Signal and Noise

We maintain an extensive Imaginary Museum here at DP, with one of our favorite galleries devoted to the seascapes of J. M. W. Turner. Thus our ears were well-seized by a lengthy riff from the brilliant cultural historian (among other possibly designations) Bernhard Siegert in the midst of a recent Artforum interview:

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ROUGH SEA

ROUGH SEA

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FIRE AT SEA

FIRE AT SEA

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STEAM-BOAT OFF A HARBOUR’S MOUTH


Silence Borne of Terror

Now comes Joshua Oppenheimer with a second film investigating the interplay between perpetrators and survivors within the 1965-1966 Indonesian genocide.

Here at DP, we considered Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing a masterpiece of exploratory cinema; yet the recently released second “panel” of the diptych, The Look of Silence, brings us even more deeply into how silence works to embed trauma into everyday life. As Oppenheimer writes in his own Director’s Notes:

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In an excellent interview worth reading in its entirety, Oppenheimer expands on his thinking regarding the interplay between trauma and impunity:

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There is much to consider here, regarding the festering wounds within recent American history: torture, war crimes and impunity.


Those Two Abysses

Today, while reading various researches into negative feedback loops that would appear to imply an acceleration of the Sixth Extinction, we offer the following passages from the thoughts of Blaise Pascal, excerpted from the section on the misery of man without God. The images are various Rothko black-on-maroons.

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Black on Maroon 1958 Mark Rothko 1903-1970 Presented by the artist through the American Federation of Arts 1969 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T01170

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Black on Maroon 1958 by Mark Rothko 1903-1970

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Black on Maroon 1958 by Mark Rothko 1903-1970

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Deception and Servitude

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Writing on the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence from the despotism of King George III, and on the eve of a vote likely to have far-reaching consequences in Europe, with fear-mongering in full play from the invisible hands of the neo-liberal vampires, we offer a few paragraphs from the sharp nib of Thomas Paine, dated December 23, 1776:

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FOR FIVE YEARS HE DRINKS YOUR BLOOD: NOW TELL HIM NO

FOR FIVE YEARS HE DRINKS YOUR BLOOD: NOW TELL HIM NO

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Returning to Greece in the midst of a crisis not dissimilar to the one faced by the colonists in 1776, we urge DP readers to consider the excellent analysis of Theodoros Karyotis, an excerpt from which we offer below:

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From Utopia to Escape

As we have continued to roam and comb through the endlessly suggestive and diverse writings of Zygmunt Bauman, we came across an interview in which he describes the dissolution of the ancient utopian longing for a different sort of social world into the more egocentric contemporary compulsion to escape.

The images are paintings from the otherworldly imagination of Dorothea Tanning:

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ENDGAME

ENDGAME

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A VERY HAPPY PICTURE

A VERY HAPPY PICTURE

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44.1.10Civilizinginfluence

CIVILIZING INFLUENCE

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Of Rubble and a Duck

Today, we offer a brief montage of statements from Zygmunt Bauman and Gottfried Helnwein, regarding their experiences of despair and dislocation within the chaos surrounding World War II and the Holocaust; then accepting the responsibility to take imaginary flight from those black holes, in search of a new philosophy and a new art. First Bauman:

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THE CHILD DREAMS

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And now Helnwein:

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DISASTERS OF WAR 3

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DISASTERS OF WAR 19

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IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT

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Finally, we give the last stroke to the creator of Donald Duck, Carl Barks:

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What We Are

EN ROUTE TO BILDERBERG IN THE YEAR 2100

A DP correspondent has alerted us to some provocative comments from the historian Yuval Noah Harari, holding forth in the aftermath of his grand (if thinly supported) overview of human evolutionary biology, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.  Interviewed by the science editor of The Telegraph, Professor Harari speaks with the breathless vacuity of a jester-prophet enthralled by his own spiel, as he cheerfully describes a world where the rich live forever and the poor “die out”:

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What could possibly go wrong? The good professor then pumps up that rather distended, tired thought balloon regarding the present displacement of God by technology:

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In the happy valley that Harari appears to admire if not endorse, imagination fires our evolution and then consumes it, as “master storytellers” bend the masses to their self-serving fictions:

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ALL POWER TO THE IMAGINATION!

WE THINK WE KNOW HOW TO READ

Harari describes himself elsewhere as a realist; the best we can conjure in response to such realism comes in the form of a little poem by William Bronk, from which we borrow today’s title:

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Eternity Through the Stars

We are indebted to Chris Hedges for reminding us of an extraordinary text written by Auguste Blanqui while in prison for various revolutionary activities: L’éternité par les astres.

Writing during an age like our own, where assembled ranks of mandarins regularly confused the expansion of scientific knowledge and technical expertise with “progress”, Blanqui understood that there is nothing new beneath the sun, and that the possibility for barbarism remains endlessly and infinitely present in every second, and within every cell of our existence.

Excerpts below, with images from the book Cosmigraphics.

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The transition from a sunspot’s umbra to penumbra, revealing changes in magnetic field. The interface between a sunspot's umbra (dark center) and penumbra (lighter outer region) shows a complex structure with narrow, almost horizontal (lighter to white) filaments embedded in a background having a more vertical (darker to black) magnetic field. Farther out, extended patches of horizontal field dominate. For the first time, NCAR scientists and colleagues have modeled this complex structure in a comprehensive 3D computer simulation, giving scientists their first glimpse below the visible surface to understand the underlying physical processes.

 

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A Visceral Heresy

We are regular readers of Chris Hedges here at DP; we found his most recent essay of particular interest. The images are from the wise intuitive mind of Brian Dettmer: two of his extraordinary “recycled” encyclopedias, that reveal a knowledge re-viscerated.

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The deformations of the high priests of modernity spill forth in a relentless rhythm that seems to us to accelerate with each passing day. The plodding conscious mind creates delusions that gallop: headless horsemen. Yet fear not, for now comes a surgeon named Sergio Canavero and his dream to transplant a human head.


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