Brian Holmes on Thu, 31 Oct 2019 19:25:06 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> The Watershed in Your Head

Hello Felix -

You've summed up the keys of a spatialized critique, to show how my work overlaps with your own thinking and doubtless that of many others, how generous, thanks for that. The reality is that these ideas are in the air, necessary and emergent, collective at inception. What's more you put your finger on exactly the reasons for expressing such thoughts outside the old essay-form:

And esthetics -- languages and methods of making this other world
visible -- are an important aspect in this struggle that can only
succeed if it finds a language that informs action, a language to
express multiplicity (of actors, and of cultures) and belonging (that
is, a kind of care for the place in which one finds oneself) at the same

This is exactly what I have learned in my life, while experiencing the relative failures of successive insurgent movements. It informs everything I do now, all the time.

 Hello Max -

In the single most charming and wildly creative response I ever received on nettime , you draw a circular causality that encompasses three of the things that have influenced me most: early cybernetics (especially Bateson), earth systems science and indigenous thinking/action. I like your original interpretation of the Mona Lisa and just as importantly, this observation that water became the core of Leonardo's thinking when he realized that brute force could not hold back on the Arno. Do you have some further thoughts about your own feedback relations with the Mississippi? Why don't you put them on the map, I mean, it would be great to have your insights about water. And also, what about James Lovelock, Lynn Margulis and Gaia theory?

Hello Everybody -

The Argentines just voted down their local oligarch, the Chileans kicked theirs out by massive street protest, the Lebanese have done the same but like the Chileans they won't stand down until the whole corrupt lot pack up and leave, and the Iraqis are making similar demands under personal risks that stagger the imagination, while Hong Kong goes on demonstrating the persistence and inventiveness of popular power in the face of business-as-usual. Are these mobilizations going to spill over into the West, as they did in 2011, or are they going to evolve into bloody backlash counter-coups by the military, as again happened in the wake of 2011?

One of the things I saw while traveling down the Mississippi (in addition to the proliferating dead zones of extractivism) is the degree to which young people in particular see no future in the current system, and how could they? The difference from previous no-future generations is that this time it's clear that a change has to be collective, organized, large-scale, rule-based, all the things that political scientists insist on. At the same time it's only going to come from a revolt, and that too seems to be true for a lot of people. What could such a revolt look like? What language could express the multiplicity of those actions, and those forms of care?

In the US it is time to bring down the government. It takes leadership, and sorry, for too long and in two many ways, post-68-style anarchy has been the objective ally of the neoliberals. But in Carbondale where we did our Field Station 4, Sarah Lewison organized a panel including new generation of anarchists influenced by Rojava and municipalism, who have created a kind of party able to integrate people across ideological lines and insert themselves pragmatically into local governance issues, notably through elections. It takes a lot of people to bring down a modern government, and in my view, the model of Revolution is no longer the French one that starts in the streets and ends at the guillotine. David Garcia's insights about the need for truth-finding practices among citizens are spot-on for me, along with the refusal of epistemological relativism, because that just doesn't cut through the problems we are now facing. Doesn't a new revolt need a new theory? Our modest cultural aim on the Mississippi is to open the aesthetic door for one.

best, Brian
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