Presence, Production, Borders

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Just to follow up on a few ideas I mentioned in class this week, here are some references.

First, here's Thomas Hirschhorn talking about his Bijlmer Spinoza Festival. His emphasis on 'Presence' and 'Production' are interesting criteria for working in public space.

Second, here's a hilarious quote from Andrei Codrescu's The Posthuman Dada Guide. We were talking about how boundaries around nationality, cultural identification, and community affiliation get blurred and intermingled in our global society. I think this is a brilliantly absurd description of our globalized/privatized/militarized present/future:

"Political structures larger than the family are projections of automatic economic systems. Borders are largely imaginary, soon to be replaced by aesthetic differences.* In other words, there will be privately constructed borders created by everyone everywhere, enforced by pocket nukes capable of eliminating entire cities or regions. Arbitrary moral systems will back up private aesthetic borders, making it imperative for everyone to receive the correct medication. Unmedicated people will not be allowed pocket nukes, which makes it necessary that they be naked and searched often by militias of art students.

* A longer discussion on borders and aesthetics may be in order here: I refer the reader to my two earlier texts The Disappearance of the Outside and "before the storm: geographers in new orleans," a discussion of anarchist geography published in the book Jealous Witness. For now, suffice it to say that the notion of "privately constructed borders" is an extension of the Republican impulse to privatize everything, from health care to prisons. Borders today are largely imaginary: the Mexican-American border, for instance, runs through every major American city, wherever illegal immigrants go for work. The "border" is a metaphor that separates the so-called legal entity from the "paperless" one. In this sense, constructing borders will eventually be a full-time occupation for anyone providing herm legality, while the aesthetics will be simply the manner in which the entity constructs the argument. Anyone who wants to be "legal" will eventually want to be "legally elegant," that is, as aesthetically concise as the law itself. As for "pocket nukes," these will most certainly be available to the public under the Second Amendment, because they are already in the U.S. arsenal. In the matter of "art student" squads searching people for illegal nukes, the author hopes that he's being ironic, but not really sure. He is most definitely not ironic about the zones of "medicated liberty" or about medications of any sort. In fact, he is going to swallow a pill right now in order to continue the utopian enterprise of typing."

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