Thursday, December 19, 2013

Another blast from the past, though the collection expands like a puppy's tummy

More Zombie Art; or, Wheel Charts as a Means for Understanding the World

A small part of the large collection of wheelcharts (or wheel charts) which I use as approximations to artworks. The creatively ambitious reader will realise that one can take the inner, information-bearing wheel from one wheelchart and combine it with the upper wheel - the one with windows cut in it - or some cut out or transparent pointer, measuring device or scale - from another. The reader is left to imagine this.

Insofar as Zombies find anything "beautiful" (no such thing of course) these are "beautiful".

And, if you have been: thanks for looking...

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Zombie 'Pataphysics in Latvia : The Anti-Kuhn

We - the Pataphysical plural - have been invited to present a paper at the international conference Renew: Media Art Histories, in Riga, the capital of Latvia, this coming week. Here's an abstract of the intervention and a participant in the Riga Zombie Walk. Of course this is part of the general misconception of Zombies as Hollywoodian brain-eaters, but we shall try to educate the masses there that Zombie can be much, much more than this - and far more terrifying in its intellectual implications.

We are the first generation to become less literate by reading, less seeing by looking, less listening by hearing, less communicating by talking, less social by using social media and less revolutionary by making art. Thomas Kuhn’s argument that science proceeds with periods of dominant normality interrupted by paradigm shifts, was important and useful. I use the title ‘Anti-Kuhn’ only in the sense that an antithesis is ‘against’ a thesis. Computer-based art, however, knows no ‘normality’. Every moment is revolutionary, every paradigm is up for grabs. There is no time for the development of a critical discourse, nor to examine the flux properly. When revolution becomes ‘normal’, a transgression occurs. You can’t tell the difference between progress and stasis. Art enters a ‘Zombie’ state, both dead and alive, true and false, one and zero. It becomes undecidable. How do you think and write about, curate and make, art that is undecidable? It is proposed in this comedic, interactive and hopefully revolutionary paper that Post-Media art should be independent of outdating technologies and electricity supplies. What counts in art – surely? – are the ideas, which don’t care about their medium of support or transmission. Ideas are not time based but can be structured in an ‘all-at-once’ way. Then criticism of and discourse about such art must occur in an all-at-once way, with no past, present or even future. We need an art that makes us – viewer, participant, critic, artist – do homework instead of networking. But how? Pataphysics is the absurdist ‘science’ of the impossible, the exception, of imaginary solutions to non-existent problems. I propose to use certain ideas from that discipline to establish the possibility of a new approach to Post Media art, one needing no media at all, Post-Modem, Post-Everything.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Zombie presidents and Zen applause

In Belarus, a one-armed man has been arrested, tried, and convicted of clapping the president ironically. The police, who in Belarus as everywhere else always tell the truth, saw him—or heard him?—doing it.

Belarus's fuck-pig "President" Lukashenka (official portrait)
who gives even Zombies a bad name.

Svetlana Kalinkina, editor of the independent Minsk newspaper Narodnaya Volya, said that there had been similar cases before, including one where a deaf and mute person was accused of shouting antigovernmental slogans.

Actually this reminds me of a less disgusting episode years ago in, I think, Brighton (UK) where radical deaf people were demonstrating, and police had to call on the services of a sign-language interpreter before they could be certain of the abuse being directed at themselves.

Stop press 21.09.2013 from the official presidential website: The President sent his best greetings to the "State Puppet Theatre", thought to refer to the justice system.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Another thing from the Zombiepataphysical archives

Blast from the past ---Monday, January 05, 2009

Pinter clarifies for us how to live with Zombie and quantum physics

Harold Pinter, who died at Christmas (2008), wrote in 1958 and expanded in 2005 something which makes clear that the worry about "yes and no, true and false" etc. at the heart of any Zombie, Post-Modern or scientific discourse (which must recognise the tentative nature of reality) is swept away by the simple recognition that we have different responsibilities at different levels of thinking, of acting in and on the world.

1958: "There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false."

Nobel Prize speech of 2005: "I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot. As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?"

Is there, however not a contradiction here? No. Both statements are simultaneously true (smile).

'Pataphysical non-review

This was published in Leonardo Digital Reviews, but I hope they don't mind if I put it here too…

Jarry 3D bike red/blue flooded      BRSmith

Pataphysics: A Useless Guide

by Andrew Hugill
The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2012
296 pp. $24.95  £17.95
ISBN: 9780262017794.

Reviewed by [your present blogger]
Collège de ’Pataphysique, Paris, France

To talk about ’Pataphysics (of which there are more than 100 definitions) usefully, we have to get rid of certain notions of which the most important may be that any way of thinking about the world should be testable within that world. Was non-Euclidian geometry testable in this sense before its physical manifestation in gravity? Did imaginary numbers make sense "externally" from mathematics until it was shown that the behaviour of elementary particles depended on the totally imaginary square root of -1? With 'Pataphysics it gets even weirder. It is entirely internally consistent to say that ’Pataphysics is not only physically manifest everywhere in all universes, but that it also changes the physical world, becoming externally consistent just because it says so! Some will find this nonsense; some may say that it is useful nonsense; and others may agree with me that this science of the absurd, the study of the laws governing exceptions, the science of the particular, is the most liberating and creative catalyst there is. Others who have agreed range from Tom Stoppard to Jean Baudrillard, from Umberto Eco to Marcel Duchamp, Ionesco, Miró, Genet.

Members of the Paris-based Collège de 'Pataphysique include artists and scientists from all disciplines, philosophers, dramaturges, technologists, doctors, historians, futurologists, film-makers, astronomers, paleo-botanists, roboticists and more. The current Vice-Curator, Lutembi, is a crocodile. The Collège itself consists almost entirely of a delirious but deeply important bureaucracy, like Freemasons on LSD. Subcommittees include ones for the fine and ugly arts, of between-the-lines moralities, of realisable incompetences, of anagrams, inadequations, badger-brushes and of the inexact sciences. Certain thinkers, artists, and scientists from long ago, such as Leonardo, are also pataphysicists in virtue of their plagiarism by anticipation. Joan, in the Beatles’ Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, “was quizzical / studied pataphysical / science in the home”.

Here an interest must be declared: whilst your present reviewer does not know the author personally, we are both office holders in the Collège. Normally a disqualification, this lends the review, pataphysically, extra objectivity. It just does. And anyway since this is a pataphysical review, what else did you expect?

The subtitle, A Useless Guide, paradoxically tells us at once that this is no shrinking violet of a book, but one that intends to claim a necessary status for itself as a seminal text. However since all texts, even those as yet unwritten, must be considered as seminal to ’Pataphysics, we must ask ourselves if this book is an exception to that rule (and more pertinently should one buy it?). If it is, it isn't. If it isn't, it is. So the answer must be: yes and no. I hope that this review has helped the reader decide.
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