[iDC] (no subject)

Kevin Hamilton kham at uiuc.edu
Wed Jan 31 10:45:39 EST 2007

Just one more quick note  - I can't spend more time just now. I think 
the project you describe below sounds great, there's a lot I could say 
to this already. In fact I think the Praxis/PhD thread had some things 
to offer this inquiry; there are plenty of people onlist who would have 
things to add to this project, though of course we might need frequent 
reminders about the ways the system you describe can consume and absorb 
such an inquiry.

In the interest of anticipating this effort, I'll add that one other 
complication of such a project is that those with the best information 
and perspectives are probably balancing some difficult lines between 
duplicity and honesty in the worlds they run in. For example, in my work 
with those who don't necessarily share my low estimation of the current 
models, I think it's important to be honest about difference. Such 
honesty for me, however, is often couched in very different language, 
situated in specific contexts and conversations quite different from 
those I share with more sympathetic comrades. This would require, at 
least for me, some caution about where the project you describe takes 
place. Unless this list becomes a site for engagement of difference, 
perhaps the sort of difference you describe between your and Danny 
Butt's approaches, I would be hesitant to fully engage the project you 
describe in this context. Again, not that I would reveal some secret 
here that would betray a confidence, but that this list might leave a 
record of approach that would do damage to productive engagement of 
difference elsewhere. (To be clear, I don't regard difference in this 
instance as symmetrical, the power relationship is obvious.)

The more romantic model of a collection of shadow operatives reporting 
back from the other side may fit for some, but I think sometimes the 
militaristic bent of such practices can do damage to long-term 
understanding. I don't necessarily hear that in your proposal, Brian, I 
just have seen it come up too quickly in such instances. I don't mean to 
soft pedal the seriousness of the situation or the real threat and 
impact of letting things alone - I just want to protect cautious 
opportunities for impact and learning.

Thanks again,


Brian Holmes wrote:
> May I encourage you to work on something together? One of those 
> short-term, small-scale, push some material around type endeavors? I 
> am very curious how the university has been turned into what seems an 
> almost pure machine for the production of surplus value, notably 
> through the device of intellectual property. I think that art 
> collaborates very intensely with science on this, providing 
> "innovation power" within the larger frame of what some of my 
> colleagues theorize as "cognitive capitalism." I would like to know a 
> lot more about this in the hopes that by describing it accurately and 
> I strikingly, I can help convince people to help convince other people 
> to increasingly and publicly ask why it is we consent to being part of 
> this system. Creativity, that magical thing everybody loves, is really 
> now driving a death machine. Very sorry to say so, I know it's 
> offensive and all, but it's also a massive fact, as you know from 
> looking at and listening to the majority content of the media with 
> which you deal professionally. We have a emergency situation in the 
> world, on the social, political, economic, diplomatic and ecological 
> levels, and our governing mechanisms want us to think in terms of 
> making a profit or balancing the budget. Well, I am not gonna take 
> your time right now with explanations of what making a profit or 
> balancing a budget means in a country like the USA which imports 
> billions of dollars a day from the rest of the world, basically to pay 
> for the useless consumption of the very garbage that both destroys the 
> ecosystem and pollutes our minds. I suppose you probably all know 
> something about the functioning or malfunctioning of the world 
> economy. More interesting, pragmatic and maybe more useful would be to 
> push around some material about how the U works, how it fits into this 
> disaster, where are all the little barriers and obstacles that 
> together make up the walls of the gilded prison. 

More information about the iDC mailing list