[-empyre-] a contribuition from Brazil

sergio basbaum sbasbaum at gmail.com
Wed Oct 19 04:10:14 EST 2011

Hello all,

Hello Johannes and friends at soft-skinned space,

I'm happy to take part in this forum more actively. I had a more close
participation sometime ago, but due to personall matters, I had to
keep more or less silent in the last years. It's amazing to see how
[-Empyre-] stood viotal through the years and I congratulate the team
for this. I also would like to thank Johannes for inviting me. He's a
brilliant artist and thinker, a dear friend, and certainly I share
with him a critical  view of contemporary speed-up of life due to
growing productive demands.
Honestly, it seems theoretically possible to both leave yourself to
the current and try to enjoy it, as creatively as possible, or to try
to find what one could name "the eye of the hurricane", a moving
center of calmness from which one could think abouit what's going on.

I think, however, that the first choice is too uncritical of the new
forms of power and the new forms of consciousness which are being
favored by technological omnipresence; and the second simply do not
exist, or is precisely the confortable product labs where powerfull
corporations are developing the next techno-commoditties to keep
culture hipnotized with so-called interactivity.
Thus, It may be necessary (maybe more maybe less than I expect,
anyway), to ask if the discourses for interactive arts and web 2.0 are
entangled with this logic of perpetual acting and producing, as
opposed to (usually presented as deepply negative) contemplation and
I'm not a heavy Deleuze reader, but yesterday, loosely reading his
"Conversations"(pg 162, in the Brazilian edition), by chance I came
across the following passage:

"‎(...) Repressive forces do not prevent people from expressing
themselves; on the contrary, they force them to express themselves.
The smoothness of having nothing to say, the right to have nothing to
say; thus is the condition for something exquisite or rare to emerge,
which deserves to be said. One dies nowadays not from interferences,
but from propositions which are absolutely devoid of interest (...)".
[forgive me if the translation may be not as acurate as it should, but
I think it is ok].

This is a surprising quote in the context of the present social
movements, the way new media is beeing related to them, and all the
hopes they are raising.

Another thought that surprised me in the last weeks is the
aknowledgment of importance traditional spectatorship has played in my
own aesthetic development, so that complex films of Jean-Luc Godard
and Glauber Rocha, or novels from William Faulkner or Guimarães Rosa,
and the relation with many and many artworks in the non-interactive
canon, which challenged me to intelectual and aesthetic effort and
involvement, thus placing me in a circumstance in which I had to grow
and try to understand what was going on, and trying to understand my
feelings and thoughts provoked by such experiences.

So, If I could make myself at least a bit clear (it is not easy to be
entirely understood when we express ourselves in foreign language), I
suspect the speeding-up of our lives, the obession with interactivity
and production by means of technological devices are stoping many
people from experiencing important intelectual and aesthetic
challenges and creating a generation of people addicted to to
intensity and dellusive involvement of technological environments.

best for all,


-- Prof. Dr. Sérgio Roclaw Basbaum
-- Vice-coord. Tecnologia e Mídias Digitais
-- Pós-Graduação Tec.da Inteligência e Design Digital - TIDD (PUC-SP)

More information about the empyre mailing list