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ARMED CELL 2
JOSEF KAPLAN from EX MACHINA AARON BEGG MY SYNCHRONIC DOUBLE CECILY NICHOLSON COLLECT COAST TROUBLE MAKERS POUR MOI JE SUIS QUELQU’UN ARVENSE REMINISCIN THIS AND THATTIN BRIAN ANG FROM PRE-SYMBOLIC TO TOTALITY: ON METHOD TOTALITY CANTO 8 DAVID LAU BAD OPPOSITES STEPHEN COLLIS POETICS AGAINST THE ENCLOSURE OF DISSENT TACTICAL PROPOSITIONS, OR, PWN THE ODIUM LAURA ELRICK BLOCKS AWAY TOM COMITTA BADVERTISEMENTS: DER HOLE IN 1 LEAN ON ME I’M ALMOST JUST DONE SONATA 33 MORE REASONS TO LOVE UM, OM “THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING” GHOST SUIT GO DADDY
ARMED CELL 2 Edited by Brian Ang email@example.com armedcell.blogspot.com Cover images by Daniel Marcus Front: “Grève generale” Back: “En lutte” primaporta.tumblr.com Physical edition of 100 Free ARMED CELL seeks to publish what is urgent and necessary in poetry and poetics. It insists on militancy “working for the emancipation of humanity in its entirety” (Alain Badiou) to confront the notion of there being at present “too much anti-capitalism” (Slavoj Žižek) and not enough direct action against “capitalism (or whatever other name we might want to give to the process dominating world history today)” (Giorgio Agamben). ARMED CELL seeks relationship with those engaged in research and practice with this matrix of concerns, in order to be, like Lenin’s pre-revolution withdrawal to study Hegel, a site for the study necessary for executing political actions. ARMED CELL 2 was first distributed at the Josef Kaplan, Brian Ang, and Laura Elrick reading for The Multifarious Array, Brooklyn, New York, 20 January 2012. ARMED CELL 3 will appear in July 2012. Submit cover images and writing by the end of May 2012 for consideration.
from EX MACHINA for Joey Yearous-Algozin On the morning of April 16th, 1993, Hamas operative Saher Tamam al-Nabulsi drove a Volkswagen Transporter to Mehola Junction, a rest area on the Jordan Valley Highway in the West Bank. Yahya Ayyash, a Hamas bombmaker, had rigged the car to explode using three large propane tanks and explosives collected from grenades and other ordinance. Just after 1:00 AM, al-Nabulsi pulled the car in between two buses and reached for the detonator switch Ayyash had connected to the driver’s controls… but suddenly Athena, daughter of Zeus, who bears the aegis, shouted aloud for him to refrain. Al-Nabulsi’s hand curled in pale fear and the switch remained untouched. And all lived.
On the afternoon of April 6th, 1994, nineteen year old Hamas operative Ra’id Zaqarna, a native of Qabatya, drove a 1987 Opel Ascona to the intersection of Afula’s 9th Brigade (Hativa Tesha) street, and pulled in front of the number 348 bus. Hamas bombmaker Yahya Ayyash had rigged the car to explode using seven gas cylinders, five anti-personnel hand grenades, and wrapped the bomb in a rucksack containing 1,100 carpenter nails. As a group of Israeli students boarded the bus, Zaqarna reached to detonate the bomb… but suddenly his arm was caught by a French General, who informed Zaqarna that the French Army had taken Toledo, and that the Inquisition was in the hands of its enemies. And all lived.
On the morning of October 19th, 1994, Muatab Mukadi, a member of Hamas chief Yahya Ayyash’s Samaria battalion (of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades), drove Saleh Badel Rahim al-Souwi to one of the first stops for a passenger bus traveling down Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv. Al-Souwi, a resident of Qalqilya, had joined Hamas after his older brother Hasin was killed in 1989, in a shootout with Israeli forces. Al-Souwi was wanted by the Israeli Shabak, but was not considered a high priority. The day before, al-Souwi taped a statement saying “it is good to die as a martyr for Allah,” and “Sages end up in paradise.” Al-Souwi had stored in a brown bag a bomb constructed by Ayyash out of an Egyptian land mine packed with twenty kilograms of military-strength TNT, surrounded by nails and screws. TNT is not readily available in the Palestinian territories, but Hamas had managed to acquire some by smuggling it in, or purchasing it from Israeli organized crime. Once on board, al-Souwi chose an aisle seat on the left side of the bus, and placed the bomb at his feet. At approximately 9:00 AM, as the bus was slowing down for a stop 100 metres north of Dizengoff Square, al-Souwi reached down to detonate the bomb… but suddenly pirates inexpicably commandeered the bus, stopping al-Souwi though sparing his life. He was then sent to stay in Denmark. And all lived.
On the night of June 1st, 2001, Saeed Hotari was standing in line in front of the Dolphinarium, a discoteheque on the beachfront of Tel Aviv. Hotari had dressed in clothes resembling the traditional garb of Asian Jews; he also carried a drum he had packed with explosives and ball bearings. He began wandering up and down the line, banging the drum and repeating in Hebrew: “Something’s going to happen.” At 8:30 PM he moved to detonate… but suddenly an incredibly powerful, humanoid extraterrestrial turned back time by flying around the world until it spun in the opposite direction. He then grabbed Hotari’s hand just moments before it reached for the detonator and hoisted it into the air. And all lived.
On the morning of March 20th, 2002, 24-year old Rifat Abu-Ediak from Jenin boarded Egged bus number 823, which was traveling on Highway 65 from Tel Aviv to Nazareth. Abu-Ediak was at the time an operative for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a small Palestinian militant organization whose goal is the destruction of the state of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian Islamic state. Abu-Ediak had weaponized his person with a cache of explosives. As the bus passed through the Umm al-Fahm, a city in the Haifa district of Israel, on the Umm al-Fahm mountain ridge, whose population is nearly all Israeli-Arab citizens, AbuEdiak drew his hand to detonate… but suddenly a very rich and obscure passenger, only briefly noticed before, appeared and without any reason (and by an incredible story) was revealed to be Abu-Ediak’s father (as well as a friend of Harpagon, the Miser) and, through the abstract and illogical force of love and familial devotion, was able to disarm Abu-Ediak in order to then draw him close and embrace him ecstatically. And all lived.
On the afternoon of July 31st, 2002, during the Summer examination period for the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, an unidentified militant walked into the Frank Sinatra student center at the heart of the University’s Mount Scopus campus, and then into the University’s cafeteria. It being lunchtime, the cafeteria was crowded, as had been planned on by the East Jerusalem-based Hamas cell whose members had organized the attack. The attack was in revenge for the Israeli targeted killing of Hamas’ military chief, Salah Shehadeh, the previous week. A member of Hamas since its formation in 1987, Shehadeh came to lead the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades after the death of Yahya Ayash in 1996. Israel accused him of masterminding several attacks against both Israeli soldiers and civilians in the Gaza Strip and Israel proper during the Al-Aqsa Infitada, causing the deaths of hundreds of Israeli citizens. Shehadeh was also reported to be involved in the production of Qassam rockets. Speaking of the Hebrew University attack, Hamas officials claimed it was “part of a series of operations [to be launched] from everywhere in Palestine […] against the enemy of God.” Once within the cafeteria, the militant reached to detonate… but suddenly an American student studying from abroad opened his “Jerry Garcia in a pouch,” which caused Jerry Garcia to appear and strike unconscious the militant with his magical guitar. And all lived.
On the morning of April 30th, 2003, 22-year old Asif Muhammad Hanif (from London) and 27-year old Omar Khan Sharif (from Derby) approached Mike’s Place, a bar in Tel Aviv, from a nearby hotel where they had rented a room several hours earlier. Both men had entered Israel from Jordan, via the Allenby Bridge. Five days before, Hanif and Sharif had visited the International Solidarity Movement’s office, and, after chatting for 15 minutes with an ISM volunteer, joined a group of 20 people to lay flowers at the site of Rachel Corrie’s death for 10 minutes. Mike’s Place opened in 1992 in downtown Jerusalem, started by Michael Vigodda, a photojournalist. Viggoda named the bar after another bar called “Mike’s Place” located at the Carelton University Student’s Center in Ottawa, Ontario, which was, in turn, named after former Canadian Prime Minister and statesman Lester B. “Mike” Pearson, who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for his role in defusing the Suez Crises. In 1995, Assaf Ganzman, an Israeli blues musician and vocalist for the band SOBO became an owner after Vigodda returned to Canada. In 1999, the bar moved to Jerusalem’s Russian Compound, one of the oldest districts in central Jerusalem. In 2001, a second branch opened in Tel Aviv, next to the American Embassy. Hanif and Sharif had strapped to their persons elastic belts armed with standard explosives. Hanif tried to enter the bar, but was stopped by security guard Avi Tabib, who blocked his entry. During the ensuing struggle, Hanif managed to grab the detonator… but suddenly Hanif realized that the Matrix was not real, that the bomb was not real, and therefore, that his death could not be real. And all lived.
MY SYNCHRONIC DOUBLE I have come across: companion of the sounds of this corner of the park, unchanged but the clouds, spots rolling through the present someone I created, traversed by this the thousands, rapid ruts in the wandering of careful thought. Indeed, soon as sleep wrest dentations even the securest among their violent smile say we have work to do. Interesting to notice what words, mere sockets, representatives, one is embodied in passed on from mouth to mouth in some specific situation. They become visible just as to a general range of activities certain wild statistics claim quite other intentions. Proper distance and angle of vision. Full corporeality only for the ones who wake the leaves and the mists: phantom limns sculpted of the luxury vehicles, hung with something that seemed eventual; death mask or police best practices, vaguely hygienic end you congealed in the exact value of fictive disintegration. Where we met, what life was like didn’t matter and that didn’t make it immaterial. So too that consequent defensive specialization some occurrence became. Historic evening! —Even with the dead, they enjoy no less listening and less frequently as someone who has come from afar. The friend is difficult to localize.
COLLECT COAST settle as little disrupt public as possible suspend services to lockout back-to-work poverty legislates back-to-work stakes action again the shut down port economy belongs to ants/soil worlds back order their earnest place-base clock-central quality our chances old and water-furrowed defend land fiercely from real present things you eat what you grow from where identity stands territory unafraid courage/compulsion toward the updraft acid ocean decade narrating people shook fences we will tear down dislodge emblems un-doc- discarded apple social organic processes necessary to breathe relate release care caress tool-lender library transition town free farms free stores brace low for wild weather in ceremonial forms gather around food
TROUBLE MAKERS do not fear Ford moments in ruin outrageous hunger marches impulse in textual arched love strong parameters do not fear the demands of the lyric and lyric narrative! Vivee Francis, further to the question of making art in Detroit people material transportation and mercenary vision in the fall houses cheap quiet things for personal reasons make a go of it hip newcomers reinforce a wave within community-supported all ships rise with the tide collective work close readings critical anthology ability studies routine trade university small the value of professional objects are processes in and of themselves lateral steps abandon numbers immediately elegant press on accelerate steady operations of simple rules against gaps and differences of epaulets her form wasn’t high, her head was just down low
POUR MOI JE SUIS QUELQU’UN art of women in prison Montréal, 2011 results from process incarcerated women participated in sought on account of their singular life experiences and professional artists invited into, art out of, carceral facilities crib their collective work works link incarceration and poverty – economical, social, family-based, cultural, emotional – halted panellists and prisoners speak through bars rightfully righteously my face against the concrete called to the height which I feel (Marie-Pier A) like a desiccated fish soon this will be time behind us (Punky) pour moi je suis quelqu’un (Sandra D)
ARVENSE earthen ballast dirt fodder bedding eyes with pain, lungs in open air exhale at first call redwings in the marshes wayside horsetails rise from running rhizomes stem to jointed needle-like branches prisons fossilize full of overdetermined race midsummer fields of lace and blue chicory as morning unfolds a few blossoms deep sky blue days progress as blue deepens and pink tints carry lavender tone to seemingly clear colour colonial encounters we lapse into cavernous natural white spaces where violence routinely occurs generic as patriarchal velocities complex forms the Postcommodity witness amplifies tested remedies have distant and related bruises the leaves to poultice inflammation flurries of activity otherwise unfeasible other signallers sing and listening coincide begging bills up puff chest forage fight flight intention movement crouch prepared sleek really moves its wings as shoulders raise ruffle vocalization and response pursues it what signs and survey lines dehumanize
chicory thistle the favourite food for common goldfinches or the wild canary swee-notes flight calls tiring the late aft at shear strength blossoms fade, but no matter – thrifty order portions ample scores of blooms left open
REMINISCIN THIS AND THATTIN buffalo butchered at that border sugar alcohol public services grandfather social determinants there hasn’t been a qualitative shift nothin but escape an fin’lly makin it as this pearled jaw occludes properly tipping rotten porous life with more doubt and uncertainty flowering post-war trust denudes fort profit fed army State violence there is sturdy new vision skin pared since wild fruit has blossomed consoled by ideas
FROM PRE-SYMBOLIC TO TOTALITY: ON METHOD My primary poetic project of 2011 was Pre-Symbolic (Insert Press, forthcoming 2012), a reverse crash course through 2500 years of English poetry and Western theory in 1000 sentences, with the rhythmic constraint of every set of ten sentences consisting of sentences of one to ten words each. The constraint’s approach to the historical progression enabled adventurous creative decisions. The progression’s conceptual tempo starts slowly through years and speeds up through decades and then centuries. The poem’s engagement with the historical archive reinvigorates its enrichment repressed in the partialities of contemporary poetries. When it is published I am going to automate a Twitter account to tweet one sentence every ten minutes which adds up to slightly short of one week. During that week I am going to read it in a space related to the historical archive such as a museum or library. The two performances are temporal and social overlays to the poem’s historical rhythm and tempo and variations on the Futurist declaration to demolish museums and libraries, instead running through them to make use of them anew. My current poetic project is The Totality Cantos: An Investigation of Epistemological Totality, the synchronic sequel to Pre-Symbolic’s diachrony, emphasizing the present’s unprecedented access to knowledge enabling the construction of the most encyclopedic poem ever written. The poem is concerned with hundreds of subjects in arts, economics, history, law, philosophy, politics, religion, and science mathematically organized into overlapping concentrations across one hundred cantos of one hundred lines each, with PreSymbolic’s constraint of every set of ten sentences applied to every set of ten lines. The Totality Cantos’ length as ten times that of Pre-Symbolic aims to be decuply exponentially more complex. The poem’s perpetual paradoxes invoke contradictory positions to disassemble their partialities and construct the context of epistemological totality. The concentrations are a model for prioritizing subjects in this context for specific interventions and the total insurrectionary panoply of knowledge. The poem and epistemological totality are mutually enriching and insubordinate. My aim is to complete and publish The Totality Cantos: An Investigation of Epistemological Totality, 1-10 as a chapbook in 2012.
TOTALITY CANTO 8 Almost unintentionally needed built consensus exception mastery Laud spent simple able-bodied plutocratic living exceeded dualism signs Again reserves exaggerated alliance accession novelty disgusted effectively Predicative Around still frustration copy critiques yielded coterie rebellion mistresses return Purify taught fashion earth figures fixed Better bland origin Tormented gunpowder hierarchy disemboweling philosophy Last pagan gradually despite Public deeply Introduction symbol conference paradigm storms left also School portrays Previously propertied mark dealt consciousness counties Temporal intelligence classification Abandoned longed same oligarchic disaster-oriented someone valley discussions choose Statesman work means then Weavers find expertise rot flooding Government skirmishes paid mistaken increased judge invasion social Slips Uprooted central indication answer stages cruelty enlightenment ironist tens constant Always positions should popery horses collectively Tranquility distinctions doing sober customs over thus new this Cartoon Never high half neat universal terraced proportion portrait produce waters Maintaining theory magnates Section promised ready earlier republic tuberculosis craftsmen sought Ignominious protomartyr modification arms irresolute population miles Defending regular external taxation Occurred negative territory demands mainstream
Poetry only However least battle formal relation value clergy expansion contemporaries These derby rebels dispersed art election Tiny Loneliness actively hardy echo Looks startlingly Horizontal pattern past Risen clearly roughly critical relevant sophist design domain fireplace example Strongest general friend narrative word came editorial Necessary financial egalitarianism type city Comprising postwar imperium substance confusion assessed essence pursued Tentative cooperative advent burden ethos current forgotten Captured conservative existential sheriffs reassuring mainstay inwardness committed Advising truth correspondence funeral strike powers hastened importance animals Impact parliament fen assigned exploited Canal century here Human totalities Even annoying restoration colleges During fundamental nothing seed monkey reluctance slavery details ordered either Arguments Next rational abstract railways situation possible Legitimate inconspicuous infrastructure conquers golden common civil prayer diagrams Office channel concept currency courtiers Growing mirror labor Threatened precedent technical yeoman enthusiasts dwelt Continued which cheap close occupation knowledge bubble suburbs Normal atheistic natural business apology convictions system showed such elsewhere Failures Make coalfield reality seas Map sieges Actual language marriage country multiplicity limitations sharp Scored legendary union
Respectable ground vice principles Stoic edition salaries lead planned aim claims Dialectical colophon reported naïve reference chances Colorful cumbersome Any rare expectation spearheading exact grassroots harbingers pomp Added method doubt awareness empire alluded inheritance procurators celebrating namely Slowly associate house destiny thesis ousia motive broadens say Against too mad catholic leviathan Anti-liquor telegraph tone satisfaction circumstances adjust Beautiful Pyramid exciseman autonomy between empirical rioters authority Mind belonging shires For carrying Affected revolution triumvirate settlement engineers Assume every materialized ulster ward level counting council end Raw exclusion confederation crisis Care crucial conduct retrospect sacrifices translated precisely vigor probability rules Replied royal burning historical piecemeal inquiry assertion veld Science deism peculation poverty politics revered badly Identifying trader dominance world Much potentialities circumspectly toward complained being testament agent yet Pools Available contradictory escape reputation seats splendid foreign dating price peers Happened practical problem Fluctuations especially Since elaborated contribution gains quite written Absolutely widespread adverse understanding use Like merciless drama localities phenomenon appears abilities after Rely = turn otherwise Prevent petitioned alien industrialization hostility split Pseudo-gentility Pull burgeoning Organic suicide venality interconnected basic constitution texts Free junto dreadnought concentrate commissioned
Whatever classical birth firmly restricted justified debate scripture reason realm Definitive coherent irony measurement architecture refined conception liberation lines Obvious favorable divisiveness accepted revealed heartland communication control Hair homespun shoe
BAD OPPOSITES I have presorted choruses at a special discount window beneath “wild justice.” Do right. Blue corn fungus light at night above Managua. Cleared, there has been a rev up here in the smoking remains of our camp. It shook still in the Orfeo. We’re overrun, become reams of vanished atoms: presente! the urethra, one hurricane, a terror of wide ski runs gone all gray through the rocky passage below us… That camera has been through some wars with the Amerindian words Mitla and tanguis, themselves blown orange flakes against a bright blue wall, in Solentiname painting style, a hag and brutal, pixilated stop now gone. Help us get these folks off the ground. We shadow the auto show near the semi-refulgent attachment of Michael Jackson. Across the way, past dull meadow / parking lot of half-battered punch clocks and a stack of battle resolve for the widening, deepening frontline— that go on no pasaran non-pavanne at the end of the film version of The Society of the Spectacle when an enormous number of people sit on the floor together in a room. Some stand.
The form of the workers’ council gone. Discord and attrition after dinner at Forward Observation Post ManBearPig. Dogs’ anger in the autolysis catalyst. (After the side knifing, I’m all battered in a pinch.) Fight the infidel, my beguiling not-goon. They’re coming for you, fire-ball-destroyed, standing-firm-until-this-one-time, Marja.
POETICS AGAINST THE ENCLOSURE OF DISSENT I want to become Blunt Stone axe or hammer Word hit square on its Referential head To refute all arrayed Against biome and being But Zip-line Olympics rout of Catatonics snapping pics Peace sign in front of Riot cops then Videogames what? While these enemies I want to say Artifice and stance Proclaim riots to be Without contents Rioters Without reasons Looting hoods One size fits all Jumpsuit and jail Thugs, they won’t listen As protest burns its definition And nothing’s too legit That they won’t quit The locks and padlocks forming
TACTICAL PROPOSITIONS, OR, PWN THE ODIUM February 2010, for the Olympic Resistance Network Lets quote assemble at a safe location Lets quote make sure we have all our gear, masks too, bottled water Lets quote drive by to see what’s going on Lets quote make sure we know where the cameras are, or just ignore them entirely Lets quote stick together Lets quote manouevre through the crowd, around the city Lets quote have a good time too don’t forget Lets quote resist oppression Lets quote find those fuckers and give as good as we get Lets quote assemble at a central location Lets quote find fissures and occupy them Lets quote not get dragged into some fixed sort of sit-in or stationary tactic Lets quote document every authoritative act Lets quote drive by shouting, throwing cans Lets quote paint slogans on the sides of buildings, billboards, the backs of street signs
Lets quote make sure we use our cameras discretely Lets quote have a rendezvous location in mind Lets quote smash the state, or chip some small part of it Lets quote massify Lets quote be incommunicative, irrational, unreadable Lets quote build the new society in the shell of the old Lets quote clog capital’s channels, disturbing business as usual Lets quote make it like a fair, circus, or carnival Lets quote make our voices herd Lets quote I mean heard Lets quote police our own behaviour, allowing for divergent expressions of dissent Lets quote fuck this shit up Lets quote show solidarity Lets quote be mobile, dispersed, frenetic, fractured, uncontainable Lets quote remember it’s about love, the earth, the future Lets quote be the spectacle Lets quote seize the means of production, or communication Lets quote be the alternative Lets quote write our lawyers’ phone numbers somewhere on our bodies, in sharpie
Lets quote confront, but tactically Lets quote be everywhere against Lets quote find strength in numbers (but not believe the media’s count) Lets quote overturn Lets quote have signs, torches, songs Lets quote break glass if the opportunity presents itself, or burn stuff Lets quote be prepared to offer analysis, critique Lets quote not get hurt Lets quote the quotes, which are killing us
I conceived of “Blocks Away” during the media firestorm that erupted around the proposed building of the Park 51 mosque and cultural center in Lower Manhattan in the fall of 2010, and it was performed with the help of 25 students from Kate Eichhorn’s “Civic Action & Interruption” class at the New School. The action took place in October 2010, roughly 11 months prior to the start of Occupy Wall Street. Conceived both as a public intervention piece and as Situationist-inspired field research into the complexities of the emotional terrain of post 9-11 New York, Blocks Away was also an attempt to put into practice something akin to Lauren Berlant’s idea of affective disobedience.
Since Oct 2010, certain conditions have changed considerably, though much also remains the same. In advance let me both predict and agree with the criticism that silent protest would seem a ridiculous strategy now, though perhaps something of its logic may yet reside in the refusal of OWS to provide a simplified transparent (and thereby easily co-opted) list of demands. At the time it seemed somehow necessary – to cut through the secure positions people had carved out in a totalized discourse, as irritation to the smooth functioning of surfaces. Perhaps the documentation from this performance will be of continued interest as a critical temporal fold… and perhaps not. Perhaps there is something to blast forward (in the Benjaminian sense) in the concept of affective disobedience. Lauren Berlant has discussed the “refusal to perform affective security” as a potential goal of political action (from an interview with Sina Najafi and David Serlin in Cabinet 31, fall 2008). Deftly cleaving the notion of refusal from a hyperbolically confrontational demeanor, she points out that an affectively secure situation often simply looks like a safe expression of outrage (behind opposing barricades guarded by police), for example. Conversely, a truly unscripted response would mean that people don’t know what to do in a given situation since they have no existing models for it. The act might be affectively confusing, not easily locatable in the terms of familiar disobedient scenarios. I quote Berlant here: “Whose forms of self-regulation get legitimated, whose forms of self-regulation are ways of going under the radar, and whose forms of self-regulation are in-your-face messages? For example, you go and sit at a lunch counter where you’re not allowed and you refuse to act as though you shouldn’t be there. And it freaks everybody out because you’re not having the affect that they need you to have in order for them to be outraged by it… What often happens when you refuse to provide affective security for people is that they fall apart, get anxious, and start acting out, often not knowing why. The [affectively disobedient act] initiates, therefore, the potential for unraveling normative defenses”. More unpacking and interpretation of the “results” of this experiment into disobedient affect, discourse and public space is no doubt needed; nevertheless, I am including below, as a first step and offering, a copy of the initial plan (which was given to participants) and some field notes (images, texts and tweets sent out by the group during the action). My hope is that it will provoke discussion, reckoning, disagreement perhaps, and most of all, further spatial unrest.
Title of Action: Blocks Away Date: Friday 10.01.10 Time: 12:00-4 or 5 Goals: • To create an Oppositional Urban Cartography of Lower Manhattan (to demystify this hyper-politicized area and complicate currently circulating representations of it that figure it at once as rhetorical abstraction, as unified singularity centered around a single block, and as de facto nationalist property and monument) • To conduct experimental research into the emotional terrain of post 9-11 Lower Manhattan (is the gravitational pull of ground zero a constant or can it be “felt” to wax and wane in certain spaces? can psychogeographical awareness of the contours/shifts/ faultlines of this district be enhanced by introducing a “disturbance”? is there a distance at which the presence of ground zero ceases to provide the context for public discourse on social space and if so, can it be identified?) • To perform “affective disobedience” through multiple acts of simultaneous, silent, ambient citizenship (no predetermined code of understanding or channel for response is offered to passersby, who must work to decode the meaning(s) of the actions as they pass single or multiple pairs of performers in their course through the city) • To utilize the stealth, flash-mob protest model, but in reverse: our mob seeps out like a many-tentacled slow-moving and mindful organism. Can the bulk of our many small groups acting in concert across an urban spatial terrain be sensed? Description/Instructions: 1. Multiple groups of 2 converge at Ground Zero near the corner of Church St. and Vesey St. This is the first stop, and the 1st Photo is taken of the full number of participants, holding a large zero. 2. Groups of 2 then diverge in different directional vectors in a starburst pattern, walking in silence and noticing the material, psychological, political and emotional characteristics of the terrains they move through.
3. Throughout this walk (along their directional vector), each group will stop 5-7 times at intervals of 1-5 blocks, 6-10 blocks, 11-15 blocks, 16-20 blocks, 21-25 blocks (and so forth) away from the Ground Zero Vortex. The particular location of the stop is determined by the group and is based on the potential material, psychological, political or emotional interest of the site for framing the “blocks away” action and signage (see next). Note: Vector may “drift” as needed when passage is blocked by dead-ends, buildings and the like, but group should attempt to return to original direction as soon as is possible. 4. At each stop, a sign is constructed using the list of phrases provided as guides (or some variation thereof). The group then stands in silence for between 10 and 15 minutes holding the sign in front of their chosen site. At some point after the action has commenced (not sooner than 5 minutes into the action) one group member takes a snapshot of the sign and makes a careful note on the map of their location. 5. Immediately upon leaving each stop, the group discusses their experience briefly and sends a twitter description of the session. Literal, coy, critical, sarcastic, somber, witty or other modes are encouraged depending on need and desire. 6. The action ends either when the group finishes between 5 and 7 stops, or at 3:30, whichever comes first. The group then hails a cab and returns to _____ for debriefing and discussion of the action. 7. Photos, texts and tweets will be collected and used to construct documentation of the action to be distributed using various possible methods (google earth, a website, exhibition, etc). Example Phrases for Signage 2 blocks away 2 blocks away 2 blocks away All this is 2 blocks away This is 3 blocks away 4.5 blocks
6 blocks 7 blocks away: what is possible here We are 8.5 blocks away is this far enough is this far enough (11 blocks now) We are 16 blocks away now 18 blocks which block is center on a round planet? 20 blocks away: What is possible here? We are always just blocks away from someone’s tragedy, are we not? This is 22 blocks away This is 25 blocks away 30 blocks away from it Key points to remember: Keep it simple + Don’t reference the mosque directly + Don’t write a “slogan” (i.e. “Freedom of Religion is a Civil Right,” “Real Americans…” etc.) + Make sure you have a good number of simple descriptive signs containing no poetic radiation. + If you want to choose one of the more poetic phrases, do so. + Maintain some degree of silence when you feel it is useful, but speak when you need or want to. Field Notes (sample) G2 on the corner trinity & rector , we are “3 blocks away.” chivalry aside Accomplice to the action. Everyone wants to know what’s 3 blocks away, though one man says “thank god”. Policeman walks by and smiles. End post From: xxx-xxxx Church St. & Vesey. Man wonders if this is a TV show? Callback #: xxxxxxx Received: Fri Oct 1, 2:04 pm
From: xxx-xxxx “That’s still close! This is good!” one man says, directed at our “This is 2 blocks” signage. What this means, I do not know. Lots of creepy glances from people. Callback #: xxx-xxxx Received: Fri Oct 1, 2:29 pm G3 Barclay and Church St. “less than 2 blocks away” uncomfortable reactions from people, one assuming our sign as against mosque, strong opinions, almost “street fight” even though some slightly looked at the sign but decided to walk away… Disturbed about our silence. End post Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T From: xxx-xxxx Everything is 4 blocks away. The bodega, the cleaners, my business… Callback #: xxx-xxxx Received: Fri Oct 1, 2:49 pm From: xxx-xxxx Oh, I get it. They’re saying this it’s the New York Dolls, right? and it’s only 4 blocks away from WTC – that’s supposed to be Holy Ground now. So it’s like, how come the Mosque’s not allowed, but this is. But I think this was already here, from before. But a Mosque, you know, it’s just like a Church. Callback #: xxx-xxxx Received: Fri Oct 1, 2:51 pm G7 if people don’t get it at 4 blocks away what hope is there further out? Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T From: xxx-xxxx In response to our sign “Proximity: 6” in front of the Army Recruiting Career Center, “When I see 6, I think 6 feet under.” Callback #: xxx-xxxx Received: Fri Oct 1, 3:14 pm G5 Whitehall and Pearl St. “What’s 9 blocks away? What are you trying to lead me to? You guys are so weird!” G12 “9 blocks away, it’s where they make love.” End pots G7 “whAts 9 9 blocks away? Your company?” Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T G2 Hudson st and laight st location 3 “we are 15 blocks away now” ignored the sign. Out of context? Ppl in cars tried to read the sign but no comment. Pedestrians barely read it. End post Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T
G4 Hudson and Vandam St “21 blocks away 9 years ago” sign more in context, one person “solved” it. Yet overall relation to mosque gone. Silence was stronger as two than one. End post Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T From: xxx-xxxx White businessman stops and asks in urgent tone, “What is this?? rolled his eyes and continued on his way. My sign read, “Is this far enough?” Callback #: xxxxxxx Received: Fri Oct 1, 2:50 pm From: xxx-xxxx Woman walks by and says, “Is this far enough?” to others near her . Is it? Callback #: xxx-xxxx Received: Fri Oct 1, 3:31 pm From: xxx-xxxx Man inquires about the sign, and I look at him quizzically. Then says, “You’re every man’s dream. A beautiful woman who can’t speak.” I ask him what he thinks about the US using oppression of women as justification for invasion of Afghanistan. Callback #: xxx-xxxx Received: Fri Oct 1, 3:31 pm From: xxx-xxxx Teenage female walks by and stops, says “Thank You for doing this, thank you. My family came here expecting tolerance and freedom of religion. But then they want to say it’s only for some of us.” Callback #: xxx-xxxx Received: Fri Oct 1, 3:43 pm From: xxx-xxxx A man in fatigues appears and asks us to clear the door. Callback #: xxxxxxx Received: Fri Oct 1, 3:45 G5 On the corner of Park and Broadway “I can’t believe I have more tolerance than you.” Then, “You should just say it’s okay.” Two women stopping to look, overhear comment, begin to discuss whether it is “okay” or not End post G4 16 blocks, is this far enough? Conversation ensues as a few more people gather. My silence at first frustrates but then seems to make them talk to each other. Not all agree whether in fact ever “far enough.” Older woman calmly discusses first amendment with an angry-ish man. Someone says they don’t care at all. G3 tourists stop to take pictures of me End post Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T
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