[iDC] Re: Interactive City: irrelevant mobile entertainment?

John Hopkins jhopkins at neoscenes.net
Tue Aug 22 15:40:30 EDT 2006

Hi Anna!

>As a visitor to the US, it did seem to me absolutley remarkable that
>really none of the art works or themes in ISEA this year addresses war. I
>mean perhaps you guys are not aware but you are actually living in a state


>- and this was before the recent 'plot'. My partner was engaged in
>conversation by an American woman in Starbucks who basically told her that
>the only solution was to "kill all the Muslims".
>I mean come on...where is the concerted critique and addressing of these
>issues from within media arts - and I mean from younger artists, not just
>the established groups such as CAE etc...
>...or do these issues just seem normalised to those now living in the US?

your comments strike deep at the fundamentals of the developed world 
and the US in particular.  As an American who left the US back at the 
height of the "War on Drugs" -- a time which left the lasting legacy 
of mass incarceration of minorities over the last 20 years -- when I 
returned for visits, and now, after a full year in the US -- it is 
very difficult to articulate the whys of the transformation of the 
society, yet it proceeds.

At any rate, I think it is still true that whatever particularity you 
confront in the US, there are many contradicting alternatives.  Some 
hidden, some disguised, some in the process of morphing from one form 
to another.  Creativity is becoming the enemy of those in power. 
Fear is the primary instrument for them to maintain control.  Many 
people here are afraid (of the Other).  This is an evolution of State 
which has happened historically in other places.  I personally see 
this condition as a demonstration of how the Nazi regime gained 
control of the German state with no substantial protest from the 
population.  The identification of the Evil Other was a critical step 
in that process.

You are observing the results of this evolution.

Amurika has always identified itself by its opposition to the Evil 
Other -- and in that comes to severe crisis when there is a hint that 
there is no Evil Other, only the self in the mirror.  So it hunts for 
an image to lean against for its own self-worth.  A fundamental 
psychic problem.

I essentially empathize with your observations.  And admit that it 
can be that Empire is indeed rotting to the core.  Just look around 
at the infrastructure there in San Jose.  Imagine what the US 
education system, public infrastructure, health services would look 
like if they received an infusion equal to that spent on bombs, guns, 
and other killing devices in the last 4 years.  Splendid.  But the 
cynical leaders are stealing the country blind in every sense -- 
morally, spiritually, physically, psychically -- sowing fear instead.

I would have liked to talk with you f2f about this situation in San 
Jose -- I find it helps to speak with people who are not directly 
subject to this surrounding social system -- to begin to articulate 
what is happening here.  It is frightening on one hand, and on the 
other, it is simply the de-volution of this empire, and nothing else 
should be expected in the trundling, crushing, passage of beast into 
the historical pantheon of Empire.   It is not normalized for people 
who are still capable of feeling, though feeling in this system is a 
contradictory and challenging prospect.   As the Canadian filmmaker 
Bruce Elder observed:

"The darkening of the world, the flight of the gods, the 
transformation of humans from flesh to metal, the spread of the 
hatred of fertility and creativity are all processes that have gone 
so far that they sometimes seem irreversible. They have proceeded so 
far that we no longer even remember what was lost in forsaking our 
humanity, and are unable to gauge how far we have declined."

The most radical action against this process is the facing of the 
Other and engagement despite the fear of that unknown on through to 
understanding.  That can happen on a 1-2-1 basis, actually HAS to 
happen at that granular level for the re-volution, re-velation, and 
creation to proceed!


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