[-empyre-] empyre Digest, Vol 48, Issue 19

Timothy Murray tcm1 at cornell.edu
Tue Dec 2 16:20:51 EST 2008

>Hi, Sean and Simon,

I'm not sure that terrorism must necessarily equate itself with the 
future of violence.    Could not networked terrorism itself 
constitute a significance response to terror?

  In one context, I'm thinking of the alternative media actions that I 
call "digital terror" for their ability to grab back the numbing 
devices of surveillance and scanning (something that Jordan 
frequently discusses) for the sake of critical analysis and response 
(I elaborate on this in an article on "Digital Terror"  that you can 
find on Ctheory. net).

In another context, I frequently rely on some important advice that 
my mentor Jean-Francois Lyotard gave me many years ago.  Reflecting 
on alternatives to terrorist actions by the IRA and the 
Baader-Meinhof that were sweeping Europe, Lyotard suggested, with a 
twinkle in his eye, that the greatest counter act of terrorism is not 
violence, but  indifference.



>The 'us and them' that is relevant here was described by WB Yeats a 
>century ago:  "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are 
>filled with a passionate intensity"
>On 30/11/08 9:05 PM, "Simon Biggs" <<>s.biggs at eca.ac.uk> wrote:
>That sounds a bit us and them. Are we not all complicit in this? 
>Aren't we all oppressors and victims? Events in Mumbai demonstrate 
>this. The bombers run amok and people die. Why do they run amok? 
>What sort of society is it that engenders such behaviour? Why were 
>these people pushed to that action?
>As somebody else observed, terror is endemic to capitalism. However, 
>one could extend that and suggest that terrorism is endemic to all 
>societies. Why?
>We live in a world of networked cultures, where difference is not 
>neatly delineated along historical topographic lines. Difference is 
>in every nation, every town, every street - the family. When there 
>is intense conflict between different people (for whatever reason) 
>it will resemble terror. We shouldn't be surprised that this is how 
>we now fight. This is the future of violence. Wars between states 
>(which, as Sean suggests, are simply the executive arms of global 
>capital) will rarely occur (unless there is a profit margin to 
>exploit). Wars of belief (difference) will happen in our streets, 
>our towns and anywhere, potentially all at the same time. Conflict 
>will be rhizomorphic, just as our cultures are.
>This messy and difficult to model conurbation of cultural diasporas 
>is itself a red rag to many. Those that fear difference find they 
>are surrounded by 'them'. They panic and strike out. Terror becomes 
>street culture.
>We cannot go back to the past. We cannot repatriate populations of 
>millions. We cannot revert to a monoculture that was (anyway) a 
>mirage. The more likely scenario is that our diasporas will 
>proliferate and fragment further. Difference will become our 
>defining characteristic (perhaps it already is?). If we fear such 
>difference then conflict (and terror) will be endemic - it will be 
>our culture.
>On 30/11/08 01:00, Sean Cubitt wrote:
>The problem now can be phrased like this: The world is split between Evil
>(regimes, terrorists . . .) and Innocent (civilians, victims . . . ). There
>is no room left for the Good. What art can do uniquely is to speak of the
>Good, that is of the very thing that does not exist in or for contemporary
>Simon Biggs
>Research Professor
>edinburgh college of art
>s.biggs at eca.ac.uk
><>simon at littlepig.org.uk
>AIM/Skype: simonbiggsuk
>Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, 
>number SC009201
>empyre forum
><>empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>Prof Sean Cubitt
><>scubitt at unimelb.edu.au
>Director, Media and Communications Program
>Faculty of Arts
>Room 127 John Medley East
>The University of Melbourne
>Parkville VIC 3010
>Tel: + 61 3 8344 3667
>Fax:+ 61 3 8344 5494
>M: 0448 304 004
>Skype: seancubitt
>Editor-in-Chief Leonardo Book Series
>empyre forum
>empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au

Timothy Murray
Director, Society for the Humanities
Curator, The Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Cornell Library
Professor of Comparative Literature and English
A. D. White House
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York 14853

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