Artifice and Agency

Monday, May 11, 2009

Before We Fan Out...

Don't forget that I need to get final papers and presentation summaries and documentation materials from you all by Wednesday...

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Panel One (1:00--2-2:15)

Philip, War House (Ranciere, Benyus), 10-15mins.
Elinor, Everything Chair (Sterling, Holmgren, c2c), 10-15mins.
Nina, TBA (Public Smog; Arendt, Sterling), 15mins.
Jenny, SOMA Condos (Arendt), 15mins.
Discussion 10-15mins

Panel Two (2-2:15--2:50-3)
Alyssa, TBA (Arendt/Foucault), 15mins.
Daniel, Sememes Seities Sememes (Arendt/Foucault), 10mins.
Dori, TBA (Barthes), 10mins.
Discussion 10-15mins.

Panel Three (3-3:50-4)
Adam, "Usefulness of p2p Collaboration in the Production of 'Finished' Work" (Arendt, p2p posse), 15mins.
HyunSun Jung, "Contemporary Instructive Video Art" (Lessig), 10-15mins.
Kara, Opensource in Brazil [?] (Bauwens), 15mins.
Yuen Jung Lee, "Surveillance and Video Art" (Foucault), 10-15mins.
Discussion 10-15mins.

It's going to be intense and we're going to have to keep to a strict schedule to ensure everybody has their moment in the Sun. No official breaks, I'm afraid, and those who have a/v needs should try to set up before their scheduled moment to keep things in motion. I'm going to arrive as close to 12.30 as possible, to give folks set-up time in advance.

I am creating a statement of basic propositions from my own perspective that summarize the themes of the class -- but what I'm excited about for tomorrow is hearing your voices, hearing what you have made of these texts and how you respond to your peers among yourselves. This should be very illuminating and, I'm hoping, quite a bit of fun, too, even if it looks sure to be hectic and intense.

See you all tomorrow!

Friday, May 01, 2009

foucault's plague city... in mexico?

There's an article in Slate this week called "An Outbreak of Opportunism" that talks about how the Mexican president is trying to use the outbreak of swine flu to consolidate his power. If this doesn't sound like Foucault's description of the locked-down, heavily surveilled plague city, then I don't know what does: 

In addition, Calderón has used the health crisis to concentrate political power in his hands. On Saturday, he issued a decree that places the entire country under a state of emergency. He has authorized his health secretary to inspect and seize any person or possessions, set up check points, enter any building or house, ignore procurement rules, break up public gatherings, and close down entertainment venues. The decree states that this situation will continue "for as long as the emergency lasts." 

...Indeed, it appears that Calderón is now seeking to consolidate his break with the fundamental principles of liberal constitutionalism and the separation of powers. This past Thursday, Calderón presented a bill to Congress that would allow him to declare a state of emergency at any time without its consent. If approved, the bill would allow the National Security Council, made up of presidential appointees, to grant broad powers to the military and to suspend basic civil liberties in all or parts of the country at the president's request. This council would have the power to continue the emergency for as long as it wants.

What stands out the most to me in this article after having read the Foucault from last week is that all of this is being done (ostensibly) in the name of the health and safety of the Mexican state, and that the rhetoric used by the Mexican government is one of responding-- necessarily-- to a crisis, even if it means sacrificing crucial liberties.

Monday, April 27, 2009

End the University as We Know It

Although my encounter with this article did not exactly compel me to second guess my decision to attend graduate school, it did generate a few questions (and it does put forth some rather provocative recommendations). There are moments when the author is dancing around (if not on) several of the core themes in our class: P2P collaboration, cross-disciplinary cooperation, resource sharing, and- of course- the emancipatory potential of new technology. In short, he is calling for a "re-designing" of higher education.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

This Wednesday, Next Wednesday

On Wednesday there will be a sign-in sheet to determine the order in which you want to present work and papers (or sections of papers) for the Symposium the following week. You should be thinking about these things in earnest. Those of you whose final projects are conventional seminar papers should be generating between 18-32pp. Those of you who are work in different modes should still be prepared to submit a piece of writing summarizing the work and connecting it to themes and texts in the course, something I expect to be between 8-16pp. Final papers should arrive by e-mail no later than May 13, a week after our symposium is completed. As always, talk to me if you have questions, issues, problems, and so on.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Checking In

Any word on ongoing projects? Problems, promises, provocations? Links? Images?

How are you finding the readings for Wednesday?

Monday, April 20, 2009


How are you guys finding the Foucault and new Arendt? I'm going to be distributing more Foucault, Agamben, and Ranciere Wednesday. Exciting!

Greenwashing? seems like the puritanical, ultra-conservative, corporate-militaristic, hyperbolic Fox News has "gone green."

I would suggest that perhaps a more earnest and productive first step would be to give all of the anti-environmentalist sociopaths over at the Fox News Channel (FNC)—Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, Megyn Kelly, et al.—the boot. That said, this latest initiative appears to be part of a larger effort already in the works over at News Corp. (parent of Fox Broadcasting Company and, thus, FNC).

Now, I get the sense that the aforementioned FNC ≠ environmentalism thing bespeaks a fundamental conflict of interest between News Corp. and FNC. That said, there are also several questions that come to mind (and in all seriousness, I am really at a loss on this one): What are we to make of the position held by News Corp. considering the conflicting message being esposed by its subsidiaries and/or their employees? Does the social influence of FNC and its contemporaries compete with (or, worse) outweigh News Corp's green initiatives? What would be the most productive way to asses or measure this?

It is perhaps interesting to note the following statement taken directly from News Corp's corporate website:

At News Corporation, we think about the impact we have in the world all the time, from the way our ideas influence and inspire people to the impact we have on our planet and in our communities.

It is my hope that we can discuss this via either the "comments" section or in class next week- although it is not my intention to deprive us of valuable Foucault time!