This clip of protesters in Bil'in, Palestine dressed as Na'vi from James Cameron's Avatar circulated widely across the internet this week, and that, paired with the recent announcement that Avatar is nominated for 9 Oscars, made me feel that it was about time to present a round-up of the more thoughtful articles I've collected on Avatar. Feel free to post links in the comments section - I'm hoping this post can become a resource for those who might be interested in additional reading concerning the film.
► "Avatar and Invisible Republic" by Rob Horning [From PopMatters]
By coincidence, I began reading Greil Marcus’s Invisible Republic, which in part is about the demise of the 1960s folk movement and Bob Dylan’s role in destroying it after having come to exemplify it. The folkies, in Marcus’s depiction, had the same patronizing attitude toward Appalachian poverty and civil-rights injustices (the Other America, as Michael Harrington dubbed it) that the makers of Avatar seem to evince about colonization. Capitalism sullied and exploited the pure rural people, as clear-headed bourgeois liberals can best recognize. To adherents, folk music (and Avatar) offers us glimpses of pre-capitalist America, a “democratic oasis unsullied by commerce or greed” in which art seems “the product of no ego but of the inherent genius of a people.” The Avatar planet is such a product, for the race occupying it and the film-industry execs who made it.
The substance of this fantasy about indigenous people at harmony with their appropriate environment is the denial of individual subjectivity (the overriding value of the folk revival, according to Marcus), which is rendered unnecessary and impossible. Everyone is at one and merged with one another. Just look at the blue people in the movie sway to the unsounded ...
I chose to create an embroidered version of a barcode to represent how technology has become interwoven, fused with our lives and our identity- to represent how we have become one and the same with technology.
Through new technology cell phones are now capable of scanning and decoding barcodes. However, these barcodes are a little different than the ones you see scanned at the grocery store: they are called 2D barcodes and are composed of black and white squares that encode the URLs to any website of creator's choice. In other words, these Data Matrix format barcodes are a physical hyperlink. Through my research I have learned how to create and program 2D barcodes with embedded text messages. I have also discovered that these barcodes can be reproduced in a variety of materials and are still capable of being scanned/read with a mobile phone.
I was working as a photo assistant for Crate & Barrel. While on set one day, I wrote “dinner w/ marc 510-872-7326,” my name and cell phone, on a dry erase board featured in a desk product shot. A few months later, the catalog, containing my dinner invitation, was printed and sent to millions of people. I eventually received over 30,000 calls from people wanting to dine with me. As a result, I traveled the USA in a tiny RV for a year dining with strangers.
From Braniff Airlines 1968 "When You Got It, Flaunt It" ad campaign. Salvador Dali was another celebrity featured in the campaign, to view that video, go here.
Never mind that the decade really ends in a little over a year, it's time to take stock of it. Today's post looks back at the decade just past while tomorrow's will look at the decade to come.
As I observed before, this decade is marked by atemporality. The greatest symptom of this is our inability to name the decade and, although commentators have tried to dub it the naughties, the aughts, and the 00s (is that pronounced the ooze?), the decade remains, as Paul Krugman suggests, a Big Zero, and we are unable to periodize it. This is not just a matter of linguistic discomfort, its a reflection of the atemporality of network culture. Jean Baudrillard is proved right. History, it seems, came to an end with the millennium, which was a countdown not only to the end of a millennium but also to the end of meaning itself. Perhaps, the Daily Miltonian suggested, we didn't have a name for the decade because it was so bad.
It's time for my promised set of predictions for the coming decade. It has been a transgression of disciplinary norms for historians to predict the future, but its also quite common among bloggers. So let's treat this as a blogosphere game, nothing more. It'll be interesting to see just how wildly wrong I am a decade from now.
In many respects, the next decade is likely to seem like a hangover after the party of the 2000s (yes, I said party). The good times of the boom were little more than a lie perpetrated by finance, utterly ungrounded in any economy reality, and were not based on any sustainable economic thought. Honestly, it's unclear ...
Circular File Channel is the TV Network as TV Show. The project combines content produced by Circular File (principal members - Josh Kline, Anicka Yi, Jon Santos, Thomas Torres Cordova, Tatiana Hamilton) with contributions from invited artists (including Uri Aran, Alisa Baremboym, Luke Calzonetti, Anne Eastman, Greg Edwards, Debo Eilers, Shana Moulton, Takeshi Murata, Patrick Price, Fatima Al Qadiri, Ken Okiishi, Georgia Sagri, Trevor Shimizu, Brina Thurston, Allyson Vieira, Xeno & Oaklander, and others). The content was edited together into three 28 minute long episodes broadcast in November 2009 on Manhattan Cable Access, and streamed on Vimeo, YouTube, and PerformaTV. Content was produced around the following themes: computer-aided new century modernist art and architecture, the creative industries, The Bush Economic Bubble (ie 2005, 2006, 2007), human capital/exploitation, posthumanism, comedy, tragedy, and tragicomedy.
The poor image is a copy in motion. Its quality is bad, its resolution substandard. As it accelerates, it deteriorates. It is a ghost of an image, a preview, a thumbnail, an errant idea, an itinerant image distributed for free, squeezed through slow digital connections, compressed, reproduced, ripped, remixed, as well as copied and pasted into other channels of distribution.
The poor image is a rag or a rip; an AVI or a JPEG, a lumpen proletarian in the class society of appearances, ranked and valued according to its resolution. The poor image has been uploaded, downloaded, shared, reformatted, and reedited. It transforms quality into accessibility, exhibition value into cult value, films into clips, contemplation into distraction. The image is liberated from the vaults of cinemas and archives and thrust into digital uncertainty, at the expense of its own substance. The poor image tends towards abstraction: it is a visual idea in its very becoming.....
......The circulation of poor images creates a circuit, which fulfills the original ambitions of militant and (some) essayistic and experimental cinema—to create an alternative economy of images, an imperfect cinema existing inside as well as beyond and under commercial media streams. In the age of file-sharing, even marginalized content circulates again and reconnects dispersed worldwide audiences.