sonja lebos sonjalebos at yahoo.com
Thu Oct 20 20:00:33 EST 2011

Dear people,
I have enjoyed a lot the texts that you have shared so far this month. Johannes asked me to put forward some thoughts, connected to my work on space and memory. So here there come. The words that follow are assembled in a simple way, whereby I tried to briefly put the efforts that have lasted for more than a decade and still are pulling me into the future in a comprehensive format.
'I found myself moving through a city, while the  consciousness was forced only to develop concepts which could help me to avoid bumping into other people...or objects. Objects which are seemingly more powerful than those people'
Architects nowadays render virtual spaces, but we all know that the urbanism as a science of planning urban life has transgressed into something that ceased to be a playground where only architects, urbanists and politicians reign. Not because they abdicated on their free will, but because they were forced to admit that the idea of what urbanity could be had become too complex for that, once holy, trinity.
Throughout the XXth Ct urban life found its accessary in speed.  The more urban an environment is, the faster the pace of life should be performed in it. Why this paradigm of urbanity still reigns? Taxonomy of life in programmed habitation cells, architectures of power, endless slums surrounding cities or intersecting them ...why?
To talk about music is like to dance about architecture, Laurie said wittily not so long time ago. When architects in Bauhaus were not just dreaming, but also working on a concept of architecture in connection to concepts of music and movement, strongly connected to medium of light, photography and cinema, they couldn't even dream about people who were simultaneously preparing horror that produced one of the most profound civilizational intermission in the history of all civilizations. They didn't think about architecture and art on the same terms. They thought of it as – wartime propaganda. A sort of industry of culture. That also became known as the murderous industry. I find us living in a similar precarious times, where the cultural industries beloved by politicians and policy makers somehow still seduce artistic communities.
It all brought me to work with concepts of memory. Official narratives are present in history text books, our children being fed with it. They are also monolithized in public space. However, that paradigm is slowly being changed, too. Art in public space more and more is becoming ephemeral and temporary, without imposing one and only overstructured narrative.
In between, the skin of our cities still remains inflexible, and the choreographies of public spaces are shockingly limited and overly neurotic.  Unable to deal with the ambiguities of these choreographies, the majorities world –wide look for re-recreation in escapism and consumerism.
There were many intrinsic links between cinematic movement and emerging of modernist cities already at the end of the XIXth Ct. Unfortunately, architects and urbanists are rarely trained to identify these links and lighting in our cities is still boring and inadequate, while actually technology could allow imagination to go much further than over the borders of commercials hitting our retinas without mercy wherever we go. 
The darkness, on the other hand, is scary as it has always been. I tried to combat this through projects where cities have been illuminated by imaginariums usually projected only in cinema-halls. Archive moving images have been transforming streets and squares into memorial mediascapes that have overgrown the simplified triviality of media-facades. The inflexible and harsh skin of cities has been softened by its own simulacra, where an interplay between shadow and light enabled new forms of urbanity to possibly emerge in large media-scapes.
Imagine Times Square, eg, bathed in light of a completely different kind. 
Or, globally, think light, moving images and architecture emerging in forms not dominated by forces of wartime propaganda.
Imagine (e)motional deceleration as a notion of urbanity.

--- On Wed, 10/19/11, sergio basbaum <sbasbaum at gmail.com> wrote:

> From: sergio basbaum <sbasbaum at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] "(E)MOTION FREQUENCY - rpm" --- killing me softly
> To: "soft_skinned_space" <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
> Date: Wednesday, October 19, 2011, 6:13 AM
> Gordana,
> Thank for for your lovely (although frightening) message.
> Those who
> were at the McLuhan congress in Barcelona can testify that
> Manoel
> Castells seemed like an Apple propaganda boy: maybe we
> should adapt
> the Beatles fantastic song (God, I love Lennon's voice in
> that
> song...) and sing "Happiness is an IPhone"... to be
> attached to an
> IPhone seems today the closest place to happiness in our
> compulsive
> technocomodities culture!
> I'll forward you message for my student´s list.
> good vibes from Brazil
> s
> On Wed, Oct 19, 2011 at 10:07 AM, Gordana Novakovic
> <gordana.novakovic at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > Ah, Michele, thank you so much for your poetic and
> wise reflections.
> >
> > Thanks to you had a wonderful dancing hour...  Lennon
> / McCartney's
> > Happiness..  then Killing me softly.. until I hit the
>  (Pink Floyd)
> > Wall
> >
> > Apologies for not being clear. Had no intentions to
> criticise Rist's
> > work, it was intended to be more of a question rather
> than statement.
> > I  found Johannes remarks as a good start to share
> with you all my own
> > doubts and questions around spectacle and how do we
> relate our own
> > practice to it. Is there escape from the Baudrillard's
> simulacrum? and
> > so on...
> >
> > .Maybe because it was empty like a body without organs
> did it open up
> > new vista/old suppressed vista... I didn't expect this
> and yet, it was
> > rather a beautiful afternoon, which left me feeling
> quite light, and
> > as though I had recaptured something from my (earlier)
> youth.
> >>
> >
> > Yes, this is what I remember when I saw her work few
> years ago. Have
> > to see Hayward one.
> >
> > But I'd like to respond to Sergio's brilliant
> observations and share
> > with you my concerns about the mind control, and also
> I think quite
> > related to the above.
> >
> >> 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
> > thinking.
> > 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 (...)".
> >
> > 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.
> >
> > Last night I had a heated discussion with a bright
> young star in
> > computer science who passionately tried to convince me
> that Google is
> > softly building a new wonderful world (ended up
> without bloodshed).
> > What caught my attention this morning was a text in
> Wired titled:
> > Darpa Wants to Master the Science of Propaganda (full
> text
> > http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/10/darpa-science-propaganda/)
> >
> > (for those not familiar - The Defense Advanced
> Research Projects
> > Agency (DARPA) is an agency of the United States
> Department of Defense
> > responsible for the development of new technology for
> use by the
> > military. DARPA has been responsible for funding the
> development of
> > many technologies which have had a major effect on the
> world,
> > including computer networking, as well as NLS, which
> was both the
> > first hypertext system, and an important precursor to
> the contemporary
> > ubiquitous graphical user interface.)
> >
> > " Darpa is asking scientists to “take narratives and
> make them
> > quantitatively analyzable in a rigorous, transparent
> and repeatable
> > fashion.” (....) In the first 18-month phase of the
> program, the
> > Pentagon wants researchers to study how stories
> infiltrate social
> > networks and alter our brain circuits. One of the
> stipulated research
> > goals: to “explore the function narratives serve in
> the process of
> > political radicalization and how they can influence a
> person or
> > group’s choice of means (such as indiscriminant
> violence) to achieve
> > political ends.”
> >
> > Once scientists have perfected the science of how
> stories affect our
> > neurochemistry, they will develop tools to “detect
> narrative
> > influence.” These tools will enable “prevention of
> negative behavioral
> > outcomes … and generation of positive behavioral
> outcomes, such as
> > building trust.” In other words, the tools will be
> used to detect
> > who’s been controlled by subversive ideologies,
> better allowing the
> > military to drown out that message and win people onto
> their side.
> >
> > “The government is already trying to control the
> message, so why not
> > have the science to do it in a systematic way?” said
> the researcher
> > familiar with the project.
> >
> > When the project enters into a second 18-month phase,
> it’ll use the
> > research gathered to build “optimized prototype
> technologies in the
> > form of documents, software, hardware and devices.”
> What will these
> > be? Existing technology can carry out micro-facial
> feature analysis,
> > and measure the dilation of blood vessels and eye
> pupils. MRI machines
> > can determine which parts of your brain is lighting up
> when it
> > responds to stories. Darpa wants to do even better.
> >
> > In fact, it’s calling for devices that detect the
> influence of stories
> > in unseen ways. “Efforts that rely solely on
> > standoff/non-invasive/non-detectable sensors are
> highly encouraged,”
> > the solicitation reads.
> >
> > Forget lie detectors; invisible propaganda-detectors
> are the future."
> >
> > So - we who are 'in bed' with neuroscience, cognitive
> sciences and
> > technology - how do we relate ourselves to the true
> nature of the
> > fascinating scientific findings and super-futuristic
> technology that
> > we are, or wish to incorporate in our own research? I
> feel that we
> > might be faced with the same set of ethical questions
> that confronts
> > roboticists whose work has been heavily funded and
> exploited for
> > military purposes? (attended last night panel
> addressing ethics in
> > robotics at Imperial College. And robotic experts
> expressed their deep
> > concerns)
> >
> > Perhaps, we could help people re-occupy their
> body/mind (while still
> > not illegal)?
> >
> > In spite of all - hope you are having a soft, lovely
> day
> >
> > Gordana
> > _______________________________________________
> > empyre forum
> > empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> > http://www.subtle.net/empyre
> >
> -- 
> -- Prof. Dr. Sérgio Roclaw Basbaum
> -- Vice-coord. Tecnologia e Mídias Digitais
> -- Pós-Graduação Tec.da Inteligência e Design Digital -
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

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