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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  December 2015

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING December 2015

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Subject:

Re: Ground Truth: 'The Migration Machine'

From:

Jamie Allen <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Jamie Allen <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 17 Dec 2015 21:34:46 +0000

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Hey there all... 

Thanks again to Dani and Cecilia for sparking these discussions... I'm still kind of readjusting after some hops and skips back to calmer waters after the trip to Paris I mentioned I was taking after the workshops at Furtherfield (and Cecilia mentioned here).

That little scrapbook I promise, that story, that account — I've compiled as a bunch of notes and writings and links and images here: 
https://goo.gl/lBw7is

(Have a look and feel free to ask questions / make comments there as well... just a few thoughts in light of this discussion and the workshop in London) 


Also, I thought I'd take a minute to answer Dani's last few questions as well, as I've been a bit remiss until now catching up with the conversation here... Here goes:

*** In an age of critical-populist podcasts and 'best tech solutions', resulting in projects like Migreat (https://www.migreat.com/en/) and What3words (http://what3words.com/), what are the roles for 'community media' now? ***

Podcasts are a pretty isolating format, to me, actually.  It's actually strange how little people like to admit that they've heard something in a podcast — it's like secret knowledge. Or they'll admit where they heard it but that's it, not much discussion beyond that, save a few words about how you both love that particular podcast and did you hear the one about the.... Maybe it has to do with headphones, and the hermetics of the Apple Store? Anxieties about homogeneousness of culture (we're all listening to the same podcasts... spooooooky)? ... I dunno.  'There are no bad ways to come about good information,' as my mother used to say. 

I'm about to launch (yes!) a little internet radio entity that has taken months to build up with a group now spanning about twelve different people, hosts, technical solutions, lots and lots of discussions, emails, etc. I'm not sure if that's always the beginning of something where the 'output' is necessarily community oriented, but I do feel like there are genealogies in media that accrue as they are developed — little decisions that a group will make, even messily and hastily (perhaps more hastily than a single person would) and that winds up giving new people a sense of the cracks and holes in the walls that you can peek in through. Also the twelve people and the build up time generate a larger community that has either been indirectly involved or heard about it (for a long time). This second category is important — so people don't feel like it's just dropped on their lap like an alienating product launch that makes you feel poor, lonely and inadequate. ;) 

Building things together (I don't mean technically necessarily, but building platforms, ideas, communications, orientations) is still important, and perhaps definitional to me, of what 'community media' is. It's never been 'about the music.'


*** How are opinions around critical tools changing in relation to advanced capitalism? What things should remain the same and what should be done differently? *** 

I often wonder what's supposed to be so 'advanced' about the particular brand of capitalism we're exhausting currently. Seems pretty regressive... and we shouldn't mistake time for progress. But nevermind, I'm not answering the question.

The question is about 'critical tools'.  Meaning tools that 'are critical.'  I'm not sure I think tools are, entirely in themselves, critical or not—but how they are used wot makes them so. Methods have tendencies and reveal particular things, but these can always be redirected or opposed. So I'd say THINGS will (should?) remain the same but critical potencies could be cracked open a lot more, all over the place. What that means is that art shouldn't be for artists, nor engineering for engineers, nor activism for activists... You can use a paperclip to examine labour relations, it just takes getting past seeing it as just a paperclip. How anyone ever saw it as 'just' a paperclip in the first place is, perhaps, the 'advanced' trick of capitalism. 

The kind of direct impediments we need to interject with involve understanding that we can create alternatives right away, everywhere, all the time — by using community tools to engage with people in empathic and open ways, by using certain institutions out of necessity and some of out choice (and knowing which is which), by using words carefully and cautiously to communicate, not injure. Use facebook, but use it with love (obviously, not FOR facebook). There's a lot to be said, as well, for the criticality inherent in 'shared tools', meaning that not having to 'have your own' is in itself a way of learning from and commune with others that is inherently critical of apocryphal autonomies. 


*** And, lastly, following previous comments about mobility, hybridity and agency, what is our role to make connections between work done by and with '0thers' and projects about the condition and complexes of migration? Or does diversity and disparity rule? *** 

I'm very interested in Peter Pan models of institutional engagements, as well as the whole para-academic and para-institutional scene (learning and teaching in squats in Zurich and at organisations like (Taeyoon Choi's, amongst others) School for Poetic Computation in NYC.). I'm not sure what 'work' is being asked about here — but workshops and discursive formats that use technologies as an excuse for engaging on other levels, I have always found very productive. If we're talking about 'art work', then everyone does, yes, have a responsibility to make connections between communities of all stripes — that's what makes ecologies thrive, and niches find their niche.  There are forms of diversity that are highly interconnected and visible to one another — Antillanité, non-centrism — and so not partaking in this (again mythological, apocryphal, impossible) idea of autonomy and disparity. "Leaving room with my exhale so that another can inhale." (I don't remember where I heard that.) The topic of migration is indeed important as a condition of Anthropocenic life, like global warming, we have increasingly little choice but to deal with it as a topic on all fronts cultural, artistic, scientific, imaginary, real...  

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