Monday, March 19, 2012

Excerpt from Machinology: What is New Materialism Conference 2010

Machinology: What is New Materialism-Opening words from the event

Here's an interesting field synopsis of media and materialism:

In the context of digital media culture, the notion of “materiality” occupies a curious position in itself. As observed by Bill Brown in his entry for the recent Critical Terms for Media Studies (Chicago UP, 2010), our understanding of the media historical modernity has been infiltrated early on with the idea of “abstraction” --- abstraction as a driving force (as with standardization of techniques, processes, and messaging) and an effect (represented in forms of power, subjectivities, cultural practices) of modernity. Recognized by a range of different writers from Karl Marx to Debord and Baudrillard, such a process has been influential in forcing us to rethink not materiality but dematerialisation as crucial to understanding the birth of technical media culture. Regimes of value, and regimes of technical media share the same impact on “things” – homogenisation, standardisation, and ease of communication/commodification in a joint tune with each other are in this perspective, and a perspective that branded critical theory for a long time, crucial aspects in any analysis of media culture’s relation to materiality.

Hence, the move from the critical evaluation of emergence of capitalist media culture seemed to flow surprisingly seamlessly as part of the more technology-oriented discourse concerning “immateriality” of the digital in the 1980s and 1990s. Here, in a new context, materiality was deemed as an obsolescent index of media development overcome by effective modes of coding, manipulating and transferring information across networks that become par excellence the object of desire of policies as much cultural discourses.

Yet, the recent years of media theory introduced an increasingly differing elaboration of how we should understand the notion of “medium” in this context. Instead of being only something that in a Kantian manner prevents access to the world of the real or material, or things (Brown, p.51) the medium itself becomes a material assemblage in the hands of a wave of German media theorists, who have develop a unique approach to media materialism, and hence new materialist notions of the world. Here the world is not reduced to symbolic, signifying structures, or representations, but is seen for such writers as Friedrich Kittler (and more recent theorists such as Wolfgang Ernst in a bit differing tone under media archaeology) as a network of concrete, material, physical and physiological apparatuses and their interconnections, that in a Foucauldian manner govern whatever can be uttered and signified. This brand of German media theory came out as an alternative exactly to the Marxist as well as hermeneutic contexts of theory dominating German discussions in the 1960s-1980s, and carved out a specific interest to the coupling of the human sensorium with the non-human worlds of modern technical media.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Stereotyping Muslims: Myths & the Media

Excerpt from Wajahat Ali’s All-American Khutbah (Sermon)

Here's a great quote about being an American Muslim from the first khutba by journalist and playwright, Wajahat Ali:

And, even in the past 10 years we, American Muslims, the Ahl al Amreeka, have seen a figurative explosion of creativity. I believe we are witnessing a renaissance — one that is unique for the world and this nation; one that is created by individuals who are both American and Muslim –YOU, who
have endured and continue to endure.

Members of a tribe that is messy but resilient – much like America. We have entrepreneurs, engineers, architects, doctors, philanthropists, stand-up comedians, journalists, academics and even imams. This is a volatile time, but an exciting time –one that is ripe for a renaissance; a rebirth.
And speaking of creation and artistry – let’s not forget the original artist – Allah (swt).

Look. Look around you at the diversity of Allah’s creation. There’s black, white, Yemeni, Desi, Egyptian, Syrian, and even miscellaneous, right here in this room — in Amreeka. From the Qur’an: “Verily, he made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other, not that ye may despise (each other).”

Reflect on His design and artistry. Just take a moment to check out His brush strokes. He wasn’t painting with one color, and definitely not in one style. And then what does He do with all these different colors?
He splashes them on a blank canvas called Amreeka. A-mer-eeka. America. The land that is our home. The messy melting pot of the universe with colors splashed all around – but nonetheless there’s still poetry to the chaos. And all of this was inspired by Allah’s love for his creation. And you forget that
we, despite all our differences, are part of the same tribe. We’re Muslim, and we’re American.
Whether you want to admit it or not, you can’t escape it. We all belong, equally, to the same tribe, a new tribe, the tribe of “Ahl Al America” – The people of Amreeka.

Here's the video:

Friday, March 9, 2012

Dialectical Montage

Here are some notes on the film theory from Professor Kay Armatage:

Dialectics & Film Form
1. Constructivist belief that factors composing the individual image can be considered as dynamic elements flung together in tense juxtaposition.
2. conflicts within the frame.

Types of Montage
1. Metric montage -arouses the most primitive kinesthetic effect, such as the tapping of a foot, or rocking of the body.
2. Rhythmic Montage - triggers a primitive emotional effect
3. Tonal Montage - yields something of a higher physiological order, a melodic emotional response 
4. Overtonal Montage - repeats at a higher level the motor effect of metric montage, since in music a thorough going organization of timbres will create emergent beats, 
5. Intellectual Montage -triggers the spectator's concept forming processes, although these too must be seen as no less physiological than the other types.

George Marcus (1995) recommended Vertov for thinking about how to construct multi-sited fieldwork projects.

Here's an Eisenstein clip:

Zuhdi Jasser & Tarek Fatah Press Conference in Support of NYPD Surveillance of Muslims

American Islamic Leadership Coalition Holds Press Conference in Support of NYPD - YouTube

Asra nomani on "Why NYPD Monitoring Should Be Welcome News to U.S. Muslims"

Why NYPD Monitoring Should Be Welcome News to U.S. Muslims - The Daily Beast


"As a Muslim whose father, Zafar Nomani, was one of the founding members of the Muslim Student Association at Rutgers University in the late 1960s, I’m relieved that our country’s largest police agency was monitoring our Muslim community as closely as the reports indicate. For the longest time I have worried that our sense of political correctness has kept us from sensible law-enforcement strategies that look at Muslims, mosques, and Islamic organizations."

"We need to recognize that it is an interpretation of Islam that is the problem. We do have a Muslim problem in the world today. Jordan has recognized this. It has trained imams and scholars to deradicalize Muslims. Granted, some overreach their roles, but the security agencies of most Muslim nations recognize the extremist problem is a threat not only to other countries but to their own governments."

Jon Stewart, CNN Crossfire & Journalistic Responsibility

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

KONY: Media Activism Campaign

Irrespective of the questions about handling finances, it will be very interesting to see how successful this novel media activism idea turns out.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Irish Catholic Church Repents for Child Abuse

What is unique about this event? What rituals are involved in the attempt to reform relations between the Irish Catholic Church and the Irish public? In Catholic & Orthodox Christianity to gain forgiveness from God one should repent (ask for forgiveness) to God, as well as to the person whom one sinned against (if it applies). But rarely (almost never, if ever), have these churches themselves asked for forgiveness due to their claim to be representatives of God, and therefore almost perfect by association. This is an exception and we should look at the role of ritual in attempting to reconcile with those whom the Irish Catholic priesthood believes they have sinned against (children and their families).

Linda Sarsour on NYPD Surveillance

Overview Video of NYPD Muslim Surveillance

ICNYU Protest Surveilllance of MSAs

Friday, March 2, 2012

2006 Doha Debates: Hamza Yusuf & John Esposito

Anwar al-Awlaki's views on 9/11

Here are excerpts from a sermon (khutba) just a month after 9/11 by Anwar al-Awlaki. His views changed dramatically after experiencing detention and torture in 2007, and his support for Nidal Hassan & the Underwear bomber is what Obama cited as justification for his assassination. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

NYPD under fire for spying on Muslim Students | Al Jazeera English

NYPD under fire for spying on Muslim students | The Stream - Al Jazeera English

Filming cops on the Street Illegal in Chicago

This is a great article on the illegality of video recording police and the potential consequences for the upcoming Chicago G8 Summit. Here's the link: Press-free NATO summit? Filming cops on the street illegal in Chicago — RT

Quote: "Come springtime, the Chicago PD will have to determine which First Amendment guarantee is more important to crush: the freedom of the press or the freedom to assemble. Luckily America’s most well-known constitutional law professor and former Chicago resident will be in town that week. What do you think Barack Obama has to say about the law?"