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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  March 2010

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING March 2010

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Subject:

Re: The Power of Nightmares

From:

Simon Biggs <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Simon Biggs <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 30 Mar 2010 08:59:33 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (306 lines)

Hi Leigh

Call the cops?

I am not sure what to do except flag up, as you have at Variant, that
government is thinking about artists and their role in this manner and being
aware of the potential problems if you start playing ball with them. I tell
my 10 year old son  to be careful crossing the road. I canıt stop the cars
on it, although sometimes Iıd like to. I guess you could argue that if I was
responsible Iıd campaign to slow them down or get rid of them...but I drive
a car too and sometimes (in the words of Lewis Hamilton) a little too
exuberantly. In this sense I am complicit.

I am also complicit in this situation Variant has flagged up. I work in an
institution and am responsible to some degree for what goes on in it, even
when I disagree (which is often). We did manage to get a clause into the
recent reworking of our mission and values policy about ethical practices,
which covers obvious things like sustainability and equality but also
describes a tighter ethical position on research than many institutions
have. A small difference...

One thing we can do is ensure that everyone knows that government
departments directly involved in arts policy and support have ulterior
motives driven by ethical positions that many of us find repulsive. It is
then for people to decide whether they wish to work with these people and
risk being seen in the same light or as washing their money.

Iıd like to say Iıll go over to Leith and torch the Scottish Executive but I
know Iım not going to do that, no matter how much Iıd like to, just like I
know I am not going to blow up Parliament (although being Australian I have
a soft spot for Guy Fawkes).

Best

Simon


Simon Biggs

[log in to unmask]  [log in to unmask]  Skype: simonbiggsuk
http://www.littlepig.org.uk/
Research Professor  edinburgh college of art  http://www.eca.ac.uk/
Creative Interdisciplinary Research into CoLlaborative Environments
http://www.eca.ac.uk/circle/
Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice
http://www.elmcip.net/



From: Variant <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: Variant <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 2010 23:06:43 +0100
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] The Power of Nightmares

Welcome to Creative Scotland, indeed!

Yes, the disturbing information was passed on for Variant's attention
by a concerned 'whistle-blower', and we've been putting it out there
since in the public interest, trying to make this 'terrorologist'
activity public.

To recap: Creative Scotland is formed from a triangulation of policy
geared towards ³single purpose government² (the Scottish government's
own description), its raison d'être economic growth, so it makes
perfect business sense that, alongside the drive for 'terrorism
studies' (an expanding part of the knowledge economy), 'creatives'
should only naturally be instruments for purposes of state propaganda.
Fore, the economy!

Unfortunately, an unabashed entrepreneurial rigidity has been allowed
to supplant what little institutional autonomy could be clung to in
Scotland (with little mentionable academic, institutional, union nor
artistic defence) so it's hard to see where any comparable outrage such
as the anthropologists' (at similar attempts at co-option of their
expertise) might manifest...

Any suggestions, Simon?


Leigh
-------------------------------------------
http://creativescotland.blogspot.com
Creative Scotland is the ................ merger and expanded
remit of the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen. It is
an avowedly entrepreneurial exploit. Yet marketplace
³truths² require far greater scrutiny, as has been amply
demonstrated in recent months...

-------------------------------------------
Variant
...in-depth coverage in the context of
broader social, political & cultural issues.

1/2 189b Maryhill Road
Glasgow G20 7XJ

    t. +44 (0)141 333 9522
    e. [log in to unmask]
    http://www.variant.org.uk

receive events info & online Variant:
[log in to unmask]
-------------------------------------------




On 29 Mar 2010, at 23:10, Simon Biggs wrote:

> Please see the thread below. It is incredibly disturbing. This
> government
> official hasnıt a clue how artists think and operate ­ and yet they are
> Deputy Director of Culture for the Scottish government! It is like
> having
> Dick Cheney running Amnesty! They are seeking to co-opt artists into
> their
> illegal war of aggression. In the best of times artists are obliged to
> rip
> up the rule book and turn over the furniture but in this context are we
> obliged to do more? What artistic interventions might be appropriate?
> Since
> Creative Scotland replaced the Scottish Arts Council this person is
> now part
> of the oversight of arts funding in Scotland. This request could be
> persuasive amongst some artists seeking state support for their work.
> It is
> a form of blackmail.
>
> The second section of the thread documents an earlier example of
> anthropologists responding to similar attempts to co-opt their
> discipline.
> The url it points to offers more detailed documentation and background.
>
> Simon Biggs
> [log in to unmask]  http://www.littlepig.org.uk/
>
>
> Militarisation of 'creativity' in Scotland : moral and ethical dilemmas
> concerning the integrity of creative practitioners
>
> "how creativity can help in the study of terrorism and forensic
> science and
> in how the outcome or story from that is told"
>
> ...Firstly, let me introduce myself: I'm Wendy Wilkinson and I head up
> the
> Culture Division in the Scottish Government. As well as all things
> culture,
> my remit also includes the creative industries...
>
> However, I'm emailing about a quite separate matter. And it may appear
> rather bizarre, but bear with me. I'd like to invite you to an informal
> meeting I'm arranging on 8 April, at my office in Victoria Quay,
> Edinburgh.
> And it's to brainstorm/discuss how creativity can help in the study of
> terrorism and forensic science and in how the outcome or story from
> that is
> told. This stems from work that Brian Lang, former principal of St
> Andrews
> University, is doing to arrange a conference joining up the centre for
> study
> of terrorism at St Andrews university, with the forensic science
> centre at
> Strathclyde university and the centre for terrorism at the  University
> of
> Central Oklahoma. Brian and I are both keen to explore how creativity
> can
> contribute and we recognised the first step would be to consult our own
> creative talent here in Scotland. hence my invite. I am planning to
> invite a
> couple of people from the computer gaming industry and perhaps a
> writer or
> artistic director, so a small group and it would be attended by Brian
> and
> the President of the University of Central Oklahoma who is over here
> for a
> visit then. 
>
> I do hope that you can attend and would be grateful if you could let
> me know
> what time you may be available on the 8th.
>
> kind regards
>
> Wendy Wilkinson
> Deputy Director: Culture
> Scottish Government
> Victoria Quay
> Edinburgh EH6 6QQ
>
>
> Anthropologists' Resistance to Militarisation
>
> The project [OCombating Terrorism by Countering Radicalisationı]
> ³provoked a
> furious response from academics², mainly anthropologists, ³who claimed
> it
> was tantamount to asking researchers to act as spies for British
> intelligence² (Baty 2006). James Fairhead, who works for the ESRCıs
> Strategic Research Board and on its International Committee, declared
> it is
> appalling that these proposals were not discussed in any of these
> committees
> (quoted in Houtman 2006). Opposition to the project grew significantly
> after
> the plans were published in the Times Higher Educational Supplement.
> As a
> result, it was withdrawn before its closing date on November 8th 2006.
> http://www.sussex.ac.uk/anthropology/documents/marrades.doc
>
> The eleven originators of the Pledge are deeply concerned that the
> "war on
> terror" threatens to militarize anthropology in a way that undermines
> the
> integrity of the discipline and returns anthropology to its sad roots
> as a
> tool of colonial occupation, oppression, and violence.  We felt
> compelled to
> draft the Pledge to say that there are certain kinds of work<for
> example,
> covert work, work contributing to the harm and death of other human
> beings,
> work that breaches trust with our research participants, and work that
> calls
> other anthropologists into suspicion<that anthropologists should not
> undertake.  In many ways we are restating the position that Franz Boas
> famously articulated in 1919.  We encourage you to sign the Pledge as
> a way
> to support this position on ethical work in the discipline and as a
> way to
> make a statement to government and military officials, the social
> science
> and other scientific communities, and the broader public that that
> anthropologists will not participate in such work or support wars of
> occupation.
> http://sites.google.com/site/concernedanthropologists/faq
>
> "A soldier whose business is murder as a fine art, a diplomat whose
> calling
> is based on deception and secretiveness, a politician whose very life
> consists in compromises with his conscience, a business man whose aim
> is
> personal profit within the limits allowed by a lenient law -- such may
> be
> excused if they set patriotic deception above common everyday decency
> and
> perform services as spies. They merely accept the code of morality to
> which
> modern society still conforms. Not so the scientist. The very essence
> of his
> life is the service of truth. We all know scientists who in private
> life do
> not come up to the standard of truthfulness, but who, nevertheless,
> would
> not consciously falsify the results of their researches. It is bad
> enough if
> we have to put up with these, because they reveal a lack of strength of
> character that is liable to distort the results of their work. A
> person,
> however, who uses science as a cover for political spying, who demeans
> himself to pose before a foreign government as an investigator and
> asks for
> assistance in his alleged researches in order to carry on, under this
> cloak,
> his political machinations, prostitutes science in an unpardonable way
> and
> forfeits the right to be classed as a scientist." (Franz Boas, in a
> letter
> to The Nation, 1919)
>
> Workshop of Military Anthropology in the UK
> We find other, smaller-scale examples of universities and their
> academics
> seeking to cash in on ³terror research² by offering their knowledge as
> a
> source of ³protection.² One example involves the ³Culture in Conflict
> Symposium² at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, on 16 ­ 17
> June
> 2010 <http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/cds/symposia/cic10.jsp>. It includes a
> Workshop on ³Spatial Sociocultural Knowledge² (read human terrain) and
> followed by a one-day Military Anthropology Workshop. There is no
> clearer
> expression of the way academics have become comfortable players in the
> pyramid scheme of war corporatism than when they call themselves
> ³military
> anthropologists.²
> http://zeroanthropology.net/
>
> Protests against British research council: "Recruits anthropologists
> for
> spying on muslims"
> A few weeks ago the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and
> Commonwealth (ASA) passed a resolution that criticized a huge British
> research program that recruits anthropologists for ³anti-terror² spying
> activities, and anthropologist Susan Wright (Danish University of
> Education)
> called for global coordination on this issue.
> http://www.antropologi.info/blog/anthropology/2007/
> protests_against_british_
> research_counci
>


Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201

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