2013-10-24

The Riot of the Virgin

In times of riots, it would not be strange that even the Christian Virgin rebelled against her own religion and signed up for any of the more radical feminist movements. In fact all symbols allow a certain degree of interpretation, which is precisely why they can be given life. They are permanently open to interpretation, both to the reactionary manipulation by the power, and inversely to the détournement of their dominant meanings by the marginalized. In the case of the virgin, it is obvious that she can be alternatively interpreted as one of the most advanced women of her time, one who claimed sexual freedom for the woman and her right to decide the model of family that she pleased. Or even as the "santissima puttana" (Peter Sloterdijk, Critique of Cynical Reason, 1983). Or as the "sextremist" group FEMEN put it: "her body her choice".  

Image after Jean Fouquet's Madonna Surrounded by Seraphim and Cherubim (1452) [pd] and FEMEN and Alia al-Mahdi's action in Embassy of Eypt in Stockholm (2012) [fu/fd]. 

2013-10-18

The Mechanism of the World

Although it seems obvious the fact is that the progressive mechanization of the world makes it look more and more like a huge mechanism. The historian of technology Lewis Mumford showed us the importance held by the watch at the dawn of the technified Europe (Technics and Civilization, 1934). Since then the world resembles more and more a huge clock, in which the inertia of the bigger wheels forces the unrelenting movement of the entire system. With the distinctive feature that some of these wheels expand as living beings crushing between them the smaller ones. 

Image [aw] after NASA's full moon [pd] and data from United Nations' Gross Domestic Product statistics.

2013-10-02

United Capitals of the Empire


Global capitalism functions according to the logic of "deterritorialization" and "reterritorialization" (Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus, 1972, and A Thousand Plateaus, 1980). The financial capital of the centers is already "deterritorialized" to be invested in the periphery, through major international institutions like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization, and according to standard global neoliberal mechanisms. This financial capital is "reterritorialized", not only in the material sense, in the form of productive capital, but also in the symbolic one. These two movements, rather than being consecutive in time, overlap in two planes, in the more visual sense of the term. Thus, the "deterritorialized" plane is the structural level that dominates exchanges, and, to a certain degree, production. But this plane, which is by essence abstract, normative, but also corrupt and violent in its effects, needs to be masked behind a symbolic plane, which provides a friendlier appearance and a false identity, in order to conceal the true forms of exploitation and extraction of capital characteristic of this capitalist neocolonialism.

Image [aw] after flags and coat of arms of the countries of the world and United Nations' data of Gross Domestic Product.

2013-10-01

Internet Atlases

Contrary to the popular believe, the internet is one of the inventions which is contributing more to the separation of the humanity. If it connects anything at all, this belongs to the realm of the ethereal, the privileged dimension of the spiritual capital. Not surprisingly it was originally a military technology. As on other occasionsmilitary industrial wastes shape our everyday life, from our world views to the latest gadgets. Moreover, internet is the latest version of the myth of Atlas, with the difference that now we are many small inter-dis-connected heroes contributing with our daily torture to bear a weightless world. In other words: the spirit of internet celebrates today a permanent sacrifice of our bodily lifes.

Image after Farnese Atlas (2nd cent. AD) [pd] and The Opte Project's internet map [cc-by-nc-sa].