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A cool-shroud of vagueness can embrace us. Art and representation naturally open a realm of infinite possibilities.
The expansion of art in this environment has polluted this realm, filling it with the most simplistic trash. But the worst effect is that it has closed-off access to stepping beyond fully into this realm for the majority.
“Will our plot succeed, will youth accept survival instead of life, will they accept the washing machine instead of authentic life?”
“My dear, what little imagine you have. Can’t you see that you entire activity has involved preventing them from having that choice – or any other serious choice, for that matter”
“Sure, we offer them choices. The more choices we offer, the less they’ll notice how little each matters.”
[The Seinfeld quote - someone says “this show is about nothing”]
I had a radio show called the anti-news hour a while ago. I can’t say how or where. This is a video version of that and naturally it has to deal with a whole sea of further dimensions. Naturally, if this is an anti-news hour, the goal is to deal with the condition of the media, the conditions of communication technology itself on the very basic level.
[Various Shots where the action is obscured by a gray rectangle in the center of the screen]
The whole direction of video has shape our entire society in ways that we can hardly imagine. Sure, we notice some things. But the whole experience is like a sea, an inexorably moving sea which takes us beyond what our conscious mind can process.
And this is a theme I’ll come back to over and over again. I’ll be reversing the ordinary assumptions of news, which is that it must always go forward to something new. Once you reverse this, sometimes literally [reverse feed here], you get a situation where you can start to imagine controlling the process that’s occurring.
Video’s sea of information can taken by the unconscious. And video is thus automatically a dream, a series of forgotten worlds left behind by continuous motion.
And to undermine the format of this motion, here we’ll return to some of these images again and again. The news is the lost anticipation of something new, half-realizing the things left behind but not having the language to express that loss.
This repetition also means that we’ll be returning again to the theme of video. As video naturally allows you to forget the form of the medium, we will always remind you.
[Picture of a hand knocking on the “front” of the screen, the screen of the viewer]
[Punctuate the text with action scenes of star trek heroes moving through shafts and pointing phasers at different enemies. It gives a good idea of a relentless process ]
Dead air in radio is silence. And dead air is feared by the radio producer because it lets go of attention of the viewer for too long. The trance vanishes, you around and wonder, how could I gotten here? But in television, even silence and black screen have a hypnotic quality. To achieve the interruption effect of dead air, you need a shot taken by accident, cameras left in the parking or microphones picking up back-stage chatter.
But television has integrated the approach of breaking spell into itself more completely than radio. Everywhere, you see the interruption of the process re-introduced into the process.
“Revolutionaries are in fight with the masters of this society to master the implications of the accelerating means of expression”
Just as much, the average person engages in reworking media against the system, to different degrees.
The creation of moments becomes the highest part of this process. From OJ Simpson’s ride onwards,
Television is just as much an electromagnetic relation. An electron tube generates photons which recreate sensations of experience. An African pygmy cannot experience TV as having a relationship to something else. He or she would see a small man in a box.
We have all had to be trained to understand television. And that is perhaps the most ever-present training that happens today. And today we learn to digest a faster and faster sequence of images, Author Gerry Mander has verified a constant percentage increase in images per second mainstream television.
This may be an endless essay on television which appropriate as television never ends. It the guest in your house is always talking – the interrupt a person is impolite and so there must be endless accommodations made for that thing.
Just walk through a suburban neighborhood at the right of day, you can
see a uniform blue glow coming from each house. No people or activity can
be seen yet there a massive amount of attention focused on a few things.
And this increase in the number of images makes go full circle and return
television to the state of the cartoon, an accelerated slide show.
Look at Ben. Ben, who appears for ten frames boiled down from a concept
who an art director put together. Here the rhythm maintains him in a well
designed story but one which lasts so quickly we can
The average person speaking or appearing on camera has an odd look to our eyes. They haven’t been integrated into the apparent naturalism of the feed. Their head is held wrong. They stare into the camera.
And the character that seems natural can only do so by being artificial. Notice how comedy characters never answer each other. Every point of dialogue is simply a stab at the other character.
“Why weren’t you at my birthday party”
“Are calling me insensitive”
“No, I’m just saying you could have at least called”
“Me insensitive, you should look at yourself...”
A ball of simplistic tension must be bounced indefinitely between the
Technology today gives an accelerating control of all parameters of communication. Computer control over music, sound and video today gives the most amazing canvas to the would-be artist. But we’re also at the end of any audience for such a project.
The speeding ocean of the feed focuses attention on an actually smaller,
more artificial area of the world. The gulf between the richness of what
is possible and what we actually live grows wider in both directions and
enhances the misery of daily life.
And here this work is a halfway point between
Video is a stream of information moving faster than the conscious mind
can process, so any video project is merely an effort to deflect that stream,
Nothing came be what it seems because everything it seems.
A thousand plots appear in the process of scanning through the standard
The time of television is always now. Each moment erases the previous
moment with its flashing glare.
The potential of motion has now vanished into a series of stills and
semi-still. And each of these has a semiotics, each compressed their meaning
down in a symbol.
Yet after all this, very little is said. But with much emphasis. Advertising
mostly doesn’t have to induce people to buy today – the organization of
the world forces consumerism. So advertising serves up a subtle traffic
The parts of life which are generally thought beyond discussion are
exactly where such impoverishment concentrates.
Our period is long past the time where mediocrity took the upper hand.
All being has disintegrated into appearance. Yet the universality of worthless
appearance now calls forth the seduction of a being, yet this being can
only be felt through the disintegration of the person, bread and circuses;
murder for laughs; reality television.
Every moment of deception takes its consequence out into the infosphere.
This slowly disperses through every aspect of life, invisibly altering
the small dealings which we have with each other.
The small deaths that continual parts of today’s life are acknowledged
with shaking, resigned heads at one point in a discussion of this sort
but other points there is the blank denial which the term “plausible deniability”
implicitly acknowledges in the intelligence field.
Such thinking must suppress the ability to speak of history and any
understanding of its importance. From post-modernism to info-speak, an
continuous now must present the world as a collection of equal significations,
of equally likely hypothesizes or equally important bits of information.
But the bad conscious of history is returning whatever the intentions
of the specialists. Whatever his intentions behind his statement that “No
one could have expected this” after the WTC attacks, Bush’s statement summarizes
the reaction of the system to the crisis – though its more likely it represented
the rulers’ belief that people would swallow the most absurd lie rather
than an honest opinion, though one wonders.
Current news speaks simultaneously of a recovery consisting of anonymous
statistics while presenting situation which involve only the most disturbing
phenomena. The schizophrenia is palpable.
But when it becomes more and more difficult to live the lies, then you
begin to smell trouble. And the truth that gets out can be beaten back
through the mobilizing of the resources of the whole.
But now, possible collapses at the center are naturally the most ominous
phenomenon. Lies do not fall simply through their falsity appearing.
The commercial is now experimental, the commercial is now experimental
[sample The fall, stop Mithering]
Elements now must be infinitely recombined for their commercial potential.
With a billion dollars, you’d think Hollywood would some money into creating
something new. But you’ve got to understand it’s still too expensive. With
a billion dollars, you’d think the Federal Government could stop hijackers
but you’ve got to understand it’s still too expensive. What’s expensive
for Hollywood is proving that idea works, making an idea work in continually
and harder. Once an idea works, it is verified, perfected and has a billion-dollar
maintenance apparatus behind it. With a trillion dollars, the US army is
The rearrangement of elements is standard today. The photograph of the camera man is behind it. The photograph of a mirror is reflected everywhere.
We are not asking whether to use plagiarism. We asked how to use it
effectively. “Revolutionaries today are in a race to see who can effectively
use the tools of conditioning the most.” Half-assed efforts don’t matter.
The reality, the identity of television is becoming more important than
its image. But ultimately it is the reality of despair.
Everyone is looking for compensation. Half of society is cleaver dropouts
and the other half is laughing at them. We all hate work, we all realize
we can’t escape, we all hate television and commercialism and buy the easiest
culture to consume. We are all beyond tradition and don’t know how we got
Plaid shirts and fifties shirts and fifties cars and that café
on Belmont street.
And it’s wonderful how livable the magazine told us Portland was, though
what is involved in living has remained just as mysterious.
But this is all typical. The condition of the modern world is this;
“life is elsewhere”. Life everywhere has been replaced by
the implication of excite, the false promise of instant action. It is the
party-snack food of experience, leaving us half-hungry and half-nauseous,
with a main dish which never comes.
How many bands start here? How many middle-aged bar-tended still dress
the avant-garde of twenty years ago?
To be alternative once we an escape, now it is a race. And it’s a race
to the bottom of survival.
It no longer has to be said that this society is based on lies. The
awareness has trickled down, invading every corner. [Kafka quote on 3 ways
to deal with evil]
The dot-com world showed how flimsy a rope you could hold yourself up
with and still continue. But just how this held-up kept us from imagining
September 11th should have told people that what they didn’t know could hurt them. But this is exactly where the distraction begins. Your hopes which could appear to help
[commercial pictures of soppy childhood scenes, maybe some absurd stills
of childhood, framed between the two burning towers.]
Everywhere the Reichstag is burning.
Freedom is not the end of hard work and tough choice
Responsibility is not middle of fine speech and fine dinning
Life Insurance is not the beginning Personal growth and preserved fish.
Fifty yards dashes are not the inside of Hearst Castle,
Clear thinking is not the stretching of old clichés to new heights but most of the language of today is; Cardboard thinking driving efficient amnesia. The broad generalities spouted by newscasters are like limousines barrowed to give middle class kids a bit of the luxury their unlikely to know even the history of.
The only advantage of the idiotic sayings of today is that almost no one believes them.
[Switch to a simple “diagram of a cliché”]
Those who want to show they are adults place their faith in the efficient,
prefabricate ideas and arguments of newscasters.
An institution like the headline of a newspaper is a device that grabs your attention and gives you the impression that something is happening. And if you think about the organization of communication today, you'll notice that everything aims to grab attention, every communication means wants to put you into a state where some new thing is so important that you can forget about the over-all conditions of life.
The technology of television surpasses this, naturally, and serves to
make people forget their bodies in the process. Our intentions today are
made meaningless by our inaction. If you are a spectator, it does not matter
if you are a liberal or a conservative, a communist or
One key thing about language is that it requires people acting in order
to have meaning. Simple things like chair or book might keep having about
the same meaning over time. But a word like “road” has had its meaning
change over time in the same way that the roads we walk down have changed
from footpaths to concrete dangers.
People use words to talk about their experiences.
In the world of today, a large part of people's activities involves fantasies about how life is organized. Most people have only a few choices about their life is run. You get a job, you get place to live, you buy a few products. But within this world, everything is pre-planned.
So essentially, what people have mostly is petty squabbles, fantasies
of possible escape or fantasies of revenge against those who this society
claims are responsible.
We are animals.
And even more, everything is organized by the logic of scarcity.
One weapon of the mainstream is to present you with a dialogue that
they enforce and control but which they simultaneously offer you the chance
to "tell your story."
Not only is this a temptation to dialogue with your enemies but it also
is temptation to present our lives as novels, as merely a reflection of
some plot devices.
This is the way in which the media and the justice system intersect.
I think that actually, the cops have a powerful weapon just in people's
isolation. When a cop asks to talk to a person, there can be a part of
a person who says "ah, finally, I get a chance to tell that story which
I have not had the chance to tell before." And that is how the police obtain
America is the nation where this kind of disorientation is very much
maximized. Americans are taught to see themselves as atomized individuals,
points of consciousness who make separate choices. At the maximum edge,
this becomes schizophrenia. To preserve the sense that their consciousness
is merely choices, a person's consciousness becomes separate from their
body. Naturally, insanity at various level is very common here.