20200627

The Coloniality of the Algorithm (2019) Flavia Dzodan. Dzodan asks us to use coloniality instead of colonialism because coloniality is an active process which still affects us. They argue that post-colonialism is a bluff indented to make us believe that it is a thing of the past (I share a similar believe in post-humanism). Dzodan defines the data-collection performed by bigdata corporations as being rooted on a a colonial mentality which sees payed labor as a privilege (of the white ruling class).

20200616

Machine powered gravedigging replaced gravedigging in 1967 when the first outsourced excavator entrepreneur started working at Malmi cemetary. He explained that in the winter folk were buried in shallow graves (even 1,2 meters). Before him gravediggers could only do 1,5 graves per workday and the cemetery maintained a staff of four diggers. During peak times he dug 2000 graves a year but nowadays folk are cremated. He recalled the groundwork of a service building. They worked a wartime grave site and had to operate in difficult conditions.

20200613

Sweet Lullaby for World Music (2003) Steven Feld. The article starts with a sharp definition of “world music” and identifies two binary trajectories (celebratory and anxious narratives) which tactically pull all music into a modern ontological understanding of what constitutes music. Then the text offers a thorough look to the notorious case of the “Pygmy Lullaby” and Felt concludes that: “Western copyright law is not comprehensive enough to equitably include indigenous cultures, creating a new kind of imperialism …”.

Celebratory narratives of world music tend to normalize and naturalize globalization, not unlike ways “modernization” narratives once naturalized other grand and sweeping currents that transformed and reconfigured intercultural histories. As with these predecessors addressing the question of what has been bought and what has been taken, celebratory narratives stress the costs to “traditions” as rather surface ones, ones that will, in the larger sweep of things, be overcome by creativity, invention and resilience.

On the anxious side we read narratives that insist on the complicity of world music in commodifying ethnicity, locating it in the “finanscapes” and “mediascapes” of global popular culture ([Arjun] Appudurai 1996) and the “noise” or “channelized violence” of music’s industrial economy ([Jacques] Attali, 1985).

The broad picture then, is that today’s world music, like globalization discourse more generally, is equally routed through the public sphere via tropes of anxiety and celebration. While sometimes quite distinct, these narrative positions on anxiety and celebration seem increasingly more intertwined, seamlessly indexing the status of world music as a tensely modern category.

20200606

The Futures of Russian Decolonization (20??) Anna Engelhardt. A complicated text, good for reminding that there isn’t a process of decolonization – there are processes of decolonizationS. Towards the end there are notes on infrastructure as a colonial apparatus:  “Analyzing colonialism, I propose therefore to aim for its infrastructure, both of domination and resistance to it, following Indian post-colonial feminist researcher Chandra Talpade Mohanty. This infrastructure of domination might be revealed through looking into logistical networks of the empires as they, according to Deborah Cowen, map the logic of contemporary imperialism in spatial materialization. “. Engelhardt own project crimeanbridge.info explores infrastructure/colonization link further. The site is complicated but there are notes on “Railway Imperialism”.

One of the points from post-colonial theory that resonates with post-Soviet space questions the limits of the “post-Soviet” or “post-communist” itself. Arjun Appadurai, a post-colonial scholar of globalization, who is of Indian origin, outlines the West’s “endless preoccupation” with itself. [Vitaly] Chernetsky adds to Appadurai’s statement: “whether positive or negative value judgments are attached,” meaning that Western scholars tend to either praise the West or criticize it, but never speak about other geographies and contexts—so the West will always remain the center of attention. Looking at Soviet modernization and its consequences, we see a similar preoccupation.

It is much easier to be heard if you reference academic figures well-known in the West and make arguments that parallel already established lines of thought associated with Western knowledge production. Ironically, we can think of this tactic as similar to [Gayatri Chakravorty] Spivak’s strategic essentialism—temporary networks of solidarity that appeal to the seemingly universal nature of oppression.

Russian colonialism could be characterized as a settler colonialism, as it combines the features of external and internal colonization, erasing the spatial separation between metropole and colony. Russian colonialism features military colonialism—a sign of external colonialism—with “biopolitical and geopolitical management of people, land, flora and fauna within the ‘domestic’ borders of the imperial nation” of internal colonization ([Eve] Tuck and [Wayne] Yang, 2012).

A Day to Remember (2005) Liu Wei. A simple question yields powerful effects. Remembering the June Fourth Incident.

20200605

Malmi cemetery has it’s own well. The underground water is used for plants. It’s quality is unknown but it tastes good, mellow and has a clayish tone. Different taps have different tastes. It used to be pumped to a water tower here on the grounds but currently the pumps push the water straight to the waterholes. This cemetery gig offers multiple trajectories to explore:

  • History: Graves of notable pacifist, leftist and a relocated mass grave from the civil war period. There is a rumor that the north wall was an execution site.
  • Gardening: Urban farming (cherries, pears, plums, apples etc.) herbal and plant life knowledge.
  • Raw materials: Tapping to the local underground waters reservoir and collecting clay for sculpture or for making a cup.
  • Dérive: Learning African nations by reading the cemetery grid layout as the continent of Africa. Made my first draft for the Malmi cemetery layout as African states: 2020_malmin-hautuusmaa-kartta-afrikan-valtiot.pdf