20190416

Herbs of Wall Street Vodka

Okko had just started playing Zelda – Link to the Past. I was helping him get pass the hard parts and felt appreciated. My residency was coming to an end and I was driven to do all the small little things I was inspired to do when we arrived. It was a Saturday and after watching Okko play trough the morning, I felt like a bad parent and decided to take him on a quest.

“We are going to collect herbs for a potion” I said. “Just like Zelda”

“Herbs? In Manhattan? Yeah right.”

We swapped trains at Union square and got off at the Wall Street station. Okko acted like he was bored and it was a chilly day, so we went for bagels. I took a brown paper bag from the store for collecting the herbs and attempted to boost morale by telling stories of how the island used to be covered with plants and that a hundred years ago there were 100 000 horses in the city. He concentrated on the bagel. Right outside the shop, we spotted a flower basket decoration which attached to street light.

“Just like Zelda”. I celebrated.

“You can’t even reach them.” Okko replied.

I spotted an other basket closer to ground level but it turned out that flowers were plastic. I kept ranting about herbs but Okko remained unimpressed. Tourist flocking to the Charging Bull statue pushed us deeper. They were all queuing to pose under the the bulls testicles. Okko was curious but after witnessing the performance repeated identically by the ten first people, we continued on our way. All the people were around the statue which made the streets feel broader.

The first real plant we spotted was around the corner, a common holly. It was a big bush planted in an ornamented vase which read 1692. It was high, next to a buildings entry and I had to reach for the leaves. Okko was embarrassed and didn’t want people to see me messing with the plant. From the stairs I spotted a white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) which I know contains a lot of vitamin C.

Okkos confidence grew, he mentioned how in Zelda the player has to hack their way trough bushes to claim diamonds. He spotted an aronia close to the cedar. We didn’t mind the other tourists anymore and headed to the gigantic christmas tree in front of the stock exchange. The heat of the city and sunlight reflecting from the skyscraper windows had disturbed the spruces senses. Some parts of it were drying out and others developing fresh needles. Right as we stood under it a very small branch fell off and landed on our feet.

We returned the Charging Bull and took a spin around the small park behind it. As a highlight of the trip we spotted chives, which perhaps was planted by the occupy campers or maybe escaped from a billionaires salad. We tasted it and smiled. I packed all the herbs and we headed to back to Brooklyn. I crammed the best parts into two vodka bottles. The other was a gift Honza. I prepared them as his son Gilbert played Zelda with Okko.

“Can we have a taste?” Gilbert asked. Okko smirked.

I sampled the vodka in two weeks, after it’s colour had changed. It tastes good. We tried it out it with friends two months later, after we returned to Helsinki and I’m having a taste as I write this. It smells faintly like resin, it is spiky but with an earthy tone. Like freshly cut grass. The taste has a hint of garlic and there is a hue of sourness to it. It improves my HP by 50.

20190411

Democracy in Hungary – The Alliance of State Autocracy and Neoliberal Capitalism (2019) Attila Antal. A welcomed analysis of the contemporary Hungarian (political) condition. The text identifies German big-business and EU economics as a factors in the rise of Hungarian autocracy. Centers of political power benefit from disruptions in the fringe.

Democracy in Hungary is being undermined not just by the authoritarian state, but by authoritarian neoliberal capitalism. In my view, the most important challenge of our time is that of preserving democracy under the pressure of this multi-faceted (state and market) autocracy.

Experimenting with tt-rss. Inoreader has changed its policy and using it for my +500 feeds would require a yearly 20€ payment. This is a bad blow for many small scale organizations and non-facebook users who are relying on rss-feeds for news. tt-rss seems to work ok and it even has an android front-end. There is also an option for multiple users which could prove convenient  in the future. OPML import/export seems to work well but I can’t yet confirm that it finds the feeds from the backup Inoreader generated. Some of the feeds are dead and managing the data might proof difficult. So far, so good.

Mineral water compositions around the world mineralwaters.geo.uu.nl. Service maintained by Dr. Marcel van der Perk.

20190410

Is Art a Currency? (2019) Hito Steyerl. Save a click: Its worse then a currency, it is a vessel for political ideologies that are aiming to suppress cultural movements that advocate egalitarianism.

[…] as an alternative currency, art seems to fulfill what ether and bitcoin have hitherto only promised. Rather than money issued by a nation and administrated by central banks, art is a networked, decentralized, widespread system of value.

Art is encryption as such, regardless of the existence of a message with a multitude of conflicting and often useless keys. Its reputational economy is randomly quantified, ranked by bullshit algorithms that convert artists and academics into ranked positions, but it also includes more traditionally clannish social hierarchies.

Intellectual perspectives, expanded canons, nontraditional histories will be axed—anything that requires an investment of time and effort instead of conspicuous money. Public support swapped for Instagram metrics. Art fully floated on some kind of Arsedaq. More fairs, longer yachts for more violent assholes, oil paintings of booty blondes, abstract stock-chart calligraphy. Yummy organic superfoods. Accelerationist designer breeding. Personalized one-on-one performances for tax evaders. Male masters, more male masters, and repeat. Art will take its place next to big-game hunting, armed paragliding, and adventure slumming.

20190409

Participated in the first Performing the Fringe -event or un-conference in Stockholm last weekend. The research project is organized by curators Inga Lace & Jussi Koitela and the process will continue till 2020. The project feels very similar to the Alkovi Gallery Russian-focus program and activities I’m participating in (which is convenient). We walked and talked for two days around the Hökarängen district. Our group was introduced to the area by researcher Moa Tunström and other activist/artists. We visited Kulturhuset Cyklopen, local allotment gardens which were introduced to us by Janna Holmstedt, an old (still active) graffitiwall which was introduced to us by Lina Eriksson and a horse stable where we met Svarten (horse). Activities were centered around Konsthall C, which managing director Erik Annerborn hosted us warmly. The group participating in Performing the Fringe consists of artists from the Baltic-Nordic region. I had the pleasure to meet Andrej Polukord (he also is the director of Galerie Uberall), Asbjørn Skou (we talked about kettlebells!), Flo Kasearu (who gave a great presentation of her house museum), Jon Benjamin Tallerås (talked about carpentry) and Valentina Karga (whom I know from her work in Maunula). The group will head to Pori during the summer and my next engagement with the project will be in Vilnius.

Will Brexit break up the UK? (2019) An Other Europe Podcast. A very tight analysis of the ideological backgrounds of Brexit. Offers many useful concepts such as “structural emotion” which explains the process when politicians work to justify their feelings using rational arguments.

20190403

Necropolitics (2003) Achille Mbembe. We’ve cited this article in Trans-Horse texts, arguing that climate change should be approached as a weapon. When it is investigated as a weapon it seems to be used by those who deem themselves technologically advanced, against regions of the world deemed less developed. It is yielded collectively by masses of people who strive to express their personal freedom of choice. From this perspective “development” appears as an instrument for establishing regimes which favour hyper-individualism. This interpretation is strict but it makes the relations between polluters (the rich) and the other clear. Also, neutral concepts such as “carbon footprint” can be seen to be rooted on colonial thinking: “[…] colonial occupation entails first and foremost a division of space into compartments. It involves the setting of boundaries and internal frontiers epitomized by barracks and police stations; it is regulated by the language of pure force, immediate presence, and frequent and direct action; and it is premised on the principle of reciprocal exclusivity.”.

In the economy of biopower, the function of racism is to regulate the distribution of death and to make possible the murderous functions of the state. It is, he [Foucault] says, “the condition for the acceptability of putting to death.”

Foucault states clearly that the sovereign right to kill (droit de glaive) and the mechanisms of biopower are inscribed in the way all modern states function; indeed, they can be seen as constitutive elements of state power in modernity.

The writing of new spatial relations (territorialization) was, ultimately, tantamount to the production of boundaries and hierarchies, zones and enclaves; the subversion of existing property arrangements; the classification of people according to different categories; resource extraction; and, finally, the manufacturing of a large reservoir of cultural imaginaries. These imaginaries gave meaning to the enactment of differential rights to differing categories of people for different purposes within the same space; in brief, the exercise of sovereignty.

[…] colonial occupation entails first and foremost a division of space into compartments. It involves the setting of boundaries and internal frontiers epitomized by barracks and police stations; it is regulated by the language of pure force, immediate presence, and frequent and direct action; and it is premised on the principle of reciprocal exclusivity.

[…] body here becomes the very uniform of the martyr. But the body as such is not only an object to protect against danger and death. The body in itself has neither power nor value. The power and value of the body result from a process of abstraction based on the desire for eternity.

[…] under conditions of necropower, the lines between resistance and suicide, sacrifice and redemption, martyrdom and freedom are blurred.

The Necropolitics article is also useful for understanding what Mbembe is writing about in regards to afrofuturism. Achille Mbembe on Afrofuturism and the “Genealogies of the Object” (2016).

In rejecting humanism outright, Afrofuturism contends that humanism can only exist by relegating some other subject or entity (whether alive or not) to a merely mechanical status as object or accident.

If one wants to adequately grasp the contemporary condition–the Afrofuturists contend–one must do so from all the assemblages of human-objects and object-humans, for which, since the arrival of the modern era, the Black has been both prototype and prelude. For, once Blacks erupt onto the modern world scene, there is no longer a “human” who is not already enmeshed in the “non-human,” the “more than human,” the “beyond human,” or the “otherwise-than-human.”

[…] the Black embodies pure transformative potential through an almost infinite plasticity.

[…] the plantations of the New World would never have functioned without the large-scale utilization of these “creatures of the sun,” these African slaves. And even after the industrial revolution, these fossils, these human fossils, would continue to serve as coal for the production of energy, for the dynamic energy needed to transform the economy of the Earth System.