Berlin, 2009

Berlin, 2009
We want more voices, thoughts and languages!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Question a., from a-d of the application to the EGS

a. State how you are prepared to successfully complete a program designed for students stimulated by ideas and not afraid to think for chance no way this question looks weird and it’s even the first i should presume there won’t ever be a better candidate than me. is it a serious question. to be honest i like it. i realized only now writing that it’s in english, your mother tongue, i’m talking to the computer, don’t worry, nothing personal is going on between you and me. or maybe not. maybe it’s a trick. this question is a trick if i’m already writing in a language none has mentioned but i understood so it must be natural and this is the way it is. but i’m italian, you, there, listening to me, understood? verstanden hast du? i’m italian. so… what’s the freedom you are giving me? what does it look like? schablone oder kuriosum. oh, nothing important, i can write in English you see, it’s just that i would have felt much more comfortable talking italian. but it’s fine, don’t worry. you are not worried. great. well, i am supposed to articulate and detail my answer. my pleasure. i hope that you are paid quite well because it’s gonna take time, my reply. and my English is also quite crappy so you will need even more time than you supposed giving a look at the paper (is it printed? or are you just looking quite bored and annoyed at the screen?). oh, i would like to know. it’s a rare occasion, this, for me. i’ve got your time in my hands and god knows if i’m not going to waste it. fuck. no, i should not have written “fuck”. i don’t want to give you any legitimation to interrupt the reading. because, believe it or not, am going to write of philosophy in those pages, those, those far away after you, a sea, a sea eating you up into them. i know, i am sure one has to run other more important and other more pleasant businesses than reading me, and an expert like you can judge after two lines if the text is worthy of something or not, and i can tell you now that no, this is not the text you are going to consider good, you might end up feeling a bit sympathetic, if you do not belong to the jealous sort of people who cannot cannot really admit it, but, no, i can tell you, trust me, you are not going to consider it good. but, ehi, this is important, i do not care at all about your judgment, i will feel satisfied if only i will have fucking wasted time in which you might instead have been fucking, while no, sorry, you are here reading this shit. i want to burn your time, give it to the pigs, darlo ai maiali, one says in my mother tongue, because you, people like you sitting on a chair behind a big desk have violently disposed of own during my last thirty thirty-one years. i wonder who you are. surely not the one who chose the title i am replying to now, or at least i am supposed to. i wonder if you are obliged to read the entire paper or are allowed only to scan it. (leaf through, durchblättern, sfogliare… nice words which will disappear with the books? who knows) i know for sure that as long as i will entertain you talking about your life and my own speculations on your life, as long as i can guess at least something about it, you will keep reading, and that’s my aim. should one say “end” in English? by the way, is it English, your first language? are you not worried that my only worry is that you won’t accomplish your task, you won’t do what you are supposed to do, you won’t fulfill your duty. i am sure you wouldn’t if i were not here writing this rubbish that yet is about you. actually i am already bored. i despair there’s a way to keep you interested and to let you accomplish your task. can i help you somehow? should i write something more specific or be more detailed just to keep company to you during this hard mission? i’m going to tell you why i trust you so little, without knowing you, but before i hope you agree if i take a roundabout for a few minutes, just a few lines. After all everywhere people are getting used to turnabouts, there’s the european union which is giving founding for every turn-about, so that traffic lights are disappearing as during epidemics. And god knows what will happen to the kantian (not cunt, kant-ian, like canto… sing-ing) imperative when none in the world will be able any longer to give the example: dovere per il dovere, even if there are no cars the light is red and therefore you don’t cross the road. i’m getting lost with these turnabouts. oh, i just meant to refer an episode of my childhood. we were planning at school the gita (gita is the annual class excursion, it can take one day but also a week, it depends on the economical kindness of the school): paris, london, barcelona, pisa (twenty minutes from our city… quite convenient…), then, then, the teacher just stopped the screams (of course democratic resolution needed fire spirits) and said: “guys… we can just get on the coach and turn around Piazza della Repubblica for three days… you are gonna be happy so.” that’s it, that’s what i’m trying to do with you, driving you around, but we’ll finally get away. yes. even if you don’t trust me, am telling you that it will be worthy, this short trip of lines, it will result having been worthy of something. no ambitions, no, clearly, it won’t be anything special, nothing good, i’ve already told you, but not so bad as you never supposed. so, where are you? next to me, aren’t you? but it’s nothing original. i’ve already read a few things like this, texts or books (more ambitious) played with this fashion of involving the reader in a direct way, aggressive. well, I am not going to mention the don Chisciotte, or the tradition of homage and dedications, because, even if after all any presumption of knowing something about the reader seems on some level of reception violent, there’s some sort of addressing that’s violent indeed. a month or two ago i was reading a relatively new book where the author was addressing you reader, where you were a woman that, for a long part of the book, one just suspected the author wanted to fuck. but you see, even so there was a “you reader” and a “one reader”, the “you” and the “one”. and i love the one even if i disdain you. but i’m giving you the chance to be the one i love, the reader. both of us know that you don’t feel totally addressed by my words, there’s always some slight slip of the meaning from a word to your face. you know that i cannot know. as a maniac i’m not any good. the naked one in this dialogue is me, the weak one, the one who is expressing, while you are deliberating in incognito, smile, scratch you elbow, yawn. Yawning is empathetic, talking about it you might be really yawning now. but, you see, more than some tricks, there’s not much in my power. The colours of your eyes, i have no idea about the colours of your eyes. my problem has always been the presupposition by the reader that the colours of his eyes had no relevance in my text. the readers always said that my texts were complicated. so, i am satisfying you now, there’s fucking nothing complicated in this text. i guess also my disappointment and rage are quite visible and clear. rage, clear. i spelled it right, i wrote it down. i think that makes it clear. but i will be even more clear. you know what really upset me? the title that has been chosen as letter “a”: a. State how you are prepared to successfully complete a program designed for students stimulated by ideas and not afraid to think for themselves. State what? “stimulated by ideas”. “not afraid to think for themselves”. fuck off, no, seriously, fuck off. I’m giving you what i’ve been supposed to give since i went to school till now, something simple, clear and articulated. Oh. Just give me time and I will argument, motivate each single letter, each single word. I am looking forward. Do you want me to think a bit more for myself? What’s a fucking “myself”? If you ever thought about that crossed sentence to which i am supposed to reply, maybe you would realize why i made my only aim to throw in the rubbish handfuls and handfuls of your already wasted time. because if you looked at it objectively, well, since you must be an übermensch or übersomeone, if you do look at it objectively… No. Stop. I’m wasting words. I do not know if I have got any chance that you’ll ever want to pay a bit of attention to what I’m saying. Will you? ehi. Will you? It’s your son writing. Will you? Your dad. Will you? I fucked your mother ten years ago. Will you? I’m praying. Will you pay a bit of attention to me? To me and to the colours of your eyes? Could you look at the sentence I’m supposed to reply? Can you tell me what I should do? Should I pretend that there is some form of sense in that sentence? There is not. It’s rubbish. It’s clearly rubbish. Do you want me to motivate to you why it’s rubbish? I’m trying. And it’s a paradox. I’m trying to render you back what’s the context of that sentence, I’m contextualizing it. What drove me mad is the fact that your bloody program designed for students stimulated by ideas and not afraid to think for themselves is taking away the last sand, the last beach, the last tent, the last refuge for him who’s really condemned to think for himself. There’s plenty of people condemned to think for themselves. And they are not the ones who either successfully complete a program for students stimulated by ideas and not afraid to think for themselves or even enter the program. because you won’t understand them. you won’t have time to read over the third line. because you will get bored and you are fucking paid how much for what you are doing. so, really, what do you have to do with me? unluckily i have to do something with you, but do not tease me, please, do not offend me, please. don’t write fucking titles like that. both of us know that i will have to accept a compromise if i want to apply, and so… i won’t, even if so far, in a way, i’m doing it, i won’t, and i am telling you bye-bye now, because, now, my dear reader, i will forget and forgive you, and i will dance, and i do not care at all if you won’t be able to follow me and learn the steps, learning is what i am-loving


to read the final part, click here:you uh....

The Queer Case of a Mermaid

The queer case of a Mermaid tells us of an amazing animal which – so goes the story – and the chronicle confirms – got lost and was seen swimming in the flat waves of the Lake Michigan; the lake: it never was so vast to let the flashing sparkles of its eyes disappear on the horizon. Some on the beach look towards the arising sun, and they think: it is the sea. It is because of this fact that happens every now and then: the fact that there are people who think it is the sea and there are people who have known on the map: it is a lake – it is because of this confusion that other confusions are engendered, like the one I am telling you about.But let us start from the beginning, that, like every beginning, starts from the springs. In the earth of the Americas, where they are knotted together by the pressure of both the oceans on the thin waist, where one should go as soon as he runs out of matches and still wants to make a fire – because the temperature is so high there! – there, from the burning soil is where the ants come from, each with a secret and a button, some with a mouth of butter, and moths come from there and mosquitoes and flies, because there the temperature is so high that it is the right place to cast them, they melt, merge and smelt and then they are born. There are steps of fire there. And there is also a huge pond – some say – but the steam is so thick and the smell so pregnant that neither eyes nor noses ever dared to sound how big, how deep the waters might have ever been.It is from this pond, in the centre of the Americas, where the ground is so narrow that only jumping on the ants’ heads one could pass from South to North and vice versa, in this space of the world where the oceans are almost to win over the continents and break apart the Americas and join together, a crocodile collected his bunch of things and decided to leave. This is a place where people and animals are born and get created – as you prefer – but it is not a place that one can just leave. One was born here and then goes into the world like every ant does and all the other animals, but it is all another matter if an animal, once upon a time, a crocodile, decided to leave in the morning and that is all. There was the thought of him, maybe. Maybe only his tail, maybe the teeth. Maybe there was already something of him, a part of his, or maybe nothing at all, who knows, but the fact is – and that is the story and what trouble – that that day in the morning the crocodile got ready and left.The other animals could well have screamed aloud and long, but hardly he would have heard them despairing after him, he was so perplexed and the forest soft, the moon was pending cream in a light sky, the sun hard and stony, the sky was getting blue. How, how could he have heard them searching for him? He would not want to leave. He was walking along the torrent, and swimming like soap on the splashing waters. Looking at his tail he was wondering if it was as green as the smooth pebbles, and got close to flowers and starrred enchanted and smiled. Flowers, seeing him getting near their petals, near their roots, afraid and scared more than the devil who knows what he did, closed up into their buds, which disguised bright colors and faded down in the mud. Worms folded the leaves as soon as they saw him passing by and disappeared into them, but the crocodile just continued going with the current and happily laughed to every fish and eel he met on the way. Some fishes lost their bones, others the flippers, the luckiest ones just got so scared they spit out and puked the hooks they had in their bellies since long. The crocodile smiled back to all these expressions – he thought – of great joy. And if by chance a red fish in the creek had not become green, or an eel not shortened to the length of half an inch and a blueberry yet, then, seeing his teeth ranging from white pearl on the left to blue black on the right and from right to left from knives-long to pin-acuity stunned every fish would sigh and be swallowed numb into its own last breath. The crocodile wondered why they would go to sleep so abruptly and after such celebrations and although welcoming, none was eventually willing to talk to him. He was curious, had many questions but was not patient enough to stop anywhere. Voices were still crying after him, but he was so perplexed and the forest soft.


(To continue click on the link. Hug)

All of it:

The Application of Page Pavlov

Application to the EGS by Page Pavlov

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A state within a state

A review of Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine

‘Everything you never wanted to know but to enter the present century, asked…’

The movement of history unfolds unmistakably between the pages, in fact shocking, of the Shock Doctrine. The shock that comes from reading it, is not the shock ‘treatment’ developed with CIA funding that is documented in this fearless work. Rather, it is the shock of staring in the face of your own present as it unfolds in the movement of history and finding yourself indelibly marked.

Perhaps in 2009 the book, now almost 3 years old, is not in need of another review after being on the New York Times Bestseller and while of baby-age already translated into 27 languages. And yet, I couldn’t help myself: it’s significance as for me personally, so for Americans and for the global community is so great, as Rachel Maddow signals when singling it out as the most important work to come out from American publishing in years. In saying the global community, I do not hint at any homogenizing cultural gesture, but rather the pregnant fact of the each-day-increasing economic and otherwise interwoven state of the world, which is ours.

There is historicism and then there is history, as Walter Benjamin never tired of delving into; there are stories of the select few, which, no matter how many protests they themselves make, are withering relics always already sold on selling boredom and hence, anti-history to generations of minds. Then there is history in itself, writhing alive and burning, not only the mind, but the very selfhood of the people part of whom they (yes, they, as plurality of living history) always are.

Naomi Klein’s work is not only an integral part of the latter, and as such living and necessary for survival history must, it not only tells in painstaking and breathlessly courageous detail our history, it also points the ways ahead, warning, arming and showing us an already existing direction in which, as a people, we can rebuild a different path.

Undoubtedly, we should know more than the names of the countries where United States has in the last half century supported violent upheaval. But this explosive current history, although discussed and protested, is often so overwhelming for increasingly disempowered global citizens, themselves often rootless, it can be difficult to make sense of. This is precisely the function of the brazen lies told by too many politicians and/as corporate profiteers. If we know our history, we must do everything to change its course.

Argentina, Afghanistan, Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, Indonesia, Iran, Nicaragua and Uruguay

to mention those discussed in the Shock Doctrine. The trajectory here is one torture, sponsored not only by the CIA, but other giants of the U.S. government and for-profits, whose peculiar feature is the overcoming of distinctions between physical, economic and psychological torture, that never leaves out American citizens.

I admit that I am the kind of sometimes student, part-time instructor, activist and writer that cannot bear the news to such an extent that despite my piecemeal academic knowledge, I grossly lack being comprehensively informed about the state of the world today, and yesterday, not to mention (even if I dream) the future. I fear irremeably and not always consciously that knowing too much (and too little) about the problems will paralyze instead of aiding my ability to respond. I’ll save the suspicious and too obvious comments about the growing numbers of people who feel precisely this way, despite levels of education. Klein’s work is a wake-up call, specifically for this tentative us, including so many artists and poets.

Her writing presents the cold-bloodedness of our too recent historic events in a way one can comprehend, while not being able to deny, and then again from which we can begin to act, instead of simple reeling in shame and shock. This is perhaps the most significant factor, which breaks the very chains they are designed to create: shock – an “accidental by-product” of the hapless state of the world today, but the intended effect of the dominant contemporary politico-economic doctrine, as Klein shows.

The metaphor here, is not a metaphor at all, it is rather a direct, documented relation of metonymic implementation. From its very birth in the mental hospital’s shock lab of Doctor Ewen Cameron – in Montreal, funded by the CIA — to its openly documented use in Iraq, shock treatment has been used as a new torture technique.

Along the way, we get a glimpse, also via the self-description and understanding of the doers, of these tactics, developed not from a similar but the same origin, into economic policy measures from Moscow to New Orleans designed to shock people into regression: disorienting and debilitating, so that our land and what little wealth we might have can be stolen by the super rich. No matter the repetitions or the denials, human beings cannot avoid being struck by the unacceptability of torture for profit. And yet, in the disaster capitalism complex, Klein’s apt phrase for contemporary global corporatism, there is more than just insult added to injury.

The victims are required to pay for their torture.[1]

There is an intentionality in the use of torture, unabashedly disregarding laws, directly for profit by the American government, as well as American and international corporations, the marriage of which is documented here by Klein, that is enough not only to indict and condemn corporatism once and for all, but to chill the blood of any human being able to think through the events around them. Despite evidence to the contrary, Americans have a conscience.

Klein combs through the hurricanes and wars of unthinkably plain gruesome truths, and let’s numbers and facts tell a story that’s as inciting to think through as it is simple.[2]

“A 2007 study calculated that the number of terrorist attacks since the start of the Iraq war had increased sevenfold” (539). This is no surprise when “the Red Cross has said that U.S. military officials have admitted that somewhere between 70 and 90 percent of the detentions in Iraq were ‘mistakes’” (468).

When the war began, I helped plan the biggest protest in my small college town they’d seen in 18 years, and after the bombs started dropping, hopeless, guilty and miserable, I gave up paying attention. I felt implicated, guilty. Klein’s sobering break down of the systematicity of exploitation revives my ability to pay attention if not pursue the same issues again:

“The Iraqi commandos, originally trained by [U.S. commander James] Steele, were officially working under Iraq’s Ministry of the Interior, which had insisted…that is ‘does not allow any human rights abuses of prisoners….’ But in November 2005, 173 Iraqis were discovered in an Interior Ministry dungeon, some tortured so badly that their skin was falling off, others with drill marks in their skulls and teeth and nails removed…not everyone made it out alive…” (471).

Naturally, we the people, want immunity from the crimes our government and corporations profit from. (I went as far as Berlin.) And despite the mounting crimes, somehow we’re different?

“A right-wing journal in the U.S. pronounced Blackwater ‘al Queda for the good guys.’…Wherever the disaster capitalism complex has landed, it has produced a proliferation or armed groupings outside the state. That is hardly a surprise: when countries are rebuilt by the people who don’t believe in governments, the states they build are invariably weak, creating a market for alternative security forces, whether Hezbollah, Blackwater, the Mahdi Army or the gang down the street in New Orleans…(90 percent of Blackwater’s revenues come from state contracts.)” And that state is ours. “The actual state, meanwhile, has lost the ability to perform its core functions without the help of contractors…When Katrina hit, FEMA had to hire a contractor to award contracts to contractors” (527). This is not the end of the problem but just the beginning, the most damning effect of emergency services privatization, in the U.S. as around the world, is that it just does not do its job in providing services to those most in need, as Klein documents throughout the book.

The account in these pages traces the violent birth of disaster capitalism, that is the contemporary state of corporatism feeding on violence, nature and man-made alike. Unlike “shock treatment,” our current history is chilling to the mind and boiling to the blood at once. Klein, at first perhaps surprisingly, asserts that some disasters such as 9/11 are not planned by insiders, because they have no need. The current path we have been steered onto is one that generates disasters without necessary planning by those who profit from it, no conspiracy required.[3] Profiteering from misery seems to have no bounds, while alongside its scale, a private state arises that, however ignorantly, looks more and more as a case of life imitating Orwellian art (forgive the now necessary cliché.)

“The emergence of this parallel privatized infrastructure reaches far beyond policing. When the contractor infrastructure build up during the Bush years is looked at as a whole, what is seen is a fully articulated state-within-a-state that is as muscular and capable as the actual state is frail and feeble. This corporate shadow state has been built almost exclusively with public resources…Yet the vast infrastructure is all privately owned and controlled. The citizens who have funded it have absolutely no claim to this parallel economy or its resources” (527).

Klein would never stop here; and she does not. Instead, she discusses the successful resistances, small and large that have been mounted by people healing from shock around the world, as it inevitably occurs, perhaps after a few years, perhaps after 30 or more. Some of us however, have no claim to hope. And so, with only the faint wish of spreading the word and thought and…much more I have no right to hope for, I end where we should begin.
“We leave an imprint each time we enter into a history.” W. Benjamin[4]

[1] (All quotations refer to the Shock Doctrine, unless otherwise specified.) After documenting the mass torture of the juntas brought to power in Latin America with U.S. support, in chapter 8, “Crisis works,” Klein sums up several examples:
“The newly liberated country [Argentina] was rigged to detonate, thanks to the planting of a so-called debt bomb. As part of what the outgoing junta had termed a ‘dignified transition’ to democracy, Washington insisted that the new government agree to pay off the debts amassed by the generals. During junta rule, Argentina’s external debt had ballooned from $7.9 billion the year before the coup to $45 billion at the time of the handover—debts owed to the IMF, The World Bank, the U.S. Export-Bank and private banks based in the U.S. It was much the same across the region. In Uruguay, the junta took a debt of half a billion dollars when it seized power and expanded it to $5 billion, a huge load in a country of only 3 million people. In Brazil, the most dramatic case, the generals, who came to power in 1964 promising financial order, managed to take the debt from $3 billion to $103 billion in 1985. By the mid-eighties, several economists had observed that a true hyperinflation crisis simulates the effects of a military war – spreading fear and confusion, creating refugees and causing large loss of life” (196).

[2] Let’s play a game. Guess how much tax payer money one paramilitary corporation, Lockheed Martin, got in the year 2005 alone?
$25 billion U.S. taxpayer dollars, more than the entire legislative branch of government combined (p.537).

[3] Natural disasters are up 430 percent since 1975 (p.539).

[4] The Arcades Project. p. 516

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Martinotto, Martino, Giannicolino & friends

In attesa di disegni...
la storia (abbozzata) di above mentioned heroes! Qui: