The cinema. as mother-novum, is a futurology that is also an ontology. Its mode is science-fictional. It is an eternal home to our homeless utopian dreams. That is why it was embraced by Futurists from Vertov to Cameron. The concept of Progress, as a human invention, is a brilliant piece of propaganda that would have made the priests of old envious. The future always needs a placeholder, and images fullfill that function rather magically.
Every novum calls attention to the historical inertia of the reader's actual present. It includes in itself an evaluation of the inadequacies of history and of the potentials offered by critical reflection. Its primary aesthetic pleasure is seeing the translation of historical cognition and ethics into form. The true novum thus fuses aesthetic effect with ethical and historical relevance. The worthy novum stands in for and also stimulates the rational disillusionment that is a precondition for affirming utopian-socialist collectivism, the 'historical destiny of man'. Accordingly, a true SF novum, represents a decisive change, a change in the "front-line of history". A novum is a fake unless it in some ways participates in and partakes of what Bloch called "the front line of historical progress."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

DROWNED SOJU BITCHES


The new film by Joe Swanberg. Synopsis: Pusan Film Festival. 2010. A visiting American filmmaker, played by Joe Swanberg, is screening, in competition, his new DV feature. He meets Hong Sang-Soo, (played by Korean actor Seung-Woo Kim), and over soju, they have a long, wary conversation about the styles of cinematic reflexivity. "Hong Sang-Soo" starts fucking Swanberg's real-life girlfriend, who explains wistfully to Swanberg that she always comes harder with Korean filmmakers. In a harrowing, emotional scene Swanberg grills her for details of the lover. Staying up late with his laptop, Swanberg re-edits his not-yet-screened film to include dialogic references to "Hong Sang Soo's" sexual practices. At some point, an attractive young Korean with the State Film Office explains to Swanberg that the character's name should be Sang-Soo Hong. The film replays again, this time with the name substituted in the "correct" Korean order. The Pusan jury, headed by Greta Gerwig and Philippe Garrel, awards Swanberg's film the laurels. At a press conference, Hong announces that his next film will be Hollywood reboot of LOL. "Swanberg" feels empty, hollow, in quotes, etc. He makes subtle "grimaces" before mirror. End.

SCOPOPHILES


A porn film that stars actors playing famous scientists like Marie Curie, Röntgen, and the famous and sad crystallographer Rosalind Franklin. Some of the sex scenes are filmed with X-ray film stock. Incredible densities of eroticism are thus produced. At the end of the film, after the so-called "money-shot", we see the semen itself x-rayed and we see little skulls, a little inaccurately, inside the individual sperm. Then the principals are interviewed, without shame, about their experiences. The music is by Mihaly Vig.

Friday, March 4, 2011

SATANTANGOPALOOZA, or THE WHALE




The situation today offers great chances of success to the ambitions of conspirators of either the Right or the Left Wing. So inadequate are the measures proposed or adopted by governments to break down any possible revolutionary attempt, that the danger of a coup d’état should be most seriously examined in many European countries. The peculiar nature of the modern State with its complex and delicate functions, and the gravity of the political, economic and social problems which it is called upon to solve, make it the barometric index of the people’s hopes and fears, which increases the obstacles that stand in the way of its defense. The modern State is more exposed to the danger of revolution than is generally recognized. It is useless to object that even liberal methods of defending the State are obsolete, the conspirators for their part frequently show their ignorance of the very essentials of the modern technique of a coup d’état. Even if it be true today that conspirators in many cases have not known how to take advantage of circumstances favorable to their attempts to seize control, it is no less true that the danger of revolution exists.

In countries where order is based on liberty, public opinion ought to bear in mind the possibility of a coup d’état. In its present state Europe is everywhere faced with this possibility, as well in a free well-organized country—“policed” state, to use an Eighteenth Century expression, still appropriate in our day—as in a country infested with disorder.

The object of this book is (…) to show that the problem of the conquest and defense of the State is not a political one, that it is a technical problem, that the art of State-defense is guided by the same principles that guide the art of its conquest, and that circumstances favorable to a coup d’état are not necessarily of a political and social order and do not depend on the general condition of the country. No doubt this will not fail to create some anxiety amongst the Liberals of the most stable and best-policed countries of Western Europe. It is this anxiety, so natural in a lover of freedom, which gave birth to my desire to show how a modern State can be overthrown and how it can be defended. Shakespeare’s Bolingbroke, Duke of Hereford, who said, “They love not poison, that do poison need,” was perhaps a lover of freedom also.

Malaparte, The Technique of the Coup D’Etat

Revolution as therapy: these flashmob sort-of-virtual revolutions are notable because they bypass or are indifferent to the infrastructure of the state, which seems to exist to them in another world. They are “Performance Art” insurgencies, with all the attendant excitement, the feeling of rupture, of festival, much milling about, a demand that the people’s accedia be somehow solved by anybody willing to take the power.  
No one steps up. The accedia of the masses is shared by its leaders.

ALL-JAZEERA ALL THE TIME


The proper response to the pseudo-event regardless of "content" should be this -- yes, be moved by the art of it, as we are moved by the railroading death of the heroine in Anna Karenina, but if you want to change national railroad policy because of this, you force me to say: this is insane. It is applied Quijotism. You would be making a possibly irrevocable decision in the world based on what is, essentially, a beautifully articulated fiction. Maybe that is what revolution means.