[-empyre-] Week 4: Welcome Lindsay Kelley, Anna Munster, Randall Packer, and Ana Valdex

Randall Packer rpacker at zakros.com
Thu Jun 29 21:47:29 AEST 2017

Patrick, thanks for your always astute commentary and particularly for bringing up the distinction between deliberate fake news and satire (ie Yes Men, Saturday Night Live, etc.), in which the latter is intended to critically widen the gap between the real and the fake, rather than collapse it. 

Satire in fact serves a specific purpose in heightening our critical faculties to construct an argument, whereas fake news abolishes the argument between two sides, when it becomes impossible to argue with someone who negates the truth by intentionally lying. Satire is built on deep critical thinking, generally absurd, blatantly amusing, and profoundly illuminating. Fakery dims the imagination, turns out the lights on intellectual discourse, and abolishes the act of reason. 

This is why we turn to the satirists in particularly dark times, such as Charlie Chaplin during the age of Hilter, when one of the most powerful attacks was the movie the Great Dictator, Hitler as a bumbling fool, or Dr. Strangelove as a mad President intent on destroying the world during the Cold War, or Mellissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer, bringing to the forefront the nihilistic use of language and alternative fact-bending as practiced by TRUMP’s White House.   

It is through the exaggerated, satirical, critically astute gesture that we widen the gap between the diminishing space between truth and fiction, right and wrong, destruction and survival. Humor is one of the great tactics for understanding and illuminating the human condition, and right now we need the satirists more than ever… to quote the current masthead on the Washington Post: “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”  

On 6/27/17, 10:13 PM, "patrick lichty" <empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au on behalf of p at voyd.com> wrote:

    ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
    Wow. Hello.
    Have finally consolidated my email operations after 3-4 years; been catching
    Yes, Fakes, hoaxes, mediated resistances - much of my career, although in
    the UAE I am takng a different approach, having been on the outside of the
    bubble of US Media Narcissism.
    Thanks all for your discussion of the approaches of resistance.  Activism
    and resistance was a big part of my practice, starting with haymarket Riot
    (a cultural hacktivist media group Jon Epstein and I founded in 1990, and
    occasionally produces some work today, although seldom), RTMark, The Yes
    Men, Manifest.AR, Pocha Nostra (for 3-4 interventions), Terminal Time, and 
    Second Front.
    I think each of these has had its own voice,and I think there are many 
    I think that in each of these, I was never really a character in my own 
    narrative, which from an artist's perspective, seems odd.
    Anonymity has been essential for the detournement of media institutional 
    power.  Again, as an artist, it has been a little counterproductive, but
    IMO, that was never the point. Subject, not object.
    For many of the projects, it seems that a core consideration is the point of institutional/media ecological insertion.
    For Haymarket Riot, it was doppelganging the educational media apparatus, as out EBN-like media was "sold" as new forms of educational media (i.e. postmodern Schoolhouse Rock)
    This took me into RTMark/The Yes men, which was a circus fun hose mirror of industrial video culture, which is generally of poor quality, again, ghosting your target is essential. Showing the dark reflection of an already dark subject is a great modality of the detour.  However, fake news does this but often better.  
    However, showing a satirical reflection is clearly different than creating an alternative reality and somehow suggesting it is an objective reality, however dystopic.  This has been the difference in my eyes.
    Second Front, for me, has always made me wonder whether a virtual nuclear weapon went off in a game world, would it ever have an effect? (I know about the 2007 griefer  'attacks' in Second Life)
    But after living overseas and seeing Jordan Wofson's "Real Violence" at the Whitney, I'm beginning to feel like creating "fire with fire" critical media no longer works after the election of Donald Trump, as American media culture has essentially aestheticized chaos.  In my practice in the UAE, I have been thinking about how to create alternative futures using science fiction.  This is an upcoming project that I am part of with Alaskan artist Nathan Shafer.  Taking this approach references writers like lem, Roddenberry, Clarke, and Heinlein who approached critical content through the metaphorical scrim of fiction.
    One amazing artist who has taken this approach is Larissa Sansour, in her work "Unreal Estate", which shows a futuristic Palestinean state, or critical use of archaeology in her current work.
    It makes me wonder whether criticism and discourses, in the Foucaultian sense, still have an equivalence.
    My$.02 for now.
    -----Original Message-----
    From: empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
    [mailto:empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au] On Behalf Of Renate
    Terese Ferro
    Sent: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 5:24 PM
    To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au>
    Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Week 4: Welcome Lindsay Kelley, Anna Munster,
    Randall Packer, and Ana Valdex
    ----------empyre- soft-skinned space---------------------- Thanks Randall
    for posting this.  I’m not sure if you were following last week but Byron
    Rich, Kevin Hamilton, and myself were talking about the tactics and
    methodologies that artists employ to create resistance.  In Byron’s work
    particularly as a bio-artist with interests in politics, global climate
    change and others he uses (intentionally) imagery both still and video that
    has been “constructed” and humor to push against the system.  Many artists
    actually use irony, satire and other forms to comment and critique cultural
    and political issues. We have talked about a number of artists from the YES
    Men to others that use these strategies as art practice and theory. This is
    no way diminishes the seriousness of the issues but it does highlight some
    of the injustices that are actualizing before us critically.
    So I mention these just briefly just in case you were not able to sign in
    last week.  I’m hoping that Ana, Lindsday and Ana Munster will also chime in
    to talk about some of their own work and resistance.
    Thanks Randall for starting out this week.  Appreciated.  Renate
    Renate Ferro
    Visiting Associate Professor
    Director of Undergraduate Studies
    Department of Art
    Tjaden Hall 306
    rferro at cornell.edu
    On 6/27/17, 4:14 PM, "empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au on behalf
    of Randall Packer" <empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au on behalf of
    rpacker at zakros.com> wrote:
    >----------empyre- soft-skinned space---------------------- Dear List:
    >Since August of 2015, I have been chronicling the TRUMP phenomenon,
    >which I refer to as XTreme TRUMPology. Here are 50 posts I have written
    >to date: http://www.randallpacker.com/category/xtreme-trumpology/
    >I see the developing fake news issue as the catalyst of a much greater
    >problem: the intentional distortion of reality for the purpose of gaining
    >political control. Fake news is a means to an end, what happens when
    >morally bankrupt demagogues are in pursuit of absolute power.
    >To this end, it beholds us to construct critical “weapons” that we can use
    >to deconstruct and defuse this diabolical fakery, and it is my hope, that
    >during this next week, the empyre list can serve as both a virtual
    >roundtable for discussion, as well as a space for developing tactical
    >methods we can employ as media artists, theorists, and educators in our
    >everyday lives and work. Some of these methods have already been identified
    >in past weeks… I hope to see more!
    >These are dangerous times and I am interested in the kinds of critical
    >tools we can develop collectively to combat the torrent of fakery and
    >disinformation that is consuming our government, our country, and the
    >It’s time for action.
    >Best, Randall
    >On 6/27/17, 8:48 AM, "Randall Packer" <rpacker at zakros.com> wrote:
    >    Greetings all… I am gathering my reportage on this critical issue, one
    > that threatens to engulf our collective grip on reality. Here in
    > Washington, DC, the tension is palpable as we see democracy hanging by a
    > thread in the face of the steady, hypnotic torrent of disinformation
    > emanating from all corners of the government. I don’t take this
    > responsibility lightly as an empyre reporter, and will be posting my first
    > dispatch later in the day.
    >    Best,
    >    Randall :::: from the underground studio bunker in Washington, DC
    >    On 6/26/17, 5:17 AM, "Renate Terese Ferro"
    > <empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au on behalf of
    > rferro at cornell.edu> wrote:
    >        ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
    >        Thanks to Kevin, Byron, Murat and Aviva for participating this week
    > as we reflected on the notion of the fake in regards to science and art.
    > I realized about midway through the week that the questions that arose
    > were important and thoughtful ones that actually would make an excellent
    > month long topic in the near future on -empyre-.  Kevin reminded us of the
    > trend where truth-claims of scientists have been undermined for political
    > causes. It also reminded me of the  fraud that big science and the
    > pharmaceutical industry have been accused of where research studies have
    > been manipulated for economic gain.  Artists can provide the critical
    > space using  the tools and methodology of science to create critical
    > spaces where the public can pause, reflect, and activate a sense of
    > resistance.
    >        Welcome to Randall Packer, Ana Valdes, Ana Munster and Lindsay
    > Kelley.  Ana Munster and Lindsay were our guests during week one and we
    > welcome them back as we close down our topic.  Ana Vales has been a long
    > time participant of -empyre- and we welcome her back this week.  Randall
    > Packer participated in a panel with me at ISEA in Singapore last year.
    > We warmly welcome all of them to further discuss Fake News within a global
    > context. Bios are below.
    >        Lindsay Kelley (AU) Working in the kitchen, Lindsay Kelley's art
    >        practice and scholarship explore how the experience of eating
    > changes when
    >        technologies are being eaten. Her first book is Bioart Kitchen:
    > Art,
    >        Feminism and Technoscience (London: IB Tauris, 2016). Bioart
    >        Kitchen emerges from her work at the University of California Santa
    >        Cruz (Ph.D in the History of Consciousness and MFA in Digital Art
    > and New
    >        Media). Kelley is a Co-Investigator with the KIAS
    >        funded Research­-Creation and Social Justice CoLABoratory: Arts and
    > the
    >        Anthropocene (University of Alberta, Canada).
    >        Anna Munster (US) Anna Munster has been at UNSW Art and Design
    > since 2001 on a full-time tenured
    >        basis. She is an active researcher with two sole published books:
    > An
    >        Aesthesia of Networks (MIT Press, 2013), and  Materializing
    >        New Media  (Dartmouth College Press 2006). Her current research
    >        interests are: networked experience, media arts and theory, data
    > and radical
    >        empiricism, nonhuman and perception, new pragmatist approaches to
    > media andArt.
    >        Anna regularly collaborates artistically with Michele Barker in
    >        the School of Media Arts, COFA. Barker and Munster are working on a
    > large-scale
    >        multi-channel interactive work, HocusPocus, which explores the
    > relations
    >        between perception, magic and the brain. They have been awarded a
    > New Work
    >        Grant, 2010, from the Australia Council for the Arts to realise
    > this work.
    >        Recent collaborative projects include: Duchenne’s smile (2-channel
    > DV
    >        installation, 2009), The Love Machine II (photomedia installation,
    > 2008–1¬0),
    >        Struck (3-channel DV installation, 2007).
    >        She is a partner in a large international project, Immediations
    > <http://senselab.ca/wp2/immediations/>, hosted
    >        by Concordia University, Montreal and funded by the Social Science
    > and
    >        Humanities Research Council, Canada. She has held two ARC Discovery
    > research
    >        grants in new media and art: 'The Body-Machine Interface in New
    > Media Art from
    >        1984 to the Present, 2003–5' and 'Dynamic Media: Innovative social
    > and artistic
    >        uses of dynamic media in Australia, Britain, Canada and Scandinavia
    > since
    >        1990'.  She is also an investigator on an ARC Linkage project,
    >        'Australian Media Arts Database', which will utilise innovative
    > user-lead and
    >        open source databases to create a history of Australian media arts
    > in an
    >        international context.
    >        She is a founding member of the online peer-reviewed
    >        journal The Fibreculture Journal <http://fibreculturejournal.org/>
    > and has co-edited two special issues on Distributed
    >        Aesthetics  <http://seven.fibreculturejournal.org/>and Web 2.0
    > <http://fourteen.fibreculturejournal.org/>. and on the editorial advisory
    >        board of LeonardoBooks (MIT Press), Inflexions, CTheory,
    >        Convergence, and Scan
    >        Randall Packer (US) Since the 1980s, multimedia artist, composer,
    > writer and educator Randall
    >        Packer has worked at the intersection of interactive media, live
    > performance,
    >        and networked art. He has received critical acclaim for his
    > socially and
    >        politically infused critique of media culture, and has performed
    > and exhibited
    >        at museums, theaters, and festivals internationally, including: NTT
    >        InterCommunication Center (Tokyo), ZKM Center for Art & Media
    > (Karlsruhe),
    >        Walker Art Center, (Minneapolis), Corcoran Gallery of Art
    > (Washington, DC), The
    >        Kitchen (New York City), ZERO1 Biennial (San Jose), Transmediale
    > Festival of
    >        Media (Berlin), and Theater Artaud (San Francisco). Packer is a
    > writer and
    >        scholar in new media, most notably the co-editor of Multimedia:
    > From Wagner to
    >        Virtual Reality and the author of his long running blog: Reportage
    > from the
    >        Aesthetic Edge. He has written extensively for publications
    > including: MIT
    >        Press, Johns Hopkins University Press, the Leonardo Journal for the
    > Arts &
    >        Sciences, LINK, ART LIES, Hyperallergic, and Cambridge University
    > Press. He
    >        holds an MFA and PhD in music composition and has taught multimedia
    > at the
    >        University of California Berkeley, Maryland Institute College of
    > Art, American
    >        University, California Institute of the Arts, Johns Hopkins
    > University, The
    >        Museum of Modern Art, and most recently at Nanyang Technological
    > University
    >        (NTU) in Singapore. At NTU, he is an Associate Professor of
    > Networked Art where
    >        he founded and directs the Open Source Studio (OSS) project, an
    > educational
    >        initiative exploring collaborative online research and teaching in
    > the media
    >        arts. At NTU, he organized the Art of the Networked Practice |
    > Online
    >        Symposium, a global event which featured participants from more
    > than 40
    >        countries around the world. Currently he is organizing the Third
    > Space Network
    >        (3SN), an Internet broadcast channel for live media arts and
    > creative dialogue.
    >        Ana Valdes (UR) Ana Valdes writer
    >        Art curator and social anthropologist born in Uruguay and political
    > prisoner
    >        during several years. Lived in Sweden and became engaged in the
    > Palestinian
    >        struggle for an own state. Now she is working with a former inmate
    > of
    >        Guantanamo writing a book and making a film.
    >        Renate Ferro
    >        Visiting Associate Professor
    >        Director of Undergraduate Studies
    >        Department of Art
    >        Tjaden Hall 306
    >        rferro at cornell.edu
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