Randall Packer
Since the beginning
Works in United States of America

PORTFOLIO (2)
BIO
Randall Packer is internationally recognized as a pioneering artist, composer, educator, and scholar in the field of multimedia. His work has been exhibited at museums and galleries throughout the world including Europe, Asia, and North America. He is Assistant Professor of Multimedia at American University in Washington, DC. His book and accompanying Web site, Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality (W.W. Norton 2001 / www.artmuseum.net), has been adopted internationally as one of the leading educational texts in the field. He is concerned with the aesthetic, philosophical, and socio-cultural impact of new media in an increasingly technological society.

In 1988, he founded Zakros InterArts and has since produced, directed and created critically acclaimed new media performance, installation, and net-specific works. His sound installation Mori was selected for the 1999 Biennial Exhibition at the InterCommunication Center (ICC) in Tokyo and included in the Telematic Connections: A Virtual Embrace exhibition that toured the US (2001-2002). In 2003 Mori received its New York debut at the Kitchen. His net project, the Telematic Manifesto (1999), was included in ZKM's (Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany) Net_Condition exhibition and has been featured on the Website of the Walker Art Center.

Since moving to Washington, DC in 2000, his work has explored the critique of the role of the artist in society and politics. He founded the virtual government agency US Department of Art and Technology (www.usdat.us) in 2001, which proposes and supports the idealized definition of the artist as one whose reflections, ideas, aesthetics, sensibilities, and abilities can have significant and transformative impact on the world stage. The US DAT project has emerged as a hybrid of media forms and genres. It has yielded numerous published articles and manifestos, live performances, media installations, and video works presented at festivals, museums, and universities around the world. US DAT has also spawned several subsidiary projects, including: The Experimental Party (www.experimentalparty.org); TEL-SPAN (Web-based streaming broadcast channel); and The Media Deconstruction Kit (audio-visual manipulation of live broadcast news). In the fall of 2003, the US DAT Visitor Center was exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, across the street from the White House. In 2004, the Experimental Party DisInformation Center debuted in New York City at the LUXE gallery during the Republican National Convention.

A native Californian, Packer holds degrees from the University of Oregon (BS, sociology); California Institute of the Arts (MFA, music composition); Institute for the Research and Coordination in Acoustics and Music (IRCAM), Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (certificate, computer music); and the University of California, Berkeley (PhD, music composition). He is the recipient of several awards for his work, including the George Ladd Prix de Paris and an Artist Fellowship Award from the Washington, DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities.
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DISCUSSION

Articles of Artistic Mediation


US Department of Art & Technology
PO Box 32265 Washington, DC
http://www.usdept-arttech.net
office of the Secretary
secretary@usdept-arttech

Covenant of the Articles of Artistic Mediation

Presented by the US Department of Art & Technology
To the US Department of State

Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes
Washington, DC
June 19, 2002

THE MEDIATING PARTIES, In order to promote international co-operation
and to achieve international peace and cultural understanding by the
acceptance of obligations not to resort to war, by the prescription
of open, informed cultural dialogue between nations, by the
establishment of the understanding of the aspirations of the artist
as a model for spiritual and moral conduct among Governments, and by
the maintenance of the role of the artist as a mediator on the world
stage, and a scrupulous respect for the following articles of
artistic mediation in the dealings of organized peoples with one
another,

Agree to this Covenant of the Articles of Artistic Mediation.

Article 1

Jeff Gates
Deputy Secretary
US Department of Art & Technology

The events of September 11 have caused all Americans to look at the
world and our lives in new ways. We are beginning to question what it
means to be an American within the greater world stage. Like Pearl
Harbor, the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks have once again
jolted us out of our isolationism.

This presents us with a unique opportunity. Let us reevaluate the
relationship between our government and its policies and the
contributions of artists and other cultural workers. We are standing
at the fork in a road, just as we were soon after December 7, 1941.
We can redefine our country by building taller, more impenetrable
walls or we can promote our way of life by looking for new ways to
solve our problems.

Traditionally, artists have developed creative ways of looking at the
world. Employ our strengths and the country will be stronger and more
able to adapt to the changing world around us. Work with us to become
more inclusive domestically and more responsible internationally.

Article 2

Mark Amerika
Under Secretary for the Department of Freedom of Speech
US Department of Art & Technology

I am deeply offended by recent attempts by high administration
figures to try and equate vocal dissent against their
politically-motivated 'war on terrorism' with unpatriotic behavior. I
would go so far as to say that these blatant acts of psychological
manipulation and ideological coercion are themselves some of the most
unpatriotic acts of any administration I have seen in my lifetime.

Article 3

Lynn Hershman
Deputy Under Secretary of the Bureau for the Protection &
Immunization Against Mediation & Alienation
US Department of Art & Technology

Initiate compassion, dignity and enlightenment in all cultural challenges.

Article 4

Pierre Levy
Under Secretary for the Office of Virtualization
US Department of Art & Technology

Each one of us is an autonomous and responsible source of meaning. We
can enrich our world by integrating others as autonomous
interpretation centers who are complete worlds in themselves. What is
to be done with the other's meaning production? Ignore it, tolerate
it, despise it, beat it, imitate itS? this would not be a dialogue.
Collective intelligence is the reciprocal implication and mutual
recognition of autonomous world's sources.

Article 5

Douglas Robertson
Director of the Office of Excessive Verbiage & Official Ceremonies
US Department of Art & Technology

Have Barney, that lovable hug-happy purple dinosaur, accompany the
Secretary of State on all missions, and have Barney speak in the
language of the host country. Barney will prove to be the perfect yin
to every Secretary of State's yang. Alternative methodology if the
Secretary of State does not consider this prudent: Appoint Bahrein as
an American Ambassador at Large and send him on a world tour.

Article 6

Robert Atkins
Deputy Undersecretary
US Department of Art & Technology

Being the most complex form of knowledge, art IS the best hope for
subtle, nuanced communication. Power to the palette people!

Article 7

Jack Rasmussen
Minister of Culture
US Department of Art & Technology

Artists interpret the cultures they live in... their "criticisms"
take the form of invitations to engage us in constructive dialogues.
Such dialogues seem to be completely lacking in the geo-political
arena, where they are needed most. Let us use the artist's model to
resolve international conflicts. Let's get naked!

Article 8

William Gilcher
Envoy Plenipotentiary to the European Union and Latin America
US Department of Art & Technology

US Museums and cultural institutions - under DAT's and UNESCO's
leadership - should enshroud a major, signature work from their
collections. Then they should hold fancy fund-raisers to pay for
recovering (i.e., uncovering) the work. The money raised should be
used to support the creation and maintenance of a permanent light
sculpture representing the Bamiyan Buddhas, to be projected in the
original space in Afghanistan. The team of artists selected to create
the work should be people of various ethnic and religious origins,
including at least one Afghan.

Article 9

John Paul Young
Under Secretary of the Bureau for the Blurring of the Real & the Virtual
US Department of Art & Technology

Art reflects the conscience of each generation. As we inhabit the
21st century, do we choose to take up the challenge of crafting a new
vision of global compassion, or fall back upon antiquated notions of
diplomacy at gunpoint? Our children will judge us by our decision.
Technology in the service of "clean" war is not a solution, it is a
mere political expediency. Instead of increasingly virtualized
destruction, the future must embrace radical notions of humane
intervention. As proud citizens of the world family, let us lead with
a passion for creatively deploying and delivering life, liberty, and
the pursuit of happiness where they are most needed.

Article 10

Billy Kluver
Under Secretary of Reality
US Department of Art & Technology

Chaos is the best defense.

Article 11

Margaret Schedel
Under Secretary for Dissertations and Strategic Disinformation
US Department of Art & Technology

Interact with art and with each other. Ferocious interaction in art.
Tender interactions with each other.

Article 12

Joan Freedman
Deputy Secretary of the Bureau for Archiving Old Media
& Anachronistic Ideologies
US Department of Art & Technology

No Land Mimes! Appoint mimes to call for an international ban on the
use, production, stockpiling, and transfer of antipersonnel
landmines, and for increased international resources for humanitarian
mine clearance and mine victim assistance programs. Send mimes to
effected regions to demonstrate the effects of land mines on
unknowing civilian populations.

Article 13

Mark Tribe
Director of the Office of Emerging Technologies & Digital Aesthetics
US Department of Art & Technology

The conflict between Al Quaeda and the U.S. Government may be
understood in terms of two very different modes of organizing power:
one horizontally distributed and nomadic, the other hierarchical and
geographically fixed. In the past, we have tended to assign positive
value to the rhizomatic in contrast to the hierarchical. This
conflict helps us realize that there is nothing inherently good about
rhizomatic organizations of power. But if we think of think of these
organizations of power as technologies in and of themselves, then it
quickly becomes clear that rhizomatic technologies - fugitive,
resilient, designed to operate in tatters - are not only newer but
also more likely to survive in an evolutionary struggle.

Article 14

Randall Packer
Secretary
US Department of Art & Technology

Organize a virtual government department, select a staff of the
finest media artists and technologists you can find, have them
collectively co-author imaginative acts of artistic mediation, stage
an "official" event in Washington, DC with department staff and
cultural officials providing remarks on the role of the artist in
society, and invite the US State Department.

Article 15

David Baime
Assistant Secretary for Legislation & Congressional Affairs
US Department of Art & Technology

The sentimentalist would deceive himself, the rhetorician others;
while art alone provides the reflection of reality. Art is as
perennial as the grass, and may our good government sow its seed, so
as to reap its splendor.

Article 16

David Crandall
Director of the Office of Strategy and Subversion
US Department of Art & Technology

I would submit that a central problem is the rest of the world's lack
of understanding of America's unique burden and contribution.
Inasmuch as our great nation has given the world the best-dressed
peasant class in history, I would call for the commission of a series
of grand, heroic paintings of, e.g. noble American yeoman
stock-traders, bond-swains, cash maidens & personnel-herds, done
larger than life in a golden glow.

Alternatively, murals could be created in the soviet style extolling
the virtues of our noble Arts Infrastructure workers - see the sweat
gleam on the sides of the redoubtable database coordinator and grants
administrator as they build a better world for all! Their song: "If
we lose this grant, the terrorists win!"

Article 17

Chris Bowman
Artist-Ambassador from Scotland
Global Virtualization Council

NEW CHILDREN'S GAME:

After lots are drawn, two children stand side by side pretending to
be skyscrapers, while two others charge into them, pretending to be
planes.

The two pretending to be skyscrapers aren't allowed to duck or dodge,
and the two pretending to be planes get to crash into them as hard as
they like, at which point the skyscrapers compete to see who can
topple over the most dramatically.

It's in the interests of the planes not to hit the skyscrapers too
hard, because in the next and final stage of the game, the
skyscrapers - who have become a military alliance - get to kick the
shit out of the planes - who have become foreign terrorists - in any
and every way they like.

The game is known as PYRRHIC VICTORY.

Article 18

Philip Ryder
Artist-Ambassador from England
Global Virtualization Council

Being pigeon holed with terrorists should not be a frustration or
insult. We do not kill. We are feared for being artists and all that
it entails. Let their fear be proof of art's power and an inspiration.

Article 19

Jonah Brucker-Cohen
Artist Ambassador from the US
Global Virtualization Council

Without the negative to negate the positive, the positive would have
no power. Working together we can avoid the threat that terrorism
will be a threat to the way we perceive threats. Art is the only way
to escape the world of what is possible into the world of what can be
possible. Artists and creative processes will lead us past the
bureaucratic stranglehold that stifles radical change. Our only hope
is to rely on individual creative energy to prove the hypothesis that
new approaches to perception will lead us to salvation.

Article 20

Agricola de Cologne
German media artist

Violence is an expression of speechlessness, of lack of
communication. The best solution to eliminate violence and
confrontation is looking for communicating, dialogue and networking,
starting already in the smallest cel of society family, which lead in
consequence to openness against the different, tolerance. A good
example on the way to that represents the net based art project -
http://www.a-virtual-memorial.org - Memorial project against the
Forgetting and for Humanity.

Article 21

Joseph Franklyn McElroy
Cor[porat]e [Per]form[ance] Art[ist]T

It seems to be a natural tendency on the part of those in power, or
wanting power, to use tactics of brinkmanship and brutality to
accomplish incremental gains in their status. While people of extreme
intelligence might be capable of handling the situations created by
aggressive behavior, the unfortunate consequence of the success of
these tactics is that people of less intelligence and experience
attempt to copy the methods and are unable to control the resulting
forces. This leads to tragedy and sorrow for many people. We implore
you to step back from the strategies of the brute, to use new
techniques of honesty, nonaggression, and inclusivity to establish a
peaceful world, where equality and equitable distribution of
resources are the norm.

Article 22

Ava Su GanWei
Iowan Artist

Our society has it backwards, art should be freed from the museums
and galleries... it should be on the streets. But violence and war -
they belong in a place where they can be studied.

Article 23

Domiziana Giordano
Italian Artist

As an intellectual and artist, I find the international politics of
the US not really performing if it has to reach a point of non
aggression in military and cultural forms. The dialogue between
cultures has to be more open-minded towards the difference of culture
and I think intellectuals and artists can pursue the appropriate way
to mediate between the cultures and make a sort of free land where
opportunities of understanding with each other would be easily
resolved.

Article 24

Lowell Darling
American Conceptual Artist and Presidential Candidate

A National Business Museum in which money schemes can be exhibited
like art, where business people can play with concepts like the
recent Enron/Anderson debacle. Business people like Michael Milkin
should be given a safe venue to play in, like artists. This museum
would give corporate raiders a platform to perform that would protect
the rest of us from seeing their visions reach fruition.

In the National Business Museum a corrupt concept could be exhibited,
reviewed, discussed, and the business person who came up with the
scam could get the attention they seek. a businessman could take his
children to the Business Museum, show his kids the idea he had, and
show them how much money he could have made if he'd done the project
in real life instead of in the museum, and they could say, "wow, dad.
You made that? cool!"

The National Business Museum would allow the money manipulators a way
to vent their greed while giving them their ego boosts. Economic self
gratification without investors being destroyed. In other words,
let's treat business like art. Give money grubbers and corporate
thieves a sheltered venue for their experiments. Let money makers get
the sort of rewards art makers get: pats on the ass, government
grants, ego enhancing shows, brief moments of recognition in trade
magazines, and lots of promises. But the money stays in the people's
pockets when they leave the museum and go home, glad that they are
protected from such crazy concepts as those wild business people come
up with.

* * *

The present Covenant, of which the German, French, Flemish, English,
Italian, Arabic, Hebrew, Portuguese, and Spanish texts are equally
authentic, shall remain deposited in the on-line archives of the US
Department of Art & Technology. Duly certified digital copies thereof
shall be transmitted by that Government to its agencies and to other
States when appropriate.

IN FAITH WHEREOF the representatives of the Department of Art &
Technology have signed the present charter.

DONE at the city of Washington, DC the 19th day of June two thousand and tw=
o.

DISCUSSION

Address to the World Mediation Summit


US Department of Art & Technology
PO Box 32265 Washington, DC
http://www.usdept-arttech.net
press@usdept-arttech.net

Press Secretary
For Immediate Release: June 19, 2002

Secretary Packer to Address
World Mediation Summit
Washington, DC

WASHINGTON, DC - On June 19, 7:00 PM (EST), the Secretary of the US
Department of Art & Technology, Randall M. Packer, will deliver the
following speech at the World Mediation Summit in Washington, DC,
minutes before the signing of the Covenant of the Articles of
Artistic Mediation. Department staff, members of the Washington arts
community, and cultural officials from six nations will be
participating in the event. The Covenant, collectively co-authored by
artists, curators, and cultural critics from around the world, is
being presented to the US Department of State.

The following is the transcript of the speech:

Speech by Randall M. Packer
Secretary, US Department of Art & Technology
To the World Mediation Summit
Upon Signing of the Covenant of the Articles of Artistic Mediation

June 19, 2002
Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes
Washington, DC

***********

It's an honor to thank those artists who have heeded a great call:
those who collectively co-authored the Covenant of the Articles of
Artistic Mediation, which we are presenting tonight to the US
Department of State. It's a universal call, and it's a call that has
been applicable throughout history. It's really needed right now.

The reason we're here tonight is to unleash the talents of the artist
as a mediator on the world stage. I appreciate the cooperation of the
Goethe-Institut to stage this event right here in the nation's
capital. Because this is a critical gesture that I hope will
encourage cultural dialogue and understanding throughout the nation.
It's an urgent time for the artist to act. And I think it's going to
help America, along with the rest of the world, cope in these times
of crisis and national insecurity.

This really isn't about any political party, I want to assure you.
It's a way to make sure citizens of the world are as hopeful as they
possibly can be.

The events of September the 11th were an incredibly dark moment. But
the thing I'm most proud about is, through the darkness, is the
emergence of a new era of socially engaged art. This is really an
unbelievable country we live in. A place where heroes risked their
lives, and where artists responded with incredible insight. It was a
remarkable moment, it really was. It was a test of our character.
While many were busy waving the flag, artists and cultural critics in
America and throughout the world have probed deep into the issues of
cultural divisiveness in order to help guide us through these
perilous times. They have rallied together, via the Internet, through
their art, their writing, and their vision, to point out that
everything is at stake, and that we have everything to lose, in these
apocalyptic times. In the words of our Deputy Undersecretary Robert
Atkins, "Being the most complex form of knowledge, art IS the best
hope for subtle, nuanced communication."

This power of cultural action can go well beyond military aggression,
and can help us rise above the hopeless notion of "overcoming evil"
or "rooting out terror." Yes, we will take action, I want to assure
you, but we don't seek death and destruction, we seek a victory of
the human spirit. And I believe that if we're patient and resolved
and united, that out of these acts of artistic mediation could come
lasting peace - peace in regions of the world that might appear now
they cannot be peaceful.

I believe we can achieve peace by listening to the artist. Peace is
the cornerstone of the artistic sensibility, it's what we aim for. As
the Iowan artist Ava Su GanWei said so well, "Our society has it
backwards, art should be freed from the museums and galleries... it
should be on the streets. But violence and war - they belong in a
place where they can be studied." There are going to be some tough
moments achieving this peace. But you need to know that we're going
to be plenty tough when we need to be tough. And we're going to stay
focused on fighting homeland insecurity, caused by those who would
foolishly believe they can root out every trace of evil from human
existence. That's our call. History has called us into action, and we
must and we will respond.

But we need to do more than just make the country less insecure. We
need to make our country and the world a better place. We must be
more than just a military might. We must show our resolve through
cultural understanding: for according to John Young, our Under
Secretary of the Bureau for the Blurring of the Real & the Virtual,
"As we inhabit the 21st century, do we choose to take up the
challenge of crafting a new vision of global compassion, or fall back
upon antiquated notions of diplomacy at gunpoint?"

We have got to recognize that because we're a rich and powerful
nation, we inspire despair and hopelessness in countries that suffer
from extreme poverty and political instability. There are too many
people throughout the world who wonder whether or not America is a
destructive force. And so part of our struggle in making the country
and the world less insecure is to mediate these differences in the
universal language of artistic expression. As David Baime, our
Assistant Secretary for Legislation & Congressional Affairs so
eloquently said, "art alone provides the reflection of reality. Art
is as perennial as the grass, and may our good government sow its
seed, so as to reap its splendor." And the place to start is
understanding that the world can be changed one word, one note, one
frame, one pixel at a time.

The artist can't do everything. But the artist can do something to
help. And their job as social provocateurs, appropriators,
liberators, and citizens deeply committed to virtualization and the
suspension of disbelief, is to gather that great compassion for
critical insight, the spectacle, and distaste for the status quo, to
change our ineffective paradigms, to change the world. And for those
who have contributed to the efforts of the US Department of Art &
Technology, including tonight's World Mediation Summit, they are
doing a great job of that, and I want to thank them.

My job is to continue to address the spirit of the artist, their role
in society, to call upon the best, and I will do so. Let this be a
reminder to those who want to confront the human reality of terror,
they should turn to the arts and its many forms of expression.
"Violence is an expression of speechlessness, of lack of
communication," according to the German media artist Agricola de
Cologne. The artist recognizes problems when they exist and works to
solve those problems, to eliminate the hurdles and barriers that lead
to violence and aggression.

Government must not turn a blind eye to the artist. There must be a
level playing field available and a role for the artist as a mediator
and a player on the world stage. We need to remember that in our
society, artists can move people in ways that government never can.

In order to understand the eternal, existential struggle between good
and evil, that now paralyzes our government, we must invent, we must
create, we must virtualize, and we must use our imaginations! As
Andre Breton said, "perhaps the imagination is on the verge of
recovering its rights."

In the gathering momentum of these acts of artistic mediation, which
reveal what the artist is truly made of, we stand on the first
promontory of the new centuries. Why should we look back, when what
we want is to break down the mysterious doors of the Impossible!

And so, I now have the great honor of joining my colleagues in
signing the Covenant of the Articles of Artistic Mediation and
delivering it to the US Department of State.

Thank you.

URLs:
US Department of Art & Technology: http://www.usdept-arttech.net

Contact: Press Secretary of the US Department of Art & Technology
press@usdept-arttech.net

# 01-102

DISCUSSION

New Post Confronts National Insecurity


US Department of Art & Technology
PO Box 32265 Washington, DC 20007
http://www.usdept-arttech.net
press@usdept-arttech.net

Press Secretary
For Immediate Release: June 14, 2002

Appointment of New Post
Confronts National Insecurity

Abe Golam, Director of the
Office of Political and Economic Insecurity

WASHINGTON, DC - Responding to criticism of the Bush Administration's
handling of national security in its recent proposal to create the
Department of Homeland Security, Secretary Randall M. Packer has
called for the creation of the Office of Political and Economic
Insecurity within the Department of Art & Technology, to confront
rising insecurity in the nation and around the world as a result of
the administration's plan to restructure the US government. The
Secretary has appointed Abe Golam, legendary info-shaman, cracker of
the sorcerer-code and creator of Nanoscript, as its Director.

Mr. Packer's proposal would place into a single office the
Department's Office of Artist & Homeland Insecurity, Bureau of
Cultural Transformation and Paradigmatic Shifts, the Bureau for the
Protection & Immunization Against Mediation & Alienation, the Bureau
for Rhizomatics, Community & Generative Data, and the Office of
Freedom of Speech.

"Since September 11, all levels of government have been pointing
fingers like never before while our airports become Keystone cop
scenarios and our border security remains a farce," Mr. Golam stated
in a recent memorandum to the Secretary. "Even as they pretend to be
taking steps toward improving information sharing among our
intelligence agencies, and suggest in their media-manipulated spin
doctoring that we are beginning to deploy more resources and
personnel to protect our critical infrastructure, our federal
investigators are still working with computer technology manufactured
in the dark ages. Our children have access to better technology than
our federal intelligence agents."

Mr. Golam expressed his anger at the administration for not seeking
support from the nation's artists in its response to recent
international crises, "The changing nature of the threats facing
America requires a new government, a new administration, a new way of
looking at the world that protects the environment, that celebrates
diversity, takes care of the poor, and prioritizes the development of
new forms of art using advanced digital technologies that will help
us find a cure to the 'death-denial' of our present leaders." In a
stinging acknowledgment of failures that took place during the
administration's watch, Mr. Golam directly attacked Bush's new
homeland policies and its impact on civil liberties, "Our domestic
agenda has been hijacked by far right wing ideologues and
military-religious zealots who are trying to whittle away at the
basic rights of all US citizens as guaranteed by our Constitution."

Under Mr. Packer's proposal, the new office would put at least 22
separate bureaus, programs and media research centers under one
umbrella group. But the conceptual framework of the new office is
clear: each division is supposed to handle a different element of the
country's ability to confront the administration's emerging
death-wish before it happens, or respond to it should prevention
fail. Mr. Golam's memorandum notes that "The one thing Americans,
perhaps more than any other nation on the planet, fear - is death
itself. Under the protective guise of 'Homeland Security', we find
ourselves primarily a nation of insecure workers scared to death of
our future, of our ability to consume corporate food at any cost, of
our right to buy gas guzzling vehicles that double as tanks."

Mr. Golam's memorandum concludes with an existential portrayal of the
administration's position as he warns, "For those of our fellow
citizens who fear death, we should ask them to remember that death is
an advisor. Death is always there, always with you, watching your
every move. Death has only one thing to say to you and says it over
and over again: live this life to its fullest and find security in
your own heart, the way you act toward others, the things you create."

For the full transcript of Abe Golam's Memorandum to the Secretary:
http://www.usdept-arttech.net/golam.html

##

The US Department of Art and Technology is the principal conduit for
facilitating the artist's need to extend aesthetic inquiry into the
broader culture where ideas become real action. It also serves the
psychological and spiritual well-being of all Americans by supporting
cultural efforts that provide immunity from the extension of new
media technologies into the social sphere.

URLs:

US Department of Art & Technology: http://www.usdept-arttech.net

Contact: Press Secretary of the US Department of Art & Technology
press@usdept-arttech.net

# 01-101

DISCUSSION

Knock Knock Knockin' On Heaven's Door: Why Are We Scared To/Of Death?


MEMORANDUM

To: Randall M. Packer, Secretary

From: Abe Golam, Director of the Office of Political and Economic Insecurity

Re: Knock Knock Knockin' On Heaven's Door: Why Are We Scared To/Of Death?

------

As we know, the President's most important job is to protect himself
while appearing to defend the American people. Since September 11,
all levels of government have been pointing fingers like never before
while our airports become Keystone cop scenarios and our border
security remains a farce. We are in the process of producing and
stockpiling more medicines to treat the disillusioned masses whose
retirement plans have been plundered by the reigning oil-garchy now
in power, those stupid white men and women who are still trying to
regain their balance after having been knocked over by a ten-ton
intelligence failure like none ever experienced in postmodern times.
Even as they pretend to be taking steps toward improving information
sharing among our intelligence agencies, and suggest in their
media-manipulated spin doctoring that we are beginning to deploy more
resources and personnel to protect our critical infrastructure, our
federal investigators are still working with computer technology
manufactured in the dark ages. Our children have access to better
technology than our federal intelligence agents.

The changing nature of the threats facing America requires a new
government, a new administration, a new way of looking at the world
that protects the environment, that celebrates diversity, takes care
of the poor, and prioritizes the development of new forms of art
using advanced digital technologies that will help us find a cure to
the "death-denial" of our present leaders.

Our current administration continuously churns out the propaganda
butter while greasing up our virtual asses so that they can mind-fuck
us better than Brando does Maria Schneider in Last Tango In Paris.
We are asked to keep our eyes out for "invisible enemies" as if we
were all Supermen and Superwomen with x-ray vision able to leap
collapsing buildings in a single, helpless bound. We are told that
these "invisible enemies" can strike with a wide variety of weapons
and that America needs a single, unified homeland security structure
that will improve protection against today's threats and be flexible
enough to help meet the unknown threats of the future.

Whereas it's true that a great tragedy has struck America, and
innocent people of all walks of life have unnecessarily lost their
lives, our domestic agenda has been hijacked by far right wing
ideologues and military-religious zealots who are trying to whittle
away at the basic rights of all US citizens as guaranteed by our
Constitution. As a result of these ruthless, unpatriotic acts
against freedom of speech and the right to dissent, we have no choice
but to become politically active ourselves and to demand change in
the current administration's personnel make-up.

As part of our next major political action, we should form an
exploratory committee to see if it is feasible to declare a candidacy
for the Presidency of the United States of America. Under the banner
of the Experimental Party whose motto is "Representation Through
Virtualization" - we will recruit a candidate whose virtual identity
is guaranteed to stir up controversy in the global computer networks,
that "non-place" place where the true battle for democracy in America
will be fought and won. As part of this exploration, we will attempt
to locate The Real Moral Majority, those whose ethics and aesthetics
will, without compromise, tell the truth so help them God or whatever
other word they use to describe The Supreme Fiction.

We will not appease soccer moms or corporate dads, we will not
pretend we have endless amounts of taxpayer money to give back to
everyone so that we can essentially buy their votes while making sure
their rights as a U.S. citizen die on the vine, and we will not let
the super-rich steal continue to steal their hard earned retirement
money so that they can buy another Lear jet to fly them out to Monaco
where they can secretly buy old paintings previously stolen and
hidden by the Nazis and their moneyed co-conspirators.

We WILL ask for sacrifice. We will ask for sacrifice from SUV
trust-fund babies and get-rich-quick wannabes whose vaporware dreams
of dot.com glory have turned to dust. We will demand the immediate
impeachment of Vice-President Richard "Tricky Dick" Cheney. We are
naming names, and the first to go has got to be the ex-CEO of
Halliburton whose shady business dealings allowed him to pocket tens
of millions of dollars while corrupting an already corrupt energy
company that is leaving its ex-workers in the dust the same way the
oil-garchy fund-raisers at Enron did during the hey-day of cooking
books and stealing national elections. Remember, "Tricky Dick" is
just one artificial heartbeat away from the Presidency. Once he goes,
the rest are sure to follow.

As we know, the one thing Americans, perhaps more than any other
nation on the planet, fear - is death itself. Under the protective
guise of "Homeland Security", we find ourselves primarily a nation of
insecure workers scared to death of our future, of our ability to
consume corporate food at any cost, of our right to buy gas guzzling
vehicles that double as tanks in case we encounter the next fucked-up
mass murderer at the upcoming stop light. What's worse is that that
fucked-up mass murderer may be your high school son, your pedophilic
priest, your favorite football star, or your local Congressman.

As a nation of laws, we must always remember that our ability to
prosecute the real criminals is crucial to our survival. Those who
steal elections, rob Peter to pay Paul, deprive citizens of their
basic constitutional rights to vocally oppose the egregious war
policies of the present administration, are criminally unpatriotic,
and need to be dealt with immediately.

For those of our fellow citizens who fear death, we should ask them
to remember that death is an advisor. Death is always there, always
with you, watching your every move. Death has only one thing to say
to you and says it over and over again: live this life to its fullest
and find security in your own heart, the way you act toward others,
the things you create.

OPPORTUNITY

Request for Acts of Mediation


Deadline:
Fri May 24, 2002 01:00

US Department of Art & Technology
PO Box 32265 Washington, DC 20007
http://www.usdept-arttech.net
Office of the Secretary

May 24, 2002

Dear Rhizome Community:

I have a very special request to ask of you as part of your
commitment to advancing cultural dialogue worldwide.

On June 19th, 7pm, at the Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes in
Washington, DC, the US Department of Art & Technology is organizing
the World Mediation Summit, which is convening under the theme, "The
Artist as Mediator on the World Stage." The scheduling of the event
has been timed to honor the opening of Documenta 11 in Kassel,
Germany, which this year is concerned with socially engaged
"platforms" that explore the public communicative process.

It is in this spirit that the World Mediation Summit has been
conceived as a "ceremonial cultural exchange" in which I will present
to the US Department of State an artist-generated,
collectively-authored proclamation consisting of imaginative
methodologies and acts of mediation for intensifying intercultural
dialogue in these troubling times of crisis. This ceremonial
presentation of the proclamation to a representative of the State
Department will be conducted in the presence of US Department of Art
& Technology staff, as well as a consortium of cultural officials
from Washington embassies representing at least six nations. It is
our intent that this document, a critique of the Administration's
handling of the "war on terror" since 9-11, be transmitted within the
State Department to Secretary Powell, who will in turn submit it for
final transmission to President Bush.

I am asking the Rhizome Community to contribute to the collective
authorship of the proclamation by submitting a brief statement to be
included in the document. Think of this as a manifesto for reforming
the Administration's ignorance and lack of appreciation for cultural
concerns! This is an important opportunity for all of you who are
deeply entrenched in artistic expression, cultural issues, and the
general state of humanity, to offer new methodologies based on your
artistic and critical practice for confronting the violence and
turmoil that is rapidly spreading throughout the world. We intend to
provide the State Department with effective and creative tools for
strengthening the hand of its cultural officers. Unfortunately,
President Bush, along with the Department of State and the Security
Council, are clueless - they desperately need the help of the arts
community, which is why I am turning to you now. The US Department of
Art & Technology strongly believes that in our society, the artist
and cultural critic is a largely untapped, yet powerful force for
understanding and resolving differences that have lead to recent acts
of aggression and violence.

To guide the writing of your statements, the following is a list of
key recommendations to the Administration's approach and policy that
our proclamation seeks to state:

(1) to deepen its attentiveness to the richness and complexity of the
world's many distinct cultures, particularly in areas of conflict;

(2) to avoid what is being perceived in the world as a tone of aggression;

(3) to adopt and project a nuanced view of the world's social
conditions beyond a misleading division into "good and evil;"

(4) to reiterate the value and power of meaningful cultural dialogue
in its overall foreign policy.

I am deeply concerned with the Administration's lack of interest and
ability in bringing about a meaningful cultural exchange to solve
international conflicts, and it is my hope, through your input, to
expand upon the hope and possibility of a peaceful, more
culturally-engaged world, and to redefine the role of the artist (and
cultural critic) as a mediator on the world stage.

Each of you who submit a statement (keep them short, approximately 1
to 3 sentences) will be appropriately credited (unless you wish to
remain anonymous) and will receive a copy of the completed
proclamation prior to the World Mediation Summit. Please return your
statement in a timely manner (within one week), and please don't
hesitate to write if you have questions.

For more information on the World Meditation Summit visit the
Department Website:
http://www.usdept-arttech.net

As Andre Breton said, "perhaps the imagination is on the verge of
recovering its rights!"

Randall Packer
Secretary, US Department of Art & Technology