cary peppermint on Sun, 23 Aug 1998 14:46:23 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> revolution and terror

Each time I come across the names ISEA'98 REVOLUTION and '99 TERROR I feel
apprehensive.  I have read the intro essay on the ISEA website.  As I
understand it ISEA's intent is to be a proactive trip toward understanding
and cohesion at the end of an otherwise disparate millennium closing.  If
this is a sincere attempt then it must be applauded by default because at
the present moment the act of sincerity itself is such an awkward,
eccentric and curious gesture.  So I applaud ISEA REVOLUTION and TERROR and
all those whose sincere efforts are now being directed under the titles

My apprehension toward ISEA '98-99 is rooted in the words REVOLUTION and
TERROR.  Words are slippery and make a mockery of meaning.  When words move
away they seldom return.  Consider the word REVOLUTION with which the Nike
tennis shoe company has been paramount in its contributions toward
"slippage" of that word's significance.   Consider the word TERROR with
which the video game Mortal Combat has been paramount in its contributions
toward "slippage" of that word's significance.  Of course these are
sensational highlights which exemplify some thoughts in my head concerning
a 60's socialist thesis, a capitalist antithesis and a synthesis called
incorporation.  TERROR/REVOLUTION?  Of course the organizers of ISEA know
all of this and in fact it is their impetus from which they at best and
nobly will attempt to evoke (with sincerity) a sort of end of the
millennium reclamation/meditation.  All this considered, my apprehension is
now heightened.

Can a delineated group of academics and artists rescue REVOLUTION AND
TERROR from this "slippage" and somehow align the words back into some sort
of more restless and dynamic cultural orbit?  Can REVOLUTION AND TERROR
become more than just ad copy for an updated ISEA that in past years has
equated to something of high-brow trade show for "art" and technology?
Maybe if ISEA'98-99 were not now married to words so tired.  Maybe a more
radical approach would be the dismantling of ISEA itself and in its place a
collective, spirited embrace or acknowledgment of a convoluted and
inexplicable phenomenon called art that skirts the historical altogether.

Sincerity of gesture does not necessarily point toward significance of
gesture.  If it is possible that REVOLUTION and TERROR be re-situated
anywhere near a resounding pulse that taps the psychic level then I have
doubts it is through ISEA begging the question.  A quote from the essay on
the ISEA site: "Since when has one ever become a revolutionary by request?"

May I please be a revolutionary?


cary peppermint
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