[-empyre-] "(E)MOTION FREQUENCY deceleration: time/space prospection, vacant lots

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Sat Oct 29 00:44:02 EST 2011

It's very stimulating to read Branden's post from last night, it puts many of our discussions into an even sharper focus, regarding late capital/globalization, its dynamics, 
its "network imperative [being] predatory to the extent that it can only ever seek its own expansion; in the book I figured this as a "pandemonic eye" constantly scanning its environment for that which it can incorporate into itself.."
and its intertwinings with issues of design, urban architecture/gentrification and counter-gentrification (the dross, and deliberate decay, letting die?)...

here i do not know where to start, as you mention this fruitful period of time when you worked in Houston, about a decade or so after I arrived there, marveling at a "post-urban city"  (via Lerup: a kind of "of non-linear weather system defined by the interaction of attractions (stim) and wasteland sprawl (dross)" that excited me because it was disorienting in a positive sense and yet immensely subtropically attractive and sensually demanding,  but obviously not for political reasons;

and the temporal processes of gentrification and displacement addressed mournfully by Sérgio -- these I have experienced in every warehouse or funk, mixed arts/underground, queer neighborhood where I have lived or worked (in the US) since 1980, and Sérgio there is of course nothing unusual about them (except the futile arts protests and the perplexing – as you rightly say – self blindfolding of the (migrated) inhabitants. Or is this so?  

Sérgio writes
 Certainly, it should not be understood as futility -- as you read it, not without reason -- but as a way of re-signifying spaces. We had a place which was empty and would be demolished in a matter of
days -- in fact it is already being demolished. I must say, in my defense, that I was the first to point, in the debates, these questions regarding people that had to leave their places, the predatory nature of late-capitalism, the traces of those people`s lives let in there. In fact, I've even asked people not to change anything before we had a clear concept of how to ocupy such spaces in a meaningfull way.

Because of this, the previous owner of the place, himself a historian, lectured to all the group about all the meanings and memories involved with the place, built by his grandfather, a portuguese imigrant, with his own hands.

To make things a little more complex, those small houses built by this immigrant 70 years ago, in his weekends, were previously rent by low-middle class workers families, and this neighbourhood, Vila Madalena, which was characterized 10 years ago by a mix of artists, intelectuals and low-middle class families, will be reduced to a high-middle class neighbourhood, while the previous people will have to move to far away suburbs, This was very disturbing to me since the

It seems, however, that people just accept it as natural, and maybe this is the most serious question. In this context, I placed in a wall a poem which radically discussed this matter of commodities, of everrything, including people, seeming to have a price. Unfortunatally, the way words were used in Portuguese is not possible to translate -- the word "venda" being at the same time "selling" and "blindfolding the eyes".


I wonder about the blindfolding. Who is blindfolding whom, and in terms of the current "OCCUPY" movements (Madrid, London, New York, and many other locations), can we make sense of the struggle for protesting global financial injustice in  terms of the rights the occupiers claim on protesting public space in the first place (i.e. "public" space and not privately own or controlled and prospected space)? 

Could you re-enter the discussion, Sonja, and comment on Branden or extend your observation:

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..>> (Sonja)?

As to celeration and "acting techniques"  – and Branden's exquisite comment on "relative deceleration" and his analogy  "vertigo to orientation"  – I will anticipate Branden's writings on the cockpit interface, being reminded that on any given day, I might teach a workshop on butoh, scenography, or "aural immersion," and then walk to the cafe on my campus and meet a colleague from Design/Engineering who may have just taught the same class, but differently, namely on "human factors" and design enhancements,  late capitalist ergonomics.

As to rushing on our streets with your nerves wide open, pushing yourself hard,   I stumbled across a new publication in latest issue of "Leonardo,"  and just mention it here: 

Joe Marshall, with Alan Chamberlain & Steve Benford, "'I seek the Nerves under Your Skin': A 'Fast' Interactive Artwork,"  Leonardo 44:5 (2011), pp. 401-404. 

(Abstract):  I Seek the Nerves under Your Skin is a wearable audio artwork that is experienced by people running while wearing a special jacket and headphones. This artwork encourages people to run increasingly fast, pushing themselves physically and mentally, which mirrors the intense, crescendoing performance of a poet heard on the headphones. This article discusses the challenges of designing and deploying an artwork that is experienced at high speeds.


Johannes Birringer

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