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robertogreco : symbolism   14

Chile protests against President Pinera and deep inequality.
“But symbols get scrambled when they’re reused. If a spectacle resurfaces, its meaning rarely remains exactly the same. That’s happened with the Joker, and it’s happening with other old reference points too. Take the loud pot-beating protests that have been taking place all over Chile, called cacerolazos. People leaning out of windows or marching on the streets, loudly expressing their dissatisfaction with the status quo and their support for the protests. (If you don’t know what that sounds like, here’s a video a relative sent me from Oct. 19, taken in the middle-class neighborhood of Ñuñoa.) If you were around and right-wing in 1971, the cacerolazos ringing out all across the country the past week—in rich neighborhoods and poor ones, in cities big and small—might remind you of the March of the Empty Pots, which many forget was actually undertaken by conservative Chilean women to register their opposition to Allende’s socialist government. Those protests were largely and functionally right-wing, but—like the cacerolazos against the government today, which have a very different politics—they also managed to transcend class differences.

Today, the cacerolazo seems to be transcending categories again. Because they seem to be coming from every sector, it’s not clear that Chile’s current situation is reducible to the usual right–left axes. On Friday night, the largest protest in the country’s history gathered, with approximately 1.2 million in Santiago and protests in solidarity all over the country. The sheer size also doesn’t lend itself easily to factionalist descriptions. That’s what sets this moment apart—and makes it seem just very faintly possible that a country that’s been rehashing the same triumphalist and traumatic stories about itself for decades might be able to pivot for a new chapter. While over 120 allegations of human rights violations are being investigated, including possible homicides by law enforcement and allegations of torture and sexual abuse—as well as hundreds of people injured by birdshot—the massive gatherings have not yet resulted in the kind of brutal military crackdown that happened in 1973.

I started here by referring, as for years one had to, to the country’s two protagonists: Pinochet and Allende. They were symbols of two very different Chiles. But when I said that these sights in Chile the past week would be traumatic if you were alive in 1973, I meant it. Many Chileans weren’t alive then. This contingent—young, buckling under increasing costs of living and enormous debt—seems tired of relitigating the past. They’re objecting, at least in part, to the long shadow Pinochet and Allende have cast: to the way Pinochet has been used endlessly as an excuse by the left while they preserved many or most aspects of his economic model; to the way Allende has remained a boogeyman for the right, used to scare children with stories of financial ruin and leftist terrorism. It even makes a certain horribly Freudian kind of sense that breaking the country out of these unproductive narrative recursions would require a strange and terribly dangerous semi-reenactment. With tanks on the streets. Lines in the stores. Fires. Fights.

I don’t want to downplay the intensity of what’s happened the past week. The chaos has many Chileans exhausted and on edge. What began with a student protest over a subway fare hike has exploded into nationwide marches against much more: an unsustainably high cost of living, poverty-level retirements, bad and expensive health care, poor education, and crushing debt, to name a few. President Sebastián Piñera called a state of emergency in the early hours of Oct. 19, deploying the military. Much of the country is now under curfew. As of this writing, 18 people have died. There is footage of soldiers beating civilians; one video captures Carabineros (militarized police) bludgeoning people as they walk by. A TV network aired live footage of soldiers shooting as they drove through a neighborhood in Recoleta. On Tuesday morning, an Argentine TV news team was broadcasting when a soldier lifted his rifle and shot at them with a rubber bullet. By Tuesday night, there was footage of soldiers shooting into a building in Las Condes. Chile’s infrastructure has been heavily damaged in the protests too: After Oct. 18, most of the subway system was severely damaged and temporarily shut down. Dozens of stations were burned. While some lines are partly operational, full function won’t be restored for months. Buses and police precincts and stores were set on fire. Hundreds of small and medium-size businesses throughout the country have had to close due to looting or other damage. Things are loud and frightening and wild.”



“On Friday, the Congress was evacuated due to protests outside, a peaceful (if loud) protest that by evening surpassed a million people in Plaza Baquedano alone. Though truckers have denied going on strike for fear of creating food shortages, they joined taxi drivers to bring the highways outside Santiago to gridlock, protesting against high road tolls. Efforts to create enough change are ongoing too: Evelyn Matthei, who served as Piñera’s former minister of labor during his first term, ran for president, and is currently mayor of Santiago’s Providencia district, said in an interview on Friday that the kind of profound change the country needed would require replacing “at least” eight of Piñera’s 24 ministers with people from the middle class with more diverse backgrounds that included (for example) public education experience. In the lower chamber of Congress, the House passed a proposed reduction in the work-week to 40 hours, and the opposition proposed a plebiscite for a new Constitution. To the extent that the demands are legible, the protests seem to be calling, first, for an end to the state of emergency and the military presence, and, more broadly, for a Constituent Assembly—for a new Constitution and a new social contract that sees people more as citizens than as a captive market for corporations seeking government concessions. Many are calling for the resignation of Interior Minister Chadwick, who spearheaded the initial escalation against the fare-dodgers. Others call for Piñera’s ouster. After the extraordinary, nation-wide outpouring Friday evening—Santiago’s protests were made up of almost 7 percent of the country’s population—Piñera tweeted, “The massive, joyous and peaceful protest today, where Chileans ask for a Chile with greater justice and solidarity, opens big roads to future and hope. We all have heard the message. We all have changed. With unity and help from God, we will travel this road to a better Chile for everyone.” Many of the chants had directly insulted him. On Saturday, he announced that he’d asked all his ministers to resign and said he would lift the state of emergency on Sunday if circumstances permitted. The curfew in Santiago is over. No one knows what will happen next.

***

I’ve noticed fewer Joker references over the last few days. And it feels like the potency of certain old spectacles—men in uniform confronting civilians, long grocery store lines—might be diminishing too. After a week of this state of emergency, things are not better in Chile. Things do not get easier when the “happy face” gets replaced by honest feeling. Tourism has plummeted, there are still fires, and people are anxious and angry and tired. But circumstances are not as bad as they could be. It could all go south at any time, but for now—for now—there is not desabastecimiento. The lines are not bread lines. (Yet.) Disturbing though the images of military attacking civilians are, things have not escalated to the familiar point of no return. I don’t know if that’s progress for a country both saturated by and sick of witnessed and inherited traumas. But it is something.

“Do you think Joker inspired any of this?” I asked my cousin Bernardita. “Of course,” she said, “or actually, the reverse: the social discontent inspired this interpretation of the Joker. Without a doubt.”

Whatever use the protesters have made of the Joker, there are obvious limits to his explanatory power. The protesters’ interpretation of the nihilistic clown has also taken some extratextual—and unifying—turns, such as the refusal of some politicians (and even a general) to adopt the rhetoric of war. The Joker snapped and turned on society. Chile is angry, and parts of it did snap. But by and large, the public still cares and has not devolved into nihilism. On Oct. 21, NO ESTAMOS EN GUERRA—WE ARE NOT AT WAR—was projected on the side of the Telefónica building near Plaza Italia, where huge crowds had gathered to reject the military’s enforcement of the curfew and test this version of Chile to see if it has changed. And if it can.”
lililoofbourow  chile  2019  protests  history  salvadorallende  pinochet  inequality  precarity  change  corruption  government  governance  democracy  neoliberlalism  chicagoboys  policy  politics  protest  sebastiánpiñera  michelebachelet  ricardolagos  dictatorship  symbols  symbolism  thejoker  batman  military  mobility  wellbeing  qualityoflife  labor  work  debt  violence  coup  trauma  injustice  justice  reform  constitution  eduardofrei  revolution  resistance  neoliberalism  capitalism  miltonfriedman  victorjara 
17 days ago by robertogreco
The unhealthy underside of the wellbeing agenda
"Is it a mere coincidence that this trend booms at a time when the inescapable issue of the conference agenda is the staggering inequality in the world? In the 1970s Christopher Lasch claimed that in the wake of the political turmoil of the 1960s (the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal), many people had lost faith in politics, instead focusing on individual projects, such as “eating health food, taking lessons in ballet or belly-dancing” or “immersing themselves in the wisdom of the East, and jogging”.

When people no longer believe in political transformation, an appealing alternative is individual transformation. When the world cannot be changed for the better, we put all our energies into improving ourselves.

Davos pre-recession

When the sociologist Richard Sennett visited the annual meeting in Davos in 1998, health and wellness were not on the agenda. After spending some time in conference rooms, champagne receptions and ski slopes, Sennett began to realise that the defining feature of the Davos men was their flexible nature. With this attitude, they would not look at tumultuous changes in life circumstances as a threat, but as an opportunity to be relished.

The “Davos man”, as Sennet calls him (no mention of a her), is someone who constantly reshapes their profile and rebrands their persona. They would not define themselves exclusively by what they do because they always work on more than one project. They could be discussing government policies and developing a new technology, while in the next moment, marketing catastrophe bonds, contemplating a pop music career and skiing high above the mountain resort.

This ability to live many lives at once and be uncertain about anything seemed to be underpinned by a capacity to let go of your past. If you were a state bureaucrat in the past, that didn’t matter. That was the past. What mattered was the latest technology or the newest innovation in the financial markets.

This flexible nature also made it easy to forget about the basic existential questions of the majority of people on earth. But the Davos man is not completely unaware of the bitter feelings this nurtures of the great mass of humanity living below the snow-line. According to Sennett, whenever the Davos man begins discussing the people who are “left behind”, they become distinctly uncomfortable and start fidgeting. Clearly they recognised the existence of the 99% who are not so comfortable with building their lives on the shifting quicksand of entrepreneurial capitalism.

Much has changed since Sennett ventured into the mountains in 1998. We have been through numerous financial meltdowns, an extended campaign of war in the middle east, a series of global uprisings against untrammeled globalisation, the overthrow of many dictators and much more.

A changing world

Just as the world has changed, so too has Davos. The elite who descend on the Magic Mountain no longer display an indifferent attitude, but radiate with compassion and purpose. At the meeting, social responsibility is at the top of the agenda. Shying away from the people who are “left behind” has also faded. Instead of nervous fidgeting, participants at the WEF put global inequality top of the agenda.
Yet how much of this talk is sincere and how much is it part of the participants convincing themselves that they are on the right side of history? Like Sennett’s Davos man, the new wellness men are concerned about their moral appearance. If being a flexible high-achiever was the aspiration then, now it is to be compassionate, healthy and spiritual.

Contemporary politics is getting taken over by the wellbeing agenda. This could have many upsides: who could argue against better healthcare, cleaner environments and more exercise? However, the way it is often used tends to turn away from these more structural issues and uses wellbeing as a badge of being a member of the new global elite.

To be a Davos man now does not just mean waxing lyrical about the powers of the free market – you also need to frequently check your steps on your fit-bit, spend some time in a mindfulness class, work out at the same time as you network, deal with global inequality and work out how market solutions like “pandemic bonds” might help to solve Ebola.

The ideal solution for bringing this altogether for our new nomadic elite is of course the latest management fad – the walking meeting. That way they can burn off the champagne, network and also build up steps on their pedometer, which will allow a child in Africa to have a new bicycle."
well-being  appearances  mindfulness  publicimage  davos  richardsennett  sincerity  compassion  morality  ethics  symbolism  politics  absolution  inequality 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Blog - Wolff Olins Blog - A new flag for Britain
"We approached the challenge in a few ways:

Weather responsive flag
Similar to the physical version that flaps in the wind, our new flag responds to the British weather.

[image]

Patchwork flag
The old flag was designed as a two-colour solution because of reproduction constraints. What if we use different colours and materials to create a flag that represents the different people and communities that make up Britain? Plastic, gold and new threads are woven into the design. Some of the colours have been taken from the Royal Standard.

[image]

Designer flag
The UK is full of brilliant designers. Let’s collaborate with Peter Saville or Paul Smith to design an iconic flag.

[image]

Please note, these have not been designed by Peter or Paul—they are nasty ripoffs.

3D flag
Who needs a flag anyway? The Romans had a golden eagle on a pole and they ran the world for 500 years. What about a 3D flag based on the angles proposed in the original Union Jack? Imagine our victorious athletes holding aloft Britain’s orb.

[image]

Internet flag
What about all those little flags that are flown across the internet? We need a flag that has been optimised for a new digital context. Our animated gif flag symbolises Britain as the meeting place for people from anywhere in the digital and physical realm.

[image]

Cool flag
And what about a flag that is just cool.
Pink = Northern Ireland
Green= Wales
Red= England

[image]

Serious flag
Okay… so we’ve had some fun with this brief. But seriously… the original flag is mega cool and it also appears in the corner of loads of other countries flags (like Australia). And it’s a really great brand – blue, red and white triangles have become a defining graphic language of Britain. So with that in mind we propose this flag.

[image]

It’s a simplified version of the original that removes the crosses and keeps the iconic elements - a central focus, angles and colours. It’s easier to draw and it looks great.

As much as we’d love to see one of these little beauties flying out in the world – Scotland, as you cast your vote today just remember what affect your vote could have on that lovely Union Jack."
2014  flags  wolffolins  via:lizette  britain  uk  scotland  weather  symbols  symbolism  evolvinglogos  design  identity  logos 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Paris Review – Document: The Symbolism Survey, Sarah Funke Butler
"In 1963, a sixteen-year-old San Diego high school student named Bruce McAllister sent a four-question mimeographed survey to 150 well-known authors of literary, commercial, and science fiction. Did they consciously plant symbols in their work? he asked. Who noticed symbols appearing from their subconscious, and who saw them arrive in their text, unbidden, created in the minds of their readers? When this happened, did the authors mind?

McAllister had just published his first story, “The Faces Outside,” in both IF magazine and Simon and Schuster’s 1964 roundup of the best science fiction of the year. Confident, if not downright cocky, he thought the surveys could settle a conflict with his English teacher by proving that symbols weren’t lying beneath the texts they read like buried treasure awaiting discovery.

His project involved substantial labor—this before the Internet, before e-mail—but was not impossible: many authors and their representatives were listed in the Twentieth-Century American Literature series found in the local library. More impressive is that seventy-five writers replied—most of them, in earnest. Sixty-five of those responses survive (McAllister lost ten to “a kleptomaniacal friend”). Answers ranged from the secretarial blow off to a thick packet of single-spaced typescript in reply.

The pages here feature a number of the surveys in facsimile: Jack Kerouac, Ayn Rand, Ralph Ellison, Ray Bradbury, John Updike, Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer. Each responder offers a unique take on the issue itself—symbolism in literature—as well as on handling a sixteen-year-old aspirant approaching writers as masters of their craft.

Even if he approached them en masse, with a form letter.

And failed to follow up with a thank-you note."

[via http://mentalfloss.com/article/30937/famous-novelists-symbolism-their-work-and-whether-it-was-intentional
via http://thoughts.russgoerend.com/post/68892626778/on-symbolism-and-digging-for-deeper-meaning
via https://pinboard.in/u:lukeneff/b:0a007ce18bed ]
art  literature  symbolism  surveys  brucemcallister  writing  fiction  1963  jackkerouac  aynrand  ralphellison  raybradbury  johnupdike  saulbellow  normanmailer 
december 2013 by robertogreco
The 2007 CBC Massey Lectures, "The City of Words" | Ideas with Paul Kennedy | CBC Radio
"The end of ethnic nationalism, building societies around sets of common values, seems like a good idea. But something is going wrong. In the 2007 Massey Lectures, writer Alberto Manguel takes a fresh look at some of the problems we face, and suggests we should look at what stories have to teach us about society.

"How do stories help us perceive ourselves and others?" he asks. "How can stories lend a whole society an identity...?"

From Gilgamesh to the Bible, from Don Quixote to The Fast Runner, Alberto Manguel explores how books and stories hold the secret keys to what binds us together."

Internationally acclaimed as an anthologist, translator, essayist, novelist, and editor, Alberto Manguel is the bestselling author of several award-winning books, including A Dictionary of Imaginary Places and A History of Reading."
imaginarycities  cities  reading  ulysses  jamesjoyce  kafka  jung  carljung  apollo  cassandra  meaningmaking  meaning  sensemaking  understanding  perception  imagination  therealworld  mapping  maps  theself  self  literature  fiction  reality  margaretatwood  plato  names  naming  language  words  rubendarío  socrates  aristotle  symbolism  symbols  thecityofwords  worlds  writing  borges  themaker  poetry  commonvalues  donquixote  gilgamesh  bible  history  society  storytelling  stories  cbc  masseylectures  2007  albertomanguel 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Kruger, Opie call for more transparency in MOCA resignation email - latimes.com
"…this is not about a particular cast of characters, about good actors & bad. It's a reflection of the crisis in cultural funding…about the role of museums in a culture where visual art is marginalized except for the buzz around secondary market sales…about the not so subtle recalibration of the meaning of “philanthropy,” and it's about the morphing of the so-called “art world” into the only speculative bubble still left floating…Can important & serious exhibitions receive funding without a donor having a horse in the race? Is attendance a sustaining revenue stream for museums? Has it ever been? These are questions we have been asking.

We do know that a major rethinking of the mechanisms and templates for cultural funding is long overdue. Parties & galas are ok, but sometimes these things called “museums” have to have things called “exhibitions.” Our concerns are with the art, the exhibitions, & how the money that makes the exhibitions possible is gathered & distributed."
hierarchy  control  power  cv  symbolism  tokenism  resignations  2012  philanthropy  speculation  artworld  art  fundraising  moca  barbarakruger  catherineopie  charitableindustrialcomplex  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  capitalism 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Everything you know lost in translation - Bobulate
"Japanese used to have a color word, ao, that spanned both green and blue. In the modern language, however, ao has come to be restricted mostly to blue shades, and green is usually expressed by the word midori (although even today ao can still refer to the green of freshness or unripeness — green apples, for instance, are called ao ringo). when the first traffic lights were imported from the United States and installed in Japan in the 1930s, they were just as green as anywhere else. Nevertheless, in common parlance the go light was dubbed ao shingoo, perhaps because the three primary colors on Japanese artists’ palettes are traditionally aka (red), kiiro (yellow), and ao. The label ao for a green light did not appear so out of the ordinary at first, because of the remaining associations of the word ao with greenness.

But over time, the discrepancy between the green color and the dominant meaning of the word ao began to feel jarring. Nations with a weaker spine might have opted for…"
history  symbolism  symbols  description  guydeutscher  language  color  blue  green  lizdanzico  japanese  translation 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Witnessing tools and resentment | slacktivist
"Mainly, though, car-fish aren’t really intended for witnessing. They’re not witnessing tools, they are tribal symbols. The Jesus-fish on a car is not an invitation, but a declaration of tribal allegiance. It’s a signal that the driver of this car is an “Us” rather than a “Them.” And that Us-Them symbolism has far more to do with conflict than with any attempt at conversion.<br />
<br />
This is true as well of many of the other things we tell ourselves are “witnessing tools.” One one level, they may be intended as conversation-starters, but on another level they’re also intended as conversation-stoppers — as attempts to win some implied argument. They’re not really designed for evangelism. They’re just the graffiti and propaganda of the culture wars."
religion  via:lukeneff  symbols  symbolism  witnessingtools  christianity  cars  tribalism  conflict  conversion  evangelism  propaganda  culturewars  conversation  allegiances 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Second-order simulacra - Wikipedia
"Second-order simulacra, a term coined by Jean Baudrillard, are symbols without referents, that is, symbols with no real object to represent. Simply put, a symbol is itself taken for reality and further layer of symbolism is added. This occurs when the symbol is taken to be more important or authoritative of the original entity, authenticity has been replaced by copy (thus reality is replaced by a substitute).

The consequence of the propagation of second-order simulacra is that, within the affected context, nothing is "real," though those engaged in the illusion are incapable of seeing it. Instead of having experiences, people observe spectacles, via real or metaphorical control screens. Instead of the real, we have simulation and simulacra, the hyperreal.
baudrillard  philosophy  simulation  symbols  simulcra  representation  reality  illusions  illusion  hyperreal  symbolism  simulations 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Anarchist symbolism - Wikipedia
"While anarchists have historically largely denied the importance of symbols to political movement, they have embraced certain symbols for their cause, including most prominently the circle-A and the black flag. Since the revival of anarchism at the turn of the 21st-century concurrent with the rise of the anti-globalization movement, anarchist cultural symbols are widely present."

"red-and-black flag is symbol of anarcho-syndicalist & anarcho-communist movements…black-and-yellow or black-and-gold flag is used by…anarcho-capitalists or market anarchists…black-and-green flag is used by green anarchists & anarcho-primitivists…black-and-purple flag is used in association with anarcha-feminism, as is the black-and-pink flag, although the latter is more closely associated with queer anarchists, known as anarcho-queers…black-and-white flag is used by anarcho-pacifists &, to a lesser extent, Christian anarchists."

"Black cross…Black rose…Jolly Roger/Pirate flag"
anarchism  symbols  symbolism  flags  design  activism  anarchy 
february 2011 by robertogreco
OK Do | The Archaeology of Mind pt. 2 – Between Realities
"Besides being a child’s work, play can be an adult’s way of life. It is a creative state of mind where one uses the ability to symbolise in order to create something unprecedented. The ability to play doesn’t only lead to artistic masterpieces, but also enhances one’s inner freedom by enabling a rich relationship with life.

A playful state of mind can be seen as a third reality between oneself and the outer world. When playing, one is neither in the real world nor experiencing their inner reality in the purest sense. You draw on the surrounding material environment, but make it yours by altering it for your own purposes…

Play is a potential space – it enhances a creative relationship to one’s surroundings. When playing, it becomes possible to free presentations from their referents and modify them, generating more flexible ways to see the world."
play  space  experience  creativity  reality  symbolism  relationships  patternrecognition  patterns  environment  potentialspace  perspective  flexibility  work  okdo 
october 2010 by robertogreco
Football: a dear friend to capitalism | Terry Eagleton | Comment is free | The Guardian
"If every rightwing thinktank came up w/ a scheme to distract populace from political injustice & compensate them for lives of hard labour, the solution in each case would be same: football. No finer way of resolving the problems of capitalism has been dreamed up, bar socialism. & in tussle between them, football is several light years ahead.
football  soccer  socialism  society  via:javierarbona  terryeagleton  worldcup  josémourinho  rimbaud  bertholdbrecht  symbolism  sports  spectacle  sociology  spectators  teamwork  individualism  balance  distraction  genius  artistry  jazz  cooperation  competition  rivalry  identity  class  tradition  religion  history  conflict  politics  change  populism  conformism  policy  power  falseconciousness  marxism  capitalism  philosophy  2010  futbol 
june 2010 by robertogreco
PopMatters | Columns | Rob Horning | Marginal Utility | The Design Imperative
"We are consigned to communicating through design, but it’s an impoverished language that can only say one thing: “That’s cool.” Design ceases to serve our needs, and the superficial qualities of useful things end up cannibalizing their functionality. The palpability of the design interferes, distracts from the activity an item is supposed to be helping you do. The activity becomes subordinate to the tools. You become the tool."
design  critique  criticism  function  form  utility  popular  aesthetics  retail  target  consumerism  consumer  society  competition  popularity  symbolism  industrial  products  customization  hipsters  marketing  image  personality  handmade  books  possessions  materialism  objects  fashion  style  commerce  variety  hipsterism 
january 2008 by robertogreco

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