Should we be worried about Biogenetic Manipulation?

The Dark Fantastic: Literature, Philosophy, and Digital Arts

Should we be worried about Biogenetic Manipulation in the near future?

Not only will capabilities for genomic manipulation dissolve biological identity into techno-commercial processes of yet-incomprehensible radicality, but also … other things. For those keeping up with Biogenetics, etc. A conference about having transparency in the biogenetic and biotechnological worlds of techno-commercialism.

CFP: Performance Philosophy and Biopolitics, Biotechnology & Biogenetics:

This working session will explore intersections of performance and theatre with biopolitics, biotechnology, and biogenetics by looking at the ways in which life increasingly resides in a transversal realm of indistinction, which produces live (i.e. concrete and tangible) consequences within digital and embodied environments. The working session seeks to understand what theatre and performance studies can learn from a critical inquiry into biopolitics, biotechnology, and biogenetics to examine ways in which contemporary ideology gravitates towards concerns regarding transparency. By drawing on the etymology of transparency— from the Latin trans-…

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Street Sketching and Territoriality

MiniMarketStreet sketching is a new thing for me.  I love how it brings my vision into focus–how I can lose myself for an hour or two in utter concentration. While I don’t think about more than what I’m doing while I work, I find that it stimulates so many questions, provokes my mind–no small part of what fascinates me, though some of those questions are troubling.

This is drawing from life. Being there. One of the things I’ve been thinking about, is how demanding this is, developing and perfecting skills, and yet, it’s not that alone. Like with figure drawing–there are comic artists who are superbly skilled at rendering human figure from imagination–think of the forshortened points of view of those superheros. Or illustrators… was looking at the cover of a book, a street of Philly row houses drawn from an acute angle,  all with ariel bays in perfect perspective.  You learn that well, and you can do it from imagination–maybe with the aide of photo references. I both respect and admire the skill, knowledge and facility of these artists, but that isn’t where I want to go, or what I find most interesting. There comes a point, a level of skill and knowledge, when one can draw on what has absorbed without further encounter of the kind of immediacy I want when I’m working from life. Robert Beverly Hale, the great teacher of anatomy and figure drawing summed up the learning process like this: “first you draw what you see, then you learn to know what you see, then you draw what you know.” But that leaves out the last, and most important step: returning to the subject you’ve learned, and seeing more. Beginning again that process of discovery–seeing ever more fully, more deeply. It’s possible for illustrators and cartoonists, to get to a point where they can coast on what they know–but they don’t have to. I look at the illustrations of Charles Dana Gibson, or cartoonists like Walt Kelley or Bill Watterson, who, even when using basic templates, never surrender to mere tracing of what they’ve done before. I’m not trying to distinguish between ‘high’ and ‘low’ art; I’m trying to understand something about process.
In street sketching, it’s not their technical mastery of perspective or penship–it’s that going back to the beginning that’s the life of those drawings– of those who do it well. There’s a freshness that I love, like coming across a scene for the first time–it’s a way of seeing… but this is where I begin to question what it is I’m doing. What else is going on here.
There’s a blog, Urbansketchers. org. You’ll find there work by many of the best. But you will also see another pattern… these are world travelers, who go to cities around the world, and draw… rather than taking snap shots… to see the world, one drawing at a time, I think is their phrase. While I love these drawings… I’m uncomfortable with them–with the conceptual framework that binds them. I can’t help but think of dogs… marking territories.
Vision… as a kind of ownership. A foreclosure, more than an opening. What we see–is territory, the ‘normal’ world of the capitalist tourist: this is beautiful … and ours. This is fascinating… and ours.  Not the possession of the artists, but of those they unconsciously, or at least, uncritically, serve. A theme-park world for the enjoyment of the power elite, and their upper echelon servants.

Court artists of the capitalist leisure elite.

I don’t like that–that I can’t escape this thought. I really do love this body of works. I aspire to it! To render such life in my drawings, my art!

But so much else about my art –about where I want to take it–is about escape–escaping the Master’s Hand and Voice, escaping the “Art System,” the capitalist gallery to investor universe of gatekeepers and Owners–finding my way to a revolutionary, ‘anti-art,’ in as much as so much of what we–what art history–defines as ‘Art,’ is but a captive of Euro-Patriarchal art making, colonizing the traditions of other cultures–serving the Masters.
Street sketchers stand on a border… I love that there is no pretense here of “higher art,” I love the individualism, the freedom expressed by these artists.. but I despair at what I see as ideological captivity. And I don’t know what to do… or what I would like these artists I admire, to do.
I only know that it’s a problem. And that you can’t solve any problem, without first seeing it, recognizing it, defining it for what it is.

Where is my community of believing dissenters?




Breaking free from the Art System


I want to post a second comment I left on CLCLARK’s blog on Luhmann’s system theory, Systems Serve only Themselves. This has been a concern of mine for some time, expressed in several previous posts.

I see several problems with art as an autopoitec system. The first being, that ‘art’ is an artificial construct. For this, it might be enough if it were more narrowly defined, say… “Euro/Anglo Art.” It’s been a project of art history to treat art as a universal—even while concentrating almost exclusively on European traditions until the assimilating of Japanese, Chinese, African and “primitive” styles by European artists forced the door open to the rest of the world. This greater inclusiveness, however, was more in the nature of colonizing the European idea of art as a universal, drawing on products, which, in their own cultures, served a wide range of activities, and were in no way part of something, neither their makers nor those  who these objects served, thought of as belonging to an autonomous system analogous to a Western idea of ‘art,’ a process not unlike the transformation imposed on European religious objects in the development of the idea (or system) of art in the West.

Also, as autopoitic systems are differentiated from their environment, but subject and responsive to outside perturbations, these responses can be absorbed in their development. With organisms, other forms can be physically absorbed and incorporated: viruses, mitochondria. The point I’d make here, is that what we mean by ‘art,’ is not just a system responding to other systems, but one—perhaps even more than any other—that has incorporated them into its DNA. The Western ‘art system’ co-evolved with capitalism, patriarchal institutions, hierarchical value coding, in such a way that these are more than external systems that use or perturb it, but are embedded in its generative structures.  This is what informs my question about finding a place as an artist—outside that system. Escape from the controlling subject: “Art.” Deteritorializaion from the master subject and its self-cloning powers. Thinking of Deleuze… escape from the root, to the rhizome!


Everything that’s Wrong with the “Art World”

Fuck the capitalist gallery to investor pipeline–those who own it, and those who seek to profit from it. What is both so irksome, and revealing–is how this pitch is aimed, not at those who love art, or the art… but ‘investors,’ those who, by turning art into a capitalist commodity, eviscerate it’s value as art, as set up a gatekeeping system, that functions, not as means to select the best, but to exclude all but the smallest fraction of art and artists, precisely to raise the monetary value of what the system lets in. What this has to do with aesthetic value is purely accidental.

Skip the guesswork. Here’s three things to look for in an emerging artist:

Saatchi Art


Galleries, Museums, and The Great Art Frameup


It’s increasingly clear to me that the way museums display works of art (and most galleries), alters them as surely as if the curators took brush and paint and wrote messages of ownership across them. What we see in a museum is filtered propaganda, honoring the structures of power, wealth, and those who control it, drawing life from the art and using it like a drug to induce a state of awe and subservience, not for the art, but the invisible powers that assembled the display. How grateful we must be, that all this was gathered for us in the marble halls of these mausoleums–a gesture of largess from the wealthy investors for us to view. Where would we be without them! As though the artists (who in their lifetimes, would have been lucky if they could afford entrance), were mere labor, expendable, like the workers who tunneled under the Hudson… 14 of whom died in its construction…and not a one of them named, ‘Holland.’

As though this art would not exist, certainly not for us, but for these glorious prisons.

What is wrong with this picture, is not the fault of the museums and it’s keepers… they are merely playing the roles assigned to them–cleaner and less bloodstained, but comparable, nonetheless, to the police and soldiers, prison guards and executioners of this Empire of Money and Death.

Impossible to imagine in these cathedrals of art, that there might be an other way–where people don’t surrender their creative lives for adulthood, and art flows from the lives of the people, present everywhere and in everything we do and make. Where artists don’t have to compete for the one spot in ten thousand where they can live by their art, and everyone can have works of art beside them, not just the wealthy.


Capitalism controls our very imagination–that we cannot believe anything else can exist. How then, as artists, can we let ourselves serve these robotic masters!

No Revolution without Art! No Art without Revolution!


Artists! Wake up!

For how long have I been saying this? The author sees the symptom but refuses to name the disease. Of course he does: he’s a part of the system! “But of course galleries need to make a profit….la la la ” The very structure of capitalism turns art into commodity and erases all other values. The whole damn system is rotten! Artists have to be creative in more than making art; we need turn our creative energy to imagining another reality, another world!

Artists who seek commercial success, without thinking about how this system works, are complicit in their own exploitation.
Artists–become activists, become a revolutionary force!
In today’s art market, objects are created and judged like stocks. Illustration by Victor Juhasz, 2016. ©VICTOR JUHASZ

The American Hologram! Playing Everywhere–NOW!

Obama would have been a great president in another America, of another time. An America that never existed and a time that never was. But he believes in that America. He believes in its essential decency, in the fairness of its rules. He believes whatever problems and failures exist are best remedied by following those rules, that in the end, we all really want the same thing, and if you are willing to give and take, give and take, it will all work out for the best. Obama believes with all his heart that he is in a Frank Capra movie.

That if you persist–all those bad Senators will eventually see that Mr. Smith was right all along, and Mr. Potter, like Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, will carry Tiny Tim on his shoulders and give poor Bob Cratchit the fattest Christmas goose in London…er, America.
Obama lives in an impermeable bubble made of money. Made of people with money. Nothing will ever pop it. But he is a good and honest man. Really, he is.
Ms Clinton, on the other hand–has no illusions about what that bubble that protects her, that has lofted her to power, is made of. Otherwise–she will do pretty much what Obama has done.
Preside over a country ruled by a tiny elite, overseeing the perpetual flow of wealth from the bottom to the top.
Senator Sanders, however, has glasses, with one glass sort-of clear, and the other (the far-seeing glass–the one sees across the wide wide seas that surround us)… with the same movie playing as all the rest of them… the American Exceptionalism movie, with John Wayne saving the world for Democracy…er.. for American investment. The other eye, the Roosevelt eyeglass, understands, that to save Capitalism, you have to be brave, you have shuck off the taunts of “Socialist!” … just like Franklin did.
Oh and there’s a little Eleanor in him too! He has a fierce belief in justice! There are some Bad Things about America, like racism. He did what was right when he was young (and I say this with all due respect… no irony here), but of course, the way to fix it is to put those Bad Bad Bankers in their place! To get the economy turned around and money in the hands of those who actually work for it. That will take care of that Bad Racism for sure! The racists… once they see they have equal access to the American Pie, will become as pure in heart as Young Bernie ever was!

And there we have it… the American Hologram. Which projection do YOU live in? Whose happy delusion make YOU happy, when you think — how wonderful it is to be able to vote for your very own Moviedream!

Subtraction Theory: The Future of Capitalism

The Dark Fantastic: Literature, Philosophy, and Digital Arts

Over on The Real Movementblog Jehu has a timely post that carefully evaluates the so-called post-capitalist notion as erroneous. He begins with the worn and obvious quote by Zizek ironizing the notion that “it’s much easier to imagine the end of all life on earth than a much more modest radical change in capitalism.” As Jehu says, “I have been reading a lot of writers who are trying to prove Zizek wrong by imagining a society that might be loosely categorized as post-capitalism — a term I personally detest.” Read his post: here.

Marx in the Grundrisse sees the future of capitalism as the End of History, or as he termed it the monopoly capitalist was ultimately seeking the elimination of space and time in a global system of absolute control:

“In as much as the circuits which capital travels in order to go from one of [its] forms into the other…

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Life Drawing–that erases the received reality

I’m convinced that drawing is the mother of all the visual arts, and while that usually entails, figure, landscape… representational work. I’m interested in working outside of those boundaries. What we’re trained to see–is too politically constrained, that artist’s renderings of ‘realism’ recapitulate and reinforce multiple levels of the status quo, & claim by default to being the one and only and forever reality. When the ‘IS,’ when what we have, our political status quo, is hell bent on the way to ending human life on this planet.
I’m thinking… how to explore different modes of drawing–life drawing, that don’t ‘draw’ on geometric space or figurative realism… yet are as intensely involved in that visual transformation from eye to paper as traditional techniques?

This is an aesthetic dimension of my interest in the place of art in late capitalism. How… is something I’m working out my art, rather than theory.

#447 Subsummation of the Human.

This comes as a feeling that pressed to become a thought, or a thought that sought to become an image. I sketched a face in soluble ink. Efaced with watercolor. Still there. Subsummed

#447 Subsumation of the Human
#447 10×8″ water soluble ink, India ink, water color.

I seldom do figurative art. Not in my finished pieces. I draw the human figure… obsessively, from bones to flesh and back to bones–images of the human. But that isn’t what they are–the drawings. It isn’t there, the human, and in my finished work, what is human remains, not quite invisible, most often as little more than an unintended suggestion. Broken into fragments. Or traces and debris of our passing.

That isn’t a plan. I’m not rendering some idea I have… I don’t know what it is, other than it emerges from some primal conflict, deeply, inexorably personal. It permeates my art–how I work, how I think about it. I know that it has to do with how or why I spend so much of my private, internal conversation explaining, justifying–as though I stand before some perpetual tribunal–that has demanded, without asking (I just know)–that I’m called to account for what I make, for the very need I have to make art, in these conversations where I go endlessly back to the beginning. Do I even have a right to call it… art? To permit myself…?

How this is connected with using the human figure, I don’t know, but I know that it is. Had I all the years of a younger man ahead of me, I don’t think that a lifetime of analysis would be sufficient to uncover what lies buried, something powerful enough to have kept me away from the one thing I’ve always wanted to do–for almost 40 years.
But it’s more than personal… or should I say, more than my private demons. As though this most private struggle has reformed itself into the one subject central to everything I make. How I can feel human figures in the most abstract pieces that come from my hand. Has become their struggle. Something pressing to emerge, pressing toward freedom. Or is it the subsummation of the human back into that state from whence we came? My not distant death linking itself to the coming extinction of our species?