[-empyre-] forwarded on behalf of Patrick Lichty

Renate Terese Ferro rferro at cornell.edu
Tue Dec 23 13:32:49 EST 2014

Forwarded on behalf of Patrick Lichty:

First of all, it's good to be back on Empyre this month.  Where I could
enter into the conversation from many points having colluded with many of
the people here this month, including Ricardo and Nick, as well as working
with RTMark, The Yes Men, and The Overpass Light Brigade, I would like to
step back a moment and take an immediate vantage point to the subject.

To engage with this subject is particularly ironic, given the Taliban
strike, Australian terror incident, and the collegiate Facebook rape
commentary.  To quote Gerhard Richter, "Our times are so unquiet." Nothing
could be truer.  As I begin my thought, I think of a public sphere
clickbait such as cat videos, TED Talks, Buzzfeed and Viralnova, and on the
other hand, 4chan, online rape discussions, and viral ISIS beheadings. In
many ways, it seems as if (pre)mediation creates an inverse long tail that
spectacularizes and amplifies affect.

McLuhan wrote that in the age of the network, technological acceleration
problematizes identity to the point where media pushes reality into the
realm of the physical.   In McLuhan's case, the reification of identity
asserts itself as pornography, and of course, violence.  First,  the
emergence of net.rage in places like 4chan (an online image sharing
community) would emerge in areas like /b/, where the social thread of
Anonymous, lolcats/Caturday and the Applegate celebrity pictures came from.
No other area shows the inverse bell curve of net.spectacle. For me, this
area premediates the chaos evident in recent days.  Since ISIS and the Arab
Spring was dealt with last month, I am thinking more along the lines of
social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and my thought is very

Briefly put, as this is Finals week here at UWM, is that I wonder about two
things, and where they can be used for activism or terror, small or large
scale. The first is the amplification of mediation's feedback loop.  The
proliferation of tropes throughout the various social media build the
frenzied discourse of 24/7 news culture, as I call CNN "The Adrenaline
Channel".  Conversely, this is the mechanism of the virality of Henri, Le
Chat Noir.  Secondly, I am interested in the revelation of affect in social
media; through it, human behavior is more immediate - the frathouse rape
chat was briefly accessible on Facebook if you caught the first impulse of
the news.  The novelty of pervasive immediacy is what comes to mind.

However, what I also wonder is how to use this amplification and will to
bleeding into the physical (which is why politically, the online is not an
isolated public sphere) for progressive means.  One is an orchestrated hoax
in the vein of The Yes Men, but what I am more interested in is a more
gestural position. What could this be, something that could access this
spectacular net.amplification?  Perhaps a single video that accesses the
clickbait impulse; this is something that is less leveraged than the hoax.

Renate Ferro
Visiting Assistant Professor of Art,Cornell University
Department of Art, Tjaden Hall Office:  306
Ithaca, NY  14853
Email:   <rferro at cornell.edu <mailto:rtf9 at cornell.edu>>
URL:  http://www.renateferro.net <http://www.renateferro.net/>
Lab:  http://www.tinkerfactory.net <http://www.tinkerfactory.net/>

Managing Co-moderator of -empyre- soft skinned space

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