Saturday, 29 November 2008

A week of interventions has prevented me writing here, but there has been plenty else of interest no doubt. The terrorist crisis in Mumbai has dominated the internet, with mainstream medias using various social networking mediums - twitter, wiki, google docs notably - to inform their television reporting. This is certainly the most prominent example I have seen in which television stations (and allegedly hospitals, police operatives and terrorists) have used microblogs as a primary source for reporting. But the method lacks jurisprudence - the sources are inevitably unnamed, and the material is primarily used not to inform, but to provide fuel for the smouldering fires of conjecture that studio guests produce.

Also, an interesting feedback loop occurs in which twitterers were feeding Indian television news flashes (based on twitter posts) back into twitter, which in turn were then being reported on live e-journal blogs and leading to hasty, speculative articles to be written by 'political experts' - these points of view were then taken as informed theory and rebroadcast on television, retwittered… and so on. The idea that the terrorists were using twitter feeds to scout police movements and the ensuing rumour that the Indian government tried to shut the service down can probably be attributed to microphones being held far too close to speakers.

As for Berlin, my work here continues. Visited a huge group art show in an abandoned office block near Alexanderplatz last night. Not worth describing any more than that. The idea that Berlin is the centre of the world's contemporary art scene is hilarious. Berlin is without doubt the epicentre, but who wants to be in the middle of a scene built on crass, confused notions of comfortable existence? I have my own blog to indulge that. I'm not sure I need to dress up with a t-shirt on my head and lurid lipstick on my mouth, prancing about with a megaphone shouting, "I always wanted to be a terrorist!" It died here and now my friends, give it up.

Freelance work continues apace, writing many, many articles on transmediale's 2009 festival contents. I am starting to become drawn into the rhetoric of the theme, as I document projects set to explore notions of cultural change in the light of climate change. Extracting itself from the heady, moralising debate about how?, when? and by how much? the festival focuses on whether this latest 'crisis' (and you can add to that the economic situation globally) is a chance to reimagine. Inevitably, following catastrophe, there is the chance to rebuild. In this instance, at this point of history, will we choose survival, utopia or that perilous middle-ground? And where will the agents of this change emerge from? All those with megaphones, stay right where you are.