Void Manufacturing

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

Archive for the ‘The Americans’ Category

Rebecca Solnit on climate change from tomdispatch

Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 21, 2009

The Future

Terminator 2009

Judgment Days in Copenhagen By Rebecca Solnit

For Isaac Francisco Solnit, born December 17, 2009

It’s clear now that, from her immoveable titanium bangs to her chaotic approximation of human speech, Sarah Palin is a Terminator cyborg sent from the future to destroy something — but what? It could be the Republican Party she’ll ravage by herding the fundamentalists and extremists into a place where sane fiscal conservatives and swing voters can’t follow. Or maybe she was sent to destroy civilization at this crucial moment by preaching the gospel of climate-change denial, abetted by tools like the Washington Post, which ran a factually outrageous editorial by her on the subject earlier this month. No one (even her, undoubtedly) knows, but we do know that this month we all hover on the brink.

I’ve had the great Hollywood epic Terminator 2: Judgment Day on my mind ever since I watched it in a hotel room in New Orleans a few weeks ago with the Superdome visible out the window. In 1991, at the time of its release, T2 was supposedly about a terrible future; now, it seems situated in an oddly comfortable past. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Animals, Dystopia, Ecology, The Americans | Leave a Comment »

An interview with William t. Vollmann about his visual art from the ‘Quarterly Conversation’

Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 21, 2009

A DAY IN WILLIAM T. VOLLMANN’S STUDIO

William T. Vollmann appears at the door just as I turn in to his driveway. It’s raining, so he helps me carry my camera bags in. I offer up a Christmas cactus and a box of tangerines. Vollmann has a Christmas cactus story, and after he first checks that I’ve locked my car, he tells it: as a child he saved one segment of a Christmas cactus, and it lived, soon to germinate in his rooftop garden.

Although Vollmann is best known for his writing, I am here to see his visual artwork. I’m prepared to talk art all day long, but with Vollmann the divide between the arts is always fluid: our conversation ranges from Noh theater to contemporary music to his novels and everything in between.

Once inside Vollmann’s studio I’m confronted with walls that are covered, salon style, with art. Just past women’s and men’s restrooms painted in rough strokes of bold color (in the restrooms hang longtime Vollmann collaborator Ken Miller’s prostitute photos) there’s a dark bedroom/library complete with Vollmann’s oft-mentioned meat-locker closet. After that an art-lined corridor where art hangs on blonde wood runners, ready to be critiqued. Over the studio entrance is a collection of Soviet propaganda posters. It appears that Vollmann’s prodigious writings are matched by his capacity to produce and collect visual art. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in aRT, Poetry, The Americans | 6 Comments »

The Subversion Dialogues… Another Vollmann Interview…followed by the times article about his latest ‘Imperial’

Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 21, 2009

The subversion dialogues

Kate Braverman holds a genteel conclave with William T. Vollmann about guns, whores, whiskey, death, and other literary matters

When I moved to the Bay Area a few years ago, I gravitated to the second-hand section of Berkeley’s Black Oak Books. It’s the cult library of books you meant to read but didn’t quite get to. The first year, the novels that most astounded me were Paul Bowles’s The Sheltering Sky, Don DeLillo’s Underworld, and the fictions of William T. Vollmann. In particular, Vollmann’s The Royal Family is a savage, glittering novel of the San Francisco underbelly of prostitutes, pimps, private detectives, and drugs written with the audacity, skill, and authority of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. But the social and psychological issues are more complex and ambiguous. Vollmann’s uncompromising antiauthoritarianism, his daring deviation from conventional narrative into literary criticism asides and essays, the sheer epic scale of the ambition, unhinged me. I felt as if I was in the presence of punk high art, renegade genius, and a contagious subversion I wanted to join.

Kate Braverman Black Oak has a wall of your books. I read your novels and short fiction and inquired about you to other writers. You have an enormous reputation as an outlaw, a recluse, and a profoundly important literary force.

William T. Vollmann I’m sure they’re all making a mistake. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Mexican Food, The Americans, Words | 5 Comments »

Richard Serra Interview

Posted by voidmanufacturing on November 25, 2008

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Metal Works

Richard Serra’s new show of monumental sculptures heralds the artist’s first exhibition in London for 16 years. In a rare interview, he talked with Adrian Searle about the evolution of his ideas and his plans for the future

For over 40 years, American artist Richard Serra has tested the limits and possibilities of sculpture, film and drawing. In the 1960s he began his investigation into the imaginative and physical potential of materials and their relationship with the site and viewer. Since the early 1970s Serra has become best-known for the monumental sculptures he has created for various architectural, urban and landscape settings. In 2007 New York’s Museum of Modern Art honoured Serra’s career with a retrospective and earlier this year his major work Promenade was installed at the Grand Palais, Paris. His current show at Gagosian Gallery, London, runs until 20 December, and includes three new steel sculptures. It is the first exhibition of the artist’s work in the UK since Weight and Measure was presented at the Tate Gallery in 1992. He gave a rare interview to Adrian Searle in London in late September.

richard-serra-exhibit-01 Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in aRT, Poetry, Spectacle, The Americans | 4 Comments »

David Graeber: Debt and Violence, Communism, Popular Resistance, Etc….

Posted by voidmanufacturing on November 22, 2008

 

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Hope in Common
David Graeber

We seem to have reached an impasse. Capitalism as we know it appears to be coming apart. But as financial institutions stagger and crumble, there is no obvious alternative. Organized resistance appears scattered and incoherent; the global justice movement a shadow of its former self. There is good reason to believe that, in a generation or so, capitalism will no longer exist: for the simple reason that it’s impossible to maintain an engine of perpetual growth forever on a finite planet. Faced with the prospect, the knee-jerk reaction—even of “progressives”—is, often, fear, to cling to capitalism because they simply can’t imagine an alternative that wouldn’t be even worse.

The first question we should be asking is: How did this happen? Is it normal for human beings to be unable to imagine what a better world would even be like? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Anarchy, Communism, The Americans | 3 Comments »

Mike Davis on Obama’s future economic challenges

Posted by voidmanufacturing on November 21, 2008

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Why Obama’s Futurama Can Wait

Schools and Hospitals Should Come First in Any Stimulus Package

By Mike Davis

 

America’s “Futurama” is defunct. The famous walk-through diorama of a car-and-suburb world, imagineered by Norman Bel Geddes for General Motors at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, has weathered into a dreary emblem of our national backwardness. While GM bleeds to death on a Detroit street corner, the steel-and-concrete Interstate landscape built in the 1950s and 1960s is rapidly decaying into this century’s equivalent of Victorian rubble. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Dystopia, Obama, The Americans, The City | 3 Comments »

Zizek on the Obama Victory

Posted by voidmanufacturing on November 14, 2008

 

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Why Cynics Are Wrong

The sublime shock of Obama’s victory

By SLAVOJ ZIZEK

Obama’s victory is a sign in which the long past of slavery and the struggle for its abolition reverberates.

Days before the election, Noam Chomsky told progressives that they should vote for Obama, but without illusions. I fully share Chomsky’s doubts about the real consequences of Obama’s victory: From a pragmatic-realistic perspective, it is quite possible that Obama will just do some minor face-lifting improvements, turning out to be “Bush with a human face.” He will pursue the same basic politics in a more attractive mode and thus effectively even strengthen U.S. hegemony, which has been severely damaged by the catastrophe of the Bush years. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Obama, The Americans | 4 Comments »

Zizek on the upcoming US election

Posted by voidmanufacturing on October 30, 2008

 

Through the Glasses Darkly

What if the between-the-lines Republican message (don’t be afraid, there will be no real change) is the true illusion?

By SLAVOJ ZIZEK

Today, even the strongest advocates of diminishing the excessive role of Washington accept the necessity of a state intervention that is sublime in its unimaginable quantity.

When the hero of John Carpenter’s 1988 They Live puts on a pair of weird sunglasses that he has stumbled upon in an abandoned church, he notices a billboard that once invited us to a Hawaii beach holiday now simply displays the words:

“MARRY AND REPRODUCE.” Ad copy on another billboard — this one for a new color TV — says, “DON’T THINK, CONSUME!”

The glasses, then, function as a device for the critique of ideology. In other words, they enable him to see the real message lying beneath the glossy, colorful surface.

What would we see if we were to observe the Republican presidential campaign through such glasses?The first thing would be a long series of contradictions and inconsistencies: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Brain, Buzzkill, Enemy, Spectacle, The Americans, The Bullshit Bailout | Leave a Comment »

Noam Chomsky on the economic meltdown

Posted by voidmanufacturing on October 11, 2008

 

Anti-democratic nature of US capitalism is being exposed

NOAM CHOMSKY

Fri, Oct 10, 2008

Bretton Woods was the system of global financial management set up at the end of the second World War to ensure the interests of capital did not smother wider social concerns in post-war democracies. It was hated by the US neoliberals – the very people who created the banking crisis writes Noam Chomsky

THE SIMULTANEOUS unfolding of the US presidential campaign and unravelling of the financial markets presents one of those occasions where the political and economic systems starkly reveal their nature.

Passion about the campaign may not be universally shared but almost everybody can feel the anxiety from the foreclosure of a million homes, and concerns about jobs, savings and healthcare at risk.

The initial Bush proposals to deal with the crisis so reeked of totalitarianism that they were quickly modified. Under intense lobbyist pressure, they were reshaped as “a clear win for the largest institutions in the system . . . a way of dumping assets without having to fail or close”, as described by James Rickards, who negotiated the federal bailout for the hedge fund Long Term Capital Management in 1998, reminding us that we are treading familiar turf. The immediate origins of the current meltdown lie in the collapse of the housing bubble supervised by Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, which sustained the struggling economy through the Bush years by debt-based consumer spending along with borrowing from abroad. But the roots are deeper. In part they lie in the triumph of financial liberalisation in the past 30 years – that is, freeing the markets as much as possible from government regulation. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Brain, Buzzkill, Insanity, Poverty, The Americans, The Bullshit Bailout | Leave a Comment »

Matt Taibbi: “Mad Dog Palin”

Posted by voidmanufacturing on September 30, 2008


 

 

Mad Dog Palin

By Matt Taibbi, RollingStone.com
Posted on September 27, 2008, Printed on September 29, 2008
http://www.alternet.org/story/100551/

I’m standing outside the XCEL ENERGY CENTER in St. Paul Minnesota Sarah Palin has just finished her speech to the Republican National Convention, accepting the party’s nomination for vice president. If I hadn’t quit my two-packs-a-day habit earlier this year, I’d be chain-smoking now. So the only thing left is to stand mute against the fit-for-a-cheap-dog-kennel crowd-control fencing you see everywhere at these idiotic conventions and gnaw on weird new feelings of shock and anarchist rage as one would a rawhide chew toy. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Buzzkill, Dystopia, Enemy, Insanity, Nightmare, The Americans | Leave a Comment »

Bailout=Bullshit

Posted by voidmanufacturing on September 24, 2008

The 700 Billion Dollar Question… THAT THESE ASSHOLES NEED TO FUCKING ANSWER 

THIS IS COMPLETE BULLSHIT!

Using the shock doctrine, Wall Street and Washington’s wrecking crew aim to get the most expensive free lunch in American history

By DAVID SIROTA

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson details what he called “a comprehensive approach” to repairing financial markets on Friday, Sept. 19. (Hold on to your wallet.)

If a museum in the next superpower nation ever commemorates the decline of the last great superpower, it will make the two-and-a-half page bill introduced this week the center of the display.

Just as they do today at the National Archives’ Declaration of Independence exhibit, tourists in the future—perhaps in Beijing, perhaps somewhere else—will line up to see a framed draft of this week’s White House legislation demanding Congress surrender its power of the purse, and give an unelected appointee—in this case, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson—the power to hand over $700 billion of taxpayer money to “any financial institution,” “without limitation…on such terms and conditions as determined by [him].” In a nation priding itself on separating powers between the branches of government, the bill explicitly states that decisions by Paulson may not even “be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Buzzkill, Enemy, The Americans, The Bullshit Bailout | Leave a Comment »

Breaking news: Rich Fat Cats Own The Government!

Posted by voidmanufacturing on September 24, 2008

 

It’s Capitalism, Stupid!

Tuesday, September 23 2008 @ 07:03 PM CDT

Contributed by: Oread Daily

Oh the poor, poor rich.

Resistance to the Wall Street bailout is beginning to increase.

Some are asking, why do the rich get corporate socialism while the rest of us are stuck with the dregs of capitalist system in decay? Why is no one talking about welfare Cadillacs now?

IT’S CAPITALISM STUPID! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Buzzkill, Evil, Poverty, The Americans, The Bullshit Bailout | 2 Comments »

Goldman Sachs Socialism

Posted by voidmanufacturing on September 23, 2008

      

by WILLIAM GREIDER

 

September 23, 2008

 

Wall Street put a gun to the head of the politicians and said, Give us the money–right now–or take the blame for whatever follows. The audacity of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s bailout proposal is reflected in what it refuses to say: no explanations of how the bailout will work, no demands on the bankers in exchange for the public’s money. The Treasury’s opaque, three-page summary of plan includes this chilling statement: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Buzzkill, Hell, Insanity, Nightmare, The Americans, The Bullshit Bailout, The End | Leave a Comment »

Homeland Security Detects Terrorist Threats by Reading Your Mind

Posted by voidmanufacturing on September 23, 2008

 

Tuesday , September 23, 2008

By Allison Barrie     

Baggage searches are SOOOOOO early-21st century. Homeland Security is now testing the next generation of security screening — a body scanner that can read your mind.

Most preventive screening looks for explosives or metals that pose a threat. But a new system called MALINTENT turns the old school approach on its head. This Orwellian-sounding machine detects the person — not the device — set to wreak havoc and terror.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Brain, Buzzkill, Insanity, Nightmare, The Americans | 1 Comment »

Naomi Klein: Free market ideology is far from finished

Posted by voidmanufacturing on September 23, 2008

 

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Whatever the events of this week mean, nobody should believe the overblown claims that the market crisis signals the death of “free market” ideology. Free market ideology has always been a servant to the interests of capital, and its presence ebbs and flows depending on its usefulness to those interests.

During boom times, it’s profitable to preach laissez faire, because an absentee government allows speculative bubbles to inflate. When those bubbles burst, the ideology becomes a hindrance, and it goes dormant while big government rides to the rescue. But rest assured: the ideology will come roaring back when the bailouts are done. The massive debts the public is accumulating to bail out the speculators will then become part of a global budget crisis that will be the rationalization for deep cuts to social programs, and for a renewed push to privatize what is left of the public sector. We will also be told that our hopes for a green future are, sadly, too costly. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Buzzkill, Dystopia, Nightmare, The Americans, The Bullshit Bailout | Leave a Comment »

Mike Davis: Welcome to the Anthropocene

Posted by voidmanufacturing on September 20, 2008

 

Living on the Ice Shelf

Humanity’s Meltdown
By Mike Davis

 

1. Farewell to the Holocene

Our world, our old world that we have inhabited for the last 12,000 years, has ended, even if no newspaper in North America or Europe has yet printed its scientific obituary.

This February, while cranes were hoisting cladding to the 141st floor of the Burj Dubai tower (which will soon be twice the height of the Empire State Building), the Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Society of London was adding the newest and highest story to the geological column. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Buzzkill, Dystopia, The Americans, The City, The End | 2 Comments »