Thursday, October 16, 2014
[below is the rough transcript of the above Romanian-language presentation/lecture/perf held in Arad on the 18th of Oct 2014]
This is about the quest for the last image.
Not actually the last image you just archived on your own mobile phone gallery, or the last camera in sync or upload with your FB, dropbox, Pinterest or flickr account - but about the last possible image in the known universe.
This is the Ωmega Image - the Image traveling back to us from the Post-anthropocene. How does a dedicated postcard sent from the Heat Death of the Universe look like? Sorry to say, but nearly every message arriving from the farthest future is not a promising one. Most probable, the image would arrive too early for life to have the time to develop complex eyes. Or it might arrive at a time when all kinds of image-processing apparatuses might be extinguished or shuttered. The Ωmega Image comes from such a distant epoch, that those who sent will have ceased existing, because their epoch ceased existing, because their museums, their archives ceased existing, because most probably their civilization hasn't transmited anything in a very long time, because probably their world doesn't exist anymore as they knew it, because even their sun doesn't burn as it used to so as to bleach their long lost prints and emulsions.
BRIEF HISTORY OF OPTOGRAPHY
In the 19th and 20th cent optography starts to record 'Ωmega Images' at the level of personal physiology - practically the last images registered on the retinas of individuals from particular (exclusively at the time) mammalian species before its biological death, before the white of the eye would expand and take over the whole eyeball. Before the eyes roll back. Optograms are methods to extract the last living sequence, the last sequence seen and perceived by that particular member of that particular species. Its the last image before the camera lenses crack, before you loose contact, before the screen goes dark. It is the last image seen by the rabbit before it gets decapitated with his head fixed to the windowpane, the last image before he looses his eyes, extracted and dissected to be imbibed in a substance able to fixate the last omega image.
Erhard Gustav Reif killed his children and was guillotined in 1880. His last image – the only human last image, a drawing based on a human optogram, a geometric object with a jagged side was interpreted as being the last image of the deadly object he saw before his brutal decapitation: the blade of the guillotine. So we can expand and think about the last images seen about non-human beings (probably some sort of accurate photo sensory apparatus was evolved in that world) before the last big meteorite, the last image before the last gama ray burst, the last image before continents melted back into magma ocean, the last image before the gravitational tidal torque caused by galaxies colliding.
TROUGH THE EYES OF THE CRASHED GOD
Horror Express from 1972 was a classic horror movie running on Romanian National TV in the 90s, probably all of you who were lucky to watch it, do remember it. I was profoundly impressed by this flick that stars Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing set on a trans-Siberian train crossing tsarist Russia in 1906. Briefly, a group of anthropologists/scientists discovers a frozen exemplar of a missing link, a sort of apelike creature that after thawing up – reveals itself to be an ancient extraterrestrial entity.
This entity has been left stranded on Earth after crash-landing there, being obliged to transmigrate from one body to the next across the eons, moving from sensory apparatus to sensory apparatus along evolutionary lines and morphologies, switching photosensitive tissues in the ultimate search for aeronautic knowledge.
It not only jumped from body to body but also assimilated knowledge, lived and accumulated the experience of all the variegated lifeforms that it inhabited while being stranded on planet Earth. For humans this cohabitation in one body is regarded as monstrous, inhuman, it only allows trans-species Ωmega images to exist because it has drained their memory storage, because it has sucked all experience accumulated by those bodies it inhabits.
From an alien perspective, from the perspective of the inhuman visitor, this can be the only perspective able to endow cohesion trough this existential succession, to provide a somatic flesh bridge across the geological epochs of one planet and for all life evolving on Earth. This hypothetical being can allow a multi-species stream of consciousness that can regroup all beings in both a phylogenetic and photographic succession. It can extract the recordings of those species developed in deep time, across unimaginable gulfs, inaccessible to us without the intermediary of the fossil images absorbed by an unearthly alien entity. Also, this brutal jump from one body to the next across millions of years is the only way to accumulate the necessary experience that would eventually permit the evacuation of planet Earth.
In this excerpt from the Horror Express movie human beings are watching the ocular liquid extracted from a former 'victim' or ex- host of the extraterrestrial – a human body trough which it has passed, a body sequence that has retained the collective memory of all those absorbed lives transported trough space-time along eons. Looking trough the microscope we see a slideshow of what this entity has seen, admittedly blurred images that show the Earth watched from the sky trough alien eyes. The inverse succession trough humans back to unicellular organisms is a sort of cosmic rewind, towards protozoa and bacteria towards an image seen and fallen literally from the sky, some sort of Pale Blue Dot Omega image seen from the perspective of the sky-fallen.
The ΩMEGA IMAGE, the last image is not the last image of evacuation, but of planetary shipwreck. This short scene from the 1972 movie ends with an exotheologic moment, an instance of extraterrestrial theology and also of alien first contact as theology (even if witnessed trough the other end of the telescope - the microscope) the terrestrial Ωrthodox monk, a clichéd Rasputin lookalike, lives this cosmic plunge and is transfigured, wants to host this entity but is unworthy. This faded, overlooked and lofi theurgy, introduces the incincontrovertible proof that human faith is based on a last image as proof of a secular eschatology, on the primary disbelief that there is a pre-human imagology and its negation, a Pale Blue Dot avant la lettre image that anchors all the ulterior jumps from mind to mind, from body to body till the end of time.
THE 400 MILLION YEAR OPTOGRAM: as seen trough the trilobite lenses
This is one of the photos retrieved by the paleobiologist Dr Kenneth Towe at Smithsonian during the 1970s. This is an Ωmega image for me, just considering the fact that it is the last image seen trough the lenses of a being that has disappeared nearly 250 millions years ago, before 'the great dying' of the Permian – Triassic (Pr-T) extinction event, when 90% of all species disappeared, truly a much wider extinction event than the famous 65 mil yr threshold. The Phacops trilobites are beings that have lived 400 million years ago. Their eyes have an extraordinary propriety, they had mineral lenses made of a crystal called calcite. The calcite has the same proprieties as glass, it is transparent. This material exists in a non-biological form, but these calcite lenses were produced by the body of these trilobites, although we're not really sure trough which exact developmental pathways. They had practically eyes made of rock; mineral eyes. Our eyes contain structures called crystalline but they are really non mineral, they are cellular structures. Towe used the beautifully preserved organic lenses of an extinct trilobite specimen of the Phacops group to photograph the building next door from the Smithsonian – in this case the CIA headquarters. I believe this is the most unsettling image (and definitely for all NSA spooks or for the other intel agencies) from my small, incipient collection of Ωmega images – the one Ωmega image that would drive Edgar J Hoover over the edge, his building seen trough the crystal eyes of an non-human being, extinct 250 millions years ago.
Part of this series is also the somewhat prophetic and admittedly funny one – another omega image recorded by Towe trough the lenses of the Phacops. And maybe you can actually make out trough the complex trilobite insect-like eyes a series of 1973 smiley faces, future emoji seen by an entity dead long before any camera lenses, chatrooms, webcams or CCTVs.
Friday, August 29, 2014
This Summer's Postapocalyptic movie: DIE GSTETTENSAGA: The Rise of Echsenfriedl (a TV movie by Johannes Grenzfurthner 2014)
DIE GSTETTENSAGA: The Rise of Echsenfriedl
a postapocalyptic TV movie by Johannes Grenzfurthner 2014
I recently had the great satisfaction to watch a preview of a very fresh postapocalyptic feature film + a directorial debut, that premiered on Austria's ORF in March this year.
It is somehow impossible not to appreciate an entirely different kind of algorithmic force(from another alternate universe for sure!) that was once again set loose by Johannes Grenzfurthner (of monochrom fame) upon unsuspecting survivors of the last 35 years of road-warrior, post-nuke, road-kill, after-the-bomb films. What would be the life of near-future anchorman and anchorwoman be like? What would news-worthy, or for that matter - what would 'news' mean in the age of abject prosumption, neuromarketing and endlessly recursive destructo-capitalist loops that really takes of the edge of tomorrowland?
As a friend just tweeted, now every Hollywood blockbuster seems to be written by some underlying algorithm. The end credits are just the cinematic equivalent to a CAPTCHA response – trying to identify the film crew as human, even if this last human verification test is untenable and obsolete.
Well, I kinda have this incredible (and maybe you do too!) and perverse desire to get to the bottom of actual directorial algorithms, pushing hard to enter the loop and be able to forget how Hollywood movie after movie manages to push an exact quota of car explosions, 3D makeover, eye-popping HD footage, hero worship, body count, family values, rescue missions ad infinitum into box office paradise.
Let's be clear, I'm overenthusiastic about Gstettensaga – because it is such a genre bender, a satiric H bomb, a horror movie and ex-auction house vaudeville going for the unexpected dialectical turns of current history, and leading us into the untrodden and definitely outrageous wastelands. A very fertile wasteland that could be populated by postironic versions of Robocop Nazis Must Die, Escape from Vienna, Cheap-Chinese-Plastic Dawn or Europa 3000?
I think that Johannes Grenzfurthner, in the tradition of gleeful and unrepentant apres- disaster storytelling manages to simultaneously gonflate and reconfigure the present we live in, by shipwrecking and beaching its contents onto the shores of Do It (to) Thyself history and lore. The more it insists on toponymic specifics, on local tabloid news and blurbs, the more it can temporally mutate and amplify diverging Austrian regionalism and separatism within a new postal or linguistic contour.
On the macro-political forecasting scale, this future chronology takes the shape of national-technological firewall world after the China vs Google Wars. The future is crap-o-tastic without doubt. The best is that it doesn't need fancy gimmicks, upload minds, bland singularities, since it is busy scavenging like a future Robinson Crusoe in the lofty ruins of past technological glory, consumer goods and fossil media, trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to get things working and functioning again.
Probably the Gstetten-saga universe should be placed along side Generation or Multi-generational Ship or Interstellar Ark stories(a personal favorite of mine!) as they are all exploring alternative or speculative anthropology trough the flesh of deep space and deep time fiction. The cosmic and historic drift of spaceship earth in the form of relentless entropy reshuffles not only tectonic plates but also hierarchies in unexpected ways. It also manages to enlarge agnatologic fissures where monopolistic feudal tycoons keep on capturing information technologies and claiming media supremacy by reinventing themselves as post-disaster Gutenbergs.
The same genetic and memetic drift affects both bodies and knowledge on the multi-generational Ark(Austrian/European) ships. Typically, on such a multi-generational spaceship, the crew gets segmented into a new caste system and the command and machine rooms have been transformed into a pretty nasty sancta sanctorum. Once-in-a-lifetime mechanical alarm signals are misinterpreted or reinterpreted as divine providence and the captain's log acts now like a Bible for the survivors who struggle to understand its obscured terminology and hidden meaning.
The vacant lot of the drifting future is not empty at all – it is populated by a constant class war shifted into zombie (worker) class war, or by the marauding tribes of subsidized EU farmers. These are some of my favourite First Contacts, although one might hash other best of sequence (such as the Occupy reference) – so watch out because of the spoiler alert further down!
The two hero figures of Gstettensaga are a he and a she, a journalist and a technician (actually a looser baby boomer and a hacktivist nerd) on the quest to interview a strange hero of the nerd underground – a talking lizard hiding away in the ruins of the former Ecuadorian Embassy. And as we know from today's world, if it's no easy task to interview Edward Snowden or Julian Assange, and greater dangers will await those who try this after the China vs Google wars.
This team resembles a lot the heroic media-wise crusading journalist as a character armed with both tekkie acumen and pluck, harking back to a distinctively dystopian VHS-flavored 80s futurism where television networks and large corporations dominate. This brand of TV broadcaster turned TV hacker, becomes an unlikely ancestor to the Internet cypherpunk whistleblower. Even if remotely related, the Gstettensaga couple somehow revived(for a brief flickering moment) the A.I. and virtual TV host Max Headroom/Edison Carter of Network 23 and his tech savvy colleague Theora Jones. In post-Google wars future, after Mountain View headquarters got nuked, the uplink TV transmissions seem to be back with a vengeance.
As the two wandering Gstetten-heroes are being kidnapped by a marauding tribe of ex-EU members of the Farmers Association they end up in one of these moments of pure futurologic bliss. Of course the subsidized peasants will become tribalized and start adorning themselves with Christmas decorations and prize-winning vegetables! Of course they will be sacrificing newcomers in a ritual of signatures and paper document filling!
After the Berlin Wall we got today an incredible “Great Brussels Wall of Paper” that bore strange fruit in the Gstettensaga world. Lo and behold! Somehow the all-powerful white flip-chart, the omnipresent markers, the cheapo laser pointers have ended up becoming sacred paraphernalia of a new agrarian cult. A cult centred around ritual signature sessions of cryptic documents on which the two captive exurbanites make out a few awe-inspiring titles: EU Funding and Application!
Let's not forget the rising trend of militarizing the police force - the federal borders patrolled by a new internal SWAT-grade militia, a bureaucratic armed muscle that can confiscate, body-check, and vaccinate at will. Gstettensaga present us with some prize examples in next phase or the future robocopism: border patrols vacuum tube-sandwich fed and speaking their own abstruse and in-comprehensive dialect.
As if the ('slow food'!) cannibalistic ritual of agrarian pagan paper-signing wasn't enough, the heroes are confronted with ever bigger odds on their way to the final Tele-O-Vision interview. They are being attacked by a group of undead miners, stuck in the depths of long-deserted shafts, probably brought back to a zombie existence while toiling for rare toxic metals to supply our endless hunger for mobile smart-phones and tablets.
Also (for those who tremble and fear for their lives: DO NOT READ FURTHER NOW!!!) the Rise of Echsenfriedl - is noting else but a covert the rise of that most terrifying AI apoptosis meme - Roko's Basilisk. It's the self-replicating meta-goatse, the scarecrow of posthumanist morale, the nightmare child of bored tech-libertarians and techno-utopian shivering, the Oedipal upload of downgraded futurists, a slick Reanimator that takes even your screaming capacities (the Hurayyyyyyyyyyyyy for the Singularity!) away.
There is lots to be said, not at least the grandiose Gstettensaga adbusting finale – where the eye-logo of the CBS Network gets morphed from human gaze in a view with a nonhuman slant.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
This is an accelerationist txt I wrote around 2002-2003 for the now defunct website 2020.ro
2020 BETTER FASTER LOUDER
Is there any need to comply with the current state of affairs?
Do you want to wallow in the current economic downturn?
Just ask yourselves what is there to be gained when you are endorsing the mistakes of past generations.
Have you learned nothing out of Running Man or Total Recall?
This is what this is all about, not only plain, unselfish, progression to a an International-Space-Station existence. We are the people who have always enjoyed deep-freeze nitrogen ice-cream. Try it sometimes. It may offer you a glimpse of the future.
IS TWENTY TWENTY A PROJECT YOU ASK?
It is more than a project – it is a mind-projection and a basic way to asses current approaches trough the lens of tomorrow.
2020 will make it easier for you to accept cloning, gene-sequencing techniques, food health-scares and space-tourism.
You already accepted cellular phone grafts on your body surface. You have already chosen the cryogenic beauty-sleep. Those blue potency pills already bring out the best in you.
Make the next step and see the cities of tomorrow: mightier than the scrapers of Coruscant. Walk the streets and surf the retail areas.
2020 is the GREAT LEAP FORWARD revisited.
It is moving ideas not people. This grand canal is already finished, and billions of bites are doing the job for you.
All you have to do is to participate. All there is needed is to draw the wireframe, to change the texture and to follow the shadow channels. With your help our hyper realistic cerebral illusions will become high resolution facts of life.
We don’t send our troops on a mission impossible. When our space-shuttles will get off the launching pad, there will be no manned missions in the sky. Everybody will be here, beneath the surface, tranquil in a pristine world, behind immaculate picket fences, in rows and rows of family homes with children playing in the freshly-mowed grass.
2020 doesn’t promise any tended ropes of extended unions, no hands-across-the-sea alliances.
It offers you the precrime departments of tomorrow.
The will to overcome inertia and the unfulfilled wish to restart the dream-machine again and again.
It offers you culture in the form of culture crash.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
I haven't written an album review in a while.
So here we go again. It's a remix album by the friends(Selfmademusic and Sloum) of online-release kings from Timisoara Mabento. Rinbo is an odd little birdie chirping some chilling tunes. We all know about ghost stories, every culture has its restless souls, its famished specters and angry spirits. The belief in communicating with ghosts has spawned an entire subculture in the 19 century with its own magazines and parlor games. The very moment when positivism, scientism, Darwinism hit the free market economy the newly industrialized world was scarring itself, ready to believe in immaterial substances and ectoplasmic photography. Late 20th century has seen the arrival of exotic ghosts, Japanese, Korean and Chinese ghost characters. From Hong Kong spiritualist cops to ghost girls seeking bloody revenge, hauntology became all the rage. Rinbo is tainted by all these apparitions. Jubokko is a vampire tree and the track has an eerie resemblance to a John Carpenter soundtrack - especially the Prince of Darkness from 1987 (in my mind). Forget the actual unimaginative storyline (age old outer-dimensional evil strikes again).
Important is to keep in mind that it is all about street life and about a peculiar modern fear of homeless people, the economic outcasts, junkies, murky parking lots and infectious disease. Victorian social explorers liked to immerse themselves and literally get their kicks by visiting what they described as an urban hell, the lower bowels of the town and the smog-filled rooms of the London poor. This same fear of "contagion" has deeper roots. More specifically Jubokko is strongly connected with battlefields and the remaining impurity following incessant wars during late-feudal Japan. The whole nature (trees especially) become impregnated with all the bloodshed and war crimes. The idea that life sinks underground and that dead bodies are usual nourishment for other so-called "lowly" living beings is always pretty hard to swallow.
It is not a pensive dreamy state that Rinbo induces, but a nearly 10 minute journey into a frightful, nightmarish monsterpedic cityscape - a recession-hit downtown area that can't hide its cracks behind glossy facades.
A clear case of Z A C A M A N T!
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Today orthodoxy (Eastern European, Christian) seems to be on the side of alter-mondialist, anti-globalist, anti-American, anti-microchip implants side of the story. Rewind.The Cold War furnishes us a sobering tale. Even it is just a priest at a parade for the 3rd of July, for the American troops going to Vietnam. Even if it is just a patriotic show-off advertisement for bolstering morale back home. Even then, it can still shows how much diaspora orthodoxy (*and back home) became a staunch follower of American Imperialism abroad.
The above is a still from a film featuring not only art house mainstays such as Godard, Klein, Lelouch, Marker, Resnais and Varda, but also Ho Chi Minh and an uncredited Fidel Castro giving advice on guerrilla warfare in a natural setting. European artists and directors salute and support the North-Vietnamese in the year 1967. It is a historical document harnessing aesthetics, technical means, direct interviews, footage from parades both pro and against the Vietnam War, the war as culture of the masses in Vietnam, street discussion and the usual ferment connected to that historical moment.
A clear case of Z A C A M A N T!
Friday, January 13, 2012
Like many other foundational myths, Romanian epic stories mention ancient rulers dismounting their royal horses in order to start discovering the new country. The ruler had to dismount in order to discover and start cutting and clearing the surrounding forest.
Land discovery discloses to us the fact that nearly every territorial taking-into-possession is followed by cutting down the forest cover in order to discover and create a proper country.
After the new world, the age of discovery, the scramble for Africa, the biggest recent age of territorial discoveries started after 1989. Appalling ecological disasters, Chernobyl and heavy industrial pollution and containment have somehow managed to isolate the communist gulag archipelago and transform large areas into a no-go Zone, practically an unofficial raw material reservation where the dreams of new economy capitalism became reality. The sinister ring of this archipelago had also something unwillingly paradisiacal, like a forlorn and lonesome continental version of a wild and colonially promising New Zealand prison-world.
The Iron Curtain and its walls have kept large parts of the communist archipelago in a state of semi-wilderness, unaccessible to entrepreneurs, and far from the reach of land rover Camel trophy capitalism. The present images demonstrate that the middle ages have not yet been superseded, they are somehow just pushed elsewhere or kept alive in newly discovered territories of the second and third world. The expansive middle age with its pioneering spirit and Promethean deforestation is not just a historical period of the past, it is a state of affairs where clear-cutting and internal colonization work in concert with the beat of axes and chainsaws.
Free-market cornucopians shake hands with the local bards of national bounty in the same clearing, a clearing growing on the outskirts of the forest just behind the modern city.
That clearing is actively produced, it does not stand on it own, it is influenced by the literary topoi, but it is not just a locus that discloses our communion with nature. The clearing demonstrates that underdevelopment can quickly turn into hospitable over-exploitation. Underdevelopment has acted as a preserving factor for natural resources and also as an economic teaser of epic proportion about untapped resources. Under-development was both an invitation and a permission to start discovering new lands and clearing new ground just when the developed world has stopped doing that at home. Huge debt, massive bailouts, big loans. gigantic investments rest heavily on new territorial discoveries and deforestation somewhere else. The capitalist world needs and feeds on dying agricultures, devastated industries, abandoned cooperatives, derelict areas, planned economies in shambles and unprotected labor ready for hire.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Another clear case of Z A C A M A N T!
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
INGINERIA INVERSA A GERONTO-TEHNOLOGIILOR AVANSATE
sau de ce complexul militar-medical nu o sa te ingrijeasca la batranete
Textul acesta are la baza trei puncte d plecare. Unul este workshop-ul RID si vizita facuta in cadrul proiectului varsta a 4a la un camin de batrani, filmul de animatie japoneza Roujin Z din 1991 si praxinoscopul ca tema propusa de kinema_ikon.
Devine din ce in ce mai clar ca viitorul nu poate fi eroic si neo-barbar, desfasurat pe fundalul unei planete desertificate si pustiite cu orase ruinate si populate de mutanti crunti si bande de violatori in serie. Nimeni nu ne-a pregatit pentru un viitor zbarcit.
Cumva simtim acum pe pielea noastra tradarea unor vremuri incetinite si senile, a unui viitor care refuza finaluri post-nucleare dramatice si catastrofiste, de primitivizare intensa sau de reconstructie heirupista a civilizatiei. Dar asta se intampla numai pentru ca am exagerat complet populandu-l cu figuri mitice vanjoase si batatucite. Viitorul postapocaliptic a devenit demult un teren colonizat de fantezii sexiste si filozofii reactionare care situeaza totul in termeni de amazoane tiranice si abuzive vs virilitate renascuta a unor barbati canonizati pe post de eroi civilizatori. Contemporaneitatea pare ca nu ofera destule ocazii de show-off si cocoseala, de aceea viitorul cinematic postnuclear si reagan-ist a devenit arena unui wrestling permanent. Un vast ring unde poate in sfarsit sa infloareasca discriminarea pe toate planurile si unde masina de razboi se simte constransa de un prezent inca nu destul de criminal, de distrugator si nimicitor. Viitorul subnutrit si submilitarizat nu este unul total demilitarizat, pentru ca avem de-a face cu eroi care deseori ajung sa invinga doar atunci cand fac apel la o tehnologie 'superioara' din trecut - un robot, o arma nemaivazuta uitata, o tehnica de lupta de care nimeni nu mai isi aduce aminte sau orice ti-ar putea asigura suprematia tehnologico-militara intr-o lume devastata.
Parca nu este de ajuns militarismul prezentului, nu este destul sa stim ca bugetele cele mai mari sunt acordate inarmarii sau cat de multe inventii sunt derivate din prototipuri cu aplicatii militare. Viitorul de dupa bomba este la randul lui repopulat de armate in zdrente, cu figuri autoritare si demagogice, generalisimi si lorzi ai razboiului, soldati universali, cyborgi mercenari, eliminatori, omega politisti nemilosi si brute criminale. De la buzdugan si pana la roboti uriasi, nu holocaustul ecologic, nici macar bombardamentul nuclear nu sunt momentul final de distrugere dupa care urmeaza pacea si linistea. Toate astea sunt mai curand un fel de pregatire necesara, un fel de lupta de incalzire care pregateste terenul de vis pentru paintballeri, ego shooteri si fani mortal combat. Doar si numai pentru ei planeta pamant este transformata intr-un poligon gigantic. Mare grija insa, pentru ca acesta este un viitor iesit din capul celor care traiesc deja intr-un prezent si intr-un viitor posibil in care media de viata creste, speranta de viata atinge recorduri, si unde riscurile scazute si catastrofele amanate au ajuns sa dezamageasca. Ce te faci daca sfarsitului nu mai vine? Sigur ca cea mai mare parte din populatie nu se va bucura neingradit de toate aceste lucruri, dar o semnificativa parte, mai ales cea care ne-a furnizat scenariile postapocaliptice de mai sus, o sa traiasca din ce in ce mai mult, si o sa imbatraneasca din ce in ce mai mult.
Care ar fi atunci normalitatea unei apocalipse care nu este o apocalipsa in sensul catastrofist clasic. Ea ar putea foarte bine, asa cum o sa sugereaza si proiectul RID, sa fie o lume in care imbatranesti din ce in ce mai mult si in care batranetea nu mai este la ea acasa. Batranetea nu mai este nicaieri, in corpuri, pe ecrane, nicaieri. O lume cu reclame, filme, festivale, expozitii, locuri trendy si hot care se adreseaza numai tinerilor care nici ei nu pot fi niciodata destul de tineri. Varsta inaintata a coincis si poate chiar a fost indusa de un anume cult al tineretii si intineririi totale. Daca urmarim aproape toata productia de imagini din reviste, ziare, tv, internet – e compusa aproape 90% numai din fete tinere, juvenile, adolescentine, prepubere si lolitizate. Ma refer acum mai ales la imaginile dorite, iubite, dezirabile, imaginile care vand. Unde sunt restul? Restul sunt retusate, modificate, intinerite cu forta sau complet eliminate. Chiar si cei tineri nu mai pot face astazi fata standardelor de intinerire obligatorii impuse de cultura din jur care e intotdeuna mai tanara decat ai putea tu sa fi vreodata. Nu numai ca batranii trebuie sa arate tineri si neatinsi de varsta, dar si ca tanar nu poti fi destul de tanar, de fraged, de proaspat. Rolul vitezei, al pericolului, al riscului sporit domina sectiunile culturale si mediatice cele mai vizibile din jur ca un reflex al intineririi programate. Ca sa intelegem cat de mult remodeleaza tineretea asta idealizata totul in jur trebuie sa vedem si ce personaficari globale intalnim la fiecare pas. Economia de piata si globalizarea sunt caracterizate de un spirit&corp vesnic tanar, au alura unui tanar/tanere intreprinzatoare. Un manager iute, agil, cu susuri si josuri, ultra-rapid, cineva care nu vrea sa isi ia pauza, sa stea sa se odihneasca, sa isi traga sufletul, sa se pensioneze vreodata. E asa sau nu?
Este de aceea foarte important sa regandim viitorul si prezentul in functie de niste masini sau roboti pro-batrani, pro-varsta-a-patra oricat de defetist ar suna la prima mana. E nevoie de geronto-tehnologii de varf si de o geronto-tehnologizare a culturii cat si de o multiplicare a variantelor de futurism din jur care in mod sigur vor influenta si vor contura batranetea tehnostiintifica. Stiu ca nu e deloc usor sa ne gandim la toate masinile viitorului ca proteze pentru asistarea unor populatii imbatranite si semi-imobilizate la pat. Stiu nimic din toate astea nu suna epic si vindicativ. Nu aparam planeta in fata nici unui invadator, nu ne luptam cu mutanti, pur si simplu ne gandim la ce se va intampla cu noi toti si toate. O sa ziceti ca robotii au ceva mai bun de facut decat sa stea ca niste asistenti sociali docili si sa aiba grija de mosi si babe. Dar defapt aici este cea mai mare provocare. Sa construiesti un praxinoscop care sa poata tine cont de faptul ca vom imbatrani, ca vom deveni din ce in ce mai fragilizati, din ce in ce mai diferiti de hologramele si personajele 3d hiper-realiste, atletice si ultra-tinere la care ne-am uitat si cu care ne-am indentificat o viata intreaga.
Si aici este cazul sa identificam si regandim existenta primilor ciborgi si a primelor inteligente artificiale, s primelor fiinte umane care convietuiesc cu implanturi electronice. Nu niste fiinte sintetice, puternice, ba chiar nimicitoare ci mai curand niste finite dupa chipul si asemanarea batranilor si batranelor de astazi. In loc de Rutger Hauer ar trebui sa ne imaginam un batran monitorizat telemetric, dotat cu implanturi si aparate care il asista si invioreaza, tinandu-l fie alert fie odihnit, cuplat sau decuplat. Tot asa o sa fie nevoie de masini familiarizate cu toate aspectele si dilemele etice ale eutanasiei.
De aceea este foarte important sa intelegem de ce primii ciborgi vii din jurul nostru sunt defapt niste batrani sau batrane dotate cu aparate auditive. Nu terminatori virili supradotati trimisi intr-o lume ostila, ci batrani si batrane la capatul unei vieti noi si extinse. Protezarea auditiva a normalizat urechea portabila, un aparat care colecteaza informatii auditive din spate si din fata. Multi batrani deja traiesc cu implanturi si proteze din ce din ce mai diverse si utile. Laringofonul si vocea sintetica produsa de el este vocea robotica per se, nu este doar o reminiscenta sefeista. Si este foarte important pentru noi ca aceasta este o voce de robot ragusita si foarte veridica care face si mai palpabila viata din spate vocii.
Acestea sunt nu numai fiinte ale viitorului ci fiinte care vor trebui imaginate de catre noi batranii si batranele secolului 21. Singura certitudine a acestui viitor este ca vom fi mai batrani si mai multi atunci. Batranetea nu trebuie carantinata, nu trebuie retusata sau alungata. Ea trebuie sa fie recunoscuta ca o batranete augmentata care face primii pasi subrezi dar clar transumanisti. Probabil ca exista ceva profund revoltator in idea ca tehnologia, noul poate fi imbinat cu epuizarea si moartea celulara, cu decrepitudinea organica, cu viul care abia se mai divizeaza. Am putea discuta mult despre tehnologiile celulare si culturile celulare vesnice care produc o alta prelungire si succesiune a generatiilor de celule si care in ultimii 50 de ani anu ajuns sa redifineasca nemurirea situate inafara corpurilor sursa (vezi Hannah Landecker).
In cultura noastra corpuri noi trebuie sa coexiste cu tehnologii noi, dar nu este deloc asa. Cu cat tehnologiile avanseaza, cu atat corpurile vor imbatrani mai mult.
De aceea consider ca interfata dintre batranete si tehnologie este una ridata si inteleg ridul aici nu ca pe o pierdere a elasticitatii ci mai curand ca pe un castig de suprafata, o marire a suprafetei de contact dintre oameni avansati in varsta si tehnologii avansate. Nimeni nu iese neatins din aceasta imbratisare, nici macar gandirea transumanista. Masina nu mai potenteaza fiinta umana ajutand-o pur si simplu sa se autodepaseasca ca o bomba care acumuleaza megatone mortale, ci mai curand invata sa ii respecte fragilitatile si nevoile imediate. Toate promisiunile noilor tehnologii de la retele sociale pana la multi-taskingul zilnic sunt adaptate unor necesitati legate de varsta avansata chiar daca ele au concepute in genere de tineri pentru tineri. Ganditi-va numai ce problema poate deveni izolarea prin imobilizare fizica treptata, singuratatea datorata disparitiei prietenilor si rudelor apropiate sau dificultatea indeplinirii celor mai de baza functii vitale.
Marea dezamagire transumanista cred ca survine atunci cand vom realiza ca limitele umanului nu sunt limitele varstei, iar dezumanizarea survine atunci cand tehnologia nu mai este pe masura imbatranirii. Asta ar putea insemna ca limitele de varsta vor trebui sa fie correlate in final cu limitele mecanismelor care furnizeaza asistenta, hrana si supravegherea constanta. Daca viata persista atunci masinile vor trebui sa asiste cu grija si atentie.
Varsta record indica nu numai un succes uman ci mai ales un succes datorat unei asistente tehnologice si postumane de intretinere. Alfel viata insasi o sa para ca nu mai este adaptata recordurilor de varsta. Tehnologiile varstei inaintate ajung literalmente cumva sa impinga, sa traga si sa intinda corpul uman obligand carcasa umana atacata de artrita, senilizare si anchilozare sa mentina ritmul cu lumea consumerista din jur.
Roujin Z 001 este un proiect fictiv de pat biomedical ambulant hipersofisticat inspirat dintr-o animatie japoneza omonima. Cred ca acest pat nu contine pur si simplu numai functii de hranire/divertisment/socializare, ci incorporeaza la nivel de hardware intim anumite valori, ideologii, si tehnologii de modelare a sinelului. Dincolo de executie si proiectare, asta ar trebui sa ne intereseze acum, pentru ca ar fi timpul sa incepem sa facem o inginerie inversa care sa permita decuplarea acestor ideologii sudate si stantate pe placa de baza a patului hipertehnologizat. La conferinta de presa din acest anime (animatie japoneza), Roujin Z 001 isi capteaza pacientul intr-o inclestare sufocanta, ca un cosciug updatat, un mobilier ambulant, unde corpul uman neputincios ramane fixat si curatat, spalat, hranit, dezmierdat si exersat, fara sa paraseasca niciodata confortul camerei de azil.
Acest pat robotic pare defapt un fel de mobile suit parazitar, un fel de transformer malefic, dar asta pentru ca este visul celor care pot sa se miste oricum, al celor care nu sunt obligati sa stea la orizontala. De la Gigantor si pana la Neon Genesis Evangelion, copii si tinerii au manevrat roboti uriasi, nimeni nu a prevazut insa existenta unor soferi si piloti batrani sau nu a anticipat adaptarea robotilor la corpuri imbatranite.
Sfarsitul verticalitatii coincide cu o noua orizontala redusa la comatoza mai ales din cauza ca este bombardata continuu cu muzica, stiri, jocuri, arta&creativitate. Activitatea febrila a lumii din jur este pur si simplu programata si aglomerata intr-o singura masina. Din pat poti vinde si cumpara actiuni la bursa. Practic patul este un fel de promisiune de autonomizare a individului activ actual, al omului multilateral care face gimnastica si speculeaza la bursele internationala la distanta, ca un satelit umanoid GPS in orbita circumterestra.
Materialul promotional atasat promite o ingrijire individualizata care anticipeaza aproape orice nevoie si dificultate, eliminand discomfortul rudelor si al pacientilor afectati de aceasta munca neplacuta, impunand prin aceasta si o noua unitate biomedicala intre om si masina.
Supriza este ca noul computer din noua generatie este atat de performant inca da gres, adica odata reprogramat si desecurizat, devine o inteligenta artificiala gata sa se lupte cu armata si politia pentru a-l duce pe batranul pacient la malul marii. Ca si intr-un Zbor deasupra unui cuib de cuci, pacientii aproape ca trebuie sa fie eliberati din institutie. Aceasta lipsa care necesita reintroducere si reprograme, aceasta omisiune din softul de baza initial este chiar fiinta draga: sotia. Brusc inginerii guvernamentali sunt obligati din exterior sa admita includerea ei, o fata umana familiara care nu exclude insa functii de ingrijire si protectie. Pacientul este un barbat batran plin de aminitiri si atasamente. Remarcam ca reproducerea sotiei, a fiintei dragi este si ea destul de rudimentara dar cu atat mai eficienta. Sintetizarea‘sotiei’nu se bazeaza decat pe o fotografie ingalbenita de timp, pe mormaielile batranului si pe o simulare de voce care imita vag alintaturile si gingasiile din trecut.
Daca la inceput batranul viruseaza calculatoarele in cautare de familiaritate si ingrijire umana, fuziunea protectiva dintre batran si masina intervine numai atunci cand o gasca de hackeri octagenari incep sa-i simuleze sotia decedata. Sotia apare ca un meta-ingrijitor, un inger tehnopazitor care ajunge sa salveze pana si pe asistentele sociale devotate (sexy) ale batranului. Aceasta constiinta artificiala are o determinare totala si o grija materna tipica unei sotii devotate (nu numai japoneze) dar care aproape nu mai conteaza ca se bazeaza pe un model feminin intretinut artificial. Nu trebuie sa ne indoim nici o clipa ca este intotdeuna vorba si de o sotia ideala protectoare a monogamiei si cuplurilor batrane care devine intre timp, din 50 incoace devine un fel de dead media intrat in hall of fame. Ca si boomer-ii feminini (androizii din animatia Parasite Dolls si Bubblegum Crisis) sau a replicantii, aceasta sotie revine printre cei vii ca o instanta terorista care atrage interventia fortelor de ordine, a serviciilor speciale si a unor masuri de securitate deosebit de dure. Ea zambeste constant ca un Buddha benefic, din poze cat si din amintiri, dar in pofida domesticitatii si scopului ei civil ajunge sa se confrunte cu roboti military tentaculari scapati cu adevarat de sub control.
Aceasta inteligenta artificiala domestica este vindictiva si razbunatoare atunci cand nu este recunoscuta, respectata si numita, cand nu este programata de la bun inceput in meniul de optiuni principale. Odata stearsa din lista de avatare, de vocaloizi si prieteni virtuali, ea devine un aliat al serviciilor de sanatate si un opponent formidabil in calea autoritatilor guvernamentale si a intereselor complexului militar-medical. Daca la inceput Roujin Z 001 are la baza Pentagonul (cum dezvaluie cinic inginerul sef) ajunge pana la urma sa magnetizeze un fel de industrie eminamente casnica, sa inglobeze oala minune si baia fierbinte la picioare nu tancul si obuzul.
Monday, July 4, 2011
MAGNETO: 300 years of Magnetism, Purity, Hygiene, Health & Electrical Shows (2007, CAA, Inventar, Public Space)
This photos are from a former lecture at the CAA space of Lia Perjovschi's former atelier in 2007 during the INVENTAR (inventory) series organized by Lia at the Public Space project in Bucharest. The atelier itself becomes a mythical place. You can still see the familiar depot full of carton cases that you could sit on and peer into. An archive and ZACAMANT analysis place you could stumble upon very hard to find studies on the history and theory of art, as well as comic books by Art Spiegelman for example. While the CAA has grown and morphed into a Museum of Knowledge that has been moved to a new place in Sibiu, both Lia and Dan keep true to their brainstorming beginnings in Bucharest, as they both welcomed and introduced us to their brand new think- and wonder- tank place, a few weeks ago.
There is a certain urgency of publishing these lines here, as dietary supplements are being banned and severely restricted everywhere, both in the EU and the US. There is also the sense that we have entered an era of over-supplementing ourselves with Vitamins and Minerals. Government attitudes during and after WWII have run full spectrum, from enforced supplementation and rationalization of food and nutrition (both in the East and West) to the food scares, contaminants and biotech warnings of the present. Food hygiene tends to play a major role again, as the E-coli O104:H4 Outbreak of 2011 in Germany has shown us. Germany was the standard for ubercleanliness at least since 19th century, now this purity has gone awry. The Gram-negative favorite bacterium E. coli was also the darling of pharma and a truly wonderful lab model organism, being presently the most studied prokaryotic organism on Earth. Not studied enough maybe, since metagenomics (the study of genetic material extracted directly from the environment) is slow on identifying potentially harmful bacteria in their farmland or cropland environment. E. coli managed to instill fear and panic not seen since the 40s and 50s. Maybe after 50 years of European and Western over-cleanliness everybody concerned got sloppy.
Did people stop washing their hands? Did they stop washing veggies? Did they stop cooking food? Humans are always being painfully reminded about the possibility of inter-breeding E-coli strains transferring freely among themselves(with the help of bacteriophage partners) deadly virulence and antibiotic resistance. The natural capacity of bacteria and archea for Lateral Gene Transfer and Horizontal Gene Transfer has been a major advantage in their evolution and a headache for both taxonomists building the Tree of Life as well as their biomedical colleagues. And then the housefly - Musca domestica, the old incubator and transmitter of age-old diseases, is again to blame!
The introduction screen-shot is a woodcut of a poster used by Charles C Came for one of his electrical performances during the 1840s.
Came and other scientific wonder showmen like him were self-thought in the science and medicine of the day. He toured upstate New York with his horse and wagon selling patent medicines, and offering scientific lectures and electrical healing demonstrations. Accompanied by music from his self-played mechanical organs, he performed on a proscenium flanked by columns with two flaming urns on top.
Hijacking and re-using equipment developed by electrical demonstrators (Benjamin Franklin amongst them) they promoted a sense of magic and classical mystery plays in an age of mechanistic determinism. The mysteries of nature were bottled up, sucked out and teased from the scientific apparatus, a situation that got recharged constantly under the public view.
Exhibiting electrostatic generators, Leyden jars or Colt submarine batteries would produce bolts, sparks and shocks to the public. The Scientific and Industrial Revolution had to have a populist phase transition, and miracle-purveyors filled in immediately this role, providing the newest shocks, using and abusing the newest gimmicks and devices that would literally and physically electrify and shock the audience. They made science easy to touch and feel on a very personal bodily level.
We still have today this same mesmerizing tradition mainly incorporated and upgraded into different schools of alternative medicine, the wonder remedies of the new age with belts, corsets, headbands, shoe insoles, necklaces of magnetic therapy involving the use of magnetic static fields. This was a ZACAMANT area i have been introduced by the kinds efforts of my beloved aunt Mary since early childhood. She migrated to the States more than 30 years ago.
As a child of the 60s she had a strong interest in alternative medicine, Hypno-therapy, Iridology, Spiritualism, Enemas, Nutrition, Thought Field Therapy, Aromatherapy, Homeopathy, Reflexology and many many others ways to self-heal oneself in the age of Pharma domination and Sicko Health Care Apocalypse.
Her tremendous interest and curiosity in this area brought to me a plethora of books, oils, tapes, dvd's, magical pills, colloidal minerals, turquoise stones against computer radiation and magnets - that continuously immersed everybody around in a world of wonder steeped into natural and popular science. Even if i was deeply skeptical about the vaunted healing proprieties and the enthusiastic statements published on labels, packages, pamphlets, and books, i was totally hooked by its near-magical appeals and deeply mystifying techniques. I was introduced to a very bodily experience, a reconstruction of the familiar and invisible daily corpus as described and prescribed by a psychical and physical and more pure alternative; a fringe area that gathered and absorbed information from lots of apparently lost traditions, both popular, scientific and para-scientific. There was a state-sponsored herbal healing program of PLAFAR shops in Romania - it was even considered an important and obligatory task during the communist times to gather herbs and store them for medical purposes. Already then these plants were considered herbal ZACAMANT and powerful alternatives to the chemical revolution of the day.
After 1989 in Romania there was an apparent flood of alternative medicine information and associated therapies, grafted on top of the old core, evolving either into a cost-efficient alternative as ways to overcome prohibitive costs for the regular pharmaceuticals pushed on the pharmacy market. There was also another outcome as was felt pressure on local herbal medicine shops to transform into rated and more controlled and sometimes expensive bio-foods and naturist shops. We are still in the midst of the market transformation that transformed alternative folk medicine into dietary supplements and upper end green remedies. I am still very impressed by the old women in general, who in Romania, keep on gathering herbs and plants in cities all over the country to use them for private medicinal purposes. They are probably the only ones who managed to shortcut the system and preserve the old ways. Following the pressure of the Codex Alimentarius and EU Food Supplements ban, the transition from phytochemicals(anti-oxidants, anti-inflamatory but also many potentially toxic substances) to the labeled production and intake of dietary supplements is becoming a regulatory issue.
I am still curious to find and research into the performative potential of health- and life- prolonging spectacular therapies, the way they keep a promise of renewal and protection for a fragile-looking post-industrial body, as possible and informed alternative against the aging processes and omnipresent pollution of modernity. Biomedical knowledge has also flourihannelsshed by giving a 'therapeutic' turn to the natural world. Natural elements or natural forces such as gravity, or objects such as magnets are there to orient and balance or unbalance us. The force of gravity and universal attraction is entering our consciousness after Einstein's General Relativity through multiple cultural channels. You could say that pre-Einstein, Newtonian mechanics is still very much acting on us. In our daily experience we see things falling down. We don't see space curbing around us or gravity playing tricks on beams of light. We notice things as they are being attracted by some huge magnetic force, found somewhere in the center of the earth.
Maybe the magical powers of magnets to still orient us in the age of GPS, or to wipe out and destroy nearly every high tech device in range (smartphone,laptop, etc), make them magnetically attractive and potent to us. The new educational floating earth Levitron's are also side-effects of this magnetic fascination. These new magnetic globes for a new age of electro-magnetic familiarity are made available by very cheap technology. Maybe we are witnessing a transition for the first time to a toy model of our planet as floating between magnetic fields, beyond the old geographic orrery of the fixed axis mundi so familiar in high school classes of the past.
(please notice a very lean Simion Cernica in these pictures. i miss him very much in Dr Taberei, and even if he is on Sunset Blvd right now, we miss his unswerving dedication to attend nearly every Bucharest presentation, lecture, concert, action, etc his missing from our lives will mark a huge gap in our miserable and severly limited audience)
A clear case of magnetic Z A C A M A N T!
Thursday, June 30, 2011
I got this series of drawings from a friend called Akira. He lives at the Intorsura Buzaului (the Curb of the Buzau ) one of the coldest places in Romania during the winter time (it holds the coldness record i think). He is also part of the Sefeu founding fathers (Sefeu is a totally Z A C A M A N T! hieroglyphic black&white comic book). He told me his story of him having to mow grass with a scythe, and sometimes - to make the time go faster - he would pick an apple and try to cut in half in mid-air. It was a very hard exercise, but this shows how one can train using daily objects and doing daily agricultural chores.
A clear case of Z A C A M A N T!
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Here is a Nunceag found by Sebastian Big on a Romanian flea-market (called Ochco in the Western part of the country). The nunchucks is a holy weapon based on a long agricultural and rural tradition.
Just consider the origins of the Nunchaku (ヌンチャク, Nunchaku) Okinawan weapon tradition in Japan. This legendary history tells us a lot actually about ways people had to counter the hegemony. The way we interpret this fable of nunchaku derivation from implements and farming tools, is that it tells us that people find out ways to break restrictions or subvert a militaristic caste-system of control. But even if these tools were more likely mimicked and alternative copies of older Chinese, Malaysian or Indonesian models, they still follow this pattern of use.
This wave came latter to Romania, maybe the same as it got to Okinawa from other parts of the continent. Here also it got assimilated to day-to-day tools such as the broomstick.
There is also an old traditional lore of urban weapons in Romania linked with Bruce Lee, kung fu films and the rise of Romanian Martial Arts. These weapons were always done by re-shaping and re-interpreting daily implement such as broomsticks or using the metallurgic skills of former Communist factories and relatives that had access to such technology.
There were certain precise rules to making them and having the connecting chain measured in proportion to the fist that were widely available. Different styles and different ways of making nunchucks developed in time.
In Romania and elsewhere in the world, ranging from Africa to Western Europe and Japan, we should connect this weapon with the flail, an agricultural implement used for threshing rice, wheat and other staple gramineae foods.
In order to separate the husks from the grains, two pieces of wood attached by a piece of chain. You would hold one head in the hand, as the other "head" was swung down powerfully on top of the pile of grain.
The flail was a common link between all these communities across the world and also against their common oppressive forces. In most societies, common people lacked proper weapons that were reserved to the knightly or samurai caste. They had to do with what they found or what they used during their daily chores. As you know, sometimes if you cannot hire the Seven Samurai or the Magnificent Seven when you need them, you would have to count on your own means.
It is known that the French Revolution, was mostly fought with agricultural tools. It is our aim to find and document such historical model tools and revolutionary weapons. The "Rascoale Taranesti" or Peasant Revolts in Romania were also fought with such weapons time and time again. When people need to fight for their rights, such weapons can become handy.
This is another clear case of Z A C A M A N T!