[artinfo] call for papers: Spin doctoring, politics, media

ulrike bergermann ubergermann at gmx.de
Thu Mar 18 01:34:45 CET 2004

Thealit Bremen 2004/2005

Call for participation:

Spin doctoring, politics, media

Kookiness seems to be a current tendency in both politics, media and art.
But how do images, films, works  of art or campaigns reveal their
specific reaction to this daily spiral of absurdies? Even critical strategies
are no longer transgressive, for they are nor 
longer directed ëagainstí anything,
but tend to be kooky in their specific way of repeating accustomed things
within a new context ñ so as to make the result seem crazy enough.
How can both science and art reflect upon such insanities? Couldnít it be
fruitful for them, to explore kooky thinking figures themselves?

I is globalized, you is globalized, so is we. How should it be possible
then to exaggerate things, if our globe is encircled from within? If we
suppose, that the realization of scientific and technological transgressions
in nano- or cosmic sciences are regularly discussed as being only a matter of
time? The ëHandbook of Communication Guerillaí has recommended to adopt
strategies of power such as, e.g. to exploit the  concept of hyper-affirmation
to hold an hyperbolizing mirror up to the
system: "Dear citizens, would you please join the tomorrow gen screening
for the index-linking of pensions. Sincerely, your Federal Governmentî.
Soon, not only Tony Blair will be engaging his spin doctors to twist and
turn the news in  favour of a pro-governmental 
attitude. We are already our own doctors,
regarding ourselves as absolutely  normal, but never really going too far.

Is it still possible to escape self-regulation or is everybody just borg?
Camouflage equals fashion, casting  equals identity measures. Being gay
means being cool and at the same time,
the re-biologization of gender roles is pretty en vogue: Why men are
better in parking and women are better listeners... But
even the differentiation of roles, such as, e.g., the increasing hype of
transgendered persons as casted by afternoon TV shows, might easily
result in normalization: it feels like an infinite rabbit and hedgehog story.

This kind of transgression is evenly distributed via networks, it is
easily accessible via mobile phone, and thus, this kookiness is perfect
to be promoted as novelty. In which cases is
kookiness not just mis-kookied into normalization?  One might agree that
the seventies were rebellious, the eighties psychoanalytical and
text-paradigmatic, the nineties lascivious and queer in identity. Once,
being excessive has been exclusively reserved to the  fields of
avant-gardistic art and avant-gardistic film ñ nowadays, Hollywood
presents us with men-beating women, blockbusters claim catastrophies as
their stars and intertextual references ironically display their
citationality. Even technology gets more and more untwisted/kooky:
digital special effects, multiplex cinemas, gigantic sreens, dolby
sensurround ... Supposed that cinema itself has become kooky, do we then
still need kooky readings? Has Camp become obsolete or has it never been
more than a practice of normalizing self-regulation anyway? Do feminist
film studies and queer theory equallly contribute to this
system? In which aspects and how do films unsettle us in these days?
Which kind of images leave us  overwhelmed?

Even though criticism cannot claim a position beyond the system ñ and
despite of all its inevitable involvement ñ there are good reasons to be
ëantií. We have become familiar with mimcry and falling viewing figures
(nothing against gender mainstreaming here). But it is time for new
agitprop-strategies, for our own spinning, the quality of which must be
continually on the agenda.
To search for a new ...

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