Month: August 2010

Negation + Electro = Negatetro

Un-ideological Insurrection in Romain Gavras’ and Justice’s “Stress.”

A few months ago, amidst all the hype and talk about politico-hipster M.I.A.’s new music video “Born Free” directed by Romain Gavras making news, I stumbled upon some of the French director’s earlier work. While I’ve been a fan (whatever) of the French electro duo, Justice, for some time now, I hadn’t come across their video for their song “Stress” and was pleasantly surprised to see the depth that Romain Gavras brought to the project. His video for M.I.A., aside from being an example of remarkable cinematography, is extremely vapid in that its projected “political” polemics are explicit and operate entirely along the surface. The ginger-haired “othering” lends itself to a certain passive recognition of how such ethno-cultural differentiation is/can be supported by state-sanctioned violence. It requires nothing of the viewer except a passive acceptance that this IS (emphatic and totalizing agreement) how difference is codified and supported. Such inherently simplistic visual conventions and politicized contrivance makes the viewer tune out after the first twenty seconds or so, when shock is merely replaced with redundancy. Everything after the initial recognition that conventional ethno-cultural “othering” has been flipped upside down simply becomes superfluous and eventually beats the viewer over the head with brutal repetition of clichéd images. This pedanticism is strange, because what Gavras gets wrong with M.I.A.’s “Born Free” (2010) he had already mastered brilliantly with Justice’s “Stress” (2008).

Hum with the talk about these oppositional spirits

A polemical review of Hans Fallada’s Alone in Berlin

White has declared his intention of piling up as much pressure as possible on the Queen Bishop file and on the Queen Bishop Pawn. Black must meet that threat by bringing all his resources to bear on defense of th efile, or int=stitute a counter-attack vigorous enough to divert White’s forces from assault
Logical Chess: Move by Move Irving Chernev

“Resistance is the present state of an interpretation of the subject. It is the manner in which, at the same time, the subject interprets the point he’s got to. … It simply means that he [the patient] cannot move any faster.”
The Seminar. Book II. The Ego in Freud’s Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis Lacan, Jacques.

Climbing to the Sun on a Cobweb Made of Tinker Toys

One way or another, I guess I’ve spent the past two years of my life trying to figure out what Cloud Cult is.

On the face of it, this appears to be a simple question with fairly predictable answers: Cloud Cult is an experimental rock group from Minneapolis, the brainchild of front man Craig Minowa, with ten studio albums and somewhere in the range of eight musicians. With Light Chasers – their latest polished effort – having been made available for Internet download in late June and set to hit stores in mid September, one might reasonably expect the focus of this review to be on that particular work. The truth, however, is that even though I have listened to the album in its entirety close to 40 times by now, I do not consider myself to have digested it sufficiently to give any other reaction aside from, “Wow”. More importantly, for me this band really cannot be reviewed simply in terms of individual albums, and deserves to be considered for the unprecedented and truly unique experience that it brings to the table – beyond most people’s ordinary interpretations of what music is.

[Perhaps I should mention that the first time I ever listened to Cloud Cult, I was balls-deep in five hits of some rather magnificent LSD.]

Has the insurrection come yet? My arm is getting tired…

A cartography of The Coming Insurrection, Tiqqun, and their Party

“I didn’t come to praise Caesar, but to bury him.”

The Emperor is missing some clothes

I want to critique The Coming Insurrection and some of the writings of Tiqqun not because I dislike these texts but on the contrary because I like them, because I find them interesting, and because they have become so popular. I focus on the weaknesses because I find their strengths to be self-evident and through this review I hope to encourage more people to read them, but in a critical way. The aura of fashion that has surrounded them encourages one to swallow these texts wholesale and uncritically, so that they become digested as a style rather than as an analysis.