Lachlan Brown on Tue, 27 Nov 2001 12:46:21 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Curating the Coup

Intriguing to see how my post "Chile Night" has elided in
replies from a concern about what is in effect and outcome, if
not in planning, conception or anticipation, (and therefore
hardly a conspiracy) a legislative but not yet political Coup by
very right wing forces in the West to an allegory about the
common experience of traversing borders. 

Indeed, there are few places where we are willing to renounce our
rights and accept an assumption of culpability or guilt before we
can show ourselves, through document (the Passport -- which is in
any case a property of our home states) and self-witness (for
business or pleasure), to be innocent. The quazi-autonomous zone
of the frontier between states requires this temporary abject,
subject-less status. It also seems to require Nazis to staff it. 

Whether the context of responsibility of the "gatekeeper" who
has personal responsibility produces the fascism, or whether
fascists are attracted to the post of state "gatekeeper" is a
question that might not presently be deferred. It is very urgent
that we examine the cultures of gate-keeping.

The constraints of time and resources upon the administration,
enforcement and execution of new legislation concerning
"national security, homeland safety, terrorism or "un-
American" sentiment (whatever that is, can"t imagine being
sanctioned for being "un-British" or "un-Canadian" and what
would "un-Jamaican" look like exactly?) mean that only the
military and/or immigration and citizenship ministries are
equipped to perform the "service".

Given that there are only two structures of the state that are
able or equipped to manage, enforce and administrate the new laws
concerning "national security" or "homeland safety" or
"terrorism", the Military, which is in any case confined to
temporary zones declared under military emergency, and
Citizenship and Immigration, the temporary experience we all feel
in entering a state may well become a general and perhaps
permanent experience.  

Perhaps we can hone our criticsm of the gatekeeping culture all
of this emergency legislation points to by focussing on the
behavior, accountability, and longevity in their apparently
permanent autonomous roles as "middle managers of meaning" of
the "cultural gatekeeper" the curator or the editor in the
field of cultural production will provide a productive point for
writers and artists to challenge the new borders, boundaries and
enclosures  and permit curators and editors to be even more
reflexive about their roles, motives and investments than they
are at present.

I am sure that if or when the National Security State hauls you
in for interrogation over your 'unCanadian' activities on the
grounds that your art or writing, your curation or editing, seeks
to breach the security of the new enclosures  between
ethnicities, genders and classes or castes, the exercise will
prepare us all to present a good many more questions to the
interrogators than the inquisition expects.

Just a suggestion.


Lachlan Brown
crying freedom

btw I edited with Susan Lord the catalogue for Nina Czeglady's
first western curation in 89 (i think)  a video festival at
Toronto's Euclid Theatre: UNBLOCKED - video from eastern europe
'an explosion of authentic national expression from the

this way to the gallery, this to the camp


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