Monthly Archives: November 2005

On Dennis’s Work of Art

Book chapter abstract – to be written over the next two months or so…(I hope)

‘Documentary Provocations: Dennis O’Rourke’s Sex Tourism Revisited’

‘I would not recommend that movie as an educational tool’
– Thelma Burgonio-Watson quoted in The Filmmaker and the Prostitute p 128

My proposed chapter revisits Denis O’Rourke’s 1992 ethnographic film
on sex tourism in Thailand. “The Good Woman of Bangkok” is examined in
the light of increased, or at least differently inflected, media
reportage of sex tourists in Asia (cf Gary Glitter in Cambodia and
Vietnam; the controversies over US military personnel in Japan; the
closure of the Subic Bay base in the Philippines). What was O’Rourke
trying to achieve with this film with its ‘Brechtian’ cinematic
apparatus, its theoretical ambiguities, its intentionally provocative
staging? Are the ‘theoretical’ issues, as well as the moral(istic)
conundrums, insofar as O’Rourke was able to broach them, to be
evaluated differently now in changed ethico-political circumstances?
Or does sex tourism, and indeed travel-as-exploitation, continue as
‘business-as-usual’? As Jennie Martin wrote about the film’s
characters: ‘it is the western working class which inherits the role of
colonial rapist’ (Martin 1992 ‘Missionary Positions’ Australian Left
Review, May). Does this position remain valid in response to
O’Rourke’s nuanced argument, or has the subtlety of his theoretical
arabesque always been inappropriate, given the structural conditions
in which the filming, and the treatment of the issues, had to be
played out?

The chapter also takes into account use of the film as a ‘teaching
tool’, in Gayatri Spivak’s sense, in over ten years of Anthropology
classes, suggesting that difficult material can, and in some ways
cannot, provide educational and ethical ‘instruction’.
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NO SHOOT TO KILL CAMPAIGN


NO SHOOT TO KILL CAMPAIGN

PLEASE READ AND SUPPORT THE STATEMENT BELOW


Jean Charles de Menezes was killed by armed police inside Stockwell Tube station on 22 July. His execution brought world-wide attention to a shoot to kill policy that the Prime Minster and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner say is here to stay. We say ‘NO SHOOT TO KILL’ and demand an end to this brutal policy. Jean Charles was not the first victim of police shootings – Derek Bennett, Azelle Rodney, Harry Stanley and James Ashley are just some of the other people that have been shot dead on the streets of Britain. Their families continue to fight for justice. If you want to support these families. If you want to see those responsible for these killings prosecuted. If you want to defend human rights in the UK then support this campaign.

The so called ‘War on Terror’ is being used as an excuse for increasing militarisation of the police and increased powers that are already leading to miscarriages of justice. If we do not take a stand on this issue now then others will suffer. Support and join the ‘NO SHOOT TO KILL’ campaign before it is too late.”

Our demands are:

NO SHOOT TO KILL.
PROSECUTE OFFICERS RESPONSIBLE.
NO IMMUNITY FROM PROSECUTON.

The NO SHOOT TO KILL campaign is led by the United Families & Friends Campaign (the national coalition of death in custody family campaigns including those above) and supported by Migrant Media, The 1990 Trust, CAMPACC, CEART, Stop Political Terror, Churches Commission for Racial Justice, Islamic Human Rights Commission, Pat Finucane Centre, African Peoples Liberation Organisation, INQUEST, Newham Monitoring Project, FAST and Mother Against Gun Crime, Black Londoners Forum, Jean Lambert (London’s Green MEP).

If you want to support the campaign then sign up to this statement by emailing: info@injusticefilm.co.uk

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Google Mail – Land Mines A Love Story wins Best Documentary at the AFI Awards!

Land Mines – A Love Story by the acclaimed Australian director Dennis O’Rourke, has just won the award for ‘Best Documentary’ at the prestigious 2005 Australian Film Institute Awards! The film is a compelling anti-war film set in Afghanistan, a country that has become synonymous with conflict. It is also a story of romance and a celebration of life, hope and love.

Land Mines – A Love Story is now available on DVD through Ronin Films. If you are interested in screening the film or purchasing a DVD copy of the film please contact Ronin Films:

Email: orders@roninfilms.com.au

Phone on: +61 2 6248 0851

Or visit the direct link on Ronin Film’s website: http://www.roninfilms.com.au/video/1887017/0/2411726459.html

Please also visit the official Land Mines – A Love Story website and help spread the word about the film by signing up to our mailing list or participating in grassroots activities: http://www.landmines-a-love-story.comhttp://www.landmines-a-love-story.com/grassroots.html

Trinketization

Trinketization before the neologists got hold of it.
[credit: terminologification by TBW].

Crang

Mike Crang has been consistently sharp, so I like his stuff… He writes:

“However, we also need to inject some dynamism here – the tourist is not just someone who has a particular cultural baggage or who responds to a given culture of a destination. These two elements are mutually constituting, and from this it follows that both place and person may change, and change the other. For instance, rumours help shape expectations of visitors (Hutnyk, 1996; O’Hara, 2001) circulating, not just in a one-way street from marketers to audience, but among tourists, as in Hutnyk’s description of ‘the endless flow of indo-babble’ (p. 145) about stories told about going to India, having been to India, and so forth.”

from: Crang, Dr Michael (2004) Cultural geographies of tourism, in Lew, Alan and Hall, C Michael and Williams, Allan, Eds. A companion to tourism, pages 74-84. Blackwell.
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A Johnson minds his own business

Meant to put this up days ago since I got it from Carrie.

Watch William S. Burroughs Thanksgiving Prayer, November 28, 1986 (courtesy of Gus Van Sant):

http://dvblog.org/movies/09_05/thanksgiving_prayer.mov

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Mobs, Gangs, Rogues… & The Lumpen

As we approach the 40th Anniversary of the founding of the BPP it may be worth remembering that music and politics produced some fine and dandy sounds: Here they are (click the link) The Lumpen – a Black Panther Party Revolutionary Singing group

The Lumpen were: “comrades who liked to harmonize while working Distribution night in San Francisco to “help the work go easier” (another tradition). We had all sung in groups in the past, Calhoun having performed professionally in Las Vegas, and it just came naturally. I don’t remember just how it came about, but Emory Douglas, Minister of Culture, suggested that this could be formed into a musical cadre. Elaine Brown had already recorded an album of revolutionary songs (Seize the Time) in a folk singing style, and this quartet singing in an R&B or “Soul” form could be a useful political tool. Some folks don’t read, but everybody listens to music”.
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urban pathology

-

Rethinking urban theory as a pathology of trinkets.

Somehow I want to see a new psychoanalysis of urban space, but updated as a machinic ensemble of conceptual, informational inputs and outputs, internal cogs and gears of representation – a machinic ‘communication’ of a place in all its psychic, mythic and diverse ‘syptomologies’. Again I’d point in the direction of Derrida for this – his Archive Fever suggests the very beginnings of what could become a new urban version of psycho-geographic-analysis, of the spectral city in its multiple geo-psyche of sounds, spaces and represetation. The assemblage of all those snippets of info about a city is like the dreamwork that constructs a place from the pre- sub- or un-conscious babble that is city guide, A-Z, novels, bus routes, internet chat, traveller chat, movies, promotional ads, airline arrivals clips, local lore etc…
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Indian Curry Powder – theory of translation

I am first of all against translation as it is mad, its impossible, it cannot ever be true to origins, its a kind of violence, it is always political, it transforms, it is creative, it is heroic to try, it is the essence of communicability, it is exchange, it disrupts parochialism, it is the foundation of internationalism, it is what we all should be trying to do, it is the most revolutionary activity, it is social, it is life itself, I am for it.

[Thanks Kaori for trinkets from Japan].
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Cristobel’s band Los Muebles (The Furniture),

“A few weeks a go we started a campaign called “an ass for Los Muebles” (Un

culo para Los Muebles), in order to created an image for our first album.”

Malasya

CELEBRATING TRANSGRESSION


CELEBRATING TRANSGRESSION
Method and Politics in Anthropological Studies of Cultures

Editors: Ursula Rao and John Hutnyk

A book in Honour of Klaus Peter Koepping

Transgression is the stock in trade of a certain kind of anthropological sensibility that transforms fieldwork from strict social science to something more engaging. It builds on Koepping’s idea that participation transforms perception and investigates how transgressive practices have triggered the re-theorization of conventional forms of thought and life. It focuses on social practices in various cultural fields including the method and politics of anthropology in order to show how transgressive experiences become relevant for the organisation and understanding of social relations. This book brings key authors in anthropology
together to debate and transgress anthropological expectations. Through transgression as method, as discussed here, our understanding of the world is transformed, and anthropology as a discipline becomes dangerous and relevant again.

Not yet Published (Devember 2005)
256 pages, bibliog., index
ISBN 1-84545-025-6 Hb $48.00/£29.20

Please send orders to:
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Place,.Magdalen Road, Oxford OX4 1RE, UK
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Backpacker Politics: "Just Cause 11"


We Have deployed one of our agents to bring “Trinketization” to the new world! Last night, as a representative of the Australian Government in exile [a whole other story], I attended the formal send off for the “Just Cause 11″ New Europe at Guantanamo project of Thomas Herzen, who has a box [see pic, trinkets in a box, who'd have thought it!] he plans to carry to Guantanamo in a boat filled with backpackers he meets in Jamaica. They will sail to Cuba, where his chosen weapon, with which to scare the American service peronnel away and to liberate the base, will be aggressively loud Beethoven. This seemed to be considered plausible to some of the other dignitaries at the send off, but several of those there I admit were artists who had travelled from north London, without a trinkets pass even [we sent them packing - hi John - The A.G.i. E. would of course use more potent weaponry, including Nick Cave and, well, heat seeking missiles or some such].

Meanwhile, Thomas has been set a secondary mission [by the A.G.i.E], whch is to bring back documentary evidence to substantiate the rumour that the Guantanamo base – that he plans to liberate with the Eroica – was, once, the holiday home of a certain William Randolph Hearst. [His granddaughter Patti is a special emmissary of the A.G.i.E on account of her diplomatic roles in the films of John Waters - yet another story]. Anyway – to the point. Thomas Herzen left for Kingston, enroute by boat to Cuba, adn you can follow his progress over the next few weeks here.

Here is the original project brief: “This is what’s going to happen: On Nov 18, the European representatives, Thomas Herzen and embedded journalist Ulla Hvejsel, leave the Parallel Action Control Room in the House Gallery in London carrying Europe in a box. They head for Heathrow to board an Air Jamaica plane bound for Kingston. On Jamaica they go to Port Antonio (earlier considered the banana capital of the world) on the north eastern coast. From here they set out in a boat and sail towards the American zone of emergency, Guantánamo Bay. In a seaside assault they batter the American soldiers with Furtwängler’s 1944 recording of Beethovens Third Symphony, Eroica. When the Americans have fled, they install the contents of the box on the territory, thus Guantánamo Bay is turned into a huge European, colonial, spatial installation”.

Fat chance! But in the absence of any other successful effort to get the inmates out of Guantanamo (its been four years!) throwing trinkets at them seems useful, even heroic. Go Tom! [Endoresed by the A.G.i.E. on this day, November 19, 2005, Kennington, London].
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fox cat grasshopper scarecrow

The exquisite corspe writing thing from Carrie Clanton’s Representation lecture on surrealism at Goldsmiths today. “The fox jumped over the sleeping cat; the grasshoppwer wept onto her tongue; and so the scarecrow went to bed”.

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tube

When the pub laws change in the UK next week we may lose some things. Of course I am not sure that this gem of London life will disappear with the introduction of new drinking laws, which allow pubs in the UK to stay open past 11pm [finally, at last, why did it take so long?], but if it does disappear I will miss it… What I am talking about is the occasional moments of celebratory sociality that London tube travellers are capable of, for about an hour after closing time. Most of the time they sit in awful silence on the tube (subway to those of you in New York), and I find this dire. But come closing time, there are games. Tonight, as has happened to me before, the entire carriage was playing tube-charades. Its totally naff, but I appreciate the effort. How to play: someone starts by miming the hand gesture for tube (this does seem a bit risky, but you can do it with style). Then they use the usual charades codes for one word, two word, first syllable, second syllable etc. The charade word(s) that the other passengers must guess will always be a tube station. Sure, there is always going to be some wit that mimes for the station name ‘Bank’ with the ‘sounds like’ routine of something that is, well, similar to tube, but anatomically lower down. There are plenty of other – better – examples, and on the whole its all good fun. Success is when, if you get the correct answer, its your turn to mime a station. You have a whole train carriage in the palm of your hand. Routine: you do the gesture for tube, two syllable word; first syllable: imitation of Marx’s beard, and huge statuesque head, hold your hand up high, or snuffle something off the back of your hand; second syllable: mime the opening through a fence… do you see what it is yet? “High-gate”. And so on. Handy thing is that the London Tube Authorities place a convenient map of the entire tube network in each carriage in case you cannot think of a station to mime too. I am still waiting on the sensational prospect of our distinguished anthropology Professor miming away to ‘Blackfriars’. Who knows, we might have to start a class. Ha.
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Nepal: Palin, docos, TV, WTW, Campbell and Karki


Just some stuff I want to remember for a lecture on television and Nepal:

1. There is (is there?) an antidote to Michael Palin and his [I know everyone won'ty agree] anodyne stumble-bumbling travel t(r)ips:

‘Film South Asia is a competitive biennial festival of documentary films on South Asian subjects that provides a quality platform to exhibit new works and to promote a sense of community among independent filmmakers. It is organized by Himal Association, a not-for-profit institution dedicated to spreading knowledge and information in Nepal and South Asia.’ http://himalassociation.org/fsa/

2. Documentaries about Nepal most often focus upon trekking and the Sherpas, or the trafficking of Nepalese girls to the sex trade in Mumbai, with obligatory section on the girl-god of Kathmandu. Other news is possible also:

Nepal Maoists bomb TV station
February 26, 200510:35 IST
http://www.rediff.com/news/2005/feb/26nepal.htm

Heavily-armed Maoists torched and bombed a regional station of the state-run Nepal Television, causing damage worth over Rs4 crore and disrupting the broadcast indefinitely even as the security forces gunned down 10 rebels and lost four of their own men in a clash in the west of the kingdom.
The regional station of Nepal Television at Kohalpur in Banke district of mid-western Nepal was torched and bombed by hundreds of Maoists on Friday, NTV sources said.
The regional broadcast of the NTV has been disrupted indefinitely after the explosion which caused damage worth over Rs4 crore.
The Maoists also looted seven cameras and several other equipment from the station. However, no one was injured in the incident, the sources said.

3. A World to Win has consistently supported the Maoist revolutionary forces:
www.awtw.org/

4. Refs to include in write up:

Campbell, B 1997 ‘The Heavy Loads of Tamang Identity’ in David Gelllner,
Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka and John Whelpton eds Nationalism and Ethnicity
in a Hindu Kingdom: the Politics of Culture in Contemporary Nepal.
Amsterdam: Harwood Academic.

Fisher, James F. 1990 Sherpas: Reflections on Change in Himalayan Nepal
Berkeley: University of California Press.

Karki, Arjun and Seddon, David eds 2003 The People’s War in Nepal: Left
perspective. Delhi: Adroit Publishers.
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tat

I usually avoid these examples of trinketization, but for purposes of convenience wanted to gather them here as clickable links (but I can’t find the College of Arts one that had baseball caps in the team colours of Foucault, Derrida, Arendt et al…):

This site has been updated:http://www.theory.org.uk/lego.htm

and see: Here for Deleuze buttons

trinky-dink think blink.
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The Future has already come true

Spend 8 minutes looking at this…

http://epic.lightover.com/

Except for the last minute, where I reckon they shouldn’t have bothered with the twee ‘perhaps there was another way’ routine – it was better just as a scary future pod.

Powered by Mieke.

Derrida by Night.

Abstract for a paper for London Met in December:

Derrida by Night.

In receipt of the Adorno prize in 2001, Jacques Derrida meditates on what Theodore Adorno had to say about dreams and violence (Derrida “Paper Machine”, 2001/2005:168)

What might be made of the work of Derrida on the rogue state, and how could this be thought of in the light of Youth v. Police violence in France? It should not be overlooked that the cars that burn in Paris burn at night, as in some dream or nightmare in the dark unconscious that underpins the racist imperialist State. The burning cars are certainly unusual and perhaps even weird versions of what Derrida might have called writing in the expanded sense. Is there any mileage in Derrida’s notion of inscription, as a way to make sense of this uprising? – certainly the car (carriage-way) has marked Paris and since Haussman we know this is an issue of urban planning, as it is perhaps in a different way for the suburbs today.

.Who knows how this will go, its a small (closed) workshop.
J
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Trouble crewing in Bougainville?

The National, 15 Nov 05

PX flight ‘diverted over threat’

By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK

AIR Niugini is believed to have diverted a domestic flight bound for Buka on Saturday after learning that Me’ekamui soldiers planned to hijack the Fokker 28.

The plane had left Rabual earlier in the day and was supposed to fly to Buka before proceeding to Port Moresby.

It is understood that it flew to Port Moresby, along with its Buka-bound passengers.“We have information that the Air Nuigini management has stopped flights out of Buka since Saturday,” Bougainville police commander Asst Comm Joseph Bemu told The National.Buka Air Niugini airport manager Peter Pais declined to comment and referred The National to the head office in Port Moresby.

Air Niugini corporate affairs manager Eva Arni denied any knowledge of the incident.Mr Bemu said the police received a fax from Arawa last week warning of the plan to hijack an F28 from Buka airport to divert it to the old Aropa airport near Kieta.“We do not know the reason for this threat but we have stepped up security measures,” he said.He said he had assured Air Niugini that the airport was safe. “It’s now up to the airline’s management,” he said.Before Saturday’s incident, Air Niugini flew to Buka every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Mr Bemu also said that eight Fijians were in the Tonu area in South Bougainville
“Two Australians who were advisers to the late Francis Ona are among them,” he said.
“We cannot go in there to check it out because they are in the No-Go Zone area.
“We have spoken to Fijian Embassy officials in Port Moresby and they have expressed concern. ” Sources told The National that the Me’ekamui planned to hijack a plane to fly the Fijians out of Bougainville. It is believed that the Fijians flew in from the Solomon Islands in a helicopter chartered by Noah Musingku, who ran an outlawed money scheme.

This message has been scanned for viruses and\r\ndangerous content by\r\nMailScanner, and is\r\nbelieved to be clean.\r\n\r\n\r\n”,0]

[I particularly like the virus scanner’s evaluation of this as ‘dangerous content’ – it is clean – I got it from Vicki John, who does a great job keeping us informed of Bougainville news by email. Yet some of this news is dangerous for sure. That there is discussion at all of reopening the money-spinning RTZ Panguna copper mine is amazing given the pain the whole war inflicted on the Island. Greetings to friends in the (check this out) PaRTiZans campaign group]
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Sketchy Thoughts: Quote of the Day

I’ve been reading more on the Sketchy Thoughts page which is providing a very useful service via translations (and no, it doesn’t only seem like ‘riot central’, the film reviews are ok too :).

It also contains this appropriate, old, but relevant, quote. Much better than the old Tory ‘rivers of blood’ speech, this is one that I’d direct at those who are writing ‘anti-terror’ laws today (such as those just going though the UK parliament this month, for example) – they must be taught that people have a right to stand up and resist tyranny:


“It needed more than one native to say ‘We’ve had enough’; more than one peasant rising crushed, more than one demonstration put down before we could today hold our own, certain in our victory. As for we who have decided to break the back of colonialism, our historic mission is to sanction all revolts, all desperate actions, all those abortive attempts drowned in rivers of blood”.

- Frantz Fanon, Wretched of the Earth (electronic version of the concluding chapter of this text here, Amazon here)

You, Me and Everyone We Know

Me and you and Everyone We Know sounds like the title of one of those independent US movies where the director finally gets a long cherished project up on the screen and all the actors are friends (I’m thinking John Waters here, but cute). Anyway, it may or may not be the case, but Miranda July has got her stuff up and she does it deftly. Great kwirkiness that doesn’t insist on its kwirks too much – though you’ll have to agree the hand-flame scene is, well, heavy-handed. It gets better (I reckon someone said, ‘you gotta start the movie with something really wacko’ and this is the equivalent of a burning giraffe or something). Anyway, there are no reasons not to like this as a love story (or rather as a story about people wanting to be loved, which is more wistful) ; as an exploration of people’s sad, but quite amusing, foibles; and as a portrait become diagnosis of personal problems, insecurities and just plain madness that – thankfully – does not prescribe anti-depressants or expect people to get over it by becoming famous (but yes, there is a happy ending). It could have dwelt more on the breakdown of a mixed race marriage (but doesn’t), and it could have become a moralistic drama about assisted suicide (phew, avoids that too), so on the whole I rated this as a cool sunday arvo flick that was worth the fiver it costs to see.

Then again, I just read about the director that ‘Filmmaker Magazine rated her #1 in their “25 New Faces of Indie Film” in 2004′ and that ‘She chose to work under the surname “July” because she says it is the month that most facilitates her creativity’ – two things which kinda dints my admiration for her just a tiny bit – Hail Caesar!

City Requiem


City Requiem, Calcutta: Gender and the Politics of Poverty

by Ananya Roy

Uni of Minnesota Press.

Roy she was paralysed by “Rumour”, but went on to write her book anyway. Some pics too, and discussion of New Communism. “Roy shows how urban developmentalism, in its populist guise, reproduces the relations of masculinist patronage, and, in its entrepreneurial guise, seeks to reclaim a bourgeois Calcutta, gentlemanly in its nostalgias”.
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More Maoist views on the French Intifada

Sketchy Thoughts: Should We Accuse Sarkozy and the Government of All Things Evil, Or Should We Dare to Radically Criticize the State?

Maoists views on the French Intifada

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Maoists views on the French Intifada.


Sketchy Thoughts: The Decision to Impose Curfews and the Prefects
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dora the explorer


dora the explorer hits the bustling metropolis of samut prakarn
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Sokari


Great one cuz! Looks specrtacular, and makes a point about oil. j.

Mieke’s Freedom and Stuff.

So maybe finally I taught someone something about using these new fandangled machines (hardly anything, but you can now get RSS feeds on this TMSI) .

I like the Freedom and Stuff routines..

and quotes like:
“thus: coldplay is all of radiohead‘s worst songs rolled into one.”
and
“either way, i’d have a field day re- staging my rants about the lack of originality of the likes of tolkien, who’s fans like to claim it’s like totally the most original story line ever and have apparently missed humanity’s narrative schtick about the battle between good and evil.fantasy is only for those severely lacking in it”.

So, worth a visit, with RSS feed, to – http://andthemiekeshallinherit.blogspot.com/
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Calcutta ‘tour’, of Berlin.

I just heard from Jose, one of our CCS phd students about this crazed Calcutta ‘tour’:

> (another stuff that maybe can be interesting you… two weeks ago I went
> to Berlin for weekend and a friend of mine who is doing his
> ethnography about tourism in Berlin told me about a new tourist tour
> called “callcutta”. The idea is basically to walk with a mobile phone
> speaking with an operator who is in a call center in Calcutta and
> gives you information about Berlin).

But no mishti doi! Alas.

J.

World Music


Starting to prepare my lecture on world music by watching MTV. Is this the/any way to do research?? Pah.

Discussion of music video leaves the music unexamined when it focuses primarily upon the dance styles and cool costumes of the performers. This departure from sound rarely moves on to politics, but rather indicates a reification of the image, of commodification for sale, packaging. World music is part and parcel of this wrapping. A further step would not be denial of this, in some head in sand romanticism, but the principled – mediating – step of understanding the political possibilities of music-video in terms of providing an image and ‘vision’ for an oppositional politics capable of inspiring those who might want something other than the two (complimentary) options of celebrity culture or nihilistic abandon.

The creation of a smug elite of world music aficionados whose educated appreciation of the musical cultures of the world has nothing whatsoever to say about the colonial and imperial inequalities that structure the marketing, and appreciation, of such music – this then works as an active disincentive to any critical action or solidarity against these inequalities. Instead, smugness produces liberal posturings of the Live 8 and Make Poverty History variety – both easily bought off by neo-liberal co-option as well as inadequate in the face of militant terror action.

Some supporting quotes from Adorno.

‘well meaning cultural rescue attempts do more to encourage the tendency [to commodify] than to weaken it’ (Adorno 2002:135 – Essays on Music).

The conventions of (ethno) musicology do not break with the routine commercialisation of difference. ‘by virtue of the mere fact that it takes place as one category among others, as an aspect of the monotony’ [Adorno is speaking of so-called ‘classical’ music but we could easily transpose this to world music here] difference contributes to ‘the neutralisation of culture by making the existing intellectual division of labour its own’ (Adorno 2002:135).
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other music comments in archives on Sept 3rd and Sept 27, and October 9.
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FEAR


Massive complexity of the capitalist production system has meant basic contradictions have been exaggerated into highly irrational forms: high levels of surplus Capital and productive capacity combine with low levels of surplus production at the very time such product reserves could extend prosperity to the majority of people on the planet.

The resulting disorganization leads to the emergence of a super rich elite alongside a dispossessed poor; unprecedented levels of unemployment alongside housing and credit booms and low actual growth. Perpetual war and government by fear – the state no longer offers welfare but trades its incapacity to positively effect change for the glory of protecting us all from fabricated threats – terror, natural disasters, meteors or bird- flu.

Fear. All these fears: bird-flu, terrorists, asteroids, Martians, Muslims, seem to me to be displaced fears of something quite different, or at least they trade on a cascade of related fears hiding a more basic inadequacy. As Simone de Beauvoir is reported to have said (e.g. Jameson 2005:332), its pointless to worry about death, such fears are most likely expressions of other anxieties, in this case the feeling that one has not (yet) lived. The solution is to live, not cower helplessly before God (or Capital). Certainly New Labour anxieties about unknown threats that would destroy us all are quite possibly displacements of a deeper malaise which indicates a self diagnosis by Labour of its own social democratic ineffectuality. Nothing to be done but hang on… a disastrous policy.
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[glam pic nicked from ICA-D - thanks]

Kagemusha

Kagemusha is one of Kurusawa’s great epic films.

Screening 6pm, Goldsmiths Cinema, Tues, Nov 1st 2005

All we need is Radio Ga Ga

Doodling around the web thinking about charity fundraisers, and the difference between what Bono and Geldolf have not achieved, and the massive responses to the Tsunami and the South Asian quake. Pop music fails miserably, where people’s organisation seems more capable.

So, here is Queen playing at Live Aid in 1985. They do ‘RadioGa Ga’ and the newsreel footage shows the disturbing eloquence of British fascist sentiment embedded in stadium rock – everyone claps in military unison – a tendency that would have inspired a contemporary Leni Riefenstahl. That Geldolf is Goebbels to her preview of Chris Cunningham is only the icing on the special edition Marie Antoinette cake that is being prepared for Africa today. Only Damon Albarn called their bluff the second time around – Live 8 was a serenade for the boot boys of the Empire, wearing punky gear styled by haute couture.

That the coloniser has neurotic phobias was reaffirmed once again when Geldolf failed to invite any African musicians to his history making poverty showcase. Though his last minute dial up to have them play in the corporate sponsored nature zone bio-dome venue was really convincing (wasn’t it just). Why did anyone put up with this? “Is that it?” (Bob’s ‘auto’biography from 1985, written by Paul Vallely). Sure, I don’t like mondays but I get up and work for a living, you pinhead Bob…
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