Artifice and Agency

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!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Rising Tide is amazing! Some links....

I just returned from day one of The Rising Tide Conference, organized by CCA and Stanford. It was mind blowing. I am just going to list a few links that I think were especially great.
*The conference itself: ttp://
*Today's keynote speaker was David Buckland. For 7 years, he has been taking voyages into the deep arctic with boatloads of scientists and artists. The result? A cultural response to climate change. This is AMAZING!
* There was a section on geopolitics, which ended up focusing on youth organizing, and why the future must be thought of in educational terms right now. Most interesting was The Environmental Service Learning Initiative, which is being implemented in some Bay area high schools.
* The topic of mobility was the most interesting.
*From the Crucible in West Oakland was Kristy Alfieri talking about their bike recycling classes for kids. Tots welding beautiful mutant bikes out of trash! Check out hyphy bike at
*Nancy Hernandez from HOMEY (homies organizing the mission to empower youth) talked about Green My Ride! They got a bunch of old school cars and are teaching folks how to turn them into biodiesel low riders! Yeah!
*My favorite was xtracycle, a 2 wheeled, pedal powered, load bearing, car replacer!
Even more awesome is their not for profit, World Bike. It is open source, load bearing, bike building in places like Kenya, supported by the UNDP. Check out the photos, you will get it!
I hope to send more updates after tomorrow!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Short Hannah Arendt Piece to Accompany Our Foucault Discussion Next Time

Reflection on Violence.

We won't fly for art : Take the Pledge.

"I will not fly for art but only if six other people will do the same AND replicate this pledge." —- Marc Garrett and Ruth Catlow

Take the Pledge

Deadline to sign up by: 26th April 2009

We won't fly for art

We will not take an aeroplane for the sake of art. For the next 6 months we will find other ways to visit and participate in exhibitions, fairs, conferences, meetings, residencies. We will not fly for inspiration, nor to appreciate, buy or sell art.

But only if 6 others will do the same AND replicate this pledge.

This pledge is designed for exponential growth so if you persuade another 6 people to do the same, within a year you could be one of millions of people changing the way the artworld works. So sign up, create a replica pledge and share your own experiences, observations and arguments towards reducing art flights. Post a link to it in the comment box so others can find their way to it.

This is a public art experiment in the de-escalation of carbon-fuelled, high altitude, high-velocity, global art careering. For six months we choose to cover less physical distance, move more slowly between destinations, to look futureward with more attention to the view from the ground and the network, for ways to connect with others around the world.

Who can sign up to this pledge? Any individual involved in the arts: artist (in the broadest sense), curator, art administrator, art appreciator, gallerist, art critic, art historian, art academic, art technician, art security, art transporter etc.

Whether you currently fly for art 50 times a year or never, your engagement will change things by making your position in the artworld visible and by offering an alternative perspective. If you work with others you may need to completely revise your schedules and budgets and lobby for the right not to fly.

This is to light the blue touch paper of Gustave Metzger's Reduce Art Flights campaign using the generative and viral capabilities of social networks. We want to know more about the impact of air-flight on the artworld (and beyond). We intuit that abstaining from air flight will motivate and enable people (with more time, money, energy and attention) to relate differently to their own local cultures and to connect more imaginatively to other cultures.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Manifestoons & Hunger

In the spirit of the Twitter cartoon is Manifestoons illustrating Marx's "The Communist Manifesto".

Steve McQueen's film Hunger is playing in San Francisco (Opera Plaza). Okwui, who curated McQueen's Western Deep (pdf) in Documenta 11, said about this film in the NYTimes: ‘Hunger’ does not depart from the intensity of Steve’s early work. It has distilled it, made it more taut and frighteningly poetic and devastating in equal measure.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Michel Bauwens shout out to DaleC.

Please see here for Michel Bauwen's post in which he reproduces one of Dale's blog entries in full saying:

To what degree does p2p change traditional organisations, and to what degree do traditional forces change p2p, to the point of corrupting its promise, is the broad quesdtion addressed here, by one of my favourite political commentators.

This discussion relates to a post Dale wrote below, in March, on the same subject.


friend or foe?


Please enjoy the photos taken by one of our peers, Todd Forsgren, during his stay in Mongolia documenting community gardens....Cultivation of informal community projects.

See specifically his 2008 Blog List

Monday, April 06, 2009


So, I already posted a link to the wiki that will inform (if not become) my final project, but now I have begun to add content. Again, it can be found here:

Any comments, input, editing, is more than welcome. Thank you in advance!

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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Planet of Slums

I already told you guys that you'd need to read The Urban Climacteric and A Surplus Humanity? -- the first and last full chapters in the book, Planet of Slums for Wednesday. Giving our discussion of the harrowing section Living in Shit, most of you will have grasped that the chapter Slum Ecology is also one I think you should read. Those three chapters are key. I think it would be lovely if you managed to have tackled The Prevalence of Slums and SAPing the Developing World (chapters two and seven), well, it would be lovely if you managed to read the whole thing of course. But in terms of discussion Wed, I'm counting on everybody having made it through those key three chapters and would be very well pleased if you managed to get through those three plus 2 and 7 if you can swing it. How are people finding the book, by the way?