12.31.2008

Dave Iseri: "Everything is Over"

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Everything is Over / a graphic story by Dave Iseri








TWELVE CAUTIONARY TALES FOR A NEW WORLD ORDER, CREATED BY
ISERI WITH JEFFERSON FROST, LAURA SPERRY AND JUSTIN KRUSE, IS AN HOMAGE
TO SUPERSTUDIO FOR THE WHITE HOUSE REDUX COMPETITION 2008 AT
STOREFRONT FOR ART AND ARCHITECTURE, NEW YORK. AND IN TRUE SUPERSTUDIO
FORM, IT IS ALSO A TEST FOR EVERYTHING IS OVER.

12.28.2008

Lady in Wight (2) - from Neal Robinson

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Neal writes (on -empyre):


As Kevin so eloquently stated in his previous post I also didn't exactly head to Colorado to unpack my pharmakon, but was thrilled to be invited to explore a topic previously unknown to me and to take part in Christina’s vision of a Pharmakon project.

My fascination with the perception of time and space drove me to create the Lady in Wight variants. These immense and perplexing subjects have been orbiting human thought for centuries and have been at the core of my work for some time now.

Instead of delving deeply into these enormous subjects, I was thinking we could take a side road and look at my visual and photographic strategy for these pieces. So where did the Lady in Wight variants begin? Ostensibly I could say it began with the books I have been reading over the past year and a half. These have included such works as The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene, A Briefer History Time by Stephen Hawking and the David Bodanis books E=mc2 and the Electric Universe.

Trying to wrap my head around the subjects that these authors introduce has proven to be quite a Sisyphean task. However, as a starting point for me it has been an invaluable endeavor. As my organic process continues I begin to hunt and gather images. Currently I am using a dslr to capture slices of time, though the Wight variants were primarily made from digital video stills.

The next step in Wight’s road to reality began with bringing everything into a digital environment. Film footage was taken using Photoshop’s automated ability to grab frames at pre-specified intervals and thus bring into the work a randomness that is associated with quantum physics. Once captured, the frames were then connected and layered into a much larger image. Layering at that point became an essential part of the process. Using the programs layers tool I was able to code and collage meaning into the image as I introduced text and various other shapes.

Even though the Lady in Wight variants are finished and have been released out into the world to make there own way as independent objects they provided an excellent jumping off point into my current work. I am a huge proponent of looking at one's work in retrospect which then helps the author understand their own art and also aids in the conception of new pieces. If you would like to see where the variants have led me then please visit
http:/www.neal-robinson.com

Until next time,

Neal

Naeem Mohaiemen: Heard It On TV Must Be True (from "My Mobile Weighs a Ton")

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PHARMAKON DEBATE


Balancing opposed needs for obscuring (from state censors) and revealing (to audience), I kept cutting/slicing the text. In early drafts, there was chatter about modes of production. I spent time debating whether I should keep quotes around “a very trivial matter” on a wall label, thinking that would be enough of a signpost: to a statement made at a press conference about the riots. The problem with ellipsis is, in the time of brutal edges only a hammer is understood. With a few exceptions, many did really think it was a show about mobile phones. Bread crumbs were eaten & lost. But along the way, before rushing to the printers (alway late), Annu Bonbibi unpacked the various drafts.


Naeem: Ok, no more “all you need is love” in the invite. Decided to go with FnF in the end because wanted to bring it back to mobiles…:-)

Annu: there’s a military govt on, you take pictures of curfew, Chitrak gives you space, and you decide to be cute…:-)…

Naeem: Chitrak didn’t “give space” as some act of charity. Empty slot before Ramadan. I’m happy they gave me space, but I don’t need to follow some kindness script...
FnF reference isn’t “cute”, it’s friends helping each other and building communities. Friendship love, not the boinking kind.

Annu: yeah, friendship when the mobile connections were deactivated, yeah lots and lots of communities have been built in Dhaka since 1/11 as we’re all living in a spirit of genial camaraderie and people are getting involved in issues and not being paranoid about being watched - give me a break… ar FnF tar mane ashole ki?? Finger-nose-finger??

Naeem: Friends n Family! The mobile package. You know, cheaper rates to all your FnF.

Annu: Also, was thinking why not ‘And lots of wall’?? as last line. I didn’t mean Chitrak ‘gave’ you space in the sense you understood it. Who cares if you spent your own money or not? I was thinking more along the lines of - today - Bangladesh - a young man (punk ethics et al) - wants to show his mobile pictures of an age when things are not what they seem to be - what does he need? - wall, wall, wall - be it Chitrak or outside DU.. byas, ei tukui amar boktobbo.

To really be ephemeral and for your work to, so to speak, ’self-destruct’ it would have been great to take this exhibition to the streets. Outside Charukala? Don’t worry, the rain would make sure no visual trace is left of this visceral angst I feel needs outing. Otherwise its just more talk and talk and talk amongst ourselves, FnF indeed!

Ok, before we move to the next point, I need to get this out of my system. I don’t know if I explained why FnF was keeping me sleepless. So mobile gives you this ‘free’ talk-time to call your friends and family, right? And? During curfew, communication was brought to a standstill because the potatoes just switched off a button. All our lots and lots of FnFs all switched off at the same time. Silence.

Every time I’ve been trying to talk potato politics, you’ve been paranoid and asking me not to talk about this on the phone. So yeah, our phones are tapped, brains are being eaten raw – before they’ve had time to foment the slightest ideas of rebellion – our brightest and most courageous are being imprisoned and silenced. In other words, what does FnF bring me if I can’t talk politics/organize demos/discuss religion with my friends? Silence
Naeem: But I never saw the mobile as a symbol of freedom. It’s limited, it’s role is instrumental in state control, and then there’s the ongoing bastardization of cultural space through sponsorship. FnF and many other text in the show is just using mobile jargon as language. It’s not the mobile I care about, but “FnF” as a signifier of friendship. The word, not the technical mobile function. Not the buttons, the talk time, the 25 paisa night rates.

Annu: Ok, and…let’s talk about the statement. What exactly is the image war you’re talking about? Or is it the battle against ‘aesthetic fascism’ as you earlier called it? Aren’t sunsets just your pseudonym for ‘aesthetic perfection’? And in that case isn’t ‘aesthetic perfection’ a pseudonym for a greater stifling – not just of artistic creativity but in the end of life lived with a penchant for différance, a life with punk and spunk.. ’with a little bit of creative chaos’? that’s how I read it..

Naeem: When the newspapers accidentally printed the picture of the student’s flying kick, that was image war (quickly snuffed out the next day). Accidental vs deliberate image warfare. Momentary forays and then retreat. One step forward..

Annu: I liked the Sultan part in your last draft! The bit where it says: “Remember Sultan, he was turned away from his own show because the Shilpakala guard thought he was a fokirni (only after his death could they sell him at Sotheby’s). That’s punk before the Sex Pistols.”

Naeem: I think I will take it out though, runs the risk of some thickhead thinking I am comparing myself with Sultan. By the way, what’s Bengali for DIY? Is there one?

Annu: I would say, juto shelai theke chondi path (from shoe repair to reading Chandi puja text). So somebody who can do everything by herself, i.e. the shoe repair job of the lowest caste as well as performing puja -in Brahminical Hinduism a job only performed by Brahmin males. And the juto, it goes with the kick.

Back to what personally interests me- the howl and the gall or the ‘damage and panic’. As I see it, the fear, for the man on the street, of being insignificant and powerless, or silenced and snuffed out in a world of scandalous and outrageous on-your-face consumption or in a world where his vote, read voice, will not count, where his differánce will cost him his life.      
                            [shobak.org]

Naeem Mohaiemen: Bones of Four Seasons (from "My Mobile Weighs a Ton" )

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DAMAGE

"We are in an Asian century, and a local situation, that is producing beautiful imagery. But it's all a little too gorgeous and refined. Standing in this political moment, aesthetic perfection makes me queasy. We still need space for mistakes, sharp teeth and bacteria. Politics come from the context in which image war happens. Mobile phone photos-- blurry, low dpi, poorly framed, no rule of thirds, colors burnt beyond recognition. Giving you quick access to make temporary provocations, without planning, preparation or press card." -NM

Naeem Mohaiemen: Something in the Air (from "My Mobile Weighs a Ton" )

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Election 2008: Don’t turn my mobile off
by Naeem Mohaiemen
Daily Star, December 26, 2008

IN Khagrachari this week for a pre-election visit, I saw the value of mobile networks even in the district that was last to get it and has the most sparse coverage. Because operators have not put towers everywhere, once you leave Khagrachari Sadar certain mobile operator networks go off. After eight hours in the interior, we would return to the Sadar and networks, and immediately find phones filling up with unread SMS.

Among Jumma (Pahari) election organisers, the mobile is an essential tool. They were getting SMS about irregularities in Bandarban, pre-election voter intimidation in Rangamati. Just as quickly, those SMS were getting forwarded to media, activist, and government networks. By the time the newspapers arrived the next day (usually at mid-day in Khagrachari), those events had been reported and in some cases resolved.

Given that experience, and many others like it through the years, I’m baffled by the claim that shutting off mobile networks will ensure election rigging doesn’t take place. The example given is that political thugs will use mobiles to plan intimidation. This argument removes agency from citizen voters themselves. If one example can be given of the goon squad using mobiles, a hundred counter-examples can be given of citizens recording, reporting and preventing abuse using that same device.

The mobile phone camera, with its grainy real-time visual aesthetic, has replaced video cameras as the on-the-fly recording mechanism. More than once, we have seen mobile phone video being sent by MMS to TV stations and used for breaking news. “By mobile phone” is the ubiquitous on-screen scroll for election reporting on our major TV networks, whenever it is in a remote area where the camera crew has not arrived...

Naeem Mohaiemen: Sign Said Stop (from "My Mobile Weighs a Ton" )

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Something is making me queasy. We are inside an Asian century, and a local situation, that is producing endless beautiful imagery. But it’s all a little too gorgeous and refined. I get worried facing so much aesthetic perfection. Still need space for mistakes, rudeness, bacteria, and things that just don’t fit.

My work is interested in damage and panic. Politics come from the context in which image war happens. Mobile phone photos– blurry, low dpi, poorly framed, no rule of thirds, no color depth. Giving you quick access to make temporary provocations, without planning, intention or press card. As accidental as the boy snapping his lover on Dhanmondi Lake. Koi, amar kotha shune hasho na to…

We crave more spaces for DIY. Yes, anyone can do this, and everyone should. No barriers, no high culture priests, no hierarchy, no gurus. Eventually of course, every rebellion becomes it’s own clique. That’s when we need to move on to the next space. Friction and creative chaos. Accidental images get in the way of blueprints.

Some people want us to shut up and become a nation of shoppers. But we’re not quite ready for our Singapore moment.

-Naeem Mohaiemen

Naeem Mohaimen: My Mobile Weighs a Ton

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100 spoons but I need a knife


Naeem Mohaiemen


Ever have a morning so shitty you can’t get out of bed. Or when you won’t go to work unless Congress passes that $700B bailout. I’ll look back at 2007-2008 as a time when Bangladesh nursed that kind of hangover. A state of continual limbo, as we wait and wait. For elections to happen, for the Army to return to barracks, for the foul-mouthed politicians to return to the podium. For a limbo state to end.
Security panic is viral: crossing borders, morphing strains, bringing along multiple, overlapping agendas. Ominously, it replicates rapid-fire from North America to Europe to South Asia. Bomb in front of Indian Parliament, round up Pakistani insurgents. Then bombs go off on a commuter train and the lense shifts to illegal Bangladeshi migrants- there are so many more of them inside India. Then a day of synchronized bomb blasts inside Bangladesh as well. The terror analysts go into frenzy, Hiranmay Karlekar’s “Bangladesh: The New Afghanistan?” is one among many off the hook concoctions. Fear feeds hysteria.

A friend predicted early that panic over the Dhaka bombs would play into the hands of a security state. Aren’t you worried I asked, and she replied, I’m more worried about who benefits from panic. Sure enough, by the end of 2006 the message was seeping out from Dhaka’s meddlesome Embassy Row: the politicians have failed, the country was being over-run by terrorism. A desperate nation turns to the institution seen as strong on security: the Army. A “Caretaker Government” (CTG) takes over on 1/11 (‘07), a world driven by numerology.

By the end of Year two of CTG, good intentions had been defeated by brute realities (neither the Army nor the Politicians get what they want). Exhausted by a seemingly endless national melodrama, I could feel my dissident energy seeping away. Using pen names is strangely disempowering. The only space in which I was able to be more vocal were projects that were published outside these borders: in distant art journals or gallery walls. In contributions for Raimundas Malasauskas’ William Blake Saved Documenta and Carlos Motta’s Buena Vida/Democracy project. Where people would absorb the aesthetics but the politics be too remote to have street impact. I wrote with grim pragmatism that I knew there would be no “Last man in front of Tiananmen tanks.”

As catharsis for failure of nerve, I’ve been getting into arguments with old friends. This sometimes degenerates into shouting matches. Later we apologize over sms, email, gchat. On campus, it seems that everyone is strung on some narcotic. But maybe it’s just nerves. As our brains cook to a crisp from un-ending political limbo, mass psychosis is tearing at friendships/communities/alliances.

August 2008 was the first anniversary of the anti-army riots that exploded on university campuses– a tectonic disturbance that was the first challenge to this neat security blueprint. Invited to show at Gallery Chitrak around this time, I finally thought I could dare a shadow commemoration of that August. The first priority was making sure the gallery stayed open for the full ten days. They wanted no fuss, no bother with the government.

It was true, I did have a set of mobile phone photos. Accidental ephemera from the moment. On day 3 of the riots, when the army lifted curfew for two hours, I went on a motorcycle ride with my friend, snapping shots of the wreckage from my mobile. “Don’t bring out your camera,” my nervous friend warned, so I didn’t. The mobile shots, disposable and forgotten (I had almost erased without downloading), now became the tentpole for this project. Blown up to wall size, dyed in RGB palettes, they took on the timeline for the unravelling.

12.23.2008

"Lady in Wight" -Neal Robinson

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There was a young lady of Wight
Who traveled much faster than light.
She departed one day,
In a relative way,
And arrived on the previous night.



In the Sum Over Histories Theory American scientist Richard Feynman put forth the idea that a particle in space-time
would go from point A to B by every possible path. Thus inspired by the human perception of time and space the Lady in Wight variants are rooted in the subject of quantum mechanics, a branch of mathematical physics that deals with atomic and subatomic systems.



Shot in three different locations around the country Miami Florida, Columbus Ohio, and Salt Lake City Utah, the pictures combine to form a photographic collage that explores the phenomena of a quantum universe. These images, which were taken mostly from airports, create a literal association about time travel. Board a plane in one state, exit in another, and you can gain or lose hours just by crossing a time zone. Travel far enough and long enough and one can even cross an international date line to gain or lose a day. The Lady in Wight pieces explore a multitude of questions. What changes when we finally abandon the idea of an absolute time and recognize that each observer has their own personal measurement? Since the laws of science do not distinguish between the past and future, why do we? What happens when we don’t?

12.17.2008

Kevin Hamilton: Mount of the Holy Cross

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The Mount of the Holy Cross has been my entry point into exploring the construction of race and racism through place and space.

I chose this site, and Colorado as a larger political entity, because of its central role in my own moral education about civic space, land, and Belief. This line of work for me is a first attempt at trying to describe and see my own "whiteness" - whiteness as a racist ethic - when as a white male I'm of course largely allowed to pass as unmarked..


The mining ruins that litter the Colorado mountainscape emerge like the wildlife,unseen at first but revealing of a presence upon the land. To my eyes a scan across a mountainside there usually registers an untouched or even unreachable space, a place not even hospitable to the flora and trees I'm used to from the older mountains in the American east. To then glimpse the mining ruins, camouflaged through age, calls to mind (white) humanity as an alien presence on that scape. From afar, the remnants of human presence appear obviously alien in a way that bears the colonizing promise of a satellite in space or a modernist slab, and the colonizing threat of a first encounter.

Up close, the same ruins call much different things to mind. One is reminded of the hardship of living in those spaces, the threat to working bodies. Consecutive failed attempts at reworking the earth are revealed through a palimpsest of materials and signage from successive eras of mining engineering.

But for me it's all too easy to separate myself from those spaces. Even walking among them, I can extract myself from "those" histories. With the Mount of the Holy Cross, I'm less easily extricated. Is it really a cross in the mountains?...I activate it by looking at it. A matter of subjective perception, but of subjectivity constructed and informed by centuries of violence.

In the 1920's, the Cross became a site of religious pilgrimage while still remote enough to require great sacrifice by travelers. Entrepreneurs eager to see their mining prospects improved by roads and rails grabbed on to the religious fervor, and pushed for state- sponsored construction toward improved access for the faithful. They got what they wanted, the Mount became a National Monument, with all the funding and attention attached. New mining towns appeared around the Mount, and as Colorado filled with new white workers from the East (the Utes long relocated to New Mexico or Western Colorado), the State began to brew with tensions around its own distinct identity in relation to Eastern politicians and barons. The Klan took hard hold at that time, and many a poor mining worker in the mountains joined the efforts of white monied Denverites to unite around the purity of race. Colorado saw a Governor elected on a Klan platform, and Denver a mayor. For a while in the thirtes, during the
Mount's greatest popularity, the Klan controlled the State, including most of the Supreme Court and police force.

The mines began to decline as the State's great economic promise just as WWII gripped America. Around the Mount, the Army set up a large military base that cut off access for the religious faithful for decades. Colorado's "skiing soldiers" later returned from Europe after the War to start all of today's largest ski resorts, and Colorado found itself a new industry. Moving into the Cold War, the base finally looked to close, its last act serving as a training ground for Tibetan soldiers later dropped into Communist China and never heard
from again. By that time, all the surrounding mines had long closed. The Mount is again accessible, but at its base one finds Gilman, a former Viacom-owned mining town closed to all and sitting atop a Superfund site.

12.16.2008

A Conversation : Eye and Gut (Mickey Smith)

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Overheard at the Circulation Desk


E Back then periodicals represented a tangible common culture
around shared interests, shared standards, shared identities.

G The content I am looking for is, how blood and guts transmute
into books and then into your image and then into our brains

E But looking at them past their expiration dates
has the opposite effect!

G Still I would find it boring to read 'how ' something works as a
pharmakon. Once one can 'say' what it 'is' is it no longer effective
as a spell?

E Publications seem insufficient. The audience for them is a
universe of disparate and disunited lives loosely bound.

G Just imagine coming upon these bindings. How you felt when you found them in the stacks.

E A library was the lifeblood of culture, and the central repository of
intellectual activity.

G Against the cold outside the radiators shutter and pop.

E The written word goes there to die.

G You wander into the general medicine archive circa 1970. To your surprise you spy an unfamiliar sequence.

E Printed matter enters its period of neglect.

G When I was in art school worked as a shelver in a medical library.

E The titles represent a serial aspiration on the part of an
immigrant nation toward a finally resolved sense of identity.

G I worked nights.

E We think now of the library as a cemetery

G A sick sweet smell of farts and dust intermingles with sweat.


(Mickey Smith press release with anonymous remix)

12.15.2008

Eliza Fernbach: Rushing to Your Death?

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In 2001 at an empty French airport I was shoved aside by a harried "fonctionnaire". Searching the vast space around me for some potential hazard, I found nothing apparently dangerous and I wondered why, given the room available, this person needed to shove me.

On one of the highways that lead into the great rushing metropolis of New York I wonder in much the same way as cars speed past narrowly missing each others' bumpers, sides and spewing smoke from their neglected engines.

At the airport my knee-jerk response was to cry out "Rushing to Your Death?" The man stepped onto the escalator at that moment and stood quite still staring at me as the moving stairs smoothly carried him aloft. It was a moving pause. The question is now embedded in my psyche and my work, I have been posing it by way of various media ever since. Pascal suggested we stop and reflect- every artist is in some way dedicated to precipitating this full stop.

So to the Pharmakon...and rushing, I suppose, to your death or to anything. Christina invited me to ponder this intriguing duality when we met at the Book Arts Fair in New York this Fall and talked about illness and velocity. I'm not sure a billboard, a question or even speed itself have duality but Kevin's references to skepticism and enchantment struck me as very apt lens' through which to look at the potentially fatal nature of speed and at the same time the exhilarating super-heroic possibility of eternity that supersonic nay even super-galactic speed suggests.

Until now there was no upside to speeding for me. It is dangerous, it burns more gas and it blurs vivid color into dull greyness. But in the world of Superman and since he's been in the news Batman too- speed actually allows for time travel. More so for Superman who can really go back in time and well, isn't that the most enchanting way of imagining REALLY slowing down? Slowing so much you can actually re-do something...And so, if you don't speed you may get a little closer to Superman by not HAVING to re-do anything because you did it slowly enough to get it as right as it needs to be.

The only time I have seen speed enchantingly benefit anyone was when it was combined with precision. A tap dancer navigated a contemplative labyrinth I had set up and I was amazed at how he maximized his passage and his experience of the journey. Perhaps that is why speed has doses on the highway. It is poison at one point and er, shall I say useful if not healing at another.

There's something in Jacques Prévert's quip about the passage of time that touches this duality of velocity..." Time,you say that it passes just as it stops to sit down and watch you go by."

So is the billboard a sort of pharmakon? I'm not sure. It certainly made some people irate enough to submit poisoned reactions in the comment section of the accompanying website and inspired others to enchanting, maybe even healing epiphanies which they graciously shared with me too.

I suffered pretty rugged symptoms with chemical and environmental sensitivity myself and found the use of antigens successful in healing my broken immune system. As a result I am no longer a skeptic about the importance of moderation and the idea albeit more and more a fairytale that there is "Just enough, just exactly enough of something" and finding it can be a real joy ride.


-Eliza Fernbach

12.14.2008

Kevin Hamilton: "Magic Wand Tool"

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He stood transfixed.There was his blessed mountain in all its magnificence. Unknowingly, he removed his hat and bowed his head humbly. Tears welled in his eyes. He dashed them away and focused his gaze again on this miraculous symbol. And while he gazed, the clouds folded together again- a curtain closing before a wondrous spectacle. -Clarence S. Jackson, 1952

Kevin Hamilton: "Healing Brush Tool"

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For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality,when the perishable has been clothed wit the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." "Where , O Death, is your victory? Where , O Death, is your sting?"

I Corinthians 15: 53-55

Kevin Hamilton: Pharmakon "Clone Stamp Tool"

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Over one of the largest and finest, the snow-fields lay in the form of an immense cross, and by this it is known in all the mountain views of the territory. It is as if God has set his sign, his seal, his promise there, a beacon upon the very center and height of the continent to all its people and all its generations. -Samuel Bowles,1869

Kevin Hamilton: Pharmakon Rocky Mountain High

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TAKE THE MOUNTAIN CURE
Kevin Hamilton


The Mount of the Holy Cross is a real place, and one of Colorado's highest peaks. Each summer the winter snow melts away first from the mountain's rock face, and last from the two ravines that form the snowy shape of a cross. Hidden behind other high peaks in the vicinity of former mining towns and present-day ski resorts, the Mount is only visible from either very close or very far. As a result, this hard-to-reach location achieved the
status of lore and legend until the Hayden Survey finally mapped and measured the peak in 1873.

During that same visit, photographer William Henry Jackson captured an image of the cross that would serve him in various iterations throughout his career. Reproductions of his famous picture found their way into countless American
homes; painter Thomas Moran borrowed from Jackson's image for a popular and epic painting.

For many, this white cross served as divine confirmation of the right of white men to possess the land. The "red" Utes were forcibly removed from the Rockies, while the Mount was made a National Monument, an economic
boon to tourism and mining. Only when the surrounding forests were claimed by the military for Camp Hale during World War II did the Holy Cross begin to fade from the public imagination. By the time Camp Hale closed in the 1960s, re-allowing public access to the Cross, religious faith had been successfully confined to the private domain, and no longer a subject for collective civic attention. No longer a National Monument, the Mount today is a popular destination for "peak-baggers" in their quest to climb all of Colorado's mountainsthat measure over 14,000 feet in elevation.

Zippy the Pinhead is the subject of a syndicated comic strip by artist William "Bill" Henry Jackson Griffith, great-grandson of the photographer William Henry Jackson. In the Summer of 2008, Zippy finally paid a visit
to the Mount of the Holy Cross, where he posed for a photograph and answered some questions from artist and fan Kevin Hamilton.

KH: Zippy, it's pretty high up here above the treeline - are you newly inspired by the oxygen-thin air, the unfiltered UV rays, the glinting skin of commercial airliners?

ZP: Actually, I just keep thinking about Ferris wheels!

KH: Really? Don't the vast views and unspoiled tundra leave you feeling closer to the divine?

ZP: I don't know, something about the total absence of Cracker Barrels and Toyota Scions just leaves me dizzy.

KH: Maybe you need to drink more water. Do you think the Ferris wheel is some repressed memory from your childhood, revived by the sight of the 1000-foot cross of snow before us?

ZP: No, I never wore white. A muu-muu isn't a robe exactly, and the hood gets in the way of my MYSTICAL THIRD EYE.

KH: Yeah, I keep meaning to ask you - what have you got against pants anyway? I hear that Schlitzie the Pinhead wore a dress because of the incontinence caused by microcephaly.

ZP: Yes, tectonic plates are moving even as we speak! The mountains sing of an impending ideological earthquake!

KH: No, Zippy, that's just more unexploded ordnance down the hill at Camp Hale. Some poor hiker probably just lost his shit.

ZP: You would too if you'ld just seen the ghost of Orion W. Daggett!

KH: The storied newspaperman of Red Cliff! If only his dream of a highway to the Cross had come to life. Then we'd be standing on a real tourist mecca.

ZP: Well I've always been a believer.

KH: Me too! But what good is a private fantasy? Don't you long for the old days, when thousands trekked up this peak to hold mass in the morning light?

ZP: There's plenty of light! Just take the picture!

KH: I know, you're probably right. Who needs another mass cult in the snow? Besides, with global warming there won't be enough snow anyway, the cross will be gone.

ZP: Pine beetles! Kludd and Kleagle! Is there a sequel?


....It seems to me that the "magic" power of a pharmakon comes
from its duality, no? It's magic when a poison heals me, or when a
remedy kills me.

There's a lot going against this in the modernities I know. We moderns
don't believe in magic - we either rationalize it away or banish it to
the domain of counter-rational romanticism. To read subjectivity into
the pharmakon - to allow the poison to be a poison only to whom it
kills - is to kill it. Or maybe it's the other way around - we
construct subjectivity through splitting the pharmakon's powers.

Within an enchanted world, the pharmakon will still be a poison even
for the person it cures - it will still be a remedy even for the
person it poisons. The power in the thing grants it ontology apart
from our perception of it. In the disenchanted world, the pharmakon
will be only a poison to the dead and will only be a remedy to the
cured. The thing only exists for the receiver.

We can look, for example, to the function of the Colorado Rockies as a
pharmakon for white Americans, seeking a pastoral remedy from their
urban/suburban lives.

As a modern skeptic, I can divide the poison from the remedy, and see
how what heals me there in my fancy hiking boots is what kills the
place and the people displaced by white settlement. I'm racist without
meaning to be - sounds like the definition of white guilt.

But what if that's too subjective for the pharmakon? Can I look at how
what's healing me is also a poison to me, in addition to looking at it
as a poison to someone else?

Is my Rocky Mountain High a poison to me as well, a changing agent
within me, that I exist in those spaces as someone who benefits from
genocide? I think so. But it's hard to get my modern mind around - I
fall so easily into displacing the evil done by attending to my own
positive or negative transformation.....

12.11.2008

coming into play : Derrida and "Plato's Pharmacy" - Tim Murray

1 comments
My understanding of the "pharmakon" remains
influenced by Jacques Derrida's text, "Plato's
Pharmacy" (in La dissémination), which reflects
on the irony that Platonic therapeutics and the
valence of catharsis occur via the agency of the
"pharmakon," which is both remedy and poison (whether cure,
illness, or cause of illness). Through exorcism,
catharsis is said, by Derrida, to eradicate
excess by chasing the parasite outside. What's
important about his analysis is its insistence on
the irony that the parasitic logic and structure
must be shared by both poison and remedy, which
paradox must be repressed by the state apparatus
intent on maintaining the purity of an essence
clean of the charms and poison understood to
originate from without. Rather than being
governed by the oppositions inherent in the
pharmakon (remedy-poision, good-bad, true-false,
positive-negative, US-THEM), the pharmakon, as
Derrida argues so skillfully, permits the coming
into play of oppositions without being fully
encompassed or stifled (or blinded) by them.

Derrida adds, by the way, the the pharmakon also
signifies the artificial tint of painting, thus
inscribing the pharmakon into the fabric of
artistic representation,which, of course,
remained questionable to Plato as a dependable
apparatus of the state.

Recipe (evacuee cake)

It is a similar flexible play of highly charged
societal tensions that I mean to invoke by
emphasizing the paradox of "digital terror"
within the context of artistic blowback. While
differences certainly remain between the extent
of state terror employed in different regions
(not to mention by the shift of terror employed
by state surveillance systems and alternative
actions of locative media), I would suggest that
Steve Dietz's legal harrassment is directly
inscribed in the logic of state of state terror,
just as CAE's artistic reflections on critical
and technlogical terror employ the logic of the
pharmakon in resistance to the deadening logic of
us and them.

pharmakon library

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pharmakon imaginary, artists, real.


pharmakon library