First Reference

Discovered the first reference to my work today. Not academic work, but my work nevertheless:

However despite all the bad press it has received it has received some good
from car lovers of Australia and become renouned as a classic example of the Australian car / road movie. (As interest’s sake, another is Metal Skin (Wright (I) 1994)). Street Machine (Fuller 2003) magazine went as far as to rank the film as second on their list of top 100 car films. The film was second only to Mad Max (Millar (II) 1979) but ranked higher than the original Gone in 60 Seconds (Halicki 1974) which took out third place.

Haha! Awesome!

My name is spelt with two n’s. Bloody hell! That is not the fault of the person who wrote the entry for the classic car flick Running on Empty in the Murdoch Reading Room database, but Street Machine, who spelt my name with two n’s until the last two or three articles I wrote for them. I am actually going in to their main office tomorrow to go through their archives for my panel van paper.

SICK! just got a new donk for me falcon…

Thieves take off with V8 engine
January 29, 2005
From: AAP

A V8 racing supercar engine worth about $60,000 has been stolen from a western Sydney business.The thieves were believed to have forced their way into the premises at Blaxland Road, Campbelltown, between 7.30pm and midnight (AEDT) on Thursday, police said today.
They took the recently overhauled 610-horsepower V8 Ford racing engine plus tools and accessories.
Police are calling for witnesses who may have seen any suspicious activity on Blaxland Road at the time of the robbery.


Someone’s going to be running some quick times at the wizzard.

The Original, Updated

In 1952 Gene Kelly sang and danced in Singin’ In The Rain, and now, courtesy of modern technology and Volkswagen, he will breakdance in it. The car company has been granted permission by the Gene Kelly Foundation to use the scene, one of the most famous sequences in the history of cinema.
A Volkswagen spokeswoman said: “The idea behind the commercial is all about the fact that the new Golf GTI is the original Mk I, but updated for 2005. The latest Golf is seen as a classic and iconic car and we really wanted to show that in a very unusual and memorable way.”

From here. The Golf GTi really is an iconic car. Read a surprisingly good u/grad essay on it here. I argue that it was the first of the so-called “pocket rockets” that emerged in response to the neo-liberal desire to signify allegiance to the “performance paradigm” (see Jon McKenzie) in an era and cultural context where a thumping American V8 wouldn’t cut the grade. From the essay:

The GTI was launched to a generation with two mutually inconclusive concerns, high speed and fuel economy. 1977, the second year of GTI sales, saw a renewal of widespread public absorption in space travel. NASA’s reusable space shuttle concept made its maiden voyage, ‘Star Wars’ took three million dollars within a week, and Concorde made its first transatlantic supersonic flight. Renault introduced Formula One’s first turbocharged engine, whilst fellow German car manufacturer Porsche’s 928 was heralded ‘Car of the year’ (Taylor 1995 p307). In short, going fast was suddenly on the mind of the consumer. That this absorption with speed was unforeseen is demonstrated by the uncertainty with which Volkswagen’s hitherto unequalled marketing department’s greeted the GTI. In 1977 Volkswagen had the right car and they were selling it at the right time.

Anyway, the new Golf GTi ad is pretty bloody cool (dl it here, 5.64 megs). Some call it “breakdancin’ in the rain,” some call it “rapping in the rain”… it is a ‘VJ’ remix of Gene Kelly’s famous “Singing in the Rain” scene. Read more about it here. The catchphrase for the ad is: “The new Golf GTi. The original, updated.”

Interesting that this should come up after hearing DJ Spooky talk about similar practices of appropriation.

DJ Spooky lecture

My report. It is very Glen-centric and for that I apologise. If anyone wants to know something specific, then just ask.

Ok.

Blurb:

“This lecture/multi-media presentation by philosopher, DJ and multimedia artist, Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky, focuses on how DJ culture has evolved out of the same technologies that are used for digital media and art.”

We rocked up late. That sucked. I had been out in Parra to the research centre when I got the call. So I had to go home and change out of my uni duds, they weren’t too socially acceptable beyond the behind-my-computer. Traffic was a bunch of shit getting out there. There was a crash on Parra Rd or something.

Which is ironic because the first point I heard DJ Spooky, a.k.a. Paul Miller, make related to the African-American inventor of the traffic light, George Morgan. Spooky argued that just as Morgan invented a way to control the movement of material bodies, his work involves the deconstruction of movement and surfaces commonly known as sound and video. His main points related to the film/installation/performance — “Rebirth of a Nation” (extract) — that is part of the Sydney Festival. His practice explores the deconstruction of cultural memory inhabiting the media archive. Cultural memory is controlled and conventionally constructed through the control of sound and image ‘movement’. He reworks sound (‘DJing’) and video (‘VJing’) movement to produce alternative historical narratives.

He argues that we are part of the “I-Pod Generation” where it is not a question of belonging with a self-same association of identity (my words, not his) and popular culture is defined by the selection and organisation of disparate data. He is interested in how people make meaning from this process. Hmm, a bit like my Blogtalk paper… at least I wrote it before seeing Spooky so I can safely say my paper contains my ideas, but I bought his book and it has a wicked quotable quote that is just too perfect not to include. Anyway, he went to great lengths to demonstrate this ‘selecta popular culture’ to the audience. My favourite bit of the lecture was the clip he played of deconstructed kung-fu flicks reorganised into what Miller called his “Kung-Fu Breakbeat.” T’was sick.

The lecture was definitely aimed at a broad audience. He continually made concessions for that fact he wasn’t in DJ mode for fear of fans coming to his lecture to see him Spooky-it-up. For those that hadn’t read a lot of the Frenchies and their theories I guess the lecture would’ve been an eye opener and he was definitely speaking to these people. Plus everyone got free CDs. Ferkin rad!

I got to ask the second last question during question time. I had made a tactical decision to ask him a pointed question about Deleuze and he had mentioned Deleuze and ATP in his lecture. It was a bit of a bastard thing to do, because it was not the sort of question you would expect from an audience in a free lecture. However, surely he must have realised that some people in western Sydney would know he taught at the elite European Graduate School (OMG! I wanna go there…) and would come to see him speak for that? My mate definitely went for the DJ Spooky side of things, but he has read some of my Manuel DeLanda books and we have often talked about Deleuze and stuff so he was hip to that beat… Yeah, so my question related to my Blogtalk paper as I could immediately fathom some overlap:

Glen: Ahhh, that last track sampled AC/DC’s “Who Made Who.” [Spooky nods] So, anyway, to ask a bit of a nerd question… You mentioned Deleuze in your lecture. I have a question relating to your artistic practice and Deleuze’s book “The Logic of Sense”. It seems to me that you play with the ‘sense’ of the media in your work. ‘Sense’ being the boundary between ‘propositions’ and ‘bodies’, what Deleuze calls the ‘event’ or his version of the ‘event’, the ‘incorporeal event’. And my question is, how do you think your work relates to Deleuze’s conception of ‘sense’?

Miller: OK, for those in the audience who are not philosophy majors…

His answer was basically a very brief introduction of who Deleuze was with a few phrases thrown in. It was not a simple question and I probably should have phrased it a bit differently, plus he was speaking to a crowd that were not made up of people who have a hard-on for Deleuze. I also wanted to ask him how his work related to Henri Lefebvre’s Rhythmanalysis, but, alas, no time…

Anyway, I have his book, and it is an interesting read. I will write up more about it when I finish it. (First I have to finish Ballard’s _Crash_, bloody hell…). I got him to sign it ;).
I told him, “That was cool, man.” (trying to be a cool man).
He was like, “Thanks, man.”
And I asked him, “So what is it like teaching at the European Graduate School?”
He replied, “It’s cool.”
Cool…

Vote or Die, You Stupid Spoiled Whore!

Australia Day…

“[N]o issue is intrinsically a gut issue; it is produced as such only by reducing the complexity of the debates, the various interpretations and contradictions that surround it, to a matter of affective investment. The conservative strategy depends upon a logic in which the fact of the ‘gut commitment’ becomes more important that the content of the commitment itself. It is a strategy which seeks political power by tactically dissociating itself from politics. In the end, political realities seem to matter less than political commitments. […]
“The new conservative alliance does not need to deploy specific commitments or beliefs, but it had to foreground the need to believe in belief, to make a commitment to commitment. This strategy bears a striking resemblance to so-called sleeze TV which has become so popular, especially in talk and ‘real-life’ shows [reality TV?]. Despite their often conservative appearance, a careful look suggests that they have no consistent political position: rather, they seem to consistently take the position, on whatever topic, which enabled and even called forth maximum passion. The new conservatism makes politics into a marketing problem, but it is passion or sentimentality itself that is marketed.” (p. 270-271)
– Larry Grossberg, We Gotta Get Out of This Place

Grossberg’s book is out of date, but his lament on the state of politics in the US circa early-1990s is certainly a useful way to think about the performances of various celebrities and ‘personalities’ in the current era of popular culture.

I was reminded of this the other night when I caught South Park on the boob tube. It was an episode where the boys demolish an infamous ‘personality’:

Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset
All the fourth grade girls idolize a rich, famous and spoiled socialite. They even have her brand new toy set that comes complete with video camera, night vision filter, play money and losable cell phone. In an effort to impress their idol, the girls pursue the boys to make their own videos

It was a great episode! The grand finale was a “whore off” and will forever be one of my fondest memories. The vacuous ‘stupid spoiled whore’ subject position is perfectly complemented by another performance: the “perfect gentleman” deploying the pimp aesthetic. If you think back to the VMA‘s the position of maximum passion was occupied by P. Diddy and his problematic “Vote or Die!” campaign. As well as reminding me of the classic Skate or DIE! video game, Citizen Coombs’ performance at the Miami-hosted VMAs forced him to somehow politicise his normal pimp persona.

The “Vote or Die!” campaign did work apparently, but getting people to vote is not enough. I know that young people (under-30) allegedly are more likely to vote for the Democrat party, but I wonder if Citizen Coombs really understands how much he played into the hands of Bush-Cheney’s conservative politics of sentiment. The disparate relation to the politics of sentiment between Kerry and Bush was really made apparent during the final debate over the question of abortion (question 7). Kerry was caught trying to explain a complex issue to some fuckin retarded right-wing ninja gimp and super-hero Bush came along with the smack-down I-tell-you-what-you-want-to-hear comments.

Diddy really needs to get political sophistication back into his approach and not merely rely on a politics of sentiment while deploying a “commitment to commitment” for maximum effect. (It sickens me that I am arguing that a media personality needs to get a more sophisticated politics, fuck…) Hillary Clinton does make a weak attempt to complexify the issues later in this interview from MTV (ital. added):

P. Diddy: We are here with the legendary Hillary Clinton, from my home state of New York. Thank you for talking to us.

Hillary Clinton: I am delighted and I am delighted by what you’re doing.

Diddy: Thank you. We’re not going to get into sophisticated politics, we’re gonna get into a problem that we have in young America, and that is young Americans being disenfranchised. Only 36 percent of us have voted. You are one of the few politicians that young people relate to. And we want to get a message on why you think it’s important for young people to vote this year. And please talk to the people who are disenfranchised and don’t believe in the power of their vote.