Category Archives: politics

Recovering Berlin Competition is Launched

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historical (hyper) fiction

Walid Raad is a Lebanese artist who, under the name “The Atlas Group” exhibits a collection of documents related to the wars in Lebanon from 1975 to 1991. The documents range in format from photography to video, and each more or less addresses some aspect of effect of the wars. Each set of documents is also accompanied by a story. In the collection titled “The Thin Neck Files,” Raad produces a series of 50 photographs of engine blocks surrounded by a group of people. The story goes that when a car bomb explodes, the only piece remaining intact is the engine block, which is often thrown hunders of feet in any direction. With the more than 3,600 bombs detonated over the course of the wars, there developed a competition between reporters to be the first to photograph the scene when the engine was found.

Another file catalogs the notebooks of a Dr. Fakhouri, one of which is esplained as such:

“Each of the notebook pages includes a cutout photograph of a car that matches the make, model, and color of a car that was used as a car bomb, as well as text written in Arabic that details the place, time, and date of the explosion, the number of casualties, the perimeter of destruction, the exploded car’s engine and axle numbers, and the weight and type of the explosives used.”

While some of the documents are related directly to the war others are more tangential, such as another notebook of Dr. Fakhouri, which provides detailed accounts of a gambling scheme set up by historians of the Lebanese wars involving a racetrack. From the files:

“It is a little known fact that the major historians of the Lebanese wars were avid gamblers. It is said that they met every Sunday at the race track — Marxists and Islamists bet on races one through seven, Maronite nationalists and socialists on races eight through fifteen.

Race after race, the historians stood behind the track photographer, whose job was to image the winning horse as it crossed the finish line, to record the photo-finish. It is also said that they convinced (some say bribed) the photographer to snap only one picture as the winning horse arrived. Each historian wagered on precisely when — how many fractions of a second before or after the horse crossed the finish line — the photographer would expose his frame.”

The documents presented by Raad serve to show the different aspects of the wars, and how they affected the city of Beirut and the national psyche. Although not at first apparent, all the documents are completely fake. Raad’s explanation is that the wars, now 20 years past, are still completely denied by the government, and no official accounts exist of what actually happened. Thus, a fictional archive such as that of the Atlas Group is actually a more realistic portrayal of the wars than the official history.

This is very interesting for our project because it shows how fiction can serve to create a deeper understanding of a situation, especially when dealing with sensitive issues like war. It also uses formats typically reserved for factual accounts to create alternate scenarios of the past. We can use similar techniques of fictional documents, news reports, documentaries, etc., to produce a vision or representation of our scenarios for the future. It would also be interesting to use the same tools to critically examine the past and highlight those aspects that have an affect on our future scenarios.

I highly recommend checking out the complete archives online or checking out the show if it comes around.

-dn

House Passes Cybersecurity Bill

“The House today overwhelmingly passed a bill aimed at building up the United States’ cybersecurity army and expertise, amid growing alarm over the country’s vulnerability online.

[INFOWAR]

Video of XerXeS DoS Attack

Video demonstration of the XerXeS DoS attack as it is unleashed on the Taliban website http://www.alemarah.com, and carried out by infamous patriot hacker The Jester (th3j35t3r).

[infosecisland]

Universities told to consider dope tests

Universities must investigate measures, including random dope testing, to tackle the increasing use of cognitive enhancment drugs by students for exams, a leading behavioural neuro scientist warns.

Student use of drugs, such as Ritalin and modafinil, available over the internet and used to increase the brain’s alertness, had “enormous implications for universities”, said Barbara Sahakian, a professor of clinical neuropsychology at Cambridge University’s psychiatry department.

[GUARDIAN]

Production of Meaning

The living room is where the product is made and you are the product. We quickly forget what our purpose in life is as soon as we are programmed by the system to behave certain ways and most importantly purchase in certain ways. Our behaviors are not judged on how we perform and think anymore, rather they are on what we are able to buy and what we own.

“Here is the challenge of media democracy: to change the way information flows, the way we interact with the mass media, the way meaning is produced in our society. This DVD – a collection of television spots and video clips produced over the years by regular culture jammers – is proof that anyone can seize the media reins and begin producing real meaning.”

“World war 3 will be a guerrilla information war with no division between civilian and military participation.” – Marshall McLuhan

pixel_cutup_beta01

first attempt at creating an interface that mines rss feeds for subversive and comforting words that are used regularly in contemporary society in which they become devoid of content. with this data i create a visual cutout (inspired by dada and william s burroughs) with two corresponding videos that are pixelated and layered on top of each other, one being comfort and the other being dissent. the pixelation is randomly deleted using an algorithm and reveals the video behind the one in the front creating a parallel stream of media to bombard the consumer. all of this is streaming of course creating a new way of consuming media content that is disseminated through our standard media channels. the hope of the project is to create a parallel method in consuming dissent and comfort where the ultimate recording device (the human being) begins to decipher the system it exists within. all of this begins to question the ubiquitous encryption of media prevalent in the system

We are trying to find a spontaneous way for the individual to be able to break away from syntactical structures and explore the contents of the human recording machine.