Datacide 10

Teknival and the emancipatory potential of technology

This text is based on a talk given at the One-shot Art Festival in Berlin, October 2007 as part of an evening organised by Datacide that explored the theme: noise, politics, autonomy and recuperation.

The purpose of this text is to historify the Teknival/Free-Party scene as belonging to a history which views technology as having emancipatory potential. This history extends back to the 1930s when Walter Benjamin along with Bertolt Brecht produced a penetrating analysis of the potential offered by, the then emerging, technics to provide the tools to change the conditions of cultural production and eventually offer a renewed social configuration. Their legacy has been developed beyond the Teknival scene in various directions and is currently being discussed in Open Source Culture with some parallels to Teknival. There are different layers to this history and it is clear that the Teknival scene did not by any means offer the most advanced analysis of the emancipatory potential offered by technology. Looking at the theories of technology that have emerged, both positive and negative, and placing Teknival among such histories we are able to see some of its shortcomings and begin to discuss future strategies. As in the 90s Capital is consistently recuperating any ruptures that appear to open enough space to begin to redefine the social and technical landscape. Unlike Heidegger’s pathetic suggestion that only a God can save us now, it seems much more likely that a critical theory of technology is going to be of more use if we are to agree that ‘what human beings are and will become is decided in the shape of our tools’ (Feenberg: 2002:3).
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Commodities for the Jilted Generation

Thoughts on the presentation of rebellion in the artwork of (Post-)Rave records.

Abstract
On the basis of two drawings I´m going to show the conception of rebellion in record artworks from 1994 and 2003. Based on that I draw conclusions about political ideas as a criticism of ideology. The drawings were part of the artwork of the album „Music for the Jilted Generation“ by The Prodigy and „Kill Sound Before Sound Kills You“ by Kid606. Because the latter is a caricature of the first one it´s possible to spot the commonalities and differences.
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visible and invisible fragments of experiences

– ABOUT BOGOTRAX FESTIVAL –

“Every possible of the individuals is then
a shadow that gives a sound.”
Kierkegaard – in Repetition.

Incipit comoedia

In between a cancerous tumor and the form of a new life, the echo of the city is reproduced through the name of the festival: Bogotá, cold and warm, nasty but full of life and colours. Wasn’t it Allen Ginsberg who that said, “Bogotá was a cancer of the soul”? No, no, it was a Colombian poet, Gonzalo Arango, the founder of Nadaism. Ginsberg would have probably said it was simply a cancer… Unsatisfied with the impressions the ‘’Sud Lands’’ gave to the North American poet, one can be puzzled by what has to be the curse of a soul to be touch by this malefic and material form of biological immortality, i.e cancer1. Sounds like Gnosticism: an immortality against another, immortal dead cells against spiritual life: blessing and curse being deeply mixed.
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ALL THINGS FALL AND WILL BE BUILT AGAIN

teknival

There have always been gatherings of people who want to let off steam – and there always will be. Our generation seems to prefer massive speakers and bass that shakes your chest to tie-dye and Rock through your parent’s gramophone. For me though, underground events have always been interesting because of the spaces they were in. Abandoned warehouses were brought back to life with an echo of their industrial past; factories next to beaches were blasted with the music of machines, a soundtrack to what that place had now become.
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More Than Just a Night Out:

Rave as Confrontation –
Marching Against the CJB in 1994

I read a review of a club night recently in my local free paper, The Islington Tribune. To capture just what a great place this club is they wrote that it is “filled with the kind of happy campers you could imagine filled a field in the ‘90s – but less crusty – it specialises in delivering the kind of electro disco beats that send buttoned-up city types into an air-punching frenzy.”

The funny thing about the above sentence is that it perfectly captures the shift from rave as a force to be reckoned with (the crusties who actually LIVE in the field – Yuk!) to a pleasant night’s entertainment for ‘buttoned-up city types’. It is not misty-eyed nostalgia to recall that rave music – as a bottom up musical and social revolution – really did disturb the status quo for a bit back there. They even brought in laws to deal with this menace!
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