Monthly Archives: May 2011

contra-/para- … -dict/-dox

What from Heidegger do we inherit?

The State misrecognized as the family. (Cf. Donzelot, Jacques. The Policing of Families.)

The contradictions of capitalism misrecognized as ‘paradoxes of technology‘.

P.S. an entire blog used as a review format (and inventory of allusions) for Malick’s work including The Tree of Life – possibly exemplifying the signifying regime of signs with its 8 principles (of signifiance, circularity, metaphor/hysteria, interpretation, despotic signifier, faciality, scapegoat, and universal deception (cf. D&G: A Thousand Plateaus)): reviewingtreeoflife.blogspot

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absorption

1. The World’s Largest Shopping Mall… Empty!
The largest mall in the world turns out not to be the famous Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. It’s the New South China Mall outside of Guangzhou, China. Outdoing the techniques of American consumerism, South China Mall is Disneyland, Las Vegas and Mall of America rolled into one. There are carnival rides, mini-parks, canals and lakes amid classic Western-style buildings with space for hundreds of shops.  …the mall sits virtually empty of both shops and shoppers.

2. A World-Leading Tech Firm’s Office Park… Empty!
In filming at the IBM offices in Westchester N.Y., we were astonished to find the huge, slick office park almost deserted. We learned it was a byproduct of the fact that so many IBM employees telecommute from home or hotels.  In fact, now, IBM is shifting a significant portion of their internal meetings into virtual worlds like Second Life, giving their employees another excuse not to come into the office.

3. U.S. Military’s Underage Recruitment Arcade… Full!
Declaring their (highly questionable) “Mission Accomplished,” the Army is shutting down a high-tech, $14 million recruiting center in a Philadelphia mall where gung-ho teenagers could sit atop a Black Hawk Simulator and “blow people away” in a virtual Afghan village in video games like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Strategically set between a skateboard park and arcade, the so-called Army Experience Center also featured Apache and Humvee simulators, a Global Base Locator and Career Exploration Area.

Military Entertainment Complex
Global conflict management has migrated into the Military Entertainment Complex, the domain of culture, media and the creative industries. A post-industrial network of military, media, and entertainment has taken over as the warlords and wizards of symbolic domination and information peacekeeping. Based on the subjective experience of instability and insecurity, a transfer of desire to the informational security apparatus shapes society towards authoritarian implications of psychological regression and dependence.
The collaboration of Walter Disney and Wernher von Braun, Disney’s expert on the “World of Tomorrow”, to sell terrestrial audiences on the idea of space with TV programs about Man in Space or Man on the Moon was deeply symbolic.
Pong, the first videogame and arguably the first computer game, was developed at Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1958 on the basis of missile trajectory plotting.
By now the technologies of war games, simulations and recreational computer games have converged and computer games and entertainment are overtaking the cultural and economic significance of the movie industry.
What John Naisbitt dubbed the Military-Nintendo Complex refers to an increasingly intense collaboration of high tech, media, military, and intelligence sectors involving personnel and technologies from both security and the entertainment industry in cooperative ventures. An unholy wedding of the security complex and the entertainment industry has been breaking the ground of what experts now consider the future of post-human conflict management. –Becker, Konrad 2009. Strategic Reality Dictionary.

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Peto’s Racks

John F. Peto‘s money paintings, rack paintings, and their variant patch paintings share a very shallow spatial range. The depicted space rarely appears more than an inch or two deep, with the extreme approaching the thickness of a single dollar bill or a tinytype. As Frankenstein points out, this permits the tromp l’oeil its maximum effectiveness, since the visual effect of parallax does not interfere with the perception of the surface as real. –Johanna Drucker. Harnett, Haberle, and Peto: Visuality and Artifice among the Proto-Modern Americans.

Mel Bochner: Perspective, Insert (Two in One), 1967

Josephine Halvorson: Peeling Panel, 2009

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humeigne

The important fact that mankind commenced at the bottom of the scale and worked up, is revealed in an expressive manner by their successive arts of subsistence. Upon their skill in this direction, the whole question of human supremacy on the earth depended. Mankind are the only beings who may be said to have gained an absolute control over the production of food; which at the outset they did not possess above other animals. Without enlarging the basis of subsistence, mankind could not have propagated themselves into other areas not possessing the same kinds of food, and ultimately over the whole surface of the earth; and lastly, without obtaining an absolute control over both its variety and amount, they could not have multiplied into populous nations. –Lewis H. Morgan 1877. Ancient Society. Chapter II: Arts of Subsistence.

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cult

But for many Americans these high celebrations of corporate power were offensive. They preached the virtues of big money to people who were queuing at soup kitchens in the streets below. They were a master image of inequality. With the crash (of 1929) the skyscraper became an emblem of doom, like the temple of a sacrificial cult. Hugh Ferriss‘ drawings turn an imagined New York into a city of prismatic tombs. Scary abstract monuments in a social void. –Robert Hughes in American Visions E6 Steamlines and Breadlines.

Religion has a function that goes beyond faith and the veracity of the monotheistic gift: “The prohibition of human sacrifices. The modern world has decided that the prohibition is the nonsense”. –René Girard.

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