Monday, February 25, 2008

WJT Mitchell

Jan 17.08

Talk on upcoming book, 9-11 to Abu Graib, War of Images: Cloning Terror.

what an extraordinary attendance. I feel guilty for having arrived in time to get a seat. especially now that all my profs are showing up to stand in a crowded room. 9-11 sure is popular. a speaker for the new centre for interdisciplinary studies at concordia. that's nice for them.

reading images as interplay of the visible and the readable. uses such terms as horrific. 9-11 "designed to produce an image to traumatize a nation". circumscribed within a master metaphor: the war on terror. a logical impossibility, given you can't wage war on a tactic.

the realization that such a war is futile will not mark its end: vietnam lasted four years after that moment was reached and there can be no closure to a war with no enemy. (note to self: read his 2004 book through benjamin) the mechanical image production replaced with biological, viral production capable of replicating itself and being endlessly cloned in digital production.

image 1: frontis (text only)
image 2: table of contents

clonophobia: the fear of the simulacrum. modeled on homophobia.

torture the evil twin of terrorism: those who practice it are terrorists.

the war is over: there are no weapons of mass destruction in iraq
there is no al queada in iraq
there is no freedom from torture being offered by america

the taliban destroying buddhas in afganistan:
Bamyan Buddha Statues, 55m

Bamyan Buddha Statues were destroyed completely by ignorant Taliban
Bamyan Buddha Statues were destroyed completely by ignorant Taliban
images (iconography) destruction of images, must be seen as creative distruction. taliban used image as calendar poster. the iconographic gesture. americans reproduce this act in iraq, toppling statues of saddam - masquerade activity as spontaneous gesture by iraqi people.

the virtual memorial in place of inability to actually mourn: remember 2nd commandment: that of no graven image before god. was engraved as text, the longest commandment. tony mavrakos creates image of twin towers as the stones of the commandments. image no longer circulated online.

documentary: control room. regarding saddam pull-down.

saddam's dental exam: get inside the "head of state", reveal hidden secrets. appropriated quickly by internet cloning community. it took 60 years for iwo jima picture to be destabilized, 24 hours for the dental exam.

iraq never had a suicide bombing before invasion. now the bombers parade.

the wmd trucks, it turns out, where actually used to launch weather balloons. david reese (tom tomorrow) the new world of journalism.

'war on...' a metaphor for maximum effort, now made literal.

imagine a war on poverty where poor people get shot and bombed. oh wait. that's what actually happens.

the digital dinosaur: clone and terror, jurassic park. where dna and code overlap in cloning project. step forward, remember the after math of 9-11 and the efforts to find cellular matter of the dead to bury and mourn. those remains still highly toxic.
iRaq, blue version

'Blue iRaq' Apple iPod parody poster ( free 24x36 GIF version )

iRaq, green version

'Green iRaq' Apple iPod parody poster ( free 24x36 GIF version )

iRaq, pink version

'Pink iRaq' Apple iPod parody poster ( free 24x36 GIF version )

iRaq, yellow version

'Yellow iRaq' Apple iPod parody poster ( free 24x36 GIF version )

ask how much the insulated culture of the ipod contributes to the continual war on terror. enjoy listening to your itunes and ask how the invasion of iraq came to be.

benjamin's concern: the mass man and clone army. george lucas makes it happen.

terrorism the rubric of american foreign policy. domestic concern: stem cells and cloning. the debate over who clones what and how far continues to rage.

etymology: clone first meant the entire series, not the individual unit. clone as graven image.

al parker, gay superstar. simulates (clones) ideal hetero man. rugged and vigorous. cloning (as science) allows homosexual reproduction and men (real men) become irrelevant.

the abu ghraib archive (re: rockwell) finds the transference of lynching to abu ghraib from its normative black american association. shortages of everything at the prison except panties. those are sent by the pentagon to use as hoods on male moslem prisoners.

a few more things to consider: the claim by the jailers that they followed SOP (standard operating procedure). image carries two strands, the obscene (sexual) and the sacred (victim as christ) and the image of liberty as hooded, as clan.

osama as recruiter: purpose of 9-11 was to lure america into invading an arab country and alienating the arab world in all countries. it appears to have worked.

last note: john kerry chose not to bring up abu ghraib during the 2004 election. complicity is not partisan in america.

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