Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Where were you on the day that the blithe elision of live and new media arts became untenable? It was years before Ekow Eshun made his pronouncement on the topic. My company, Signal to Noise, was still in its early days, we’d started to make a little name for ourselves doing performances in people’s homes. One source of inspiration was Pierre Joris’s nomadic poetics manifesto. Dissident cultural activity had to occupy the same circuits that military industrial power used to move information around. The old buildings and monuments, the spectacular sites of institutional control, were no longer meaningfully occupied. I remember posting something online suggesting that the only efficacious political poetry now feasible was the writing of viruses. It seemed like we were living in Tron, battling the neocons on light-cycles. And then, on September 11th 2001, we were reminded, acutely and sensationally, that, to take out of context a brilliant phrase of Utah Phillips, “the past didn’t go anywhere”: buildings and machines and bodies were still on the frontline, and live arts and new media sat in quite antithetically distinct relations with those entities.

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