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Re: <nettime> 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover
Ed Phillips on Fri, 25 Jul 2008 20:44:59 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover


> complex interweaving produces very different political and cultural 
> outlooks as part of one internally differentiated system. Yet I would 
> agree with Keith that this does not make "totality," not even the 
> totality of something called kapitalism. The imperial interweave is a 
> system of power, it's dominant, it imposes its militarist will in 
> staggeringly violent and absurd ways, yet there is so much else to life 
> under the sun and the stars and the electric streetlamps. No less 
> important than the act of looking into the eye of power is the act of 
> looking away.


Yes. Exactly, Brian. One system, human made, human struggled over which is
something that I think that our squatting here on nettime is about. 

Another way to look at power is at its insecurity, it's vulnerability. Not
only is it not total in a deterministic sense, our sense of determinism
being the index of a collective passivity, it is profoundly insecure and in
need of constant reassurance.

Empire has always been so. When I first saw Velasquez's portrait of that
grandly dominant despot, Felipe el Segundo, I could see as clearly as I see
the profound weakness and insecurity and even pathos of our "fearless"
pygmy leaders, felipe's profound insecurity before the gaze and the brush
of the artist, of the other. 

The insecurity before the gaze of those who wield the means of the
production of representation or vorstellung. The despot feels that profound
insecurity because he has a first person seated view of the hallucinations,
of the hallucinated reinvestment in old dead fig leafs, old dead emblems
and magical insignia of a power that never was. The very form that power
takes is of a reinvestment in what one hopes must have been a reassuring
hallucination at some previous time by some prior regime of power.

Power, and here I mean very particular people acting as agents of power,
hallucinates and reinvests in outmoded hallucinations first and then
samples and tests and adapts as best it can it's very clumsy and unwieldy
hallucinations and representations.

Prosthetic power is even more insecure as it adapts itself also to the
technical apparatus and machine ontology that is coming into being even as
the multitude is coming into being.



On Fri, Jul 25, 2008 at 01:54:57AM +0200, Brian Holmes wrote:
> 
> Ed Phillips asked:
> 
> >  why the sales job for a bizarre complex
> > that is directed at more and more excessive, spectacular, even arbitrary
> > displays of power that will never be used is so successful. Here the image
> > comes to mind of jet fighters that rotate on a dime. Something so insanely
> > exhorbitant in expenditure, flaming, flaring off, exploding in test after
> > test.
> 
> I was wondering about exactly this today, as I read in the New York 
> Times about four air force generals seeking $16 million in public monies 
> to build two-room designer-appointed "comfort capsules" for their 
> personal transport through the imperial skies. But then my curiosity 
> only mounted higher as my eye moved further down the page, where I read 
> about the Bush administration plans to use $230 million of 
> "counter-terrorism" money to upgrade Pakistan's F-16s. "The officials... 
> said the timing was driven by deadlines of the American contractor, 
> Lockheed Martin." No further comment about those deadlines then ensued...
> 
> > Brian keeps making some very fundamental points that I do not see mentioned
> > enough, and he is thinking "with" them:
> > 
> > 1. Is to think in terms of geocapital and the nation states and Empire(s)
> >    as a complex interweaving, a totality.
> 
> Thanks for noticing that, Ed. One of the real interesting things that 
> became concrete for me in South Korea (though I already understood it 
> theoretically) was the way that Fordist and military-industrial 
> development has been driven, in both countries, by the deliberate 
> maintenance of red-alert status at the 38th parallel. Far-off sites of 
> conflict that Americans only see in the movies serve as pretexts for the 
> development of the most sophisticated weapons imaginable (never forget 
> that the US military budget is now as big as the rest of the world's 
> combined). Meanwhile on the soil of that far-off site something 
> different has been happening: build-up of heavy industry under 
> dictatorial discipline until from 1960 to 1988, then rapid 
> neoliberalization peaking with the 1997 Asian crisis to throw the 
> country open to outside capital looking to feed on educated labor. The 
> complex interweaving produces very different political and cultural 
> outlooks as part of one internally differentiated system. Yet I would 
> agree with Keith that this does not make "totality," not even the 
> totality of something called kapitalism. The imperial interweave is a 
> system of power, it's dominant, it imposes its militarist will in 
> staggeringly violent and absurd ways, yet there is so much else to life 
> under the sun and the stars and the electric streetlamps. No less 
> important than the act of looking into the eye of power is the act of 
> looking away.
> 
> best, BH
> 
> 
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