[-empyre-] split screens

Simon Biggs simon at littlepig.org.uk
Wed Aug 1 01:04:09 EST 2012

Hi Simon

I was half-joking when I made my crack about screens (thankfully) not being everywhere. It's just that I'm about to take a week's holiday and not have a computer with me for the first time in years. The thought of this alone is strangely liberating... I hadn't been thinking about babies and bathwater, much less techno-social totalisation (something Kriss has written about eloquently), although, when I think about it, perhaps I was?



On 31 Jul 2012, at 01:01, simon wrote:

> Dear <<empyreans>>,
> I've enjoyed this month, but I would like to reject utterly the implication in Johannes's question, that something "went wrong in western traditions" ("What went wrong in western traditions?" 27/07/12), and also the negativity that has characterised some of the posts throughout this month. For example: ..."so perhaps screens are not everywhere. There is hope." (Simon Biggs, 30/7/12)
> For the first issue, that there is something wrong with western traditions - which ones? - wanting to sustain the illusion rather than pierce it or enjoy the complementary halves of a fore-screen and a behind-the-scenes look at... wait a moment, isn't this the same west which puts out behind-the-scenes featurettes as promotional material? selling these to networks cheap to encourage audiences to fork out for the next blockbuster at the cinema?
> Behind-the-scenes has developed its own industry, multiplying genres and compounding or laminating illusion and reality.
> My experience of Brecht - also mentioned "Brecht would be pleased" in Johannes's post - is a Verfremdung from the staid complacency of generic classical theatre, things moving in an off-kilter way made even funnier, farcier (and faster) for the return of the backstage repressed and its plays of scale, toy-cars for example where a real car won't fit.
> If the Platonic dialectic of real/copy persists it is (as I said earlier) as an ultimately unsustainable resource fuelling the problematisations of academic art.
> The second issue elides ubiquity with iniquity. The ubiquity of screenism might be iniquitous if it were totalisable, if we could show experience to be mediated to a dangerous degree - but dangerous for whom? And quo bono? (Bono?) This stance of saying escape from excess (screens, decadent western habits, consumerism, gadgetism, etc.) is needful is a stance because it invokes danger as pure titivation.
> Of course in skating quickly off into moral judgement we drop the baby, who, I guess, is us: thus doth technoculture make phenomenologists of us all. But more than this. This baby is also our responsibility - ethical - to hold and dandle lest we lose sight of our limits, which must needs be entertained - but not to death. Since isn't the screen at the limits of our projections? Aren't our projections precisely what it shows?
> Rather, what they show, since the multiplication of screens is real, if not the real.
> My feeling is that much like an earlier issue considered here on this listserv, the netopticon, there is the crack to be worked: the fear is not the Heideggerian totalitarianism or totalisation of the tech, but that we fail to consider its atomic or molecular level, where revolutionary subjectivation processes are enabled. Or can be.
> Best,
> Simon Taylor
> www.squarewhiteworld.com
> _______________________________________________
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Simon Biggs
simon at littlepig.org.uk http://www.littlepig.org.uk/ @SimonBiggsUK skype: simonbiggsuk

s.biggs at ed.ac.uk Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh
http://www.eca.ac.uk/circle/  http://www.elmcip.net/  http://www.movingtargets.co.uk/
MSc by Research in Interdisciplinary Creative Practices

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