New Babel

New Babel

Appropriated texts used in the Constant Gibson Blog Performative Writing project

We must learn to subvert existing cities. It’s the way to finally take charge. All you need is a computer, a viewpoint and the ability to express it. The separation and hostility between the “world” of art and the “world” of everyday life finally exploded in deep and voiceless grief. I did not know even the circumstances that had precipitated the conflict. Nothing has ever happened here, and nothing ever will. Conflict of interest, competition and exploitation are, in this context, notions devoid of content, punctuated by sharp screeching sounds; automatic equipment was intoning the phrases of the researchers who study cyberspace addictions. Are they addicted too? They expect everything and have nothing to fear, and at that point we’ll see some amazing social changes.

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Fantasies about the body and technology and human/machine or organic/inorganic combinations. There’s just typed words. You see this attempt to go through language to something beyond. Is it as real or more real than reality, is it mistaken for reality, or is it a new reality that shows up the constructed, performed, artificial nature of our old off-line reality?

He was particularly interested in the questions of thought transference and of apparitions of the living, and in November, 1896, he commenced a series of experiments in conjunction with Mr. Vincey, of Staple Inn, in order to test the alleged possibility of projecting an apparition of one’s self by force of will through space.

When I read the advertisements in the paper I see they are all lies. Funny little Martians that laughed at us humans for eating real potatoes! Featuring Menacing Motor Action! The making of the big machine progressed all the more rapidly for this. Once you push the “Upload Photo” button, depending on your connection speed, it may take a few minutes to upload. When freedom is practiced in a closed circle, it fades into a dream, becomes a mere image of itself.

Check out this girl. I think she’s in love with you. Do you know a weed when you see it? Of course, one person’s weed is another’s flower, so the answer is partly personal and philosophical. When I start painting I shall stop writing!

I had seen the Magic Shop from afar several times; I had passed it once or twice, a shop window of alluring little objects, featuring three authentic Cyberman commands. Being asked to become a wizard often is a powerful experience for a user. In the ancient Egyptian mysteries it was attributed to the god of catastrophe and drowning.

This fantastic cult classic authentic Dalek commands keeps getting better year after year. You want to put on your custom button and flashing lights with brand new pictures. The subservient battle hardened silver androids resembling humanoids in armour and date fact-file. This is the collectors group of vinyl and rubber, sensor rich mannequins that have selfishly saved thousands of lives by being ‘accident-prone’.

Ethnographers typically begin their research with a set of research questions from which to guide their observations. Do you feel like there’s something missing from your life if you don’t blog for a day? If a behavior is rewarded, it is more likely to be repeated. If it is punished, it becomes suppressed.

Despite the incredible distances and differences that exist between these areas, the movie spectaculars, the junk food, the consumer electronics, and the pre-recorded bits of entertainment, we will be in control of a prized asset, and we will seek to develop its potential, raising it to new heights. The birds would return and sing once again.

The worldwide technological revolution of our own era–the digital, networked, information age– provides a context for a retrospective analysis of the cultural meaning of technology. How is the introduction of technology represented as a “fall” from an idealized origin? Convergence and complexity are the key words of the Information Age.

writing is unfortunately like painting; for the creations of the painter have the attitude of life, and yet if you ask them a question they preserve a solemn silence. And the same may be said of speeches. You would imagine that they had intelligence, but if you want to know anything and put a question to one of them, the speaker always gives one unvarying answer. And when they have been once written down they are tumbled about anywhere among those who may or may not understand them, and know not to whom they should reply, to whom not: and, if they are maltreated or abused, they have no parent to protect them; and they cannot protect or defend themselves.

The term “android” was invented by science fiction writers to denote an artificial human made mostly of organic parts, in distinction to a robot, made of purely mechanical parts (though Carl Capek, from whose work the term “robot” comes, actually depicted androids). It comes from the Greek word “andros” meaning “man” and the ending “oid,” meaning “similar to.” George Lucas’ untraditional use of the term ” android” to designate purely mechanical robots who could be like R2D2, not at all man-shaped, has hopelessly confused the terminology ever since.

It’s some sort of temporal divergence. As you look around, you realise the only noise you can hear is the faint sound of wind whistling through the nearby buildings. It’s a ghost town. The radiation levels are perfectly safe now. “Well, what am I going to do now?” you ask the time machine. The lights on the console blink confusingly.

AWHFY – Are we having fun yet?

It should by now be common knowledge that the camera is primarily a tool of social control. The camera as used in advertizing presents to the populace the goods and lifestyles that are deemed desirable. The camera as used in film and TV then educates the populace on how to live one’s life in a proper manner, so that one can acquire these goods and lifestyles (whether by legal or illegal means).

In order to keep us happy and spending more as consumers then capitalism is going to have to tap rather more darker strains in our characters. Perverse inversions and unsettling paradoxes, they appear to be meaningless. The psychopathology of everyday life, cold and distant or abstract. The consumer society hungers for the deviant and unexpected. A perverse sexual act can liberate the visionary self in even the dullest soul, affectless casualties of the nihilistic, over-mediated consumer landscape. A paralysing conformity and boredom that can only be relieved by some sort of violent act. Our latent psychopathy is the last nature reserve, a place of refuge for the endangered mind. Morality reduced to aesthetics, a controlled and supervised madness. All we have left as an ideology is consumerism, searching for meaning in a meaningless universe, by taking your mail-order Kalashnikov into the nearest supermarket and letting rip. The total acceptance of the substrate of violence in consumer societies when it manifests itself. What else can drive the bizarre shifts in the entertainment landscape that will keep us ‘buying’?

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I give you bitter pills in sugar coating. The pills are harmless; the poison is in the sugar. The Spectacle is not just a collection of images. It is the medium of communication between images and is the means by which the real world is interpreted. Public Relations. The mass media is spectacular. Even in extremis it is unable to see itself as a participant in real life. Instead it turns real life into a spectacle – and participates in that. The spectacle offers ‘new lamps for old’. Powerless and alienated in our real community it encourages us to live the community life of Ambridge, Crossroads or Coronation Street. All is conterfeit. So confident – it can taunt us with our own gullibility. Does your life match up to the spectacle?Isn’t real life best left to the experts? …Enjoy. The producer sells; The Consumer buys; and the COMMODITY gets sold. The TV companies produce the programmes, the advertisers culture. That really big commodity. The one that sells all the others. The mass media turns real life into a comic strip. “The black panther”, “The Jackal”, “The Penguin”. The blood is real but the language is the language of Gotham City. In the right words. In the right order. Without the mass media there can be little effective propoganda. …. with it there is very little else. ‘You might just as well say’, added the March Hare, ‘that “I like what I get” is the same thing as “I get what I like”‘. Sometimes the mass media will even bite the hand that feeds it….. but it will never bite it off. It’s only Rock n’ Roll! Technological Valium. Programming? Isn’t that what they do to computers?

Our ambitions are clearly megalomaniac. The depletion of modern forms of art and style is all too obvious. The development of this task presupposes a revolution that has yet to take place. This desire gets smothered. It is their timidity that keeps people from looking beyond the decomposition, the pursuit of fragmentary works combined with simple-minded proclamations of an alleged new stage, a mechanistic idea whose function is to reassure. Very much “of today” in relation to their audiences, and nothing more, sidetracked in outdated theories, no longer offers even the memory of a reality.

In keeping with Channel 40s policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts in living color, you’re going to see another first – an attempt at suicide.

I could not recognize a single constellation. A distant voice reached me through the murmuring and crackling, shifted unexpectedly, penetrating my pneumatic cocoon. I had missed the precious moment. Successive bursts of static came through the headphones, and ran through my entire body, organic, sentient, unimaginably powerful, profoundly indifferent. The stars having vanished long since the vibration reached me, I felt no fear, I was falling against a background of deep, low-pitched murmuring. My gaze was swallowed up on the pale reddish glow of infinity, swaying with a peculiar slow-motion rhythm imposed on it by the artificial magnetic field, filtered through the insulating layers of the outer skins the lurid sky became grey, distant and flat; everything was blotted out; I was falling in a spin. I turned round. There was total silence.

© July 2004

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