The following is reblogged, excerpted and modified, from e²mc.
How do films deal with historical atrocities? And how might they enable them in the first place?
The Act of Killing is Joshua Oppenheimer’s chilling documentary about the perpetrators of the mass murders committed by the Suharto regime’s paramilitary death squads in mid-1960s Indonesia. The filmmakers interview some of the worst of the perpetrators and — controversially — invite them to re-enact the killings for the camera, filming these scenes in the style of their favorite film genres. This interplay between mass murder and Hollywood movies — gangsters, westerns, and musicals — is a focus of the film.
Society & Space has an interview with the authors of Take Back the Economy, the final book co-written by the geographical-political theory duo J. K. Gibson-Graham, this time with co-authors and Community Economies collaborators Jenny Cameron and Stephen Healy.
Gibson-Graham were Katherine Gibson and Julie Graham, authors of The End of Capitalism (As We Know It) and A Postcapitalist Politics. Graham passed away in 2010.
A new study in The Lancet has determined that mass privatization in former Communist Eastern Europe — what was once called “shock therapy,” but is more usefully considered a form of “shock neoliberalization” — resulted in an excess of about a million deaths in that part of the world.
Little time this week, unfortunately, for me to keep up with the Pussy Riot conviction (as promised here) or anything else. But I recommend Charles Cameron’s series of posts (six so far, and counting) over at Zenpundit, including his annotated summary of their closing statements. The statements themselves are very lucid and articulate, as one should expect from women who can quote Rosi Braidotti *AND* Nicolai Berdyaev.
To get a sense of what the PR girls are up against, have a listen to radical traditionalist philosopher Aleksandr Dugin on the “holy war” Pussy Riot have started. “Geopolitician” Dugin’s political advice gets into Putin’s inner circles, even if Dugin’s attitudes toward Putin himself have sometimes been ambivalent.
While this doesn’t have much to do with the usual themes of this blog, it is an interesting case study of media culture and political protest (and one that my Ukrainian studies background qualifies me to comment on).
It’s the case of Pussy Riot supporter Inna Shevchenko, an activist with the Ukrainian feminist protest group Femen. Let’s figure it out:
A (western-style) feminist activist-performance group best known for (literally) exposing themselves to gain media exposure (with the help of happily obliging male photographers) chainsaws down a cross commemorating Stalin’s Ukrainian victims as an act of solidarity with anti-authoritarian punk-feminists Pussy Riot. (Those are the three musicians recently sentenced to two years in jail for their “sacrilegious” anti-government performance in a Russian church. More on them later.)
This list of demands is simple, yet demanding, as it should be. See below for explanatory notes.Please share these demands widely.
In recognition of the primary role played by oversized and deregulated financial institutions in causing the current economic crisis, WE DEMAND:
1) That all persons who have served as directors or chief executives of large financial institutions in the previous 10 years, and all persons who have accepted over $500,000 in campaign donations from employees of such institutions in the same period, be disqualified from running for office in Congress, Senate, and the Presidency and Vice-Presidency of the United States of America.
The metaphor of “occupation” strikes me as a provocative one not only for what the activists in Manhattan and elsewhere are doing, but for what they are struggling against.
Some, and perhaps many, of these are people without traditional “occupations,” so they are occupying themselves by re-occupying the public spaces that have been occupied for too long by the values, habits, and appeals of the Occupation Force — the whole industry of slogans, gestures, come-hither looks, sales pitches, jingles, hooks, nods and winks (backed up by policies, and ultimately by laws and policing) that keep us steered into the spectacle of Politics-as-Usual-and-Consumption-Above-All.
While I’ve been too busy to follow the Wall Street occupation very closely, let alone participate in any but the most vicarious ways, I’m encouraged by the persistence of its participants. Isn’t it time Americans started saying basta! to government of the lobbyists, by the politicians, and for the corporations?
Steven Shaviro has posted his response to my and three other “curators’ notes” on his Post-Cinematic Affect.
The twists and turns of the discussions that have followed each of the daily commentaries have been fascinating. Somehow we’ve gone from a discussion of recent cinema to theorizing about affect and the limitations of recent affect theory (under the sign of Spinoza, Deleuze, and Silvan Tomkins), metabolism and panpsychism, magic (homeopathic and other kinds), fashion, “cinesensuality” and allure, Lady Gaga, YouTube and its “free labor,” and back again to capital and the possibilities for resistance, liberation, and alternative logics.