[-empyre-] Critical considerations linger.

Domenico Barra domenicobarra.db at protonmail.com
Thu Feb 18 05:18:31 AEDT 2021

i just realized I sent this email just to Renate, sorry for double emails.

Hi everyone,
I do agree with Geert about an overthrown of the system from the ground up, but what I fear is that this overthrowing will bring then the raise of a new system. This happened in the past in many occasions. This is why I believe we got really focus on education of the young generation, based on our experience, nurture healthy values and in an ever digital world, digital literacy. I like the approach to new media art by Nick Briz, his art is very educational, beautiful, cool, very easy to be understood and experienced. Nick Briz, like the works by many other artists, should be shown at schools more than galleries, museums and festivals.
I insist on education also based on another type of experience I have, totally not related to the internet and the digital realm. I am from Napoli. In Napoli we have a huge problem, Camorra, the Neapolitan organized crime. Every now and then a new power, mostly made by new ambitious criminals, often very young, some in their teens, overthrown the old power. Those people are completely abandoned to their destiny, because they already come from criminal families where crime is the normality. It is their culture. Spending years in jail is normal for them. Their fathers, uncles, grandmothers, they all have been in jail. I know about this very much because I live right opposite Napoli's prison house and I see how normal it is that life style, that culture, for many. I have volunteered to help youngsters in troubled neighbourhoods, and even those who don't have a criminal family background, they are growing up with those ideals of power and wealth because surrounded by it, subliminally being shaped in the language, thinking, relationships, attitude, fashion, aesthetic, very often to fit in and not be emarginated. Even in schools they rule. And the criminal ideology is spreading fast even thanks the use of social media, last but not least TikTok. So, the State and our communities will always lose in the battle against Mafia, a digital online Mafia, because we want to overthrow the Mafia system but we got to eradicate the culture at the same time or even before. If we do not strongly invest in education, show these kids a different world and make this world feel real, accessible, tangible, "cool", where they can truly be themselves and achieve something, participation and gratification, a world built by them, they are the future, we can only support them, show them the path, nurture doubts as a trigger for knowledge, deal with failures for achieving results, but they will have to build their own way. Be themselves with no fear.
There is this kid in my neighborhood, Antonio, he is 9 years old. A bully, because he was told to be tough and act older. But he is, in the mind and heart, a 9 year old kid. When he is among the other kids he acts like a gangster, looks way much older than he is, but once I talked to him on his own, he was a 9 years old, a kid. He asked me about my car, he believes that life is about big cars and expensive clothes, my car was too small. I told him I made videos, he thought I was a youtuber. I showed him my works, talked to him about art, and the things I do on the Internet. He looked at me as if I was less real than a Disney or film character. But I saw in his eyes fascination, curiosity, admiration. Antonio believes that the Internet is about fame, followers, likes. About showing off. Be cool, loud, and famous. Probably Antonio if at school was educated about a creative internet, educated into making, building, investigating, exploring and not just doing over and over again the same assignments and then go on the Internet starting numb at other people staging their life, Antonio would stop carry a little knife in his pocket and act like a tough guy, and stay more at home to learn, use the smartphone differently, desire a computer more than a scooter. I grew up in this neighborhood and seeing talent and smart kids going to waste is painful. Many of these kids are now adults, making the Napoli I am living and where I am getting old and where my daughter will be born and grow.
I do not want to go off topic with this story and so I just end saying that I am noticing this overthrowing happening in the world of finance, really engaged at the moment into crypto art. What I am seeing is the new riches attempting to overthrown, or join, the old elite, the old wealth, build the new financial power. New techs, new money, same old culture for wealth and power. Business as usual, nothing new under the sun. Because toxic culture and ideology of money.

Thank you and I wish you all a good day.

Email : rockmyworld at dombarra.art
Website :  www.dombarra.art
White Page Gallery/s : http://www.whitepagegallery.network

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
On Tuesday, 9 February 2021 02:15, Renate Ferro <rferro at cornell.edu> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Thank you Jennifer for introducing Derek and your collaborative work. I am thankful you listed links to these and I am hoping that any of our subscribers who do have work that resonates with the ideas of data, information, and surveillance capitalism please share them with our listserv.
> What I am trying to wrap my head around today relates to the collapse of the virtual networks of social media highway into networks of physical political engagement, resistance, and protest in the streets. Certainly, we witnessed this is 2020 during the Black Lives Matter movement and then quite negatively during the Capitol uprising. Global examples of this occurred on Germany's parliament in 2020 in response to Covid and just within the last couple of weeks in Russia crowds gathering in support of Aleksei Navalny who was poisoned and then imprisoned. Where do we go from here individually and collectively? How does art help to engage social media users to understand the underpinnings? What may have negative impacts? Or positive ones? What can we learn from comparisons? Critical considerations linger.
> Domenica mentioned digital literacy for the young. Geert listed an overthrow of the system from the ground up. Thoughts from our guests and subscribers?
> Best,
> Renate
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu

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