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robertogreco : michaelbrown   11

Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, "Michael Brown" [.pdf]
[Also here: ]

"We fall so we can fall again, which is what ascension really means to us. To fall is to lose one’s place, to lose the place that makes one, to relinquish the locus of being, which is to say of being single. This radical homelessness—its kinetic indigeneity, its irreducible queerness—is the essence of blackness. This refusal to take place is given in what it is to occur."

"But what if together we can fall, because we’re fallen, because we need to fall again, to continue in our common fallenness, remembering that falling is in apposition to rising, their combination given in lingering, as the giving of pause, recess, vestibular remain, custodial remand, hold, holding in the interest of rub, dap’s reflex and reflection of maternal touch, a maternal ecology of laid hands, of being handled, handed, handed down, nurture’s natural dispersion, its endless refusal of standing. Hemphill emphatically announces the sociality that Luther shelters. Fallen, risen, mo(u)rnful survival. "

"The state can’t live with us and it can’t live without us. Its violence is a reaction to that condition. The state is nothing other than a war against its own condition. The state is at war against its own (re)sources, in violent reaction to its own condition of im/possibility, which is life itself, which is the earth itself, which blackness doesn’t so much stand in for as name, as a name among others that is not just another name among others.

That we survive is beauty and testament; it is neither to be dismissed nor overlooked nor devalued by or within whatever ascription of value; that we survive is invaluable. It is, at the same time, insufficient. We have to recognize that a state—the racial capitalist/settler colonial state—of war has long existed. Its brutalities and militarizations, its regulative mundanities, are continually updated and revised, but they are not new."

"The law of the state is what Ida B. Wells rightly calls lynch law. And we extend it in our appeals to it.

We need to stop worrying so much about how it kills, regulates, and accumulates us, and worry more about how we kill, deregulate, and disperse it. We have to love and revere our survival, which is (in) our resistance.We have to love our refusal of what has been refused. But insofar as this refusal has begun to stand, insofar as it has begun to seek standing, it stands in need of renewal, now, even as the sources and conditions of that renewal become more and more obscure, more and more entangled with the regulatory apparatuses that are deployed in order to suppress them. At moments like this we have to tell the truth with a kind of viciousness and, even, a kind of cruelty."

"The innovation of our survival is given in embrace of this daimonic, richly internally differentiated choreography, its lumpen improvisation of contact, which is obscured when class struggle in black studies threatens to suppress black study as class struggle."

"Michael Brown and his boys: black life breaking and making law, against and underneath the state, surrounding it. They had foregone the melancholic appeal, to which we now reduce them, for citizenship, and subjectivity, and humanness. That they had done so is the source of Darren Wilson’s genocidal instrumentalization in the state’s defense. They were in a state of war and they knew it. Moreover, they were warriors in insurgent, if imperfect, beauty."

"Rather than dissipate our preoccupation with how we live and breathe, we need to defend our ways in our persistent practice of them. It’s not about taking the streets; it’s about how, and about what, we should take to the streets. What would it be and what would it mean for us jurisgeneratively to take to the streets, to live in the streets, to gather together another city right here, right now?"
stefanoharney  fredmoten  michaelbrown  blackness  indigeneity  refusal  resistance  governance  illegibility  state  homelessness  queerness  survival  settlercolonialism 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Reading Things — Magazine — Walker Art Center
"I’m sunbathing on the beach on a cloudless August day in the Rockaways. It’s blindingly bright and I have a T-shirt draped over my eyes to block the sun. I am overhearing a conversation between some of the friends around me and someone new who has walked across the sand to us. Whose is this voice I don’t know? I think it is man, someone I’ve never met. I uncover my eyes and see that it is one of my friends—a woman, a transwoman whose female-ness I have never questioned, whose voice I had always heard as a female voice. Had I never heard her before? How can my ears hear two different voices, depending on whether or not I know who is speaking? As I puzzle over this, I start thinking of other instances in which two or more versions of reality butt up against each other, two contradictory sensory experiences that are somehow both real to me, depending on how I encounter them. What is going on here?"

"This winter I delivered an artist talk at Virginia Commonwealth University, where I’ve been teaching, about my investment in objects with open-ended or ambiguous function—things that cause one to ask, “What is this for?” I discuss the studio as a place where I aim to make objects that frustrate even my own attempts to know them, once and for all, as one thing and not others. I make things that ask for nuanced, open-ended forms of reading that can accommodate these objects of ambiguous functionality. Over coffee the following morning, one of the other faculty members in the department, Corin Hewitt, excitedly wanted to know if I had heard of a beloved object known as the “slant step.” I had not, but since then an image of it has been following me around—in the studio, on the train, in and out of bathrooms, while reading the news. The slant step is a small piece of furniture that was purchased in a second-hand store in Mill Valley, California, in 1965 by the artist William Wiley and his then-graduate student Bruce Nauman. Costing less than a dollar, this wood and green linoleum, one-of-a-kind handmade object struck these two artists as puzzling and fascinating, primarily because its function was a mystery. Though reminiscent of a step stool, the step part of the stool sits at a 45-degree angle to the floor, making it impossible to step up onto it, hence the name, the slant step. This unassuming ambiguous object resonated not just with Wiley and Nauman, but also with a whole range of Bay Area artists in the 1960s, inspiring more than one group exhibition themed around it, a catalogue, and numerous articles as well as extensive use as a teaching tool by the painter Frank Owen. It is now in the permanent collection of the University of California Davis.3"

"In the midst of all this urgency, the figure of the slant step comes to my mind. I feel embarrassed about it because what could this remote object have to offer when we are in need of such concrete changes? A useful object with no apparent use. A handmade thing of unknown origin, producing more questions than answers. An object that modestly requests a more effortful type of reading than what we normally engage in. We identify things in terms of their function and move on, reading passively. We learn only as much as we need to know. This object, compelling to so many in the past 50 years, is compelling to me as well, insofar as it encourages me to read more slowly. It makes me want to see it as more than one thing at once, or as many different things in quick succession. Looking to the slant step as a teacher, I want to learn what it seems to already know—I can’t always know what I am looking at. Clearly already well used in the mid-1960s but for an inscrutable purpose, the slant step speaks of bodies without being able to name them. It has always seemed wrong to me to say that we see what is before us and then interpret it, because the idea of “interpreting what we see” implies an inaccurate linearity to this process and suggests that the things themselves are fixed while our understandings of them remain malleable. Rather, we understand what we are seeing at the same moment we see it; perception is identification. Understood in this way, changing our interpretations is literally synonymous with changing the functioning of our senses, initiating a pulling apart of the instantaneous act of assigning meaning to what we see. This slowness to assign identification in the moment of encounter lies at the heart of the slant step’s curious appeal."

"On an overcast August day in 1995, Tyra Hunter, a hairstylist and black transgender woman, got in a car accident while driving in Washington, DC. Adrian Williams, the emergency medical technician at the scene who began to cut away her clothing to administer urgently needed aid, is reported to have said, “This bitch ain’t no girl… it’s a nigger; he’s got a dick!” Hunter lay on the ground bleeding as Williams and the other EMTs joked around her, and died later that day of her injuries at a nearby hospital. A subsequent investigation into the events leading to her death concluded that it would very likely have been prevented had treatment been continued at the scene of the accident.15

In the fall of 2014, a grand jury in St. Louis County Missouri decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. In the spring of 2015, the US Department of Justice also cleared Wilson of all civil rights violations, deeming the shooting to be an act of self-defense. In Wilson’s testimony in his grand jury hearing, he recounted looking at Brown in the moments before shooting him six times, and described him as having “the most intense aggressive face. The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that’s how angry he looked.”16

It’s hard to stomach these statements, but I write them here because I am noticing the ways that both of the speakers managed to transform the person they were about to kill from a human being to a thing in the moments before their deaths. By a probably less-than-conscious twist of verbal gymnastics, both killers shift from using a pronoun generally used to refer to people (he/she) to using a pronoun generally used to refer to inanimate things: it. If murder is the act of permanently dehumanizing another, then it is as if in order to give themselves permission to kill these two individuals Williams and Wilson had to preemptively transform them from people into things. “It’s a nigger…” “It looks like a demon…” Did these statements make it possible to turn a human being into a corpse? Maybe so, as a person turned nonconsensually into a thing is already a person dangerously close to death."

"In the 1966 slant step show, William Wiley, the artist who originally bought the step from the thrift store, made a metal casting from it that bore the following inscription: “This piece is dedicated to all the despised unknown, unloved, people, objects and ideas that just don’t make it and never will, who have so thoughtlessly given their time and talent to become objects of scorn but maintain an innocent ignorance and never realize that you hate them.”18 For Wiley, the slant step was both an intriguing object of ambiguous functionality, while also serving another purpose as the object of certain recuperations. To treat a discarded object with care, to focus on it, show it to others, make copies and homages to it—to, in a sense, treat it with love—had a value for him on its own account. A small act of treating an uncared-for thing with care as an articulation of an ethos for encountering one another. Frank Owen, one of Wiley’s friends and an original participant in the slant step show, used the step as a model in his life-drawing classes for decades—producing innumerable depictions of its likeness and encouraging his students to think deeply about it through the slow and close looking necessitated by drawing. “This was its job—to pose on a model stand patiently (which it is very good at) and be drawn while also posing its eternal question: What is this thing, what is it for and why do we attend to it?”19"

"In thinking about Mark and her succulents, I am wrapping myself around the sustaining potential of relations of care with non-human things. I wonder about the role that the cultivation, protection, and recuperation of things might play in the day-to-day processes of healing necessitated by living as a body that is objectified, misread, or unrecognized. Can attending to objects with care be a labor of self-sustenance for us as well? Can the things of our lives be our companions, our children, our comrades?24 What can we know or feel about our own bodies through the ways that we relate to objects? I want to propose the possibility that our relations with objects themselves might function as a means of remodeling our own often-fraught bonds with the materiality that is our own lived bodies. I sometimes joke that all I am doing in the studio is making friends. This joke is feeling more real by the day. I am thinking now about all the gorgeous non-traditionally gendered people I know coming back to their apartments exhausted from the daily labor of moving through the world and carefully watering their plants."
objects  kinship  objectkinship  care  caring  reality  perception  senses  gordonhall  gender  seeing  sculpture  art  artists  2016  functionality  corinhewitt  brucenauman  williamwiley  1960s  slow  slowreading  howweread  reading  knowing  howwelearn  noticing  observation  identification  bodies  naming  notknowing  meaning  meaningmaking  frankowen  ambiguity  mickybradford  race  markaguhar  michaelbrown  williamwitherup  mrionwintersteen  chancesdances  tyrahunter  northcarolina  housebill2  body 
august 2016 by robertogreco
If You Hear Something Say Something, Or If You’re Not At The Table You’re On The Menu | ENTROPY
"It was the moment when the moderator was edging ever closer to the table where Marjorie Perloff sat, as he waited, microphone in hand, for the end of her answer to the really very truly last question before lunch, so he could bring the session to a close. It was the moment when everyone in the room was beginning to fidget with the awareness that the café serving lunch would close in twenty minutes. It was the moment when the next thing on the agenda was the workshop I was facilitating, which was where my head already was. It was the moment after I’d asked a question that pointed toward Marjorie Perloff’s selective and uncritical reading of critiques of Kenneth Goldsmith as exclusively about who has the right to speak of whom and in which contexts, the moment after the British writer James Wilkes asked a question about narrow channels versus the expansiveness of works that are more porous and polyvocal. It was the moment Perloff chose to answer Wilkes’ question about a poetics of generosity with the statement that we can’t romanticize the victim. What she said, verbatim—at the tail end of the Q&A following her talk at Where Were We, the ArtWriting Festival in Aarhus, Denmark on December 6, 2015—was this:

“I think the romanticization, where everybody kept calling him the poor child Michael Brown, and they constantly showed photographs of him in the media when he had been about 12 years old. That’s what they do. Many of the pictures you saw, he looks like a little kid, he was a 300-pound huge man. Scary. He was scary, I’m just saying, that way. So that things then turn out to be much more complicated. And so I don’t know what’s happened to poetry, or to poetic discourse, I shouldn’t say to poetry, but to poetic discourse, when we have all over Facebook these sentimental things about the poor sweet child and his poor family. Michael Brown himself had said ‘I wish I had a family.’ He didn’t even—he hadn’t seen his father in years, his mother was on crack, he didn’t have much of a family or much of a life.”
I know this is what she said, verbatim. I wrote down her words as she said them, in simultaneous incredulous disbelief and unsurprised belief at her blatant, predictable racism. I also recorded her talk and the Q&A that followed it, so I know for sure that this is what she said. (I’ve transcribed a larger excerpt contextualizing these comments below; feel free to be in touch if you want a copy of the entire recording—it’s poor sound quality and poor critical thinking and nothing you haven’t heard before if you’ve even halfway followed Perloff’s inexplicable or perhaps all too explicable defense of Kenneth Goldsmith’s work, but I’m willing to share the recording with anyone who wants it.)

These hateful, fearful comments were the only information in Perloff’s talk that was new—if not unfamiliar—to me. That is: the open admission that she finds Michael Brown scary, and that she perceives him as not having had “much of a family or much of a life,” as if that might justify (or at least mitigate) his brutal and entirely unjustifiable murder at the hands of the state and more specifically at the end of the barrel of Darren Wilson’s police-issue gun, or Kenneth Goldsmith’s predatory, self-aggrandizing and dehumanizing appropriation of the autopsy report describing Michael Brown’s dead body. As if Perloff should be the judge of what it is to “have a family” or “have a life,” or as if her standards for families and lives should be universal. As if she has some capacity, or some right, to measure how much this particular Black life mattered. I found these comments horrifying yet illuminating—not because it is a surprise that a white woman should express anti-Black sentiment or should feel threatened by and denigrating of an African-American youth, but because Perloff’s perhaps inadvertent honesty in that moment helped me to understand more clearly the backdrop to her willful insistence on amplifying the voices of white supremacist writers in a moment when, on the one hand, such voices need no amplification, and on the other, it could be considered a political and ethical responsibility to make work that explicitly and purposefully counters white supremacy. These comments provided context for the baffling fact that Perloff could speak about and around the fiasco of Goldsmith’s Michael Brown piece for nearly an hour and a half without even once mentioning the Black Lives Matter movement, and without acknowledging the many substantive critiques of that work that extend far beyond the question of who has a right to speak or write about which bodies—her sole, selective, and irresponsibly partial analysis of the criticism of Goldsmith’s piece. This is in no way an exhaustive cataloguing—there’s so much more—but some of the writings that have been most important to my thinking about racial justice in the poetry community have been written by: Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, Mahogany Browne and Black Poets Speak Out (there’s a really helpful compendium and notes at Cultural Front), Daniel Borzutzky, Ken Chen, Don Mee Choi, Cura’s “Fulcrum” issue, Joey De Jesús, Hands Up Don’t Shoot, Cathy Park Hong, Bhanu Kapil, John Keene, Eunsong Kim, Amy King, Ruth Ellen Kocher, Kenji Liu, Farid Matuk, and Heriberto Yépez.

Let me be clear: I believe it is my political and ethical responsibility to counter white supremacy explicitly and purposefully, in my creative work and in my teaching and in my cross-language practice and in my everyday conversations and movements through the world—and I don’t actually make much distinction among those realms, in practice or in poetics. I believe, further, that white supremacy is inextricably and intersectionally bound up with heteropatriarchy and voracious capitalism and the kind of anthropocentric consumer mentality that allows humans with privilege to believe that they are somehow immune from the ecological interconnectedness of all living beings (human, fauna, and flora). These are my beliefs, and I work to enact them in multiple ways in multiple contexts, and I often fail, and I continue through failure, and I don’t seek success but rather I seek accountability, porosity, to encounter what is beyond me, to accompany and be accompanied. These are my beliefs, and yet in the moment, as everyone present was being subjected to Marjorie Perloff’s hate speech—or maybe it was less intentional than hate speech? fear speech, perhaps?—I didn’t speak. I heard something and I didn’t say anything. All too often I don’t quite know how to speak. There’s no how-to for making a work or a life that counters white supremacy, nor is such resistance always as clear-cut as responding directly to racism publicly and blatantly expressed. Poetic practice is rarely clear-cut, direct and blatant; this is, in my view, part of its power: to take the everyday often instrumentalized tool that is language and to defamiliarize it in order to make other imaginings, other instigations, and other structures radically and concretely and imaginatively possible.

Marjorie Perloff is a literary gatekeeper par excellence. Many people choose to walk into literary territories through the gates she constructs. Like those who teach, those who declare themselves the arbiters of culture—aside from exhibiting a belief in non-horizontal models I find reactionary at best—have, I believe, a particular responsibility to make choices that are ethical, thoughtful, aware of their social and political implications. Or perhaps it’s not just a question of responsibility, but also one of effects: the choices such gatekeepers make have very real social and political effects. And it is thus crucial for us to understand the scaffoldings on which the gatekeepers build their gates. And to make thoughtful choices about whose work we will use as guide and inspiration. Overt, explicit racism isn’t usually part of the way Perloff constructs her arguments. But it’s crucially important to know that racism is part of what leads her to make the arguments she makes, to promote the work she promotes.

I know there are different forms of speech. I know that our actions both large and small are a form of speech. I know that there was probably no one in that room (save perhaps the infant son of one of the festival participants who has yet to access any language) who did not recognize Perloff’s comments as hideously racist. I know that few if any people in that room needed me to point out how deeply anti-Black her remarks were, how vile they were in their implication that perhaps Michael Brown deserved to die, or at the very least deserved to be objectified by Kenneth Goldsmith after his death. How astounding it was that she could think such comments would be received without protest, as simply another aspect of her argument. How sickeningly predictable it was—perhaps especially in a room where it might have been easy to assume there were no Black people present, but really in any room—to assume complicity with and acceptance of anti-Black commentary. How even more insidious, perhaps, that she should make such comments in a room in Denmark with only a few USAmericans present, a room where it’s quite possible there were people who don’t have broad knowledge about the history of forced African diaspora and slavery in the Americas, and the particular ways that history and its many reverberations continue to shape race relations and racism in the U.S., or about the long-standing and currently glaringly visible plague of state-sponsored violence against Black and Brown people, but particularly against Black people, who are killed by cops and incarcerated in numbers vastly disproportionate to their percentage of the population. All this. All this and more. Yet I didn’t speak, and I wish I had, even just to register out loud my heartfelt and inarticulate this is not okay.

I have some ideas about why I felt so … [more]
jenhofer  2015  marjorieperloff  michaelbrown  racism  race  kennethgoldsmith  poetry  mongrelcoalition  mongrelcoalitionagainstgrongpo 
december 2015 by robertogreco
"I got off Facebook way before Kenneth “Solid” Goldsmith decided it was time to find something to re-say about the deadly way we’ve always been living now. If only someone had whispered in his ear: if you can’t find something good to re-say then don’t re-say anything at all. In any case, the last thing I would have asked him, on Facebook or anywhere else, is “What the fuck are you doing?” I know what the fuck he is doing. Unfortunately, as a matter of life and death, I have to know that kinda shit. It’s part of what you have to do to survive the ancient and continuously present attempt to erase our ancient and continuing presence. But because he doesn’t have to know what the fuck he is doing, I was wondering if he did, or if he cared. Over the course of time the answer has become clear. Meanwhile, we seek after a commonness in how we breathe that would correspond to a commonness in that we breathe. This under-respirational aspiration is Juliana Spahr’s portfolio. It’s an essential object of desire and criticism.

I breathe some air that Marjorie Perloff breathes. I like some poetry that Marjorie Perloff likes. At the same time, we don’t like one another, even though we don’t know one another; at the same time, even though I don’t know her, I know a lot about her. As a matter of fact, I know a lot more about her than she knows about either me or herself. That’s a function of our education. I had to learn about her and many of the things that have gone and continue to go into the making of her. She has never been so obligated, a condition that induces not only ignorance but also cold-heartedness. And now she wants to leave the poetry world because she thinks we’ve entered it, bringing all that loud talk, nastiness and indecorum—cars on blocks in the front yard; the unsavory smell of low-class savories wafting over the universal manicure and its intubated concepts. But this is her world; she can’t leave it. She thought it up so she can have it. She gotta have it. She couldn’t withdraw—or, to be more precise, shut the fuck up for a minute and feel—if her life depended on it. Actually, her life—to which brutal and immaterial abstraction she assumes an absolute right in refusing to assume the same for big, black, scary Michael Brown—depends upon her continuing to speak, even if it’s just to her tight-ass circle, even if all she and they can speak about is her and their right to speak. Deeper still, sadly, pitifully, Marjorie Perloff claims her Jewishness in order freely to speak whiteness, exercising her right to say whatever horrid anti-semitic shit she wants in order to exercise her right to say whatever horrid anti-black shit she wants. There’s something painfully and shamefully typical about this violence and hatred directed towards the victim, which is announced as some kind of clear-eyed anti-romanticism rather than the surreptitious romanticization of the victimizer, a (ser)vile fealty that takes the form of a loose, unthinking theology of strength. Perhaps this is what it is to love the (poetry) world as it is: a possessive rejectionism, an anti-intellectually callous insistence on valuation in separation, an imperial refusal to feel that constitute a tragic and all but absolute reduction of what we are and what we’re supposed to be.

To speak, however obliquely, of the making of Marjorie Perloff is to speak also of her unmaking. It may well be that there’s no longer any such person as Marjorie Perloff. Perhaps now Marjorie Perloff is just a concept. Further investigation is required. For the time being, let’s just say, with as much accuracy as is possible, that there’s a venal susceptibility to such unrequitable love of the (poetry) world to which finally we are enjoined to assign the name Marjorie Perloff. It’s not Marjorie Perloff that must leave the poetry world; we must leave it, a condition that ought to fill us with pride and joy. Marjorie Perloff rightly intimates the distinction between the violation and the rejection of taste. Marjorie Perloff has bad taste. Marjorie Perloff is in bad taste. On the other hand—the hand that’s steady flying all the way off the handle, careening out of body and out of this world—we sing the earth with flavor: dust in our mouths, water in our lungs, blood in our eyes, hands in our hands. Marjorie Perloff, we been studying you so long that we ain’t studying you; we been thinking about you so hard that we ain’t thinking about you. Stay right where you are."
fredmoten  2015  marjorieperloff  kennethgoldsmith  poetry  race  culture  racism  michaelbrown 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Reading and Rumor: The Problem with Kenneth Goldsmith - News - Art in America
kennethgoldsmith  michaelbrown  2015  briandroitcour  alisonflood  jilliansteinhauer  jaquelinevalencia  heribertoyépez  michaelhessel-mial  brandonbeaulieu  poetry  art  conceptualism  race  racism  sonnetl'abbé 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Ai Weiwei is Living in Our Future — Medium
'Living under permanent surveillance and what that means for our freedom'

"Put a collar with a GPS chip around your dog’s neck and from that moment onwards you will be able to follow your dog on an online map and get a notification on your phone whenever your dog is outside a certain area. You want to take good care of your dog, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the collar also functions as a fitness tracker. Now you can set your dog goals and check out graphs with trend lines. It is as Bruce Sterling says: “You are Fluffy’s Zuckerberg”.

What we are doing to our pets, we are also doing to our children.

The ‘Amber Alert’, for example, is incredibly similar to the Pet Tracker. Its users are very happy: “It’s comforting to look at the app and know everyone is where they are supposed to be!” and “The ability to pull out my phone and instantly monitor my son’s location, takes child safety to a whole new level.” In case you were wondering, it is ‘School Ready’ with a silent mode for educational settings.

Then there is ‘The Canary Project’ which focuses on American teens with a driver’s license. If your child is calling somebody, texting or tweeting behind the wheel, you will be instantly notified. You will also get a notification if your child is speeding or is outside the agreed-on territory.

If your child is ignoring your calls and doesn’t reply to your texts, you can use the ‘Ignore no more’ app. It will lock your child’s phone until they call you back. This clearly shows that most surveillance is about control. Control is the reason why we take pleasure in surveilling ourselves more and more.

I won’t go into the ‘Quantified Self’ movement and our tendency to put an endless amount of sensors on our body attempting to get “self knowlegde through numbers”. As we have already taken the next step towards control: algorithmic punishment if we don’t stick to our promises or reach our own goals."

"Normally his self-measured productivity would average around 40%, but with Kara next to him, his productiviy shot upward to 98%. So what do you do with that lesson? You create a wristband that shocks you whenever you fail to keep to your own plan. The wristband integrates well, of course, with other apps in your “productivity ecosystem”."

"On Kickstarter the makers of the ‘Blink’ camera tried to crowdfund 200.000 dollars for their invention. They received over one millions dollars instead. The camera is completely wireless, has a battery that lasts a year and streams HD video straight to your phone."

"I would love to speak about the problems of gentrification in San Francisco, or about a culture where nobody thinks you are crazy when you utter the sentence “Don’t touch me, I’ll fucking sue you” or about the fact this Google Glass user apparently wasn’t ashamed enough about this interaction to not post this video online. But I am going to talk about two other things: the first-person perspective and the illusionary symmetry of the Google Glass.

First the perspective from which this video was filmed. When I saw the video for the first time I was completely fascinated by her own hand which can be seen a few times and at some point flips the bird."

"The American Civil Liberties Union (also known as the ACLU) released a report late last year listing the advantages and disadvantages of bodycams. The privacy concerns of the people who will be filmed voluntarily or involuntarily and of the police officers themselves (remember Ai Weiwei’s guards who were continually watched) are weighed against the impact bodycams might have in combatting arbitrary police violence."

"A short while ago I noticed that you didn’t have to type in book texts anymore when filling in a reCAPTCHA. Nowadays you type in house numbers helping Google, without them asking you, to further digitize the physical world."

"This is the implicit view on humanity that the the big tech monopolies have: an extremely cheap source of labour which can be brought to a high level of productivity through the smart use of machines. To really understand how this works we need to take a short detour to the gambling machines in Las Vegas."

"Taleb has written one of the most important books of this century. It is called ‘Anti-fragile: Things That Gain from Disorder’ and it explores how you should act in a world that is becoming increasingly volatile. According to him, we have allowed efficiency thinking to optimize our world to such an extent that we have lost the flexibility and slack that is necessary for dealing with failure. This is why we can no longer handle any form of risk.

Paradoxically this leads to more repression and a less safe environment. Taleb illustrates this with an analogy about a child which is raised by its parents in a completely sterile environment having a perfect life without any hard times. That child will likely grow up with many allergies and will not be able to navigate the real world.

We need failure to be able to learn, we need inefficiency to be able to recover from mistakes, we have to take risks to make progress and so it is imperative to find a way to celebrate imperfection.

We can only keep some form of true freedom if we manage to do that. If we don’t, we will become cogs in the machines. I want to finish with a quote from Ai Weiwei:
“Freedom is a pretty strange thing. Once you’ve experienced it, it remains in your heart, and no one can take it away. Then, as an individual, you can be more powerful than a whole country.”
aiweiwei  surveillance  privacy  china  hansdezwart  2014  google  maps  mapping  freedom  quantification  tracking  technology  disney  disneyland  bigdog  police  lawenforcement  magicbands  pets  monitoring  pettracker  parenting  teens  youth  mobile  phones  cellphones  amberalert  canaryproject  autonomy  ignorenomore  craiglist  productivity  pavlok  pavlov  garyshteyngart  grindr  inder  bangwithfriends  daveeggers  transparency  thecircle  literature  books  dystopia  lifelogging  blink  narrative  flone  drones  quadcopters  cameras  kevinkelly  davidbrin  googleglass  sarahslocum  aclu  ferguson  michaelbrown  bodycams  cctv  captcha  recaptcha  labor  sousveillance  robots  humans  capitalism  natashadowschüll  design  facebook  amazon  addiction  nassimtaleb  repression  safety  society  howwelearn  learning  imperfection  humanism  disorder  control  power  efficiency  inefficiency  gambling  lasvegas  doom  quantifiedself  measurement  canon  children 
january 2015 by robertogreco
The American Justice System Is Not Broken
"In July, New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo choked unarmed black man Eric Garner to death, in broad daylight, while a bystander caught it on video. That is what American police do. Yesterday, despite the video, despite an NYPD prohibition of exactly the sort of chokehold Pantaleo used, and despite the New York City medical examiner ruling the death a homicide, a Staten Island grand jury declined even to indict Pantaleo. That is what American grand juries do.

In August, Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown to death in broad daylight. That is what American police do. Ten days ago, despite multiple eyewitness accounts and his own face contradicting Wilson's narrative of events, a grand jury declined to indict Wilson. That is what American grand juries do.

In November 2006, a group of five New York police officers shot unarmed black man Sean Bell to death in the early morning hours of his wedding day. That is what American police do. In April 2008, despite multiple eyewitness accounts contradicting the officers' accounts of the incident, Justice Arthur J. Cooperman acquitted the officers of all charges, including reckless endangerment. That is what American judges do.

In February of 1999, four plainclothes New York police officers shot unarmed black man Amadou Diallo to death outside of his home. That is what American police do. A year later, an Albany jury acquitted the officers of all charges, including reckless endangerment. That is what American juries do.

In November of 1951, Willis McCall, the sheriff of Lake County, Fla., shot and killed Sam Shepherd, an unarmed and handcuffed black man in his custody. That is what American police do. Despite both a living witness and forensic evidence which contradicted his version of events, a coroner's inquest ruled that McCall had acted within the line of duty, and Judge Thomas Futch declined to convene a grand jury at all.

The American justice system is not broken. This is what the American justice system does. This is what America does.

The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates has written damningly of the American preference for viewing our society's crimes as aberrations—betrayals of some deeper, truer virtue, or departures from some righteous intended path. This is a convenient mythology. If the institutions of white American power taking black lives and then exonerating themselves for it is understood as a failure to live out some more authentic American idea, rather than as the expression of that American idea, then your and my and our lives and lifestyles are distinct from those failures. We can stand over here, and shake our heads at the failures over there, and then return to the familiar business, and everything is OK. Likewise, if the individual police officers who take black lives are just some bad cops doing policework badly, and not good cops doing precisely what America has hired and trained them to do, then white Americans may continue calling the police when black people frighten us, free from moral responsibility for the whole range of possible outcomes.

The murders of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, Sam Shepherd, and countless thousands of others at the hands of American law enforcement are not aberrations, or betrayals, or departures. The acquittals of their killers are not mistakes. There is no virtuous innermost America, sullied or besmirched or shaded by these murders. This is America. It is not broken. It is doing what it does.

America is a serial brutalizer of black and brown people. Brutalizing them is what it does. It does other things, too, yes, but brutalizing black and brown people is what it has done the most, and with the most zeal, and for the longest. The best argument you can make on behalf of the various systems and infrastructures the country uses against its black and brown citizens—the physical design of its cities, the methods it uses to allocate placement in elite institutions, the way it trains its police to treat citizens like enemy soldiers—might actually just be that they're more restrained than those used against black and brown people abroad. America employs the enforcers of its power to beat, kill, and terrorize, deploys its judiciary to say that that's OK, and has done this more times than anyone can hope to count. This is not a flaw in the design; this is the design.

Policing in America is not broken. The judicial system is not broken. American society is not broken. All are functioning perfectly, doing exactly what they have done since before some of this nation's most prosperous slave-murdering robber-barons came together to consecrate into statehood the mechanisms of their barbarism. Democracy functions. Politicians, deriving their legitimacy from the public, have discerned the will of the people and used it to design and enact policies that carry it out, among them those that govern the allowable levels of violence which state can visit upon citizen. Taken together with the myriad other indignities, thefts, and cruelties it visits upon black and brown people, and the work common white Americans do on its behalf by telling themselves bald fictions of some deep and true America of apple pies, Jesus, and people being neighborly to each other and betrayed by those few and nonrepresentative bad apples with their isolated acts of meanness, the public will demands and enables a whirring and efficient machine that does what it does for the benefit of those who own it. It processes black and brown bodies into white power.

That is what America does. It is not broken. That is exactly what is wrong with it."
us  justice  law  legal  racism  2014  ferguson  michaelbrown  darrenwilson  nyc  nypd  danielpantaleo  ericgarner  ta-nehisicoates  institutionalracism  race  history  amadoudiallo  samshepherd  police  lawenforcement  politics  policy  power  whitepower 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Hypertext as an Agent of Change on Huffduffer
"Thomas Pynchon. The Anthropocene. Ferguson. Geoheliocentrism. Teju Cole. Thomas Kuhn’s theory of paradigms. Antigone. A wall. The sixth extinction.

The ways we transmit information—and the ways in which that information accumulates into narratives—is changing. And if we aren’t careful, it may not change in all the ways we want it to."

[Full text: ]
mandybrown  change  dconstruct  dconstruct2014  storytelling  antigone  tejucole  thomaspynchon  anthropocene  2014  ferguson  michaelbrown  geoheliocentrism  thomaskuhn  perspective  paradigmshifts  context  framing  metcontexts  transcontextualism  transcontextualization 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Ari Kohen's Blog — On the left is a paragraph from the New York...
"On the left is a paragraph from the New York Times about Mike Brown’s “troubled” teenage years; on the right is a paragraph from Rolling Stone about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the Boston Marathon bombers.

What could possibly account for the difference in presentation of these two teenagers?

And let’s remember that one was unarmed when he was shot to death by a police officer who stopped him for walking in the street after allegedly stealing some cigars and pushing a store clerk, while the other was taken alive after allegedly setting off a bomb at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing a police officer, engaging in a shootout with a host of other police officers, and then hiding from a full-scale manhunt."

[See also: "Besides Michael Brown, Whom Else Does The New York Times Call “No Angel”?" ]
michaelbrown  dzhokhartsarnaev  ferguson  2014  race  nytimes  obituaries  judgement  racism  media 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Michael Brown's Unremarkable Humanity - The Atlantic
"The New York Times has a feature today looking at the brief life of Michael Brown, informing us that he was "no angel." The reasons for this are many. Brown smoked marijuana. He lived in a community that "had rough patches." He wrote rap songs that were "by turns contemplative and vulgar." He shoplifted and pushed a store clerk who tried to stop him. These details certainly paint a portrait of a young man who failed to be angelic. That is because no person is angelic—least of all teenagers—and there is very little in this piece that distinguishes Brown from any other kid his age.

What horrifies a lot of us beholding the spectacle of Ferguson, beholding the spectacle of Sanford, of Jacksonville, is how easily we could see ourselves in these kids. I shudder to think of my reaction, at 17, to some strange dude following me through my own housing development. I shudder to think of my reaction, at 17, to some other strange dude pulling up next to me and telling me to turn down my music.

And if Michael Brown was not angelic, I was practically demonic. I had my first drink when I was 11. I once brawled in the cafeteria after getting hit in the head with a steel trash can. In my junior year I failed five out of seven classes. By the time I graduated from high school, I had been arrested for assaulting a teacher and been kicked out of school (twice.) And yet no one who knew me thought I had the least bit of thug in me. That is because I also read a lot of books, loved my Commodore 64, and ghostwrote love notes for my friends. In other words, I was a human being. A large number of American teenagers live exactly like Michael Brown. Very few of them are shot in the head and left to bake on the pavement.

The "angelic" standard was not one created by the reporter. It was created by a society that cannot face itself, and thus must employ a dubious "morality" to hide its sins. It is reinforced by people who have embraced the notion of "twice as good" while avoiding the circumstances which gave that notion birth. Consider how easily living in a community "with rough patches" becomes part of a list of ostensible sins. Consider how easily "black-on-black crime" becomes not a marker of a shameful legacy of segregation but a moral failing.

We've been through this before. We will almost certainly go through it again."
ta-nehisicoates  michaelbrown  2014  language  children  teens  youth  demonization  nytimes  race  ferguson 
august 2014 by robertogreco

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