Datacide 12

Useless Ease

 

Telly Makes Us

 

The gridded tower on Winter Hill

caps a corncob of narrative command.

The seemingly benign tones tinkle

out the acceptance and the sacrifice

of what it is to want to want this way.

To get to the facts, the truth, the

reasons-behind is only a means of

making us the square root of quantity.

Those that have arrived here to bite

our ears with dulcet skittishness

are only here to temporalise hell.

They are patented to arrive at this knoll

of mock development and arrayed in

a set series of serried limbos they

fund a repugnant dumb smugness.

 

 

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Spannered – Bert Random interviewed by Neil Transpontine

‘Spannered’ is a fictionalised account of the free party scene, spanning a lost weekend in the mid-1990s. In this conversation with Neil Transpontine, the novel’s author Bert Random reflects on free parties then and now, the famous Bristol scene and much more. The book is available from http://www.spanneredbooks.com/

1. Spannered reads very much like an insider’s account of the 1990s free party scene – written by somebody who was intimately involved in it, rather than by a writer who stumbled into a party in search of material for a novel. Can you say a bit about your involvement at the time and the squat party scene in Bristol (maybe mention some of the sound systems, places where parties happened etc.).

There had always been squat parties and random dances in Bristol, ever since I was a teenager. Like loads of Bristol kids of my age, I was first drawn into skateboarding when I was 13 or 14, which led to punk and graffiti and hip-hop, and then into dance music and raving. There were things happening everywhere: in squats where my mates were living, in places like the Pink Palace (which was a four-story building right in the middle of town that was filled with skate-ramps and painted with huge pink balloons on the outside), in the basements and back-rooms of dodgy pubs, and in weird, derelict, places tucked around the edges of Bristol’s inner-city. [Read more →]

The Dog’s Bollocks – Vagina Dentata Organ and The Valls Brothers (Interview)

The passing of time has not been kind to many of the “stars” of industrial music or “extreme culture”. Sought after limited editions often seem limp when finally downloaded, or ossified in expensive box sets. The futile attempts at commercial crossover look embarrassing rather than courageous in retrospect. And I’ve lost count of the people whose revolutionary ideas and references inspired me as a teenager now seem like pantomime versions of themselves.

Over exposure seems to be the main pitfall, and it’s surely no coincidence that the least prolific veteran of the extreme noise/art scenes of the early eighties remains the most interesting.

Jordi Valls worked extensively with both Throbbing Gristle and Whitehouse in their earliest incarnations, organising live events for both acts in London and Barcelona.iii

In 1983 he released the first of a series of remarkable albums under the name of “Vagina Dentata Organ”. From the outset VDO’s work was characterised by a minimalistic and surreal approach to field recordings. His debut “Music For The Hashishins: In Memoriam Of Hasan Sabbah” evolved out of the recording sessions for Psychic TV’s classic “Dreams Less Sweet” album. [Read more →]

Control and Freedom in Geographic Information Systems

Like the Internet, the Global Positioning System (GPS) was developed first with military applications in mind.  GPS enabled a precise, autonomous, and facile location of any point on the globe.  The development of this technology was critical to the broad merger of cartography with database technology and statistical analysis in the second half of the 20th century.  This new science, termed Geographic Information Systems (GIS), has profoundly changed our views and interactions with physical reality at both continental and minute scales.  The potential for highly detailed monitoring is exhilarating for scientists, but often terrifying for divergent or contestational voices.  At the same time access to these technologies is not highly controlled, which has thrown open the door for popular participation in map creation and publishing.  Through GIS and GPS, cartography has become a crucial new media for expression and critique.  How we choose to map reality is a cornerstone of our consensus on what exists, has existed, or will be created in a place.
The science of cartography has always had deep implications for increased control.  Creation of useable world maps in the colonial period was essential to developing global shipping routes.  Better maps facilitated the massive transport of resources from less technologically developed regions to those holding the most accurate picture of the world.  Among the most famous are the transfer of precious metals from Central and South America to Europe, and the middle passage of African slaves to North America.  Maps have historically empowered control on much smaller scales as well.  Violently enforced consensus on terrestrial boundaries is the defining ingredient enabling land ownership and regulatory extents.  On the other hand, iterative improvement of maps has hugely augmented our concepts of physical reality.  Without a  ‘birds eye view’ our notions of Earth extend only so far as we have seen, perhaps a small area only reaching the borders of town.  Without a map, all the rest is unknown, the other.  Early maps highlight precisely this erroneous notion, placing a given civilization at the center of the world and filling the unknown space with nothing [Figure 1].  In modern times we can view the entire globe, explore its topology, civic organization, and boundaries without leaving the house.  This constitutes a major widening of perception for the human race.
Still, greatly enhanced apprehension of geographic space has been a hotly contested arena.  [Read more →]

Communisation theory and the question of fascism

It is now more than five years since the start of the financial crisis with no sign of respite from austerity and increasing insecurity.  Neither the old left of unions and parties or the newer social movements of protest and direct action seem to be up to the task of offering a way forward. In the search for new road maps to navigate crisis and the possibilities of life beyond capitalism, the concept of ‘communisation’ has become an increasing focus of discussion.

The word itself has been around since the early days of the communist movement. The English utopian Goodwyn Barmby, credited with the being the first person to use the term communist in the English language, wrote a text as early as 1841 entitled ‘The Outlines of Communism, Associality and Communisation’.  He conceived of the four ages of humanity as being ‘ ‘Paradisation, Barbarization, Civilization and Communisation’, while his wife and collaborator Catherine Barmby anticipated current debates about gender with early feminist interventions arguing for communisation as a solution to women’s subordination (Goodwyn Barmby is discussed in Peter Linebaugh, ‘Meandering on the semantical-historical paths of communism and commons’, The Commoner, December 2010).

The Barmbys’ use of the term to describe the process of the creation of a communist society is not a million miles away from its current usage, but it has acquired a more specific set of meanings since the early 1970s when elements of the French ‘ultra-left’ began deploying it as a way of critiquing traditional conceptions of revolution. Communism has often been conceived of by both Marxists and anarchists as a future state of society to be achieved in the distant future long after the messy business of revolution has been sorted out.  For advocates of communisation on the other hand, capitalism can only be abolished by the immediate creation of different relations between people, such as the free distribution of goods and the creation of ‘communal, moneyless, profitless, Stateless, forms of life. The process will take time to be completed, but it will start at the beginning of the revolution, which will not create the preconditions of communism: it will create communism’ (Gilles Dauvé & Karl Nesic, ‘Communisation’, 2011).

Today this broad notion of communisation is used in various different ways, but arguably there are two main poles in current debates – albeit with many shades in between. [Read more →]

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