Re: [-empyre-] Do You Still Your Own Reality?

Hi Brett,

I'm intending to answer your post below but in the interim and since we are adressing notions of ownership relative to "reality"
I thought I would pass this post along as it indirectly speaks to some issues in the USA that have been raised... and holds a resonance for global interests.

Diebold to patent addition
Edited on Wed Nov-03-04 06:21 PM by scottxyz

Diebold, ChoicePoint and Sproul - in a new partnership between government and business involving unprecedented interagency cooperation between the RNC/PNAC, the Patent Office, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security - and funded in part by venture capital from Microsoft's capital-markets division - have announced plans to form a joint venture to leverage core software patents and other intellectual property for the purpose of maintaining America's strategic edge at providing "the best democracy money can buy."

Diebold's flagship product - their distributed "black box" implementation of what assembly-language programmers used to refer to as the "INCR" operator, better known to the rest of us as "plus one" or "addition" - will to be the first of several strategic arithmetic operators to be included in the joint venture's portfolio of vital information-technology (IT) trade secrets, which will soon include implementions of other core mathematical functions, such as subtotal, percent, and greater-than-or-equal-to. 

Meanwhile, ChoicePoint's proprietary software-based disenfranchisement algorithms, whose Florida 2000 rollout transparently scrubbed tens of thousands of undesirable second-class citizens from the voter rolls, are expected to provide the perfect "synergy" with more prosaic, paper-oriented Jim Crow technologies such as Sproul's circular-file-based voter-deregistration methodologies, and the RNAC's innovative use of mail fraud and racketeering successfully deployed against the 2004 voter-registration drives in Ohio and other states.

Gone is the primitive, labor-intensive "addition" operator many Americans recall struggling with in elementary school and the messy, error-prone process of counting dangling "chads" in antiquated punch-card vote-tabulation systems: With Diebold's state-of-the-art paperless touchscreen technology - complemented on the back-end by their modem-based wide-area-network protocols for addition, subtotaling, and numerical comparison - all audiences ranging from local county poll workers to vendor personnel to Secretaries of State can quickly get up to speed and enjoy an unprecedented level of ease and quality control for delivering precisely targeted electoral results. 

Unlike Diebold's bank ATMs, which many users have criticized for being "stodgy" or "lacking upside" due to their overly rigid reliance on pre-Enron accounting standards such as double-entry bookkeeping and paper trails, Diebold's voting systems division has wisely gone with a more "virtual, interactive, open-systems" computing philosophy featuring dynamically reconfigurable memory cards, freely published polling-station telephone numbers, short, easy-to-remember passwords and standard dialup modems sending unencrypted data over common carriers for greater transparency and efficiency. Avoiding the "heavy iron," high overhead and inherent inflexibility of outmoded client-server systems favored by the global financial networks and airline-reservation systems, Diebold has decided to go with agile, "off-the-shelf" desktop components such as Windows and Access which can be easily customized by anyone willing to master Microsoft's popular VBA programming language - increasing interactivity and reducing the learning curve for key players in all phases of the electoral process, as well as enhancing flexibility with exciting new features such as anonymous remote access and unlogged updates.

"People might be quite surprised if they knew how big a chunk of our revenue stream is due to our exclusive proprietary implementation of the 'plus' operator, which has been an essential component of our strategy to deliver Florida and now Ohio as promised to our partners in government in the last two Presidential elections," Diebold's president stated at a recent press conference. "Diebold's cutting-edge implementation of the '+' operator is the result of years of painstaking research and development by the kind of highly-paid Harvard MBAs who have been keeping America's GDP strong with innovative product rollouts such as New Coke and Windows XP Service Pack 2. Diebold's AoIP - Addition over Internet Protocol technology - has been proven to demonstrate the kind of 99.999% reliability required by America's Fortune 500 and White House CEOs for the most demanding desktop applications. America's national security and technological prowess are predicated on a robust defense of our vital intellectual property rights. We can't allow key state secrets - such as our formulas for computing sums and percentages - to fall into the wrong hands," he added. 

To enhance the user acceptance of Diebold's addition algorithms among the so-called "reality-based" community, new legislation dubbed the "Dipper Chip" bill is being drafted in Congress which will now formally require all "systems of mass summation" such as opinion surveys and exit polls to include a "back door" allowing RNC/PNAC officials sneak-and-peek-and-delete access for the purpose of "dipping in" to continuously monitor and update poll results so as to guarantee backward compatibility between Diebold-computed vote tallies, "news" reported in the media, and individually perceived "reality." 


Whoops, sorry about the empty message minutes ago. In any case, I am 
happy that approaches to the stasis are being taken up. The nature of 
the practice that I am trying to imagine - and by no means have an 
answer for - would not in any way be anti-intellectual, btw. Just not 
cheeky or preachy. It should not tickle the anti-elite gene that George 
Bush has been so successful at hacking. (The "regular guy" member of the 
elite of the elite of U.S families.) It has to engage people 
intellectually and positively, or fail. It has to be inclusive, or at a 
minimum, inviting. It has to find other proteins to attach to, because 
the pedagogical and satirical vectors through which reason has 
traditionally spread have become somewhat immune. I'm not sure what to 
do about this, but what can't work for artists (in the U.S. now) is the 
status quo.

The issue of academics is entirely an other one. Importantly however, 
tilting at the academy is about the same if not the same as tilting at 
the the status quo: it is a vague problem definition mostly due the 
diversity and complexity of such institutions (including even the likes 
of DARPA and NSF - which do many good things.) If anything, I think we 
need to reinstantiate (again, applying to the U.S.) the public faith in 
academic institutions. If that sounds regressive to you after close to 
100 years of artists tilting against the academy, I would have to 
disagree. Academic institutions, for all of their oft cited problems, 
have been pillars of support for analysis and new invention - yes in in 
the art world too. What we have to do is what Bush should do as a leader 
- serve the public interest instead of pronounce reality to it. That is, 
generally, imho, how you instantiate trust - in or out of the matrix - 
by serving people, including of course the 51% that have voted for 
empire. As I indicated - this should be a long, strategic haul... not a 
tactical move.

Robbins + Jetztzeit wrote:

> Waking up to the aftermath of the US election results and as a Californian ? one of whom is being defined by mainstream pundits as being much too democratic for the rest of the country(! ? I can only assume that is in relation to the iron boot that is being levied upon our democracy .. or is it now a burgeoning theocracy? 
> I admit to being somewhat taken aback by the dawn of this day in America and please temper my statements with that thought.
> In a quick consideration of Brett?s post, I am struck by what might be regarded as somewhat of a reactionary stance.  My basis for that posture is that ?irony? ?media manipulation? ?culture jamming?  + has long been positioned within various practices associated with post-modernism, issues of representation, identity politics, and its? aftermath/backlash.  Perhaps what is being addressed has more to do with the stasis that which has embalmed much of art practice ( and its? increasing privatization and seeming return to exclusivities inherent to the market-based system and classicism) since the late ?90?s and turn of the century ? specifically in regard to work that speaks of political underpinnings. Perhaps the re-appropriation and re-mediated art/media works have well reached the point of over-saturation, have lost their ability to have their desired effect- I have long suspected as much.  Visual art and media practice have served as the R&D for commercial art application
s for decades ? this is nothing new.  The surface scanning/mining of stylistic visual and audio devices has been an MO for the last part of the 20th century, the birth of MTV in the early ?80?s is a prime example.
> Certainly to use the most over used phrase/cliche the world has changed since 9.11 here in the US and to more and lesser degrees throughout the world.  An analytical practice might offer a unique bastion from which to produce a ?reality congruency? that is non-didatic and non-ironic.  However, as an exclusive practice, it strikes me that this stance only serves to re-inforce biases and prejudices of anti-intellectualism that are firmly ensconced in the American psyche.  
> The academy/university remains to be one of the only viable venues for a art/media practice ( certainly one that demands funding such as media and technologies based practices.) ?Art can best serve reason by turning back toward it; trying to serve and fortify it without being cheeky.  The academy/university would easily support this approach as it reinforces the ?professionalization of the arts? and further reifies it within the academy /university itself.  But, again, this seemingly leads us only to reinforcing the bias: ?many people are suspicious of teachers and knowledge workers unless they are vetted by a church, and really are impervious to irony.?  Unless, however, we understand that the academies and universities themselves are becoming so privatized and beholding to vested interests such as the binary and rationalizing influence of funding sources that are steaming from areas of science ? ie. the NFS, the department of homeland security and the DOD ( the latter tw
o are specific to the US government granting agencies.)  When was the last time you heard of any funding be awarded to a project that truly questioned the status quo? of anything?  When was the last time you heard of a project not being funded or exhibited because it was too controversial (I know this begs the question as to whom?)
> The question here seems to be how to effectively construct an incisive/innovative practice while acknowledging one is in one way or another a very real part of that ?representational machine? and extended entertainment system.   Oh No! have I really circled all the around to the Borg or to the Matrix? YIKES - it must be the red glow of the aftermath of our election!
> Chris
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Brett Stalbaum <>
> Sent: Nov 3, 2004 9:55 AM
> To: 
> Cc: soft_skinned_space <>
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Do You Still Your Own Reality?
> In retrospect (post-election), and as a citizen of the U.S., it occurs 
> to me again that way forward for (political) artists (again, here at 
> least) is no longer tactical subterfuge, but a long term strategy of 
> analytical practice that produces "reality congruency" tools/experiences 
> that are non-didactic and non-ironic. In much of my country, (the only I 
> can speak for), many people are suspicious of teachers and knowledge 
> workers unless they are vetted by a church, and really are impervious to 
> irony. Culture jamming, media manipulation, and subterfuge that draw out 
> the contradictions (mostly by giving gentle assistance to machines such 
> as the Bush-machine, which are on some level self-ridiculing to begin 
> with - like the Yes-men and smoky the log, for example) indeed bring 
> much joy in revealing the now fully merged fundamentalist/corporatist 
> world-view for what it is. But it reveals it, over and over again, only 
> to the choir. In a democracy, there is sometimes a price to pay for 
> making fun of people.
> At the same time we are competing with a representational machine that 
> is able to reflect a great deal artificial-ridiculing back against 
> reason; to create artificial realities for reasonable people to think 
> about and respond to (in a mode of constant defense), and to do all of 
> this with a much greater array of media resources that artists could 
> ever hope bring to bear. Politically then, there is little we can do in 
> the short term. Art can best serve reason by turning back toward it; 
> trying to serve and fortify it without being cheeky. In the U.S. 
> anyway... In short, the way forward would seem to be a long-term 
> strategic radical transparency, dialog, and honesty over tactical 
> culture-jamming and subterfuge.
> Brett Stalbaum wrote:
>>Hi Randall,
>>Given, yes. But it raises some interesting questions. At this moment 
>>(politically/tactically) is it most effective (or interesting) for 
>>artists to perform their own "pre-emptive reality annihilation" (or 
>>perhaps: envisioning an alternative future and trying to instantiate it 
>>as the Rove's of the world seem to do quite successfully), or to 
>>"culture jam" any such (nearly psychotic) right-wing reality distortions 
>>(using them as art supplies and comic fodder - seemingly easy to do), or 
>>perhaps to formulate an art practice that turns to and engages with (or 
>>grapples with) the real maintaining a general goal of producing tools 
>>(be they analytic, aesthetic, software, hardware), that are useful for 
>>individuals in terms of formulating their own, more congruent readings 
>>of the real? All? Something else?
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Brett Stalbaum
Lecturer, psoe
Coordinator, ICAM
Department of Visual Arts, mail code 0084
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gillman
La Jolla CA 92093

empyre forum

" ... the space between zero and one ... "
                 Walter Benjamin

        Los Angeles _ San Francisco

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