October 2007 Archives

"The Enlightenment"


07:01

DAM vs. The Fear of the Nation-state

See below two videos: first, an interview with DAM, a Palestinian hip-hop group; and second, a virulent nationalist, racist rant by Pat Condell from the UK, who says of himself "I don’t have much of a formal education – which is good, because it means I can actually read and write. But it also means I don’t have a great deal of what you might call actual knowledge."

Based on DAM's music videos, which can be seen on their MySpace page, the group appears to think critically about the social conditions of people of color of the "East" as well as those of the Global North. We can hear in some of their music critical responses to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Yet (understandably), their music also engages a binary argument based in the traditional economic model (see Foucault's "Two Lectures" in Power/Knowledge), i.e., Israelis - evil | Palestinians - better. Concomitantly, though, DAM provides us with representations of the techniques of power and the group does, if ever so briefly, address how power works through subjects in the video for the song, "Dedication."

The interview with DAM posted here counters Condell in that it it represents the cracks in the intent of Condell's rhetoric. In the interview DAM even takes the reporter to task in a way that links his cultural assumptions with those of Condell's. In both the interview and DAM's video for their song "Dedication," they suggest the ubiquitous tyranny of the West. The group argues that youth subcultures of the Global South are not trying to be Northerners; instead, as DAM astutely states, subcultures, in effect, "take" what is needed or what is "good" from Northern popular culture in order to tell their own story (in depiction of history and in creation of the contemporary moment) as Palestinians. Hence, DAM provides an agentic argument about how youth artists make creative choices--where they ingeminate the demand to have the social conditions of their lives made visible and where they choose to re-appropriate aspects of mainstream Northern culture as well as its subjugated/local knowledges for their own political use.

Interview with DAM


The Trouble with Islam by Pat Condell


Feature: The Work of Angel Adams

Unigenderse

Adams On Unigenderse:
"Unigenderse examines gender roles by presenting appropriated footage of television, film, and music stars. I arranged clips of switched or obscured gender appearance and behavior with clips of the American/Hollywood masculine and feminine stereotypes. My intention is two-fold. First, I want to present to the viewer a series of clips where the sex of the person changes gradually from recognizable to unrecognizable, and back, in order to show the natural unpredictability of human personae. Second, I chose this theme because I am extremely intrigued and attracted to androgyny and gender-blending individuals. This is not a question of homosexuality versus heterosexuality. Those labels are inconsequential. I believe that mysterious, or otherwise "unconventional," appearances display the scientific fact that none of us are only one sex each. Therefore, taking on one lifelong binary tag in society is absurd. Each human is both female and male power, estrogen and testosterone, yin and yang, to varying degrees, at different times, by the year, day, or minute."


Cell Space

Adams On Cell Space:
"An observation of the cellular phone revolution, specifically the recent prevalence in Silicon Valley. . . with excerpts of the song 'Pocket Calculator,' performed by Kraftwerk, serve as a musical background throughout the entire film, replete with poignantly optimistic lyrics and quirky electronic sound-effects. In the forefront, I layered many clips of people speaking on telephones and various, genuinely irritating, cell phone ring tones."

From the Artist's Statement-
"I intend to represent what I encounter, as well as present to my audience an interpretation of our surroundings. I have chosen perception as my focus. . . Visual and Conceptual artists, such as the Dadaists, Situationists, Surrealists and Impressionists, have shaped my style, in addition to writers, television, films, and even types of music that deal with science fiction, paranormal phenomena, and fantasy."

"An Injury to One"


Directed by Travis Wilkerson/53:40

For a review of An Injury to One, see labor historian Peter Rachleff's article in Monthly Review Zine.

What is Whiteness Doing 1?

A Bronx Tale - The Door Test/02:35
Directed by Robert De Niro, 1933


Pleasantville - Colored Girlfriend/00:42
Directed by Gary Ross, 1998


Southern Fried Rabbit (banned)/00:51
Directed by Friz Freleng, 1953


The Paleface/01:25
Directed by Buster Keaton, 1922

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