[-empyre-] Welcome to Week 3

Andrea Haenggi 1067pacificpeople at gmail.com
Mon Nov 27 00:21:48 AEDT 2017

Thanks Rahul for such interesting viewpoint of bringing contamination into
"social contamination". My experience with the informal economy was in
Lagos, Nigeria where 60-80 percent of the workers work informally. I was
several times their by invitation by the Society for the Performing Arts in
Nigeria, where once we created a work responding to the urban water
challenge (https://vimeo.com/40639735)  and as well spending time around
street market by filming interviews done by journalists Robert Neuwirth who
writes about the informal economy.
It was interesting to witness that the informal economy has their own
languages so for "express service" we know here in america to get things
faster than to get things faster done in Lagos, Nigeria they would use the
word  "appreciation"(which we often label in the West as "corruption") .
Language is such an important part how we understand the world so thinking
 "social contamination" into more positive side it may require to have an
other word for unregistered, unregulated, untaxed business. Writer,
journalist  Robert Neuwirth uses the word System D for referring to
activities that are informal - you may want to hear his viewpoint by
checking out his Ted talk

 …later more on contamination and choreography….

On Wed, Nov 22, 2017 at 11:12 AM, Rahul Mukherjee <rm954 at cornell.edu> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Renate, thanks for the question.
> MCS has been a controversial subject in toxicology and immunology with MCS
> sufferers finding various “pesticides, perfume, vehicle emissions, fabric
> softeners, magazines and carpeting” to be triggering symptoms. Conventional
> biomedicine has often suggested that MCS is outside disease, an impossible
> condition, with MCRers imagining symptoms (sometimes even terming it
> psycho-somatic). However, MCSers point to the fact that different human
> beings are differently sensitive to particular chemicals, and so blanket
> threshold levels for various chemicals/toxins cannot just be made to work.
> Some very nuanced writing by Michelle Murphy and Stacy Alaimo on this topic
> has insightfully noted that if biomedicine actually recognizes MCS as
> illness then one would have re-evaluate the impact of synthetic chemicals
> and petro-modernity (and more generally of modernity itself) [Julianne
> Moore’s character in Todd Haynes’ “Safe” might come close to the
> description]. Furthermore, Alaimo and Murphy’s work on MCS contests rigid
> outlines of human bodies and things with furnitures potentially leaking
> formaldehyde, which then is interacting with chemicals inside human bodies
> etc. What I was attempting to suggest is that the MCS figure makes it very
> difficult to categorize what is a contaminant and what is not.
> Contamination becomes deeply relational, because the same chemical could be
> contaminant for some, and not be for another.
> Tim mentioned how oil money could contaminate art exhibitions, and at the
> same time, self-reflexive artists might find a way through their art
> practices to critique the co-optation of art by corporations. Here I am
> interested in social contamination as a discourse in/about corruption. That
> made me think how late-capitalism has tried to demonize figures like media
> pirates in “developing” countries and vishoka in Tanzania as corrupt or
> parasitic, and yet media pirates and vishoka continue to successfully
> challenge every regulatory framework put in place to check them: one of the
> reasons for this is the gross iniquity of infrastructural access. Tanzania
> Electricity management repudiates vishoka as unskilled and untrustworthy
> while still relying on them to do repairs of transformers/electrical lines
> as a form of cheap labor. Residents (and particularly low-income household
> groups) turn to vishoka for bureaucratic shortcuts and for extending
> electricity lines without permit. These ordinary electricity consumers
> while fearing legal repercussions or scams can also report Vishoka to
> state-corporate electricity management. So, vishoka are caught up between
> state-corporations and ordinary consumers. Both need them and sometimes
> trust them, and both can sometimes try to abject-ize them. For more on
> vishoka, read anthropologist Michael Degani’s work. For more on informal
> electricity extensions in Indian cities like Kanpur, see the film
> Katiyabaaz by Deepti Kakkar and Fahad Mustafa.
> This has already become too long a post. More on Andrea’s fascinating
> projects around movement, embodiment, and exposure to contamination next
> time.
> ------------------------------
> *From:* empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au <empyre-bounces at lists.
> artdesign.unsw.edu.au> on behalf of Andrea Haenggi <
> 1067pacificpeople at gmail.com>
> *Sent:* Tuesday, November 21, 2017 9:46:59 AM
> *To:* soft_skinned_space
> *Subject:* Re: [-empyre-] Welcome to Week 3
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
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