[iDC] interesting article on new media scene in LA

Julian Bleecker julian at techkwondo.com
Mon Oct 31 11:55:53 EST 2005

Hi Thing,

I'm enjoying the back-and-forth almost too much to chime in, but I  
will, with just two tidbits.

The first is to say that the LA Weekly piece, imho, was more the  
equivalent of a real estate broker putting up a sign on a street  
corner announcing an open house than it was meant to be a PBS episode  
on Frank Lloyd Wright. The LA Weekly, like the Village Voice, is a  
great, local, alternative freebie, and not "October". Taken in  
context, and with due respect to Willis, who is not only quite smart  
but also trying to make a buck like the rest of us, it would make  
more sense to put the article aside and discuss any regional aches  
about new media without complaining about the article's lack of  

Actually, enough on regionalism. It's a bit silly. If there was a  
place for me to teach and do research in NYC without having to  
commute to another state, I'd still be there. I suspect many of those  
out here now would be, too. (Most of the ex-NYers here still keep a  
residence back there, myself included.)

The second tidbit is with regard to the whole military/entertainment  
thing. Without wanting to toot my own horn too loudly, Google  
"military industrial light and magic complex" — believe me, I am far  
from discounting the contingencies of militarism, the Pentagon, and  
the production of entertainment and "media art" in everything I do  
and have done for the last 15 years ever since I was asked to build a  
crazy Darth Vader death helmet for Boeing when I thought I was going  
to make "cool arty" virtual reality worlds while doing my ivory tower  
masters thesis. Glad I figured out how that world works before I got  
to an age when disillusionment leads to existential quagmires.

I tried being outside of the power blob — it's cold, there's no  
money, and it's dogmatic to a fault. It's more fun, creative, and  
intellectually challenging to be inside of the blob. Sitting in a  
seminar room in the company of Naimark, John Seely Brown, Natalie  
Jeremijinko, Bruce Sterling, Hoberman, an Army "analyst" awkwardly  
swaddled in civilian clothes, a Disney engineer, a founder of  
Electronic Arts, and a guy from RAND is way more intellectually  
invigorating and creatively rich than sitting in a room with a bunch  
of people with the same point of view. It's not about resisting the  
influence of the military-industrial-light-and-magic complex because  
it is us, wherever you go. And knowing how to navigate all those  
worlds is probably the best mode of professional survival. The mil- 
ilm-complex is figuring that out; I think the more savvy emerging/ 
media-artists are figuring it out, too, at least in the United States  
where the routes to financing production are full of dead ends and  

Least ways, that's what I think.

Julian Bleecker, Ph.D.
julian at techkwondo.com

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