[-empyre-] Resistance is Futile/ the mind is a muscle

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Sat Jul 6 15:12:47 EST 2013

Hi all

Terry replies that he is out there  hoping "to catch more glimpses of the developing paradigm there" (why going to Venice?), the externalized memory system
of velocitized selves, the cognitive distributive system. Meanwhile, Terry you describe briefly the Glastonbury Festival -- did you see the performers and the crowds
as an example of the new developing paradigm? and if so, can you say why, and how this might be linked to the questions that Simon  Biggs proposes as leitmotifs for this month's discussion 
such as ....<how artists, arts groups, academics and activists might ensure their activities are sustainable as the processes of technologisation and globalisation unfold?>

I suppose I'm asking about the theme:  resistance to what? why futile? futile in regard to what? the unfolding processes of technologisation and globalisation?

[Simon from NZ schreibt]
..so much of this seems bad abstraction, yet I'm drawn in by Johannes's
image to say, the stories we tell make up the body - but I don't like
stories so perhaps I should say, the plots we make thicken as the body -
since we don't yet know what a body can do...

all right --  this idea of the body not knowing yet what it can do, I like it. And yet we do grow older, and so do our behaviors.  
But can we track back to the idea of resistance, then, and ask here (for example those amongst you here on the list who were at this Resistance ISEA)
what exactly would be our intuitive or rational response to  what Terry has called, in his first posting, "the collective behaviour both online and via social media"
and then explained as as narrative construct?  A few examples have popped up, the ISEA panel on The Future of the Moving Images, Big Data, Mr Snowden and surveillance prisms,  the
'collective (social) state from which we individually emerge ....within a complexity of voices that situate themselves through various performative activities' (this is
Simon Biggs's  interesting evocation of James Leach's anthropology and what James discussed here in 2010 on the subject of social creativity), junk noise and dropped data (Christine), the children at the
Montessori school, the Glastonbury Festival....

I'd think bodies learn when to resist and when to be exuberant; I just participated in an event, maybe similar to Glastonbury maybe not, at Houston's Pride Parade last Saturday which was mind blowing,
hundreds of thousands of people in our community and city celebrating each other and expressing whatever they needed or desired on the streets we had taken for day and a night. 

The euphoria of the Parade was a physical shared event, a kind of dance, but also expression of political will. This connects it to May 68, and many other moments of irruption of the commune-political and the sexual.
Along the lines of the Technicians of the Sacred that I quoted, the poetry I perceived in the happening had a tribal-communal dimension that is unaffected by the beforementioned unfolding processes of
technologisation - and it is precisely not velocitized, it requires a slowing down, duration, a slow pantomime relying on bodily memory that is not expropriated. 

These kinds of memories, and their political dimension of experience and learning, within societal systems of repression of creativity, are related, wouldn't you think, to what we see in Egypt right now, although
their's was not a Parade nor a Festival, and yet is described at the moment as 'celebration' on Tahrir Square continuing with the military helicopters "providing further spectacle" flying over the heads of the celebrants. 

What liturgies are we witnessing? And how incredibly complex they are. Un-mediatable, this complexity, by facebook or twitter.  And no surveillance data were gathered at the Pride Parade, except of course if you
think of the celebrants capturing their joy on their cell phones, photographing themselves, embracing themselves each other.  Low resolution, less realistic.

How do we construct stories of these uprisings? 

James Leach, a few years back, said that

creativity is not outside human experience, but part of its everyday reality. Creativity is inherent in what it is to be a human being because in myth, the actions referred to above, beginning with the acts which established gender, and thus the possibilities for human reproduction and kinship [JL; this does not work in the context of the Pride Parade of course except otherwise], were the actions of the first human beings constituting themselves as human and not something else. In their everyday lives of gardening, animal husbandry, hunting etc., these people are the same as those first creator beings, and thus are constantly partaking of the original ‘creativity’ as they also constitute their lives as human and not something else...

Having said all that, and given the underlying premise of all the above is that we, just as Reite people do, constitute our existences through the particular way we engage in relations to each other (social ontology), structured through certain key principles available in myths we tell ourselves about how we have got here and what our responsibilities as human being are — what are we to make of the current idea that somehow the mediation of human relations through technological networks will make us more ‘creative’?
What is it about the speeding up of communication, the mediation of geographical and social distance, that makes us believe (and I use the word consciously) that we are going to be doing anything very different?

Well, this is a good question, but the myths may be changing. 

Johannes Birringer

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