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.