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.
Publicat de megatron la 7:14 AM
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!
Thursday, June 9, 2011
What can be a more natural noise mini-concert than a mid-day sound check, in full view of everybody walking by in front of the Goethe Institute. We've been playing and performing in a lot of crazy and unnatural places these years, and we actually enjoyed our newfound "normality" the fact that nobody bothered that we are maybe building a small fuse, or maybe a pocket bomb. Everybody went its way, children, employees, smart dressed people. Everybody tried to look away and sort of forget that somebody was modifying a pretentious BBC English voice into something hard to swallow. You can probably hear the voices of employees in their lunch or cigarette break talking over our small radio performance. The radio news was also talking about the current updates on the Libyan war. Bucharest 2011, near the sewers, in front of Goethe Institute offers total protection for exploring the full potential of apparently harmless radios.
Another clear case of Z A C A M A N T!
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Journey into deep time by the means of a sauna
We wanted to carry on with the DIY end-of-times anti-Internet sauna tradition that started with the e-tribes Survival Tablets. It was a bet for us, Romanians, a non-sauna tradition to manage and improvise a sauna in the courtyard of the Fabrica de Pensule. What the Russians, Finnish and Japanese have managed in thousand of years of tradition we managed to pull apart & remake in a few days.
It is true, we stole some wood from our puritan and deeply religious neighbors from Cluj that were building a huge cathedral, but a deity will always provide for those that are pure at heart.
We started washing river stones found in the nearby trash-filled river, while eating Parizer and Napolact Yogurt and chatting with the local workers and factory doorkeepers.
The next we did in Berlin for the Knot project on the Tempelhof former Marshall plan airbase. We used stones stolen from pavement of the city of Berlin to try and help out the local German youth and improve its health. Some of the stones cracked. Nobody was injured.
Now we are back in Banat, in the Western part of Romania, with our friends, in the forest, just on the 1st of May, the international workers day.
Now we realized this was a way for us to go back into deep geological time and witness fabulous geothermal energies of the Earth. To live a few minutes like the thermophile(thermal-lover) ARCHAEA was our quest.
These ancient animalcules from the dawn of time have continued their extreme lifestyle on the bottom of deep sea hydro-thermal vents where ultra hot, mineral-rich hot spring water keeps spewing out of the ocean floor, supporting a unique ecosystem.
We would like to dedicate this sauna to one of the inventors of the "Abiotic soup" theory of the origins of life on Earth, the Soviet biochemist Alexander Oparin (also called Oparin-Haldane thesis) because it was separately supported by both Oparin and pioneer geneticist and evolutionary biologist J B S Haldane.
Taking account of the discovery of methane in the atmosphere of Jupiter and other giant gas planets, Oparin postulated that the infant Earth had possessed a strongly reducing atmosphere, containing methane, ammonia, hydrogen, and water vapor. In his opinion, these were the raw materials for the evolution of life.
Some (Norman Horowitz, David Hawkins) have pointed out the Edenic qualities of Oparin's abiotic soup theory.
Maybe derived from an earlier version of Darwin's "warm little pond", Oparin made the most out of an ideal epoch of heterotrophic-first organisms that flourished in a beginning of plenty and intial abundance. This Edenic period was soon disrupted and followed by a fall-from-grace period, with overpopulation and severe crisis launched by diminished resources and competition that finally gave rise to the first intermediary metabolism and then autotrophic (chemotrophic and photosynthetic life-forms). We should also seriously question Oparinian orthodoxy with its Biblical overtones, and part of that is also the STEAM, the vapors and condensed chemistry that rained back on earth. volcanic islands could function as a sort of "chemical factories" (former student of Miller, marine biologist Jeffrey Bada).
There where others problems with the strongly reducing atmosphere - since Earth didn't yet acquire its protective layer of clouds it simply exposed all methane and ammonia to degradation by ultraviolet rays from the sun. The only place where this would not happen would be on volcanic island and early continents, where the lightening and gases where available and amino-acids could be produced.
But only if the gases came from above not below! Miller created just 5 amino-acids in the first experiment out of the 20 compounds essential to life. Miller altered his experiment for the better (and improved!) in an unpublished experiment by Miller uses this 'volcanic' plume that would spark life, before they are destroyed by the sun. All the gases enter from below, but because of the backward technologies of the time he failed to record his own success. This 'volcanic apparatus' was even more successful in producing more essential amino-acids and hinted to a "hot little puddle" (Deamer) hypothesis where early life simmered at 70-80 degrees Celsius.
Carl Woese put forth another hypothesis of autotrophic-first life and a critique of Oparinist abiotic theories, with droplets of steam being possible predecessors of cellular life. These droplets could be seen as precursors to cellular life-forms, their surfaces coated with large organic compounds and their interiors full of reactive chemical cocktails. Active membrane chemistry needs a large surface and these droplets hovering in the steamy air offered incredible amounts of surface! Instead of being a two-step process, first chemicals get produce above, then rain down to form organisms that start gulping all the remaining soup, the solution-based chemistry is a late-comer, arriving after the membrane (interface) chemistry already does the job. Its important to know that there are alternatives to the primordial soup scenario of Oparin made of floating colloidal droplets.
The watery Edenic expanse is a very powerful image of oceanic proportions, the primordial ocean may not have been so primordial after all, and life may have been cooked and prepared in a different, more sauna-like environment before it could settle and swim in a aqueous home.
Life was not only at the mercy of plenty or external scaricity, it was involved in shaping and changing its surroundings. Early dynamic relationships continued to play an important role later on as complexity grew under the auspices of earlier developements. Methanogenic microbes, thus be employed in this momentous change, in cooling the Earth down, in making water available as liquid by diminishing the proportion of CO2, CO and Hydrogen in the initial atmosphere. They could have contributed in an active way, in parallel with natural geochemical processess to the cooling down effect. In this new perspective life wasn't just a passive bystander, it didn't just start in the oceans, it made the oceans happen in the first place.
The earth surface was just too hot for liquid water to form, just as our hot sauna stones. Any water would just immediately evaporate. Immense cloud banks made out of mineral dust particles and condensed water would be the initial starting place of biochemestry.
Our plastic sack membrane also helps us to understand the rudiments and clear lessons of membrane chemistry. As an envelope it permits chemicals to accumulate and concentrate just on at the interface of its surface!
Our sauna in Arad was a way to experiment with a few basic components the early conditions of infant Earth on our own Eukaryotic bodies. Our sauna was a primordial soup experiment involving a lot of steam and good humor.
Because we are surrounded nowadays by relatively cold conditions, only a sauna can actually replicate or simulate the initial very hot conditions of primordial Earth (the Hadean eon) that were actually experimentally proved by the Miller-Urey spark-discharge experiment. Primordial conditions fluctuated in the 20th century theories of the origins of the Earth as hot when at first seen as a piece of the sun, becoming cold (as cold accretion Earth in the 50s) and hot again with the heavy asteroid bombardment as witnessed by the early Moon (60s to present).
We did this on the first of May a day for workers of the whole world to relax and get acquainted with steamy, sweaty materialism.
The incredible photos (no special effects or Photoshopping used!) are made possible by Pnea Pneuma, Gelu and Ivi.
This is a very clear case of Z A C A M A N T!