Culture

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Squatting Europe Collective
New York City, February 23-27, 2012

Squatting Europe Kollective Convenes in New York City

For the first time ever, a group of activist researchers from the European squatting movement are gathering in New York City. They will make public appearances to speak about the decades-old movement of squatting and building occupations in their respective countries.
The tradition of political squatting is moving from the shadows into the light. With the world-wide rise of the Occupy movement, the deep reservoir of experience within the movements of political squatting have become suddenly significant.

Generations of activists have participated in occupations of vacant buildings in Europe, beginning in the 1970s. The best known early success was the famous “free city” of Christiania in Copenhagen. But every major city in Europe has experienced some version of politicized squatting, most recently in the form of social centers.

The members of SQEK – Squatting Europe Collective – have gathered for special sessions at the Association of Amerian Geographers' annual convention February 24. A public discussion, meetings, film and graphic arts exhibition are among the other activities planned for the meeting.

"Waking Up, Walking Away"
John Michael Greer

Last week’s Archdruid Report post, despite its wry comparison of
industrial civilization’s current predicament with the plots and
settings of pulp fantasy fiction, had a serious point. Say what you will
about the failings of cheap fantasy novels – and there’s plenty to be
said on that subject, no question – they consistently have something
that most of the allegedly more serious attempts to make sense of our
world usually lack: the capacity to envision truly profound change.

That may seem like an odd claim, given the extent to which contemporary
industrial society preens itself on its openness to change and novelty.
Still, it’s one of the most curious and least discussed features of that
very openness that the only kinds of change and novelty to which it
applies amount to, basically, more of the same thing we’ve already got.
A consumer in a modern industrial society is free to choose any of a
dizzying range of variations on a suffocatingly narrow range of basic
options – and that’s equally true whether we are talking about products,
politics, or lifestyles.

Remembering Howard Zinn
Noam Chomsky

[Editor's note: January 27, 2012 was the second anniversary
of the death of Howard Zinn. An active participant in the
Civil Rights movement, he was dismissed in 1963 from his
position as a tenured professor at Spelman College in Atlanta
after siding with black women students in the struggle
against segregation. In 1967, he wrote one of the first, and
most influential, books calling for an end to the war in
Vietnam. A veteran of the US Army Air Force, he edited The
Pentagon Papers, leaked by whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, and
was later designated a "high security risk" by the FBI.
His best-selling A People's History of the United States
spawned a new field of historical study: People's Histories.
This approach countered the traditional triumphalist
examination of "history as written by the victors", instead
concentrating on the poor and seemingly powerless; those who
resisted imperial, cultural and corporate hegemony. Zinn was
an award-winning social activist, writer and historian - and
so who better to share his memory than his close friend and
fellow intellectual giant, Noam Chomsky?]

It is not easy for me to write a few words about Howard Zinn,
the great American activist and historian. He was a very
close friend for 45 years. The families were very close too.
His wife Roz, who died of cancer not long before, was also a
marvellous person and close friend. Also sombre is the
realisation that a whole generation seems to be disappearing,
including several other old friends: Edward Said, Eqbal Ahmed
and others, who were not only astute and productive scholars,
but also dedicated and courageous militants, always on call
when needed - which was constant. A combination that is
essential if there is to be hope of decent survival.

A Memorial Event for Ira Cohen (1935-2011)
Poet, Filmmaker, Photographer

Sunday, Feb 5th, 2012, 6pm - 10pm at The Living Theatre, 21 Clinton St, NYC

Space is limited - please RSVP for further attendance details:
RSVP

"If Sabu came crashing
through the coconut palms
on his elephant to tell me
this was all a dream
I would not believe him."
-- Ira Cohen, ON WAKING

Readings In Memoriam by
Judith Malina, Allan Graubard, Tom Walker, Steve Dalachinsky, Jordan Zinovich, Valery Oisteanu, Bonny Finberg, Bill Wollak, Clayton Patterson, Louise Landes-Levi, Penny Arcade, Jeremiah Newton, Indra Tamang, Timothy Baum & others T.B.A.

Music & Performances In Memoriam by
Butch Morris Chorus of Poets, Alice Farley Dance Theatre, Wayne Lopes & Sylvie Degiez, Perry Robinson, Will Swofford Cameron & others T.B.A.

The event will include a video presentation of Ira Cohen reading poetry along with excerpts of his work in film and photography.

Donations to The Living Theatre will be accepted in lieu of admission.

Press inquires contact: press [at] iracohen [dot] org

Ira Harvey Cohen, of New York, NY, died peacefully on April 25th, 2011 at the age of 76. He will always be loved and always be missed. His legacy lives on.

Ira Cohen was born in New York, NY on February 3rd, 1935. He is the son of the late Lester Cohen and the late Faye Cohen. Mr. Cohen was an innovative and original poet, photographer, filmmaker, publisher, and editor. A self-described "Electronic Multimedia Shaman", he was an active humanist from the 1960s to the present. Mr. Cohen was educated at Horace Mann, Cornell and Columbia. He spent the early 1960s in Tangier, Morocco, where he lived and worked with William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin, and Paul Bowles. While there, he prepared his first major work; editing and publishing the anthology Gnaoua (1964). This volume contained work by William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Jack Smith, and others.

Collateral Torture
Clark Stoeckley

an EIDIA HOUSE project
Plato's Cave
January 20 to February 18, 2012

Live 24-hour continuous performance with reception beginning at 7pm, Friday, January 20
EIDIA House Studio / 14 Dunham Place / Basement Left (street level doors) / Williamsburg Brooklyn / NY 11211 / 646 945 3830 / eidiahouse@earthlink.net / http://www.eidia.com/
Hours: 1-6pm Wednesday – Saturday
EIDIA House announces its continuing exhibition initiative, PLATO’S CAVE. The twelfth artist in the series, Clark Stoeckley presents performance and in situ installation: Collateral Torture.

Collateral Torture
Clark Stoeckley’s 24-hour live performance will portray a day of Private First Class Bradley Manning's tortured imprisonment—commencing at 5pm on Friday the 20th and concluding at 5pm on Saturday the 21st. This performance will be recorded, and the documentation will be projected in Plato's Cave for the remaining duration of the exhibition.

Towards a Futurology of the Present
Marco Cuevas-Hewitt

‘Tomorrow never happens, man’ – Janis Joplinii

Has there ever been a revolution without its musicians, artists, and writers? Could we imagine the Zapatista movement, for example, without its poetry and lyricism? At this moment, I am writing from the specific location of the west coast of Australia, on land known to Aboriginal Australians as Beeliar Boodjar. Across the Indian Ocean, remarkable things are happening in North Africa. I listen on the internet to the songs of freedom being sung in Tahrir Square, as well as to the young hip-hop artists who provided the soundtrack to the revolution in Tunisia. But their YouTube videos are not the only things going viral. Significantly, their mutant desires, of which their music is an expression, are also beginning to ripple outwards. I feel it here at my kitchen table as I type, as viscerally as the caffeine flowing through my body. I also see it on the evening news in Spain and Greece. Perhaps the alterglobalisation movement never died, but was simply laying in wait. Perhaps we are only at the beginning. And perhaps there is little real difference in our movements between making music and making change; between the creation of art and the creation of new social relations through our activisms. Our common art is the crafting of new ways of being, of seeing, of valuing; in short, the cultivation of new forms of life, despite and beyond the deadening, ossified structures all around us.

Signal:Noise II
Friday 20 – Saturday 21 January 2012
The Showroom Gallery, 63 Penfold Street, London NW8

Building on the success of Signal:Noise I in January 2011, the second iteration of Signal:Noise is produced in collaboration with Mute and Queen Mary School of Business and Management. Signal:Noise II will look into feedback as a form of agency.

Feedback can be seen as an operational mode that overrides distinctions between form and content. Cybernetic ideas of self-regulation – whether in the workplace or within processes of government – have often involved harnessing the means of autonomy in order to increase control. This has proceeded by and large through techniques of participation and feedback.

But these same techniques and forms are also key to certain progressive social and aesthetic projects – from anti-psychiatry and radical pedagogy, to post-humanist philosophy and aesthetics. Troubling issues of agency, intention and consciousness, they have been used to produce new relations of power, truth and aesthetics.

From the schematising of these processes in art, design and urban planning, to the constant relay between emancipation and control in the social logic of participation, feedback will act as a prism for reading history and our present through presentations, screenings, performances and workshops in distributed and militant pedagogy.

Building Up an Institution of the Common
Interview with Gigi Roggero from Edu-factory

“What was once the factory is now the university” states the international Edu-factory collective, which started off as a mailing list of 500 students, activists and researchers worldwide. They argue that in today’s cognitive capitalism, we have experienced the transformation from organising knowledge from above to the capture and expropriation of common knowledge after it is produced. This appropriation and exploitation of knowledge produced in the common opens up for a possibility that lies in the autonomy of knowledge production. The fact that knowledge today is produced in the common also makes it possible for us to re-appropriate it. The Edu-factory’s attempt to create a global autonomous university is a way of reclaiming such common knowledge. Edu-factory writes, “Theoretical practice is always political practice, and political practice is not only theoretical practice”. They claim that there is no production of knowledge that is not political. Theory is always a field of struggle and in times of “cognitive capitalism,” perhaps one of the most important. We met with Gigi Roggero, one of the initiators of Edu-factory at the Labour of the Multitude conference in Warsaw to talk about Edu-factory, recent university and precarious workers struggles, and ideas of autonomous education.

Walter Benjamin, The 120th Anniversary of His Birth
Avner Shapira

If 2012 is the year our world comes to an end, as
doomsayers predict, that will provide additional
employment for the angel of history, who observes the
past and the wreckage of humanity as described by
Walter Benjamin in his essay "On the Concept of
History." But if the world and its inhabitants continue
to exist, they will be able to observe, next July 15,
the 120th anniversary of Benjamin's birth. His
influence has only been growing in recent decades, and
his writings are increasingly the inspiration for
discussion and reconsideration.

The growing corpus of works about Benjamin is about to
be augmented with the publication, in January, of a
comprehensive study, "Walter Benjamin: A Philosophical
Portrait," by Prof. Eli Friedlander (Harvard University
Press ). Friedlander, head of the Philosophy Department
at Tel Aviv University, discusses Benjamin's approaches
to concepts such as history, mythology, language,
beauty and truth. His aim is to tie together the
threads of thought spun by the philosopher, who
committed suicide in 1940.

Zombie 2.0 Subjectivity: A New Dromological Paradigm
Yari Lanci

At the end of Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead, the remake of the second film in Romero’s Living Dead series, the spectator is faced with footage from a videotape. Paradoxically placed at the end of the movie, and more precisely integrated with the end credits, the footage appears to work as the happy ending of the storyline. It follows the journey of the main characters, escaping the overrun mainland by yacht. The remaining survivors eventually reach an island. It takes only few seconds for the alleged happy ending to be transformed into a repetition of the same eschatological setting, with which Snyder had opened his movie. In fact, the island has already been infested by zombies. The contagion was faster than their journey to the island. The zombies are too fast to flee from. The survivors are not going to survive. The character filming the disembark is forced to drop the digital camera on the dock, and from that moment onwards the camera shows the scenes of the desperate attempt of the group to resist the running hoard of undead.

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