[-empyre-] liberty is not justice

I would like to go back to two comments that have stuck out to me in this
discussion. Helen, early on, suggested that an understanding of the
involvement of the political institutions in the arts in New Zealand - to
parse somewhat (and Helen, forgive me the liberty) - was important in order
to gain an insight into what is at stake here for the new media; Danny
(likewise, your indulgence) questioned the focus of a discussion such as
this, in <<empyre>>, being a nation-state, a sociopolitically constituted
topos, not one more easily ventured into as a problematic or field of
exploration 'natural' to the net and its associated media.

The common point is clearly the identification of the 'state' - for the
former as key and for the latter as obstructive to discussion. But - the
question of frameworks has already been raised here - what strikes me is the
identification at all, in either negative or positive terms: the presence of
a legitimating context for those who work in the field of new media arts or
a presence that delegitimates what one can possibly communicate to others
for its being there. The State.

New Zealand is out there. It is virtual in many respects. There are
historical and transhistorical reasons for this. I personally have
experience of New Zealand as a political-corporate testing ground and
corporate-political (David Mitchell has a good word for this - corpocratic)
test market - a socially mobile middle-class readily adopts new technologies
and will compromise its own cultural assumptions for the sake of experiment,
given the state's (rhetoric) say-so. These cases are simply foremost in my
mind: there are other for example racial questions that remain unassimilable
and therefore virtual. The integrity of the 'state' persists as some kind of
inchoate symbolic - an ultimate vouchsafing or (Dubbya-like) accountability
moment, a ratification, an historically invested capital that regardless of
ethical bankruptcy can never run out as the justification for our being
here. If that's what it's about.

It is an inexhaustable cultural moment, New Zealanders' relationship to
their phallic mother ('naughty' but 'nice') and their/our virtually
constituted sense of place, reflected in divers ways in cultural discourse -
over I am hazarding the entire continuum of intellectual, academic or
critical debate, from anti-intellectualism and infantilism, where the local
stress is laid, through to sinecures at academic institutions (reliant on
pleasing punishing mom - who sends us back to infant status).

Both views, Helen's and Danny's are naturally correct (maybe not as I have
imagined them). A sublimely irreducible relationship exists between the
state and the New Zealand individual.

PS: I had intended to talk about Version Festival - cited in the case for a
resurgence of interest in new media in New Zealand: my review runs as
follows: a valiant attempt by the handful of people in attendance to attest
to the general cultural significance of a niche market: all power the hype.

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