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Crazy! "Pot Tin God" full win! 
monochrom content info
POT TIN GOD is a very colossal and (literally) bloated statement about the emergence and decline of subcultural symbols.

In the 1960s and 1970s the "joint" was a radical symbol of counter-culture, a strong gesture of social revolution. But such icons of subculture – such subcultural "memes" – appear, just to be hollowed out by the harsh waves of normativity. After a short period of time the symbol climbs up the career-ladder. And what remains is a footnote in the endless realms of bourgeois history (or even worse: bourgeois art history). Our sculpture is as blunt and boring as that. It's a somewhat classical portray of what happens to subcultural icons once they are sucked in and became global players in the field of symbols of freedom and coolness in a sadly cool and monotonous "free world".

What is left of the radicality and political message of the joint? What is left of its shining glory of "fuck them all?" Well, consuming pot is a minor offense (thankfully) kept alive by administration. It's more a trade-off than a subversion anymore. It's a "yeah, it's somehow wrong to do it, but well, you know, yeah" kind of approach. And what is subversion anyways? Just a direct path into the dark dungeons of guerrilla marketing?

We have to find ways around a very-late-capitalist system that actually want us to be subversive. How can you subvert something that wants you to break rules? Well... we are working on it.

Don't Vietcong us - we'll Vietcong you!

(Crazy! It's smoking!)


Dorkbot Vienna #7: Walter Langelaar 
monochrom content info
Dorkbot Vienna #7 is being hosted by J Grenzfurthner (monochrom) and Coded Cultures. Thanks to the Metalab!
nOtbOt is an automated game-player which is controlled and deranged by reactions to it's own virtual environment, caught in a vicious force-feedback loop...
The installation consists of a hacked up human-computer interface in which the feedback system, originally intended to provide tangible interaction for a human player, is now used as input data to control a 'first-person' videogame. Human interaction with the game/controller becomes obsolete, resulting in a completely erratic form of [art]ificial intelligence. The observer of the installation, however, can literally try to 'get a grip' on taking control of the system...

>>Walter Langelaar's "nOtbOt" is a self-playing videogame; to be specific, it is a mechanized Logitech "Wingman Force" joystick that has its robotic maneuvers projected in real-time in front of it. In certain ways, Langelaar's installation recalls the similarly automated works of Paul Johnson, but where Johnson's games are vacuum-sealed, seen but not touched, "nOtbOt" allows viewers to actually grab hold of the controller. In the process of trying to, as Langelaar cleverly puts it, "get a grip" on the device, players confront their own metaphoric role in a feedback loop that no longer requires them -- where the real object of obsolescence is not the technology, but the players themselves.<<
(Gameworld exhibition catalogue)
Sunday, May 3, 2009.
7 PM @ Metalab Vienna (Rathausstrasse 6, 1010 Vienna)


Lip-reading software picks out your language 
Can you tell what language somebody is speaking just by watching the shapes their lips make? A computer developed at the University of East Anglia in Norwich in the UK can, and it could lead to automatic lip-reading and translation systems for deaf people.

Linguists have long suspected that our sequences of lip shapes and lip motions vary strongly with the language we speak, but nobody had put it to the test.

Vicken Cheterian on the Georgian conflict 
Until recently, Georgia's wars were fought against separatist movements of ethnic minorities. In August 2008 it took on the Russian army. In this podcast, George Miller talks to journalist and political analyst Vicken Cheterian about the nature of the five-day war and its consequences for the Caucasus and beyond.
Link (MP3, podcast)

Glass harp version of "There's No Limit" 
2Unlimited played on a glass harp? Yes!


The Lord Is Love. And... 

Could Food Shortages Bring Down Civilization? 
The biggest threat to global stability is the potential for food crises in poor countries to cause government collapse.
Key Concepts

* Food scarcity and the resulting higher food prices are pushing poor countries into chaos.
* Such "failed states" can export disease, terrorism, illicit drugs, weapons and refugees.
* Water shortages, soil losses and rising temperatures from global warming are placing severe limits on food production.
* Without massive and rapid intervention to address these three environmental factors, the author argues, a series of government collapses could threaten the world order.

Avatars, attorneys in new world of virtual law 
Like so many things, virtual law started with sex. Specifically, the first known legal case originating in a virtual world was over a bed designed for rolls in the virtual hay.

Eros vs. Volkov Catteneo was not unlike business dustups that happen in the real world every day. One person created something and sold it, and another person allegedly copied it and sold cheap knockoffs.

The only thing novel about this case is that the item in question was a piece of furniture made entirely of computer code, and it was bought and sold by 3-D avatars in Second Life, a virtual world run by San Francisco's Linden Lab.

Second Life user Kevin Alderman of Lutz, Fla., created the very interactive bed, which enabled avatars to engage in a range of activities (cuddling, more). But when another user started selling copies, Alderman hired real-life lawyer Francis Taney, who tracked down the real person behind the bed-copying avatar and secured a consent judgment from Florida's U.S. District Court ordering him to quit.

The Frock-Coated Communist: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels 
Alone amid the Manchester 19th-century "cottonocracy", Friedrich Engels hoped for the British economy's collapse and was carefree about losing his fortune forever. That alone would have made him the most extraordinary capitalist. But of course we have a further reason to remember him: Engels and his friend Karl Marx were communists. Together they developed a theory proclaiming the inevitable fall of capitalism; and neither of them would have been as surprised as most of our financial commentators have been by the world economy's vulnerability to the rapacity and irresponsibility of bankers.

As Tristram Hunt's excellent book emphasises, Engels was nearly 50 before he left the offices of Ermen & Engels in the north of England and dedicated himself full-time to the revolutionary cause. Born into an industrialist's family in the Rhineland in 1820, he horrified his parents with his radical beliefs. He took a break from his capitalist functions in the mid-1840s and wrote The Communist Manifesto with Marx. Returning to Germany in 1848 when revolutions broke out in Europe, he saw armed action before their suppression.

He had always been an involuntary factory owner. Without agreeing to tend his German father's business interests in Manchester he would have lacked the income for himself and Marx to live in the comfort they took as their right. The profligate Marx was constantly on the edge of penury. Engels counted his pennies (or rather his tens of thousands of pounds) more carefully but did not stint in his pleasures. He rode out regularly with the prestigious and costly Cheshire Hounds. He drank wine of quality and ­Pilsner beer in quantity. He treated himself to bevies of young women, including prostitutes. He dressed in fashion.

"Nazi Petting Zoo" on "The Art of the Prank" 
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Joey Skaggs features our piece "Nazi Petting Zoo" on the "The Art of the Pranks" site.


Calling for a Coal Moratorium: Interview with Ted Nace 
Ted Nace is the author of Gangs of America: The Rise of Corporate America and the Disabling of Democracy. In 1985 he founded Peachpit Press and has worked as a freelance writer and served as staff director of the Dakota Resource Council, helping rural communities deal with the impact of strip mines and power plants. More recently Nace has turned his energies toward the anti-coal movement and co-founded CoalSwarm, created in collaboration with the Center for Media and Democracy, which provides an ever expanding body of online information for anyone to access and contribute to. CoalSwarm is a project of the Earth Island Institute, which was founded by environmental pioneer David Brower. Nace recently spoke with Joshua Frank about CoalSwarm, the Obama administration's energy policy, and the current state of the anti-coal movement.

Burger Grease Art 

In Defense of Common English 
Nice piece by Ben Yagoda about protesting grammar mavens.
Not long ago, I took part in a panel discussion at the Free Library of Philadelphia. My fellow panelists were two linguists and a lexicographer. Anyone who knows any linguists and lexicographers will be unsurprised to hear that their position on usage was descriptive rather than prescriptive: They were interested in charting and interpreting recent and historical changes in the way English is written and spoken, not interested in labeling those changes as "mistakes," and even less interested in decrying such so-called errors as evidence of a decline in American civilization.

At the end of our conversation, there was time for questions from the sizable audience. The first questioner stood up and said (I paraphrase), "It always drives me crazy when people use 'impact' as a verb. How can we abolish that?"

Monsters vs. Aliens: Why Terrorists and Pirates Are Not About to Team Up Any Time Soon 
In the comic books, bad guys often team up to fight the forces of good. The Masters of Evil battle the Avengers superhero team. The Joker and Scarecrow ally against Batman. Lex Luthor and Brainiac take on Superman.

And the Somali pirates, who have dominated recent headlines with their hijacking and hostage-taking, join hands with al-Qaeda to form a dynamic evil duo against the United States and our allies. We're the friendly monsters -- a big, hulking superpower with a heart of gold -- and they're the aliens from Planet Amok.

In the comic-book imagination of some of our leading pundits, the two headline threats against U.S. power are indeed on the verge of teaming up. The intelligence world is abuzz with news that radical Islamists in Somalia are financing the pirates and taking a cut of their booty. Given this "bigger picture," Fred Iklé urges us simply to "kill the pirates." Robert Kaplan waxes more hypothetical. "The big danger in our day is that piracy can potentially serve as a platform for terrorists," he writes. "Using pirate techniques, vessels can be hijacked and blown up in the middle of a crowded strait, or a cruise ship seized and the passengers of certain nationalities thrown overboard."

Chaotic conditions in Somalia and other countries, anti-state fervor, the mediating influence of Islam, the lure of big bucks: these factors are allegedly pushing the two groups of evildoers into each other's arms. "Both crimes involve bands of brigands that divorce themselves from their nation-states and form extraterritorial enclaves; both aim at civilians; both involve acts of homicide and destruction, as the United Nations Convention on the High Seas stipulates, 'for private ends,'" writes Douglas Burgess in a New York Times op-ed urging a prosecutorial coupling of terrorism and piracy.

We've been here before. Since 2001, in an effort to provide a distinguished pedigree for the Global War on Terror and prove the superiority of war over diplomacy, conservative pundits and historians have regularly tried to compare al-Qaeda to the Barbary pirates of the 1800s. They were wrong then. And with the current conflating of terrorism and piracy, it's déjà vu all over again.

The Challenge of Moral Machines 
Wendell Wallach tells us what the basic problems are.
If a train continues on its current course, it will kill a workcrew of five down the track. However, a signalman is standing by a switch that can redirect the train to another branch. Unfortunately, a lone worker will be killed if the train is switched to the new track. If you were the signalman, what would you do? What should a computer or robot capable of switching the train to a different branch do?

You are hiding with friends and neighbors in the cellar of a house, while outside enemy solders search. If they find you, it is certain death for everyone. The baby you are holding in your lap begins to cry and won't be comforted. What do you do? If the baby were under the care of a robot nurse, what would you want the robot to do?
Philosophers are fond of thought experiments that highlight different aspects of moral decision-making. Responses to a series of different dilemmas, each of which poses saving several lives by deliberately taking an action that will sacrifice one innocent life, illustrate clearly that most people's moral intuitions do not conform to simple utilitarian calculations. In other words, for many situations, respondents do not perceive that the action that will create the greatest good for the greatest number is the right thing to do. Most people elect to switch the train from one track to another in order to save five lives, even when this will sacrifice one innocent person. However, in a different version of this dilemma there is no switch. Instead, you are standing on a bridge beside a large man. You can save five lives down the track by pushing the man to his certain death off the bridge into the path of the onrushing train. With this variant, only a small percentage of people say they would push the man off the bridge.

Introducing a robot into these scenarios raises some intriguing and perhaps disturbing possibilities. For example, suppose that you built a robot who's standing next to the large man. What actions would you want the robot to consider? Would you have programmed the robot to push the large man off the bridge, even if you would not take this action yourself? Of course, the robot might come up with a different response to achieve a similar end – for example, by jumping off the bridge into the train's path: a rather unappetizing solution for us humans.

ATM For Books? 
Launching in London today, the Espresso Book Machine can print any of 500,000 titles while you wait.

Curry and identity: Does food act like a historical text? 
In 1972, the anthropologist Mary Douglas wrote about the cultural significance of meals and mealtimes. "Deciphering a meal" demonstrated that food is just as evocative a form of communication as language. As with the words we speak or write, so the food we eat is crucially linked to the way we think about ourselves: food reveals who we are, what we might stand for, and, perhaps most problematically, what we were had not the world divided us. Meals internalize and structure the outside world in a literal way and beyond, and with immigrants this connection is exaggerated. Near or far, our homelands are reinvented and reinscribed by the food we eat. But does food act like a historical text? What is food a record of exactly?

Freedom from lice may have led to modern allergies 
It is well established that intestinal parasites dampen mammalian immune reactions. But in a surprise result, scientists have found that another kind of parasite – the body louse – does too. That means the epidemic of allergic disorders in modern, urban people might be due to our having rid ourselves of lice and worms.

The "hygiene hypothesis" holds that our immune systems evolved to compensate for continual infections with parasitic gut worms, which secrete chemicals that reduce our immune responses. People who are now worm-free have overreactive immune systems, which can lead to asthma and autoimmune disorders.

Cassini Probe: Breathtaking pictures of Saturn 
NASA's Cassini spacecraft is now a nearly a year into its extended mission, called Cassini Equinox (after its initial 4-year mission ended in June, 2008). The spacecraft continues to operate in good health, returning amazing images of Saturn, its ring system and moons, and providing new information and science on a regular basis. The mission's name, "Equinox" comes from the upcoming Saturnian equinox in August, 2009, when its equator (and rings) will point directly toward the Sun. The Equinox mission runs through September of 2010, with the possibility of further extensions beyond that. Collected here are 24 more intriguing images from our ringed neighbor.

Link (via oewf)

Arse Elektronika Anthology: We are looking for illustrations 
monochrom content info
We are currently editing our Arse Elektronika anthology "Do Androids Sleep With Electric Sheep?" (about sex and science fiction).
The book is being published by RE/Search in cooperation with monochrom.

We are still looking for illustrations and graphic works (b/w or greyscale) that deal with the general theme of the publication. Please send us an email if you think you have some interesting stuff...

Deadline: May 10, 2009.

Guerrilla Comm? Waging War on Reality 
monochrom content info
Guerrilla communication intends to wage war on the media system and to wage war on a reality that is produced by this system. But how?

Talk given by monochrom's Johannes Grenzfurthner at SXSWi (2007).

Guerrilla communication tries to understand the processes by which the media come up with social frameworks of behaviour and perception. And by understanding what's going on here it also tries to introduce tiny symbolic changes to that system in order to make people suspicious of the information, wanting to understand the ideological structure and goal it transports. Guerrilla communication urges us to reconsider what we believe (and also what we believe to believe) and whom we do believe and why. Moreover, it tries to point out that media is forcing Gleichschaltung ("alignment") onto people, by censoring facts that don't fit in the picture. And it tells us that information and the media should be free. Maybe one should mention Wikipedia in this context. But most of the people involved do not realise that there's no such thing as free media in a capitalist bourgeois and liberal society. A free good on the free market would be either a nice gadget, a simple free-be, a marketing tool for something else or merely a paradox. If you disagree feel free to come up with an existing example which doesn’t fit in any of these categories.

Soldiers as street fighters: France's urban war games 
When war became urban (Berlin in 1945, or more recently Chechnya) cities and people were ravaged. Now, given the rise in population of towns and cities, the French army must familiarise itself with more subtle warfare where all-out destruction is not an option.

Images of a Lost World: East Germany 
When a West German photographer set off on a trip to the East German island of Rügen just after the Wall fell in the spring of 1990, he captured a world that would soon disappear forever. Twenty years after the epochal event, he looks back on his journey in a first-person account.


Longing for Great Lost Works: From Shakespeare's 'Cardenio' to Ovid's Getic poetry, missing texts hold tantalizing possibilities 
In 1995 Unesco named April 23 World Book Day because of a morbid literary coincidence. Both William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes died April 23, 1616, the same exact date but 10 days apart, since England was on the Julian Calendar while Spain was on the Gregorian. It's a fortunate coincidence (or near coincidence) because collectively, they produced one of the greatest missing literary works of all time, the play "Cardenio." And on World Book Day I always find myself thinking about the books that don't exist more than the ones that do.

We know almost nothing about "Cardenio." The King's Men, that uniquely blessed theater company that held the privilege of staging new Shakespeare material, performed the play before James I in May and June of 1613, and no contemporary record other than the fact of the performances has survived. Shakespeare most likely co-wrote the piece with his favorite collaborator, John Fletcher, who often used Spanish novels as a source for his drama. We assume the play was based on Cervantes' novel "Don Quixote" because Cardenio is the name of a major character from the book, and the material was timely; Thomas Shelton released his celebrated translation of the "Quixote" in 1612.

While it may seem inconceivable to us that the smallest scraps of Shakespeare's genius would fail to be preserved like holy relics, oblivion was not an uncommon ending for plays of the early 17th century. Shakespeare's "Pericles" exists only in a lousy quarto, which is so badly transcribed scholars assume it was done by someone jotting down the script from memory after having seen the show (the early modern equivalent of the grainy pirated videos you can buy on the subway). Like most dramatists of the period, Shakespeare didn't care about his plays after their performances, made no effort to publish them and received no money from their publication.

Same fight, different decade: Dave Dempsey about Copyfighting #fullboycott 
monochrom content info
Dave "DaddyD" Dempsey has a nice summary of ongoing copyfight debates.

Disney, Casino Capitalism and the Exploitation of Young Boys 
Casino capitalism may be getting a bad rap in the mainstream media, but the values that nourish it are alive and well in the world of Disney. As reported recently in a front-page article in The New York Times, Disney is in the forefront of finding ways to capitalize on the $50 billion dollars spent worldwide by young boys between the ages of 6 and 14. As part of such efforts, Disney has enlisted the help of educators, anthropologists and a former researcher with "a background in the casino industry" to not only study all aspects of the culture and intimate lives of young boys, but to do so in a way that allows Disney to produce "emotional hooks" that lure young boys into the wonderful world of corporate Disney in order to turn them into enthusiastic consumers.

The Hawthorne Effect: Why parents swear by ineffective treatments for autism 
Autism can present in many ways—hence "autism spectrum disorders"—but that range is nothing compared with the diverse techniques that parents use in their attempts to cure, ameliorate, or disrupt the progress of the disease. In the 60-plus years since autism was first described, many methods to treat it have been proposed—one research paper identified 111 recognized treatments or strategies. Studies have found that parents try an average of between 4.3 and seven interventions simultaneously; one family reported using 47 different treatments at one time.

Typeface Inspired by Comic Books Has Become a Font of Ill Will 
Vincent Connare designed the ubiquitous, bubbly Comic Sans typeface, but he sympathizes with the world-wide movement to ban it.

Mr. Connare has looked on, alternately amused and mortified, as Comic Sans has spread from a software project at Microsoft Corp. 15 years ago to grade-school fliers and holiday newsletters, Disney ads and Beanie Baby tags, business emails, street signs, Bibles, porn sites, gravestones and hospital posters about bowel cancer.

The font, a casual script designed to look like comic-book lettering, is the bane of graphic designers, other aesthetes and Internet geeks. It is a punch line: "Comic Sans walks into a bar, bartender says, 'We don't serve your type.'" On social-messaging site Twitter, complaints about the font pop up every minute or two. An online comic strip shows a gang kicking and swearing at Mr. Connare.

The jolly typeface has spawned the Ban Comic Sans movement, nearly a decade old but stronger now than ever, thanks to the Web. The mission: "to eradicate this font" and the "evil of typographical ignorance."

#fullboycott / help the Pirate Bay 
monochrom content info
April 18, 2009.

Time to start a #fullboycott of media products in order to help the Pirate Bay guys.

Some folks just lost a couple of bucks.

twitter #fullboycott
technorati fullboycott

The unfortunate uselessness of most 'state of the art' academic monetary economics 
Standard macroeconomic theory did not help foresee the crisis, nor has it helped understand it or craft solutions. This columns argues that both the New Classical and New Keynesian complete markets macroeconomic theories not only did not allow the key questions about insolvency and illiquidity to be answered. They did not allow such questions to be asked. A new paradigm is needed.

Humans are distance runners, just check out your toes 
Humans evolved as distance runners who can overtake exhausted game. That's why you have those stubby toes...
[...] a handful of scientists think that these ultra-marathoners are using their bodies just as our hominid forbears once did, a theory known as the endurance running hypothesis (ER). ER proponents believe that being able to run for extended lengths of time is an adapted trait, most likely for obtaining food, and was the catalyst that forced Homo erectus to evolve from its apelike ancestors. Over time, the survival of the swift-footed shaped the anatomy of modern humans, giving us a body that is difficult to explain absent a marathoning past.

Our toes, for instance, are shorter and stubbier than those of nearly all other primates, including chimpanzees, a trait that has long been attributed to our committed bipedalism. But a study published in the March 1 issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology, by anthropologists Daniel Lieberman and Campbell Rolian, provides evidence that short toes make human feet exquisitely suited to substantial amounts of running. In tests where 15 subjects ran and walked on pressure-sensitive treadmills, Lieberman and Rolian found that toe length had no effect on walking. Yet when the subjects were running, an increase in toe length of just 20 percent doubled the amount of mechanical work, meaning that the longer-toed subjects required more metabolic energy, and each footfall produced more shock.

monochrom's Soviet Unterzoegersdorf @ Let's Restart!!! 
monochrom content info
Soviet Unterzoegersdorf will be presented as part of the group exhibition "Let's restart!!! Art Computer Game Show" in Leipzig, Germany. Other featured artists/art groups are Jim Andrews, Parangari Cutiri, retroyou.org (Joan Leandre) and Tiltfactor.

Where? D21 Leipzig. April 18-May 3, 2009. Thursday-Sunday, 1 PM-7 PM.

Dorkbot Vienna #6: Mamoru Okuno 
monochrom content info
Dorkbot Vienna #6 is being hosted by J Grenzfurthner (monochrom) and Coded Cultures. Thanks to the Metalab!

The word "etude" is often used to refer to short musical compositions emphasizing certain aspects of the instruments or presenting certain musical ideas of the composer in the form of a sketch. Mamoru's "etude" is a series of works related to everyday objects, most of them cheap and easy to find, that are transformed into something unexpected by means of a simple idea. The original works are based on text, but various other materials are now introduced.

Mamoru Okuno: Born in Osaka, 1977. Living in Japan. BFA from City University of New York (2001). In 2003, a sound work "procedure 22:05" was commissioned to be a permanent collection of Izumi City, Japan. In 2005, he toured in France doing solo performances, one at the Espace Pier Paolo Pasolini for example. In 2006, the sound installation "in-visible-room" was exhibited at The National Gallery of Armenia as a part of the first Japanese contemporary art show in Yelevan. The performance series "otozure" was taken places in 3 cities in Japan and 2 cities abroad. The "etude" series was lectured, exhibited and performed also in several cities including Osaka, Tokyo, New York, Quebec and few other.

Friday, April 17, 2009.
7 PM @ Metalab Vienna (Rathausstrasse 6, 1010 Vienna)


monochrom: Hope 

How Science Fiction Found Religion 
Once overtly political, the genre increasingly employs Christian allegory.
There is a young man, different from other young men. Ancient prophecies foretell his coming, and he performs miraculous feats. Eventually, confronted by his enemies, he must sacrifice his own life—an act that saves mankind from calamity—but in a mystery as great as that of his origin, he is reborn, to preside in glory over a world redeemed. Tell this story to one of the world's 2 billion Christians, and he'll recognize it instantly. Tell it to a science-fiction and fantasy fan, and he'll ask why you're making minor alterations to the plot of The Matrix or Superman Returns. For reasons that have as much to do with global politics as with our cultural moment, some of this generation's most successful sci-fi and fantasy movie franchises follow an essentially Christian plotline.

The war against pre-terrorism The Tarnac 9 and 'The Coming Insurrection' 
On 11 November 2008, twenty youths were arrested in Paris, Rouen and the village of Tarnac, in the Massif Central district of Corrèze. The Tarnac operation involved helicopters, 150 balaclava-clad anti-terrorist policemen, with studiously prearranged media coverage. The youths were accused of having participated in a number of sabotage attacks against high-speed TGV train routes, involving the obstruction of the trains' power cables with horseshoe-shaped iron bars, causing a series of delays affecting some 160 trains. The suspects who remain in custody were soon termed the 'Tarnac Nine', after the village where some of them had purchased a small farmhouse, reorganized the local grocery store as a cooperative, and taken up a number of civic activities from the running of a film club to the delivery of food to the elderly.

The minister of the interior, Michèle Alliot-Marie, promptly intervened to underline the presumption of guilt and to classify the whole affair under the rubric of terrorism, linking it to the supposed rise of an insurrectionist 'ultra-Left', or 'anarcho-autonomist tendency'. The nine were interrogated and detained for ninety-six hours. Four were subsequently released. The official accusation was ‘association of wrongdoers in relation to a terrorist undertaking', a charge that can carry up to twenty years in jail. On 2 December, three more of the Tarnac Nine were released under judiciary control, leaving two in jail, at the time of writing (early January 2009): Julien Coupat and Yldune Lévy.

Giorgio Agamben and Luc Boltanski wrote editorials decrying the disproportion and hysteria of this repressive operation. A petition was circulated by Eric Hazan, publisher and friend of Coupat, and signed by Badiou, Bensaïd, Butler, Rancière, Žižek and several others. In Tarnac (a village proud of its role in the Resistance, and represented by a communist mayor for four decades) a committee of support was set up, conveying a virtually unanimous show of solidarity of the villagers with those arrested.

NASA Selects Material For Orion Spacecraft Heat Shield 
NASA has chosen the material for a heat shield that will protect a new generation of space explorers when they return from the moon. After extensive study, NASA has selected the Avcoat ablator system for the Orion crew module.


Nicolas Mahler's Spam Cartoons 
Viennese cartoon artist Nicolas Mahler is not deleting spam mails. He is drawing spam mails.
hello. i collected 15.000 spam-mails. i illustrated some of them. you may buy the collection in book form. or just follow this blog. if you`ve got a small dic`k, don`t blame your parents.

Please check it out.

The Incest Chart of the Habsburg Family 
Facinating incest-chart of the Habsburg family.

(Click to enlarge)

Source (via eSeL)

Stand By Me: A Music Collaboration On The Streets 

Bombing Civilians: An American Tradition 
Marilyn B. Young is a professor of history at New York University. This excerpt originally appeared in Bombing Civilians: A Twentieth-Century History edited by Yuki Tanaka and Ms. Young.

Airpower embodies American technology at its most dashing. At regular intervals, the air force and allied technocrats claim that innovations in air technology herald an entirely new age of warfare. Korea and Vietnam were, so to speak, living laboratories for the development of new weapons: the 1,200-pound radio-guided Tarzon bomb (featured in Korean-era Movietone newsreels); white-phosphorous-enhanced napalm; cluster bombs (CBUs) carrying up to 700 bomblets, each bomblet containing 200 to 300 tiny steel balls or fiberglass fléchettes; delayed-fuse cluster bombs; airburst cluster bombs; toxic defoliants; varieties of nerve gas; sets of six B 52s, operating at altitudes too high to be heard on the ground, capable of delivering up to thirty tons of explosives each. A usual mission consisted of six planes in formation, which together could devastate an area one half mile wide by three miles long. Older technologies were retrofitted: slow cargo planes (“Puff the Magic Dragon”) equipped with rapid-fire machine guns capable of firing 6,000 rounds a minute; World War I– era Skyraiders, carrying bomb loads of 7,500 pounds and fitted with four 20-millimeter cannon that together fired over 2,000 rounds per minute.

The statistics stun; they also provide distance. They are impossible to take in, as abstract as the planning responsible for producing them. In Korea over a three-year period, U.S./UN forces flew 1,040,708 sorties and dropped 386,037 tons of bombs and 32,357 tons of napalm. If one counts all types of airborne ordnance, including rockets and machine-gun ammunition, the total tonnage comes to 698,000. Throughout World War II, in all sectors, the United States dropped 2 million tons of bombs; for Indochina the total figure is 8 million tons, with an explosive power equivalent to 640 Hiroshima-size bombs. Three million tons were dropped on Laos, exceeding the total for Germany and Japan by both the U.S. and Great Britain. For nine years, an average of one planeload of bombs fell on Laos every eight minutes. In addition, 150,000 acres of forest were destroyed through the chemical warfare known as defoliation. For South Vietnam, the figure is 19 million gallons of defoliant dropped on an area comprising 20 percent of South Vietnam—some 6 million acres. In an even briefer period, between 1969 and 1973, 539,129 tons of bombs were dropped in Cambodia, largely by B-52s, of which 257,465 tons fell in the last six months of the war (as compared to 160,771 tons on Japan from 1942–1945). The estimated toll of the dead, the majority civilian, is equally difficult to absorb: 2 to 3 million in Korea; 2 to 4 million in Vietnam.

Deep in the Heart of Texas: A Bar Fight, A Mother's Wish, and Posthumous Sperm Donation 
A woman's 21-year-old son dies in a Texas bar fight. The bereaved mom wants the son's clearly virile and tenacious genes to live on in the next generation and fights to have his sperm collected and stored so that someone may carry his seed. She says, on the one hand, that it was always his wish to have children and wants his wishes to be carried out. When the physicians refuse, mother Evans goes to the judge to get her son's sperm out of his body and into a surrogate. She wants someone to carry her grandbaby. Now!

monochrom: Official Honoree for NetArt and Personal Blog/Culture in The 13th Annual Webby Awards 
monochrom content info
monochrom has been selected as an Official Honoree for the NetArt category and the Blog - Culture/Personal category in The 13th Annual Webby Awards.

That means (quote): "With the prestige and cache that accompany an Offical Honoree selection, you've joined the ranks of the Web's best and brightest, making you -- and your work -- an industry leader."
Frickin' industry leader? We have to tag that! #industry #leader.

Link / Official Honorees: NetArt
Link / Official Honorees: Blog - Culture/Personal

The Pentagon's Bionic Arm 
In all the wonders of modern medicine, building a robotic arm with a fully functioning hand has not been remotely possible. But that is starting to change. One remarkable leap in technology is called the DEKA arm and it's just one of the breakthroughs in a $100 million Pentagon program called "Revolutionizing Prosthetics."
Link (via Peter Hauser, bagasch)

The Road to 9/11 
Review of Peter Dale Scott's book "The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America".

Writing with a touch of the charm of the poet that he is, Dr. Scott has been walking us through this political-historical shadow land for some time now. The Road to 9/11, which as the title indicates, provides historic origins of the terrorist strikes of September 11th 2001, builds on and extends his prior research into secret intelligence activities as presented in his two past UC Press books; Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America (1993) and Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (1996) (among others) by speaking both about current concerns with the Bush-Cheney administration in relations to the events on 9/11/01 and by going further backwards – scrutinizing secret American governmental activities just after the end of World War II. It vividly concentrates on Richard Nixon's failed regime and Tricky Dick's early forays into threatening constitutional democracy as revealed during the Watergate hearings. He then depicts and examines the activities of Nixon's successor Gerald Ford, concentrating on his (what would later become neo-con) team of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. Scott pays close attention to the Rumsfeld-Cheney collaboration under Ronald Reagan's regime on what is known as the Continuity of Government (COG) strategy: a parallel planning structure in lieu of nuclear war which includes plans for warrantless surveillance, suspension of habeas corpus, and the arrangements for mass detention; proposals which can also be described as plans for a potential military-civilian coup. By now the narrative of shadow government - what Scott calls "deep politics" – has taken hold and the book begins to read like an airport page-turner; scorching the eyes with tale after tale of intrigue and deception. But the characters are real (Kissinger, Casey, Brzezinski, Carter, Reagan, the Rockefellers, bin Laden, Clinton, et al) and the events - which rotate around big oil, terrorism, drug trade, arms deals, covert financing and secret security configurations are heavily documented in the copious footnotes (which I equally read with jaw-dropping fascination). Highlighted are the adventures of multiple intelligence agencies and their involvement with terrorist organizations that they once backed and helped create, including al Qaeda. At this point Scott's deep political analysis has a kind of Rimbaudian poetics to it, astutely avoiding moral condemnation. He is just letting the deviant facts speak for themselves.

Already there is material here for numerous Hollywood blockbuster films, but 3/4th through this dark narrative thoroughly takes off. Enter the reckless American empire of George W. Bush and his neo-con administration. With the intelligence of a scholar and the sensitivity of a poet, Scott's description puts forward here evidence that the 9/11 attacks were the zenith of long-standing, but secret, trends that menace the existence of American democracy as an open society. Additionally, he questions why the U.S. trillion dollar defense system failed to protect on 9/11. He also shows through extensive research that there has been a substantial cover-up of the events on 9/11. Here Scott specifically zooms in on suspicious statements and actions made by Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld; before, during and after September 11th. He focuses our attention specifically on the Continuity of Government plan that was called into action that morning, outlining Cheney's secret communications with Rumsfeld and President Bush before or about 10 AM.

Compassion: Easier For A Broken Leg Than Heart 
When we see someone with a broken leg, we feel his pain instantly. But it takes a bit longer to feel compassion for a broken heart, say researchers from the University of Southern California.
A team led by Mary Helen Immordino-Yang used functional MRI to study the brains of 13 people as they responded to stories designed to provoke a range of emotions.

The Sales Effort and Monopoly Capital 
On the eightieth anniversary of the 1929 Stock Market Crash that led to the Great Depression, the United States is once again caught in a Great Financial Crisis and deep downturn of an order of magnitude comparable to the 1930s. At the center of this crisis is plunging consumer spending, caused by the destruction of household finance as a result of decades of wage stagnation and the piling up of debt. Consumer spending in today's economy, dominated by giant firms, is significantly dependent on the sales effort, i.e., marketing as a whole, with advertising as its most conspicuous form. But the sales effort is also ebbing in the crisis, contributing to the general decline. So integral is the sales effort to the regime of monopoly capital that one cannot be understood without the other.

Our goal in what follows is to provide a broad introductory sketch of the sales effort under monopoly capital (and more specifically the monopoly-finance capital of today) based on what we believe to be the most comprehensive foundational work on contemporary advertising: Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy's Monopoly Capital. It built upon the pioneering economic scholarship on this subject in the middle third of the twentieth century.

Falco staircase in Minneapolis! 
monochrom content info
The city of Minneapolis has followed San Francisco's and Washington's example by dedicating a grand staircase to Falco.

The city remembrance society hereby dedicates this staircase to Falco, the most recognized Austrian composer of the twentieth century. 1958-1998.

Keep track of the Falcostiege movement here:

Marvin Minsky is worried about robots and umbrellas 
Marvin Minsky is worried that after making great strides in its infancy, AI has lost its way, getting bogged down in different theories of machine learning. Researchers "have tried to invent single techniques that could deal with all problems, but each method works only in certain domains." Minsky believes we’re facing an AI emergency, since soon there won't be enough human workers to perform the necessary tasks for our rapidly aging population.

So while we have a computer program that can beat a world chess champion, we don't have one that can reach for an umbrella on a rainy day, or put a pillow in a pillow case. For "a machine to have common sense, it must know 50 million such things," and like a human, activate different kinds of expertise in different realms of thought, says Minsky.

Scientists Pinpoint The 'Edge Of Space' 
Where does space begin? Scientists at the University of Calgary have created a new instrument that is able to track the transition between the relatively gentle winds of Earth's atmosphere and the more violent flows of charged particles in space – flows that can reach speeds well over 1000 km/hr. And they have accomplished this in unprecedented detail.

The world after Keynes 
Keynes is back in fashion, but his policies did not give to the state – at all levels – the leading role in investment that is now necessary, argues Stuart Holland. What is required is a radical rebalancing of relations between economic and social power, led by democratised state institutions.

Saudi judge upholds man's marriage to 8-year-old 
A Saudi mother is expected to appeal a judge's ruling after he once again refused to let her 8-year-old daughter divorce a 47-year-old man, a relative said.

Sheikh Habib Al-Habib made the ruling Saturday in the Saudi city of Onaiza. Late last year, he rejected a petition to annul the marriage.

The case, which has drawn criticism from local and international rights groups, came to light in December when Al-Habib declined to annul the marriage on a legal technicality. His dismissal of the mother's petition sparked outrage and made headlines around the world.

Do Parents Matter? 
A researcher argues that peers are much more important than parents, that psychologists underestimate the power of genetics, and that we have a lot to learn from Asian classrooms.

Sarah Palin's "I Kid You Not": Knowingness and Other Shallows 
Raymond Tallis dives in head first.
"You've heard about some of these pet projects, they don't really make a whole lot of sense and sometimes dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not."
Governor Sarah Palin, October 27th, 2008.

Sarah Palin is on the stump, rousing the faithful in support of the causes, the values and the world picture for which she and true Republicans everywhere stand. She is against big government because this means high taxes squandered on projects that bring no conceivable benefit to anyone apart from those who are paid out of those taxes. An example occurs to her: fruit fly research in Paris (adding, 'France', in case her audience may have thought she was talking about Paris Texas or Paris Hilton). Pause for audience laughter. And then she adds (and you can almost see the famous wink, though it is not there on the video), "I kid you not."

There is probably little point in explaining to someone who (so the story goes) thinks that 'Africa' is a country, that she could not have chosen a less telling example. Research on fruit flies – which has been conducted for over a century, and not just in Paris, France – has been an enormously fertile source of knowledge and insights. It has cast light on mutations, on evolution, on the expression of genes and the interaction between genes and the environment, and in my own field, on the mechanisms of ageing. As Adam Rutherford of the Guardian pointed out, the fruit fly is on a par with the mouse as the founding model organism for the field of genetics. It is more useful to instead reflect on the phenomenon of 'knowingness' and other shallows in our consciousness, to which we are all prone. For Palin's confident howler is a perfect illustration of the connexion between knowingness and lack of knowledge: the less you know, the less you will be aware of your ignorance. The familiar metaphor is that the wider the circle of our knowledge, the greater its contact with the unknown, and the more oppressive our feeling of cognitive inadequacy. By contrast, a small mind finds a small world to match it, and the smaller the mind the more it feels it has the world sussed.

From Fatwa to Jihad: The Rushdie Affair and Its Legacy 
A review of Kenan Malik's book "From Fatwa to Jihad" (Atlantic).
Alarmed by race riots in the 1980s, local and national government in Britain embarked on a multicultural strategy. Respect was to be accorded to different ways of life and, fatally, these ways of life were to be classified as communities with their own "community leaders".

In a way, it worked. Racism did, indeed, decline. But the price was high. The creation of "communities" replaced racism with tribalism and, in 2005, tribal riots between blacks and Asians broke out in Birmingham. These riots were caused by multiculturalism. Before the council told them they were members of a "community", they were just people living together in the same place. "Hostility," writes Kenan Malik, "is not in the blood of Asians or African-Caribbeans. It is in the DNA of multicultural policies."

The creation of communities in the name of multiculturalism was an admission of government incompetence. When Tony Blair wanted to fight extremism in the "Muslim community", he said it was not his job but that of "community leaders". Britain had become a patchwork of non-white no-go areas.

From Fatwa to Jihad tells, for the most part brilliantly, this baleful tale. Malik is well-placed to do so. He was born in India and came to Britain at the age of five. His mother was Hindu and his father Muslim, but he did not have a religious upbringing. Racism, not religion, formed his early radicalism as it did that of many non-whites in this country.

Social Media Networks Are Music's Curse and Salvation 
A new report says the same social media sites that threaten the old-school, sales-based approach will eventually save whatever's left of the music business. Social music may not generate much revenue now, but monetization's effectiveness must -- and will -- improve.

Making Sense of Things: The Tradescant's Ark Experiment 
In a video published by Edge, archeologist Tim Taylor conducts an experiment about making sense of things.
"There are 43 stones passing amongst you. It's called the Tradescant's Ark Experiment and I've named it in honor of John Tradescant and John Tradescant, Sr. and Jr., father and son, who were collectors of things in the 17th century. They were the exhibitors of the world's first pay-to-view museum and they had a cabinet of curiosities set up in Lambeth, on the Thames, which much later was sold to Elias Ashmole and became the germ of the Ashmolean Museum. Not much of it survives, there are little parts of it in the Ashmolen Museum. What is more important is the intellectual move they made in the catalog, which John Tradescant the younger created and in which he distinguished between 2 types of things, naturalls and artificialls. He divided all the things he collected into those he thought were natural and those that were modified by human hand—what archaelogists today call artifacts."

Drunken Nation: Russia's Depopulation Bomb 
A specter is haunting Russia today. It is not the specter of Communism—that ghost has been chained in the attic of the past—but rather of depopulation—a relentless, unremitting, and perhaps unstoppable depopulation. The mass deaths associated with the Communist era may be history, but another sort of mass death may have only just begun, as Russians practice what amounts to an ethnic self-cleansing.

Since 1992, Russia's human numbers have been progressively dwindling. This slow motion process now taking place in the country carries with it grim and potentially disastrous implications that threaten to recast the contours of life and society in Russia, to diminish the prospects for Russian economic development, and to affect Russia's potential influence on the world stage in the years ahead.

French Bill Would Bar Illegal Downloaders From Internet 
Anyone repeatedly caught illegally downloading films and music in France could be cut off from the internet if a new bill is passed by parliament this week. The bill would give French authorities powers to trace illegal downloads and cut repeat offenders off from the internet for a period of two months to one year.

Earth's "Great Oxidation Event" 
The Earth's original atmosphere held very little oxygen. This began to change around 2.4 billion years ago when oxygen levels increased dramatically during what scientists call the "Great Oxidation Event." The cause of this event has puzzled scientists, but researchers writing in Nature have found indications in ancient sedimentary rocks that it may have been linked to a drop in the level of dissolved nickel in seawater.

The Dark Side of Dubai 
This is an excellent article, and it is quite long.
Once the manic burst of building has stopped and the whirlwind has slowed, the secrets of Dubai are slowly seeping out. This is a city built from nothing in just a few wild decades on credit and ecocide, suppression and slavery. Dubai is a living metal metaphor for the neo-liberal globalised world that may be crashing – at last – into history.
The best monuments are unintentional and hard to get rid of, like the anti-air-raid towers ("Flak-Türme") that dot Vienna.

The ruins of Dubai will be a monument to the arrogance of our age.


Galileo: Heretic's middle finger on display 
Galileo's shrivelled finger is to go on display in an exhibition in Florence to mark the 400th anniversary of his first observation of the skies. The middle digit from his right hand was removed from his corpse in 1737 when his body was transferred to a mausoleum. Galileo was condemned by the Catholic Church as a heretic during his lifetime but the Vatican has become more tolerant toward him in recent years.

8 out of 10 Britons unaware of Darwin anniversary 
Only 21% of people know that 2009 is Darwin's anniversary year, according to a new poll published by Theos today, on the 149th anniversary of the publication of the Origin of Species.

2009 will see a double Darwin anniversary: 12 February marks the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth. On 24 November, the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Origin of Species will be commemorated.

The finding of the ComRes poll coincides with the unveiling by Theos and the Faraday Institute on Science and Religion of a programme of major events and publications to 'rescue' Darwin from the crossfire of a philosophical battle in which he had little personal interest.

Quantum lasers: Half light, half matter 
The polariton, or exciton polariton, to give it its full name. How can such a particle be light and matter simultaneously? As is so often the case, the secret lies in the weirdness of quantum physics. Polaritons are not the kind of beasts you can expect to see in the wild. First bred in 1991 by researchers at the University of Tokyo, Japan, they spend the entirety of their short lives in tiny mirrored cages known as semiconductor microcavities.

The gestation of polaritons is a complex process. It begins in a sandwich of semiconducting materials known as a quantum well. Electrons are jammed tightly into the thin, sheet-like filling of this sandwich - typically less than a micrometre thick - and so are particularly excitable. Add a little drop of energy, in the form of light or a voltage, and some of the electrons absorb it and jump to a higher energy level, leaving behind an absence of electrons - positively-charged "holes". An electron-and-hole pairing is called an exciton, and is usually a short-lived affair: the energised electron soon gives up its extra energy and plonks itself back into the hole. At the same time it releases the energy it had taken on board, in the form of a photon of light.

Financial Regime Change? 
As stock markets plunge and governments scramble to bail out the finance sector, Robert Wade argues that we are exiting the neoliberal paradigm that has held sway since the 1980s. Causes and repercussions of the crisis, and errors of the model that brought it to fruition.

Yuri's Night / Vienna 2009 
monochrom content info
1961, on the 12th of April, the first human - Yuri Gagarin - orbited the Earth. This event is celebrated every year in a world-wide event. The Schikaneder cinema shows two exclusive movies, experts will present a show discussing the influences on society, politics or law which arose from this first flight. Current space flight will also be presented. And we monochrom people are co-organizers. Johannes will host the evening. Hey, show your fancy space suits!

April 12, 2009. First film 6 PM, show at 7 PM.

Bug eats electricity, farts biogas 
Single-celled organisms that can convert electricity into methane could help solve one of the biggest problems with renewable energy – its unreliability compared to the steady output of polluting fossil-fuel power stations.

'Born in the USA' turns 25 
Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA turns 25 this year. The iconic song is perhaps one of the most misunderstood pieces of art in the history of global popular culture. Read it carefully, and it conveys a message that is at odds with the mythology and misplaced anti-Americanism that surrounds it. It is worth reflecting on both the history of the song and how the message it contains is as relevant in 2009 as it was in 1984. We may also reflect on how, in recent years, Springsteen has thrown his own legacy into question, as one-time voice of the working classes, by engaging in commercial activities that have disappointed loyal fans (and added a new layer of complexity to our understanding of the relationship between artist, art and fan).

Born in the USA is one of a small number of songs, films or television programmes (produced in large part in the United States) that can generate near-physical negative reactions with a mere mention of the title. (Films like Rambo and TV shows like The Jerry Springer Show fall into this category.) When the song was released, my own response to Springsteen’s creation, as a 15-year-old American boy living in the United Kingdom, was in line with those of many of my British friends: bemusement and indignation toward what appeared to be little more than a mindless anthem trumpeting the virtues of patriotism and American egomania. The song was brash, bragging and – to the irritation of people who despised the politics of Thatcher and Reagan – amazingly popular.

Capitalism is Dead, Long Live Capitalism? 
Recognizing the collapse of the Anglo-Saxon model of free-market Capitalism, its global votaries have put their heads together to salvage Capitalism from its ruins.

The air from London is thus thick with news of Capitalist institutions and practices up for pragmatic "reform."

Interestingly, if "reform" since the Washington Consensus (1990) had meant a near-total deregulation of Capital flows, Banking practices, Market mechanisms, and a dissolution of the sovereignty of nation-states to enable the global privatization of wealth and profit-maximisation, "reform" at the 2009 London conclave seems to have come to mean something rather contrary to all that. Even if only as a change of garb.

We now hear of a global intent to reform the IMF, even as more liquidity is infused into its coffers ($500 billion, precisely), of regulation of banking and other investment practices, of sops to be doled out to those most innocent of the collapse but most affected by it, and of steering clear of "protectionism" so that the revival of global wealth multipliers are not thwarted by debilitating autarky.

In one word, the Captains of world Capitalism seem to have come to the view that if Capitalism is to be saved for the times to come, it will need to be given the garb of a world-wide Social Democracy for a while.

Pun for the Ages 
Addison defined the pun as a "conceit arising from the use of two words that agree in the sound, but differ in the sense." "Energizer Bunny Arrested! Charged with Battery." No laugh? Q.E.D.

Puns are the feeblest species of humor because they are ephemeral: whatever comic force they possess never outlasts the split second it takes to resolve the semantic confusion. Most resemble mathematical formulas: clever, perhaps, but hardly occasion for knee-slapping. The worst smack of tawdriness, even indecency, which is why puns, like off-color jokes, are often followed by apologies. Odds are that a restaurant with a punning name — Snacks Fifth Avenue, General Custard's Last Stand — hasn't acquired its first Michelin star.

Economic Secrets of the Wizard of Oz 
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is one of the world's best-loved fairytales. As Judy Garland's famous film nears its 70th birthday, how much do its followers know about the story's use as an economic parable?

The Terror: Civilization, Decadence, and Hope 
By Colin Campbell.
Civilization, we have heard for at least three thousand years, is in decline; its old values have faded, and all that is left is cynical, stupid, short-sighted self-interest. Our world has become shallow, ugly and weak.


Experience tells us, however, that if the purpose of a critique of decadence is to induce a return to the past, it has always failed and will always fail. Even at the ripe age of three thousand years old (or more, depending on where we mark its birth), civilization is, we now know, a relatively new arrival on the scene of human co-existence. It is an expansive and progressive form of life that brings great changes to 'primitive' forms of life. To renew its values, then, cannot really mean a return to the past; at the very least, any reference to the past must be much more recent than the boundlessly archaic visions that the theorists of decadence have always invoked. That Spengler is referring to ancient Rome in his discussion of architecture already gives the lie to the claim to a more ancient than ancient. Equally, in Spengler's doctrine of blood, a modern biological innovation masquerades as ancient wisdom. And it is no accident that Spengler's biological idea of 'blood' as a symbol for the long-lost past would be plagiarized in the years to come by the Nazi movement. His invocation of the glorious architecture of the past foreshadows the ludicrous and terrifying neo-Romanist gigantism of Nazi architecture. Fascism in general could be described as a fraudulent attempt, in a decadent world, to return to the values of the past. It is a conservatism as hollow, decadent and modern as the liberal world it makes war upon.

Notwithstanding its hollowness, the idea of decadence has a peculiarly universal relevance as I write these words. For surely, behind every invocation of our 'troubled times', the permanent refrain of panic and economic catastrophe, the old wisdom that 'we have lived beyond our means', is the old critique of decadence, the old prediction of a coming calamity that will punish us for our sins. The sheer scale and ubiquity of the new global financial crisis induce a powerful, hypnotic emotional response, a terror, that would seem all the more clearly to prescribe a stance of unflinching objectivity, reasonability or even an 'audacity of hope.'

Bollywood Going On Strike 
Producers are demanding a 50% share in the revenues generated by the cinemas. Owners say the share should be lower if a film performs poorly. India's film industry, the world's largest, has already been badly affected by the global economic crisis. The indefinite strike is expected to begin on Saturday.

Why Biofuels Are the Rainforest's Worst Enemy 
With governments and consumers scrambling for alternatives to fossil fuel, worldwide demand for biofuels has gone through the roof; in Europe, where more than half of all automobiles run on diesel, consumption of biodiesel is set to triple by 2010. US subsidies for biofuels, mostly ethanol, will add up to $92 billion between 2006 and 2012, and producers in developing countries like Indonesia are often eligible for millions of dollars in development money from the World Bank.

But amid the hype, problems have emerged. Biodiesel emits less than one-quarter the carbon of regular diesel once it's burned. But when production—and the destruction of ecosystems in the developing countries where most biofuel crops are grown—is factored in, many biofuels may actually emit more carbon than does petroleum, the journal Science reported last year. Because oil palms don't absorb as much CO2 as the rainforest or peatlands they replace, palm oil can generate as much as 10 times more carbon than petroleum, according to the advocacy group Food First. Thanks in large part to oil palm plantations, Indonesia is now the world's third-largest emitter of CO2, trailing only the US and China.

The End of the Music Album as The Organizing Principle 
It doesn't seem that long ago since Radiohead did what was once unimaginable - release an album without being signed to a major record company. On the long march to digital ubiquity as the means of music delivery Radiohead avoided the tar pit that seems to be major label thinking and came out clear winners. Yes, they resorted later to releasing the album as a good old CD into regular retail distribution but they were pioneers and were soon followed with great success by Nine Inch Nails and to lesser success by many others. Both these bands had an understanding of what their fans wanted [price level choice, quality and special packaging] and both bands understood the power of the internet for marketing purposes and direct reach. [NB: Although I believe that the digital music file will rule the day, vinyl still has a role to play and I'll get to that later.]

The most interesting part of this experiment [which at the time, I would argue it was] was not only that it was wildly successful but it laid the groundwork for what I have coined the end of the organizing principle. In other words I suggest that we are now seeing the end of the album-length work as the permenant work, the everlasting body of work that represents the pinnacle of an artists' creativity. I am fully expecting to hear the howls of derision over this but bear with me.
Link (via qburns)

Soviet Unterzoegersdorf / Sector 2: Public Walkthrough 
monochrom content info
We are organizing the first (and maybe last) public walkthrough for "Soviet Unterzoegersdorf: Sector 2". Don't miss it, comrades! Lots of background info and unspoken secrets!

Raum D, Museumsquartier, Vienna; April 9, 2009; 8 PM.

monochrom @ re:publica 2009 
monochrom content info
Johannes will represent monochrom at this year's re:publica conference in Berlin, Germany. His audiovisually stunning Web-2.0-ish presentation will deal with the future of "tourism". And, sorry to mention, will be held in German language. So, I guess, you should learn it.

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monochrom is an art-technology-philosophy group having its seat in Vienna and Zeta Draconis. monochrom is an unpeculiar mixture of proto-aesthetic fringe work, pop attitude, subcultural science, context hacking and political activism. Our mission is conducted everywhere, but first and foremost in culture-archeological digs into the seats (and pockets) of ideology and entertainment. monochrom has existed in this (and almost every other) form since 1993.

Booking monochrom:

External monochrom links:
[monochrom Wikipedia]
[monochrom Flickr]
[monochrom blip.tv]
[monochrom GV]
[monochrom Youtube]
[monochrom Facebook]
[monochrom iTunes]
[monochrom Twitter]

Soviet Unterzoegersdorf / Sector 2 / The Adventure Game

Climate Training Camp

Krach der Roboter: Hello World!

Slacking is killing the DIY industry (T-Shirt)

Carefully Selected Moments / CD, LP

Freedom is a whore of a word (T-Shirt)


International Year of Polytheism 2007

Santa Claus Vs. Christkindl: A Mobster Battle

Could It Be (Video clip)

Pot Tin God

Hacking the Spaces

Kiki and Bubu and The Shift / Short film

Kiki and Bubu and The Privilege / Short film

Kiki and Bubu and The Self / Short film

Kiki and Bubu and The Good Plan / Short film

Kiki and Bubu and The Feelings / Short film / Short film

Sculpture Mobs

Nazi Petting Zoo / Short film

The Great Firewall of China

KPMG / Short film

The BRAICIN / Short film

Soviet Unterzoegersdorf / Sector 1 / The Adventure Game

I was a copyright infringement in a previous life (T-Shirt)

Brave New Pong

Leben ist LARPen e.V.

One Minute / Short film

Firing Squad Euro2008 Intervention


A tribute to Honzo

Lessig ist lässig

I can count every star in the heavens above -- The image of computers in popular music

All Tomorrow's Condensations / Puppet show

Bye Bye / Short film


PC/DC patch

Proto-Melodic Comment Squad


The Redro Loitzl Story / Short film

Hax0rcise SCO

Law and Second Order (T-Shirt)

They really kicked you out of the Situationist International?

Death Special: Falco

Applicant Fisch / Short film

When I was asked to write about new economy

Taugshow #6

Taugshow #7

Taugshow #9

Taugshow #10

Taugshow #11

Taugshow #14

Taugshow #15

Campfire at Will

Arse Elektronika 2007, 2008, 2009 etc.

The Void's Foaming Ebb / Short film

Remoting Future

When you / Short film


Free Bariumnitrate

Toyps / Typing Errors

ARAD-II Miami Beach Crisis

The Charcoal Burner / Short film

Digital Culture In Brazil


Nation of Zombia

Lonely Planet Guide action

CSI Oven Cloth

Dept. of Applied Office Arts

Farewell to Overhead

Google Buttplug

Fieldrecording in Sankt Wechselberg / Short film

Dark Dune Spots

Campaign For The Abolition Of Personal Pronouns


Space Tourism

In the Head of the Gardener

Entertainment (Unterhaltung) / Short film

Cthulhu Goatse

Nicholas Negroponte Memorial Cable

Coke Light Art Edition 06

Experience the Experience! (West Coast USA/Canada Tour 2005)

April 23

Overhead Cumshot

Irark / Short film


Instant Blitz Copy Fight

A Patriotic Fireman

A Micro Graphic Novel Project

Noise and Talk

The Exhilarator


SUZOeG Training / Short film

The Flower Currency


A Holiday in Soviet Unterzoegersdorf

How does the Internet work?

Paraflows 2006 and up

Special Forces

Coca Cola

About Work

Turing Train Terminal

Me / Short Film

Massive Multiplayer Thumb-Wrestling Network


Some Code To Die For

The Year Wrap-up

Soviet Unterzoegersdorf Metroblogging

Project Mendel

Display, Retry, Fail

Manifesto of Ignorantism


Towers of Hanoi



Every Five Seconds an Inkjet Printer Dies Somewhere




We know apocalypses

452 x 157 cm² global durability

A Good Haul

Blattoptera / Art for Cockroaches

Minus 24x

Gladiator / Short Film


An attempt to emulate an attempt

Paschal Duct-Taping

Laptop Crochetication


Somewhere in the 1930s

Soul Sale

The Department for Criticism against Globalisation

Dot Smoke

Georg Paul Thomann

Nurgel Staring

War On

Let's network it out


Mackerel Fiddlers


Disney vs. Chrusov / Short film

Bulk Mail

Easter Celebrations

Mouse Over Matter

Condolence for a Crab

Force Sting

Turning Threshold Countries Into Plows


A Noise

A. C. A.

Hopping Overland

Achy Breaky Heart Campaign

Hermeneutic Imperative III

Holy Water / Franchise

Roböxotica // Festival for Cocktail-Robotics


Engine Hood Cookies


The Watch

Creative Industry 2003

This World

Cracked Foundation For The Fine Arts

Sometimes I feel

Fit with INRI

Growing Money

Catapulting Wireless Devices

Buried Alive

Illegal Space Race

Magnetism Party

Brick of Coke

1 Baud

Scrota Contra Vota

Direct Intervention Engine

Oh my God, they use a history which repeats itself! (T-Shirt)


Dorkbot Vienna