Oct 17, 2013

Here’s what I’ll admit: many boys have a really hard time with subjectivity. To grapple with your own subjectivity is to grapple with the subjectivities of others. It’s to see the world not as legible, stable, conquerable but as resistant, shifting, and fundamentally unknowable. It diminishes your certainty and authority. It leaves you vulnerable. This is a human problem, being a person among persons, but one that many boys have trouble admitting even the basic tenets of. And so they call for an objectivity that has no foundation except received opinion, that seeks to diminish individual experience, and that turns out to not even exist.

Objectivity is very convenient for the straight white middle class male gamer. Videogame culture encourages him to see his own subjectivity as the standard, as objective. He’ll invoke science, economics, statistics, and all manner of folk wisdom to defend his little kingdom. He’ll decry any challenge as ‘politics’ or ‘bad business’ or ‘whining’ or ‘here we go again’. He never considers how often objectivity is a cover for a dominant subjectivity, for a subjectivity that stays in power by not being recognized as such. He fears what will happen if the established order breaks down and the Vox take control.

On Videogame Reviews
Oct 14, 2013
In Deleuze and Guattari’s opposition between smooth and striated, we hear a political distinction, between two ways of occupying space. Smooth space is lived in intimately, and you don’t feel a strong distinction between yourself and your surroundings. This doesn’t have to be the desert or the expanse of snow; smooth space can be your neighborhood, your home, your own rumpled bed. Striated space is divided, striated, in order to conquer: if you take a distance on a space you can mark it out, map it, make it into territory. I hope you get a sense of the political stakes between these two kinds of visuality, haptic and optical, and the two kinds of space they intend, smooth space and striated space.
Laura U. Marks, “Haptic Visuality: Touching with the Eyes
Oct 14, 2013
It was here [in minority cinema, i.e. work by immigrant, exile, and diaspora filmmakers and videomakers] that I first saw works of political cinema that appealed to the senses, while questioning the instrumentality of vision. For example, the videos by Hopi artist Victor Masayesva seemed to deflect the gaze and only partially offer his culture for viewing. The well-known video by Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum, Measures of Distance, offered a kind of close-up vision of a woman’s naked body (her mother in the bath) that invited contact more than distanced observation, across the distance of the family’s exile. And in a short video called Seeing Is Believing by Canadian artist Shauna Beharry, the artist evokes the memory of her deceased mother not by looking at pictures of her but by conveying what it feels like to wear her sari. In this last work especially, it seemed that there was something struggling to be expressed that was too fragile to make it into the image. This fragility had to do with the movement between cultures, the loss and retranslation of meaning. It seemed to me that the meaning that was so important in Seeing Is Believing could only survive if it were translated into another form: in this case, into touch.
Laura U. Marks, “Haptic Visuality: Touching with the Eyes
Oct 14, 2013
Rather than examine the love letter generator in terms of identity, Wardrip-Fruin chooses to view it as a literary project despite the mechanical, even comical tone of these letters. In other words, he attempts to analyze the process of the generator rather than the content of the letters, to understand the materiality of the technical object rather than the meaning of its output. This is a particularly interesting method, one that is especially valuable for the study of computational systems, which function through mechanical processes in which authorship is neither a privileged site to be investigated nor – as Roland Barthes so famously suggested – evacuated.
Jacob Gaboury, “A Queer History of Computing: Part Three
Oct 13, 2013
I love teenage girls because even if they hate themselves, they love other people. I remember how I felt, seeing other girls go through what I was going through. It ruined me. I wanted so desperately to help them out of the muck, but when you’re submerged yourself, there’s not a lot you can do. Teenage girls understand, and they want to make sure no one else feels the way they do. I see it on websites like Tumblr all the time. It’s fucking beautiful.
http://fygirlcrush.tumblr.com/post/61909850505
Oct 13, 2013
Well let me tell you why it wasn’t The Internationale [that became the song to unite the human race]! If you think about it, it’s a marching song [taps out a rigid marching beat on the table] – a song with certain kinds of social relations suggested within its structure, and these are social relations emphasising uniformity. A march is a uniform beat: you become one. There’s no space for individuality. And the lyrics are all about the ‘we’: there’s not a single ‘I’ in the song, and I’m quite glad it didn’t unite the human race because I think that’s kind of dangerous as a way of being. Who gets to define that ‘we’? And a nice point of contrast roughly at the same time as the Internationale was being promoted as the song to unite the human race is the musical form of swing. There’s a rather brilliant book by Joel Dinerstein on swing music [Swinging The Machine], and he suggests that swing is a way of accommodating the pace and rhythms of railways and the assembly line, but giving space for the human voice to interact with it. So when dancing to swing there are periods when you dance collectively, but there’s a breakaway moment where there’s space for individuality – and then you come back to it. So this speaks to me as a beautiful culture that acknowledges the importance of collectivity and gives space for individuality, and as a political vision I think that’s a beautiful vision.
http://thequietus.com/articles/13090-music-in-the-workplace
Oct 13, 2013
With regards to gender – it seems that women have been more likely to sing than men in factories. Men are more likely to hear the sound of their machinery as affirming their masculinity and so not sing over it. And when you come into broadcast music, the people who are more likely to complain about music are men who want to hear the sound of their machines.
http://thequietus.com/articles/13090-music-in-the-workplace
Oct 13, 2013
What happens when self-destruction is taken as a means of interference; to be a decomposing presence over the ‘adjustment as accomplishment’ that neoliberal times demand? To manipulate precarity and be radically vulnerable within the limits of work, or non-work. To think of time-wasting, narcissism, melancholy and boredom as collective subversive practices. Self-realisation and happiness is no longer confined to the workplace, but extended to the realisation of fully functioning and mechanised social and personal relations.
Anti-Work
Oct 13, 2013
Can social media be created that doesn’t ask us to work ourselves into as many identity-containers given that humans and identity itself are fundamentally fluid and ever changing?
Nathan Jurgenson, “The Liquid Self
Oct 13, 2013
When mainstream music tries to be “edgy” or “raw” it fails in ways which, in their very failure to secure those all-too-human qualities, often produces results that actually are weirder than the supposedly “weird” music that fills the “Out” section of hipster record stores. This winner’s circle of abject deep cuts from platinum artists — think Guns N’ Roses’ “My World” from Use Your Illusion II, or Michael Jackson’s “2000 Watts” from Invincible — is now joined by Cher’s vampire ballad “Lovers Forever.” It’s my favorite song on this album, and it sounds like Anne Rice sinking lysergic fangs into Patrick Cowley’s neck during a gothic rave inside the Cirque de Soleil. Well, maybe not, but its lyrical marriage of utopian politics to vampy theatricality hits a kind of nadir-as-high-point in which Cher’s do-gooder urges finally succumb to a darker agenda. Taken as a whole, the guitar solos, spiraling synth arpeggios, and raunchy orchestral stabs of “Lovers Forever” go so far beyond normative taste categories as to achieve a kind of deliriously tacky sublimity that perhaps only weapons-grade mainstream music can deliver. I guess sometimes it really is better to be further from the truth.
Drew Daniel of Matmos reviews Cher’s latest album
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