The almost hysteric, overflow and cellular vibratory excess shimmers & somehow does not adhere to the golden Triangle or perform the ordered symmetry of the usual HD prize winning ‘beautiful’ macrophotography of impeccable butterfly wing scales and exquisite, composite eyes. I am not saying the actual cytoplasmic dynamics are ugly or repulsive in any way – because in fact they are beautiful and deadly at the same time. I tried to find the tipping point when they become unsettling, transitional between in vivo & ex vivo, lofi/hi-def, not really sure where they happen or if their initial bodies or tissue cultures still exist or have survived these recordings.
Many thanks to Miklós Szilard.
So while keeping all of this in mind, I started a dialogue with the two curators Sara Lehn and Clara Bausch of the one show that stuck with me during these CORONA (Anno Covid) AC era years in Berlin. The ensuing manifold is the result of this dialogue.
Finally A.R. – Pepe the Frog transformation is a repository that includes the image of the alien – accomplishing a critical and unrecognized historical metamorphosis because we tend to paste over. The extraterrestrial more often than not coincided in Western EN SF media narratives (movies, literature, ufology, etc.) with the Western Democracies Big Other: the Commie Red Scare infiltrator. From its very beginnings, since the US late 1940s, UFO mania started up under the sign of ideological intrusion and space race challenge. Right from Kenneth Albert Arnold’s sightings near Mount Rainer the image of extraterrestrial has been over-coded with that of the faceless ‘Charlie’, the expressionless other, the regimented, uniformed, political other, and culturally xeno-. UFO mania didn’t just happen to coincide with the fear of infiltration and indoctrination from the outside. Both were part of a Cold War’s SF imaginary where aliens are generally depicted as brainwashing/body-snatching entities, taking over the minds and bodies of normal freedom-loving citizens that would never dream of harboring an inner alien or (God forbid!) an inner commie.
I think one should dedicate more thinking to the various cinematic build environments, the iconic pop cultural institutions and fictional modernist architectures hosting “the Beyond”. There are many instances of cinematographic altered state eeriness and paranormalcy that have an actual headquarters. There is a plethora of recent examples starting with Alex Garland’s massive wild nature surrounded mansions (actually Norvegian hotels) in Ex Machina and remote and secretive quantum computing facilities (DEVS series). Even more recently, Netlfix TV horror series Archive 81 presents an archivist painstakingly reconstructing a series of burned VHS 1990s tapes inside a remote 1980s brutalist ‘medialabs’ situated in the wilderness of Catskill mountains.
I will pick up on A. Nagel’s (pejorative) mention of the “metaphysical laboratory” and its slight air of superiority. Yes, maybe it is good to cut straight to the chase and reconsider the whole “laboratory” problem. It is not a problem of clear-cutting, but of allowing more largesse in dealing with such a historical laboratory of ideas and research programs. Otherwise, everything feels like a miraculous birth — denying certain underlying commonalities or paradoxical positions.
In fact, I do miss this laboratory feeling, that there was an easier to ascertain a vague affinity amongst a related but varied and diverse range of authors that could have prepared A N Whitehead’s arguments at a distance.
How does the fan get born from the settled soot of the working class? A fan, let us not forget, that is engrossed by a US series about biodroids, immortalist bosses, experiments gone rogue, abandoned cities, lots of rusty iron, intelligent machines and the first decent 3D effects meant to give body to a vision of dystopic dimensions of a specific nature. A no-future, post-industrial landscape for people that had to deal not only with the post-human but also with a world of post-work. Where does the factory move, how does one consume, relax and gets fascinated by the history of one’s own disintegration, of “restructuring” and its own crumbling representation?
Ben Woodard is well able to critically siphon out any romantic excess of Schelling – without jettisoning the precedence Schelling gave to base nature over thinking, as well as him being well aware of how intelligence (or better sapience) has been preserved apart from an inescapable basic materiality that keeps clinging to our angel wings. A clinging hodologic mucus not be confused with a pre-packaged and regurgitated as fixed ‘human nature’.
In a way, if we try and inhabit the world of Robert Penner it will not save us from disaster, it will maybe spurn us to appreciate its inchoate beauty and scavenge our own cosmology out of its shipwreck entrails. Such a world is not the wasteland of cannibals, murderous mutants and exotic dangers that most of post-apocalypticism abounds, but of care-work to be done, of temporary respite and mutual associations that do not settle into predictable patterns.
This travelogue puts any other travel (cheap flight or X spaceship included) to shame. It is a rendezvous with an astronomical feature that we never think as – tangible, as touchable, and that will always keep being doggedly theoretical. It was a theoretical object not so long ago. Janna Levin makes the impossible happen – an embodied experience of what it would be like to go down the drain of a black hole, in fact, several such black holes. Another important inescapable fact is that black holes have the same status as elementary particles, and this is definitely hard to grasp. No matter how big, they are all equal in a way that all atoms of the same kind are equal.
In the Shanghai Fortress- Scifi the city of Shanghai becomes the last resistance of the Earth against a rote – script of usually more technologically advanced and rapacious Aliens. And in China’s case “aliens” – and technologically advanced ones, have been mostly foreign European powers including the British Empire. ‘Alien powers’ that have humiliated China and who’s gunboat politics have remade China into an Opium addicted dragon, opening its ports to unequal trade and even making the Imperial government hand over several territories including concessions in Tianjin as well as the placid fisherman village of Hong Kong. Although it is important to track this anti-foreigner – xeno- alien- phobia in China’s history, these particular (US, British, French, German, Japanese etc) ‘foreign devils’ were the ones who forcefully opened and brutalized China, while bleeding it for resources.
Same issue I have with the (not only) philosophical temporal flattening – or peculiar insensivity for certain shifts (i repeat for a documentary that celebrates such sensitivity for how does it feel to be locked in). Ok, you will say philosophy is only tangential to the doc, but I think it is key, since various personal philosophies and self-made cosmologies are being recorded, corroded, animated, discussed and described in this documentary & taken very seriously. In fact I would even add – expanding on a pet idea i have been thinking and writing about since some years- what i call “scavenger cosmologies” is quite central to the whole monadic Matrix-worldview of the documentary.
Suffice to say that Peter is thus forced to explore ‘scientifically’ the peculiarities of his new dragon (actually Gorbash’s) body. This has all sorts of unintended consequences, including how the others perceive him, befriend him or not or how he learns from the old dragon to be a dragon or the fact that he has still to master and practice his fire metabolism and hone his flying skills. Being a brainy does not help in this case. His geeky mind is still actually relatively harmless in the most terrifying body of all. He is basically almost learning like a person who had a stroke – how to move, what and when to eat, and experience its strengths amd weaknesses, how to handle the various compartments of his body.
The novum of Monster Run is an inter-dimensional tunneling that is quite organic. I was totally surprised by this since it is not at all what inter-dimensional wormholes look like in usual Sci-fi settings or scientific illustrations. Monster Run spins these wormholes almost like the silk moth cocoon is spun. It almost fells like a soft funnel spider web without the poisonous arachnid chelicherae waiting for you. This inter-dimensional labyrinthine silky structure I dare say is quite different from other architectural mazes (as in The Maze Runner YA series for example) I have seen in movies, Sci-Fi books, science experiments (the famous maze solving slime molds!), comics or even speculative scientific renditions. This human-sized inter-dimensional spider web or silken cocoon blooms flowers portals at its ends. In fact these incredible moving gigantic peony(?!) flowers (see screenshot below) are the portals – like undulating, sentient fleshy sea anemones of sorts with moving, unfurling petals and feely touchy stamens.
Goodreads Zero Sum Game – kind of speculative fiction as developed by S.L. Huang revolutionized, for me at least –…
Sebastian Big’s paintings are not the VHS pyramids that Everthing is Terrible! has amassed over the the years and manipulated in a campy way. Yet, under their grey veneer SB paintings demand interrogation about how such -visitations- keep flash forwarding celeb- rating the non-celebs, flashing the hang- out moochers, posing unrepentant humblebrag friendships.
Action-packed – Out of Their Minds speaks powerfully and cogently about how all existing mind creations past, present or future were never our own. The lack of control over our lives is mirrored by such releases into an unstable, larger world. In a way its exactly the opposite of being locked-in, imaginary creations can never stay locked for long, they swap genes & get immunized almost at the expense of living beings. Simak also opens up the question of how we might bear responsibility for animating such imaginary creations. Out of Their Minds – makes clear that there is no brain-barrier to keep things out or permanently in.
Clearly this book was written by someone who enjoys collecting all these ruinous and delightfully abhorrent mental cataclysms, a necessary feat at the very moment when we might desperately cling to old certitudes in the throes of apocalyptic theology, in spite of the daily facts that remind us that we’ve jumped off the cliff a while ago. Here comes a 21st c historical perspective on the long XX century of dreaming up wild galactic-scale visions about the present via the far future and across cosmic silences, not ignoring both the divergences and the ongoing dialogue btw Mutually Assured Destructive partners, a worthwhile recuperative effort especially in light of recent New Cold War fears.
Now as we approach the end of 2020 here is a provisional & growing list of books and studies that usually get to the top of bottom of my pile. (scroll scroll scroll!)
They are here for whomever is interested even in the slightest and wants to track them. In the vastness of the library of Babel -net libraries there is always a premium of which book to click, download, grab the first one from the list. I always loved to immerse myself in both physical libraries as well as the electronic archival one. Go choose a year, a subject and hit search! Go to trough all the sections of your local library, look to the new apparitions and get lost in your favorite section. Peruse and only in the end make your choice, go for your favorite one or your heart’s chosen author.
If we are all Covidians now, it is because we are all dreaming about keeping our temperature low, reptilian and asymptomatic, below the radar of Telethermographic systems that keep mammalian burning out in the glow!
Pe de-o parte, parcă ne-am mirosit, adulmecat, gudurat, mârâit după mult timp şi schimbat ceva urină, lecturi, fantasme și autori ceva de speriat nu alta. Planează şi o ciudată iresponsabilitate, pe cât de voioasă supărătoare și serioasă/neserioasă pe atăt de periculoasă se vrea. Undeva adie şi o mustrare abia schiţată, un joc mortal, ludibrium cu victime, cu câştiguri-pierderi colaterale pe toate parţile. În mod aberant sper că e un proiect desfăşurat de MN pe seama noastră a tuturor.
There is an incredible amount of fringe characters featured and interviewed: from an ex director of DARPA Peter Franken turned doom prophet, from computer using catholic priests dating the Apocalypse, to soothsayer seismologists, to various psi power activists, mediums and a very large portion of survivalist, ultra-conservative militarist militia communes, self-organizing against what they regarded as governmental encroachment or future conflict. Paramilitary and contras (a general term for various US backed and funded right wing rebel groups in Nicaragua from 79 to the early 90s) activities, items, worldviews, accessories and aesthetics seem to spill over into the underground.
The Soska sisters really brought this new cosmetic ideal to Rabid, in a lusty, Mask of the Red Death-like over the top full of gory humor way. This has an overlay with contagion from pre Covid 19 era that blends into now, that I consider particularly helpful in the context of the epidemic as spectacle, as hype and fashion trend not just as scare.
Hard to miss out the complete absence of screens, absence of touch screens, there’s only the glass – aquarium Vivarium dimension of it all. There is a lot to be said about Biospherian handshakes, touching the other trough glass, being in touch on the other side of the Zoo screen and being inaccessible in plain sight. The Pillar Artist project in 2019 Timișoara touches the same ground, of being accessible whilst at the same time isolated, in a public (closed) space exposed but out of reach.
Not only does the Monkey King survive his alchemical ordeal, but he is fortified by it, in his hiding place, after smoldering in the crucible he becomes practically indestructible. Neither blade or fire can cut or hurt him any longer. All the banishment and excommunication acts as dialectical reversal producing the most incredible enemy the heavenly hierarchy has seen.
Es ist ein Appell für ein mutiertes, schrilles, noch nie zuvor gesehenes Europa, das die ethno-staatliche Politik und die nationalistischen Tendenzen beschämt, die überall in der Festung Mono-Europa blühen, weit entfernt von den neu ummauerten Ländern und den Stacheldrahtzäunen, die fast gleichzeitig an den östlichen Grenzen des Kontinents installiert und hochgezogen werden. Welch besseren Zeitpunkt könnte es geben, um einen solchen Raum post factum zurückzuerobern, nachdem er seine Arbeit getan hat, nachdem alles weg ist, alles zerstört, alles abgerissen wurde, nur um Platz für einen weiteren irrealen Immobilienboom und eine weitere Pleite zu schaffen, ein bloßes “Eigentumsanrecht”, das den Besitzern zurückgegeben wird, wo dann eine noch stärkere Finanzialisierung des Wohnungssektors stattfinden kann.
Departe de vechile canoane, parazitându-le pe cele noi, ea este microbul perfect, invizibil pentru ochiul liber, asuns printre rânduri, gata sa procreeze dqnd nastere unor genuri noi, hibride si devastatoare. Stravechiul Brown poate fi multumit, acolo unde zace el acum, chicotind sinistru, căci seminţia sa se îngraşa văzând cu ochii din compostul postmodern…
Reginald, as opposed to Tadayasu – the microbiological language speaking student – is a bacteriologist that turns into a linguist – in an apparently futile experiment to teach lab bacteria to speak the English language. Not only did he achieve that trough very brutal artificial selection methods, but he produced new, more and more extravagant bacterial strains able to see into the future. Bacteria start writing down inside the agar coated petri dishes entire libraries about future events. Gulliveria coli prophetissima, Gulliveria coli prophetica, G. coli telecognitiva, G. coli excitina futurognostica – are exhibiting all the traits of a future forecasting quorum sensing bacterial community that has somehow surpassed or outlived its human educator.
This is a recording of a radio show Bär on Air special Romania. In Stuttgart I met a wonderful guy and great radio DJ Andreas Bär from the Freies Radio Stuttgart on 99.2 MHz (Antenne) 102,1 (Kabel). I tried to introduce some of the electronic musicians +snapshots of the RO experimental music scene way in 2005. Some people are still around some I’ve lost contact with but here you can hear them here.
The music played was published as Target Trash # compilation (a DVD zine by Karl Killian aka FMZombiemaus from Vienna).
It is not only hiding behind the veil of emotive forces and voluntary or involuntary motor control, it also interpolates itself under their radar, it inactivates or dis-activates or kills these switches at will (*I would avoid calling it “will” or bind it within intentionality and I’ll try to show you why below). Suffice to know (or not sufficient just “to know” in this case) that it makes its home by infecting the heart of human-zootic sensorium beyond its doors of human perception – in the very nucleus of the nerve’s cell body.
These are places of new, man-made Wallace Lines separating newly developed (and unintended) baleful biogeographies (in a sense xenobiogeographies) of arrested dispersal; keeping out entire biotopes considered repulsive, unwanted, destructive or simply chronologically unacceptable.
This important groups of sea creatures has voted long-ago for bottom-feeding and filter-feeding, and if so, it has also quietly revolted against superior aims, against teleology, against intelligent design or against a chain of being rising from inanimate matter to us vertebrate angels.