[-empyre-] Minor Simulations, Major Disturbances

micha cardenas azdelslade at gmail.com
Wed Apr 14 06:33:43 EST 2010

Hi all,

I just wanted to add two more items to the discussion. Since last
quarter, I've been focusing my teaching efforts on considering the
university a as site of political engagement, and the results have
been very fruitful!

You can see my syllabus from this quarter here:


and the group projects from last quarter here:


The class is on the books as Electronics for Art 2, so we're using
networked electronics as a medium, but I'm focusing the discussion and
projects on the university space as a "case study", so it seems very
much in line with the formulation of the topic this month.


2010/4/13 akroker <akroker at uvic.ca>:
> However,  there’s another Transborder project running, namely the tactical
> deployment by Bang.Lab of ‘minor simulations’ against the authoritative
> borderlands of UCSD. While the University of California educational
> system might be shamed into supporting repurposed cell phone networks on
> behalf of immigrants, it is equally quick to support its own  logistics of
> academic sovereignty.  As UC student and faculty critiques now circulating
> as part of “Communiques from Occupied California” illustrate, the borders
> of power in the UC system are very much under general assault by a diverse
> activist coalition.  By running minor simulations intended to re-imagine
> other alternative futures for education,  tactical media literally
> disappears the (rhetorical) differences between technocratic liberalism
> (UCSD) and atavistic conservatism (posses of Tea Party activists). Here,
> the two sides of American empire, previously rhetorically separated  but
> both necessary parts of the twisted strands of power,  combine in a
> fateful rejection of that which they both commonly fear—minor simulations
> with very real potential for creating major political disturbances.
> Disrupt the binary logic of the borderlands, undermine the strict logic of
> inclusions/exclusions necessary to maintain state sovereignty,  re-imagine
> other alternatives,  insist that all borders be rethought in terms of
> contingency, paradox, and complexity,  and what results is literally a big
> bang in logic of empire.
> So then, the question: Now that the strategies of tactical media have
> successfully generated a big bang in the theory of American (empire)
> governance,  now that atavistic conservatism and technocratic liberalism
> have found common cause in suppressing both the politics of minor
> simulations and the resistance art of the Transborder project, what are
> appropriate tactics to resist this newest iteration of empire power. After
> all, when atavistic conservatism and technocratic liberalism combine
> something definitely new emerges, namely augmented empire. Augmented
> empire? That’s technocratic liberalism with such rationalist excess in
> defending its academic boundaries from networked simulations that it flips
> into its opposite state—a dangerous form of liberal realpolitic animated
> by atavistic emotions running the psychological gambit from bureaucratic
> defensiveness to panic anger. Fully alert to the threat posed to
> previously impervious borders by minor simulations such as the Transborder
> Immigrant Tool, atavistic conservatism  suddenly goes repressively
> liberal, justifying its attempt to shutdown the Transborder project  in
> terms of “responsible academic research.” Of course, when that does not
> work, atavistic conservatism  always  keeps in reserve other activist
> strategies ranging from congressional denunciations to very real death
> threats.
> As always, utopia is the bright angel of history.

micha cárdenas / azdel slade

Lecturer, Visual Arts Department, University of California, San Diego
Artist/Researcher, Experimental Game Lab, http://experimentalgamelab.net
Calit2 Researcher, http://bang.calit2.net

blog: http://transreal.org

More information about the empyre mailing list