Void Manufacturing

“Turning and turning in a cell, like a fly that doesn’t know where to die.”

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Posted by voidmanufacturing on August 16, 2012

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Posted by voidmanufacturing on August 16, 2012

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Waterhouse-Diogenes

Posted by voidmanufacturing on August 16, 2012

Waterhouse-Diogenes

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Sigmund Freud

Posted by voidmanufacturing on August 16, 2012

Sigmund Freud

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I just wanted to remind everyone that safety is no accident

Posted by voidmanufacturing on January 30, 2010

This image was stolen from Chopper Dave’s blog, this is not safe, do not use your lathe like this.

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DAN WICKETT INTERVIEWS PERCIVAL EVERETT FROM THE EMMERGING WRITERS FORUM

Posted by voidmanufacturing on January 29, 2010

The following is an interview with Percival Everett, author of fifteen published books (2 short story collections, a novella, and 12 novels) as well as two more to come in the next twelve months (a short story collection and a novel).  He lives on a small farm just west of Los Angeles, with his wife Francessa, two step-children, and a bevy of animals.  He is currently a professor at the University of Southern California.

“I watch television.  Of course I also closely examine my dogs’ shit to make sure they don’t have worms.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Renzo Novatore

Posted by voidmanufacturing on January 12, 2010

MY BELIEFS

RENZO NOVATORE

(1920)

GOD: The creation of a sick fantasy. Inhabitant of senile and impotent brains. Companion and comforter of rancid spirits born to slavery. A pill for constipated minds. Marxism for the faint of heart. Read the rest of this entry »

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Interview with James C. Scott

Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 17, 2009

From Wikipedia:
James C. Scott (born 2 Dec 1936) is Sterling Professor of Political Science at Yale University. Before being promoted to Sterling Professor, he was the Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science and Anthropology. He is also the director of the Program in Agrarian Studies. By training, he is a southeast Asianist.


Scott is one of the most profound critics of high-modernist human development planning. He believes that the process of state-building, leading to what he calls the legibility and standardization of society, fosters control and domination rather than enlightenment and freedom. Scott started his academic career studying small village communities in the forests of Malaysia. When he left the rain forest he took with him a number of vital observations on how nation states organize their society. His monumental book, Seeing Like A State (1998)[1], became the basis for a fundamental and elaborate critique of how governmental planning for the advancement of society can go utterly wrong: compulsory villages in Tanzania, scientific forestry in Prussia, high-modernist Brasilia, industrial agricultural planning in the USSR and its modern day variant the Millennium Development Goals. According to Scott, these are all examples of rational-utopian blueprint thinking that proved fatal. Read the rest of this entry »

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Our Maniacal Optimism Is Ruining the World

Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 17, 2009

“The shift had a lot to do with down-sizing, when corporations grabbed onto it as a means of soothing their disgruntled workforce. The alternative is realism.”

December 15, 2009 

By Barbara Ehrenreich 
and Anis Shivani

Source: In These Times 

Barbara Ehrenreich’s ZSpace Page 
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 “Many people are not getting by. The human species faces dire ecological threats. Pretending everything will be OK helped get us into this mess, and it won’t get us out.”

In her new book Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America (Metropolitan/Holt, October 2009), Barbara Ehrenreich traces the origins of contemporary optimism from nineteenth-century healers to twentieth-century pushers of consumerism. She explores how that culture of optimism prevents us from holding to account both corporate heads and elected officials.

 Manufactured optimism has become a method to make the poor feel guilty for their poverty, the ill for their lack of health and the victims of corporate layoffs for their inability to find worthwhile jobs. Megachurches preach the “gospel of prosperity,” exhorting poor people to visualize financial success. Corporations have abandoned rational decision-making in favor of charismatic leadership.

 This mania for looking on the bright side has given us the present financial collapse; optimistic business leaders — assisted by rosy-eyed policymakers — made very bad decisions.

In These Times recently spoke with her about our penchant for foolish optimism.

Anis Shivani: Is promoting optimism a mechanism of social control to keep the system in balance?

 Barbara Ehrenreich: If you want to have a compliant populace, what could be better than to say that everyone has to think positively and accept that anything that goes wrong in their lives is their own fault because they haven’t had a positive enough attitude? However, I don’t think that there is a central committee that sits there saying, “This is what we want to get people to believe.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Matt Taibbi on Obama’s economic team

Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 16, 2009

 

 

Obama’s Big Sellout

The president has packed his economic team with Wall Street insiders intent on turning the bailout into an all-out giveaway

MATT TAIBBI

Posted Dec 09, 2009 2:35 PM

 Watch Matt Taibbi discuss “The Big Sellout” in a video on his blog, Taibblog.

Barack Obama ran for president as a man of the people, standing up to Wall Street as the global economy melted down in that fateful fall of 2008. He pushed a tax plan to soak the rich, ripped NAFTA for hurting the middle class and tore into John McCain for supporting a bankruptcy bill that sided with wealthy bankers “at the expense of hardworking Americans.” Obama may not have run to the left of Samuel Gompers or Cesar Chavez, but it’s not like you saw him on the campaign trail flanked by bankers from Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. What inspired supporters who pushed him to his historic win was the sense that a genuine outsider was finally breaking into an exclusive club, that walls were being torn down, that things were, for lack of a better or more specific term, changing.

Then he got elected. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jonathan Lethem discusses his new book with Salon.com

Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 16, 2009

“Chronic” overachiever: Interview with Jonathan Lethem

The writer talks about his new novel’s ambivalent take on New York, and how cultural obsession can lead to madness

By Kerry Lauerman

Oct. 23, 2009 |

As Jonathan Lethem grew into what critics like to call one of our most important novelists, he became increasingly difficult to pigeonhole; fluid across genres, Lethem’s biggest books (“Motherless Brooklyn,” “Fortress of Solitude”) can feel like sparkling new works from a new author rather than someone you’ve enjoyed before. His latest, “Chronic City,” with its flashes of pot-fueled magic realism and ripped-from-the-tabloid-headline riffs again reads as something completely different from Lethem, but no less enthralling.

“Chronic City” features one hapless Chase Insteadman, a former child actor adrift in New York as his fiancée, an astronaut, hovers above, prevented from returning to Earth by an orbital minefield. He soon falls under the mad spell of Perkus Tooth, a writer and inveterate cultural critic-obsessive, who becomes friend and Svengali, sharing with him his love of all things Brando and an increasing paranoia.

Lethem stopped by the Salon New York office to discuss his new novel, his Brooklynite  critique of Manhattan, his MacArthur “genius” grant and the dark side of cultural obsession.

Most anyone with a deep love of film, books, movies has had a Perkus Tooth in their lives at some point, sort of tutoring them on the good stuff. I read that Paul Nelson was an inspiration.

Sure, Paul Nelson was part of that image for me. I mean, Paul Nelson was not frantic, actually. And he wasn’t a dandy, and he wasn’t a pot smoker, so there’s a lot of ways in which if you knew Paul Nelson you’d never associate the two. But something about Chase’s innocence meeting Perkus’ cultural worldliness comes from the fact that as a 20-something — 21, 22 — I kind of fell into Paul’s sphere for a little while and he gave me this instant education in his version of American vernacular culture. Ross Macdonald, Orson Welles, Howard Hawks, Chet Baker. And it was this flood of references for me to sort out and absorb and he became very important. A lot of the things that Paul taught me to value are still really the center of my sensibility. Read the rest of this entry »

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Scientists grow pork meat in a laboratory

Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 16, 2009

 

From The Sunday Times

November 29, 2009

Scientists grow pork meat in a laboratory by Lois Rogers

 SCIENTISTS have grown meat in the laboratory for the first time. Experts in Holland used cells from a live pig to replicate growth in a petri dish. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mega Questions for Renowned (and controversial) Psychologist Dr.Arthur R. Jensen posed by Christopher Langan (highest I.Q. in the US), subjects include intelligence, education, and creativity

Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 15, 2009

Mega Questions for Renowned Psychologist Dr._Arthur R. Jensen

- Interview by Christopher Michael Langan and Dr. Gina LoSasso and

members of the Mega Foundation, Mega Society East and Ultranet

_________________________

[4]Arthur R. Jensen is a prominent educational psychologist who

received his PhD from Columbia in 1956. He did his postdoctoral

research in London with [5]Hans J. Eysenck, author of the absorbing

HIQ must-read, [6]Genius: The Natural History of Creativity. Jensen

is best known for a very controversial essay on genetic heritage that

was first published in the February 1969 issue of the Harvard

Educational Review. His research work on individual differences in

intelligence led him to conclude that intelligence is 80% due to

heredity and 20% due to environmental influences. Even more

controversial were his findings regarding robust and replicable ethnic

differences in fluid intelligence. The publication of the extremely

well-conceived and executed research findings reported in [7]The g

Factor: The Science of Mental Ability (1998) on the heels of

Herrstein & Murray’s very controversial work, [8]The Bell Curve, moved

the heritability debate into an arena where it could finally be

satisfactorily explored and challenged.

We contacted Dr. Jensen in May and introduced him to the Mega

Foundation, our work and our communities. We asked him if we might

forward to him a few member questions on the topic of intelligence.

Although he is in the process of writing a new book, Dr. Jensen very

kindly took the time out of his busy schedule to answer all 31 of our

member questions, edited by Christopher Langan. Many thanks to Bob

Seitz, Andrea Lobel, Garth Zeitsman, and others who took the time to

submit questions and a special thanks to Mega Foundation’s Coordinator

of Volunteer Services, Kelly Self, for help with transcription. This

extensive and fascinating interview will be serialized in Noesis-E,

beginning with the current issue.

Question #1:

 

Christopher Langan for the Mega Foundation: It is reported that one of

this centurys greatest physicists, Nobelist Richard Feynman, had an IQ

of 125 or so. Yet, a careful reading of his work reveals amazing

powers of concentration and analysispowers of thought far in excess of

those suggested by a z score of well under two standard deviations

above the population mean. Could this be evidence that something might

be wrong with the way intelligence is tested? Could it mean that early

crystallization of intelligence, or specialization of intelligence in

a specific set of (sub-g) factors i.e., a narrow investment of g based

on a lopsided combination of opportunity and proclivity – might put it

beyond the reach of g-loaded tests weak in those specific factors,

leading to deceptive results? Read the rest of this entry »

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James Hansen of NASA on carbon trading followed by Paul Krugman’s response from the Dec 7 NYT

Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 15, 2009


From Wikipedia

James E. Hansen (born March 29, 1941) heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, a part of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, Earth Sciences Division. He has held this position since 1981. He is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University.

By JAMES HANSEN

Published: December 6, 2009

AT the international climate talks in Copenhagen, President Obama is expected to announce that the United States wants to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to about 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050. But at the heart of his plan is cap and trade, a market-based approach that has been widely praised but does little to slow global warming or reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. It merely allows polluters and Wall Street traders to fleece the public out of billions of dollars. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tycoon, Contractor, Soldier, Spy…. Vanity Fair article on Blackwater founder Erik Prince

Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 15, 2009


Erik Prince, recently outed as a participant in a C.I.A. assassination program, has gained notoriety as head of the military-contracting juggernaut Blackwater, a company dogged by a grand-jury investigation, bribery accusations, and the voluntary-manslaughter trial of five ex-employees, set for next month. Lashing back at his critics, the wealthy former navy seal takes the author inside his operation in the U.S. and Afghanistan, revealing the role he’s been playing in America’s war on terror.

BY ADAM CIRALSKY
JANUARY 2010

Erik Prince, founder of the Blackwater security firm (recently renamed Xe), at the company’s Virginia offices.Photograph by Nigel Parry. Read the rest of this entry »

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Robert Storr: Most theory has little bearing on art

Posted by voidmanufacturing on October 20, 2009

Robert Storr: Most theory has little bearing on art

The critic and curator speaks to The Art Newspaper

By Helen Stoilas | From Frieze daily edition, 16 Oct 09
Published online 16 Oct 09

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Robert Storr, US critic, curator and dean of the Yale School of Art, is visiting Frieze Art Fair for the first time, to take part in “Scenes from a Marriage: Have Art and Theory Drifted Apart?”, a panel discussion today at 12pm with artist Barbara Bloom and philosophy professor Simon Critchley. He spoke to The Art Newspaper about the role of art theory, and what advice he is giving to his students in today’s artistic climate. Read the rest of this entry »

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Zizek on Democracy Now!: Financial crisis, new book, etc…

Posted by voidmanufacturing on October 20, 2009

Slovenian Philosopher Slavoj Zizek on Capitalism, Healthcare, Latin American “Populism” and the “Farcical” Financial Crisis

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Dubbed by the National Review as “the most dangerous political philosopher in the West” and the New York Times as “the Elvis of cultural theory,” Slovenian philosopher and public intellectual Slavoj Žižek has written over fifty books on philosophy, psychoanalysis, theology, history and political theory. In his latest book, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, Žižek analyzes how the United States has moved from the tragedy of 9/11 to what he calls the farce of the financial meltdown. [includes rush transcript]

Guest:

Slavoj Žižek, Slovenian philosopher, psychoanalyst and cultural theorist. He is author of more than fifty books, including his latest, First as Tragedy, Then as

JUAN GONZALEZ We continue on the subject of the financial crisis with a man the National Review calls “the most dangerous political philosopher in the West.” The New York Times calls him “the Elvis of cultural theory.” Slovenian philosopher and public intellectual Slavoj Žižek has written over fifty books on philosophy, psychoanalysis, theology, history and political theory. His latest, just out from Verso, is called First as Tragedy, Then as Farce. It analyzes how the United States has moved from the tragedy of 9/11 to the farce of the financial meltdown. Read the rest of this entry »

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Love…. Blah, Blah, Blah….

Posted by voidmanufacturing on January 17, 2009

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Jacques-Alain Miller: On Love 

Hanna Waar – Does psychoanalysis teach us something about love? 

Jacques-Alain Miller – A great deal, because it’s an experience whose mainspring is love. It’s a question of that automatic and 
more often than not unconscious love that the analysand brings to the analyst, and which is called transference. It’s a contrived 
love, but made of the same stuff as true love. It sheds light on its mechanism: love is addressed to the one you think knows your true truth. But love allows you to think this truth will be likeable, agreeable, when in fact it’s rather hard to bear. 

H. W. – So, what is it to really love? 

J.-A. M. – To really love someone is to believe that by loving them you’ll get to a truth about yourself. We love the one that 
harbours the response, or a response, to our question: ‘Who am I?’ Read the rest of this entry »

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Greek Anarchists respond to questions about the current insurrection

Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 26, 2008


Normally I can’t stand anything produced by Crimethinc; but, their reporting on the revolt in Greece has been surprisingly good.

From Crimethinc - by CrimethInc Ex-Workers Collective   

We humbly present one of the first inside reports from participants in the upheavals that shook Greece after the police murder of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos in the anarchist neighborhood of Exarchia on December 6.

This is only the first set of answers to come in from our Greek comrades. We hope shortly to receive further perspectives from other elements of the Greek uprising, so we can provide a comprehensive background on the context and dynamics of the revolt. If you or someone you know is situated to give your own answers to these questions, please email them to us at rollingthunder@crimethinc.com.

How were the actions coordinated within cities? How about between cities? 

There are hundreds of small, totally closed affinity groups—groups based in longstanding friendship and 100% trust—and some bigger groups like the people from the three big squats in Athens and three more in Thessaloniki. There are more than 50 social centers in Greece, and anarchist political spaces in all the universities of the country; also, the Antiauthoritarian Movement has sections in all major cities, and there is a network of affinity groups of the Black Bloc active in all Greek cities, based on personal relations and communicating via telephone and mail. For all of them, Indymedia is very important as a strategic point for collecting and sharing useful information—where conflicts are happening, where the police are, where secret police are making arrests, what is happening everywhere minute by minute; it is also useful on a political level, for publishing announcements and calls for demonstrations and actions.

Of course, we can’t forget that in practice the primary form of coordination was from friend to friend through mobile phones; that was also the main approach used by young students for coordinating their initiatives, demonstrations, and direct actions. Read the rest of this entry »

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Steven Poole’s essay on video games as work

Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 26, 2008

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Working for the Man: Against the Employment Paradigm in Videogames1

Videogames are often discussed under the concept of “play”, but this is not always how gamers themselves talk about their experience: they use instead vocabularies of desperate competition or violence. Take the very common expression of satisfaction after completing a game: “I beat the game.” What exactly does it mean to beat a game? You can’t have a meaningful contest against an inert digital artefact. From the game’s point of view, you did not beat it. On the contrary, you did exactly what the game wanted you to do, every step of the way. You didn’t play the game, you performed the operations it demanded of you, like an obedient employee. The game was a task of labour. From this perspective, playing a videogame looks as much like work as play. Read the rest of this entry »

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Uri Gordon on the Greek Revolt

Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 26, 2008

 

The cardinals of normality weep for the law that was violated from the bullet of the pig Korkoneas [the policeman who shot Grigoropoulos]. But who doesn’t know that the force of the law is merely the force of the powerful? That it is law itself that allows for the exercise of violence on violence? The law is void from end to bitter end; it contains no meaning, no target other than the coded power of imposition.”

 GREECE PROTESTS

A road to revolution?

 By Uri Gordon

 Three weeks have passed since the unprovoked police murder of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos in Athens, and the riots engulfing Greece show no sign of abating.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Art, Truth, and Politics… Harold Pinter’s Nobel Speech

Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 26, 2008

 

In 1958 I wrote the following:

‘There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.’ Read the rest of this entry »

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Harold Pinter is Dead

Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 26, 2008

 

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— “I can sum up none of my plays . . . but my writing life has been, quite simply, one of relish, challenge and excitement”

— “Good writing excites me, and makes life worth living”

— “It was difficult being a conscientious objector in the 1940s, but I felt I had to stick to my guns”

— “The crimes of the US throughout the world have been systematic, constant, clinical, remorseless and fully documented but nobody talks about them”

— “I tend to think that cricket is the greatest thing that God ever created on Earth – certainly greater than sex, although sex isn’t too bad either”

— “One way of looking at speech is to say it is a constant stratagem to cover nakedness”

— “I know little of women. But I’ve heard dread tales” Moonlight, 1993

— “Nothing is more sterile or lamentable than the man content to live within himself” Tea Party, 1964

— “I hate brandy . . . it stinks of modern literature.” Betrayal, 1978

— “I would never use obscene language in the office. Certainly not. I kept my obscene language for the home, where it belongs” Moonlight, 1993

— “I made a terrible mistake when I was young, I think, from which I’ve never really recovered. I wrote the word ‘pause’ into my first play” Interview, 1989

— “I don’t give a damn what other people think. It’s entirely their own business. I’m not writing for other people” Interview, 1971

— “I sometimes wish desperately that I could write like someone else, be someone else. No one particularly. Just if I could put the pen down on paper and suddenly come out in a totally different way” 1971

— “I’ve never been able to write a happy play. [But] I’ve been able to enjoy a happy life” Interview, 2007 Read the rest of this entry »

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Thomas Frank on the latest dirty job to be outsourced…. Pregnancy! Followed by the offensive NY Times article that inspired him.

Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 16, 2008

At long last, our national love affair with the rich is coming to a close. The moguls whose exploits we used to follow with such fascination, it now seems, plowed the country into the ground precisely because of the fabulous rewards that were showered on them.

Massive inequality, we have learned, isn’t the best way to run an economy after all. And when you think about it, it’s also profoundly ugly.

Some people haven’t received the memo, though. Take Alex Kuczynski, author of the New York Times Magazine cover story for Nov. 30, which tells how she went about hiring another woman to bear her child. Read the rest of this entry »

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Arundhati Roy on the Mumbai Terror Attacks

Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 15, 2008

 

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9 Is Not 11

(And November Isn’t September)
By Arundhati Roy

 

We’ve forfeited the rights to our own tragedies. As the carnage in Mumbai raged on, day after horrible day, our 24-hour news channels informed us that we were watching “India’s 9/11.” And like actors in a Bollywood rip-off of an old Hollywood film, we’re expected to play our parts and say our lines, even though we know it’s all been said and done before.

As tension in the region builds, U.S. Senator John McCain has warned Pakistan that, if it didn’t act fast to arrest the “bad guys,” he had personal information that India would launch air strikes on “terrorist camps” in Pakistan and that Washington could do nothing because Mumbai was India’s 9/11.

But November isn’t September, 2008 isn’t 2001, Pakistan isn’t Afghanistan, and India isn’t America. So perhaps we should reclaim our tragedy and pick through the debris with our own brains and our own broken hearts so that we can arrive at our own conclusions. Read the rest of this entry »

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Alfredo Jaar Interview: In step with Gramsci

Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 14, 2008

 

“For the last five years I have been rereading Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks and reviewing films of Pasolini. In my view, they are the most outstanding thinkers and intellectuals of the twentieth century. Both believed in the capacity of art to affect society and to change the course of history. I think that these ideas are more important than ever, and this is what has prompted me to pay homage through my work to these two illuminating intellectuals.”
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In step with Gramsci: an interview with Alfredo Jaar

Yulia TihonovaThe mode of being of the new intellectual can no longer consist in eloquence … but in active participation in practical life, as constructor, organizer, “permanent persuader” and not just a simple orator …

Antonio Gramsci, Letters from Prison (1)

These words of Antonio Gramsci, the Italian Marxist and humanist, may aptly describe the artistic position of Alfredo Jaar, the Chilean-born, New York City-based artist who has chosen the commutative strategy of being an active intellectual for more than twenty-five years. By virtue of his expressive medium, Jaar creates evocative artworks that not only inform viewers about the tragic events all over the world but also attain a personal meaning for the artist and viewers alike. The artist impels and organizes public perception in such a way that viewers are inspired to take action and confront issues. Read the rest of this entry »

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Matt Taibbi on the Minnesota recount

Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 8, 2008

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The Last Recount

In Al Franken’s race in Minnesota, blue and red tangle for the final time in the Bush era

MATT TAIBBI

Posted Dec 11, 2008 12:30 PM

On a Saturday in mid-November, Al Franken stands in front of a roomful of volunteers at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. The former comedian and talk-show host knows that his campaign troops are fired up over the recount of his race to unseat the state’s Republican senator, Norm Coleman. The official tally ended in a virtual tie, with Coleman leading by only 215 votes out of 2.9 million ballots cast — a margin of seven-thousandth of one percent. To Franken’s campaign volunteers, it seems like Florida 2000 all over again. Read the rest of this entry »

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Beneath it all, desire of oblivion runs- An interview with Simon Critchley on “The Book of Dead Philosophers”

Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 8, 2008

 

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Dead Philosophers Society: An Interview With Simon Critchley

By Andrew Gallix.

3:AM: Did the idea for The Book of Dead Philosophers come from theMontaigne quote you use as an epigraph? Was that the first spark?

SC: It was one of the first sparks. As so often happens in writing, it was a coincidence: a close friend sent me that quotation from Montaigne just as I was rereading the latter’s “To philosophie is to learne how to die” inFlorio’s florid translation. Montaigne is really the hero of the book and I love his suspicion of suspicion, his skepticism and the deeply personal quality of his prose, which is never narcissistic. It is ourselves that we find in Montaigne, not him. But I suppose that’s a narcissistic thing to say.

3:AM: Commenting on another passage from Montaigne, you state that “The denial of death is self-hatred”. This reminded me of Dostoevsky’sKirilov who attempts to defeat God by committing suicide. His rationale is that, in order to negate transcendence, Man must learn to love himself for what he is and must therefore embrace his own finitude — desire his own death. (One could wonder if the espousal of death isn’t a form of self-love?) Your own conclusion — “Accepting one’s mortality…means accepting one’s limitation” — isn’t that far removed from Kirilov’s way of thinking, is it? Read the rest of this entry »

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William T. Vollmann answering questions about his Book “Poor People”

Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 8, 2008

 

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William T. Vollman: I’ll do my best to answer any questions I can. I’m not sure I know any more than anyone else, but I’ve thought about it a bit, so that’s all I can say.

_______________________

Southern Maryland: I have asked myself why am I rich and so many others in the U.S. are rich in comparison to most of the world population. Basic needs met: food, clothing, shelter; stable government; education and literacy; available jobs and transportation to those jobs; health and health care; stable environment/weather. If people do not have their basic needs for survival met or have to expend all resources to meet basic survival needs, it makes for a dire situation.

William T. Vollman: I would say that that’s fairly accurate. One of the most common aspects of poverty I see is lack of access to decent water, and we have fairly decent water everywhere in the U.S. A lot of poverty has to do with how it is perceived in the mind of the poor person as well. Marx talks about absolute vs. relative poverty, and I’m not a Marxist but it’s a good distinction. Someone with enough to eat but who doesn’t have a TV when everyone else does is going to feel a little impoverished, and we can’t say it’s wrong that the person feels that way.

I don’t happen to drive, and I live in a city (Sacramento, Calif.) where most people use cars. If there’s any sort of specialty item I want to buy — a bed or something like that — I have a great deal of trouble. I have to hire someone with a car to get to the store — it’s not something I can do walking around. A common measure of poverty is how much money you have in relation to other people — that is useful as far as it goes, but that excludes the case of, say, a hunter in the rainforest who has no money but is not poor. And there can be a number of people with money but who can consider themselves unwanted or invisible or estranged from society. Those are some of the phenomena of poverty that I have noticed.

I remember a panhandler I saw in Portland a couple of years ago — actually took her photo for the book. She has a sign saying “donate here and get me out of your neighborhood.” She wasn’t wearing rags, didn’t look dirty — but she knew she was unwanted, people didn’t want to be panhandled, and all she could promise was that she could go away and stop bothering them. And that’s sad. They know rich people don’t want them around. When there’s a labor surplus, the people who become unneeded become unwanted and because they’re unwanted they’re unneeded. So there’s a lot of vicious circles in this. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mumbai attacks: Terrorists took cocaine to stay awake during assault

Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 2, 2008

 

Terrorists who battled Indian commandos for 60-hours last week relied on cocaine and other stimulants to stay awake for the duration of the fight.

 
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Terrorists who battled Indian commandos for 60-hours last week relied on cocaine and other stimulants to stay awake for the duration of the fight.

Commandos battled terrorists in Mumbai’s Taj Mahal hotel Photo: AP

Officials said drug paraphernalia, including syringes, was recovered from the scene of the attacks, which killed almost 200 people. Read the rest of this entry »

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