[iDC] activism now and
Christiane Robbins at Jetztzeit
cpr at mindspring.com
Thu Dec 8 12:04:29 EST 2005
Just wanted to add to the conversation with Guy DeBord's statement from 1988:
The society whose modernization has reached the stage of integrated spectacle is characterized by the effect of five principle factors:
incessant technological renewal,
integration of state and economy,
and eternal present.
Much of this seems uncannily familiar and easily sums up where we find ourselves today. And it is precisely this easily summing up which is makes me feel increasingly uncomfortable ( for lack of a better word at the moment.) This easy access summation itself represents the ideological mechanisms and screens at work making any strategic "coming to terms" with what is happening in the USA itself a seemingly glib enterprise. I am not at all certain whether either resignation or self- indulgence ( as in Saul's observation of his students) that is motivating this last sentence - perhaps it was just the headlines in the NYTimes indicating that Bush's poll #s are "lifting" as the US economy supposedly improves.
In any case, I'd be interested in repsonses to DeBord's statement relative to the issues at hand.
From: saul ostrow <sostrow at gate.cia.edu>
Sent: Dec 7, 2005 10:21 PM
To: john sobol <john at johnsobol.com>
Cc: idc at bbs.thing.net
Subject: Re: [iDC] activism now and
my comment concerning resisting our assumptions arose out of a number
of observations I have made concerning my students that have received
some predictable as well as unpredictable responses among my peers --
My observations revolve around what appears to be their attitudes as
being that of resignation, or passivity. The fact that it might not be
that simple has stimulated me to try and explicate their situation.
If I do not, I expect that I will project upon them a judgment
premised on some readymade agenda. I wondered what this situation would
look like if I thought that it was not a product of their failure to
understand or act but perhaps rather ours to comprehend. What if
their attitude is a product of the very goals our critique of modernism
had set in which all standards, criteria and conventions came to be
viewed as hierarchies created by institutions and therefore not based
in any objective criteria. As such, is their attitude an
acknowledgment of the power of institutions on one hand and on the
other that to think through or in accord with such systems
constitutes for them a limit on their freedom to act in accord with
their desires, volition, or experiences? no matter how limited and
limiting these may be after all they are their's. This re-enforces
their general feeling that it is no longer possible to contribute to
historically or critically grounded discourses and at best they need
only satisfy themselves or wow an audience. Subsequently it instills in
us a fear that in worst case scenario we get to the point where
everything is the same and we cannot differentiate between one act and
another, one artist and another, one issue and another. On the other
hand, for the moment it seems to offer them a certain freedom and that
is critically important ? though seemingly aesthetically and
conceptually narrow and often to our minds conservative. The problem
though is we, those of us who beleive in activism and resistance tend
to either generalize or psychologize this condition ? as if they we're
in jeopardy because they are playing out their freedom, while others
have been taught to act on a belief system in which it is in everyones
best interest to their own seek control and dominance over others, this
latter position these days more identified with the right then left ?
in other words, is this sector of the present generation vulnerable and
is this a situation we did not, could not foresee, because the myths
that sustained us in our beliefs, did not allow for it.
" ... the space between zero and one ... "
Los Angeles _ San Francisco
More information about the iDC