Trump’s discourse unmasks the spectacle at home

From Society of the Spectacle
Debord

Everything that was directly lived has receded into a representation.

The spectacle is not a collection of images; it is a social relation between people that is mediated by images. …

The spectacle is the ruling order’s nonstop discourse about itself, its never-ending monologue of self-praise, its self-portrait at the stage of totalitarian domination of all aspects of life.

Trump’s clandestine business discourse is out of place on the social stage of politics. The result is that it unmasks both discourses as spectacle. It calls attention to the construction of the spectacular. Trump’s attempts to create change are shown everyday to be attempts to control message. In the spectacle, changing message is changing reality. It’s all that’s needed for a win.

The spectacle trickles down. Trump’s daily unmasking of the national administrative political spectacle also unmasks the discourse of other administrative contexts and calls them into his crisis of credibility. So that, locally, university administrators lose their agency as Trump reveals that their actions are attempts to shape the message rather than administrate real change. Declare a win, and you’ve won, but only because “Everything that was directly lived has receded into a representation.”

What I’m reading 26 Jun 2017 through 6 Jul 2017

What I’m reading 14 Jun 2017 through 25 Jun 2017

  • Trump 2020 Is No Joke – NYTimes.com – > Trumpism is a form of collective gaslighting at Twitter speed. It is founded on the principle that velocity trumps veracity.

    > All of this is serious. But it’s not as serious as the seeping, constant attempt — one sacred value at a time — to disorient Americans to the point they accept the unacceptable, cede to the grotesque, acquiesce to total arbitrariness as a governing principle. On one side the Constitution; on the other the rabbit hole that leads to the Trump International Hotel. – (politics rhetoric trump )

  • Forget Julius Caesar – Trump is more like Richard III, Shakespeare’s satanic joker | US news | The Guardian – > Sponsorship, a British director once told me, is implicit censorship. … . A spokesperson for one of the sponsors said the portrayal of Caesar was clearly designed “to provoke and offend”, which some of us thought was one of theatre’s basic functions.

    Why else would business put money behind art? Or a brand on a hockey rink? Or their name on an endowed chair? – (politics )

  • In Trump’s America, a thick-headed man’s incredibly thin skin is threatening free speech | Opinion | The Guardian – Thick head, thin skin is no reason. But the point is that censorship is here. Political correctness now comes from the right.

    > That large corporations are punishing creative expression because it is critical of Trump is worrying. Even more worrying, however, is the insidious but understandable creep of self-censorship among everyday Americans. This week provides yet another example that, when it comes to Trump, exercising your right to free speech – that dearest of American values – can prove an expensive endeavour. – (polemic politics censorship trump )

sounds familiar

Hodge asks us to look to semiosis to understand and act in the politically over-charged moment. 

McCarthyism was constituted in texts and in explosive discursive, semiosic processes that carried the effects very far, very quickly…. Semiosic contexts inflect meanings and are themselves meanings. McCarthy’s strategy included waving a list in the Senate which he claimed contained 205 names of proven commu- nists in public office, which he would not reveal. Waving the list was a multimodal signifier supporting his spoken words. This semiosic situation contains multiple splits. McCarthy’s speech is a surface text split from its real meaning, supposedly known to the speaker but not the audience. The speaker demands absolute trust from his hearers at the same time as he excludes them. We do not need a theory of schizophrenia to see this as a way to provoke paranoia.

Hodge, Social Semiotics for a Complex World. 91.

Anxiety in the Arcades 1927

Description of German arcades, 1927. in Buck, Dialectic of Seeing

I cannot enter it without a damp chill coming over me, without the fear that I might never find an exit. I am hardly past the shoeshine and news paper stands under the lofty arches of the entrance, and I feel a mild confusion. A window promises me dancing daily and that Meyer without whom no party would be complete. But where is the entrance? Next to the ladies’ hairdresser there is another display: stamps and those curiously named tools of the collector: adhesive pockets with guaranteed acid-free rubber, a perforation gauge made of celluloid. “Be sensible! Wear wool!” demands the next window of me [. .. ] . I [ . . . ] almost stumbled over the peep shows, where one poor schoolboy stands, his school bag under his arm, wretched, immersed in the “scene in the Bedroom.” [. . .] I linger over [. . . ] Knipp-Knapp cufflinks, which are certainly the best, and over the Diana air rifles, truly an honor to the goddess of the hunt. I shrink back before grinning skulls, the fierce liqueur glasses of a white bone cocktail set. The clowning face of a jockey, a handmade wooden nutcracker graces the end of the musical toilet paper holder [. . . ]. The whole center of the arcade is empty. I rush quickly to the exit; I feel ghostly, hidden crowds of people from days gone by, who hug the walls with lustful glances at the tawdry jewelry, the clothing, the pictures [. . .]. At the exit, at the windows of the great travel agency, I breathe more easily; the street, freedom, the present!

What I’m reading 31 May 2017 through 9 Jun 2017

a foundation for psychogeography: to invent

NewImage

constant nieuwenhuy’s new babylon concert hall for electronic music 1958 1961, from atlasobscura.com

GILLES IVAIN makes a call for a new architecture.

We are bored in the city, to still discover mysteries on the signs along the street, latest state of humor and poetry, requires getting damned tired….

We will not prolong mechanical civilizations and the architecture froide that ultimately lead to boring forms of leisure.

We propose to invent new, changeable decors….

Architecture is the simplest means to articulate time and space, to modulate reality, to engender dreams. It is not only a matter of plastic articulation and modulation—expression of an ephemeral beauty—but of a modulation producing influences, in accordance with the eternal spectrum of human desires and of progress in the realization of these desires. The architecture of tomorrow will thus be a means of modifying present conceptions of time and space. The architectural complex will be modifiable. Its aspect will change partially or totally in accordance with the will of its inhabitants. …

A new architecture can only be spoken of if it expresses a new civilization (it is clear that there has been neither civilization nor architecture for several centuries, but only experiments, the majority of which have failed: one can speak of Gothic architecture, but Marxist or capitalist architecture does not exist, although these two systems show similar tendencies and common aims.)

This new vision of time and space that will be the theoretical basis of future constructions, is not in the right state and will never wholly be so before testing comportments in cities set aside for this effect, cities in which will be systematically assembled—in addition to the organizations necessary for a minimum of comfort and security—buildings charged with a great power of evocation and influence, symbolic edifices representing desires, forces, events past, present, and to come….

In a way everyone will live in his own personal “cathedral.” There will be rooms more conducive to dreams than drugs, and houses where one cannot help but love….

The quarters of this city could correspond to the catalog of diverse feelings that are encountered by chance in daily life….

The principal activity of the inhabitants will be CONTINUOUS DÉRIVE. The changing of landscape from one hour to the next will result in complete disorientation.

This first experimental city would live largely off a tolerated and controlled tourism. Future avant-garde activities and productions would gravitate there of their own accord. In a few years it would become the intellectual capital of the world, and would be universally recognized as such.

FORMULARY FOR A NEW URBANISM. GILLES IVAIN (PSEUDO. IVAN CHTCHEGLOV) From Situationists and the city. pp 32-41.

urban planning

Departures at Paddington Station

Redesign the city. But keep the rail stations as they are.

– Keep the railroad stations as they are. Their rather moving ugliness adds to the atmosphere of travel, which provides what slight attraction these buildings possess.

– Gil J. Wolman demanded the complete suppression or falsification of all information about departures (destinations, times, etc.). This would encourage dérive. After a lively debate, the opposition that had been expressed gave up its argument and the project was accepted without reservation.

– Heighten the acoustic environment of train stations by broadcasting recordings from a large number of different stations—and certain ports.

From PLAN FOR RATIONAL IMPROVEMENTS T O THE CITY OF PARIS 4. Situationists and the city, 70. Adapted to bullet list.

digital image as interface for viewer production of the real

Or Image for semiosis.


As interface or instrument, the image does not comprise a representation of a pre-existent and independent reality, but rather a means for the new media user to intervene in the production of the “real,” now understood as a rendering of data. “New media,” Manovich concludes “change our concept of what an image is – because they turn a viewer into an active user. As a result, an illusionistic image is no longer something a subject simply looks at, comparing it with memories of represented reality to judge its reality effect. The new media image is something the user actively goes into, zooming in or clicking on individual parts with the assumption that they contain hyperlinks….”

[W]e must fundamentally reconfigure the image. Specifically; we must accept that the image, rather than finding instantiation in a privileged technical form (including the computer interface), now demarcates the very process through which the body, in conjunction with the various apparatuses for rendering information perceptible, gives form to or in-forms information. In sum, the image can no longer be restricted to the level of surface appearance, but must be extended to encompass the entire process by which information is made perceivable through embodied experience. This is what I propose to call the digital image.

Hansen, New Philosophy, 10.

Hansen’s conception becomes a basis for aesthetics as epistemic AND a basis for a rhetoric of experience. The viewer becomes a creator influenced by material context of the perception. This conception does not neutralize rhetorical aims and moves but disperses or distributes them between context, object, perceiver and makes them cognitive or material operators or procedures that shape the making of perception. “Enframe something (digital information) that was originally formless” 11.

This is “a fundamental shift in aesthetic experience from a model dominated by the perception of a self-sufficient object to one focused on the intensities of embodied affectivity. ” 12-13.

This is social semiotics from another angle. The artifact primes the viewer and provides the resources for creating semiosis. v Kress

What I’m reading 24 May 2017 through 28 May 2017