Many modern artists and architects continue to imagine and build the world technologically. Their beliefs remain firmly rooted in their assumption that the liberating forces of technology freed them from previous artistic traditions while making available vast means of production and a plethora of materials. All artistic traditions were seemingly put aside by the paintings of Cézanne, the poetry of Baudelaire, and the architecture of Le Corbusier.

Behind this apparent freedom French critic Jacques Ellul, author of the classic The Technological Society, found an absolute slavery. The artist was the handmaiden of technology, a relation the artist no longer understood, like other citizens of technological culture. Artists acclaimed their unbridled individualism while being intensely determined by the forces of technological culture.

Ellul examines this process in modern art from the beginning of the 20th century where the sense of art - its meaning and embodiments - is reduced to non-sense. Ellul's study is in the tradition of Guy Debord's The Society of Spectacle and Theodor Adorno's Aesthetic Theory but moves significantly beyond their Marxist perspectives that were, from Ellul's view, co-opted by technique.


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The tides of time and the winds of fate


Where is the shore that was previously here?
All has shifted, and all is no more.
The lines that are drawn have blurred and disappeared,
grasping at air, in despair, wind torn and forlorn.


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History or Mystery?


Historians of the Age

Look to the musty and vacant spaces of learning.
The physical will always hold truth. The virtual is a lie.


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The past half-century has seen a steady erosion of trust in authority of all sorts, ranging from a healthy scepticism to conspiracy theories, which say that governments and their agencies or associates are capable of anything, even murder. To put it in a more scholarly fashion, conspiracy theories are “attempts to explain the ultimate cause of an event…as a secret plot by a covert alliance of powerful individuals or organizations”. The phrase conspiracy theories is often seen as pejorative and belief in them as irrational, but researchers from the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK, are asking for more research into “why people overtly reject conspiracy theories but privately accept them as true”. For that is what we do, apparently.


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"Once a contraption allowing the separation of technological capacity from moral imagination is put in place, it becomes self propelling, self reinforcing...the human capacity to adjust, habituate, become accustomed...will see to that. Atrocities in other words do not self condemn or self destruct. They self reproduce: what was once a shock degenerates into routine reflex."
-Zygmunt Bauman

"The most profound radicalism is often the most profound conservatism"
-T J Jackson Lear

"You must be a light to yourself! In a world that is rapidly growing dark."
-J Krisnamurti


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Currently Happening Presently Now: PERCEPTION


"History doesn't repeat, but it surely rhymes."
-Mark Twain

"Most of the literature on the (concentration) camps has tended to stress the role of the camps as places of execution. Regrettably, few ethical or religious thinkers have paid attention to the highly significant political fact that the camps where in reality a new form of human society."
-R. L. Rubenstein, The Cunning of History.

"Problems in human engineering will receive the same genius the last century gave to engineering in more material forms."
-Thomas A. Edison

"If evolution cannot rationally be viewed as a way to get from ape-like creatures to man, then cannot the use of evolutionism as an ideological belief system get us from man to an ape-like creature? Such a capability would be of enormous value in politics."
-Peter Medawar, The Future of Man.

"You are being programmed."
-Chamath Palihapitiya, former facebook executive.

"In the midst of these long range trends - there was a lag in the recognition that a complex society demands a sophisticated understanding among all of its citizens."
-Michael Marien, The Discovery and Decline of the Ignorant Society.

"Historical developments in the 20th century have actually placed 'emergency powers' at the heart of the rule of law as a means of administering capitalist modernity."
-Mark Neocleous, The Problem with Normality.

"There is no more opportune moment for radical change than in the aftermath of a world catastrophe."
-Warren Wagar

"Human mobility will increasingly define the 21st century."
-Dimitris Auramopoulos

"Our world is headed into a perfect storm of an interconnected financial, ecological, and social crisis."
-Ian Johnson, Club of Rome.

"Utopian speculations...must come back into fashion. They are a way of affirming faith in the possibility of solving problems that seem at the moment insoluble. Today even the survival of humanity is a utopian hope."
-Norman O. Brown, Life against Death, 1959.


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Currently Happening Presently Now: MANAGEMENT


"Television and the personal computer, even as they are now converging on a single machinic functioning ... are methods for the management of attention ... rendering bodies controllable and useful simultaneously, even as they simulate the illusion of choices and ‘interactivity’...the management of attention ... through the television set or computer monitor (at least in their overwhelmingly pervasive forms), has little to do with the visual contents of these screens and far more with a larger strategy of the individual ... with the construction of conditions that individuate, immobilize, and separate subjects, even within a world in which mobility and circulation are ubiquitous..."

-Jonathan Crary, Suspensions of perception: Attention, spectacle, and modern culture. Mit Press, 2001.

"The illusion of user control corresponds to the idea of contemporary identity as a continual performative task of self-construction. Culture today is made up of roles that must be continually reinvented – ‘chosen’ – rather than fixed identities...We are permeated with narcissism, not as self-love but in terms of the exclusive reference to ourselves, which asks: What does this event mean to me? The narcissistic subject searches for and expects ‘real’ and intense experiences only within the framework of their own needs and which social relationships are treated as pretexts for the expression of personality..."

-Daniel Palmer, "The paradox of user control." Design Philosophy Papers 1.3 (2003): 127-135.

"The neo-Panoptic environment is a space where the destrucuration of trust isn't exercised by intimidation and refutation but by circulation and provocation, i.e., by the fact that deeply trusting relationships are never given the means, time or anonymous social space to thrive and develop. In control societies social-being mirrors the soft and immaterial forms of production that permeate a radically de-socialized/hypersocialized world of exchange - where 'interactivity' and 'inter-subjective relations' largely consist of the multiplication of light interactions, tertiary acquaintanships, and virtual transactions. Even sexual relations have be commuted into 'booty calls', FWB's, simulated pleasures and every other possible form of denatured touching."

-Grant Vetter, The architecture of control: a contribution to the critique of the science of apparatuses. John Hunt Publishing, 2012.


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Currently Happening Presently Now: VISION


"Naivete is often an excuse for those who exercise power. For those upon whom that power is exercised, naivete is always a mistake...History is the fruit of power, but power itself is never so transparent that its analysis becomes superflous. The ultimate mark of power may be its invisibility; the ultimate challenge, the exposition of its roots."
― Michel-Rolph Trouillot

“In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors.”
― William Blake

"The end of our foundation is the knowledge of causes, and secret motions of things; and the enlarging of the bounds of human empire, to the effecting of all things possible."
― Francis Bacon, New Atlantis, 1627.

"With Galileo, the desire to make his ideas prevail apparently led him to report experiments that could not have been performed exactly as described. Thus an ambiguous attitude toward data was present from the very beginning of western experimental science. On the one hand, experimental data was upheld as the ultimate arbiter of truth, on the other hand, fact was subordinated to theory when necessary and even, if it didn't fit, distorted."
- William J. Broad & Nicholas Wade, Betrayers of the truth: fraud and deciet in science

“This life's dim windows of the soul
Distorts the heavens from pole to pole
And leads you to believe a lie
When you see with, not through, the eye.”
― William Blake

"Friends, leave behind that darkened room
Where light of day is much abused,
And, bent low by crooked thought and gloom,
Our sight is anguished and confused..."
-Goethe, 'Murky Law'


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Currently Happening Presently Now: ENDGAME


Untitled 6063
Rodin, J., & Schwartz, P. (2010). Scenarios for the future of technology and international development.

Schwartz, P., & Randall, D. (2003). An abrupt climate change scenario and its implications for United States national security. CALIFORNIA INST OF TECHNOLOGY PASADENA CA JET PROPULSION LAB.


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