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<nettime> Sovietica digest [miller x2]
nettime's_digestive_system on Tue, 15 Jul 2008 00:19:16 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Sovietica digest [miller x2]


Paul Miller <anansi1 {AT} earthlink.net>
     Re: <nettime> Soviet Antarctica: Ice, Ice, baby...

Paul Miller <anansi1 {AT} earthlink.net>
     Antarctic Ozymandias or Soviet Ted?

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From: Paul Miller <anansi1 {AT} earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Soviet Antarctica: Ice, Ice, baby...
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2008 16:38:18 -0400

Ok -first -
Yes, Wikipedia is excellent - thanx for the insight Ted.

Ted - I suggest you spend your time more constructively. Try and make  
some fonts or something.


This is getting tedious.

Paul

On Jul 14, 2008, at 3:57 PM, t byfield wrote:

> anansi1 {AT} earthlink.net (Sat 07/12/08 at 08:45 PM +0100):
>
>> 2) Yes, I know Stanislaw (or sometimes, it's spelled Stanislav) Lem  was
>> Polish. I specifically said Soviet - Poland, after all was a member  of the
>> Warsaw Pact - it doesn't necessarily talk about ethnicity. Soviet could have
>> been Turks, Uighurs, Kazakhs, Ukranians, Kurds, Georgians, etc.
>>
>> Boris and Arkady Strugatsky were Russian. Stalin, for example, was Georgian.
>> There's a difference.
>
> Thanks for the info. Wikipedia's pretty awesome, isn't it?
 <...>

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From: Paul Miller <anansi1 {AT} earthlink.net>
Subject: Antarctic Ozymandias or Soviet Ted?
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2008 17:54:17 -0400

Since Commissar Ted seems to be an expert on all forms of divination  
on the protocol of when to call a member of a former East Block/Warsaw  
Pact country a Soviet  writer or not, I guess, I thought I'd forward  
the poem, Ozymandias, for kicks. Ted could have mentioned that the  
Russian Federation planted a Russian flag under the Artic last year to  
claim the seabed beneath the North Pole. He could have mentioned that  
the military industrial complex that Lem continuously refers to in  
books like Solaris or The Cyberiad, was an inspiration for Soviet film  
maker Tarkovsky as much as it was for Steven Soderbergh - two film  
makers who included a wide variety of social criticism. He could have  
mentioned that Antarctic Treaty of 1959 that the Soviet Union was  
signatory to. But no:

Whether Lem was Soviet, Polish, Warsaw Pact, or East Block: he is an  
inspiration for my project.
And no, I do not subscribe to John Birch's ideas. You'd have to be an  
idiot, or Ted Byfield, to think so.

Anyway:

OZYMANDIAS

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Percy Shelley, 1818

Written in the after-math of the Napoleonic Wars, and at the height of  
a mythic ruler's hubristic claims that their empire would last for  
thousands of years, Ozymandias seems like an interesting metaphor for  
an inverse mirror of today's hyper accelerated consumer society. From  
skyscrapers to all of the vast works of our hyper-capitalist info  
economy, if you look back at the 20th century, so much of the main  
political movements that caused death and destruction came from  
ideologies that were meant to be transcendent and timeless.

Whether it was Stalin or Hitler, or things like the British Empire, we  
can look back and see how many failed ideologies litter the ruins of  
the 20th century.

Or, to put it simply for Ted - the territorial claims of the Soviets,  
like those of the U.S. and many of the other countries in Antarctica,  
are on a natural landscape that is continuously changing. Or, to think  
of Ted, perhaps the thing that will outlast this civilization will be  
stuff like the huge patch of garbage (mainly plastic debris) floating  
in the Pacific:
http://truemors.com/?p=15204

or the nuclear fuel that will last for millions of years that we have  
casually buried in various spots around the world.

The point that Ted, and people like Ted miss - is the big picture. The  
Antarctica project is about consumer habits. The film that I'm working  
on distills the idea of geography and sound to be used as parts of an  
artist's palette. Antarctica, like all of the planet, is an ever  
shifting (and now melting because of our consumer habits) terrain.  
With colonial claims, as we've seen in places like Iraq, Zimbabwe,  
Israel, and so many other places, are fictions enforced through the  
muzzle of a gun, or the point of a missile.

Again - for Ted:
Antarctica is one of the world's largest deserts. To end with  
Ozymandias and think of the now vanished Soviet Union:

"The lone and level sands stretch far away"

in peace,
Paul

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