[-empyre-] A New Year's Resolution

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Sat Feb 4 15:44:15 AEDT 2017

Apologies for quoting below, but it's worth several reads. I strongly 
believe that empyre - and listservs such as netbehaviour and nettime - are 
absolutely essential to our democracy, one of the few places outside 
academic and other institutions where we can discuss in depth, at leisure, 
on our own time, with care. I also hope that more people participate in 
these dialogs on empyre, especially after the deep failure of G+ and the 
trolling/fake news/etc. on Fb. empyre is _necessary_; I do what I can to 
support it, recruit new members, etc.

We're in Rhode Island, where the Governor and Providence Mayor have been 
extraordinarily vocal in their condemnation of the regime, backing this 
condemnation with concrete political/legislative action that's remarkable; 
I've been here on and off for decades (more off than on), and this is the 
first time I've seen this top-down. Some of the local state 
representatives have been proposing - and getting passed - bills dealing 
with immigrants and the deep sequestering of climate research for example. 
We're declared sanctuary. For the first time also, as far as I can 
remember, Roger Williams' name has been repeatedly mentioned for his stand 
against the intertwining of church and state in the 17th century. So we're 
working and protesting here and will continue to do so.

I think if very specific calls were made from empyre to its subscribers, 
dialog beyond the few will emerge. Certainly all of us need to engage this 
way - not just by making personal resolutions, but by responding to others 
- perhaps dialog and resolution are too much of an odd mix. I want to know 
for example - what sort of constitutional crisis might emerge out of this 
in the US (I've been talking with political analysts)? - what sorts of 
problems from the right are appearing elsewhere on the planet at this 
point? - what might be the deeper causes of all of this? - to what extent 
do you think social media etc. contributes to the mess? - how do we engage 
with all of these issues?

I have no resolutions; like many people I know, I'm just out there, and 
reading/writing about this as much as possible, trying to keep sane and 
not get overwhelmed. Most resolutions aren't kept, most manifestos die in 
their time, most sarcasm ultimately plays into power. We need to talk and 
act, act and talk, and in any order, and in any opportunity that keeps us 
going and helps to create a better world.

- Alan

On Fri, 3 Feb 2017, Timothy Conway Murray wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> As a partner with Renate in her tireless toil to schedule monthly
> discussions on -empyre- and to keep the moderating team robust, I find
> myself worried more and more about the future of online dialogical
> listservs.  When -empyre- was founded by Melinda Rackham in 2002, it
> created a spark and buzz just for providing an online site where
> international artistic, curatorial, coding, and theoretical partners might
> collaborate with each other through discourse.  If you peruse the
> incredible online archive of -empyre- discussions over the years, you will
> enjoy the community's robust interactions when subscribers actively
> dialogued with the posts of featured ghosts.
> You all have noticed, no doubt, that the response level to -empyre- posts
> has diminished readically over the past 2-3 years.  A lot of this, no
> doubt, is due to the vitality of other social media projects, from the
> corporate one of Facebook, Twitter, etc. to robust small groups of
> sharers.  But the sharing of links, aphorisms, images, and selfies seems
> to have swamped the international exchange of critical thought and
> discourse.  It is the exchange of discourse, the sharing of artistic and
> theoretical strategies, and the accident of revelation occurring in
> conceptual conversation that has motivated my work for -empyre- for over a
> decade.
> As part of my resolution to fight for international net neutrality, which
> the Trump people are about to gut, I call for a regeneration of activist
> dialogue.  This is important not just through the dissemination of new
> sources via Facebook and Twitter, but also through concerted conversation
> among the new media community about current challenges and potential
> responses to the issues that most impact us.  What's needed is not simply
> combative responses to the fascist and capitalist policies that are even
> more rapidly enslaving us or depressed summaries of the sovereign hegemony
> of the corporate network, but creative, provocative and even contentious
> discussion among ourselves about the critial imperatives to which we might
> respond in word and art.  So,
> I resolve to enliven the discourse of aesthetics AND politics.
> I resolve to curate and preserve artworks, projects, and critical
> responses that reflect critically on the socio-cultural conditions and
> politics of production, display, and disseminatio
> I resolve to collaborate with critical media projects that respond to and
> combat the rising discourses of fascism, racism, sexism, and ethnocentrism.
> I resolve to motivate my students to break the bonds of academic decorum
> in their writing and artwork as a means of unleashing unspoken passion and
> fervor over the personal and political issues most crucial to them.
> I resolve to insist that hate speech is not free speech.
> I resolve to work to revive the enthusiasm for the -empyre- listserv as a
> safe zone for critical discourse and debate over the issues most important
> to digital culture.
> Please join me over the next week by posting your resolutions.  Let's
> strike back together.
> Tim
> Timothy Murray
> Professor of Comparative Literature and English
> Taylor Family Director, Society for the Humanities
> http://www.arts.cornell.edu/sochum/
> Curator, Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art
> http://goldsen.library.cornell.edu
> A D White House
> Cornell University,
> Ithaca, New York 14853
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu

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