2014-08-31

Warning: Capitalism Harms

As known, the big lie of neoliberal ideology is to proclaim that it is based on liberty. This is only a half-truth. Indeed the freedom affects --though with many nuances-- to the movements of capital; but in fact the system needs quite a lot of restrictions of freedom in many other areas (James Petras, Henry Veltmeyer, Luciano Vasapollo and Mauro Casadio, Empire with Imperialism: The Globalizing Dynamics of Neoliberal Capitalism, 2004). The millions of people fleeing from their own lands --because of war, terrorism, unemployment, indebtedness, pollution, extensive monoculture...-- clash with the borders of the central countries, to which however the capital can freely flee. Far from the myth of the free market, the global neoliberal regime requires an enormous legislative and regulatory apparatus, as well as a military and police one, which makes possible the capital to move, while the collateral damages caused by capitalism to remain at home.

In a way capital is like a drug. It is always accompanied by desire and violence. The reproduction of capital is addictive. The system always needs more. Yet what has always characterized humanity has been to know how to regulate, dose, ritualize its instincts. Man has not renounced the use of drugs, despite knowing its harmful effect beyond a certain limit; he has known how to regulate its consumption. So why not regulate the use of the drug par excellence of our times, the capital? Why not warn against its harmful effects? Why not also apply a tax on capital to address the harm caused by it?

Image after United States one-dollar bill (1957) [ua-fu/fd] and health warning about smoking.

2014-08-30

Infinite Humanity

Thomas S. Kuhn wrote (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 1962) that the "paradigms" are characterized, among other things, by not encompassing the whole field of reality, by leaving outside their scope, as it were, "anomalies", a series of phenomena which don't fit into the "paradigm". Yet these "anomalies" are particularly relevant when it comes to update the "paradigms", to create new "paradigms" incorporating these "anomalies". Using a political and social analogy, it would be like saying that "paradigms" progress insofar as they incorporate more phenomena, insofar as they marginalize less "anomalies".

Following Kuhn we propose an updating exercise of "paradigms" based on key works of culture, which, as such, symbolize them, shape these worldviews. The challenge would be to select "anomalies" belonging to the same author, style or epoch, and try to configure a new "paradigm" including them. On one hand, the Renaissance man,
symbolized by Leonardo's Uomo vitruviano: circular (O), closed, individual, ontic, male, adult, rational, visual... On the other hand, based on "anomalous" works from the same author, it appears something completely different: infinite (OO), open, multiple, generative, male-female-androgynous, vital, plethoric, carnal...

Image after Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man (c. 1490) [pd], studies of the sexual act and male sexual organ (c. 1492) [pd] and studies of embryos (1510-1513) [pd].

Arc de Défaite

"It speaks for the psychology of the war-experienced Romans that they granted the returned triumphant general a victory procession through his town, where he could experience his own deification in the state ... This apotheosis of the victor, the cult of success, of divinity through battle, and of happy success is part of the sociopsychological inheritance of humanity from antiquity..." (Peter Sloterdijk, Critique of Cynical Reason, 1983).

We are so used to certain types of monuments, to certain symbols, that we tend to forget what they signify. Triumphal arches are, in essence, as their name indicates, a glorification of the victory in military campaigns, that is to say, a praise to the use of violence. Not surprisingly, if you observe the details decorating these arches, you will find many victorious heroes of these battles. But also, if you look more carefully, a few defeated. From this dichotomy, and with the intention of reclaiming the memory of these vanquished, in a similar way as John Berger did (Ways of Seeing, 1972), one possible exercise of détournement would be to reconfigure these monuments showing their shadow parts: those marginalized by the official history, the history of the defeated.

Image after Carlo Marochetti's The Battle of Jemmappes (bas-relief, 1845) [pd] in the Arch of Triumph of the Star, Paris and Chantal/Iris' vintage postcard [fu/fd].

The Violence of the Symbols

The symbols of power are what they are precisely because they allude to a latent violence, which is what ultimately sustains power. Walter Benjamin spoke in this sense when he said that the violence "makes" and "preserves" the law, that this dialectic of violence and law operates under the "threat" of a violence always ready to act (Critique of Violence, 1921). In fact the function of the symbolism of power is precisely to shape this threat, to signify this violence, albeit in a latent way, without making it too much explicit. This function of symbolism can be clearly confirmed in the case of the eagle, the symbol of power par excellence, that many political regimes have used and still use today. The eagle combines many of the features that characterize empires: the distant and sharp vision, the surveillance and control of the territory, the speed and the skill in the attack to docile species...

Image after Lichtbliock/Andi Hill's Deutscher Bundestag [fu/fd] and others [ua-fu/fd].

2014-08-29

Scales of Eros

One of the possible arguments for debunking the myths that naturalize dominant conventions is to confront them with analogous cases, whose naturalness is beyond question, that have not been affected by culture at all. An example of this is monogamy, that some ideologies present to us as something natural, something that even would correspond to some sort of natural law of symmetry, equality, balance or reciprocity. And yet the analogous --we could almost say homothetic-- phenomenon with respect to sex between humans, the fertilization of the egg by the spermatozoa, that is of course completely natural, seems to point to the opposite direction. Thus, this other scale of sexuality would almost confirm that, if there is any law ruling nature at all, or at least with regard to sexuality, it would be rather that of asymmetry, inequality, imbalance or lack of reciprocity.

Image after Thomas Couture's Romans during the Decadence (1847) [pd].

Mind the Scapegoats


The "scapegoat mechanism", as it has been theorized by René Girard (Violence and the Sacred, 1972), allows us to understand many phenomena in culture, but especially in politics-religion and morality. But it also offers a particularly useful tool for comparing, for measuring the degree of progress of a society, if this is possible at all. That may also be done by confronting the different modalities of sacrifices celebrated by different cultures. This exercise of comparison is particularly revealing when it comes to two confronted cultures, or better, when one of them is a colonizing civilization, which precisely legitimizes his aggression against the other appealing, more or less explicitly, to the old myth of the cultural superiority.

But, what if, instead,
we measured the degree of progress based on the "sacrificial mechanism"? What if the most advanced culture was actually that which had managed to develop these sacrificial rituals, to transform them into an almost harmless festival, into an almost entire symbolism? What if the most advanced was that which had managed to opportunely "waste" its surplus capital (Georges Bataille, The Accursed Share, 1949) instead of launch it towards an endless cycle of reproduction, before it becomes too maleficent? What if the most advanced culture was actually the one that just managed to ward off its evil side, to expiate its guilt, instead of permanently transferring it outside its limits?

Image after Ed Kashi's camel ritual slaughter, Lahore (2010) [fu/fd] and Pete Souza/White House's Osama Bin Laden raid (2011) [fu/fd].

Death and Resurrection of the Science

We believe that the sacrifice is the generic paradigm that allows to understand human civilization, and in fact the one still ruling. The sacrifice produces the dissociation of the body and the spirit. The best example of that is probably the myth, common to many religions, of the death and the resurrection of the god. The dominant knowledge is based on this "sacrificial mechanism", even without being aware of it, as happen in most cases (René Girard, Things Hidden since the Foundation of the World, 1987). This is particularly the case of natural sciences --physics, biology or medicine--, that ultimately respond to this sacrificial structure, to this distinction of body and spirit, in order to create a spiritual knowledge out of a dead body. Jean Baudrillard understood this quite well:

"The mind-body duality is biology's fundamental presupposition. In a certain sense, this duality is death itself, since it objectifies the body as residual, as a bad object which takes its revenge by dying. It is according to the mind that the body becomes the brute, objective fact, fated for sex, anguish and death. It is according to the mind, this imaginary schizz, that the body becomes the "reality" that exists only in being condemned to death."

"Therefore the mortal body is no more "real" than the immortal soul: both result simultaneously from the same abstraction, and with them the two great complementary metaphysics: the idealism of the soul (with all its moral metamorphoses) and the "materialist" idealism of the body, prolonged in biology. Biology lives on as much by the separation of mind and body as from any other Christian or Cartesian metaphysics, but it no longer declares this. The mind or soul is not mentioned any more: as an ideal principle, it has entirely passed into the moral discipline of science; into the legitimating principle of technical operations on the real and on the world; into the principles of an "objective" materialism." (Symbolic Exchange and Death, 1976)

Thus, science is based on a thanatological paradigm: it needs to kill --or al least to inflict some sort of pain, damage or punishment-- in order to know. Dead --or suffering-- and dominant knowledge are inseparable. Or, put another way, the man kills the nature through the act of knowledge. We are saying in other words that Western science inevitably derives from Christianity, from its clear moral partition between good and evil, order and chaos, pure, rational spirit and sinner, guilty, sacrificed body.

On the contrary, another knowledge can be practiced based on the notion of incarnation. A knowledge that re-produces, re-creates, re-embodies back the spirit in the body. 

Image after Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man (c. 1490) [pd] and William Hogarth's The reward of cruelty (from The Four Stages of Cruelty, 1751) [pd].

Ku Klus Kapitalism

We have the impression that the notion of "conspiracy" is key to understand how the neoliberal system works. This is why these aproaches are demonized by the official institutions and media, under the name of "conspiracy theories" or "conspiranoics". We don't mean by that a real, concrete conspiracy, that of a certain group of people meeting together to conspire in secret and to decide the course of future events, based on certain objectives. Rather, we think that what really commits the great events is some sort of impersonal conspiracy. Conspiracies made of a constellation of budgets, stock prices, surplus weapons, electoral expectations and other ambitions. It is as if would be the system itself who conspires, who, confronted with such wild contradictions, would be compelled to act in such an evil, depraved, sadistic way. What it couldn't do but in the shadow, sharing the decision-making and the responsibility between an undefined ensemble of virtual agents; even blaming in this way the nature or God himself for man's sin (Walter Benjamin, Capitalism as Religion, 1985). It is as if the irrationality, or better, the paranoia that affects certain groups and societies, from religious sects to totalitarianism (Pedro Cubero Bros, El grupo paranoide. Totalitarismo familiar, totalitarismo religioso, totalitarismo político, 2005), would appear on another level, on another scale. It is as if the system was uncontrollably pushed into the paranoid psychosis, into inventing persecutory delusions, into impulsively acting, beyond any logic, any reason, any legality. Thus, our neoliberal regime would be a form of totalitarianism even more devastating as were the European fascisms previous to the World War II; and also on a different scale. And for this reason, more dangerous, more unpredictable, more irrational, more insane.

Image after Jack Benton/Hulton Archive/Getty Images's Ku Klux Klan ceremony (1920s) [fu/fd] and Spencer Platt/Getty Images' 9/11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers [fu/fd].

2014-08-28

Design of the Race

We believe that phenomena apparently so far apart as the racial purity practiced by totalitarian regimes and the CG (computer graphics) pornography, have more in common than it might appear at first sight. In both cases the definition of a stereotype is pursued, based on a certain racial, physiognomical, but also aesthetic canon, which corresponds to the characteristics of the dominant group. From this canon, which is nothing but a stereotype with respect to the existing types which slightly vary from, racial purity proceeds negatively, while CG pornography does the same positively. That is to say, racial purity eliminates those types furthest from the canonical stereotype, by means of various methods as sterilization, eugenics, confinement and extermination. The CG pornography, in turn, is also based on the definition or design of a stereotype and its closer types, but does so by creating them directly.

Here we have taken the situation to the extreme, confronting two limit cases, but the fact is that we consider this encounter to define a paradigm that dominates the contemporary neoliberal capitalist regime. Thus, it seems that the physiognomical canons prevailing in fashion, the star-system or cosmetic surgery, work similarly. That is, from canons designed to serve as a reference for the selection of nearby types, or to force the reality to fit into these synthetic molds. The labour market would operate s
imilarly, when it marginalizes, even if negatively, the most distant types with respect to the dominant ones, not only at a productive and ethical level, but also at a physiognomical and aesthetic one
 
Image after Margaret Bourke-White's survivors at Buchenwald Concentration Camp (1945) [fu/fd] and others [ua-fu/fd].

Sacrificial Op Art

We could say that the Op Art or Optical Art is the extreme case of an artistic movement with respect to the degree of abstraction. Not in the sense of a greater simplicity and essentiality --Minimalism would be the best representative of that--, but in the sense of a higher abstraction of the visual dimension with relation to other components of reality. For this reason we could say that the Op Art is a good representative of Postmodernism, or in general, of a time whose main embleme is the empty-of-content appearanceparticularly the visual oneAnd however, the structure of reality is so deeply symbolic, that any attempt to renounce to the content, to the substance of the matter, just ends up failing. Everything is symbolic, even what tries not to be (Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour, Learning from Las Vegas: the Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form, 1977).

Given this state of affairs, it makes sense to parody Op Art by combining two images of similar appearance, but quite remote one from each other in space and time. But two images that perhaps share something more than just the mere visual appearence...: the Twin Towers' facade in New York and the prisoners' uniform of the Nazi concentration camps

Historical Memory

The first thing all the revolutionary masses do when they seize power is to tear down the symbols of power depicting their ancient oppressors. It seems like by doing that they would conjure their maleficent influence, the city would recover the necessary neutrality for a new consensus, for a new coexistence. And yet, few parts of our cities would remain standing if we had to demolish all the symbols of power inherited from the past, all the statues of kings or dictators, all the triumphal arches, all the columns of victory, all the weapons, shields and eagles... But what if the most sensible option would be just the opposite? What if they would get out of the museums and warehouses all the symbols of oppression to place them back in their original locations? What if, instead of appealing to some stylistic coherence, instead of tracing back every part of the city to a specific time in the past --attitude which, although embellished with academic rigour, always masks a new form of political oppression--, the most neutral, the most coherent, the most beneficial solution, would be just to relocate all the symbols back, together?

Image after Étienne Dupérac's Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae (The Mirror of Roman Magnificence), View of the Roman Capitol, 1569 [pd] and various equestrian statues [fu/fd].

2014-08-27

Immaculate Artificial Insemination

Few people today are aware of the profound religiosity that embodies many contemporary phenomena, even those apparently distant from religion, as it is the case of those belonging to the realms of science and technology. One of them is artificial insemination, that appears to be a legacy from the myth of the Annunciation of the Christian Virgin. If we analyze these phenomena with some perspective, we can find many common elements that demonstrate this affinity, and confirm the deep mythic-religious background that entails modern science. In both cases, the father is selected following a rigorous procedure in order to obtain the best progeny. Thus, the finally selected father is previously measured against and compared to other candidates, on which he imposes for being either the smartest, or the most industrious, or the healthiest, or the best physically gifted, or the most attractive. In both cases, they aim to overcome the limitations of nature, to reach a level that should be described as supernatural. Finally, in both cases  notions as reservation, closure, discretion, secret, purity -- all closely connected with the sacred -- play a central role.

Image after Fra Angelico's Annunciation (1426) [pd] and other [ua-fu/fd].

The Theatre of Science

As with religion, science cannot be separated from its intrinsic moral dimension. In other words, against the common opinion, science is not only good, and not even neutral; it is at the service of a privileged group, it is politically right-wing. Of course we are talking about science in general and not about some particular tendencies or branches. If Albert Einstein obtained the Nobel Prize it was not because of the absolute relevance or the goodness of his achievements, but because his theories allowed a privileged group to prevail over others. Thus science is at the same time beneficial for some and harmful for others. As in morality in general, science comprises both a good and an evil side, and it is for that reason a means by which the "sacrificial mechanism" (René Girard, Violence and the Sacred, 1972) operates.

In this respect we could also say that science works like theatre: with the same carpentry they can perform a comedy or a tragedy, nuclear medicine or the atomic bomb, a healing or a murdering. This is why there is no scientist innocent: they all serve at the same time the good and to the evil. They can believe that they work only for good purposes, but the fact is that the apparent neutrality of the scientific language already allows for any application, both good and evil.

Image after Édouard Joseph Dantan's Un entracte à la Comédie-Française un soir de première (1886) [pd] and others [ua-fu/fd].

2014-08-26

Adams and Eves

Myths are the expression of the consensus established by a given society at a given time in order to limit the scope of nature by means of cultural arrangements. In other words, they are conventions defining the degree of repression for the natural instincts which is considered optimal to guarantee a peaceful coexistence. It is not a free consensus or convention, but the result of struggling forces, so that it would be more appropriate to call them dominant myths, for they are imposed by violent means to a greater or lesser degree. Somehow the myth is the meeting place of the natural and cultural, and for this reason, one of the common strategies used by the dominant ideology is to naturalize the myths, masking in this way the role played by the culture to define them and the coercive way used to impose them. But it is also important to understand that these consensus respond not only to political, religious and moral structures, but also to productive ones. This is the case of classic capitalist regime of production and its close connection with the bourgeois family.

Image after Lucas Cranach the Elder's Adam and Eve (various versions) [pd].

2014-08-23

The Bank Always Wins

Classic wars had at least two sides: the good and the bad, depending on the observer's perspective. Today the situation has substantially changed. The global empire of capital, particularly in the context of a huge level of indebtedness and a fiat currency only backed by oil and the Pentagon, requires fighting a permanent war against those regions with these resources or not obeying the imperial dictatorship (David Graeber, Debt: The First 5000 Years, 2011). In these circumstances it doesn't make sense any more to speak of good and bad, but rather about the mechanisms used by capital to take over the body of the earth and the degree of resistance that the local people can oppose. Categories such as nation-states, militias, insurgents, separatists or terrorists have also lost their univocal sense, considering the power of capital to put them at its service, and take advantage of that to mask its own violence in the face of the public opinion. Today it doesn't make any sense to ask about the winner in these imperial wars. In the ongoing wars of capital the bank always wins. 

But the economic logic of war is accompanied by the most sophisticated "symbolic exchange", carefully designed by intelligence agencies to manipulate the public opinion. This is the case of the recent set-ups in which terrorist groups covertly supported by the West, stage media beheadings. Here we can find all the ingredients that allow us to understand these acts as sacrificial rituals: the alleged victims are Westerners, relatively young, innocent; the sacrifice is more or less announced in advance; the staging of the characters is clearly coded --executioner on black, masked; victim on orange--, codes well known by the public --Guantanamo prisoners as reciprocal characters, as alleged terrorist victims of the West--, codes that are inverted in order to achieve the greater "symbolic yield". Jean Baudrillard predicted four decades ago the political significance that these phenomena would acquire

"Hostage-taking is always a matter of the same scenario. Unanimously condemned, it inspires profound terror and joy. It is also on the verge of becoming a political ritual of the first order at a time when politics is collapsing into indifference. The hostage has a symbolic yield a hundred times superior to that of the automobile death, which is itself a hundred times superior to natural death. This is because we rediscover here a time of the sacrifice, of the ritual of execution, in the immanence of the collectively expected death. This death, totally undeserved, therefore totally artificial, is therefore perfect from the sacrificial point of view..." (Symbolic Exchange and Death, 1976).

After alleged beheading of James Wright Foley by Islamic Emirate (2014) [fu/fd], US marine [ua-fu/fd]  and Guantanamo prisoner [ua-fu/fd].

2014-08-18

Violence Can Neither Be Created Nor Destroyed...



One of the main objectives of the capitalist propaganda is to conceal the violence inherent to the system or systemic violence (Slavoj Zizek, Violence, 2008). Permanently the same mantra is recited by its institutions and mainstream media, saying that the violence is exercised by the other, by someone or something who or which, precisely because of making use of such violence, is automatically located by the system in its outside, in its margins, is disqualified as anomaly. And yet, according to an elemental law like that of conservation of energy, violence can neither be created nor destroyed... In fact any violence requires, at least, a similar one at the other side. From this basic approach, it wouldn't be difficult to know the, so to say, sense of advance of this middle line; or in other words, which one of these two violences would be more violent. That seems too much simple but in fact is a key strategy to understand how violence in and around the system works. 

Image after Eugene Stoner and L. James Sullivan's M16 rifle (1956) [fu/fd] and United States one-dollar bill (1957) [ua-fu/fd].

2014-08-17

Non-Fiat Institutions



Generally, coins always had a somewhat higher value than that of the material they were made of, as is logical, because otherwise it would have been more profitable to melt them to obtain their material value (David Graeber, Debt: The First 5000 Years, 2011). By contrast, a clear sign of the decline of the system we are experiencing is the fact that our money, not only isn't worth its weight in the material it is made, but doesn't even correspond to its face value, due to the permanent creation of fictional money. If, in times of prosperity, it was the face of the king who gave fiat value to the currency, contributing to the confidence in its use, today the widespread corruption of the institutions and the legalized robbery to the productive economy by the financial one, produces the opposite effect. Today the institutional faces on our coins are precisely who take value away from our wealth.  

Image after George Washington 1$ coin [pd].

2014-08-09

Biological Warfare State


One of the lessons that capitalism learned from nazism, after welcoming its most important extermination and war scientists, was that the biological warfare could not only be waged against the external enemy but also against the domestic one. Thus, one of the fundamental and structural contradictions of capitalism --the production of a large amount of unproductive population, as a result of increasing the system's productivity-- could be solved. As in other industrial sectors, the biological weapons originally designed or tested in external wars --or in the no man's land of periphery--, could also be used to inoculate with fake natural diseases the domestic population by the scientific-medical apparatus. The result of that is the most lethal strain of capitalism ever created, or eugenic capitalism, for although it allows to buffer or delay the war crises inherent to this system --al least in the centers--, it does that by declaring the permanent state of war in our bodies.  

Image after USS George Washington Aircraft Carrier (1992) [pd], Gil Bizemont's Place Vendôme [fu/fd] and Getty Images' Staff at Doctors Without Borders carry the body of an Ebola victim (2014) [fu/fd].

2014-08-08

Purification Rituals




Like every religion, capitalism regularly celebrates its purification rituals. To do that, a scientific-priestly caste, rigorously initiated to serve the power, performs a thorough ceremony, in which the system expurgates those elements considered impure, thus establishing a clear distinction with those considered pure. This technological clergy accurately defines the realm of the sacred, to which access is prohibited for the profane, allowing in this way the inexplicable or the miraculous to take place. Thus, the power-religion strengthens its influence and mechanisms of control over the faithful, by means of this sacrificial representation, that functions as a moral and behavioral reference, based on the manipulation of the most irrational fears. But the mechanism must function for the unfaithful as well. To do this, and as part of the ritual, a whole series of protocols, regulations, dispositifs and spectacles are deployed.The extreme scenario of this agenda is the global state of medical exception.


Image after Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam, Sistine Chapel (1511-1512) [pd], NASA's earth image [pd] and Emilio Naranjo/EFE's Ebola diagnosed patient's repatriation (2014) [fu/fd].

2014-08-06

From Chichen Itza to New York


If there is something shared by most of human cultures of all ages and places, that is the sacrifice. From the sacred cenotes (natural sinkholes) where the Mayans threw their victims, to the great spectacular sacrifice of the New York's Twin Towers, the forms adopted by these sacrificial rituals are very numerous. And yet the sacrifices share a common feature: it is by their means that the human culture exerts its domination over the nature, or in other words, sacrifices produce the dissociation of the body and the spirit. Under this fundamental characteristic, all human creation of spirit requires, even at a small amount, the death of the body. Any ascent requires a fall.  

Image after Sacred Cenote at Chichen Itza (Tinun, Yucatan, Mexico, ca. AD 7th-13th century) [aw], Yves Klein's Le Saut dans le vide (Leap into the Void, 1960) [fu/fd] and Associated Press/Richard Drew's The Falling Man (2001) [fu/fd].

2014-08-05

Quid ei Potest Videri Magnum in Rebus Humanis... (For What Human Affairs Can Seem Important...?)


It must not be a coincidence that almost at the same time that the man was able to embrace the whole world, he created an ideal image of himself which still prevails. Cartography needed to deform reality in order to conceive a more docile image of the world. Similarly, the more perfect the man wanted to create his own image, the more distorted it needed to be. For this man avoided considering that man's image could not be conceived but in relation to the other man. Colonialism inaugurated an era --globalization, as a form of neocolonialism, is nothing but its continuation-- of universal and systematic abuse towards this other man, by the man who, still today, considers himself perfect, or at least superior. Thus, the universality and perfection of the man's spirit still today mistreats the other man's body, as well as the unique and shared earth's body; that is to say, his body as well.  

Image after Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man (c. 1490) [pd] and Abraham Ortelius' World Map Theatrum Orbis Terrarvm (1573) [pd].

All in Due Time


Although today we might be surprised about this assertion, the fact is that the time measured by clocks is just a second nature that actually corresponds only partly to the natural time. Lewis Mumford showed (Technics and Civilization, 1934) the importance that the Christian monastic orders had regarding the use of the mechanical clock and its influence on the regulation of human habits, and how this religious way of understanding the time was inherited by the bourgeoisie and the capitalism. The contemporary time is therefore inseparable of the ascetic component, even sacrificial, imbuing all Christendom. For a long time the Crucifix dominated the matrimonial bed, ensuring the couple's chastity under the gaze of the suffering Christ. Today, clocks watches us from every corner of our cities, houses and devices.  

Image after Albrecht Dürer's Adam and Eve (1507) [pd].

2014-08-04

Gymnastic Kama Sutra



Max Weber showed (The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, 1905the importance that Christian asceticism, and particularly the more puritanical sects of Protestantism, had in capitalist morals, what endowed qualities such as making use of the time, efficiency or productivity with a privileged and almost mystical value. Thus, despite the apparently materialistic nature of these notions, the fact is that they are all imbued with a profound religiosity. Especially if we consider that this religiosness goes unnoticed to the majority of its practicants. The contemporary body worship exemplifies this deep ascetic component of late capitalist culture, or in other words, that masochism is one of the fundamental elements of contemporary pleasure. 

Image after various fitness training exercises [ua-fu/fd].

2014-08-02

Gender Ads


In the same way that the natural tendency of capitalism is to imperialism and war, the information in this power system tends to be more and more propaganda, up to the extreme of the war propaganda. Given this approach, to know how advertising --a particular form of propaganda-- functions, provides effective tools to question the capitalist system as a whole.

One of the strategies used by advertising is partiality: it presents only a portion of reality which, using subtle techniques, is passed off as being almost the totality. The advertisement creates the illusion that the part represents the whole reality, or at least, that this part is particularly qualified to represent the whole. In other words, the capitalist induces the consumer to believe that this fragment symbolizes in a privileged way the reality, or at least the consumer's reality. We can
relatively easily confirm this hypothesis of partiality in advertising by confronting different, or even better, opposed partialities, showing in this way that they actually could be complementary. That reality is in fact made of the integration of fragments rather than of exclusion or opposition. But this détournement also reveals the degree of distortion of reality that the system foments.  

Image after Osborne's [ua-fu/fd] and Milka's [ua-fu/fd] advertisements.