[-empyre-] Introductory welcome to all

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Tue Nov 4 03:56:54 EST 2014

dear all

allow me to join Alan Sondheim in welcoming all our guests and all our readers and list members to this month's discussion  - our round table on 
>> ISIS, Absolute Terror, Performance <<

The theme was introduced this morning by Alan's summary,  followed by his very eloquent reflections on some of the languages, the ground, the practices,
the knowledge or the assumptions surrounding terror and the execution of terror, but more importantly perhaps, Alan added a plea to us all to consider
delving into our personal responses to some of the geopolitical events witnessed or heard, and thus also into our own cultural or artistic or writerly practices in an era marked by what the US named a war on terror.

I want to keep my welcome note short, only say, first of all, 
- thanks to empyre's list owners to let us take on the month of November on short notice and without much preparation 
(thus thanks also to the meticulously moderated and debated theme of "Digital Objects - Practice, Matter, Process, and Memory" last month, not easy to transition from !)

- thanks to those colleagues and friends from the community who have agreed to partake as guests of the roundtable, starting this week with Olga Danylyuk, Pia Holenstein, Erik Ehn, Heiner Weidmann,
perhaps also Ana Valdès and ..

- many others here on the list whom we invite to come on, participate, join in.  I had suggested, when Alan and I got together on this, that we could simply have an open roundtable, without any formalities, credentials,
and pretenses of expertise. 

I, for one, have no expertise on dealing with the geopolitical issues, and the present ISIS, or fall out of this or other present or past states & movements of terror. Nor have I encountered some of the horrific events we hear about first hand. I will want to ask, in a brief follow-up post later:   whether there is language –  and poetry ? – with which to address, here on a fictional round table, the trauma of war and violence, the taboos or truths of terror. what are we to discuss here? What accounts do we turn to, or generate ourselves, what testimony of anguish or deflection can I give, and in what narrative or factual form, what medium or other form?

In a brief exchange between Alan an myself, there was a difference made between ground and distance, and I understood this to mean that some of you here may have closer experience to terror on the ground, whereas others may speak or narrate from a distance?  Then I thought, so have I no ground?  and am I too distant to, from or within the (legitimate?) discourse on terror?  How close on the ground and affected does one have to be? 

Dear all -- the topic may seem difficult or contentious, but we know that some of you have worked in conflict zones and with combatants (we hope that Olga and Pia will share some of their work experience with us),
others have written and published on matters of violence, power, knowledge, ethics and performance; thus we hope to hear your perspectives, and we believe it would be comforting if the dialogue were open, wild,  constructive.


Johannes Birringer

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