Healing tool by Brian Kane

BRIAN KANE, HEALING TOOL, BOSTON, 95 NORTHBOUND, JULY 8, 2015

BRIAN KANE, HEALING TOOL, BOSTON, 95 NORTHBOUND, JULY 8, 201502

Healing Tool is art designed for people in cars. A temporary public art installation using digital billboards on interstate freeways.

The goal is to provide a moment of temporary relief and unexpected beauty during the daily grind of commuting.

The piece builds on a body of work which simulates digital experiences in the real world. In this case, simulating the Photoshop Healing Tool to replace or patch over the landscape which is blocked by the billboard.

During the day hours, a series of images from the specific location are shown on the display. We replace the missing background and create a magic dimensional window. A dynamic motion parallax effect occurs as the vehicle passes the location.

During the evening hours, high-resolution images of the moon are shown. Synced to the daily phase, people can view the moon despite the effects of urban light pollution. An image of the Milky Way is shown on new moon night.

The dynamic image sequences provide an additional level of intrigue for frequent drivers and commuters. As the images change hourly and daily, viewers have something to look forward to: a curious and abstract narrative over time.

Thematically, the piece is ambiguously green. It appears to be replacing the artificial with the natural, but it’s really just using technology to simulate a nature replacement. It’s also a form of “unvertising” – a campaign without a message. By removing the marketing message from the advertising space, we create an unexpected moment of introspection. People are allowed to interpret an image based on their own experience, and not necessarily with the singular focus of the advertiser’s intent.

Written by Brian Kane. Find out more at briankane.net

Eva and Franco Mattes: Attribution Art?

Thanks to a friend, I recently read an impressive Walter Benjamin quote: “To a book collector, you see, the true freedom of all books is somewhere on his shelves.” I loved it, because it is very telling of what I think not just about collecting, but also about appropriation, theft, and curating. All these actions have to do with taking something made by somebody else and making it your own property, legally or illegally.

Along with Benjamin, I believe that when you do this, you are actually freeing the object you take, allowing it to be more than just what it was in the intentions of its creator: more than just a photo documentation of a Rasta community, as in Richard Prince’s appropriation of Patrick Cariou’s work; more than just a toy, like in many Jeff Koons works; more than just a Walker Evans photo, like in the work of Sherrie Levine.

Eva and Franco Mattes are a couple of Italian-born, New York-based artists who made their first appearance on the Internet, under the label 0100101110101101.ORG. Their work has much to do with theft: recently, they even stole a radioactive ride from the Chernobyl area and reconstructed it in Manchester, United Kingdom. So, when ARTPULSE asked me to interview them, I thought it would have been interesting to interview some of the victims of their thefts instead: not to collect livid reactions, but rather to rouse a positive thinking about the beneficial consequences of this act of appropriation. We all know what they’ve lost; but what did they gain from Eva and Franco’s thefts?

By Domenico Quaranta

Domenico Quaranta – Dirk Paesmans is a Bruxelles-born artist and part of the artist duo Jodi. Started in 1995, their web project jodi.org was a revelation for many artists interested in making art on the Internet. In 1999, Eva and Franco Mattes copied Jodi’s website and published it unchanged on their own, 0100101110101101.ORG. In both cases, the website was the artists’ identity, and this brought the Mattes to take part in some shows in place of Jodi. “Copyright is boring,” they said. Dirk, do you agree?

Dirk Paesmans – I agree. If you don’t want your art to be used by others, then you’d better stay away from the Internet– keep it in your studio and show it in a gallery. On the Internet, if you can see it, you own it. Once you publish something online you are accepting that others may use it. And the other way around: our work is full of stuff we found online: code, images, sounds, it all comes from there and who knows who did it in the first place?

D.Q. – Darko Maver is currently a full-time professor of criminalistics at the Faculty of Criminal Justice, University of Maribor, and at the Faculty of Law, University of Ljubljana. Back in 1998, the Mattes used his name to create the legend of an artist, wandering in decaying Yugoslavia and installing provocative sculptures in public spaces. Darko Maver was supposedly persecuted, arrested, and died in prison in April, 1999. In September, 1999, the Venice Biennale hosted a tribute to the dead artist. I asked the real Darko if he enjoyed this weird celebrity.

Darko Maver – I’m a criminologist, my job is to look at crime scenes to understand them. While, as far as I got, my homonym artist was setting up crime scenes as artworks, sculptures that looked like corpses. There is definitely something connecting our lives other than the name we share.

D.Q. – After resigning from his position of Director of the Holy See Press Office in 2006, Doctor Joaquín Navarro-Valls is now easier to contact. He was there when, in 1999, 0100101110101101.org bought the domain Vaticano.org and played the role of the Holy See for a whole year, rewriting encyclicals, collaging prayers, pop songs and fantasy tales, and hijacking pilgrims. Dr. Navarro-Valls, at the time you had to stop this bad joke. Twelve years later, what do you think about it?

Joaquín Navarro-Valls – Stupidity is also a gift of God, but one mustn’t misuse it.

D.Q. – It was hard, instead, to get in touch with Philip Knight, chairman of Nike. I’m pretty sure that, in the end, my email was replied by a spokesman, but it’s interesting anyway. Mr. Knight, in 2003, Eva and Franco Mattes appropriated the Swoosh logo and the Nike identity, and made a weird advertisement campaign in your place. The action had legal consequences, and Nike lost the battle. Are you still upset?

Philip Knight – Many people compared this case to Andy Warhol using Campbell’s Soup for his paintings, but I don’t see any similarity. Warhol used to eat Campbell’s products and was celebrating its logo as an icon of his time. As far as I know this so called artists, who exploited our brand, don’t even wear our running shoes.

D.Q. – In 2010, Eva and Franco stole from a master of robbery. Using a popular Internet meme as a model, they made a fake Cattelan sculpture, and they showed it as a Cattelan in Texas, before claiming the prank. Maurizio, did they learn from you? And what did you learn from them?

Maurizio Cattelan – They didn’t steal anything from me– what they did is not “appropriation art,” I’d call it “attribution art” instead: they made an artwork and attributed it to me. I somehow feel better about having an idea added to my work than an idea stolen. To me ideas are like bicycles: if you got yours stolen, you are authorized to steal one yourself, but only after they stole yours, otherwise you’re breaking the chain.

D.Q. – One of the last Mattes’ works, The Others (2011), is a slideshow of 10,000 private photos found on personal computers, exploiting a hole in peer-to-peer software. Thanks to the Mattes, I was able to get in touch with Debra …., a 35-year-old woman whose touching photos of her pregnancy ended up in the slideshow. What the Mattes didn’t know when they exhibited The Others in Sheffield, United Kingdom, was that Debra lived there. She went to the opening.

Debra…. – When I realized the person in the photos was me, I was shocked. It was extremely embarrassing; these photos were not meant to be seen by anybody other than me and my family. But I’ve to admit that after viewing the whole work several times, my feelings started changing: I realized the victims of these thefts were not the subjects of derision; there is some kind of celebration in the amateurish way they are projected, maybe it’s the music. I was watching carefully the other visitors in the show and I sensed they had the same feeling. Then I realized that anyone’s life nowadays can be part of an artwork, willingly or unwillingly.

D.Q. – Between 1995 and 1997, the Mattes stole pieces of masterpieces from museums around the world. The first piece was a bottle top from an Edward Kienholz installation…

Edward Kienholz – In principle, I cannot excuse what they did, but I have to admit that I would have never noticed the absence of that bottle top, so I didn’t feel like my work was permanently defaced. One could put it this way: before there was one work, mine; now there are two, mine and theirs. As long as this doesn’t become a trend, I wouldn’t worry too much.

D.Q. – Recently, the Mattes – together with Corazon Del Sol – claimed the authorship of a piece by Dieter Roth exhibited in the show “Another Kind of Vapor” at White Flag Projects, Saint Louis, Missouri: a glass jar containing flies supposedly collected by Dieter Roth during the seminal exhibition “Staple Cheese (A Race)” (Los Angeles, 1970). The story goes that the whole exhibition (a series of 37 suitcases filled with cheese laying on the floor) was later thrown away in the desert by the gallery owner. Is the piece a fake? Or the remake of a lost original, mentioned also on Wikipedia?

Dieter Roth – I wish I had collected the flies myself! Unfortunately I didn’t. I think that the most profound experiences in life can’t be contained by gallery walls. All my life I tried to deal with this by creating art out of decaying materials, being it cheese or chocolate. I’m not surprised nobody doubted the jar with flies was a work of mine, as it resonates with my feeling that all objects in galleries and museum are what remains of the work, they are not the work itself.

D.Q. – Of course, the thieves themselves have been victims of a theft. If you befriended them on Facebook, you may have already realized that they are not the owners of their personal accounts. Back in 2001, when the Mattes were known only by their domain name0100101110101101.ORG, the German writer and theorist Florian Cramer registered a very similar domain (0100101110110101.ORG), and for a couple of months made artworks and sent emails under that name. So, in order to fulfill the request from ARTPULSE, I asked Eva and Franco Mattes about it.

Eva and Franco Mattes – Plagiarism improves – but it still implies ideas. In the contemporary condition of information overload, the raw surplus of images, ideas and texts has become so great that the selection of material to plagiarize will inevitably be as much “creative” as the construction of those images, ideas and texts in the first place. If the aim of plagiarism is to make a radical break with “originality,” “creativity,” and its commodity value, plagiarists would have to give up the selection process and use some automatic method instead. But even such a method–for example, through a computer algorithm–presupposes artistic choice. It also does not prevent the use of resulting materials for the excess value called art. And if done in the name of established artists, it will just reinforce their brand. For us, “plagiarism,” “fake,” and “art” are just different sides of the same coin. We welcome outside interventions in our name when they perpetuate this perversity. The reverse is true as well: Don’t believe one second that through boycott or mere inactivity you would be able to free yourself from the market scheme of originality and creativity manifested through art and its double, plagiarism.

* Dirk Paesmans, Darko Maver, Joaquín Navarro-Valls, Philip Knight, Maurizio Cattelan, Debra, Edward Kienholz ( 1994), and Dieter Roth (1998) have been kindly played by Eva and Franco Mattes. Eva and Franco Mattes have been kindly played by Florian Cramer.

Taken from artpulsemagazine.com/

MANAGING LIFE – Conference and Exhibition

Belgrade 2012

25th of May  /  05th of October  /  07th of December

 

25th of May 2012 Biopolitics Today

Roberto Esposito, Professor of Theoretical Philosophy, Istituto Scienze Umane, Naples, Italy. For five years he was the only Italian member of the International Council of Scholars of the Collège International de Philosophie in Paris. He was one of the founders of the European Political Lexicon Research Centre and the International Centre for a European Legal and Political Lexicon. Today is one of the world leading philosophers working on biopolitics. He is best known as the author of his books: Communitas (1998), Bios. Biopolitica e filosofia(2004) and Termini della politica. Comunità, immunità, biopolitica (2008).

Matteo Pasquinelli, Writer and academic researcher, member of the international collectives Uninomade and Edufactory. He wrote the book Animal Spirits: A Bestiary of the Commons (2008) and edited the collections Media Activism (2002) and C’Lick Me: A Netporn Studies Reader (2007). He writes and lectures frequently at the intersection of French philosophy, media culture and Italian post-operaismo. His current project is a book about the history of the notion of surplus across biology, psychoanalysis, knowledge economy and the environmental discourse. He lives and works betweem Amsterdam and Berlin.

Lorenzo Chiesa, Philosopher, Reader in Modern European Thought, The School of European Culture and Languages, University of Kent, UK. His research interests are in the area of contemporary French thought, contemporary Italian thought and culture, Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis and Marxist theory. He is member of the editorial board of Journal of European Psychoanalysis and member of Association Franco-Italienne pour la recherche sur la Philosophie Française Contemporaine. As well he is member of the editorial board of the journal and member of the Circle for Lacanian Ideology Critique. He is the author of two books: Antonin Artaud. Verso un corpo senza organi (2001) and Subjectivity and Otherness. A Philosophical Reading of Lacan (2007). Chiesa recently completed the translation of Agamben’s Il Regno e La Gloria: Homo Sacer, II, 2 for Stanford University Press as well as a special issue of Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities on the notions of bio-economy and human nature in contemporary Italian radical thought. Now he is finishing two books – For Lacan: Science, Logic, Politics (2012) and The Virtual Point of Freedom (2012) – and a special issue of Journal of European Psychoanalysis on recent philosophical approaches to Lacan. He co-edited The Italian DifferenceBetween Nihilism and Biopolitics (2009).

Maurizio Lazzarato, Internationally known Paris based philosopher and sociologist, co-founder and a member of the editorial board of Multitudes, specialized in studies of relationships of work, economy and society, expert on Gabriel Tarde, works at the University of Paris I. Lazzarato has been specializing in the analysis of cognitive capitalism, and its discontents, hence his work on the P2P-concept of Multitudes, the coordination format in political and economic resistance. His political analysis has been a vital part of the effort of the group of autonomist marxists who have paid sustained attention to the role of language and communication in contemporary  biopolitical configurations of capital.  He has written several research papers and monographs: Lavoro Immateriale: Forme di Vita e Produzione di Soggettività (1997),Videofilosofia. Percezione e lavoro nel postfordismo (1997), Tute Bianchi. Disoccupazione di di Massa et reddito cittadinanza (1999), Post-face à Monadologie et sociologie (1999), Puissance de l’invention. La Psychologie Economique de l’Gabriel Tarde contre economie politique (2002) and Les Revolutions de capitalisme (2004), Etude statistique, économique et sociologique du régime d’assurance chômage des professionnels du spectacle vivant, du cinéma et de l’audiovisuel (2005).

 

05th of October 2012 Bioethics: Science, Biopower and Life

Thomas Lemke, Heisenberg Professor of Sociology with Focus on Biotechnology, Nature and Society at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Goethe University Frankfurt/Main, Germany. He is partner in the PRIVILEGED project – »Determining the Ethical and Legal Interests in Privacy and Data Protection for Research Involving the Use of Genetic Databases and Bio-banks«, funded by the European Commission. He is member of the editorial board of the journal Foucault Studies, co-editor of Distinktion. Scandinavian Journal of Social Theory, and member of the International Sociological Association (ISA), the Research Committees »Sociological Theory« and »Sociology of Science and Technology« and the Working Group »The Body in the Social Sciences«. In 2011 Thomas Lemke published two books – Biopolitics. An Advanced Introduction appeared at New York University Press, Foucault, Governmentality, and Critiqueappeared at Paradigm Publishers, and republished new edition of his famous book  Critique of political reason. Foucault’s critique of modern governmentality (Argument Verlag, 5th edition).

Joanna Zylinska, Cultural theorist writing on new technologies and new media, ethics and art, Reader in New Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London, UK.  She is the author of three books – Bioethics in the Age of New Media (MIT Press, 2009), The Ethics of Cultural Studies (Continuum, 2005) and On Spiders, Cyborgs and Being Scared: the Feminine and the Sublime (Manchester University Press, 2001) – she is also the editor of The Cyborg Experiments: the Extensions of the Body in the Media Age, a collection of essays on the work of performance artists Stelarc and Orlan (Continuum, 2002) and co-editor of Imaginary Neighbors: Mediating Polish-Jewish Relations after the Holocaust (University of Nebraska Press, 2007). Zylinska has a new book on the idea of mediation, Life after New Media (with Sarah Kember) forthcoming from the MIT Press. Together with Clare Birchall, Gary Hall and Open Humanities Press, she’s just launched the JISC-funded project Living Books about Life.

Steve Fuller, Philosopher/sociologist in the field of science and technology studies, Professor of Sociology at Warwick University, holds the Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology, fellow of the UK Academy of Social Sciences, known for inciting passions and controversial debates over ethical questions. His major areas of research are the future of the University and critical intellectuals, the emergence of intellectual property in the information society, the interdisciplinary challenges in the natural and social sciences, the political and epistemological consequences of the new biology. His major publications are: Social Epistemology (1988),Philosophy of Science and its Discontents (2nd edn.)(1993), Philosophy, Rhetoric and the End of Knowledge (2nd edn) (2003), Science (1997), The Governance of Science: Ideology and the Future of the Open Society (2000), Thomas Kuhn: A Philosophical History of Our Times (2000),Knowledge Management Foundations (2002) and Kuhn vs Popper: The Struggle for the Soul of Science (2003), New Frontiers in Science and Technology Studies (2007), Science vs. Religion? Intelligent Design and the Problem of Evolution, and Science (The Art of Living Series, 2010). He is most closely associated with the issues relating to recent developments on the impact of science and technology on the political order, especially concerning our changing conceptions of the biological and what it means to be human.

 

07th of December 2012 Radical Bioart Practices

Stephen Zepke, Philosopher and independent researcher, teaches Philosophy at the University of Vienna, Austria. He has published numerous essays on philosophy, art and cinema. He is the author of  Art as Abstract Machine: Ontology and Aesthetics in Deleuze and Guattari(Routledge, 2005) and the co-editor of two books: Deleuze, Guattari and the Production of New(Continuum, 2008) and Deleuze and Contemporary Art (Edinburgh University Press, 2010). His research interests are: contemporary aesthetics and (bio)political theory.

Jens Hauser, Art curator, writer and video/film maker, Research Associate at the Institute for Media Studies at Ruhr University Bochum, Germany. He has organised a large show on biotechnological art at the National Arts and Culture Centre Le Lieu Unique Nantes/France, including eleven artists employing biotechnology as a means of expression, and published L’Art Biotech’ (2003). His forthcoming exhibitions and festival programs deal with the paradigm of skin as a technological interface, and with perceptional aspects of technology related art forms in general. He is also regularly contributing to the european cultural channel ARTE since 1992, and is currently involved in two long-term film projects about bioart.

Memefest, International festival of radical communicationBased in Slovenia, but united across five continents by our dedication to spreading alternative theory and praxis, is an international network of communication experts, media activists, academics, professionals, educators and researchers interested in social change trough sophisticated and radical use of media and communication. As a “festival of radical communication”, Memefest nurtures and rewards innovative and socially responsible approaches to communication. The festival is encouraging students, professionals, artists, researchers, educators, activists and anyone interested in socially beneficial communication to contribute their talents to our collective counter-culture. Memefest is completely independent. It operates as a intermediary non formal institution and connects very different spheres as academia, creative professionals, artists and activists from around the globe.

lifeartbiopolitics.org/

Twelve theses on WikiLeaks

by Geert LovinkPatrice Riemens

Thesis 0

“What do I think of WikiLeaks? I think it would be a good idea!” (after Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quip on “Western Civilization”)

Thesis 1

ture of all eras, however never before has a non-state or non- corporate affiliated group done anything on the scale of what WikiLeaks has managed to do, first with the “collateral murder” video, then the “Afghan War Logs”, and now “Cablegate”. It looks like we have now reached the moment that the quantitative leap is morphing into a qualitative one. When WikiLeaks hit the mainstream early in 2010, this was not yet the case. In a sense, the “colossal” WikiLeaks disclosures can be explained as the consequence of the dramatic spread of IT use, together with the dramatic drop in its costs, including for the storage of millions of documents. Another contributing factor is the fact that safekeeping state and corporate secrets – never mind private ones – has become difficult in an age of instant reproducibility and dissemination. WikiLeaks becomes symbolic for a transformation in the “information society” at large, holding up a mirror of things to come. So while one can look at WikiLeaks as a (political) project and criticize it for its modus operandi, it can also be seen as the “pilot” phase in an evolution towards a far more generalized culture of anarchic exposure, beyond the traditional politics of openness and transparency.

 

Read the whole article 

In Conversation with Julian Assange – Part II

by Hans Ulrich Obrist

Hans Ulrich Obrist: Before we begin with the questions from the artists, I wanted to ask you about the Bourbaki, an anonymous group of mathematicians that you have often referred to. I am very curious to know more about your interest in them, and whether they were related to your own decision to appear in public rather than remain anonymous.

Julian Assange:  The Bourbaki were an anonymous group of French mathematicians who published a series of mathematics books over a period of about 20 years under the collective allonym Nicolas Bourbaki. They kept their individual identities anonymous, and their books are still regarded as some of the finest math books ever published in French. In 2006, I saw that WikiLeaks needed to be, if not completely anonymous, then pseudo-anonymous—ideally publishing under a collective allonym such as Bourbaki. First of all, as a young organization publishing very controversial material, we didn’t want to be more of a target than we needed to be. While I was publicly a member of the advisory board, that is different than being the editor in chief or one of the principal writers. I also wanted to remove ego as much as possible from what we were doing, to make sure people were writing and conducting their work for reasons other than ego. Also, as an organization that did not yet have a reputation, we needed a personalized voice to quickly get a reputation. If we pulled our collective efforts into a name like Jack Bourbaki, or another collective allonym, our personality would quickly gain a reputation because of the relatively high level of our output.

But within a month of our coming to the public stage there was a leak of one of our internal mailing lists by a New York architect named John Young, who had been involved in his own primitive, but aggressive publishing project. John saw from the press publicity that WikiLeaks would become significant in the field and might threaten his own project. But it was quite a revelation to have our own leak very early on. And I thought to myself, well, this is very interesting—now we get to taste our own medicine. And actually, this medicine tasted quite nice, in that what I saw was a group of very committed, idealistic people whose internal dialogue was even stronger than their external dialogue. So, there was no hypocrisy in what we were doing, precisely the opposite—we were even more principled and idealistic internally than we were externally.

Early on, I already had an existing reputation, and I spent that reputational capital to get volunteer labor from good people. But when the press started sniffing around, very curious as to who some of the principle people in this project were, some of my friends, rather unfortunately, said, well, it’s Julian, and he deserves all the credit. I could’ve shot them! And then I saw that, by trying to engineer a position in which I was not seen as an authority figure for the organization, we ended up with people who were not involved in the organization at all claiming to represent it. And so we started suffering from reputational opportunism, which we had to stamp out. We also grew more politically powerful with many supporters all over the world. So we no longer needed anonymity for ourselves in quite the same way—I still needed locational anonymity for security reasons, but my name being known was not so important anyhow, given that the information was already floating around for anyone who really cared to look.

HUO: This locational anonymity has caused you to move through many different places, and in interviews with you, there is a great deal of discussion about your nomadism going back much earlier. You seemed to be traveling the world with literally just your backpack and two notebooks, just living in people’s houses.

JA: Well, I’ve been traveling all over the world on my own since I was twenty-five, as soon as I had enough money to do it. But for WikiLeaks, I have been consistently on the move since the beginning of 2007. Up until the latest problem with the Pentagon, which started around June/July of last year, it wasn’t a matter of being on the run. It was more about following opportunity and ensuring that I wasn’t in one place long enough to allow for a proper surveillance operation, which involves getting inside and installing video cameras, monitoring all outgoing electronic signals, and so forth. Such operations take time and planning, so if you’re a resource-constrained activist organization facing the prospect of surveillance by some of the most advanced surveillance agencies, such as the National Security Agency and GCHQ, you only have two methods to resist it: one, changing the location of your headquarters with some frequency, and two, complete geographic isolation.

 

Taken from http://e-flux.com/

In Conversation with Julian Assange – Part1

by Hans Ulrich Obrist

Hans Ulrich Obrist: How did it all begin?

Julian Assange: I grew up in Australia in the 1970s. My parents were in the theatre, so I lived everywhere—in over fifty different towns, attending thirty-seven different schools. Many of these towns were in rural environments, so I lived like Tom Sawyer—riding horses, exploring caves, fishing, diving, and riding my motorcycle. I lived a classical boyhood in this regard. But there were other events, such as in Adelaide, where my mother was involved in helping to smuggle information out of Maralinga, the British atomic bomb test site in the outback. She and I and a courier were detained one night by the Australian Federal Police, who told her that it could be said that she was an unfit mother to be keeping such company at 2:00 a.m., and that she had better stay out of politics if she didn’t want to hear such things.

I was very curious as a child, always asking why, and always wanting to overcome barriers to knowing, which meant that by the time I was around fifteen I was breaking encryption systems that were used to stop people sharing software, and then, later on, breaking systems that were used to hide information in government computers. Australia was a very provincial place before the internet, and it was a great delight to be able to get out, intellectually, into the wider world, to tunnel through it and understand it. For someone who was young and relatively removed from the rest of the world, to be able to enter the depths of the Pentagon’s Eighth Command at the age of seventeen was a liberating experience. But our group, which centered on the underground magazine I founded, was raided by the Federal Police. It was a big operation. But I thought that I needed to share this wealth that I had discovered about the world with people, to give knowledge to people, and so following that I set up the first part of the internet industry in Australia. I spent a number of years bringing the internet to the people through my free speech ISP and then began to look for something with a new intellectual challenge.

HUO: So something was missing.

JA: Something was missing. This led me to using cryptography to protect human rights, in novel ways, and eventually as a result of what I was doing in mathematics and in physics and political activism, things seemed to come together and show that there was a limit to what I was doing—and what the rest of the world was doing. There was not enough information available in our common intellectual record to explain how the world really works. These were more the feelings and process, but they suggested a bigger question, with a stronger philosophical answer for explaining what is missing. We are missing one of the pillars of history. There are three types of history. Type one is knowledge. Its creation is subsidized, and its maintenance is subsidized by an industry or lobby: things like how to build a pump that pumps water, how to create steel and build other forms of alloys, how to cook, how to remove poisons from food, etc. But because this knowledge is part of everyday industrial processes, there is an economy that keeps such information around and makes use of it. So the work of preserving it is already done.

HUO: It’s kind of implicit.

JA: There is a system that maintains it. And there’s another type of information in our intellectual record. (This is a term I interchange freely with “historical record.” When I say “historical record,” I don’t mean what happened a hundred years ago, but all that we know, including what happened last week.) This second type of information no longer has an economy behind it. It has already found its way into the historical record through a state of affairs which no longer exists. So it’s just sitting there. It can be slowly rotting away, slowly vanishing. Books go out of print, and the number of copies available decreases. But it is a slow process, because no one is actively trying to destroy this type of information.

And then there is the type-three information that is the focus of my attention now. This is the information that people are actively working to prevent from entering into the record. Type-three information is suppressed before publication or after publication. If type-three information is spread around, there are active attempts to take it out of circulation. Because these first two pillars of our intellectual record either have an economy behind them, or there are no active attempts to destroy them, they do not call to me as loudly. But, this third pillar of information has been denied to all of us throughout the history of the world. So, if you understand that civilized life is built around understanding the world, understanding each other, understanding human institutions and so forth, then our understanding has a great hole in it, which is type-three history. And we want a just and civilized world—and by civilized I don’t mean industrialized, but one where people don’t do dumb things, where they engage in more intelligent behavior.

HUO: Do you mean a more complex behavior?

JA: Right, more complex and layered behavior. There are many analogies for what I mean by that, but I’ll just give a simple one, which is the water ritual. If you sit down with a friend, and there’s a pitcher of water on the table, and there are two glasses, then you pour the other person’s water before your own. This is a very simple ritual. But, this is better than the obvious step, which is to pour your own water before the other person’s. If we can see a few steps ahead, the water ritual is a more intelligent way to distribute water at a table. That’s what I mean by civilization—we gradually build up all these processes and understandings so we don’t need to make bad moves with each other or the natural world. So with regard to all this suppressed information, we’ve never had a proper understanding of it because it has never entered our intellectual record, and if we can find out about how complex human institutions actually behave, then we have a chance to build civilized behavior on top of it. This is why I say that all existing political theories are bankrupt, because you cannot build a meaningful theory without knowledge of the world that you’re building the theory about. Until we have an understanding of how the world actually works, no political theory can actually be complete enough to demand a course of action.

HUO: So that clearly maps out how you came to where you are today. Since many people now refer to you as one of their heroes, I was wondering who inspired you at the beginning.

JA: There have been heroic acts that I have appreciated, or some systems of thought, but I think it’s better to say that there are some people I had an intellectual rapport with, such as Werner Heisenberg and Niels Bohr. That comes when you’re doing mathematics. The mathematics of Heisenberg and Bohr is a branch of natural philosophy. They developed a system or epistemology for understanding quantum mechanics, but encoded within this intellectual tradition are methods to think clearly about cause and effect. When reading mathematics you must take your mind through each intellectual step. In this case, the steps of Heisenberg or Bohr. Because good proofs are very creative, it takes the full energies of your mind to reach through one step to another. Your whole mind must be engaged in a particular state of thought, and you realize that this mental arrangement is the same as the author’s at the moment of writing, so the feeling of mental similarity and rapport becomes strong. Quantum mechanics and its modern evolution left me with a theory of change and how to properly understand how one thing causes another. My interest was then in reversing this thought process and adapting it to another realm. We have an end state that we want, and I looked at all the changes that are needed to get to this end state from where we are now. I developed this analogy to explain how information flows around the world to cause particular actions. If the desired end state is a world that is more just, then the question is: What type of actions produce a world that is more just? And what sort of information flows lead to those actions? And then, where do these information flows originate? Once you understand this, you can see it is not just starting somewhere and ending elsewhere, but rather that cause and effect is a loop; here we are today, and we want to create an end state as a result of action. We act and by doing so bring the world into a new state of affairs, which we can consider our new starting point, and so this process of observe, think, act continues.

HUO: Science, mathematics, quantum theory—all of these come together in your work. If one reads about your beginnings before WikiLeaks, one finds that you were not only instrumental in bringing the internet to Australia, but that you were also one of the pioneering, early hackers. You co-authored this book called Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier. I’m curious about your hacker background, and this book as well, since it seems to be a sort of fundament on which a lot of things were based afterwards.

JA: In my late teenage years, up until the age of twenty, I was a computer hacker and a student in Melbourne. And I had an underground magazine called International Subversive. We were part of an international community of underground computer hackers. This was before the internet connected continents, but we had other ways of making international connections. So each country had its own internet, of a sort, but the world as a whole was intellectually balkanized into distinct systems and networks.

HUO: Like The WELL in the States.

JA: Right, that kind of thing, or ARPANET, which connected universities in the States. And something called x.25, run by the telecommunications companies, that banks and major companies used to link systems together. We, the underground community, sometimes bumped into each other deep inside these computer networks. Or we would meet at underground watering holes like QSD in France or ALTOS in Germany. But it was a very small community, with perhaps only twenty people at the elite level that could move across the globe freely and with regularity. The community was small and involved and active just before the internet, but then crossed into the embryonic internet, which was still not available to people outside of university research departments, US military contractors, and the pentagon. It was a delightful international playground of scientists, hackers, and power. For someone who wanted to learn about the world, for someone who was developing their own philosophy of power, it was a very interesting time. Eventually our phones were tapped and there were multiple, simultaneous raids that resulted in close to six years of legal proceedings. The book covers my case, but I deliberately minimized my role so we could pull in the whole community, in the United States, in Europe, in England, and in Australia.

HUO:   it also created a kind of connection between all these different local scenes? At that time, you were also known as an ethical hacker.

JA: Right, though I actually think most computer hackers back then were ethical, since that was the standard of the best people involved. Remember, this was an intellectual frontier, and it had very young people in it. It needed young people for the degree of mental adaptation necessary. Because it was an intellectual frontier, we had a range of people who were very bright, though not necessarily formally educated.

HUO: Was there a connection to America, to the beginnings of The WELL, to people like Stewart Brand, Bruce Sterling, or Kevin Kelly?

JA: There was almost no connection. The WELL had influenced some parts of the computer hacking community in the United States, but we were deep underground, so most of our connections didn’t rise above the light and we were proud of that discipline. Those who knew did not speak. Those who spoke did not know. The result was a distorted US-centric perception of the underground. In the United States, in particular, you had quite marginal computer hackers engaging in conferences but the people engaged in the really serious business, because of the risks involved, were almost completely invisible until they were arrested. The entry points into it were the bulletin boards—these were the central places, places like P-80 in the United States, and Pacific Island in Australia, which had public cover for a private side. But then, once reaching a certain level, people only used completely underground bulletin boards. There were on x.25 networks places like ALTOS in Hamburg where we would go to talk. ALTOS was one of the first, if not the first, multi-party chat system, but in order to get into it, you had to have x.25 credentials. While some bank workers and telecommunications workers would have access to these, teenagers would only have them if they were decent computer hackers, or if their fathers worked for the telecommunications company.

HUO: In a previous issue of e-flux journal I discussed a lot of the history of anarchists and piracy with Hakim Bey, who mentioned that as an anarchist he has never fetishized democracy, saying that “democracy, to be interesting for an anarchist, has to be direct democracy.”When you worked as a hacker, were you inspired by anarchistic ideas?

JA: I wasn’t personally. The anarchists’ tradition revolving around figures like Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Peter Kropotkin was not something on my horizon. My personal political inspirations were people like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, anti-Stalinists in The God That Failed, and US radical traditions all the way up to the Black Panthers.

HUO: Liberation movements.

JA: Yes, the various liberation movements—in their emotional tone and force of will, not in intellectual content. That tradition really spread into some other things I did later, like the Cypherpunks, in 1993 and ‘94. 1994 was probably the peak of the Cypherpunk micro movement. Cypherpunk is a wordplay on Cyberpunk, the latter was always viewed as nonsense by real computer hackers—we were the living Cyberpunks while others were just talking about it, making artistic pastiche on our reality. We viewed the better books as a nice showing of the flag to the general public, but like most causes that are elitist and small, we had contempt for bowdlerized popularizations. The Cypherpunks were a combination of people from California, Europe, and Australia. We saw that we could change the nature of the relationship between the individual and the state using cryptography. I wouldn’t say that we came from a libertarian political tradition as much as from a libertarian temperament, with particular individuals who were capable of thinking in abstractions, but wanting to make them real. We had many who were comfortable with higher mathematics, cryptography, engineering or physics who were interested in politics and felt that the relationship between the individual and the state should be changed and that the abuse of power by states needed to be checked, in some manner, by individuals.

HUO: Is this the fundament of WikiLeaks?

JA: Yes and no. There are many different intellectual strands that ended up in WikiLeaks that are unrelated to ideas swirling around the Cypherpunk community. But the use of mathematics and programming to create a check on the power of government, this was really the common value in the Cypherpunk movement.

HUO: And you were one of the protagonists?

JA: I was. There wasn’t really a founding member or a founding philosophy but there were some initial principles, people like John Young, Eric Huges, and Timothy C. May from California. We were a discussion group like the Vienna school of logical positivism. From our interactions certain ideas and values took form. The fascination for us was simple. It was not just the intellectual challenge of making and breaking these cryptographic codes and connecting people together in novel ways. Rather, our will came from a quite extraordinary notion of power, which was that with some clever mathematics you can, very simply—and this seems complex in abstraction but simple in terms of what computers are capable of—enable any individual to say no to the most powerful state. So if you and I agree on a particular encryption code, and it is mathematically strong, then the forces of every superpower brought to bear on that code still cannot crack it. So a state can desire to do something to an individual, yet it is simply not possible for the state to do it—and in this sense, mathematics and individuals are stronger than superpowers.

Read the whole interview

Taken from e-flux.com/

Mediactivismo (Activismo en los medios)

Estrategias y prácticas de la comunicación independiente

Mapa internacional y manual de uso

curador Matteo Pasquinelli

 

Introducción

No serás víctima de los medios hasta el momento en que los utilices. Por esto nos regodeamos en los medios, a la Rabelais. Las señales para nosotros no son inmateriales sino táctiles. Nos revolcamos en el fango de los medios.

(Geert Lovink, Hör zu oder stirb)

Nosotros podemos elegir… Podemos tener una actitud cínica respecto a los medios, decir que no se puede hacer nada… O podemos sencillamente permanecer incrédulos… Pero existe una tercera posición que no es ni el conformismo ni la incredulidad: la de construir un camino diverso -mostrar al mundo lo que realmente está pasando– tener una visión del mundo crítica… Es nuestra única posibilidad de salvar la verdad, de cuidarla y de distribuirla, poco a poco.

(Subcomandante Marcos, febrero de 1997)

No necesitamos comunicación, por el contrario, tenemos demasiada. Necesitamos creatividad. Necesitamos resistencia al presente.

(Gilles Deluze y Felix Guattari)

El agujero negro del movimiento y de la izquierda italiana

El evento más comunicado, fotografiado, filmado y narrado del movimiento global fue Génova G8. Pero, paradójicamente, las cuestiones de los medios, de la democracia de la información, de las telecomunicaciones estaban totalmente ausentes en la agenda del Foro Social de Génova. Por este motivo, Mediachannel (http://www.mediachannel.org), red mundial de organizaciones del campo de la comunicación, en una carta del 19 de julio de 2001 preguntaba intempestivamente a los activistas de Génova “What about Media?” [¿Qué pasa con los medios?] y enviaba un boceto de 10 puntos para sugerir un debate. La cuestión de los medios se presentaba una vez más como un agujero negro en la agenda del movimiento italiano. Es recién en Porto Alegre 2002 cuando el Foro Social Mundial se asoma tímidamente al escenario de la información independiente. Pero si los foros sociales de los países latinos ya pueden mostrar una mayor conflictividad social en el campo de los medios, es solamente en Norteamérica y en el norte de Europa que encontramos una cultura de los medios ya afianzada en el bagaje de la sociedad global. Presentados brevemente, estos son los dos filones geopolíticos, el latino y el anglosajón, los que dividen la escena mundial de la comunicación independiente, dos motores de la historia que recorren este libro y que aquí queremos comparar y conectar. El mediactivismo, simplificado a su vez como fenómeno mediático, irrumpe con la coyuntura Internet-Seattle, la convergencia de la información auto-organizada en red con el florecimiento de la red del movimiento global.

La idea que nos tenemos que hacer, sin embargo, no es “movimentista”: la problemática “comunicación” ya es parte de la sensibilidad de toda la sociedad global. Y el otro actor antagonista que aún no hemos presentado es, efectivamente, el monopolio de la comunicación, un monopolio híbrido que ya es un único moloch estatal-comercial, connubio de los fuertes poderes nacional- liberales con los residuos de los poderes post-estatales. La red internacional de propaganda del pensamiento único se manifiesta sin fracturas desde la escala global a la nacional, y muestra su perfecta resonancia con ocasión de las nuevas guerras globales. En Italia el monopolio mediático y el conflicto de intereses tienen la forma de una anomalía que ni siquiera podemos definir, un gran bug [agujero] constitucional que la izquierda, convirtiéndola en mercadería de lujo, ha transformado en un rumor inocuo a los oídos de los ciudadanos. Con las instituciones “democráticas” completamente vaciadas y apáticas, era imposile que la respuesta no estallara en la sociedad: en Italia como en el mundo fue precisamente el asfixiante monopolio el que catalizó centenares de proyectos de comunicación independiente, por lo que es necesario un libro de este tipo, que es parte de este movimiento.

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Awakening Patapoe

freeteam.nl/patapoe

Awakening it’s a program on radio patapoe.It’s talkactive. It means we talk for more than three hours, mainly about politics,squatting,activism,ecology,tolerance,human and animal rights,punk,spirituality,freedom,love,cultural life in Amsterdam.First we start with the agenda for the squatting scene in Amsterdam( not only),then we have some main subject,sometimes guests.The last ha we do as polish part in this language.The music what we are playing that mainly punk,but this is just as background(package) and in the breaks when we are preparing our self,equipment,material,etc.Patapoe is a pirate, underground,squatters radio.