The end of the world does not have to necessarily be apocalyptic and reveal the truth of human existence. Rather, we know life as non-teleological, as having no unifying divine or historical plan that we could contemplate and upon which we could rely. Indeed, we know ourselves to be involved in an uncontrollable play of material forces that makes every action contingent. We watch the permanent change of fashions. We watch the irreversible advance of technology that eventually makes any experience obsolete. Thus we are called, continually, to abandon our skills, our knowledge, and our plans for being out of date. Whatever we see, we expect its disappearance sooner rather than later. Whatever we plan to do today, we expect to change tomorrow.
Boris Groys for e-flux
Shock of the New is a 1980 documentary series by Robert Hughes that was broadcast by the BBC in the United Kingdom and by PBS in the United States. It addressed the development of modern art since the Impressionists and was accompanied by a book of the same name; its combination of insight, wit and accessibility are still widely praised. The eight programmes focused on these themes:
(1) “Art’s love affair with the machine”;
(2) “The powers that be” (covering the period 1914 to 1930s);
(3) “The landscape of pleasure”, 1870s to 1950s;
(4) “Trouble in utopia”, 1890s to 1960s;
(5) “The threshold of liberty”, 1880s to 1940s;
(6) “The view from the edge”, 1830s to 1970s;
(7) “Culture as nature”, 1910s to 1970;
(8) “The future that was”, 1840s to 1970s.
Can Planet Earth Handle Seven Billion People? (25:45)
The United Nations says the world’s population will reach seven billion sometime today, although the US Census Bureau says it’ll happen sometime in March. Regardless of the date, there are some reasons for optimism as well as predictions of doom and gloom. We hear some of both — from the US, China, India and sub-Saharan Africa.
Andrew Revkin, Joel Cohen, Deborah Seligsohn, Patrick French with Warren Olney
Some days ago you emailed to me a transcript of an address that Slavoj Zizek gave to the Wall St protesters about the worth and justification for changing our social and government systems and what follows is my commentary on these protests and his viewpoint. Perhaps it is a “blog”? Whilst the protests have become world wide they are quickly running out of steam because they lack the credibility of a solution, a policy, or a goal other than the vague notion that the system has to be changed—-but for what? The rantings of Slavoj Zizek are just that, rabel rousing, when what is needed is a well thought out road map, a manifesto, for change and regulation of the imperfect system that we have. To call for a whole change of our system of government i.e. to dump our democratic capitalist system would be gross folly unless you have a workable and socially just alternative. We know that Russian and Chinese communist/socialist systems become totalitarian and repressive party dictatorships so we have yet to find a better fairer workable system—perhaps the Scandinavian countries with their blending of capitalism and socialism have something to teach us about a better system? Any way the protesters are fortunate to be living in countries that permit freedom of expression and assembly! It is to their credit that they have so far been generally peaceful. There is no doubt that there is justifiably present pent up anger and disappointment with the failings of the present system especially in relation to the failure of the banking system to kerb the greed that gave rise to malpractices and fraud and the consequent recession we continue world wide to endure. There are other contributing ingredients too like: High levels of youth unemployment that means school leavers and graduates are unable to find satisfactory work and become the restless unemployed. A growing disparity of incomes between people at the top and people at the bottom. This is common to all developed western countries so we have an excessively rich strata of a few and an impoverished many with all shades inbetween which is bound to give rise to social discontent. Government cut backs in spending especially on social services, education and health that impact on the majority of any population create anger. Everyone has forgotten that our elected governments over borrowed in times of prosperity which we enjoyed and now have to pay back the borrowings e.g. the Greeks! So the cut backs were inevitable, but the further down the economic totem pole you are the more hurt you proportionally suffer. I believe that the growing levels of social injustices will eventually culminate in major political changes to our system for the better. It is an incremental progression achieved in a democratic process which be it imperfect it is peaceful. My point here is evidenced by the social changes achieved over the past century.
End of musings—-Love DADXX
NOTES ON PRACTICE: STUBBORN STRUCTURES AND INSISTENT SEEPAGE IN A NETWORKED WORLD
In a sense this implies a three-stage encounter that we are ascribing between the practitioner and her world. First, a recognition of the fact that instances of art practices can be seen as contiguous to a ‘neighbourhood’ of marginal practices embodied by the figures of the five transgressors. Secondly, that ‘seeing’ oneself as a practitioner, and understanding the latent potentialities of one’s practice, might also involve listening to the ways in which each of the five transgressive figures encounters the world. Finally, that what one gleans from each instance of transgression can then be integrated into a practice which constitutes itself as an ensemble of attitudes, ways of thinking, doing and embodying (or recuperating) creative agency in a networked world.
Raqs Media Collective
The “Skid Row”1 of Los Angeles is a portion of the area in downtown Los Angeles east of the Financial District and the Historic Downtown Center, partially overlaying the core of the downtown Industrial District. It is generally referred to by the City as part of the “Central City East” area, a fifty-block sector of downtown bounded by Main Street (west), Third Street (north), Alameda Street (east) and Seventh Street (south), although Skid Row’s boundaries are actually somewhat fluid.
I have to answer that on two levels. This higher energy is in every living thing. A portion of this incredible energy fills all that is alive. There’s also the opposite—I’m going to get pretty deep here.
Linda Perhacs in conversation with Daiana Feuer ↓