Variant 30 Winter
The reality of my desires
Rebecca Gordon Nesbitt
Provocative review of 'Realizing the Impossible: Art Against Authority',
'Do it Yourself: A Handbook for Changing our World', 'Rebel Alliances:
The Means and Ends of Contemporary British Anarchisms', exploring the
critical urgency and shortcomings of the creative dissent they express...
Poster Girl – Billboard Rhetoric
A cyclist's ruminations on Trócaire’s Lenten billboard
campaign for 'Third World' women's projects and the discrepancy between
the language and the political effect of such 'charity' advertising.
What dreams may come: (Palestinian)
...reviews 'Dreams of a Nation: On Palestinian Cinema', Edited
by Hamid Dabashi. In the formulation of a Palestinian cinema, does "...the
understanding of a Palestinian national subjectivity need only
be about its struggle for freedom. Are there other ways in which
that subjectivity might be constituted or addressed? To express
the question in another way: to what degree do nations create cinema,
and cinema create nations?"
Plink Plink Fizz...
Contemporary Art Dissolves the Past
"What is the effect of the promotion of the contemporary artist
as mediator in relation to a range of social ‘issues’?" Reviewing
'Histrionics' by Buchanan and 'Shotgun Wedding: Scots and the Union of
1707' by MacKenna and Janssen via way of Deller's 'Battle of Orgreave',
Coombes examines artists' current preoccupation with a visual anthropology.
Rebel Poets Reloaded
"...50 Cent is now virtually interchangeable with Britney
Spears. But away from the chattering classes’ disciplinary
agendas, cycles of renewal in US hip-hop always juggle pleasure
and pain, intelligence, artistry and entertainment..."
Distribution of the Sensible
...reviews 'The Future of the Image' by Jacques Rancière: "Rancière
detects a clear tendency toward depoliticization in contemporary
theorizations of the image. ... a shift away from a critical appreciation
of the necessary connection between the aesthetic and the political
and a worrying trend toward ... a reactionary reverence for art,
one clouded in religion and mysticism."
The High and Mighty
...reassesses C. Wright Mills' 1956 analysis 'The Power Elite',
where Mills describes the "...historical development in which
the economic and political power of the military, the militarisation
of politics and the dominance of finance capital come together
in a formation which may be distinguished from more general understandings
of classical oligarchy or the ruling class." As Mills says:
'To use the acquisition of wealth as a sign of ability and then
to use ability as an explanation of wealth is merely to play with
two words for the same fact: the existence of the very rich'.
Denialism and the Armenian Genocide
Despite all evidence outlined here concerning the genocide
1.5 million Armenians, governments (such as the USA, UK and Israel),
corporations (particularly, but not exclusively, ones related to
the ‘military industrial complex’ in the US), think
tanks and lobbying groups have actively chosen not to interpret
these ‘events’ as genocide because of political expediency,
ideological biases and/or profits that stand to be made if stances
that are 'agreeable' to the denialist Turkish state are adopted...
Gordon Brown: From reformism to neoliberalism
...plots Gordon Brown's political trajectory as the principal
architect of New Labour -- the product of defeat in the class struggle
which for Brown the capitalist class had won, both domestically
and globally, with Brown embracing the neoliberal agenda "with
all the fervour of the recently converted".
|Digital Bungling: Realism in an Unreal
"...As the case of call centre design shows, digital technologies are being
pressed narrowly into the service of accumulation, and with it the furtherance
of alienated lifestyles. Might there be other possibilities that lie unexpressed
or are rendered marginal by the euphoric reception of digitisation? 'The State
of the Real' addresses itself precisely to the critical relationship between
digital technology, the real and visual culture."
'The State of the Real: Aesthetics in the Digital Age', Damien Sutton,
Susan Brind and Ray McKenzie (eds)
How the Beast Lives
"...One of the consequences of official ‘cultural diversity’ being
driven by the arts bureaucracy is that it not only anthropologises every instance
of participation at the level of what used to be called community arts practice,
but seems also to subvert critical issues of aesthetics and genre formation and
reformation that constitutes real diversity in the arts..."
'The Nature of the Beast: Cultural Diversity and the Visual Arts Sector:
A study of policies, initiatives and attitudes 1976-2006'